I started this a while back so I apologize in advance for the bad quality but it's practice and I'm improving. This is double-perspective (like Shiver, if you've ever read that by Maggie Stiefvater). It's basically first-person perspective but it changes characters every few chapters or so. I wrote it like this out of convenience since I didn't plan on publishing it or sharing it but here it is. The first Chapter starts off with Alana's perspective and changes to her brother's a while later. Please enjoy and feel free to correct me on grammar, spelling, or facts (like inaccuracies and such). Thank you ^u^
CHAPTER 1 (Alana)
Her soft ivory skin is flawless. Her eyebrows, perfect. Her hair is a long and silky light brown. Her light green doll-like eyes and long lashes automatically put a halo over her head. Her full rosebud lips are naturally a soft and flirty pink. She's slender and beautiful with long legs and perfect nails. On top of it all, this girl has a very likeable personality.
Her name is Ashley Hutchinson. Everyone calls her Ashley or Angel. All the girls seem to envy her and the guys seem infatuated, but she never dates anyone. She's been asked out plenty of times and she isn't too incredibly shy, but she says her dad is very protective of her. I've seen her dad. He is very protective.
She's in all of my classes except for study hall. We're both juniors but she's a few months younger than me. I rarely ever speak with her, but she sits next to me in Biology.
So maybe you're thinking this girl is really perfect. Maybe you're imagining her perfectly as I've described her. She's entirely desirable whether you want to date her or carry her in your pocket. Even girls sometimes develop crushes on her, but why am I describing her to you? I hate Ashley Hutchinson.
I might have led you in the wrong direction so let me clarify some things. My name is Alana O'Brian. Everyone calls me Alana. I'm a junior at Strikes Academy, a private school for the upper class children of Amywood. This school used to be an all-girls school but ten years ago, it was converted into a coed academy. It's not a boarding school, just a private one.
The experience comes complete with uniforms and sex-segregated classes. This is only in the classroom, though. Boys and girls are allowed to mingle freely in the halls as long as they follow all the rules…the ones they enforce anyway.
At Strikes, I'm not much of anyone important. To others, I seem like a loner but I have friends. They just aren't that close with me. I guess I am a bit of a loner but I don't mind. If I can roam the halls freely during lunch hours because I don't have to wait on friends or hang out in the classrooms talking, so be it.
I'm not anything like Ashley who is like a cute princess to everyone. My hair is medium length and dark brown. My eyes are plain with short lashes and dark green irises. My legs aren't exceptionally long or sexy or even cute. My lips are thin and naturally devoid of noticeable pigments. My skin is okay but probably not near as soft as hers and that's on a day I'm trying to be perfect.
So know you might be starting to understand me a little better. I'm mature enough to say it too, or at least think it. The main reason I hate Ashley Hutchinson…I'm jealous.
There is one thing, however, that I have and Ashley doesn't. I'm a size 38D-cup bra size. She must be some kind of A-cup. Still, that's all I have over her and there are girls at my school with similar breast sizes. She still wins at every other turn.
I've never brought it up with anyone because I knew what they'd tell me. The Angel was just born like that. She can't help looking beautiful. It's not that she's wearing a lot of makeup. She's just…a natural beauty, unlike me.
I hope she doesn't know I don't like her. Even if I can't stand a girl like her, I want to stay on her good side. This girl, coincidentally, is the sister of the guy I've had a crush on for as long as I can remember.
Salem Hutchinson, nickname Sal but he's only called that by a few people for teasing. Ashley has called him Bubby several times in the hallway. She always has her head turned to the side in a cutesy way. Salem doesn't seem bothered by it but he gets embarrassed when people tease him about it. He's cute when he blushes.
What cruel world do I live in? These people that are at opposite sides of the spectrum in my opinion are related? Why and how is that possible?
It's because they're both beautiful people. Even for a guy, Salem is kind of pretty. He has the same light brown hair as his sister only a lot shorter, maybe two inches long. He's taller than her but not too much. He's just an inch or so taller than me. His lips always look soft and have a pink, reddish tint to them. His eyes are deep, and lashes, long. Most of all, I've seen him shirtless during PE from the roof once. He has killer abs!
Today is just another day of school, a Tuesday, actually. It's lunch time and I'm sitting in my usual spot…alone on the roof. Heavy breezes constantly roll through and at some point, I just give up on eating my sandwich. I set it down in the plastic box and pull my knees up to my chest, tucking the bottom of my skirt up between my legs in case someone suddenly bursts through the door, not that anyone would be looking for me.
I eventually get tired of sitting and rise to my feet, dressed in simple black converse. I'm glad we're allowed to wear our own shoes and accessories, even though I'm not really pretty enough for anything too flashy. I also gave up wearing a lot of makeup a long time ago. Now the most I wear is some mascara or gloss.
I do, however, always wear my favorite blue butterfly pin in my hair to hold back my bangs. Since our skirts are gray plaid and our shirts are white, anything matches. Our school colors are gray and gold but there were complaints from a lot of girls that gold didn't suit any of them. We ended up with colorless uniforms. I don't mind. I think they look cute.
My skirt stops just two and a half inches above my knee, half an inch longer than the minimum. A lot of girls' skirts are different lengths ranging from below the knee to just at three inches, sometimes shorter. Ashley's skirt is known for being exactly three inches above the knee. Hall monitors say that's their reason for keeping their eyes on her, but they're really just perverts getting an eyeful. Ashley doesn't seem to mind either way.
We both started attending this school in ninth grade, both coming from different middle schools. I'd already had a crush on Salem from baseball games. I was ecstatic to find out we were going to the same school, utterly dumbfounded when I found out they were related.
In the beginning, Ashley was really shy. She would always smile shyly and people would lose their words. I only became more annoyed. Other girls did their best to make the most of her, recommending different accessories, asking what moisturizer she used, styling her hair different ways…she was an instant hit.
Now not a day goes by where something is out of place, be it her three-inch-high pleated skirt, the thick black ribbon tied into a bow in the back around her neck, or her signature gray flats with bows on the outer toes. Every day, her hair is somehow differently styled. The thing that pisses me off the most, everything about her is natural.
I wince at the pain in my hand and realize I've been squeezing my fingers through the fence. My skin got pinched in a twist. I pull the resulting cut up to my mouth to suck on. I look back through the fence to see if anybody in the courtyard had heard me. They aren't too far away but I figure since I can't make out any words from below, they can't hear me either.
I turn back around and slide down to sit again. It's not like people don't know about this place. They just never come up here because of the old ghost story about a girl who committed suicide on the roof. If they'd read the actual report, they'd realize she didn't die on the roof. She died when she hit the concrete in the courtyard, yet they eat and chat carefree down there.
I sit on my knees and peer back over the wall through the fence. From here, I can see Salem's table. He always sits with the guys from his gym class and his close friends. Even from here, I can make out his features. He's so handsome.
Of course, his looks aren't the only reason I like him. He's…a really nice guy, too. A long time ago at a middle school baseball game, my school was playing against Salem's old school. After we won the game, everyone from our side started cheering and I got knocked down in the commotion.
A hand reached down to me and I took it without even looking. Salem pulled me up to my feet and brushed the dirt of my shoulders and head. I was dazed. This amazingly cute guy who just lost a baseball game to us helped me to my feet when no one else would?
"You should know the first thing you do when your team wins is run into open space." He'd smiled.
I couldn't say anything but nodded. He looked a bit embarrassed like someone who realizes their joke might not have been as funny as they thought it was. I didn't have the words to explain to him my gratitude for the gesture before his friends pulled him away.
I'd seen him a few times after that, just around. Then I started my freshman year here and there he was, standing in line at orientation. He didn't recognize me, though.
Still, I see his kindness in a lot of things he does. He opens doors for girls without staring at their butts as they walk in. He helps teachers with organizing classrooms or cleaning. I've seen him help out different clubs when they were shorthanded, even. He's a really good guy, and I've definitely fallen head over heels for him, hard.
"LANA!" someone shouts.
I look away from Salem's table with a blush to search for the voice. It's one of my friends, Lacy. When I see her, she waves we down. I sigh deeply and bend down to pick up my things before heading through the door and down the stairs. I go from the roof to the second floor to the first floor before finally arriving in the court yard. I'm nearly invisible to everybody as I walk through.
"Hey, Lana, tell Amanda her skirt is too long." Lacy tells me once I reach her table.
I glance at Amanda whose skirt just reaches her knee. It's what teachers would prefer but it's not very flattering, especially since Amanda has good legs. Still, I'm kind of annoyed I came down for that.
"This is what you wanted?" I ask Lacy.
"Well look, even your skirt is two and a half inches up. Hers is zero. It's so unfeminine." Lacy says. "She should be more like Angel."
I nearly want to slap her. She always uses her as reference without knowing how it makes me feel.
"If everybody were like Ashley, she wouldn't be as special." I say rather than complain. "Amanda too. She has timid charm. There's nothing wrong with wanting a longer skirt, feminine or not."
"Thanks Alana." Amanda smiles with a blush.
"Besides, she's following rules." I go on. "Lacy, you're skirt is too short. You're going to nagged at by the hall monitors again."
"Yeah, yeah." She says while waving me off. "Let 'em nag. I have long thighs. It's not fair. Amanda has killer thighs. She should rock it."
"They're not that great." Amanda says, still blushing.
"Amanda," another voice says.
I already recognize the gentle voice. It makes my blood simmer a bit. Ashley taps over in her mousy gray flats and flops onto the table beside Amanda who is really blushing now.
"You should do what's comfortable." Ashley says. "If it's a hot day, wear it shorter and show off your legs but if it's cold and you wear it short, you might come off as too fashion oriented. For a day like this, maybe two inches high would be good."
"…that's a really good idea." Amanda nods with wide eyes like nobody has ever thought of it.
I could have come up with the exact same advice. Why was Ashley listening in anyway? She's not friends with Lacy or Amanda. She looks to me suddenly and I feel a bit startled but don't show it.
"I like your hair pin." She says.
She hops off the table and walks away before I can respond. Is she being snooty? Did she just figuratively stick her nose up at me? I know it's a cheap piece of metal to anyone else but I made it myself. I was very proud of it.
I do my best to ignore it but it really ticks me off. I wish I had some way to insult her without her knowing. The problem is that everyone knows she's genuine. She doesn't even try to show off. She was just born this way. Maybe she really did like my pin.
"Hey, we're still going shopping after school, right?" I ask Lacy and Amanda.
"Yeah." Lacy says. "…let me guess where you need to go."
"The strap broke on my favorite one." I say with an embarrassed smile.
"Yeah right." She sighs. "You cut them just so you can show off to us. Well guess what? I'm a 34B now."
"What? Drinking a lot of milk?" Amanda laughs.
"Ham." Lacy whispers. "…and soymilk."
"Ham and soymilk?" I ask. "I eat neither of those things."
"Good." She says. "It's in your genes already."
"I wish adoption meant getting the family's genes." Amanda nods.
"Yes." Lacy agrees. "But how could I get adopted into both of your families?"
"Wouldn't you just get adopted to Ashley's?" I ask.
"Well that doesn't solve the whole size issue, now does it?"
"Hey, she'll hear you." Amanda whispers.
"She's too busy fighting off approaching suitors." Lacy says in an old English accent.
I look back with Amanda. The three of us watch along with several other tables of girls and some guys as in the distance under a cluster of oak trees, (the school's prided garden), a senior boy is talking to Ashley. He seems to be talking kind of rapidly but I can't hear.
I turn back around. It's rude to eavesdrop. Besides, why should I care if a guy is talking to her? It happens all the time. She always rejects them.
"Is that your brother?" Amanda asks while tapping my shoulder.
My eyes widen and I look back again. I look closer and realize she's right. It's my brother who's talking to Ashley under the oak trees in the garden. What is he thinking?!
"So he has a crush on her too?" one of the guys at a nearby table laughs.
"Poor Mason." Lacy sighs with a badly suppressed smile.
"Hey Salem, someone's hitting on your little sister again." Someone says as they walk past us.
I look over as Salem looks in the garden's direction. I also glance over. I'm shocked to find Ashley smiling. That's a weird reaction if she's rejecting him…but what if she's not?
But if she marries Mason, I won't be able to marry Salem, right? Or it will at least be weird. Why did you have to have a crush on Ashley?!
"He's not hitting on her." I hear Salem's voice say.
Everyone now does double takes between him and his sister.
"She borrowed some duct tape this morning." Salem tells his friends with his back still turned to everyone, unaware that we're listening. "She's returning it."
"Why doesn't your sister have a boyfriend?" one of his friends asks, one also with his back to everyone.
"Because she's too young." Salem says easily. "Besides, nobody is good enough at this age."
Several people seem either amused or annoyed by his words. The annoyed ones are obviously crushing fans of Ashley's. I look back over to where my brother was before but now only Ashley remains. My brother is just returning to his group of friends with a roll of duct tape awkwardly held in his hand.
"That was close." Lacy sighs. "I thought we'd have to buy him ice cream or something."
"That's tradition with girls." I tell her.
"He likes cookie dough, right?" she says thoughtfully while ignoring me.
I roll my eyes and glance back at Ashley again. She stays over by the trees and eventually disappears around the trunk of one, probably to sit in the shade. The early September air is pleasantly warm with slight breezes. The leaves on the trees are just starting to turn yellow. I find myself wondering what she's thinking but shake it off and try to eat my sandwich again.
After school, Mason tells me he's crashing at a friend's place, again. I shrug it off, wondering why he even bothered to tell me. He and my parents are always out, hardly ever home. I don't mind. I like being alone.
My brother is actually quite popular at our school and is even captain of the baseball team. He was the reason I was at that baseball game that time Salem helped me. I've been mildly and silently thankful for that much at least. Salem doesn't know, though.
I'm sure he's picked up on it but the sad thing is that my brother doesn't even find the time to tease me about things like crushes or hanging out with friends. He's always busy. Mom's always busy. Dad's always busy. They all love me, so I've been told. I feel strangely lucky yet pitiful sometimes. I almost live for the silence in my house.
Lacy, Amanda, and I ride the subway further into town to the big shopping area, The Summit, where cars aren't allowed to drive through. It's like a big outdoor mall with second levels and the works. It's a nice place of stylish stores all framed around a huge and fantastic fountain at the center.
It used to have a statue of a mermaid blowing water into the air but people kept drawing dots on her boobs. Now there's a lion on its hind legs with water streaming from its mane. Now people draw worse things between its legs.
"They're washing it again." Amanda sighs as we're passing the fountain.
"Some people are so immature." I say.
"I think they were asking for it." Lacy says. "They should have left the mermaid."
"So where to first?" I ask.
"Yogurt Shop." Amanda grins as she heads in the direction of Yogurt shop, a shop with, you guessed it, frozen yogurt.
I put together my usual strawberry cheesecake swirl with graham crackers and we head back out with our frozen treats. We sit on the edge of the fountain to eat, still wearing our uniforms. Lacy has unbuttoned her shirt to the undershirt beneath it. She's kind of the wild child. Amanda is a lot more sensible but often too shy. Am I the balance?
"So I heard Salem got a baseball scholarship." Lacy says.
"What?" I say, nearly choking on my yogurt. "But they haven't even played this year."
"He apparently got it last year and only told people about it this year. Gossip leaks so slowly with his friends, but it does eventually get out." She says.
"He's going to KJU, right?" I ask.
"It's a full ride if he keeps his grades up."
"Why does a Hutchinson need a scholarship?" Amanda asks confusedly. "He could buy his way into college like half the school."
"But imagine how much mad money you get if you have a full ride." Lacy says. "He won't be on a carb-loaded diet."
"I'm more happy about the baseball scholarship thing." I say. "That means they really want him. He was only a junior when they gave him the scholarship."
"Don't be too happy. He's not your husband yet." Lacy laughs.
I shove her in the arm while she keeps laughing. I finish my yogurt and throw away the paper bowl before walking away with Amanda. Lacy rushes to keep up, scarfing down a few more spoons before tossing her half-finished yogurt in the trash.
"That's why you should stop talking so much." I sigh as we're walking into Victoria's Secret.
We're immediately stopped by Lacy's arm. I look over at her so she'll move but she pushes my head down along with Amanda's. We're forced to duck to the floor and crawl while she herds us with hisses of silence.
"What is it?" I hiss at her once we're crouched behind a counter where silk undies and bras are laid out.
"He's here." Lacy whispers and moves my head to look over the counter.
I look straight ahead and see nothing but a store that's nearly empty except for two women employees, the ones that never seem to leave this place. She keeps my head in place and I almost slap her to make her let go but then I see him. He has a magazine pulled in front of his face but he's wearing our school's gray pant, white shirt, and gray vest uniform. His build is all too familiar.
"Oh, it's Salem." Amanda says too loudly.
Now I cover her mouth and Lacy lets go of my head. Salem doesn't look in our direction but keeps the magazine up. It's a sports magazine of all things. What is he doing in a women's underwear store?!
"You said you wanted to go out to eat." He says.
"We are going out to eat but it's only five." Another, all too familiar voice says.
Ashley steps into view with full focus on the underwear in front of her. Hip huggers? Of course she'd be into hip huggers. She's Angel for crying out loud.
"Why do I have to come to places like this with you? Can't I wait outside?" Salem asks.
"It's lonely if someone's not here." Ashley says seriously.
"Well…it just makes me nervous. I look like a total perv standing in here."
"You look like a nervous wreck, actually."
"Why can't you buy this stuff from another store? Maybe one with a men's side so I won't feel like a creep?" he asks.
"These are the ones I was looking for." Ashley says as she traces a pair on the table.
"Then buy them and let's get out of here."
"But…I don't know if I can really wear them. They won't look good on me."
She's seriously like this all the time? She stares up at the posters of the models in sexy bras and panties. She looks sad. So even Ashley Hutchinson has somebody to feel inferior to?
"Stop coming here." Salem says, finally getting the courage to lower the sports magazine a bit. "You're always upset when you leave and you never buy anything…you shouldn't beat yourself up like this."
"You're such a good brother." Ashley says and hugs him around the waist.
I'm hit with a cold and bitter wave of jealousy. Even if it's because they're siblings, the fact that they can hug like that, it really makes me feel evil.
"But I am buying something today." Ashley says looking a bit more cheerful. "These."
She holds up a pair of white super soft cotton hip huggers with white lace and two very small black bows at the hips. My face pales. Salem's face flushes and he covers it with the magazine again.
"Let's just pay for it and get out of here." He mumbles.
"Okay." Ashley smiles.
Lacy yanks me under the counter and I hit my head but stay quiet as they walk to the purchase counter. Ashley is handed her small pink bag and she leaves with a smile while Salem's face matches the bag.
One of the girls' shoes tap in front of us from the side of the table. She lifts the cloth hanging down to find us three huddled together. She gestures for us to leave.
We stand and brush our knees off but my body feels funny. I blush because I know why. Of all the stores, why this one? Of all the items, why those specific hip huggers?
"Aren't those the same underwear you have?" Amanda asks me.
"Cute, you and Angel match panties." Lacy grins. "I'll have to tell the guys. They'll be trying to lift her skirt all day tomorrow."
I don't respond. I'm wearing them right now. I have to burn them now. She's going to wear them a lot better than me…but I think I do have better hips than her. Maybe it's not a bad thing. Maybe it's like when I shop for bras. She'll never beat me there.
I just remain silent as we go on with our shopping. I never did find a replacement for my favorite bra. I can only hope that Ashley won't wear those panties tomorrow.