Chapter Four: It'll be okay
I would rather be a coward than brave because people hurt you when you are brave.
E.M. Forster as a small child
"Where is it?" Ten-year old Katrina feverishly searched her bed sheets in panic. "No, no, no…it can't be lost!" She was looking for her pink stuffed animal kitten—the one Aaron had given her not too long ago. It was her favourite
Katrina began searching her room again. She'd already searched it hundred times but at no avail. She didn't care. She had to find her Kitten. "Please…" she cried, tears already beginning to run down her face.
She hadn't told anyone about the loss, either. She didn't want them to think she was careless. She especially didn't want Aaron to know. He would probably be so disappointed in her.
"Oh how could I lose it?" Katrina sniffled in despair for she had yet again torn her room apart, only to remain empty-handed.
This was too much for the little girl and she crumpled to the floor sobbing quietly. The sobbing soon turned into loud crying, able to be heard from the rest of the house—including Aaron who had come over to play.
Katrina hadn't wanted anyone to know, but she was naturally weak so she did tend to lean on others. Sure enough, her crying only lasted a couple of minutes before Aaron, Kyle and Alex came running into the room.
"What's going on?" Kyle demanded worriedly.
When they saw her lying in a heap on the floor, her shoulders shaking with the waterfall of tears, they rushed to her side.
Aaron gathered Katrina up and brought her into his lap. They may had all been the same age, but Katrina was so small and they unusually bigger for their age, so they had no problem putting her in their lap.
Kyle knelt down beside them and brushed Katrina's limp red hair away from her face. He wiped the tears off her cheeks with his thumb and Alex handed her a tissue which she thanked him for.
"What's the matter?" Aaron asked her softly.
Katrina sniffled. She really didn't want to answer, because she dreaded their reactions—ones she had already envisioned in her head. But she told them anyway. "You k-know that p-pink k-kitten you gave me Aaron?" She sniffled out, diffidently.
Aaron nodded. "Yes?"
Katrina whimpered, "W-Well I-I…um…I sort of lost it!" She closed her eyes tightly, and even though she was expecting Aaron to be one of the people angry with her, she clutched his arms tightly.
Unexpectedly, Alex asked, his voice comforting, "Kitten, where did you lose your kitten?"
With Katrina's eyes still closed, she mumbled, "My room I think…"
"And when was the last time you saw the stuffed animal?" Alex asked her.
Katrina thought a little. "It was last night, before I went to bed."
Aaron held Kitten close and said reassuringly, "We're going to find that kitten, Kitten. Don't you worry a bit. With me, Alex and Kyle here to save the day, your kitten will be found in no time."
Katrina nodded into his chest, still sniffling. She was too scared to look at his face just in case he was maybe a little mad.
While Kyle and Alex searched Katrina's room, Aaron held on securely to Kitten.
After a minute, Katrina summed enough courage to ask timidly, "Are you mad at me, Aaron?"
Aaron uncoiled Katrina slightly from himself so that he could look at her. "Now why in the world would you think I'd be mad at you?"
Katrina shrugged, looking down, playing with her button. "I dunno…I thought because you gave me the kitten, you'd be mad that I was so forgetful since I lost it." She didn't want to cry, but she couldn't help sniffling a little again.
"Oh Kitten! Is that one of the reasons you're crying?"
Aaron took Katrina's chin and made eye contact with her. "I need you to listen to me Kitten."
Aaron paused. "I would never ever be mad at you for making a mistake—especially something like this. You didn't lose your kitten on purpose. It was an accident. I'm definitely not mad at you. I can always buy you another one anyway." He added quietly—so quietly that he was sure Kitten would not catch it— "And besides, I could never be mad at you."
"No you can't!" Katrina insisted. "This one's special. You won it for me at the Fair."
Aaron nodded, "You're right—it is special, but I can win you another one. And anyway, I don't think you lost it."
"I did," Katrina insisted. "You think someone s-stole it?" Stealing was bad!
"No…" Kyle said from behind Katrina and she realised that Aaron was looking behind her, smiling at something.
"We found it!" Alex said excitedly.
Katrina turned around, joy and happiness spreading throughout her body. There, in the hands of Kyle, was her perfect, fluffy pink kitten.
Katrina jumped up and took the kitten from Kyle's hand, hugging it tightly to herself. "I missed you so much!" She murmured to the stuffed animal.
Kyle laughed. "We found her! See Kitten, nothing to worry about."
"Yeah," Katrina agreed, smiling at her brothers and cousin. "Thank you."
"No problem," Aaron said, ruffling her hair and kissing the top of her head.
"Now let's get some chocolate peppermint ice cream."
"Okay," Katrina agreed still holding her stuffed animal. She let Aaron take her hand and followed Kyle and Alex out of the room. For Katrina did love chocolate peppermint ice cream.
"Pretty please with sugar on top?"
"Pretty please with sugar AND chocolate peppermint ice cream on top?"
"Aw come on Kitten, it won't be that bad!" Kyle whined.
"No." I was not going to the party. There was no way they could make me. I hated parties with the loud music blaring songs that were anything but 'Classical' rock. I hated alcohol and dancing so what was the point of going to one?
"But Kitten, it just won't be the same without you!" Mina cried, throwing her hands in the air, looking crushed that I wasn't going. However I could see the devious look in her eyes.
"Yes it will," I said curtly. "My presence never makes a different."
"But it will this time," Kyle induced.
I furrowed my eyebrows, "How?"
"Well—um—" Kyle seemed to be searching for an answer, proving that what he'd said was untrue. "It just will!" He said at last.
"Okay," I said, returning to my book as we were currently in study hall at the moment. It was Friday and of course the night of the first big party. Anyone who was anyone was invited which meant that the school was filled with excitement. You could almost feel it everywhere you went, and seeing it was most definitely not a problem. The cheerleaders were actually being nice to everyone today.
"Does that mean 'yes you'll go'?" Mina asked me hopefully.
"No, it means no," I informed her, turning the page of my book.
"Put the book down and listen to us Kitten," Kyle demanded.
I sighed and lowered my novel. "I don't want to go. I hate parties and you know that. They scare me. I'm always afraid something's going to happen to me there."
Kyle bobbed his head up and down, grinning, "Which is exactly why we're saying you have to go."
I was confused. "Eh?"
"You have to conquer you're fear—and we're going to help you do it!" Mina told me proudly.
"But—I don't want to go!" I insisted.
Kyle shook his head. "Kitten, you have to learn how to live. You're always in your room. I know for a fact that you're not happy there all alone. We want you to have a life."
I was sort of touched that they were concerned for me. I debated this and eventually my appreciation won. "Fine," I sighed in defeat.
"Yay!" Kyle and Mina jumped up and started dancing. They attracted some other faces in the library—but I wouldn't blame them. Mina The Ice Queen of the school was dancing with Kyle, the Most Popular Boy in Eleventh Grade. Need I be any clearer?
"Kitten's going to the party!" Mina sang loudly.
"Okay! I know, you don't have to celebrate, it's not a big deal," I hissed, blushing in embarrassment.
"Kitten dearest, in your case it is," Kyle drawled. Then he bounded over to Mina and gave her hug. "We did it!" He sang out.
"I know," she said happily. And then, suddenly realising that she was wrapped in the arms of a boy she immediately broke the hug, her face turning from extreme white to pink to red (it was a little amusing to watch actually). "What do you think you're doing?" She demanded, her eyes wide.
Kyle grinned, "Hugging you?"
But before Mina could retort back, a new voice joined our trio.
"Excuse me! Just what do you think you students are doing?" Ms. Fells asked us in a strict, disapproving tone.
"Oh I'm so sorry Ms. Fells," Kyle said in an unusually proper voice—smiling charmingly at her, "we were just extremely excited about the subject matter we were discussing. It was Macbeth, you know. Gotta love that ol' murdered Macbeth! I mean God, he just loved blood!—What was it now…oh yes, 'I am in blood, stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er.'"
Ms. Fells raised an eyebrow at him (she wasn't the only one), and then as if debating whether or not to question that, she just sniffed and said, "Please remember to be quiet next time a passage of Shakespeare excites you to such drastic measures."
When she was safely at a distance, Mina snickered. "Macbeth?"
"What's wrong with that?" Kyle asked defensively.
"Oh nothing…I just never knew you actually read it last year…let alone know it well enough to actually recite a quote from it. Kitten told me she had to give you a crash course two days before the exam."
"Kitten!" Kyle looked accusingly at me, "I told you to keep that a secret."
"Sorry," I said apologetically.
Kyle stared at us helplessly, knowing he'd already been found out. "I did read it. Just not last year."
"Well when did you read it then?" Mina asked curiously.
"Yes," I raised my eyebrow, "just when did you?"
Kyle blushed slightly—still managing to keep his confident demeanour, "In the summer."
I immediately put the pieces together, and it suddenly came to me. "Because you found out that it was Mina's favourite book! You wanted to see what was so good about it that would make Mina would memorize most of it!"
Kyle looked at me oddly, "How'd you know that?" Then he turned red when he realised what he'd just admitted.
"I don't know," I mumbled truthfully. But it fell on deaf ears as I was ignored. Mina's jaw had dropped slightly as she looked at Kyle.
"So you read it because…because…" she trailed away uncertainly.
Kyle stood up, "I-er-I gotta go." He took his bag and then flew out of the study hall, earning another disapproving glare from Ms. Fells.
I shook my head, and turned back to my book knowing that Mina would be in her own world for a while.
I really didn't want to go to the party, but it turned from a slight dread to a nervous dread by the end of the day. I was nervous and scared and I never liked to feel that way. To make matters worse, Olivia got so excited when Mina and Kyle told her that I was going to the party, that she insisted that she give me a 'makeover'.
"Kitten doesn't need a makeover!" Alex exclaimed aghast when we told him why Olivia had come home with us.
"You idiot, I don't mean a makeover!" Olivia corrected pointedly, "I mean a makeover."
Alex stared dumbly at her. "I fail to see the difference."
"That's because you're a boy," she deadpanned.
"What the fu—"
Olivia smacked his arm, "Language! We have younger viewer audiences present."
When Alex looked at her like she had gone insane, she motioned towards me. "I don't know about you, but I'm not one to want to take away her innocence."
I decided to play along and smiled naively at them, blinking. "What are you guys talking about?"
Alex laughed, "Kitten, you don't even need to play the innocent part. You already are."
I nodded agreeing, "You're right."
"Which is all the more reason to give her a makeover!" Olivia reasoned excitedly, hugging me.
Alex mumbled things under his breath that I didn't quite catch.
"What was that?" Olivia asked him sweetly. When he didn't answer she grinned, "I'll take that as a 'Yes you can transform my baby sister!'" She took my arm and steered me towards my bedroom, Mina following suit.
Alex stood there for about a second before yelling, "Wait! When you put it that way—"
But Olivia had already shut my door and locked it. Turning to me and Mina, she leaned against the door. "Now that we've got the big brothers out of the way, we can finally get to work."
"And what exactly are you planning to do to me?" I asked her suspiciously.
"Yes," Mina eyed her, "just what are your plans?"
"Oh, you'll see," she sang out.
Mina and I shared a glance. Olivia usually got like this when someone (like me) willingly volunteered to become her guinea pig. It didn't bother me much that she was about to test on me, because I knew that she wouldn't do too much harm to me.
Olivia sat me down on the toilet seat and then told Mina to get a bunch of stuff out of her bag. I was surprised that Mina knew what Olivia was talking about (since it sounded like she was speaking another language to me) and when I voiced this, Mina explained to me, "I use some of this stuff everyday."
"Really?" I asked curiously as Olivia began doing something to my hair.
"Yup," she picked up something that looked like a pencil crayon and another bottle. "This black eyeliner and black mascara I wear everyday."
I pointed to the pencil crayon. "That looks cool. Are you going to draw on my face?"
Mina and Olivia shared a look that clearly meant I had asked something I should have known.
"Now Kitty, if you had asked that to anyone but Mina and I…" Olivia shuddered, "I don't like to think what they would do to you."
"Why?" I couldn't help it that I didn't know makeup terms. I never used it so it was obvious that I wouldn't know what the products were called.
Mina shook her head, obviously amused by my innocence. "Kitten, it's called eyeliner. We're not going to draw on your face; we're going to outline your eyes."
"Ohh…" That made sense.
Many outlined eyes and outfits later, it was finally seven and time for the party. I didn't think it would even take us two hours to get ready but I was wrong. I was really hungry by the time we were finished getting ready that I had lost some of my previous nervousness. I wanted to get the initial entrance over with and eat something because I was really starving!
Olivia, seeing my face a little pale from hunger, mistook it for anxiety. She put a hand on my small shoulder. "Don't worry Kitty. You don't have anything to worry about anyway. You'll be the hottest little thing that ever hit this party."
I decide not to tell her my real reason, and raised my eyebrow, "I'm not sure that I would call myself hot…"
"Yeah, you're more of the cute type," Mina mused agreeing with me. She looked me over and I felt as though I were meat on display. She turned to Olivia. "Definitely cutest one at the party."
I reddened, "What are you talking about? I'm not really as good looking as you guys are." I felt it true. Mina—although had that scary bad girl look about her—definitely knew how to make black look good. With her creamy white skin and long raven hair, she always looked beautiful. Especially tonight. Her raven hair was slightly curled and fell past her shoulders, down her back. She had outlined her eyes as usual but she had also added a new touch to her face. She had put on red lipstick—only it looked like there was ruby red fruit juice spilled on her lips and it complimented the black and whiteness about her, enormously. She was wearing a short black mini-skirt, black tank top and fishnet leggings.
Olivia was another one to talk about. I couldn't even begin to explain how she could make an entrance in a room—especially tonight. Her blond hair was also slightly curly and she wore a beautiful cerulean dress to match her eyes.
But even with my friends who were so pretty, I did not let it bother me. They cared about me and that was all that mattered.
"One day," Mina sighed, "one day you'll look in the mirror and realise that you are simply telling yourself a lie."
"Maybe," I said, unconvinced, "but I don't dwell on that. I have you guys and that's all that matters to me. It doesn't matter how I look, I'm just glad that you guys care so much about me."
I had been looking down, and when I looked back up at my best friends, I found Olivia sniffling and Mina tearing up. "Aw!" They tackled me into a hug and honestly, tried to suffocate me by squeezing me like I was a teddy bear.
"Guys!" I gasped. "I…can't…breathe…"
"We know," Mina cried happily.
But Olivia and her released me and beamed proudly as though I was their daughter.
No words needed to be said after that because we all understood that our friendship was incredibly precious. I knew then as I would always know that our friendship would never be broken.
"Well, time to rock this house!" Olivia exclaimed, raising a fist into the air.
"Right with you," Mina opened the door. I could already hear the loud music. I gulped and nodded, following them into the hallway and to the entrance hall.
One thing to always note about high school parties: every single rumour you've ever heard about them…is completely true.
I hadn't really been to a party in a long time and I had forgotten how wild and scary they can look. When me, Mina and Olivia had exited the hallway and began walking down the stairs, I was already feeling like I might faint. There were so many people! I wondered if my brothers had invited the whole school. It would seem like it, since I knew that there were more people in the actually dance hall, more in the kitchen and probably some in the bedrooms already—although this information I had been told by other people.
My brothers and cousins caught sight of me and my friends as we stepped in the entrance way.
"Yo Mina! Kitten! Olivia! Over here!" It was Kyle, although I was a little unsure since I couldn't really see him through the masses of people.
I squeezed through a bunch of people—Mina and Olivia following my actions—until I stumbled and almost crashed into Aaron.
"Whoa-watch where you're—Oh. My. God—"
I had straightened up and faced him as he finished his sentence. I eyed him, confused as to why he was staring at me like that. "What?"
It was then that I noticed my brothers staring at me as well.
I felt my face. "Is there something wrong? Do I have something on my face?" I asked nervously.
"No-nothing wrong," Aaron said in a strange voice.
Kyle was able to snap of out his temporary shock first. "But there's definitely something on your face! Who did this to you?"
Olivia—who had come up behind me—put her hands on her hips. "Geez! You're making it sound like we beat her up or something."
"Well you basically did!"
"No we didn't," Mina said monotonously. "You can clearly see that we helped her."
"What, by taking away her innocence?!" Kyle yelled aggravated.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Mina practically shrieked—her temper beginning to flare, causing people around us to look on curiously. "Why the hell would Olivia and I even think of doing that?" She looked so enraged that Kyle even cowered under her. "All we did was dust some light blush on her face—no we didn't put foundation since she doesn't even need it! And then we just put outliner and eye shadow on her! And you call that taking away her innocence? What kind of—arggh!"
I honestly did not know that Mina could ever get so…riled up.
Kyle was speechless.
"But look, her dress is way too short!" Aaron found to the voice to protest.
"Um, I'm right here," I spoke up tentatively.
Olivia patted my arm, "I know. Why these animals are talking about you in third person is beyond me." She turned back to Aaron. "For your information—actually maybe Kitty can tell you, since she's actually right here! Unlike you failed to acknowledge!"
"Tell us what?" Aaron asked indignantly.
I stared at Aaron and my brothers as boldly as I could. "Olivia gave me a choice of dresses and I picked this one!" I said, trying to make them see my side of. "Because it has flowers on it!" I motioned to the front of my dress. It was a white cotton dress with straps and light pink flowers were drawn in lacy all over it.
I must have sounded so childlike because Aaron looked quite embarrassed as did Kyle and even Alex, although he hadn't said anything—it was probably because he had been thinking of saying something along the lines of what Kyle had said. "I'm er, sorry Kitten." Aaron apologized.
"Yeah," agreed Kyle. "We didn't realise that the dress had flowers on it and you would have picked it. It's actually a really pretty dress…not too short or anything."
I smiled. "Thanks." I didn't even see what the problem was. The dress went to my knees! I was a far cry from the cheerleaders.
But then Mina's favourite heavy metal song came on and she left. Kyle left with her, claiming he wanted to dance to his favourite song too (although I'm pretty certain that he'd never heard the song in his life). And Olivia caught some of her other dancer friends and went to talk to them. So it was just me, Alex and Aaron.
By now we had moved into the dance hall, near the kitchen. It was then that Alex decided he'd go hang with some other people (I had a suspicion one of them was a dancer that I knew…) so me and Aaron were left.
There was a slightly awkward silence before Aaron broke it. "Are you hungry?"
I hadn't even noticed it, but my stomach was now grumbling loudly. "My stomach says yes," I laughed.
He smiled. "Okay, you stay right here and I'll go get us something from the kitchen."
I nodded and it wasn't until he had blended with the crowd that I realised I would left standing all alone.
I felt embarrassed. I though I really must look like a loser, standing here by myself. I fiddled with my hands and stared intently at my wrist for a while, pretending that there was a watch on it and it was the most important thing in the world at that moment.
"Y'know, I've been standing here for a quite a while but I'm still confused about what is so important about your wrist."
I nearly jumped out of my skin at the voice (it had been said right into my ear!!). I quickly turned around to face none other than the boy—Devon I think—who had been there when I fainted.
"Um—you scared me."
"Sorry." He smiled at me. "You look familiar, you know that?"
I had been thinking, since that day I'd met him, that I'd also known him from somewhere. "Yeah…have we met before?"
He shrugged, "I don't know. You're Katrina, right?"
I nodded. "But everyone calls me Kitten."
"Even your parents?"
I giggled. "I know it's weird, but yeah they do too."
He chuckled, "No, I think it's cute. You're like a kitten, you know? So adorable."
I blushed furiously. "Eh? Uh thanks," I mumbled.
He bent down slightly. "You look very sexy in that dress…"
He was scaring me a little and I fidgeted under his unreadable gaze. I was a bit scared since I didn't know him that well and he was saying these weird things to me. "Um—oh."
He came forward and in reflex I stepped back. But we continued this dance until I could take no more steps back since I was at the wall.
He was staring at me in an odd way.
"Um—Devon, you're scaring me." I knew my eyes were pleading right now. They did that when I got scared.
He opened and closed his mouth, as though he wanted to say something but couldn't.
Suddenly he confused me very much by backing away. He looked a little uncertain, "I'm sorry, but I can't—I won't—" He turned, ran and disappeared into the crowd and I was once again left standing alone.
But not for long.
"Man those stupid kids think they rule the party!" Aaron had come back with some food and was grumbling. "Can you believe they actually tried to trip me? Me the—" He suddenly stopped as he caught sight of me. He dropped the food on the nearest table and grabbed my hand. "Kitten what's wrong?"
"What do you mean?"
Aaron regarded me with concern. "You're all pale and shaky. Did something happen?" He asked in a hard voice.
"No," I thought I'd tell him the truth, "someone just scared me. They were telling me things like 'You're hot' and 'you're sexy'." I was going to continue on to tell him that it was the new boy, but Aaron was fuming and cut in.
"It's those stupid football players, isn't it? They think they're all that don't they! How could they hit on you like that? Why don't they just stay with their stupid cheerleaders?"
The look on his face was so murderous that I didn't think Devon deserved to become Aaron's punching bag. He really didn't do anything wrong—it was more of an odd exchange. What went on was so weird, but I almost felt as though I met him before. No, it was probably just that he looked like him. And I definitely knew that Devon wasn't him because he would have never been that nice to me.
Putting my thoughts aside, I smiled up at Aaron. "It's okay though, Aaron, because you came and they saw you coming so they left. I really just want to have a good time."
Aaron's face softened and he reached over and gave me the food. "You're right Kitten, I'm sorry."
"It's okay." And somehow I knew that for the time being, it would be.
"I thought you said you were going to get her to like you!"
"I did!" He hissed darkly at his leader. "Did you see anything that went on back there? Or were you to busy picking up those sluts?"
The leader shoved him roughly. "That's none of your business. What concerns me is what just happened back there."
"Nothing!" He said exasperatedly. "Nothing."
"It didn't seem like nothing," the leader said, angrily.
"Well it was," he said firmly, desperately trying to appear confident in his words, although completely disagreeing with himself.
A/N: I hope you like this chapter! Kitten would be really happy if you reviewed...