Author's Welcome: Hey y'all. Here it is, a brand new beginning, whatever that entails. Lol. This prologue is purely based on flashbacks, past memories of Chelsea, our leading girl. All relevant, honest. I promise, the story will get better as it progresses. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy!

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Sea Shells and Forget-Me-Nots


She couldn't help clenching her eyes shut, her tiny wrists gripping the ropes of the swing like a life support.

"C'mon, Chel!" urged Cal from behind her, his hands pulling at the wooden slab she was sitting on, "Just go on!"

"No!" she screamed, her heart pummeling to the beat of a six-year old's terror. She dug the soles of her sneakers deeper into the ground, wishing Cal would just go away.

"Let go of your legs!" he yelled again as droplets of rain started teasing them. She could feel the dampness of the air as her skin made contact with water. "You're such a scaredy-cat, Chelsea!"

"I am not," she protested, about to burst into tears for fear of being a coward. "Just go away, Cal!'

"Just let go!"


"Let go!"

"Shut up! Leave me alone!"

"Chelsea", Cal called again, not yelling and not urging her to do what she didn't want to do. "Open your eyes, Chelly".

She did. One by one. Drops of rain mingled on her tear-streaked cheeks.

"Just let go", he said again, his tone so much superior to her because he was two years older. "I won't let you fall".

Chelsea hiccuped a sob. But she dared to turn her head a notch, hoping with every hope she didn't have to go off on the swingset.

"Do you promise?" she managed to choke, her knuckles almost white against the shade of the ropes. "Don't let me get hurt…I don't…Don't let me fall 'k, Cal?"

"I promise", the little boy answered, solemnly.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded back. Then she released her death grip on the ground, and let him push her into the nothingness beyond and meet the rain.

She was twelve. Twelve and already knowing how to pretend she couldn't hear.

She couldn't hear anything except the wails coming from her brand new little siblings. Six months old and double the trouble in their matching unisex prams. She pushed them both a little further along the parklane, hoping all the stares would just go away.

It's none of their business, she thought to herself angrily, glaring at the runners and joggers and old pensioners lazying on the park benches. But ignoring all the stares couldn't do anything to change the fact that her parents were about to rip each other's throat out some several feet away. They were at it once again in public.

Giving the double prams one more big push with her trembling body, she muttered small prayers her aunt had long-taught her, hoping, just this once, that being a good girl would mean her parents would stop yelling at each other…

"I told you, get off my back, Susan!"her father was demanding as both parents faced each other like in a bullfight. They'd long since abandoned their 'family jog', and were now completely oblivious to their children's state or that of the attention they were getting.

"Oh, I've only just started…When is it going to be fixed? We've been waiting for three months, Harold. Three months!"

"And you're gonna wait a damn three more months if you keep on being a bitch".

And on and on. Stifling a cry, Chelsea continued on with the twins, not stopping when a concerned park patroller asked her who her parents were.

She didn't stop. She wouldn't have been able to answer him.

She remembered when she was much younger, a time when her dad had been stationed in the World Bank headquarters in Sri Lanka, and her parents were taking her out to the local market.

She'd been so excited. She'd saved up enough money to get the beautiful handmade diary one village lady had made out of straw and dye. She'd been saving up for months now, and her parents finally agreed to let her get what she wanted.

When they got to the market, she remembered being awed by all the scents and sounds, the hubbub of the nearby villagers and passing tourists. Her parents told her to meet them at this spot in ten minutes. Ten minutes, don't forget, they said.

And she was off. It was right around the corner, she knew, that the old lady sold her wares. Right around the corner, the old woman would come into view, the hem of her colorful sari peeking out over the raised dais that was her shop. Chelsea pressed a fist against her skirt pocket, comforted by the feel of her tiny money bag.

And then she saw him.

An old, crippled man, begging at the corner she was supposed to turn at. Blind, legless. Clothed in a multi-stained swathe of white cotton, he was begging for money, his unseeing eyes tilted toward heaven. She stopped immediately, her legs just not being able to go on. Her heart went out to the old man, his stubs of knees settled atop a crudely-made mat of old newspapers and cloth.

Her heart aching at what she knew must be, Chelsea made her way toward the unsuspecting old man, pulling out her money bag as she went. Stopping right in front of him, she didn't know quite what to do. She didn't speak his language, he didn't speak hers. His eyes were greyed and dilated by blindness, giving no indication he knew he was near a child with long, long black hair.

She took hold of his left hand with hers, then, taking a deep breath of confidence, pressed the whole money bag atop the wrinkled palm. The old man had stopped his singing and begging, instead furrowing his aged eyes in confusion at the crown of her head.

Then, before her young heart felt the tugs of regret or embarassment, she turned to go. She stopped at a few steps though, when she-and everyone in the vicinity-heard the old blind man sing another song.

She looked back once, to see him in the same position she'd left him. The only difference was that he had tears in his wizened old eyes as he sang a slow, meloncholic tune she'd never heard. Nor would ever hear again.

She was thirteen and in junior high now. First day, she met the Gang. First week, she was being hit on by the school bad boy, Butch Fielder. Also the First week, she got detention for hitting the school bad boy.

A few months after that, the whole school was buzzing with the news: tenth graders Calvin Rose and Bliss Matthews had hooked up. Officially.

A week after that, Chelsea was Butch Fielder's girl. Officially.

She couldn't believe it. Her dad was taking her out. It was such a rare occasion she could hardly breathe as he led her into the town ice-skating rink.

There was no one else there. It was brightly-lit inside the building though, and as she laced her ice-skates on, she wondered why her father had told her to bundle up.

A few minnutes later, she found out why. Gripping a hockey-stick in her hands, she was huddled in defense position at a goalpost.

"You ready, sweetheart?" Her father called from the center of the rink, shifting a puck with his own hockey stick. "All you have to do is not let this thing in okay?"

And so it was, her first experience of ice-hockey. Her mother was at home, nursing the twins, and it was the first time she and her dad had some time together in a year. She held onto the hockey stick like she was holding on to the last vestiges of a father-daughter relationship.

She loved the game from that very day onwards, and always thought back on it with a longing that was never quite filled again afterward. She went home that day with a small stitch near her left temple where she'd tried unsuccessfully to stop the puck. Her father had swore on the ride to the clinic never to play with her again, but she'd grinned and told him not to be silly.

The scar was still there afterward. But her father never took her to the ice rink to play again.

He never took her anywhere to play again.

A/N: Well, me again. How's it goin' so far? I know, kinda bland for a prologue. But it's all relevant I promise. I have to work hard cuz I promised some friends I'd see this script through, (kinda have a dodgy record with unfinished scripts lol). So yeah. Sushi, this one's for you! Lol.

Stay tuned, y'all. Oh, and if you have any queries about where the plot's going, feel free to review and ask!