Author's Note: I kind of just threw this together over the past couple of days... and turned out to like it a lot. Bridget's mom is sort of based off of someone I know, but other than that everything is completely made up by my imaginative noggin. . Please give me feedback, I really appreciate all that stuff. Thanks for clicking on my story!

PROLOGUE


January 1st… 3:54 p.m.

Am I crazy? Or is it just my family? Please tell me it's just my family. I couldn't get any crazier if I tried anyway; my friends tell me it's humanly impossible. But maybe today there's been an exception.

Right now, at this very moment in time, I am squatting down behind the tall prickly bush beneath my bedroom window. Writing in this journal. Seriously.

Yup. I think today there's been an exception.

There is a reason for my behavior, though. I mean, who in their right mind would squat behind a bush and scribble furiously in a black composition journal just for the fun of it? Certainly not me. I'm pretty sure I'm not that crazy. Cedar may not think so, ever since she caught me playing my Gameboy in the corner of the bathroom before breakfast this morning, but last time I checked I knew myself better than anyone else… and I'm positive that hunkering down behind a bush during my free time is not number one on my list of things to do. It's a last resort thing. Besides, what does Cedar know? She never talks to me except at the dinner table, and that's only because the parental units expect her to. And that's just once a week. Twice, if we're lucky enough to persuade Carrie to cook for us before she goes out in the evening. If Cedar thinks she knows my true colors, then she'd better go visit the pharmacy for some reality pills.

As you may have noticed, it's New Years Day. The parentals are currently inside enjoying honking bowls of Rocky Road ice cream, going into raptures over my stupid little sister's resolution to volunteer at the soup kitchen, and most likely are not wondering where their neglected middle child has moseyed off to. That's right, I'm neglected. Not that they don't feed me or clothe me or anything. But I think the last time I actually had a genuine conversation with either parent was my last birthday… in October. October 14th. I recall the conversation having something to do with please fold the laundry, and oh, happy birthday, Bridget. You see, I've become a very independent person over these past few years.

So, back to why I'm squatting behind a bush. It's simple. I needed somewhere to go to be alone. I couldn't stay in the house for much longer or I was sure I would throw up all over my mother's immaculate white and beige carpets, oil paintings, and glass furniture. Yes, you heard me correctly. Glass furniture. The tables, the chair backs; just about every piece of furniture except the couches. But I guess there really isn't a point for them not to be glass, considering they are swathed in luxurious red velvet sofa coverings and I'm swatted away every time I go near them. To sum it up, my house is the absolute worst place to be. Ever. Even my bedroom, at times. Once I tried to hang up a spanking new poster of my ultimate celebrity fascination, and my mother tore it off the wall so quickly I thought she'd pass out from such a sudden movement. Later she told me I'd be paying for the paint repair. I asked her where the paint had chipped. She told me not to backtalk her, and that was the end of that.

When the parentals came swaying out of their bedroom this afternoon in the fluffiest white bathrobes I'd ever seen, both their faces glowing with obviously recent ecstasy, I knew I needed to get out of that house, and fast. It's one thing to watch them unwind from their usual crabby, active selves and eat handfuls after handfuls of junk food on a Saturday afternoon, but once I got an eyeful of the aftermath of their supposed "afternoon nap," I could feel my sub-sandwich from lunch doing a few somersaults in my tummy.

So there you have it. That's why I'm crouched behind a bush writing in a journal.

The journal is another story. The person I have a tendency to title as my best friend, Rosie Dodd, gave it to me as a New Year's gift. She said that if I wrote it in regularly, maybe my recklessness would take a breather. Yeah, I think I'm crazy, but I don't need self psychotherapy. Gosh. And yet here I am, writing in the stupid notebook. I hope she doesn't expect to read any of it.

Oh, here comes Cedar. Just a moment…

4:40 p.m.

Now the parentals think I should visit Mom's therapist, Dr. Montgomery. They are worried because I was hiding behind a bush.

Somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I just knew this would happen someday. They aren't actually worried. Just a little upset that if someone besides Cedar had found me, gossip would be everywhere that Bridget Dawson is a nutcase and they'd be dubbed lackadaisical parents. Apparently they think they aren't already. Cheese and rice.

Once Mom and Dad had finished their little speech of keeping my strange behavior under the radar, they each gave me a squeeze on the shoulder and disappeared to their bedroom again. I nearly broke down in tears; it was the first affectionate gesture they'd given me in such a long time. And then Cedar tsked and broke my little moment, sashaying down the hall to her bedroom with her nose in the air. I'm glad I wasn't like that when I was fourteen.

I've always been the outcast of the family. One, because my parents are horrible neglectful people, and two, because both of my sisters are stuck-up clones of my mother and they know better than to socialize with a recluse like me. It might ruin their reputation. Meh! Like I care; I've never had the desire to talk to either of them anyway. Carrie, oldest at seventeen, didn't even like me when we were babies. Babies! We're only one year apart, you know. I have a tiny dent in my forehead. It's from when she continuously threw her Barbies at me. Apparently I came too close to her… too many times.

So, I'm always pushed away. I don't try to mingle with any members of my family anymore. When I was Cedar's age, I finally realized I was trying too hard… and began to visit the school counselor. That didn't last long. His name is Mr. Carter and he told me that someday he would come to my house and tell off my parents. I asked him why. He told me that he loved me too much to watch me get hurt like that. Needless to say, I never went back to him again.

Right now I'm actually in a normal place for once; cuddled up in my lovely periwinkle blankets on top of my bunk bed. Yes, bunk. I share a room with Cedar, unfortunately. That's why I couldn't come in here earlier to write and instead chose hiding behind the bush. Cedar comes in every ten minutes or so to get something; usually it's a tube of lip gloss or a hairbrush or nail polish. She's obsessed with her appearance, unlike me. I haven't seen her without makeup since she was twelve, and I hate to say it but she is absolutely stunning when she isn't wearing any. She has thick, blonde hair like Mom and dark hazel eyes like Dad. Nowadays you can't even see her eyes though. They're so concealed with mascara and eyeliner that she appears to have two black eyes all the time. I, on the other hand, don't go anywhere near any of that makeup crap. It might clog my pores. I was blessed with my father's flawless skin genes, and I'm not about to ruin it.

Besides, I don't think I'm particularly ugly. I look a lot like Carrie. We both have dish water blonde hair and light green eyes; only she's way taller than me. Way taller. At least five or six inches. Okay yes, I am a midget. Five foot two… but it doesn't bug me. Too much.

Oops, I got way off topic. I have a tendency to do that. Clue one that I'm crazy.

No! Bridget isn't crazy. I am not crazy. Honest.

Cedar just came in and is rummaging through my desk drawers. Cheese and rice. Oh perfect, now she's left with my last package of mechanical pencils. Do you see how my family treats me? Geez. It's like I'm their own private prey, victim, whatever you want to call it. It's like they can use me—and my stuff for that matter—whenever they see fit. I hate it here.

I think I'm going to go spend the rest of New Year's Day with Rosie Dodd. Her family is more loving than mine. And, her mom makes the best cheese bread I've ever tasted in my entire life.

11:46 p.m.

Had a lovely time at Rosie's. Feasted on heaps and heaps of mashed potatoes and gravy. Rosie's mom believes in cooking, and she seriously believes in it, if you know what I mean. I have a suspicion that what I see on the scale tomorrow morning won't be too pleasing…

Anyway, right now I'm listening to the loud shnarkksss ghghg snhhrrkkk's of my little sister below me. It's the one imperfection that she doesn't know about. Really. Ever since she was born we've shared a room, and her vociferous snoring began when she was about four. It has lulled me to sleep for twelve very long years. And I use the word 'sleep' very lightly. I'm pretty sure that her snoring is the reason for my severe insomnia. Does that explain why I'm writing at twelve o'clock at night? Geez. For twelve years I've suffered; just because of my dumb little sister's nasal passages. Could my circumstances be any lamer?

I think I'm going to go for a walk.

January 2nd… 3:05 a.m.

I managed to take a snooze on a park bench down the street. It only lasted a couple minutes though, because in a dream I felt lovely little raindrops on my nose, but realized you can't actually sense things when you're dreaming. So I opened my eyes. Imagine my surprise when some stray dog was shoving its tongue up my nostril.

I really don't know why I'm writing in this stupid journal. Rosie Dodd told me I don't actually have to. All she said was once I realize I truly do need psychotherapeutic assistance, writing in the journal would be a good idea. But I don't think I need psychotherapeutic help. At least not a whole lot of it.

Don't tell me I do just because I was squatting down behind a shrub earlier. I'm not going to let you count that against me.

Maybe sometimes I find myself in the strangest of places, but what can I say? That's Bridget for you. I don't do a lot of socializing, partying; any of that usual teenage stuff. So generally I am finding ways to keep myself entertained. And if that means chilling out under the dining room table or something, so be it.

This notebook is dumb. It's just proving that I have nothing better to do than gripe about my life. Not that there's a whole lot of life to gripe about.

Cheese and rice. Maybe I do need psychotherapeutic help after all.


Author's Note: Please give me feedback, even if it's about part of the piece that you didn't like. I'll use it to make the next one soooo much better. Love you guys! .