“I walk into the halls with my head up high. This year was going to be better, I thought. I was driven out of my school in California. It was all because of me falling in love with Daphie. I loved her from the moment I saw her, but she didn’t love me back.”
I run to the gates with my cheerleading skirt swaying and my blonde ponytail bouncing around. Alexia and Alison hug me as I pant.
“Happy birthday Alex!” I gasp, as she laughs.
“Thanks. I am having a big party! It is tonight and I am inviting the whole cheer squad. My place, 12. Be there, or else.” Alex laughs as she skips off to find her boyfriend. I forgot his name because it is her fifth boyfriend this week so I lost track.
* * *
I do the rest of my homework and I slip on a dress. My tan skin glows as I rush over to Alex’s house. Alex is at the door, greeting me.
“Welcome to the biggest party of 2009 in Newton, Arizona!” she says with a drink in her hand.
“Is that wine?” I shout over the music.
“Maybe…come on! We are 18! Let’s live it up!” Alex sighs and I laugh. She is right–I need to live it up!
As I dance with Gracey and Em, the door creaks open. Alison comes in with her long, brown hair in a bun. Her red lipstick stands out brightly against her hot cocoa skin. She looks so beautiful. I stare like a madwoman. I fall in love with her instantly.
I walk into the halls with my head up high. This year was going to be better, I thought. I was driven out of my school in California. It was all because of me falling in love with Daphie. I loved her from the moment I saw her, but she didn’t love me back.
I told my best friend about me liking her, and she looked at me and ran away. The next day the whole school was buzzing about it, so I moved to my aunt’s place in Newton. Then my parents moved, and we got this big house up in the suburbs.
I walk around the school and I sigh. I am hopeless. I can’t find my way around a two-story school and I am doomed with my sense of direction.
Suddenly, a girl comes around the corner. She has very fair skin. Her blonde hair falls just below her shoulders. I can’t fall in love again. I can’t.
“Hey. You look lost,” she says with a smile on her face. By the look of her outfit, she’s a cheerleader. “Hello?” she asks again.
“Oh, yes. I am lost, I am looking for Mr. Jason’s class. Do you know where it is?” I ask, lifting my shoulders up like a magnet is pulling them.
“Hey! That’s my class! I can show you the way. My name is Alexandra, but people call me Alex. What’s yours?” she asks as she starts to walk. I run up next to her and she laughs.
“My name is Charlotte, but people call me Charlie. I am new,” I say casually. I really want to burst out jumping and screaming, “Yay!” but I don’t.
“I can see! I heard you are from California, right?”
“Yes, I lived in Hollywood. My aunt is a director and my uncle is an actor,” I say, strutting like I’ve made an achievement.
“Oh, famous family, I see. Well, meet us at lunch today, you seem nice. I can introduce you to my friends.”
“See you at lunch!” I say, running into my class.
“Alison…” I say, at a loss of words.
“What? Have I got something on my face?” she says, confused.
I want to say, “You look beautiful,” but instead I say, “Um…never mind.” I praise myself silently for not saying that out loud.
But what happened next changed my life forever.
A girl enters the room with short, blonde hair above her shoulders. She wears a pink dress and a black purse was swung over her shoulders.
“Hey Alex! Why is there a party here? You know Aunt Kathy said no people are allowed over,” the girl shouts over to Alex.
“Okay Daphie, I will end the party…” She laughs and runs away. The girl rolls her eyes. “Mom doesn’t care, Daphie. I have parties all the time,” Alex says as she goes to her boyfriend.
Daphie… Daphie. There are a million people named Daphie, right? I close my eyes and pray as I feel someone gently tap my shoulder.
“Charlie? Is that you?” I turn around to see Daphie. I sigh and smile. I nod my head slowly.
“Hi!” I say, forcing a smile. I turn to meet Ali’s eyes. “Oh um…I think my friend needs help with…her food! Yeah her food! Bye!” I run over to Ali and she laughs.
“In a mad rush, I see.”
“Tell me about it!”
We laugh some more and she gasps.
“I am so tired…” she says.
“You drank so much Ali, I think I’ll drive you home.” I lead her by the hand into the front seat of my car. The rain is making my hair feel heavy on my head. She starts to giggle uncontrollably. Yeah, she for sure had too much to drink. The car suddenly comes to a stop. Ugh. Flat tire.
Ali looks at me as I sigh. She leans in and her lips land on mine. I push her away and a tear trickles down my cheek.
“I can’t, Ali. I just can’t.” I run out of the car and I sigh. I run home and I cry. I cry myself to sleep because she reminds me too much of Daphie. I go to sleep that night dreaming of them.
Four months later …
It is a beautiful night as the wind sprays softly against the leaves. The leaves dance to the howling of the wind.
“Okay, truth or dare?” Ali asks me with a smirk.
“Truth.” I respond, lifting my shoulders.
“Okay, who is your crush?” she asks with a big smile.
I can’t say her. She would hate me. “Um, Kevin,” I say, anxious.
“My brother?” she asks with confusion in her eyes. Suddenly, that smirk turns into a smile.
One week later…
Hey! Meet me at The White Lily. It is on 5th ave. Dress nice :). Xoxo Ali
I put on a blue strapless dress and I walk out the door.
Waiting there is Ali and her brother Kevin. Oh god.
“Ali…” I stutter.
“Thank me later. You know he likes you too. You are so lucky!” She laughs and runs away.
Ali is so annoying. I hate her sometimes.
The date was horrible, but I went on a second one, otherwise Ali would get suspicious. And I went on a third one and a fourth one until we were actually dating. I was with someone I disliked. Good for me.
Nine years later…
“Honey, I am home!” Kevin shouts as he puts his jacket on the hook.
I hold Rosa in my arms. She has black hair and dark skin. I adopted her one year ago when she was one month old. Her mother died in Africa at her birth. My beautiful Rosa.
I twist my diamond ring as he plants a kiss on my cheek. I smile as I hand him Rosa.
“Where is Emma?” Kevin asks, shrugging his shoulders. I laugh.
“In her room doing homework.” I smile. Emma is seven years old. We also adopted her since I am infertile because of a surgery when I was 16.
Two years later …
“29-year-old Charlotte Reynolds today committed suicide at 12:32 pm. Her suicide note only said this: ‘Love is a path everyone should follow.’ It is a sad death that everyone should mourn. It will be a mystery why.”
A picture of a girl with blonde hair and tan skin appears, smiling with her grey eyes.
“We will all gather at the park to mourn her death. She was loved by many.”
Alison Reynolds cried with her brother. Only she knew why Charlie died. She loved Charlie with all her heart. She was her one and only true love. Only now did she realize Charlie loved her back…