Breathing Life into a Statue
By Eleine Kruez
Someone shoot me. Please. Sometime in this lifetime, if it's not too much trouble. And since we're groveling for salvation, might as well make the shooting this very second. Anything to save me from the unspeakable show of sugary x-rated display of affection, which should be called Rampage of Hormones instead.
Ugh. Not that I have anything against people showing their "loved ones" (please note use of quotation marks) just how much they mean to each other, but I would really prefer not to witness such profession/demonstration. It would also be highly appreciated if a lot of the miserable cretins littering this overpopulated, much-abused planet would take their kissing/necking/petting and general activities leading to foreplay then sex to the bedroom, or wherever else, so long as no one's to behold such intimate display. Especially if one's reaction to such things is loss of lunch, or whatever meal preceded said unwanted live show.
"Alright, break it up, people, break it up! There are minors around, you don't wanna get arrested, do you?" I cry, much like Moses dividing the Red Sea, trying to pull Melissa and Josh apart. Of course neither looked happy, but what the heck, it saved me from regurgitating the double cheeseburger I just had, didn't it?
"Your bitterness is getting out of hand," Melissa said, giving me this really annoying eye fluttering she uses to convey displeasure that I personally dubbed the Seizure.
Excuse me? My bitterness? Over what?
My thoughts must've reflected on my face since she took the air of profound condescendence, which I really hate, more than I hate the Seizure (so that says a lot). "Just because you don't have a boyfriend doesn't mean you have to ruin it for everyone else."
Fact of Life One: I DO have a boyfriend.
We just haven't met each other yet. But I'm nothing if not patient (on certain things, that is). My Mr. Right is somewhere out there, definitely pining for me, and I know we're destined to be together. What remains to be seen, however, is whether or not we're to get together in this lifetime.
Fact of Life Two: I hate it when Melissa rubs it in that she has a boyfriend and I don't.
And I am NOT bitter!
She just gives me this smug smile, perfectly convinced she's got me. Ugh! I know no matter what I say, she'll just stick with the you're-jealous-but-I-really-enjoy-rubbing-it-in-your-face-while-I-act-like-a-caring-long-suffering-friend act.
Ever since Patrick (who I'm starting to believe was put unto this earth for the solitary purpose of being the bane of my existence) decided to go out with a junior while going out with me non-exclusively (WHY do people always overlook such facts? We weren't dating exclusively!), everyone got it in their empty heads that I was completely crushed, totally devastated. I couldn't care any less if Patrick dated Ms. Dunshill, the principal (except maybe a little bit for the juicy gossip factor, that other than that, nope, I don't, NOT AT ALL). Unfortunately, I'm the only one who buys the supposed crap I'm saying. I'm the scorned rejected. I'm bitter in terms of relationships.
Where the hell is my rain of bullets, dammit?
"Whatever," I replied, giving her my own version of the Seizure, knowing she hated it when I do. Yes, pathetic comeback, but what choice do I have when protesting otherwise would only demonstrate how distraught I really was at how close she hit home?
The blonde shrugged, satisfied for the moment. I have no doubt word will soon spread just how I nearly broke down at the mall just at the sight of Melissa and Josh happy together. I know how the woman's mind works. Makes you wonder why we're "friends" (again, note use of quotation marks) to begin with.
Actually, the term is used loosely. More like people who hang around each other since there's no one else who is equal or close to in degree of popularity. While I may be popular because of my father's money (though it pains me to admit, this truly is my ticket into the In-Crowd, of which I am now one of those who reign), Melissa is the proverbial Barbie.
High school life can never be complete without the brainless, heartless Barbie and Ken. Though in fairness to Mel, she's not completely brainless. She wouldn't have invited me to join her for lunch four years back otherwise. And as far as grades go, she's quite competent. It's just that brain is always inferior to beauty and brawn. In most jocks' cases, it's always way, way, way inferior to brawn, as the latter is the only thing they've got. Oh, alright, I'm playing right into stereotypes, but trust me, in this case, it's true. And don't anyone give me hell about labels and crap. I'm the Rich Bitch, I get it. I embrace the role completely, I wish others would just be as accepting.
But I digress. I always do when speaking of the utter lack of intelligence of the guys who move in the same circle as mine (well, they're not only ones with the IQ of a jellyfish—meaning none—but I'm talking about Josh, Star Quarterback so I'll diss the others some other time, okay?). Most jocks, with the exception of few, may think with the apparatus between their legs and that may be the only thinking they'll ever do in their life, but I can say in confidence that at least they are not as nasty as their female counterparts.
I'm not saying I'm the nicest, as that would be an outright lie, and because I do tend to let my father's money get to my head, but there are others far worse than I. We're all bitches and hags in our very obnoxious way, but we're pretty much humane still. Unlike Melissa on a Bad Day. When she comes bearing the slogan "Life is Shit then you Die," you just do your best to stay out of her way until cheerleader Barbie comes back. Otherwise you will be left in pieces. That's my advice. But Mel on a bad day is nothing compared to Shanna everyday.
Speak of the she-devil.
"Done spending daddy's money?" If anyone asked me who the prettiest senior is, I would answer without hesitation: Shanna Peters. But only if it's strictly on the outside. The inside is the exact opposite. Must keep the balance after all.
It could just be me, but I think she's a little green that my father could buy her more than a dozen times and still have billions in the bank. Call me Adrienne Clarke, Shanna Peters' verbal target practice.
Why me? She's the one with the looks to kill for. If I were vain (as her) I'd use my dad's money and have a plastic surgery to look like her. Even half her looks is enough. She's thatbeautiful.
Honey-blonde hair in waves framing delicately the high cheekbones and heart-shaped face dominated by her large violet eyes, she's beautiful all right. I've lost count of the talent scouts who approached her. And let's not forget the angelic voice. We're talking future Pop Princess here. Angelic looks and voice. Yup, one of the gods' many twisted jokes. Pure evilness wrapped in an angel's skin.
"I dunno, I see one I can purchase, but I'm not sure if it's worth even a dime," I replied, looking straight into her beautiful amethyst eyes. We don't normally draw blood like this—well, mostly because I ignore her—but since I'm still supposed to be bitter, I snapped.
If looks could kill, I would've been long encased in a diamond-encrusted coffin and rotting six feet under the ground. "Very funny," she growled with an annoyed glance and then turned to Melissa. "You ready to go, Mel? You promised you'd help me look for the perfect outfit for my date. Unlike someone I know, I actually have a love life."
I seethed. Love life again?
Melissa glanced at me then smirked. Her boyfriend draped an arm on her shoulder, smiling at me. Instances like this make you contemplate murder in the middle of a crowded mall. I rolled my eyes and looked away, keeping my eyes glued on the row of boutiques to my right.
"Hey, some club's holding a charity ball next month, aren't they? I think it's some geeky fundraiser for an orphanage or whatever," Shanna brought up, relishing my degradation. "Personally, I don't want anything to do with whatever geeky organization, but if it's a ball or dance they're going for, I'm in."
"The Drama Club, Masques, is holding the fundraiser. It's for the construction of a little theater for Judith Farr's Shelter," I informed them. They may find anything not related to cheerleading and sports geeky, but I really like theater acting. I'm their secret producer from time to time. And it was my idea they hold a fundraiser in the form of a ball.
"Whatever, as if that matters," Melissa snickered. "Thing is, I heard it's a costume-thing. We're going as Romeo and Juliet," she confided, giving Josh goo-goo eyes.
Someone hand me a barf bag.
"I haven't decided if I'm going with Charlie. I may dump," Shanna looked pointedly at me, "him by then. What about you, Adrienne, I figure you might have to find a costume that goes solo since undoubtedly you're going stag, right?"
Is the possibility of me finding anyone to date by then, if not by this second too much to contemplate that they're assuming I'll go stag for that friggin' ball?
"Actually," I started, looking at my custom-made platinum watch for effect, "I'm running a bit late. My boyfriend is probably wondering what's taking me so long."
I was met with skepticism. Can't say I blame them. But damn me if I don't try harder. I'm going to show them I am not as un-dateable as they've branded me to be!
"Actually, he's here! Gotta go, people, my guy's waiting," I exclaimed cheerfully, walking away from the still-skeptic group and making a beeline toward the guy who just rounded the corner, praying I'd get to him before he entered any of the shops, ergo exposing my fabulous fibs. I knew their eyes were still on me.
Dear God, if you really are there, grant me this one favor…among others.
"Hey, sorry I'm late," I chirped, smiling 'til I could feel my face stretching to the limit simultaneously hooking my arm with the guy's.
He stared at me as if I've sprouted horns. I turned him to face me, his back facing my so-called friends, and gave him what I hoped seemed to our spectators a convincing passionate kiss, unmindful of the man trying to disengage from my hold.
"Play along if you want to leave this frickin' mall whole," I murmured against his lips. Hmm. Not too bad. His lips are soft and full against mine. Totally kissable. If only he didn't try to bite my lower lip.
"Yes, I know, I'm late as usual," I continued the charade, "sorry, babe, hope you didn't wait long." I half-dragged him with me, turning left, away from the prying eyes. The second I was sure we were safe and they couldn't glimpse even my shadow, I let go and let out a sigh. "That was close. Thanks for your help, kiddo."
I stared at the girl who descended on me the second I rounded the corner like the psycho I suspect her to be. Right now she was looking around as if she were hiding from someone. Probably shoplifted most, if not all, the things she's carrying.
She set the paper bags on the floor, all designers I noticed, and started fishing for something in her shoulder bag. Ah, here comes the perfect opportunity to study her.
She's not the classic definition of beauty. Her hair was black. Very black and shiny, which was nice, if you were into dark-haired women. Her skin was lightly tanned, and flawless from what her dark blue button-down shirt and flares-pants revealed. Height about five-three, weight around a hundred and ten, but I could be wrong, as dark clothes can be misleading. But what immediately draw your attention were her eyes: very light brown and large for her small face, which can be described as elfin.
Suddenly she was writing on something that seemed like a little book and next second, she's got a check a hairsbreadth away from between my eyes. "Two hundred dollars to play the part of my devoted boyfriend and date to a ball next month—charge still negotiable!"
What the hell does she take me for?
"Too little?" she asked and then shrugged. "I said it's negotiable, let's work something out later, okay?"
There was something familiar with the way she was trying to buy my services, for lack of a better term. She continued to look at me expectantly while I try to put a name to go with her face.
She blinked. "Yeah." Then shrugged again, a habit I was starting to dislike. Immensely. "You prolly guessed already, I'm a bit loaded, well, my dad is," she explained, "so it's really not that surprising when people recognize me. There aren't a lot of people who can say their father owns half the city."
This was Adrienne Clarke all right. I definitely remember the arrogance. Especially her habit of buying people and whatever it is she wanted.
I shook my head and turned away. I came to the mall because my best friend pleaded and groveled that I accompany her in purchasing parts for her computer. Krista was probably waiting at the fifth floor. I don't have time to waste on Adrienne's crazy, not to mention stupid, "proposition."
She started following me after grabbing her bags. "Yo, kid! We are so not done talking," she said, trying to keep up with my long swift strides. One of her bags banged against my leg.
Kid? I stopped and glanced at her. She obviously didn't remember me. And I don't care if she did. "What do you want?"
"Can't we talk about this somewhere a little less public? Café Lune would be great, my treat!" And she's back to dragging me with her with the obvious intent of bringing me to the overrated café I avoided at all cost before I started protesting.
I dug my heel on the polished floor without much result at first, but she finally stopped after a few seconds. Letting out an impatient sigh, she rolled her eyes. "Is this some cheap tactic to raise your price? Because really, that's okay, we'll talk about it later. Right now, I'm dying for a mocha frap."
"I don't care about your frap, or your proposition. Look for someone else. I'm not for hire."
She merely raised an eyebrow. "How does five hundred sound?"
Is this girl crazy? And how does she sleep at night throwing away that much money on a date! "Are you really that desperate to get a date?"
Her eyes flashed yellow. I definitely struck a nerve.
I like her eyes. To some it may seem unearthly, the way her eyes would turn yellow with emotion, but it's been a while since I last saw those yellow eyes. Demon eyes, they were called back in the day when she was secretly called a witch, a name anyone acquainted with her knew she was not undeserving.
I've changed a lot since then, but it seemed to me she's changed very little, if at all. "Get someone else to bark for you." She didn't move from where she was blocking my way. "Let me pass, Adrienne."
Her eyes were the color of sherry again. Then she stared at me. Maybe she recognized me? "I'll pay for your friend's time, too, if it will make you listen."
I shook my head and walked past her, toward the escalator. I didn't promise Krista I'd go, saying I might, and since I'm not known to venture out of our house other than for school and other rare occasions which did not include outings to the mall, she might take it that I won't show up.
I felt her tugging on the sleeve of my shirt, but I didn't turn. I've done enough barking at Adrienne's whim. I knew she could easily find another poor, miserable soul to impose her wealth on. I refuse to play her lapdog once more.
I paused. Was it just me or was there a slight catch in her please? And when had she ever learned that word?
"Do you want me to kneel and beg?"