But the canyon's ever-widening,
In the depths of her cold heart.
I'd done the best I could with my hair. Even though it was still damp, I'd managed to pull the tangled mess up into a clip. I was sure to lock the door when I came out into the cold, windy morning. Instead of taking the steps, I jumped over the slick railing of our porch and landed firmly onto the untouched snow that had accumulated beside the trailer.
I waked up our drive, which was covered with fresh tire tracks. The drive was long, but that was just because it stretched all the way through the entire trailer park. On the left, and the right of me trailers and tiny houses with sunken in roofs stood in the snow. They all looked dark and lonely.
When I made it all the way down the driveway, I stepped out onto the thin strip of road. Nobody could really call it a road anymore; piece of crappy asphalt with to many potholes to count was more like it.
It was mostly just walls of bare trees on either side of the road until you got into town. The only houses out here other then the trailer park were run down shacks that drug-addicts used to store all of their supplies. I often walked that road alone, just for something to do when Logan was out and the indoors became to stifling. It was much easier to think in the security of the trees surrounding me, instead of being at home. At least out here, I could think without hearing my father stumble around the house, grumbling to himself. I didn't have to listen to pop after pop of each can of beer as he fed his never-ending hunger for alcohol.
Most people would find the endless trees frightening, like there isn't another living soul for miles. I wasn't really scared of anything out here. A little ways down the path, there was a lake. Right now, the water was frozen over, but during the summer, I used to go down and sit by the edge and kick my feet in the murky water. It was very peaceful down there, with nothing but the sounds of the birds and the wind through the trees. It was the only place I had felt comfortable since we'd moved to this part of town. But those carefree days seemed like so long ago. Now, I would trade anything to be back on the lake side where nothing could hurt me.
But I wasn't that lucky.
I let my mind run free, thinking about random things while I walked. What was I going to write my English report on? I had read so many books, it wouldn't be hard to pick one. I wondered if I would have time to stop by the library after school and get a few new books... maybe I could write a book report for extra credit... I really needed to ask my teacher if she could tutor me in Math... Soon, I just stopped thinking all together and let my mind concentrate on the rhythm of my shoes thudding against the concrete.
About a half a mile walked down the road, I caught the first sight of life. The trees started to thin, and small buildings sprang up in front of , there were just small shops and houses. There was a tiny, square barber shop, and even a vet. The shop with no sign had big glass windows, where one could see racks of clothing underneath the bright lights. Slowly, the foundations got bigger and closer together. People dressed in coats and boots ran along the sidewalks and into the warm shops for shelter from the snow. Others drove slowly through the iced streets on their way to work. I was the only person walking, because I was in no hurry to get to school. I was pretty sure I still had a few minutes to spare. I took my familiar route, cutting through abandoned lots, crossing the streets, and weaving in and out of the cars parked at the many establishments that surrounded me.
My school was the small building constructed of faded gray bricks that was nestled in the in the middle of out town. When I reached it, I carefully walked up the snow-covered steps, shoving my way through the glass doors. The warmth of the room was a relief to my numb cheeks.
I dusted a few flakes from my hair and stepped further into the building.
...So she sets out on another misadventure just to find,
Everyone was talking, laughing, and joining their groups to talk about their plans for the weekend. I kept my eyes on the floor as I went straight to my locker. I stepped up to the beaten metal door with faded gray paint and started putting in my combination. I realized that my jacket was falling down my wrist slightly, and I tugged the fabric back into place.
Even though I'd dressed in many, many layers of clothing, somehow, I felt like someone could still see through the shields of cloth and see the signs of my depression carved into my skin. Very few people ever looked my way, but those that did stared. Those people- almost all of them prissy females, who were friends of my sister- would watch my every move like a cat watching a mouse. I felt like they were waiting for me to slip up, waiting for the moment when they could catch me doing something embarrassing so they could pounce and spread it to the whole school. I guess being ignored completely was the lesser of two evils.
It seemed I only had one ally in this war: Logan Jackson. She was my only friend and was just as messed up as I am. She wasn't as invisible as me- not popular, but not completely a loser. Logan was the girl you saw with short skirts and tight blouses whose arms were always hanging over some other girl's boyfriend. She was... slightly more friendly with the opposite sex than I think most girls our age. I on the other hand, was the girl who hadn't been attracted to boys since elementary school. But somehow Logan and I found each other during out first week of the tenth grade. We both wandered outside behind the gym on that warm August morning. When we met, I was a little intimidated by the pretty girl. After all, every single pretty girl I've ever been around treated my like crap.
I was crying when I had stepped outside, and to my surprise, Logan asked me what was wrong. I told her that my sister was a bitch. She laughed and offered me a cigarette. When I accepted it, she'd patted my shoulder and told me to cheer up. We were friends from then on. I was an outcast, but she introduced me to her small group of... other friendly girls However, I seemed to be an exception to their kindness. None of them were excepting as Logan had been. They gave me rude looks, turned their noses up at me, and often whispered to each other behind their hands. I didn't know exactly why they hated me. I guess because I wasn't as pretty as them, or that they felt I was intruding in their own little group of friends.
When I didn't want to go home and when Logan had nowhere else to be, she and I enjoyed each other's company. I got pleasure from those long afternoons with her. We smoked cigarettes and talked. Talked about anything and everything. Logan told me about her life, about how she lived with her grandmother because her parents died when she was four. She talked about her older brothers, who were all grown up now. They left the house, so it was just her and her sickly 'Nana,' as she would call her. I told her about my sister, and how my father drank all of the time. We both seemed to give and take strength from each other and it felt good to tell someone you trusted about your problems. Even if it didn't cure them, it still gave you a little more strength to face them. But Logan still didn't know about the cutting... I prayed that she didn't find out. I didn't want her to think I was a freak. I didn't think I could take loosing my only friend.
We didn't have any classes together, so I was pretty much alone except for lunch and after school. But, being by myself also left me a lot of time to think- to think about the cuts I was hiding underneath my clothes, and about the fact that my only person to fall back on wasn't in any condition to try and give advice.
Martha, on the other hand, had a lot of friends. Loads of them- maybe not real friends, but people who would just love to get a kind word from her. They followed her around like eager puppies, hanging on to her every movement and sentence. It was truly sickening.
I retrieved my books and left my locker to head for my first class. I walked down the hall, past the lockers and classrooms. On my way, I caught sight of a group of people standing beside the girl's bathroom. My stomach tightened uncomfortably. I saw that the group of people were surrounding Martha and congratulating her on her "big day." Oh, did I mention that today was my sister's birthday too? Yea, she already had everything she could ever want- beauty, intelligence, friends- why shouldn't she claim my date of birth too? She was eighteen- finally, able to be considered a legal adult. She'd told me that I'd been born premature, and that Dad had to rush Mom to the hospital to save me. It was just pure chance that I'd been born on the same day as her.
Her face was glowing as she took in her admirers. Her arms were overflowing with roses and birthday cards. She even received a giant stuffed teddy bear, so big that its feet dangled on the floor. Derek- her current boyfriend- stood beside her with his arm looped around her waist, and his lips at her ear. Derek, to be blunt, was completely and utterly gorgeous. His hair was soft, shiny and brown. His eyes were just as dark and just as beautiful. But, he had one downfall... he was dating my sister. Martha's hands constantly touched him- her fingers brushing his hair, the way she clung to his arm, held his hand- were like big signs that said, 'HE'S MINE BACK OFF!' So, no girl had ever dared mess with Derek. If they did, they'd have to face my sister. Nobody had the courage to do that. Especially not me.
Yes, I liked Derek King. But that was just another thing that I was unable to voice. We were part of two different circles of people- circles that under no circumstances would ever meet. That only made the fact that I liked him more depressing. But you know what they say; "You can't help who you fall in love with." But even if he didn't like me- and let's be honest, never would- he could still do so much better than my sister! She was cold, and controlling and rude, and... ugh, just horrible. But this was how our lives worked; Martha had everything that I could never possess.
Knowing this, I pulled my eyes away from Derek and continued to walk. Martha's blue eyes locked on my retreat. Oh crap, she'd seen me looking at him! I froze on the spot, like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. Her lips pulled back over her teeth in an evil smile. I stared at her with horrified, pleading eyes, begging her not to say anything.
My teeth automatically clenched together. For a moment, I let myself wish that lighting would strike her where she stood. That much at least, should be allowed on my birthday.
Apparently not. No lightning shot out of the sky. She turned to Derek and moved his shaggy hair aside so she could whisper in his ear. I didn't have to hear what she said. The way Derek's eyes suddenly flashed to me and the way his mouth dropped opened, I knew it was something horrible.
I didn't want to hear it. I knew what was going to happen next and I didn't want to hear it. Panicked, I forced my legs to move and sprinted towards the classroom, but it was too late. A roar of laughter broke out behind me.
I dashed into my first class. The lights were off in room 105 and the door had been unlocked. There was not a single soul in the classroom, and for that I was grateful. Most of the teachers didn't come in the classroom until a few minutes after class started, and apparently the students were taking their time getting here. I shut the door and fell back against it, clutching my books to my chest as hard as I could. Angry tears sprang to my eyes. I gritted my teeth and rubbed my fist to my eye to wipe the wetness away. I didn't have time for a break down right now.
The nasally warning bell sounded, backing up my thoughts. I took several deep breathes and walked over to my seat in the very back of the classroom. Students began rushing in to take their seats. Nobody looked at me. Nobody even saw that I was there. I watched all of their smiling faces and wished for even a moment to be like them; happy and with someone by my side all the time
I put my face down in my elbows and wished with all my might that tomorrow would just hurry up and get here.
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind
"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!" The song broke out loud and off key as I entered the large, crowded room after the second lunch bell. Along with the singing, I heard many of my fellow schoolmates chatting casually while they ate. The bright lights gave me a headache, and it was as cold inside as it was outside. Everyone was wearing one or more sweaters or jackets while they huddle around the big, tables.
Little Logan stood beside our regular table- the one nobody liked to sit at because it was right by the doors and the trashcans. She was holding... what was that? It took me a moment, but I realized that it was one of those chocolate cupcakes you could get out of the vending machine outside. A small orange flame lit the top of the blue candle, which was neatly placed on top of the choclate icing.
The chattering students looked up and stared at her like she had three legs and six arms. Logan's short, straight white-blond hair, that had been dyed to many times, fell around her gorgeous pale face. She often wore too much eyeliner around her big, light blue eyes, but she was still so [remove so] beautiful. It made me wonder why she even hung out with me. She was wearing too tight jeans, a beautiful blue tank top and her favorite blue jean jacket with a big pink heart sewn into the back. Her short hair bounced up and down as she jumped.
I laughed slightly at the sight of her dancing around and singing, and felt my pale cheeks turn scarlet. "Happy birthday dear Lilly. Happy birthday to you!" she sang and threw her free arm up. When the song was done, she put the cupcake down on the smooth brown table top and danced over to me.
Since I only stood 5'7 and Logan barely reached 5 foot tall, she wrapped her arms around my waist instead of my shoulders. "Happy birthday!" she said as she squeezed me.
I didn't hug her back. She knew how I felt about that type of touching, but it was my birthday so I shouldn't ruin her attempts to make it great. "Thanks, Logan. You shouldn't have," I said. She released me from her grip and then skipped back to the table and grabbed the cupcake.
"Here," she said, turning towards me. "Make a wish and blow out your candle. And hurry before the teacher sees me and takes me to the principle office. Apparently the people here frown on open flames in school." She held the treat in front of my face, smiling with her straight teeth.
I shook my head in amazement and took the small token of love from her and held it in my hands. "Thank you so much," I said sincerely.
Logan snorted and shoved her hands into her windbreaker. "It cost fifty cents, Lil. I just wish you would let me get you a present."
I shook my head. "No presents," I insisted again. "This is perfect."
I lowered my gaze on the tiny flame. It danced around as my steady breath attacked it. I thought about all of the things I could wish for. Martha actually being nice to me. My Dad to stop drinking. A huge house with lots of friends. To be happy... Nothing ever seemed right in my life, and I knew that a birthday wish would never change that. So I settled for something simple.
I wish... that I'll find someone who cares about me no matter what. No matter how I look, no matter what I've done. Someone who can look past the little cuts on my arms. Not someone like Logan, who was just as broken as me. But someone good. Someone who I could talk to about anything.
I took a deep breath and blew out the small candle. I knew my wish wouldn't come true, but hey, a girl could dream couldn't she?
Logan clapped her hands excitedly and jumped up and down like an eager child.
Smiling at each other, we walked to our table and sat down. She pulled up a chair right beside me and leaned in towards me. "So? How does it feel to finally be sixteen?"
"I feel the same," I said quietly.
"Really? When I turned sixteen I felt old, more...more..." She lifted her chin and flipped her short hair dramatically. "Sophisticated." Then, her serious face cracked and she disolved into giggles.
"You, sophisticated?" I said lightly.
"Like that's ever gonna happen," she agreed. She calmed herself with a few deep breathes. Logan was always such a happy person- always laughing and dancing and being fun.
Then, she opened her fork... spoon thingy and napkin to eat the food on the tray in front of her. I looked around the empty table and frowned. "Hey, where's everybody?"
I saw the flash of annoyance that shot across her face. Then, she maintained her expression and smiled at me. "Um... they weren't hungry."
Sighing, I picked at a a tiny hole in the knee of my jeans. "So they didn't want to see me?" I already knew the answer to that. Raven, Ariel, and April- the cough-hoes-cough- didn't like me at all. If they didn't have to be around me, they weren't. But Logan, being her stubborn self, had talked to them repeatedly about being nice to me. They'd eased up a bit, but only when Logan was around.
"Yea, pretty much," Logan muttered. Then, her smile became big and happy and I could tell she was forcing her voice to be bright. She punched my shoulder lightly. "But hey, it's their loss. We'll just hang out later tonight. Want to come to my house? Maybe go to a movie?"
"Sure," I muttered. I stared at the chocolate cupcake on the table, and suddenly, I had lost my appetite. Just thinking about today's plans for my birthday made me feel sick to my stomach. I'd never liked my birthday- just another reason for Martha to get things I didn't. Plus, I had to deal with Logan trying to perk me up.
"You gotta eat it, Lil."
Kinda like that. I had never been one to like sweet things, but I would do it for Logan
I sighed and picked a piece of the sticky icing off of the cupcake and popped it into my mouth. "Happy?" I asked around the too sweet treat that I was having a hard time not spitting out into the napkin that was sitting beside her tray. It stuck to the roof of my mouth and I forced myself not to gag. I smiled at her, but it felt like a grimace.
"You hate it!" she accused in a whiny voice.
"No, I love it!" I said quickly, and put another piece in my mouth. It wasn't so bad the second time. Not good, but not so bad. She narrowed her eyes at me and turned away. I sighed, and swallowed loudly. I really should try to be nicer to Logan. I decided to change the subject. "Um... what do you want to see tonight?" I asked, looking at her again.
She shrugged, clearly not in the party mood anymore. I felt bad that I had ruined her mood. If I had to suffer, why did my friend have to too? If I hadn't been studying Logan's face so closely, I might not have seen the expression that crossed her face a few seconds later. It was like a light bulb had gone on over her little blond head. Her face brightened, and her eyes widened the tiniest bit. Then, she smiled as she threw her trash onto her half empty tray. "Actually, I think I've got to go," she said.
"Where?" I asked curiously.
"Um, just somewhere," she said evasively. "Happy birthday, Lilly!" she said over her shoulder as she stood. She barely paused to toss her paper tray into the trash can as she passed. I turned in my chair and stared at her as she began to fast-walk towards the doors on the other side of the cafeteria.
That was... odd. Even for Logan. I turned back right in my seat and put my face in my chin. The lonlieness creeped up on me again. This wasn't good. I felt much, much better around Logan, more normal. The friendly banter going on around the room only intensified the feelings.
I averted my eyes from the table where I new Martha and her friends sat every day. Instead, I looked at my barely eaten present. On the bright side, at least I wouldn't have to finish it.
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
If Lilly thought that she was going to get away with a fifty cent birthday present that she didn't even like, then she had another thing coming. Logan couldn't help but look over her shoulder as she exited the cafeteria, just to make sure that she wasn't being followed. When the coast was cleared, she made her way down the empty hallway until she came to the doorway that led outside. On one side of the walkway, there was the brick wall of the building, and on the other, there was a smaller brick wall just tall enough to jump up on. There, Derek King hung out every day at lunch to make out with Martha and listen to his friends gloat about how awesome they were. Uh, shallow much?
She shoved her way through the door just as the cold wind ripped it's way through. Shivering, she zipped up her jacket and began walking through the crowd of people. It wasn't hard to find Derek. He was sitting on the low wall to the right with a very beautiful Martha sitting on his lap, kissing his neck.
Okay, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Logan went and stood in front of him with her hands on her curvy hips. "Umm, excuse me?"
Derek looked up and smirked. "What do you want, Logan?" Martha unlatched her lips from Derek's skin and gave Logan a hateful sneer. Logan glared right back. Unlike Lilly, Logan was not afraid of Martha. If that girl tried to boss her around like she did Lilly, she would be going home with a black eye and Logan's size five shoe so far up her butt she wouldn't see it for a week.
So, instead of starting a fight, Logan ignored her and stared straight at Derek. Logan could see why Lilly had a crush on him- he was really attractive. His hair was dark and soft, and his eyes were warm. He was nicely built. If only he didn't have the leech stuck to his side all of the time. Seriously, didn't he get tired of the clingy freak? "Where's your brother?" she asked bluntly.
Derek gave her a look like she might have lost her mind. "Who? Max?"
"Yes you idiot, Max."
Derek shrugged, "Why do you need him?"
She smirked. "That's for me to know, and for you to find out."
Derek leaned forward and smiled. "Well, then where he's at, is for me to know and for you to find out."
Sighing, Logan glared at him. "If you must know, I need a favor from him."
He threw his head back and laughed. Martha gave her a bitchy look. "Why don't you go get one of your other little friends-if that's what you call them, to do you a favor and leave Max alone." She made little quotes around the word "friends" with one hand.
Logan puffed up like an angry rooster and took a step forward. "Take that back, bitch."
"I have more friends than you!"
"I doubt it!"
"Are we seriously doing this?"
"What are you gonna do Tiny Tim?"
"Okay, okay!" Derek said and looped arm around Martha's shoulders, like he was trying to keep her back. "Max is in the weight room. Coach is making him work out so that he could be ready for the game."
Logan smiled sweetly at him. "Thank you, Derek." As she left, she threw the finger over her shoulder at Martha, hoping she was looking. She gave a smile as she heard the sound of laughter and Martha whining about letting stupid girls talk trash to her. Logan kept a steady pace as she walked around the sidewalk towards the gym.
When she reached the boy's weight room, she hesitated at the closed door. She really disliked Max, and didn't want to ask him for any favors. But then she remembered that it was for Lilly, so she took a breath, gathered her dignity, and stepped inside.
The weight room was empty except for Max King. He was wearing nothing but gym shorts, and his bare chest was covered in sweat. He was bench pressing huge weights . Max wasn't hugely muscled, but he had a strong chest and a flast stomach. His shoulders and arms were nicely build, but not in the scary body building type of way. He was breathing hard as his arms went up and down. She saw him mouthing the numbers to himself each time he completed one. Then, she realized that she was staring at him, and quickly shook herself. When she knocked lightly on the doorway, Max looked up.
"Oh, hey!" he grunted. His face was flushed, and his shaggy brown hair was matted to his forehead with sweat.
"Hey," she said softly. The metal clanged together as Max replaced the bar in the holder and scooted down on the bench. He laid there for a few seconds, staring up at the tiled ceiling while he tried to catch his breath. After a few seconds, he sat up.
"What are you doing in here?"
Logan hated the way that Max could still make her blush. She took a step inside the room that smelled like dirty gym socks and rubber. She began running her thin fingers over one of the many exercising machines that were crowded into the small room. She wasn't ready to come out and ask Max, so she decided to small talk for a little while to kind of loosen him up. "Are you sure you should be handling that much weight?" she asked, and gestured to the bar he'd just been lifting.
"I can handle it."
"I didn't say you couldn't, I just wanted to know if it was safe."
"Yeah. Don't athletes, like, sometimes work themselves so hard they end up hurting themselves?"
He laughed and got up from his place and grabbed a big white towel off of the nearest machine. While he dabbed at his face and chest, he said, "You know I've never been one to do that."
"Yea, I guess not," she said nervously.
Max studied her for a few seconds, and then said, "Well, you didn't come back here to talk to me about my health. Speaking of which, how'd you even know I was back here?"
She looked around to keep from meeting his eyes. "Um, Derek told me."
He scoffed, "You talked to Derek?" She nodded. His face turned thoughful. "Huh, it must be important then. Which brings me back to, 'what do you want'?"
While they were talking, they had both been inching across the white floor towards each other. She hadn't realized she'd been doing it, so it shocked Logan when she was staring into his massive chest just a few inches from her. She looked up at his face, and for the thousandth time in his life, she wished that she was taller. "Um... it's complicated."
"Bad complicated?" he asked, his voice going soft and worried.
"No. Just complicated."
"So tell me."
She sighed and looked at the floor. Once again, she reminded herself that she was doing this for her best friend's birthday. She looked up again, and figured that it would be best if she just went ahead and came out with it. "I actually need a favor."
Surprise registered on his face. Then, that cocky smile that she knew so well came over his features.
"What happened to little Ms. 'I don't need anything from you'?" he asked. His voice was husky and he was still breathing a little hard.
"Actually," she said, "It's for my friend Lilly."
"You don't know her. She's really shy and stuff, but anyway, I needed a favor to ask you and I knew that you would be easier to convince than your brother."
When she was done, she took a deep cleansing breath and waited for the rejection. Well, at least she had tried. Lilly probably wouldn't like what she had in mind anyway, but-
"So... what's the favor?" Max repeated.
Logan did a double take. "What? You're serious? You'll listen?"
He smiled her favorite smile. "Sure, why not, Pumpkin."
"I'm not your pumkin anymore, Max."
"Old habbits die hard."
"Huh." She tried to sound uninterested as she turned her hide to hide her blush. She took a deep breath. This felt like making a deal with the devil, and she prayed that it wouldn't backfire. She chewed her bottom lip nervously. "Well..."
Okay, this is the second draft of Chapter Three. :D Really all I did was put two chapters together. There's not really any major changes though. Hope you enjoy it.
If you want to look at the cover and character pics or see the video that inspired this story, then go to my profile and follow the links.
Agent Frappiccino is my fabulous beta for this story. :D If you're looking for a good story go read hers.
PM me any time of you want to talk or comment on one of the chapters.
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I like music. HAHAHAHAH!