Ch.1: Disgust at First Sight

This is not a humdrum story of beauty and the beast. Annabelle was not much of a beauty, and Fred was not exactly the beast you might think. But the story is similar to this in that, the concepts and questions of love, self worth, and dignity are all asked.

Here is how it goes.

Annabelle was a young woman of 16. She lived near the outskirts of the city and was still a girl in everyone's eyes. Even she believed herself young and naive and was glad to be so. She was what could be called "rich" but not quite so grand as that. Her father was her only hero and she loved him very much. Her mother was a strange woman who, in Annabelle's eyes, was a leech at times to her poor father and her greatest fear was becoming a woman like her someday.

At 16, she knew much more than she would have liked about people and love (or something like it: sex) and what these things could do to innocent minds. She knew this because all of her friends that she had known for as long as there was a time for her, were falling away, getting lost in these things that it seemed, only she could find anything wrong with. Young men, stained in a way that her parents most likely didn't fully know or understand, scarred her.

She vowed to never marry, to never consummate her love to any man, to anyone, but herself. Of course her view on these things were clouded by past experiences, she knew that of course, she knew that she looked through shaded lenses and that all was never as it appeared to be. Oh, how she knew that. But this didn't stop her in her stubborn plight, the fight in her mind against manipulation and lies that had been told to this young woman. Yes, Annabelle was different than most. She thought different, and, as it is all human's burden, she thought much too much about silly things that drove her crazy.

Fred couldn't have been more different than her. He was dirt poor. Son of a farmer with five siblings, he pitied himself for reasons too dismal for anyone to open an ear to. He was rather large…well okay, extremely large and scary-looking at first glance. A mean, offensive sight that any parent would shy their children (especially daughters) straight away from. He had a good heart but, not too broad a mind, and no wonder; he could only attend school every other week, sometimes less because he was too busy at home.

His education therefore was fair, but his life was extremely dull and hueless. No one could give him a second glance without flinching in disgust or disappointment. In fact, when Annabelle was first introduced to Fred, her thoughts were complete groans of disappointment. She had very few close friends and some she only talked to in school or out of sheer boredom. One of them was April.

A bleach blonde bimbo of a girl, she met Fred and his friend John who-knows-where, but wherever she picked the two losers up from, she introduced them to Annabelle in front of school before they had to go in one damp rainy day. Annabelle clutched her books and looked up in disappointment.

John wasn't ugly exactly but he was short and stubby, had thick square glasses and dirty braces and just simply reeked of self-loathing. Fred, on the other hand, was very tall, which was good but his downfall, was his huge size and foreboding appearance. His face was meaty and pink and harsh looking. Like a guard, a dangerous bodyguard he stood there and eyes Annabelle's long, light blonde curly hair with interest. She didn't like the looks of them at all and as time went by, she also decided that she disliked John's ignorance and stupidity as well.

He was always coming up with stupid ideas and phrases to make himself seem clever and witty when it was quite clear that his thoughts were biased and generalized to such an extreme that Annabelle immediately tuned out everything that came out of his horrible looking mouth.

It was the one fateful day when April managed to convince Annabelle to join her after school at a spot near the Scourges River where they could talk with the two boys again, that she really began to see through Fred's rough exterior into the person it was smothering incessantly.

She went, grudgingly, to the giant rock above the river where they could skip rocks and just be mindless teenagers for once. John and Fred were already there, smoking of course, and Annabelle bristled further, knowing this was probably a mistake. Fred looked at Annabelle again like he did when they first met and she coughed dramatically, eyeing his cigarette with great dislike.

The boys got the hint, shrugged and flicked the things into the already polluted river. "The sunset is so pretty isn't it from here?" April said in a girly voice and sat down on the edge of the rock. John sat next to her. Annabelle stood with her arms crossed and stared at the red flaming sun as it sank, weary, below the horizon. "I get the most beautiful sunsets in my backyard since it's over fields." Fred said, mostly to Annabelle but she wouldn't look at his ugly, disappointing face.

Yeah, Fields are really pretty. I've always liked them. Instead of living near the city I would much rather live in the country where I can be alone and just look at things like the sunset. No one in the city ever bothers to look to the sky, I doubt they even remember it's there." Annabelle said.

Fred, encouraged now that she had spoken finally, then said, "I just was brought up always near those things so I guess that's why I like 'em too."

"Because you live on a farm that's why." John said and glowed when April burst into laughter. Annabelle sighed heavily at these idiots; she could tell that this was there relationship, john and Fred. Fred was the big oaf and john was the little rat who always nipped at him for attention. How moronic, she thought glumly but still stood there, as tempted, as she was to flee this idiot fest.

Fred gave john a menacing look that shut him up and Arya continued to avoid his gaze, his mean face horrified her.

"They're tearing down that side of the woods to build new houses." Aril said, trying to sound knowing.

"Argh!!!!!!! I HATE THAT!" Everyone looked up shocked at Annabelle who seemed so docile to just yell all of a sudden. Yes she was strange all right, even this bunch of mixed up kids saw that soon enough.

"I hate that we have to kill animal's and their homes just because we're horny freaks. We can't just destroy things that aren't ours!"

"Um…what does being horny have to do with killing animals? And what do you means by 'we' I didn't do anything and I'm sure you didn't." Fred said. Annabelle closed her eyes as if this were the stupidest question anyone could ask and she should have expected something like that from him.

"Because, don't you see, humans have sex all the time because it's 'soooo great' and then have tons of kids, there kids need more house, the world gets overpopulated with our scum and we need new houses. So we move on and build new ones. Oh but one thing, other creature have to live here too! That is why I am NEVER having kids."

"I thought there was a different reason though, weren't you like making a list of why your not and everyday you think of a new reason or something." April asked, amused.

"Yes, I do have a list, and it is growing all the time there are so many reasons. One day I will make that a published list and everyone will see it and the world maybe will see how stupid they're being."

"Yep, there she goes with her little rants again about the corruption of the world…don't mind her guys, she's weird." April said before skipping a huge rock that didn't go very far. Fred picked up one and tried, it skipped for so long that even Annabelle looked to see it skipping in neat little waves almost t the other side until it sank.

"Here, you try." Fred said kindly, holding out a rock to Annabelle.

"No thanks, I'm horrible at it."

"How do you know if you don't try?"

"Because." Annabelle said passively. "I am horrible at everything, trust me."

"That you are Annabelle, that you are." April said, sighing in mock disappointment as if she were her sad mother that had to deal with that fact that her daughter was such a loser. Annabelle smiled but turned away, staring into the sunset wondering what the hell she thought she was doing, and if she would ever know.