Authors: Taylor Henderson
Lena shrugged her shoulders. “Probably with that blonde bimbo Brianna.”
I smiled and nodded my head in appreciation as I said, “I see what you did there; alliteration.”
“I didn’t even do that on purpose. I’m just that good,” she responded, laughing a bit.
The sound of a door opening and closing met my ears, followed by the sound of footsteps. In a matter of seconds, a tall middle aged man with graying brown hair turned the corner. When he saw Lena and I, he pulled his thin lips back into a smile, causing his eyes to crinkle as he did so. In his hands was a large dish. “Hey girls!” he said as he neared the table. “Lena, would you mind placing one of the cooling racks in the middle of the table for me?”
“Sure.” Lena stood from the table and grabbed one of the cooling racks from the end of the table, moving it to the middle before sitting again.
Mr. Snotty placed the dish down on the cooling rack and sighed. “I’ll grab a few plates and silverware, and be right back!” he chirped happily.
Mr. Snotty made two more trips to the kitchen, refusing help whenever Lena and I offered. The first time he went to the kitchen, he came back with plates, utensils, and napkins. The second time he went to the kitchen, he returned carrying a tray of four glasses filled with ice water. He placed the fourth glass of water at the empty spot across from Lena, before he finally sat down at the head of the table.
The smell of the food in front of me was mouthwatering. Mr. Snotty grabbed a huge serving spoon and began piling up everyone’s plate with lasagna; including the plate that sat across from Lena. When he passed me my plate, I made sure to thank him for the food. I said a quick prayer before scooping up a forkful of the meaty, cheesy lasagna. The cheese was so deliciously gooey that a string of cheese stretched from my plate as I lifted my fork up to mouth, chewing it hungrily. I hadn’t even realized how hungry I was until just now.
From the head of the table, Mr. Snotty smiled over at me. “How does it taste?”
“Like heaven,” I chirped, shoveling in another bite.
Lena turned her head toward me, smirking slightly before she proceeded to talk with her mouth full. “It tastes like my room?”
I laughed, nearly choking on the food that was in my mouth. I reached for my water, lifted it to my parted lips, and washed the food down my throat.
Mr. Snotty looked at his daughter, shaking his head with a smile on his face still. “When do you plan on cleaning that room, young lady?”
Lena regarded her dad for a moment. “When pigs fly,” she answered after a moment of thought before taking another bite of her lasagna.
“So, if Violet ever gets on a plane, you’ll clean your room?” I tilted my head up in surprise as Ella trudged into the room with a smirk on her face. She hung her tote bag on the back of her chair before she sat down.
“That wasn’t funny, Gabriella,” scolded her father.
Ella picked up her fork, cutting a neat square into the food on her plate and taking a slow bite. “I thought it was,” she said once she had finished chewing.
“That’s enough, Gabriella,” he said sternly. Turning to Lena and I, he added, “How was school today?”
Lena shook her empty fork as she said, “It was hilarious. These skanks that think they run the school tried doing everything they possibly could to get on my nerves, but it didn’t work. I just used big words knowing that their brains are too small to comprehend what I was saying, and they eventually left me alone.”
I thought that Mr. Snotty was going to reprimand Lena for saying “skanks”, but all he did was chuckle and say, “That’s my girl. Don’t let anything get to you. Like I always say,” he was about to continue, but he was cut off by Lena and Ella.
“Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words may never hurt you,” they chorused.
“Exactly,” he said, taking a large bite of food.
“My dad used to say that all the time,” I said, smiling.
Mr. Snotty nodded his head. “Your dad must be a wise man. Like I always say; great minds think alike.”
Ella pushed her food around on her plate, eating a few more bites, guzzling down her water, and excusing herself from the table before anyone else had even come close to finishing. A few minutes after she left, a buzzing noise filled the room. Lena dropped her fork on her almost empty plate and pulled Ella’s cell phone from her pocket. Glancing at the screen, she clicked on a few buttons before her eyes grew wide and she dropped the phone to the table.
Her dad stared at her quizzically for a moment before saying, “No phones at the table, Lena. Whoever it is can wait.”
Lena glanced at me as she snatched the phone off of the table and clicked a few more buttons before closing it.
“Thank you,” her dad praised as she tucked the phone back into her pocket.
I stared at Lena with my eyebrows furrowed. What the hell just happened?
Lena stuffed the last few bites of food into her mouth before jumping up from the table, and grabbing my arm, pulling me out of the room as she said, “May we be excused?”
Her dad stared at her with a confused expression, nodding slowly.
Lena dragged me into the living room and pushed me down onto the couch. She clenched and unclenched her hands at her sides, pacing back and forth in front of me.
She turned her head, looking at me like a deer caught in headlights.
“What the hell just happened?”
Lena grabbed two fistfuls of her hair and stared down at me with a sad expression on her face. “I just saw something that might make you really angry.”
“What is it?” I questioned.
“You have to promise that you won’t freak out.”
“I won’t freak out,” I promised. Now I was nervous about what she had to show me. If she thought that it would make me angry, and cause me to freak out, then it had to be pretty bad.
Lena pulled Ella’s phone out of her pocket, pressed a few buttons, and then handed the phone over to me.
I peered down at the tiny screen. My heart pounded as I read the message from Brianna.
You better do as I say, or I’ll send this picture out to everyone in school, and everyone will know how big of a slut you are.
There was a picture attached to the message, and my hands shook as I opened it.
My breathing hitched as I stared down at the picture that was now on the screen. It was a picture of Blake and Ella. The straight red hair was unmistakably Ella’s, and I would recognize Blake anywhere. His arms were wrapped around Ella’s waist, pulling her close to his body. Her arms were reached up over his shoulders, hands tangled in his dark hair, holding his mouth to hers.
My eyes ran over the way that their bodies were pressed together, etching the picture into my mind. They looked so comfortable wrapped in each other’s, and from the way that they were holding onto each other, you could tell that it wasn’t merely some innocent kiss. They were in the middle of a full on make out session. My mind raced as I stared down at the picture. I didn’t want to look at it any longer, yet I couldn’t summon the strength to look away.
Lena draped her arms around me, resting her head on my shoulder. “I can't believe that Ella would do something like that,” she said, more to herself than to me. “Don't worry, Forrester. We'll come up with something to get them back.”
Earlier, before her dad had dropped us off at my house, Lena had forwarded the picture from Ella's phone, to mine and hers. On the way back to my house, Lena had given the phone to her dad, asking if he would give it to Ella. The only time I spoke again after seeing the picture was to thank Mr. Snotty for dinner. I had even feigned a smile, but from the look on his face, I was sure that it looked more like a grimace. As soon as Lena and I had gotten into my house, we went straight up to my room. It'd been over an hour, and we were still sitting here, talking about what we had seen on Ella's phone.
“That's the thing. I don't want to get them back. I just want to understand.”
Lena sat up, looking at me like I was crazy. “Why wouldn’t you want to get him back? He cheated on you, and lied to you.”
“I know.” I bit my lip to keep it from trembling. I hadn't cried yet, and I didn't plan on it. Crying is for broken limbs, and funerals; not for boys. “I need to talk to him.”
Lena slid off of the edge of my bed, and walked over to the dresser, scooping up my cell phone and tossing it at me. It bounced on the bed, landing next to my thigh. “No, I want to talk to him in person. Not on the phone.”
“What's the difference? He deserves to be dumped over the phone. He cheated on you, Violet! What don't you understand about that?”
“We don't know that for sure; maybe there's an explanation for the picture. Maybe someone super glued their lips together.”
“Yeah, or maybe he thought that she was you,” she mumbled. Her words were dripping with sarcasm. There was no way that anyone would ever mistake Ella for me. I was tanner than she is, taller than her by a good three inches, and not to mention the drastic difference in hair color.
“Maybe a poisonous snake bit her lip, and he was sucking the venom out. Maybe Blake's a hero!”
Lena scoffed. “Yeah, you and I both know that's not true. Brianna had to have a reason for blackmailing Ella, and I'm sure that it didn't involve Blake being a hero.”
“I know. I was only kidding,” I said, huffing out a sigh.
She smiled, jumping back onto the bed and tossing one of the pillows at me. I effectively dodged the pillow right before it made contact with my face. “Do you think Brianna was blackmailing Blake too?” she asked suddenly.
Shrugging, I said, “I honestly don't know. I can't believe that I didn't figure it out before. I thought that it was Brianna who liked Blake. How did I not see that it was Ella?” After thinking about it for the past hour, I realized that it was so obvious. Ella was always mean to me for no reason, or so I had thought. That had to be why she hated me so much; I was dating the guy she liked.
“I can't believe that I didn't figure it out. She is my sister, after all; I know her like the back of my hand. At least I thought I did.”
“I'd like for her to come face to face with the back of my hand,” I mumbled; not really expecting her to hear me. Like she said; Ella was her sister after all. I couldn't talk about her rudely in front of Lena, but honestly, that was the last thing on my mind at the moment.
“Technically, that would be face to hand,” she joked.
I cracked a smile, elbowing her gently in the side. “I'm sad. I'm not supposed to be smiling.” I pouted.
Lena shook her head at me before grabbing my arm, and pulling me out of the bed. She walked over to my closet and yanked the door open roughly. I was slightly amused at the way she stared at the mass of clothes inside that were folded in stacks on the ground. Before she could even ask why I had a mini New York City built out of clothing articles in my closet, I simply said, “My dresser broke.”
Lena laughed, rolling her eyes at me. Bending down, she searched through the piles for a moment before pulling out a pair of black skinny jeans and a black shirt. “Here, put this on.”
I hesitated, squinting my eyes at her suspiciously. “Why?”
“'Cause I said so. Now hurry up.”
She tossed the clothes to me before she slipped out the door. Sighing, I stepped out of my cotton pajama bottoms, and pulled on the black jeans. By the time I had switched my yellow tank top for the long sleeved black shirt, Lena had come back into the room. She was dressed in black from head to toe, and was holding a black lipstick out to me. Confused, I took the lipstick from her hand, wondering for a moment why someone like Lena would have a charcoal black lipstick.
“Put it on,” she whispered as she pushed the bedroom door shut behind her.
I watched her curiously as she flicked her curly red hair over one shoulder and padded across the room to my bed. Lena pulled the thick, blue comforter back and tucked pillows in under the covers. She expertly molded the pillows into the shape of one sleeping body before pulling the covers up over the pillows and crossing her arms in satisfaction.
Deciding that it'd be much faster not to ask her what the hell it was that we were doing, I walked over to the mirror that hung on the wall facing my bed, and began to apply the lipstick heavily onto my thin lips. Before I knew what was happening, Lena was standing next to me, snatching the makeup out of my hands. “What the hell, Violet?”
“What?” I questioned, genuinely confused.
Lena sighed. “I guess I should have been more specific. I wanted you to put it on like this.” Lena lifted the lipstick up to her face, drawing two lines on each side of her face, under her eyes and across her cheeks, like war paint.
“Oh.” I stared at my reflection in the mirror. My hair was still wet from my shower earlier, and it was pulled up into a high ponytail at the top of my head. My eyes were wide as I stared at my black lips. Not only did they match my shirt, and jeans perfectly, but it looked as if I had been making out with a piece of charcoal.
Lena laughed at the horrified face that I was making. “Whoa. It looks like you burnt your lips on a stove or something.”
“I really hope this comes off.”
Lena grabbed hold of my shoulders, spinning me away from the mirror. “Come on, it's not that bad. You can take it off when we get back.” She lifted the lipstick to my face, drawing two lines on each cheek to match hers. “Perfect. Now let's go.”
I crossed my arms, staring at her quizzically. “Where are we going? It's almost 11 o'clock at night, and we have school tomorrow.”
“Damn, Forrester. When did you turn into your mom?”
“I guess the apple really doesn't fall too far from the tree.”
Lena smiled, flashing her mouthful of braces. “Turn the light off, and then follow me.”
Sighing, I quickly went to flip off my light switch before heading back over to Lena, who was currently pulling the wire screen out of my window. Once it was completely out, she slipped it under my bed and swung her leg over the edge of the window. I would have been worried about her falling if it weren't for the fact that my bedroom sat just above the garage, and the window led out onto the section of the roof that covered it. Lena swung both legs out of the window and gestured for me to follow her. Her head popped back into the window, her hair hanging like a curtain, as she asked, “Do you have any experience with scaling buildings?”
“No,” I whisper yelled at her.
Lena shrugged, “Well, then you'll just have to trust me.”
Her figure disappeared from the window and I took that as my cue to follow along. I crept out through the window, holding tight to the window pane as my feet met the sloped roof top. My body was tilted toward the edge, and my heart sped up as images of my body sprawled out across the ground came to mind. I gripped onto the window's ledge for my life, in fear that if I let go, I would stumble over the edge of the roof to my impending death.
“Violet,” whispered Lena's voice. I swiveled my head to the side, where the voice had come from. Lena was crouched down on the roof not too far from my window. She crawled toward me, peeling my hands off of the window frame. “Come on, I found a way down.” She then lowered the window far enough that you couldn't tell that it was open, but we would still be able to get back inside later, before crawling back over to the edge of the roof.
I followed her lead, going much slower than she was. When I reached the edge of the roof, Lena pointed at a thick tree branch that hung about a foot below us. “Okay, so we're going to have to free fall for a second, but after we get onto the tree we can just climb the rest of the way down.” The easy way that she spoke made it seem as if we were discussing something casual, instead of a way to get off of my roof that includes us jumping to a tree branch that we aren't even sure can hold our weight. “Do you want me to go first?”
I nodded my head slowly, earning a smirk in response as she saw the slight fear in my eyes. There's not usually much that can scare me, but heights was definitely one of them. I had been on the roof once before, just to sit with Blake and watch the lunar eclipse, but we hadn't actually walked around or anything. We just sat by the window, staring up at the sky. This also isn't my first time sneaking out of the house, but it is my first time sneaking out through my window; I usually just tip toe through the house, disarm the security system, and leave through the front or back door. Lena just had to make everything so complicated though.
“All right, watch what I do, and just copy me.” Lena tilted her body forward, her arms outstretched in front of her, as she rocked back and forth for a moment. Suddenly, she leaped off of the roof, her hair fanning out behind her for a moment as her body fell through the air. In mere seconds, her body smacked against the tree branch nearest to us; her body draped over the limb like laundry hung out on a line to dry. Her head, arms and legs hung limp, causing my heart to race with worry as I realized that she wasn't moving.
“Lena?” I called down to her; my voice rising slightly, making her name sound like a question.
Lena pushed herself up, smiling innocently at me as she scooted over near the truck. “Just wanted to scare you,” she responded smugly.
“Well it worked.”
“Good. Now come down.”
My hands dragged across the rough surface of the roof as I stepped closer to the edge. I copied what Lena had done, rocking back on the balls of my feet. I closed my eyes as I was about to jump, but I heard Lena say, “Keep your eyes open!”
Sighing, I cracked my eyes open against my will, and jumped from the roof, spreading my arms like wings. The chilly air blew at my wet hair for a moment before my body smacked against the tree. The wind was instantly knocked out of me on impact. Groaning, I pushed myself up, straddling the tree branch as I clutched my stomach. “Fuck that hurt,” I moaned through clenched teeth. I heard Lena chuckle a bit, and I turned toward her, glaring as I said, “Shut up. That hurt like hell.”
“Why do you think I took so long to move? I wasn't really trying to scare you, but I knew that if I told you that it hurt, you wouldn't come.”
I let go of my stomach and scooted closer to the tree trunk. “That's probably true.”
We climbed down the tree, carefully avoiding all of the thin branches as we did so. When my feet touched the ground, I felt the need to drop to my knees and kiss the soil, but I refrained myself from doing so. I hoped that it would be easier on the way back up. After all, it's always harder getting down than it is going up.
“Which way is Blake's house?” asked Lena.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “We are not going to Blake's house.”
“Why not? You said you wanted to talk to him face to face.”
“Yeah, tomorrow, not tonight; it's almost midnight. He's probably asleep.”
“Knowing Blake, he already is asleep, but I don't care because he has some explaining to do. He deserves to be woken up.”
My anger flared up as I was reminded of the picture again.
His arms planted firmly on her waist.
Her hands knotted in his hair.
Their chests pressed against each other’s, and lips connected.
I clenched my fists; my nails digging into the skin on the palm of my hand. “This way,” I growled, walking across the lawn, just now realizing that I was barefoot. My feet sunk into the dewy ground as we walked toward the sidewalk.
“How far is it?”
“I know a shortcut.” We crossed the street and were enveloped in silence. The only sounds came from our feet slapping against the concrete sidewalks, and the occasional sounds of a dog barking in the distance.
The moon was luminous and full in the sky above us. A few stars twinkled in the distance, but not many could be seen. I led Lena quietly through one of my neighbor's backyards, jumping over their fence, and cutting through the yard behind it. We walked down to the end of that block, Lena whistling a slow tune the whole way. I was so used to walking to Blake's house that I could have done it with my eyes closed. At the end of the block, we crossed over to another street, stopping at the second house.