A/N: I wrote this last year for one of my classes for extra credit. shrug Here it is, I may be editing this into a short play script, that'll get posted as well.
Erik Fischer left the school with his friends, carrying a backpack full of textbooks. It was Friday, October seventh and today was the homecoming parade. He had taken extra time packing his bag almost to bursting before he left the school for the parade. In his pack he carried a heavy chemistry textbook. Chemistry was one of his favorite classes. The teacher, Mr Ericksen, was friendly and his lab partner was a Miss Rose Smith. She was an artist, had long dark hair, and was absolutely terrible at chemistry. Luckily, Erik was very good at it, and he didn't mind sharing his notes with her. This may have mostly been because he felt what he considered a small crush towards her. Erik had yet to ever have a girlfriend in the sense of the romantic, but as a sophomore nerdy boy he usually didn't mind this. But, Rose was different. A girl who was friendly to him even out of class when she wasn't begging off notes. Maybe she'd break his life-long streak of singleness. Maybe they would be more than just lab partners…partners in another sense. He walked with his friends to the town square, lost in his thoughts. He was barely listening to them ramble on about the most recent Dungeons and Dragons meetings and about the planned 'loser' party for tomorrow night. None of them wanted to go to the dance, so they decided to throw a party instead. Not because they were dateless, but just because the party was more fun. Erik had gone to the dance homecoming year, stayed for and hour, then gone to the party. He knew this party would be much more fun than a dance ever could be. Erik thought about the possibility of asking Rose to the party as his date, a little late notice perhaps, but still it might work.
Erik walked up to Rose confidently. She was standing on the edge of the square and taking pictures of the parade.
"Hey Rose." He was confident, strong, jock-like for some odd reason.
"Erik," She recognized him, of course, "What's up?"
"Hey, my friends and I are throwing a party tomorrow. Want to come?"
Rose thought for a moment. "Oh tomorrow's the homecoming dance…I can't go to a party. I'm going to the dance with one of the many football players." She smiled, ditzy. "Sorry." Insincere. She was suddenly in pink and in the arms of some jock kissing him.
Erik shuddered. God it was good that was just a…fantasy if you can call it that. That would just be…bad. Maybe, just maybe asking Rose to the party wasn't a good idea.
Erik and his friends arrived at an unoccupied spot on the town square and set their bags down. Erik let his mind drift away from his terrible imagination and watched the families sitting together along the street. All the young parents with the little children were near the front. The kids comparing the size of the bags they had brought with them. Some had grocery bags, some had little Ziplock baggies. They all wanted as much candy as possible and thought for some reason that a bigger bag would mean a bigger haul. Every kid wanted to get more than his or her friends, and this candy had to last them till Halloween. And, since in a kid's mind Halloween was forever away, this candy had to be a lot. Erik remembered this from when he was younger and had been one of those kids. He also remembered that the size of the bag meant absolutely nothing, it was how generous the people throwing the candy happened to be when they drove by you. He saw just down the square the girl that occupied many of his thoughts as of late.
Rose Smith carried a messenger bag with a variety of buttons and a shoulder strap. She also carried a five subject notebook with random notes from her classes. She had a folder in the bag with all the worksheets and other handouts she had gotten recently. She carried no textbooks. She preferred to carry things that she actually wanted to use, or knew she would use, like art supplies. She had several sketchbooks, pencils, pens, markers, and a few erasers. She carried a Canon SLR camera and several extra rolls of film. Rose was one of the many school newspaper and yearbook photographers and was attending the parade just to document one of the monumental events of the year. She walked straight out of class and to the parade alone. She saw few people she knew because most of her friends were in band or had decided to skip going to the parade. She stopped walking when she arrived at the town square and sat down to load up the camera with film before the parade started. She let the chatter of children waiting excitedly, and the conversations of the parents wash over her. When she finished she just had to wait as the parade had yet to start. She was surprised when she looked up to see her sister, Kimmy, across the street. She had known she was going to be there, something about a detention pass, but it was still a surprise. Kimmy never voluntarily attended anything school related. It seemed so odd to her that her sister was so different now then she had been when they were younger. They had done everything together when they were little. They were twins, and best friends. 'Best Friends Forever' was what Kimmy used to say BFF. Someone who looked almost the same as her. They acted so different. Rose carried guilt for the relationship with her sister. This guilt she didn't think she should carry alone. It was such a long time ago that the two of them had sat outside by the lake and promised to always be together. Isn't that what twins were supposed to do? Brought into this world on the same day, they'd live together forever and die the same moment. But…that had stopped. When? When they had turned ten? Twelve? When they had celebrated their fourteenth birthday separately because they had different friends? Maybe it was when Kimmy had started smoking at thirteen and a half years old.
An older (fifteen, a highschooler, how daring!) boy had thrown a party and invited the twins. They had free access to alcohol and drugs, first time that either girl had been to such a party. They'd lied and said they were going to a party at a girl friend's house, she was at the party too. Kimmy had decided that she wanted to have a little try. Rose had seen, she'd been there and she'd watched, but she never tried to stop Kimmy then, back when it was all new. Kimmy had asked if she'd wanted to try it too. But Rose had just shook her head. Kimmy had shrugged and lit up semming to have no cares for her sister anymore at all.
That was a moment. One moment that separated their lives forever. Different friends, different parties, different lives, different people. Different classes now that Kimmy was failing nearly everything. Rose finished loading up the camera with the first roll only a moment before the beginning of the parade turned the corner. Horses. The parade had begun. Rose smiled and began to click away.
Melanie Marie was in a convertible with about half of the cheerleading squad following the football player fire truck. She carried her pompoms high above her head cheering and smiling at the crowd as they drove slowly by. She had very little with her in the car except the few other cheerleaders that got the honor of riding in the parade. The 'friends' she had to have. Melanie searched the crowd for a glimpse of her mother and sister, Sarah. Sarah was along the side of the town square with another girl sorting candy. Of course Sarah was trying to get all the candy she could get her hands on. Melanie smiled. Even though Melanie carried herself with a certain posture and happy attitude she really only half enjoyed the popularity rush. It had been a long an difficult road to obtain the status of a 'popular' girl and now that she was on top the climb didn't always seem worth it. It guaranteed a spot for her on the cheer squad. And it gave her a group of 'friends' who always pretended to like each other, but always were utter bitches when they're backs were turned. Popularity came with many costs when it came to friendship.
Way back before middle school and cliques had become a reality Melanie had been best friends with a boy named Derik Jones. This was before the separation between boys and girls became a gaping chasm. They had been the friends that thought they would be together the rest of their lives. But middle school hit and they had been ripped apart almost. They had different friends now because she went for cheerleading, and he went the loner path. He was 'goth' now and didn't seem to have and friends whatsoever. Melanie frowned. Getting older wasn't what mattered. It was just how the social scene in school worked. She was popular. He wasn't. They could never be best friends again. Of course…maybe they'd get a long when school was done with? As the convertible drove up to the edge of the square she saw Derik's house and looked in the driveway remembering some of the fun they used to have.
Derik had two great things in his driveway, a basketball hoop, and enough room to set up an amazing lemonade stand. Today was a day for a lemonade stand. They had mixed the lemonade. Gathered up some change and got glasses as well. Now they were sitting together in the hot sun waiting for people to come by and buy some of their delicious lemonade.
"Melly?" Derik frowned at her.
"You know the lemonades for the customers…"
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, but we don't have any right now and it's hot and I'm thirsty." She pouted. Derik sighed.
"But we won't get to buy any candy if we don't have any money for it."
"Well…we've got the change your Mom gave us…and Mr. Mitchell bought five cups so that's um…$2.50, we're rich. We can get tons of candy with that!" Melanie's eyes lit up.
"Let's just go now. Candy now, we can sell more lemonade later when there's more people to buy."
"Okay Mel. Let's go" The kids grabbed all the change and headed off to the candy store to spend their ill-earned gains.
She looked in the window and was almost surprised to see Derik there. The window had this huge window seat that his dog used to scratch up like crazy when the two of them were outside, frantic to join them for only a little while. That dog, Melanie smiled. When the car drove by the window she smiled and gave Derik a little wave. Surprisingly, Derik actually waved back. Wide eyes. Maybe they could be friends again.
Erik watched as Rose continued took picture after picture. Now? Was now the time to ask?
Erik walked up to Rose and tapped her on the shoulder.
"Erik!" She gave him a huge smile. "What a surprise!"
"How's it going?"
"Great." She gave him another one of those smiles. "Especially good now that you're here."
"Yeah, hey I was wondering if you'd like to go to a party a few of my friends are throwing tomorrow night?"
Rose's jaw dropped. "What? I, of course! I'd love to!" She gave Erik a hug. "I've always wanted to be more than just lab partners, this is going to be so much fun!"
Erik frowned. Now that wasn't right either…Rose would act like that…but still. He had to ask her today…if at all. He sighed.
Rose's camera whirred away. Pictures now of the fire truck full of the football players, all joking around and throwing bits of candy into the crowd. The cheerleaders next with their pompoms raised high, cheering away. Seems they were having a great time up there. She took a picture of one girl looking into the crowd. Another, she'd lifted her hand without the pompom. Smile. She waved at a house they were passing by. A click for every pose.
Down the square a little, Kimmy Smith frowned as she stared at the paper in her hand. This parade was one of the worst wastes of an afternoon available. Only thing worse was a detention because those were stuck inside. Argh! She could have been out with her friends, or doing something fun. But, she was stuck going to this stupid homecoming parade to get out of just one little detention. Loophope of a rule that, get a few too many detentions and the school gives you an extra option. Attend one of those school sponsored events, like maybe a parade, get a slip signed. One detention goes poof into thin air. She looked up at the cheerleaders going by and frowned. Stupid school spirit. The things I'll do to get out of one lousy detention. She carried a small purse with her that had a few cigarettes and some money in it. She carried a lighter in the purse as well. She'd like the design so she bought it the year before, a week after her 15th birthday. It was shiny, pink, and said 'I only look sweet and innocent.' She had brought it home and set it on her dresser in the room she still shared with Rose. Their parents were so clueless. The girls never did anything together anymore. Yet, they were still forced to sleep in bunk beds in a room decorated by ten year olds who had loved pink, and flowers. Rose always talked about redecorating, but they couldn't agree on a design so it hadn't happened yet.
Kimmy had been sitting on her bed, a little spaced out, when Rose walked in and set her bag down. She noticed the lighter only a moment after she came in.
"A lighter, what'd ya think?" Kimmy snorted at her. She looked closer. Then squinted in an angry fashion once she figured out what it said.
"Kim, why'd you get this?" Rose frowned.
"Cause I thought it was cute." Kimmy shrugged at her. "And I guess because it's um..true."
"But…that's wrong, what'll Mom & Dad say if they see it?"
Kimmy rolled her eyes. "They're not gonna see it and I don't care if it's wrong."
Kimmy did a lot of things Rose considered wrong. She stared at the paper slip she needed to get signed. Ah to hell with Rose, Kimmy could do what she wanted, this was her life. Sometimes though, sometimes Kimmy missed what they had when they were little. Best friends and all that. She looked around and tried to figure out which teacher it was who was signing the forms when she caught a glimpse of Rose taking pictures galore of the homecoming court. She saw one of the teachers, the new one, he taught her science class, signing a slip for one of her friends and walked up to him. There, she'd get the form signed and the system would know that yes she had attended this stupid fucking parade. And then she could leave.
Mr. Jack Ericksen carried a pen in his pocket and an intense anger at discovering that life really was much more boring than the movies made it out to be. He stood at the edge of the town square waiting for one of the many students that had come to him with forms. He was designated the official attendance signer, or something like that, because as a new teacher he had to do whatever dirty work no one else wanted to take care of. Something about just getting out of college and into real – not student – teaching made it easier for the rest of the staff to make him do most anything. A boy came up to him.
"Hey man you gotta sign this thing right?" He held out a very tattered paper.
"Yes," Jack took the paper, pulled the pen out of his pocket, and signed it quickly.
"Thanks dude." The boy walked away.
If Jack had cared he might have told the boy to come back and get that paper signed when he wasn't stoned, but since this was only the first of many times he was sure to be doing such work, he wanted to make it go a bit faster. Next up was a girl with dark hair. He remembered her from his eighth hour class, that boy was in it too, the potheads.
"Hey, Mr. Ericksen?" She was holding the paper in her hand.
"Yeah, Kimmy, right?"
"Yeah…I've got this form thing, you've gotta sign it." She shoved it at him. Jack nodded and took it, using his pen for another quick scrawl. She snatched the paper back quickly and turned to walk away, throwing a quick 'thanks over her shoulder. Jack frowned. Really, I know that they're delinquents, but aren't they taught some manners?
It seemed like it was so many years ago that he had been so carefree. High school was full of memories that Jack really didn't like to look back on. Nerdy, lonely, and with no idea what he was going to do with his life. College now, college was amazing. Freedom to come and go from his room whenever he pleased. Staying up all hours just talking with his friends. Girls. Drinking on a school night. Parties. Then the crushing reality of life came upon graduation and getting hired at this school. Having a job was all well and good, but the boring life that came with it. Amazing and terrible.
Rose continued to take pictures, clicking away as the homecoming court passed slowly. A girl in her fakey plastic crown. Waving at the crowd smiling and throwing candy every so often. She then saw something more important. To her at least. Kimmy was just a little ways away talking to one of her teachers. She handed him a paper, which he signed and passed back and just as she turned to walk away Rose clicked. Kimmy's smile. Mr. Ericksen's frown. It'd look good in a frame. Rose felt a tap on her shoulder.
Erik had prepped himself. He was here. He was going to do it and this time it wouldn't just be his imagination. Oh God let her say yes.
"Hey Rose." She let her camera hang from the strap around her neck.
"Hey Erik, what's up?" He shrugged.
"Just the parade I guess, um…" He fumbled a bit. "Newspaper?" He pointed at the camera.
"Or yearbook…I never know what they're gonna use them for, I just take them." She looked at the camera and frowned. "Guess I need to change the film…again," She fumbled in her bag for another roll and pulled it out. "Hey, since you're here hold this." She handed him the roll of film and began to take apart the camera.
"Um…I had a question for you." He stared at the film in his hand trying to form the words properly. He didn't notice Rose just continuing to work as though she hadn't heard. "Um…Do you want to go to a party tomorrow?"
She grabbed the film from him then looked up. "What's that?"
"Oh, um tomorrow my friends are throwing a party during the homecoming dance and I was wondering if you'd like to go. I mean you don't have to be my date or whatever, just come as a friend or something that'd be cool…"
"Sure." She interrupted his little rant and shrugged, "more fun than staying at home I'll bet."
Erik was surprised. "You were gonna stay at home?"
"Didn't have a date for the dance or anything, what else was I gonna do."
"Oh." Erik smiled. Guess I really didn't need to worry about that. "Well you've got something now, I'll make sure you have fun."
"Awesome, when is it?"
"Uh…just a sec." He walked quickly back to his friends to find out. He was floating on air. She said yes!
Derik Jones turned up the speakcers on his computer even louder. He had carried himself home, brought a couple of books even. But, there was no way that he was going to some stupid parade. Sadly, he was still forced to listen to it anyway as the route when almost directly by his house. Whoever had thought up building this place so close to the square really hadn't considered the feelings of the people stuck in those houses. He set his books down next to the computer and sat down in front of it. Derik carried the burden of being one of the outcasts of the social crowd at school. There weren't many people at all who tried or even wanted to be friendly with him. Occasionally, Derik would have to remind himself that was what he wanted. That was why he dyed his hair black every month, and that was why he wore a black trench coat to school. The only way to be someone in this school was to completely blend in to one of the many cliques or to stick out like the biggest hitchhiker's thumb in the world. That was what Derik was, a thumb. He stood up and walked over to the window to watch the fire truck with the most likely doomed to lose football team drive by. Way back when they were kids and cliques were unheard of. Those were days he longed for. Life was easy. Everyone was friendly. You were all best friends. No one got teased for anything really. Then middle school, puberty, and high school hit. Everyone, separated. There were the jocks, the nerds, the druggies, the artists, the preps, and the emo. Many others contained within those as well. It was like…a little ant colony, everyone had his or her place. They had to stick with it. Never change. It was almost a joke that Derik once was best friends with the one of the biggest girl preps this school contained. Melanie Marie. Even her name was preppy. When they were kids they played around all the time. Their parents' were friends and they didn't live far from each other. Then, they grew up. Those times left. Now she was popular and had probably forgotten completely about when she had friends who weren't on the exact same footing as her. He hadn't. Now Derik had few friends at all since 'outcasts' wasn't really a very large clique. He watched after the truck as next up cam the convertible carrying cheerleaders. Melanie.
Kimmy walked away from the teacher now intending to just leave the parade and find some friends when she ran into – literally – none other than her sister. She had been unaware and taking pictures when the bump caused the camera to jump in her hand. Luckily Rose had the neck strap so the camera was safe.
"Hey sis." Kimmy said when Rose turned around to the intruder. "How's the picture taking going?"
Rose looked surprised. "Alright, how's the not doing illegal things going?"
Kimmy frowned. "Hey, I was just trying to be nice, you don't have to be all bitchy, if I wanted that I'd be talking to Mom."
"Sorry, just a little surprised to run into you." Rose fumbled her words. "Oh, um did you like the parade?"
Kimmy shrugged. "As much as you can like something that's just a detention alternative."
Rose nodded. Then a boy came up. He looked back and forth between the two girls then turned to Rose. "It's tomorrow at seven…I could pick you up if you want."
"Sure that'd be great." Rose smiled at him.
"Hey, if you want you can bring your sister too!" Erik was nervous. It'd be rude I mean…talking about it in front of her and not inviting her, right that's rude?
"Oh I'm pretty sure Rose doesn't want me to intrude." Kimmy winked at Rose who's eyebrows shot up. Maybe that was a wrong guess there. "But if you insist I can chaperone."
"Party Kimmy, it's a party tomorrow…instead of the dance." Rose explained.
"Oh…party, I like those." She smiled at Erik. He smiled back.
"Yep, invite is extended to you both." He was looking just at Rose though. "I'll call before I come by to pick you up." He walked away leaving the girls.
"That boy likes you…" Kimmy smirked. Rose shrugged.
"Yeah, he's nice." Nonchalant
"No I mean he likes you."
"Yeah…I got that…but…wait a sec, why are you being all teasing with me? We haven't done this in forever!"
"Because I'd forgotten how fun it is." Kimmy laughed at Roses indignant expression and slightly reddened face. "So can I join in on the party or is that a no from you."
"Yeah, come, it should be fun. What, wasn't the last party we went to together two…three years ago?" Kimmy frowned.
"I guess…but we'll have fun tomorrow. At the very least, I'll get to tease you some more and that's always fun." Rose had calmed down, but she was frowning again.
Derik sat on the large window seat. It was completely covered in scratches. Mom had never managed to stop the dog from destroying that thing. Dad just never got around to fixing it either. As he watched the cheerleaders pass it seemed that Melanie was looking straight at his house. What? Why? She held up her hand, without the usual pompom and waved right before the car passed his house. She was smiling, at him? He stared in surprise for a moment when he lifted his hand to wave back. Interesting, Cliques don't define high school? Who knew.