Little Fairies (Part 6)

Nixie was awoken by her six thirty am alarm. It should be a sin to be up so early on your birthday but for some reason, school was somewhat important to her. At least that’s what she told herself in order to get out of bed and stalk like a zombie to the bathroom. She secretly hoped her mom would forget it was her “special day” and she made a plan to leave before her mom could apologize for last night’s embarrassing encounter with a plate of chocolate chip pancakes like she was still eight. Actually chocolate chip pancakes sounded so good and she wasn’t too old for a sweet breakfast like that but she would rather starve than talk to her mom about what happened last night. She decided she would stop by the diner on the way to school since Paula always gave her free pastries. the perks of your mom working at a diner. Nixie never turned down free food.

Luckily for her, Serafina was too hungover to get up on time but that only meant she would have to get Tania to school herself. She rushed her little sister out of the house so they could grab their pastries before school started but Paula did her one better. She remembered her birthday and made them sit down for a real breakfast on the house. Nixie was not about to refuse an actual meal so they grabbed a booth and ate fast. At this point, she didn’t even care if she was late to school but she knew if Tania was late on her watch, her teacher would inform their mom and she was trying to avoid Serafina for as long as she possibly could. Somehow though, Tania made it to school on time and Nixie wore a proud smirk at her small accomplishment.

In the school hall, her eyes met with Charlie’s as he stared at her while his friend talked his ear off about something that obviously meant nothing to him. She could tell he was going to try to talk to her before the next bell rang so she quickly shut her locker door and raced to class before he could escape his friend. He rolled his eyes at her elusiveness and walked to class in the opposite direction.

After second period, she stole away across the soccer field to hide behind the trees, her usual spot to smoke between classes. None of her so-called friends even cared she was finally sixteen and she wished she could just disappear like Easton had. If she was going to get through today, she would need a little help. She sparked a joint that she hid in her backpack and breathed deep, releasing the stress with each long exhale. She liked to imagine that the smoke drew out all the bad leaving only good in its place. But she barely got halfway through her therapy before being interrupted. She heaved a sigh of pure annoyance at the realization that she had no privacy anywhere in this bleak world.

Assuming it was Trevor trying to bum a hit of her weed, she didn’t even turn around to tell him off. “Get lost, Trevor. I’m not sharing shit with you on my birthday.”

“Sucks to be Trevor,” the voice replied and she spun around to see his face.

“What are you doing out here, Charlie?”

“Looking for you. Did you say it’s your birthday?”

“No.”

“Fuck, I feel bad. I didn’t know it was your birthday.” He could kick himself for ending their night so abruptly over her age. If only he knew, maybe they would’ve stayed out all night and skipped school today. He looked at his phone and decided it wasn’t too late. “Let’s get out of here.”

She looked at him with confusion scribbled across her face. “And go where?”

“Wherever you want. Come on, they won’t miss you in third period.”

Anywhere was better than here and she deserved to have fun on her birthday. Besides, he kind of owed her for shutting her down so quickly the night before. It might be nice to watch him attempt to make it up to her. “Ok, let’s go.”

He smiled and didn’t dare to ask to help her finish the blunt between her fingers. He did however, offer to carry her backpack for her.

“It’s ok, I got it.” She lifted it up and swung it around her back.

It looked heavy and he couldn’t let her carry that around, not with him by her side. He was raised better than that. “Give it here.” He pulled it off her shoulders and held it high. “Holy shit. What’s in here? You carry this much stuff around everyday? No wonder you look so miserable all the time.”

“Give it back. I can handle it.”

“No. Fuck that, you’re not carrying this thing at all today. No girl should have to carry anything on her birthday, especially not all this crap.” He carried a backpack on each shoulder and they walked across the soccer field just as the coach was bringing a P.E. class outside.

“Where are you guys headed?”

“Nowhere,” Charlie answered with a sly grin.

“Just be back for practice, Charlie.” Coach Peters could care less if they skipped school just as long as Charlie didn’t miss soccer practice.

“We’ll see.”

“What do you mean we’ll see? We need you out there.”

“I have plans.” He looked at Nixie and then back at the coach.

“So hang out and come back. You got a few hours.”

He turned around and said, “I need the whole day. You never ditch a lady on her birthday.” Then he turned back around and kept walking.

“Damn it!” Coach Peters was angry that he couldn’t threaten to kick him off the team like he could do to all the other players who took it seriously. He knew Charlie didn’t care to play soccer, he only joined the team as a favor to him. Coach really needed him since he was the best player on the team. He could literally use him for any position which made him valuable anytime a player got injured in the field.

“You don’t have to spend the whole day with me.”

“I want to.” He looked at her and suddenly thought that maybe she didn’t want to spend the day with him. “Unless you don’t.”

“You mean I don’t have to leave with you and have fun all day?”

“Get in the car before I change my mind.” He threw their backpacks in the trunk and tried to figure out where he would take her first. Then he remembered how much she loved the beach but hated how crowded they can get so close to summer. It was time to ask Uncle Ben for a big favor.

He dialed the number and spoke quickly while Nixie waited in the car. She saw him leaning against the driver’s side with the phone to his ear. Who was he talking too? She didn’t care, he was getting her out of this hell hole which made him her personal hero. Still, she wondered where he would take her and if he would turn her down if she kissed him again. She didn’t get it. He seemed so into the kiss and then he wasn’t. He couldn’t be that loyal to a friend who would just up and leave without an explanation. Could he be that much of a gentleman that he didn’t want to take advantage of her? He did carry her backpack which doesn’t seem like much but in this day in age with guys far from chivalry, it was hard to ignore such a gesture. Easton never carried her backpack or books for her. If Charlie isn’t careful, he may find himself a slave to her every whim and maybe this time, neither of them will hold back.

The Reckless Sick (Born Broken)

The heavy door slammed shut behind her and Levi shot his head back in her direction.

“Hey, you came.” He gave her a cheesy grin and held out a bottle of beer as she walked towards him.

“No thanks, I don’t drink.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want a beer belly.”

“You won’t get a beer belly from one beer.”

“I bloat easily.”

“Okay..” He rummaged through the snacks she brought trying to decide which to eat first. He finally started with a bag of chips. It seemed fitting since she wasted his salty snack the first time they met. She even got the right flavor, maybe she was paying more attention to him that day than he thought.

“You come up here a lot?”

“Yeah, sometimes you just need to get away from everyone and all the beeping machines and shoes squeaking down the halls.”

“I get it.”

“Do you? I thought you just got here.”

“Yeah, and I already hate it.”

“Why are you here?”

“Why are you?”

He untied his hospital gown and Harla had an instant flashback of the sight of his bare ass walking down the white halls. But he didn’t show her his backside this time. Instead, he pulled the gown down far enough to expose the ugly scars on his chest.

“Whoa! What happened?”

“Heart surgery.”

“My god, that looks terrible. Are you ok now?”

“I don’t know, I guess we’ll find out soon. Probably not though.”

“What’s wrong with your heart?”

“Everything. Congestive heart failure from a ventricular septal defect.”

“English?”

“I have a hole in my heart and it has trouble pumping blood adequately.”

“Seriously? Damn. How many times have they, um-”

“Cut me open?” He pointed to a fresh scar on his chest and continued, “This is number four and only I’m seventeen.”

“How did you get a hole in your heart?”

“I was born with it but it wasn’t detected until I was three. My birth-mom was high on cocaine a lot and gave birth to me at home. It wasn’t until my grandmother, her mom, took me to the hospital because I was breathing erratically and they found a pretty big hole in my heart. They filled it but the damage was done, it already caused heart failure. I’m lucky to still be alive.”

“That’s insane. So Dianne is your adoptive mother?”

“Yeah, my grandma couldn’t afford to raise me with all the medical procedures I needed so they had to put me up for adoption. She still comes by to see me, not my mom though.”

“I’m sorry, Levi. It’s not fair that you have to suffer because of her mistakes. But at least you have a great mom who loves you and you made it this far. You’re still alive, that’s a good thing.”

He grabbed another bag of snacks, cookies this time, and sipped his beer. “I don’t know how alive I really am, I can’t do normal things like everyone else. I’m stuck with this stupid, weak heart and a pacemaker.” He glanced at the ground and noticed he was the only one eating. “Are you gonna eat something so I don’t feel like a fatass eating everything by myself?”

“Nah, I’m not hungry. Just ate dinner and I don’t really snack.” She wished she was in a bathroom right about now to throw her dinner up. She couldn’t believe how good he was at distracting her from her awful habits.

“You don’t eat snacks? That’s weird. Who doesn’t like snacks?”

“Some people.” Crap! She’s going to give her secret away if she’s not careful. There’s no reason anyone else needs to know why she’s here. It’s bad enough that her parents know, if it were up to her, they wouldn’t know a damn thing. But she had to be careless and overdo it. Now she’s stuck in a hospital against her will. If it weren’t for Levi, she would be planning her great escape right this second. “How did you get beer anyway?”

“I got friends in low places.” He smirked and she caught a glimpse of a small dimple in his left cheek that she hadn’t noticed before. “So you’re going to make me drink and pig out alone? You’re great company, I’m so glad I asked you up here today.”

His eyes squinted at her from the last of the bright sun rays reaching the top of the building. She watched them sparkle in the light. Even through the tiny slits of his eyelids, the lustrous blue gleamed and she was momentarily entranced by their luminous glow. If that didn’t deserve a drink, what did? She argued with herself and finally grabbed the beer from his hand and took a sip. She looked back at him expecting to receive a smart-ass remark about drinking from his bottle after he offered her a fresh one but all he did was wink at her. Just that simple gesture alone sent flutters throughout her stomach and chest and she knew this boy would spell trouble for her. Still, she scooted closer to him and leaned against his wall. Then she reached for the cookies and took the smallest of nibbles. She didn’t even notice that he slid his arm around her until she leaned back again and her head gently rested on him and not on a hard, concrete wall.

Smooth move.

They shared the beer and cookies watching the sun as it set beyond the city of skyscrapers, its brilliant colors reflecting off glossy windows before fading into the night. She was ready for some trouble. Bring it on, Levi.

The Reckless Sick (Anywhere But Here)

“Are you crazy? I’m not staying here that long!” Harla protested at the unfavorable news.

“Sweetie, calm down. People can hear us.” Margaret was always worried about reputation and the impression her family left on others.

“Oh, my God. I don’t care if people can hear me, I’m in a freakin hospital. If we go home now, we’ll never have to see anyone here again.”

“Harla, we’re not going home. You have a problem, ok? You’re sick.”

It shocked Harla to hear her father raise his voice to her even if it was slight, he was usually so quiet and often avoided arguments. But this was different, she deceived them. She hurt not only herself but those closest to her and to his chagrin, she didn’t seem to care. Who was she? He felt as though he didn’t know her anymore. Maybe he never did.

“Dad, I’m fine. I promise to keep it under control from now on.”

“Under control? Do you even recognize yourself? Because I don’t.” He glared at her in complete disbelief before walking away.

“Dad?”

“It’s just hard for him to see you like this, sweetie. You could be more compassionate to his feelings after all you put him through.” Margaret stood silent, studying her daughter’s frail state. She blamed herself. How could she not notice such drastic changes in her daughter’s attitude and form. Anyone on the outside looking in might gather that she hardly cared enough to know what was going on in her own home. She decided she had to fix her family. “I’ll talk to him, you just relax, dear. And please eat something.”

It was difficult for Harla to feel empathy for very long when everyone kept telling her to eat. Is it really a sickness if you have control over it? Does she have control? She was starting to believe her parents might be right which was a dangerous thing to admit in her mind. No. No! She’s not sick. She wouldn’t admit to anyone, especially not herself.

Suddenly, she noticed something. She looked around the room and realized she was alone again. Well, if she was going to be stuck in this godforsaken hospital, she might as well explore further outside her room than she was able to yesterday. She stealthily snuck on the other side of her door and past the nurses, as if they cared enough to pay attention to patients walking around aimlessly. They weren’t her babysitters. Her sly maneuvers were unnecessary but still, she felt as though her parents would pop out of any corner and ruin her moment of short-lived freedom. She walked along the halls swiftly unsure of what it was she searched for. If she found a door that led to the outside world, that wouldn’t be so bad. And now that she wore actual decent clothing, she would fit right in with the everyone else. Just as she spotted the elevators and started towards them, a nurse darted around the corner and sped past her pushing a child in a wheelchair causing Harla to back up abruptly and bump into yet another person.

Will not a day go by that I don’t bump into somebody in these wretched, white halls? She thought to herself.

“Sorry, I’m a known clutz in these halls,” she explained before turning to face the person she backed into and immediately recognized him as the original boy she bumped into just the day before. “Oh, my God, again? I’m really sorry.”

“Hey, it’s cool. Look, no chips. We’re good,” he said with a cute chuckle, holding his hands up on display.

“Why are you still in your hospital gown?”

“It’s comfy. No, I’m still recovering from surgery and it’s really hard for me to dress and undress myself. Then the family wants to help and it’s just a nightmare.”

“Gotcha. Wow, surgery. That’s serious.”

“Nah, not really. I get out of here in a week. What about you?”

“My parents are making me stay here for another three days.”

“That’s not so bad. Where are you headed?”

“Trying to escape,” she admitted with her eyes on the elevators.

“Already? Damn, you’re impatient. How about I show you around and you won’t cause a panic from being M.I.A.?”

She shot another glance at the elevator door as it closed and sighed softly. “Sure, exploring a hospital sounds fun,” she spoke in a sarcastic tone.

“Eh, it’s no rave but it beats lying in bed all day.”

After an hour of Levi showing her the entire pediatrics ward and introducing her to some of the other teens admitted there, he walked her back to her room where her parents paced frantically fearing the worst.

“Harla! Are you crazy? You can’t just up and leave every time we walk away. You were gone so long this time, I had the whole hospital searching for you,” Margaret scolded dramatically until she saw Levi walk up next to her daughter. “Who is this? A new friend?”

“Yes, and you’ve already done an awesome job at embarrassing me in front of him so thank you for that, Mom.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I was just showing her around and we lost track of time.”

“Well, you’re very polite. Maybe some of your good manners will rub off on Harla.”

“All right, we’re done here. Bye, Levi.” With that, Harla closed her room door on him before he could respond. Then she turned to her mom in disapproval. “That was thoroughly humiliating.”

“Harla, that was extremely rude. That poor boy was so nice to you and you just slammed the door in his face. Well, there goes your only chance at a good friend. I mean, my god.”

“Dial down the exaggeration, Mom, he’ll be back. Where else is he gonna go, honestly?”

The next day was slightly more tolerable for Harla since her parents had to go back to work. They were reluctant to leave her alone in the hospital but the nurse assured them she would be fine. Margaret tussled with the idea as if she had the choice to stay but finally she left and Harla was instantly relieved. She roamed the halls freely uncertain of where to go.

Anywhere but here please.

Surprisingly she didn’t see Levi and she wondered if her mother was actually right about driving him away with her unpleasant attitude. She rolled her eyes at the very notion of her mother’s dramatization of the situation being even remotely accurate. As luck would have it, she returned to her room to find a piece of paper taped to the wall by her bed with a note scribbled on it.

Meet me on the roof after dinner and bring snacks. You owe me. – Levi

She smiled as she read the note. It was early and she found herself counting down the hours until dinner for the first time ever. After she ate a few bites of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, she grabbed a few bags of chips and cookies from the snack machine and raced to the roof. Her mom was right about one thing, he was her only chance at friendship right now and she’s never had a real friend before. She tried not to pity herself as she opened the large door leading to the roof. She felt a cool breeze blow through her tiny figure as the door swung open and her first sight was Levi sitting up against the wall watching the sun set in the distance.

Little Fairies (Part 3)

Nixie rolled another blunt and placed it between her lips, reaching over Trevor for the lighter. He awkwardly smelled her as her hair lightly feathered his face and she gave him a look that said, “No way in hell.” He backed off and waited as she took a couple puffs but to his vexation, she never passed it to him as proper weed etiquette would have it.

“Puff puff pass, baby. It’s my turn.”

“Huh? Oh, this isn’t for you.”

“But we’re sharing.”

“We were and now we’re not.”

“Why are you such a bitch all the time?”

“Why are you such an asshole?” She looked at him like she might just throat punch him for daring to speak to her that way. Truthfully, she considered it but fortunately for him, the pot was doing an excellent job at calming her mind and she was ready to leave before he could ruin her much needed high. She took an arrogantly long puff just to tease the aggravated boy staring back at her. She took it a step further by blowing her smoke in his face with a brazen smirk just before standing to her feet and walking away, leaving him all alone on the beach with no girl and no weed.

“Where are you going? I drove you here.”

“I can walk, thanks. Enjoy your sober night.”

She trudged across the sandy beach floor and found the street in a matter of minutes. Walking home wasn’t her ideal method of commute but she would find it more tolerable than rounding up the others and enduring the car ride listening to their lips smacking and incessant giggling. It’s not like she couldn’t let loose and have fun too, she just didn’t mix well with this group and the last time she ran wild along the beach with them, she met her match in Easton. He got her, and nobody ever gets her. And then he left without so much as a goodbye. Oh well, that’s what men do, they leave.

As she walked home remembering her sad past and smirking at how ridiculous it sounded to be in high school and to have a “past,” a car pulled up beside her with the brights on showing no end to the road ahead. She stopped and looked inside the window that was already rolled down.

“Need a ride?” A boy asked from inside.

“Maybe.”

“You don’t have to be difficult, Nix. Just get in.”

She froze involuntarily at the sound of her nickname spilling from another boy’s lips. Her mind flashed back to a time when Easton was the only one who called her that.

***

They lay on his bedroom floor dreaming of their future together. It didn’t matter that she was only fifteen and he was barely seventeen, that didn’t stop them from making plans to run away and forget this place ever existed to them.

“I’m going to save you from this life, Nix. You don’t belong here and this town doesn’t deserve you. I’ll give you more someday, I promise.”

“Why do I believe you?”

“Because you’re the only person I never lie to.” He leaned into her and kissed her like no boy has ever kissed her. She knew this was the passion that most girls had to wait years before tasting yet here it was smeared on her lips and pressed against her chest because Easton kissed with his whole body.

***

“You getting in or not?” The boy asked, once again interrupting her thoughts.

She slipped out of her trance and into his car. It was strangely clean for a teenage boy’s car which gave her the impression that it actually belonged to his parents.

“Mystic Lane, right?”

“How do you know where I live?”

“Relax, Nix, it’s me. I’m not exactly a stranger. Besides, I don’t know which house is yours, just the street.”

“Why are talking to me like you know me so well?”

“Really? Do you not remember that we used to hang out all the time or did those memories disappear when he did?”

“What? Why would you bring him up like that?”

“Jesus, you’re so on edge. I’m allowed to talk about him. You’re not the only one he left behind.”

“Charlie, that’s right. I forgot-”

“Forgot what? That he had a best friend outside of your little shared world?”

“Ok, I’m sorry. Do you want me to get out? I can walk, I don’t really care.”

“No, don’t be stupid.”

“Why are you so annoyed with me? I’ve barely said anything.”

“It’s been three months. When are you going to join the rest of us in reality?”

He was entirely too serious and she wasn’t high enough for this surprise confrontation. “Do you care if I smoke in here?”

“Of course not. Remember when we used to hotbox in here?” He asked with a laugh. His face turned serious though and he added, “Shit, it’s like you’re not even you without him.”

“Can you stop bringing him up, please?”

He pulled up to a stop sign and looked directly at her, “Do you have to be home right now?”

“Nope, just have nowhere else to be.”

“Well, now you do.” He turned the car around just as they reached her street and suddenly she knew where he was taking her.

She locked eyes with his and smiled with a look that said, “I remember.” Then she slipped the joint between his lips just like the old days when their group would smoke and drive until they reached their spot.

Little Fairies (Part 2)

Nixie strolled through the house watering her mother’s many potted plants, each with its own individual name, before making her way to the dinner table where Tania sat, ready to devour her meal. Their home was like a museum for mythical beings. Anyone who were to walk in their little house might feel as though they’ve stepped into an enchanted fairy dwelling from Serafina’s porcelain winged figurines to her stringed lights hung along bed posts, lamps and walls in no particular order. Her delightful little quirks were what made her so unique and wonderfully eccentric and her daughters preferred her that way, for the most part.

Nixie scarfed down every bit of her food and ran to the door in a hurry but Serafina urged her to grab a light sweater before bolting out of the door and into the cool, crisp night. If she was being honest with herself though, it wasn’t the weather that made her wary since it was practically summer and where they lived, it was almost always warm out. No, it was Nixie’s outfit that was cause for concern. While she gave her fifteen year old daughter the freedom to express herself fully, she was still a mom and seeing her daughter walk out of the door barely dressed made her a bit uneasy. She was so thin and beautiful and the boys around town were no romeos. Little heartbreakers and womanizers riddled the neighborhood and the last thing she wanted was for Nixie to become some helpless victim. The Castle women were no damsels in distress.

She quickly ran to her room to grab a small jacket just as her mother requested of her and raced back out in a matter of seconds. Nixie was always good at respecting her mother’s wishes, she was many things but impertinent was not one of them. She was deep, pensive, daring and a hell of a sketch artist. She preferred drawing with thick pieces of charcoal as opposed to charcoal pencils. She felt one with the rock as she manipulated it to create her ideas and bring her imagination to life on paper. Something about feeling the messy, natural substance staining her skin in a rich, black dust gave her an organic sentiment that she treasured more than her skillful ability to create a descriptive scene or detailed portrait. She kept all her sketches hidden in a big yellow binder stashed under her bed for easy access, not to mention it was the quickest way to store it when she was done for the day.

Yellow happened to be her favorite color, not because she was a cheerfully spirited person but because it was everything she was not, bright, sunny, happy, you get the point. She had packs of clear page dividers and each drawing was carefully placed in one to preserve its authenticity, not that she believed her work to be of the highest standards and worthy of praise but just that she cherished each one like they held a piece of her broken heart in the shading of their precise silhouettes.

Tonight, she would be meeting with Trevor and some school friends to smoke weed on the beach and listen to music while a few of them pair off to wander aimlessly along the sandy shore in search of a nice secluded enough spot to have mediocre sex because sex on the beach is seemingly thrilling or at least it is to a group of teenagers who have no place else to explore their lustful desires. Personally, Nixie was too logical to buy into a fad like that as the idea of rolling around on a sandy floor, allowing the tiny, sharp particles to stick all over her damp skin and become lodged between two slipping body parts, rubbing them raw as salt water entered the mix to burn the already irritated flesh, all the while spilling forced moans from within to give herself and the poor boy she was entangled with the illusion that what they were experiencing was actual pleasure did not seem like a good time to her. Trevor wasn’t so foolish to believe she would be up for it either. He only invited her out for a taste of her exceptional bud since her connection provided the highest quality weed and he was an awfully elusive man for a drug dealer. Apparently, he only keeps in contact with people he knows and trusts and if they’re willing, he’ll allow them to sell to others on his behalf so he doesn’t have to meet new people because he’s that paranoid. It’s evident he gets high his own supply and too much of it at that. While Trevor has the money to buy his own stash from her, he prefers to bum off of hers as long as she’s willing to share.

Nixie’s not so naive to believe a guy like him would really go for a girl like her but he has a car and she loves the beach and she argues in her head that it’s more fun to smoke with a friend, if you can call him that. They have known each other since second grade but he’s not exactly a nice guy and definitely not someone she can trust with her secrets like you would a friend so maybe they’re simply peers who occasionally toke together to avoid being high alone. Whatever he was to her, it wouldn’t last long and she was okay with that. He wasn’t the same boy she played on the swings with competing to see who could reach the highest tree branches with their toes. He became one of those jerks who strived to be cool, popular, accepted and she couldn’t be mixed with trivial issues as such. She had her own problems to deal with such as her mom’s next wave of manic depression and scaring off the next brat who bullied her little sister for wearing her fairy wings to school for the fifth week in a row. But she felt she could finally breathe now that summer was swiftly approaching and she wouldn’t feel obligated to fill her days with school friends who actually believe they’re wild and free in a town like this. The only place that’s freeing to her is the beach but the sex-crazed group rolling around and moaning dramatically were making it hard for her to enjoy the cool breeze splashing against her face and the aroma of the moonlit sea swarming her senses. She needed to escape this scene and fast.