Feelings Expressed

Dani cried as she dropped the razor. It had been close that time, but luckily she hadn't managed to actually bring it to her skin with the intent to cut. She bent forward and picked the razor up, placing it in her shower basket before she quickly finished her shower.

She knew she had to do something to get herself happy again as she dried herself and stared into the mirror to see only black holes where her eyes were. With that, she wrapped her towel tightly around her body and walked to her room. She pulled a bag out of her closet and began throwing a few items of clothing into it. She hadn't heard from anyone except Beth in two days, and it was disturbing her. Not even Howard had called her like he had promised when his parents had taken him to Colorado for a ski trip.

As soon as she had her bag packed and was dressed, she returned to the bathroom to quickly fix her hair, and then she found every spare dollar she had. Finally, she made a phone call and left a message on the answering machine.

She still had five days before school started, plenty of time to find herself, or so she hoped. She grabbed her laptop, packed it, along with her portable CD player into her bag. Then she grabbed the journal Cara had given her in case she felt the need to write on paper like she did whenever a poem hit her.

After map-questing directions, she put her duffle and her backpack into the passenger seat of her car. She stopped by Beth's house and put a letter into the mail box for Beth, explaining where she was going and why.

The lady at the desk looked up at her. She had perfect white teeth and short blonde hair flipped outward. "How may I help you?" the lady asked.

"I'd like to buy a round-trip ticket to LAX," Dani said. "The cheapest one you have that leaves today and comes back Saturday."

The lady looked at Dani, then began typing. "Well, for $100 less, you could come back early Sunday morning. Would that work?"

"Yeah," Dani said. The lady typed some more, then asked Dani for her name, and identification. Finally, she had Dani pay and checked Dani's bag. She had twenty minutes before her ten o'clock flight."

Dani counted the money left in her wallet. Less than thirty dollars. She hoped that Jake got her message and was able to pick her up when she got there, or she would be stuck using all her money on a taxi.

"Why you going to California?" the man in the seat next to her asked after take off.

"Trying to find myself," Dani replied.

"In movies?" the man asked.

"No," Dani said. "If you ever see me in a movie, it will be against my will. I just need to get away from my life for a few days."

The man nodded. "Take at least one day to walk barefoot on the beach. It will help a lot, I guarantee."

Dani nodded.

"You are crazy, Dani," Jake said as he drove back to his house. "What if I hadn't been able to pick you up? What if we were on vacation somewhere?"

"I'd be screwed," Dani said blankly.

"You feeling okay?" Jake asked, glancing at her.

"No," Dani said. "But that's why I'm here."

"So, what do you want to do while you are here?"

Dani remembered the man on the plane. "I'd like to go to the beach at least one day. You live by one, right?"

"Sort of," Jake said. "I've got a friend who has a beach house about an hour away. You'd like that better because it won't be at all crowded. But I can't tell you if it will be warm."

"That's fine," Dani said. "I'll probably wear jeans and a sweater as it is."

"At least I know you're still Dani," Jake said.

Thursday afternoon, Dani walked along the beach. She looked out at the ocean, amazed because she had never seen anything like it. She dug her toes into the sand and sat down, opening the journal and twirling her pen. When she glanced down, she saw something she hadn't known was in her journal. A fifty dollar bill. She smiled. Even when she was broke and across the country, Cara still somehow managed to help her out. She had spent all thirty dollars eating out.

Dani brought the pen to the page and began to write about what had been bothering her lately.

It's not that I don't love him
But where're sparks when I hug him.
Deepest regrets to you if I have to let you go
As this pen on paper lets my feelings flow.
Finally, I'm free.

She closed the journal and stood. Jake had invited her to a party that night and, while she had earlier said she probably wouldn't go, now she was pumped for a real party to perk her up.

That's it for Popular: In the Spotlight. Keep your eye out for Popular: Top Ten. Rica Bratman is no longer Cara's only stalker, and her new one doesn't happen to live in town, so how did he find her? Dani's back from California, bringing a few new feelings, but can she express them to the one who she really needs to tell them to? As for Billy's reaction to Anna's boyfriend, let's just say he doesn't take it too well. Poor Beth, Bob's back on alcohol when he suspects Mrs. Zimmerman of cheating. And, HBV is getting invaded when both the Roberts and the Meijers take in a guest. School just got a little more exciting.

Or, for more fun action and crazy love comedies, check out Countdown to Christmas for a limited time, or Unpopular. Also, Middleway by Cashew Revolutionaries.

And please, if nothing else, at least review this.