This story is written in loving memory of Micha Tyler Vandurme.
The love that I never had the fortune to love.
May you rest in peace and live on in our hearts for all of eternity.
Becoming Jezebelle Carter
"I'm a fly that's trapped in a web, but I'm thinking that my spider's dead / Lonely, lonely little life; I could kid myself in thinking that I'm fine…"
Always by Panic! At The Disco
Jezebelle looked up at the top of the trees. It took her a moment to realize she was laying on the ground, looking up. She sat up and looked around her. She was in the middle of the woods, in the middle of a dirt path. Ahead of her, she could see a bright light. Suddenly, before she knew it, Jezebelle had jumped up and was running as fast as she could toward the light. She skidded to a stop few minutes later, she skidded to a stop, almost running into a mirror.
A mirror, smack dab in the middle of the woods. Somehow, this didn't not strike her as odd. Jezebelle studied herself in the mirror. Her straight black hair was falling in sheets around her shoulders, dropping down to the middle of her back, bits of leaves and twigs sticking out here and there. Her eyes were bright green and alert, her lashes thick and dark, accentuating not only her eyes, but her olive-toned cheekbones as well. She stared at her long legs, exposed by the short cut of jean shorts she was wearing, and the white tank top she was in tatters. The only pieces of clothing she had on that wasn't in disarray was her favorite black windbreaker; her feet were bare.
"Jezebelle," a voice called, quiet at first, but it steadily grew louder. "Jezebelle … Jezebelle…!" The young girl looked to the mirror and jerked back as she saw the boy who steadily grew more solid in the crystal pane. He had dark chocolate shaggy hair that swept across his forehead and just brushed his shoulders. His golden brown eyes pleaded with her to help him. He was tall, with a darker complextion than she. He was built, and he wore a form fitting plain black T-shirt, a pair of rugged blue jeans, and a pair of clean white sneakers.
"Jezebelle," he said once more. Jezebelle did not know who the boy in the mirror was, but she felt connected to him somehow. The boy opened his mouth again, but the noise that came out was not human; it was an animal snarl. With the blink of an eye, the boy rippled, and his clothes were torn to shreds as he became a large russet brown wolf. The hairs on the wolf's back stood on end and it salivated heavily as it watched Jezebelle with piercing eyes. Jezebelle took one cautious step backward, and the wolf pounced forward, breaking the mirror.
Jezebelle turned to run, but the wolf was upon her in seconds. She stared the wolf in the eye for one eerie moment before it ripped into the flesh of her throat. A peaceful silence fell on the forest as the wolf continued its meal.
Jezebelle sat up quickly in her bed, the sheets tangled around her legs, her pillows scattered about the floor. She looked around her as to make sure the wolf had not followed her into her room. Jezebelle sighed when she realized that she was safe. She looked to her elegant shaped black alarm clock sitting on the dark polished wood night table, positioned between a picture of her entire family and a picture of her and her father, the neon green numbers jumping out at her – 3:42 in the AM. The exact time she was born. And that's when she remembered – it was March 1st, her sixteenth birthday. Jezebelle smiled to herself, forgetting the unsettling dream almost immediately. She fixed her sheets and grabbed her pillows off the floor. Then she snuggled back into her bed, getting comfortable. She closed her eyes, thinking about how school would be when she woke up for real to start her day as she drifted back into sleep.
Jezebelle was taming her wavy, just past the shoulders black hair when her mother called her into the kitchen. Jezebelle smoothed out her yellow, open backed shirt and positioned the lacy white cardigan just before taking a glance at her light-denim shorts and her white and yellow striped flats and deciding she looked absolutely perfect. Then she grabbed her hippie colored book bag before closing the white painted door to her bedroom behind her and skipped every other step on her way downstairs to attend to her mother's call.
Katy Walker stood in the pristine white kitchen behind the island, eating a plain bagel with the most miniscule portion of cream cheese slathered on top. Her natural white-blond hair was pulled back into a high pony tail, her bangs pulled back into a high fashion bump. Her skin was leaning toward the tanned too much orange side, though even though she tanned three days a week, her skin wasn't sagging, nor did it have a leathered look to it. She was tall, with high cheek bones and crystal blue eyes, and there wasn't a person more completely opposite to her than Jezebelle in the entire world.
"Good morning, Birthday Girl," she smiled, revealing perfect, whitening treated teeth. Jezebelle smiled and thanked her. Jezebelle noticed the slight distant wariness in her mother's eyes, and how her mother spoke in careful tones, but she didn't comment on it. "How's it feel to be sixteen?"
"To be honest? No different than being fifteen," Jezebelle replied. Her mother forced another smile.
"Positive? You aren't feeling sick, are you?" Jezebelle shot her mother a funny look.
"Am I supposed to feel sick?" Her mother gave a little nervous laugh.
"No, silly" she said. "It's just that when I turned sixteen, I felt like I was queen of the world," Katy told her, looking off into the distance, remembering a distant past. Katy Walker had been captain of the cheer squad, had dated the quarterback of the football team, also known as Jezebelle's dad, and had even swung valedictorian. She'd had the all-American high school experience. To most people, Katy had been, and still was, very much like a queen.
Jezebelle was only like her mother in the respect of her grades. She had pulled a 4.0 grade point average since she was in high school. Not to mention that she had never come home with anything less than an A- her entire school career, including pre-K. Jezebelle was not into cheerleading, nor any other sport. She ran the school's book club, and had recently acquired a part-time job at the local bookstore. Reading was her passion, and writing was her game: she planned to become an English major, a professor at some ritzy and smarty-pants college, and to write mysterious and inspiring sotries when she got older.
"I don't know," Jezebelle said with an almost sad smile. "Maybe it's just because so far you're the only one who's recognized my sixteen-year-old status so far." Katy smiled, all the distance and wariness melting away as she came around the white marble-topped island counter to give Jezebelle a warm hug.
"Or maybe it's because you haven't gotten the best birthday present in the world yet," Katy said, her chin resting on Jezebelle's head.
"You got my present already?" she asked, surprised. Katy gave her a knowing smile.
"I had it dropped off this morning." Jezebelle gave her mom a look of total confusion, but Katy just kept smiling. Suddenly, the bus honked from the road. Jezebelle hugged her mom around the waist.
"I love you, Mom," she said. "See you later."
"Don't freak out too much on your way out," was all her mother said. Jezebelle's brow furrowed slightly as she walked to the front door. And she almost totally lost it when she looked in the driveway. There, parked next to her mother's 1997 silver Camaro, was an emerald green 2012 Chevrolet C6 Corvette. Jezebelle nearly fell down from the force of her shriek. Kids on the giant rolling Twinkie, aka, the school bus, were pulling the windows down and sticking their heads out to get a better look. Their mouths all hung agape, even the bus driver's. Jezebelle's mother came outside and stopped next to her.
"So, what do you think?" she asked simply, a tiny smirk on her face. Jezebelle simply turned slowly to face her. Her mouth hung open for a few moments before her brain could even process how to begin to form words.
"Wha… But… How…? And… These aren't even on the market yet!" Jez stammered. "How on earth did you even get this?" Katy laughed, pleased with her daughter's reaction.
"A friend of mine with close connections to the head of Chevrolet owed me a huge, and I mean huge, favor. So this puppy is yours, pre-release, and for only half of its retail price." Jezebelle didn't even know what to think.
"Mom," she said matter-of-factly. "You're the greatest." Katy smiled, and kissed her daughter's forehead as the bus driver, who had apparently gotten over his initial shock, honked the annoying horn.
"We have an appointment to take your license test after you get home from school," Katy said, and then pushed Jezebelle toward the bus. Jezebelle smiled happily and thought how the day was honestly going to be the best one she'd ever have. What she didn't know was that, unfortunately, it would be the last good day she would have for a long time.
"A corvette? Really?" Jezebelle was sitting at lunch with her two best friends, Chapin Howard and Syrina Summers. Chapin's pale chin was nearly touching her chicken alfredo as Jezebelle told her about the lavish birthday gift from her mother.
"Yeah, I totally know! It's unbelievable, right?" Jezebelle said as she beamed at the two girls. Chapin nodded so furiously that her short blond duck-fluff hair literally bounced all about her face. Syrina threw her dark brown curls behind her shoulders with an air that said she was unimpressed.
"What about your dad?" Syrina spoke up, quirking an eyebrow up in a challenging way. Both Chapin and Jezebelle's excitement melted at the mention of Jezebelle's father. It was an unspoken rule amongst the girls that he was not to be spoken of, because Katy Walker made a big deal out of him. Jezebelle wasn't allowed to ask any questions about him whatsoever, and if she did, there was the promise of being grounded for a month per question asked.
"Why would you even bring that up?" Chapin asked, her peach colored lips drawn down in a frown. Syrina gave her a nasty look back.
"No, it's okay," Jezebelle stopped them. The last thing she wanted was a giant girl fight on her sweet sixteen. The truth was, Syrina had been acting rude towards her ever since Jayden Hamilton had started taking an interest in her, who happened to be the most popular boy in the entire Sophomore grade. Jezebelle found it was just easier to go with whatever Syrina asked rather than to make a big deal out of it; Chapin's thinking took a different direction.
"To be honest with you, Syrina," Jezebelle began. "I hadn't really thought much about him. Since my mom bans all talk of him, I didn't really even think about whether I'd hear from him or not today."
"But you're sixteen," Syrina cut in. "For my sixteenth birthday, my dad bought my car. Not my mom. My mom designed my party and everything else, but my dad gave me all the gifts. Don't you think your dad should like, pay up?" Jezebelle didn't really think so, actually. She'd had no contact whatsoever with the man: why should he show up and shower her in gifts just because she turned sixteen?
"No," Jez said, and shoved a piece of chicken in her mouth. "I really don't need him," she finished after she'd swallowed, and she glanced at Chapin, whose pale, heart-shaped face smiled at her everyway it could. Syrina's sharp features soured when she realized that she wasn't going to shake Jezebelle's mood even in the slightest, but a second later, a sly look came over her face as she caught sight of Jayden walking toward their table. Syrina pulled her low cut baby blue designer shirt down even more, than it already was. Her shirt was so low on her breasts that the edges of her size 32B, black lace bra was showing. Chapin hid her mouth from Syrina's view and mouthed the word 'slut', but Chapin didn't need to bother to hide her remark; Syrina was too focused on the blond beach boy coming their way to notice.
"Hey Jayden," Syrina purred as he came to stand in front of their table. Jayden jumped as if he'd just noticed her, and his eyes warily drifted to her cleavage.
"Hey Syrina," he coughed. "You're looking, ah… exposed?" he said, and Chapin snorted. Then Jayden turned his pretty blond head and his gorgeous deep sea blue eyes to face Jezebelle. "Jez, I just wanted to come say happy birthday," he said, dazzling her with a perfect white smile.
"Thanks, Jay," she said, returning his smile. He seemed pleased with this and then continued.
"I was also wondering if I could walk you home today. There's something I wanted to talk to you about." Syrina's drop had continually slipped with every sentence Jayden had spoken. Chapin couldn't help laughing at her, so she turned her head to face the table on her other side and let it all out. The people at the table looked at her like she'd lost her marbles.
"Sure, I'd like that," Jez said and with that, Jayden gave a little wave.
"Catch you around, Chapin!" he called over his shoulder. Chapin said up and composed herself as if nothing had happened.
"Good talking to you too, Jay!" she called back. Jezebelle laughed at their banter. It was a joke the two had started since the first time he had begun talking to the three and Chapin, who had been conversing with someone else at the time, hadn't gotten to say a word to Jayden at all, and he hadn't said anything to her, either. She had called after him that first time he had walked away "Thanks for talking to me!" He had turned around and smiled with the same joking humor.
"Thanks for talking to me, too!" he had said. Jezebelle simply smiled as she finished eating her lunch and as she thought about how good her life was. Syrina's father question hadn't affected her at all, because she really, honestly didn't need her father.
Jezebelle stood outside her sunshiny California school. Kids were milling around, heading to buses, unlocking cars, hopping onto bikes, walking with friends, or just chatting noisily in large groups before heading off to their homes. Jezebelle searched the crowds for a certain blond head. Suddenly, a pair of warm fingers pinched her sides from behind and she jumped and laughed as she turned around.
"Good afternoon, my lady," Jayden smiled with a gracious bow. Jezebelle laughed and playfully smacked Jayden's dark blue Hollister-tee-clad upper arm.
"Don't do that!" she said in mock anger. He laughed and threw his arm around her shoulders and steered her toward the sidewalk that would take them three blocks to the stoplight, and then four blocks to the left into her neighborhood, and then two more blocks to the right before they reached her house. For the first few minutes, the two were silent. Jayden didn't take his arm from around her shoulders as they walked, but he didn't say anything about what he'd wanted to talk about. She wanted to let him bring it up on his own, but the curiosity was killing her.
"So, what did you want to talk to me about?" she finally asked as they reached the stoplight. Jayden looked down on her with his chiseled features were lost in the glare of the early evening sun when she looked back up at him.
"Honestly, I just wanted to spend a little time with you on your birthday without Chapin and Syrina around," he said, and tugged her to the left before the walk symbol turned to the stop hand on the pedestrian sign.
"Oh," she said, a little disappointed. Part of her had hoped he was going to ask her out.
"Yeah, it's not that I don't like Chapin or anything, because she's great, really. And Syrina used to be okay, but lately I feel like she's trying to… I don't know, rip her clothes off in front of me. But I just really wanted to spend time with you." He smiled sheepishly, and looked down before going on. "And give you your birthday present, if you'll except it." As Jayden finished his words, they had slowed to a stop in front of the little local park.
"Of course," she smiled. Jayden smiled back and took his arm off her should and slid his hand into hers. Her heartbeat quickened as he tugged her to a shaded tree out of sight of the road. He pulled her down to sit next to him and she did so obediently.
"Close your eyes," he whispered, his breath washing over her face in a warm a cool rush. Jezebelle did, and as she did, she felt a rush of calm. Suddenly, she wasn't so excited anymore. She was pretty sure that Jayden was going to kiss her, but at that very moment, it didn't feel right. Jezebelle had never been kissed before, and she was constantly agonizing over the fact because Chapin and Syrina had already had their first kisses. Chapin always assured her that it wasn't anything special and Syrina was constantly going out with boys because she loved kissing and making out and all. And although Jezebelle just wanted to get it over with, she wanted it to be with someone special. For months now, she had thought that someone was Jayden, but now, she wasn't so sure. This whole situation felt off.
Suddenly, New Perspective by Panic! At The Disco started playing, and Jezebelle jumped and opened her eyes. Jayden was inches from her faces. He stared wide at her and she smiled apologetically.
"It's my mom," Jez explained as she looked at her phone. I'm supposed to take my license test today. Can you maybe give me my gift tomorrow?" Jayden didn't have much of a choice, because as Jezebelle asked, she had gotten up and was walking toward the road again.
"Sure," he called, but by that time, Jezebeele was already out of sight.
Please review. Your criticism in any form is highly appreciated.
But if you flame me, don't expect a thank you note. -_-