Swans, Ducks and Robins

Swans, Ducks and Robins

by Anna DiStefano

                Fuming, I swept my “sun-bleached blonde” (according to Revlon dye) hair out of my eyes and stomped out to my family’s new, black Prius with a leather interior. I tossed my head and sighed dramatically, a scene ironically in place with its settings. I was in a classy suburban neighborhood, standing in front of my perfectly modern glass house; something straight out of a real estate magazine, with a ton of teenagers looking painstakingly-obviously popular surrounding me. The show was purely for the benefit of all of the above from school that had come to see me off- I wouldn’t miss any part of this town. Except Liz. I miss her already, and I haven’t left yet. But secretly, I was glad to escape to secluded rainy little University Place, Washington. No one there would know me or expect anything from me. I could start over. I could even be myself, Bee, not Beatrice or Trixie. The only cloud in my blue sky was the reason we were moving, temporally. Or so said my dad, and he hates this town. So does my mom. I think our move might be permanent.

                My Grandma Resa had just died. We’re moving to “settle her affairs”, or whatever that meant. We had actually had to move because we’re the only family she has left, and she lived in Washington. I was really close to Resa, as she insisted I call her, before. She was the only one in my family who understood me. She was the one whose shoulder I cried on whenever I needed her. (Which was a lot.)She could turn anything into a joke, but always had at least one serious mystery around her. About a week before it had happened, she had told me that she was in the middle of something huge. The only details I got were it involved a girl around my age she had meet a couple weeks earlier. I can’t help but wonder what happened and if she ever solved the case. Maybe I’ll be able to find her diary. It was always the first thing I say when I came over, because Resa was constantly writing in it. She was sixty-nine, but acted as if she was in her twenties and looked late fifties, but you could see her age if you looked at her eyes. They were a sparkling dark blue that told a different story every time you saw them. I got to read little bits of the old, weathered diary now and then, but ultimately it holds all her secrets and all the secrets people told her. No one else even knew about it-Resa hid it whenever anyone walked in the room.

                “I’m going to miss you so much.” Brad Penning’s flat emotionless voice came, snapping me out of my memories.  It never failed to amaze me how he could say absolutely anything at all, and it always came out in the same dead, whispery monotone. There wasn’t anything wrong with him, only he was horrendously boring! But he was on the football team, and as Trixie the cheerleader, it was practically the law here that I date him. Our town was completely old school like that; all the cheerleaders had to date members of the football team, ect. Not that I was allowed to complain, supposedly we were “the” couple. We even looked the part: Brad was the classic jock, tall, muscular, blonde and blue-eyed. And with my dyed hair, now I was the classic head cheerleader. But we just did the same things over and over and over again! I wanted to fall asleep after one sentence from him! Frustrated but hiding it well, I threw my arms around Brad as I whispered I’d miss him more. I’ve decided to let the others pick my boyfriends after the last one. I shivered just remembering Zayden. But that had been the old me, desperate to stand out anyway possible. I had had to be one extreme or the other. I was over that now. Completely, one hundred percent over anything extreme.

                Brad and I shared the standard messy teens-in-love goodbye before I could escape to the car, waving to everyone at the house. They all said they were my friends, but I wouldn’t believe that. None of them would have anything to do with me if I wasn’t popular, and even now, none of them were nice or even honest without an ulterior motive. It might seem cynical, but it’s true. They might be safer than Zayden’s friends were, but at least his friends were they were honest and nice, and occasionally really cool, when they weren’t breaking the law. I had even liked a few of them at first.

                Inside the car, I turned up the radio and coasted down three blocks. I was really only fifteen, but I could pass for at least seventeen and I always drove safely. Besides, the police here had better things to do here than pull over underage teens driving safely. We had been having a lot of small crimes, and even a few large thefts. But anyway, I needed to say bye to Liz. No one at my old home had known we are friends, because honestly, Liz was kind of nerdy and being her friend would kill my image. My parents hated my so-called friends and would have been all too happy to ruin my secret.  Liz and I hid it flawlessly at school. It would be almost funny, if it weren’t so mean and shallow. I had three lives, the one my parents want, the one my “friends” want, and the one I want. Liz is the best friend ever, though. I hated putting her through all that, but it was how I coped with things after the break-up. All that mattered was image. Because that’s what got me into this mess in the first place. I pretended to be all that, and I totally got taken advantage of. So I learned that it was better to have no choice at all than to live with a bad one.  No one told me different because the only ones who talked to me about anything important were Resa and Liz. They were great, very sympathetic and supportive. But neither knew the whole story-they just thought I was another broken-hearted teenager. My parent didn’t know either-but then again, nothing could penetrate their happy little bubble. I don’t think anyone else even knew I had a boyfriend. It happened in the dead of summer, when everyone was out of town, and my sister Sara was still in France. She has been there for six years, since I was nine and she was eleven. I still remember when she decided to leave, because that was when I decided to change. I had adored Sara when I was really little. But then she became the favorite and I was pushed to the side. My perfect sister, too good for this little town, was only coming back as we were moving. I just wish everything could go back to normal. Back to when we were a real family.  The point is, though, that I was invisible before Zayden and even with him, only Resa and Liz seemed to see me. That was so not going to happen again.

 

                Roughly two hours later, I was still waiting for the airplane in a slightly shabby terminal. Liz and I had managed to kill over an hour at her chaotic house, but the rest was my dad’s fault. He wouldn’t believe that we would all be there in time, so he told us to be two hours early! Two hours! I had arrived about ten minutes after Mom and Dad did. Sara came a half hour late, with a terrific accent and a red beret covering her short, wavy, brown highlighted hair. She’s the same as always, sweet, funny, and infuriatingly perfect. Mom and Dad didn’t complain when she dyed her hair.  Sara didn’t even get grounded, but when I went blonde, I couldn’t leave the house by myself for two months. Typically, I was completely forgotten the moment she came. For the last half hour, I’ve been reading the dumbest magazine ever, the kind Liz and I would normally mock mercilessly. But I had been stupid enough to pack all my books and my iPod in my luggage.

                “Hey honey, it’s time to go!” my mom shouted out to me. Slightly red at not noticing everyone around me was boarding the plane, I half-jogged over to where she was. Once walking onto the plane, she let her brunette hair cascade down from its high tight ponytail and said, “We were thinking that you and I would sit together and Sara with Dad.” trying to imitate Sara’s accent.

                “That’s fine.”  I said smiling. After a few minutes, we decided to watch “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II” on our individual TV screens. It was a nice airplane, with greenish plush seats where the screens were and a carpet in one of those indescribable colors. The take-off was smooth and we even had a snack-fancy cracker with spread cheese. But it was absolutely freezing!  I was about to tell Mom this when I noticed she had fallen asleep.  Maybe a day flight would have been better, I thought, looking at the digital clock.  It was only 10:30 pm.

                Feeling a little older, I grabbed one of the cheap blankets down and put it on her.  I had lost track of the movie, completely in another time.  That stupid phone call two weeks back.

                “Hello?…….What?  No, I understand, it’s just ………How could this happen?……  It just doesn’t make any sense!”  *crying*… then my mom handed the off-white cordless phone to my dad, and he encompassed it with his huge tanned hand.  I held my breath.  It could be nothing.  Mom cries easily.

                “Hello?…hmmmm….. Yes, well, that’s the thing.  This is ……. But how? My mother was smart! This couldn’t be her; you must have the wrong person”…….  There were muffled sounds, the end of the conversation.  Then some anxious whispers, and heavy footsteps.  I felt everything inside me drop a hundred feet. What had happened to Resa?

                 Dad got on the phone to tell Sara, and I waited for Mom to come in the living room. Something was very wrong. Usually things went the other way; Mom dialing with perfectly manicured mails to tell Sara that some cousin in another state had broken a bone or had a friend that had died, and Dad calmly sitting down and telling me.  These things were sad of course, but manageable.  This news had to be somehow worse.  Mom never ever missed a chance to talk to Sara.  They were the criers, always leaning on each other figuratively and literally.  My dad took emotional news calmly, if somewhat stiffly, and went to do something physical.  Aunt in the hospital?  Now is a good time to fix that leak in the roof.  Everyone in my family had different coping mechanisms.  Except me.  I don’t cope.  At least, not well.  I keep everything inside, under lock and key.  I doubt my family can even tell when I’m upset if I don’t want them to.  Then Mom walked in.

            “Honey, I have some bad news.”  She said through sniffles, “Grandma Resa is dead.”

                “Please fasten your seat belts and prepare for landing” The voice of our flight attendant snapped over the intercom.  I hastily gathered myself and woke Mom up.

                “Oh! I’m so sorry honey! I must have been more tired than I thought. So how did the movie go?” Mom murmured, trying to smooth down her airplane hair and de-wrinkle her thin, yellow blouse and khakis.

                “Um, I’m not really sure. I mean, I fell asleep a little after you did, and I just woke up.” I yawn to make the lie more convincing. I didn’t want Mom to know I was thinking about Grandma.

*Yawn* “So how are you doing? Look! It’s Washington! I wonder where our rental is. Do you think we can see it up here?” she practically squealed.

                “Ok-ish. You?” I replied.

                “Yeah. I’m so excited now though!” she said.

                “And I don’t know. Tell me what it looks like again.”

                “Well, it’s gorgeous! The house is a pale yellow-almost like my shirt! – with a light teal trim around the windows and door. There are tons of tall, leafy green trees around it, and along the street. It’s as if our house has its own umbrella. The street looks like it’s in Far Far Away from all the fairy tales. There are also huge bushes around the yard, instead of a fence, and gorgeous, colorful flowers in front. It looks like a castle with its terra cotta turret-things sticking up from the back and even stained glass windows upstairs! Oh, I think we’re landing!” Mom laughed and whipped out her trendy, black cell phone to text Dad. They decided that we would meet up getting the luggage. I got off with Mom, and we saw Dad and Sara within a few minutes. I grabbed my duffel bag and suitcase covered with international stamps. As soon as we all got our luggage, we went to our new house. It was as beautiful as Mom had said! I was stepping into magic, like a modern day fairy tale. Maybe Snow White or Goldilocks. The inside was huge as well, and surprisingly contemporary on the first floor. The back was made of clear plastic, so we could see right outside when in the marble kitchen. The second floor is the original structure, built like a castle, with hidden nooks and crannies everywhere hidden in the old oak wood. I got a room on the second floor. There’s actually a tower thing inside, from a trap door in the ceiling! I love this house!

                I also found out something really amazing. Resa’s diary might be hidden in this house! It turns out that this is where she was last seen before she died. She had told her friend that she was going for a walk, around twilight. The next day the police found her deep in the woods. It was kind of gory, apparently. They think a bear or some wild animal must have attacked her. Spooky, huh? I almost fainted when Mom and Dad told me, on our old forest green couch. I felt like l was choking and drowning and falling simultaneously. Everything was suddenly silent, even though I could see Mom’s lips moving, and it was agonizingly deafening and even darker everywhere, the sadness just swallowed me whole. I couldn’t think at all for a week, which is why it took us so long to move. At first, I even thought maybe Resa was still alive, before the DNA testing. It’s also partly why I’m trying so hard to change, and stop acting so shallow. Resa would be so ashamed of how I was. So after all that, I can’t imagine how horrible that must have been for Resa, especially to be alone in the woods while she was dying. She liked to take her diary with her, and hide it somewhere close by on her mysteries after writing in it, and it wasn’t in her house. (The police searched it after her death, in case there was some “important legal evidence” hidden in it. There wasn’t.)  “In case I don’t come back.” She’d always say, with a smile and a laugh. I just never thought it would come true.

                The next day was my first day of tenth grade. I woke up early so I could take a nice long, warm shower. That’s one thing I will definitely miss about California, the warm weather! I put on my favorite jeans and a pink shirt with a cami and sweater, then another sweater and a jacket! I was a gigantic, human rainbow marshmallow! Downstairs, Mom had made blueberry pancakes for Sara and me. It was her first day of senior year. She was completely jazzed, of course. The high school here was very good, actually. Plus Sara magically already knew someone here and had a ride. So I got the Prius by default.

                Everything was one big blur-one big whirlwind of lecturing and talking. One minute I was walking out our terra-cotta door, the next some girl form my English class had latched on to me and was dragging me to math, fourth period. She was nice enough, I guess. Her name was Evalyn; she was a chatterbox, with long silky red hair, amber eyes and a kind smile. She seemed to know everyone at the school. So I was lucky to have her as a new friend here. It’s just for some reason my heart wasn’t in it today. I wanted to be at home. So I just went through the motions of being at school. I found a lunch group, or really, they found me. I think some of their names were Emily, Darrell, James, Jessica and a few others. I hoped I hadn’t offended anyone by being so detached.  But in the last year, I had gotten to be a terrific actress. I know I heard myself laughing and joking with everyone, as if I’d been there forever.

                Ba-ba-ba-dump! Crash…Crash” Barely conscious I rolled over and turned off the six-thirty alarm on my stereo as guitars ripped through the air. It was a gorgeous Sunday morning. I was trying not to think about school or anything at all, really. The massive, black, technically complex stereo had been a gift to help me adjust to life in Washington, or to get me up in the morning, for chores or school.  But I was not going to complain.  Liz was jealous just hearing about it.

                I must have forgotten to turn off the alarm yesterday.  Totally understandable, seeing as I’d spent all of Saturday driving to Oregon to meet Liz after my first week at school.  Really, it wasn’t that bad. Just very monotonous. I had memorized the vegetated campus by Tuesday. But already I had categorized all the kids I met into groups according to popularity status.  I had suddenly needed to get out of the house, just drive somewhere. I hated caring about others opinions so much.

                 At ten to nine, I decided to go to the library and find out what was happening in this town.  Anything was better than sitting inside. Suddenly antsy, I scribbled my parents a note and dashed to get my things. And, ok, I admit I wanted to see the books.  I was a huge nerd that way. In my old town, the librarians had known me since I could walk, and I had read almost every story they had. But there’s no reason to be ashamed of that now, I sternly said. Then I realized I had actually said that aloud. I hurried out into the car before I could do anything else.

                                Shaking my head, I grabbed my purple purse and went in.  The cool air-conditioned air and the calming piano music instantly covered me. As the smell of books enveloped me, I got a shiny new library card.  The library was small, but had a good collection and a soothing atmosphere.  It was light and airy, everything a soft shade of sky blue.  Feeling free, I glided over to the most secluded part I could find.  It wasn’t hard.  Apparently, I was the one who wanted to be at the library on a Sunday morning. Even the elderly librarian looked like she would rather be anywhere else. I was in the mystery section-perfect! Mysteries are my favorite right now.  Bouncing on the heels of my feet, I pulled a couple murder mysteries off the shelf and leafed through them, putting all back put one. I started reading, completely lost in the character’s world. After a while, I realized that I should sit down because my legs were cramping up. I was surprised to see I was almost halfway through the book. I must have been standing way longer than I thought! Just then, my eye caught sight of a squashy light teal beanbag in the next row and I started towards it.

                Suddenly and out of nowhere, I hear footsteps nearby.  Startled, I hastily ducked behind the row of books.  It was a guy I recognized from school.  I vaguely remember Evalyn saying he was junior and in a band, and that his name was Michael Greene in her long-winded explanation of practically everyone at our school.  What she didn’t say was that he was drop-dead gorgeous!  Perfectly messed-up semi-long deep brown hair, intense gray hazelnut eyes and a terrific tan, completed by the facts that he was in a band and loved books too, obvious because he was holding about twenty that I could see from here, and they didn’t look like they were for schoolwork.  (Ok, maybe it was more like fifteen.  Or twelve.  But still.)  By the time I had processed all this, though, he was gone.  Sighing, I went to my squishy cushion with the murder mystery.  And walked right into him, falling down and taking him and his books with me.

                “Oh my gosh, I’m so so sorry!  I just didn’t see you!” mortified, I tried to help him.

                “My bad.  You looked pretty absorbed in something.  I was actually going to ask what you were reading.” Michael said, with a smile that reduced me to a pathetic pile of Jello.  “My name’s Michael, by the way.”  Oops, was I not supposed to know him?

                “I’m Bee.”  I managed to get out.  Thank God, I somehow remembered to smile back.  “Oh, and I was reading…” I glanced down, “The Killer’s Cousin. “ Uh, The Killer’s Cousin”

                “Cool, that’s one of my favorites”

                I nod my head and smile like a dork.

                Awkward silence.  “Uh, I’ll definitely be checking it out then.”  Lame!  So lame! Why did I say that?!?  Wait!  Now all that training I gave myself back in California began to kick in.  Giggle and say something complimentary. *Giggle* “Oh, I love your shirt.”  It was a band t-shirt for Fall Out Boy.  “They’re like one of my all time favorites.”

                He glanced down as if he forgot what he was wearing. (Which he might have.)  “Uh, yeah, me too.”

                “So what are you doing here on a Saturday morning?” I asked, sifting my weight to my other foot nervously.

                “I was just, you know getting some books.  It’s a library.  Why are you here?”

                “I wanted to see what kind of library this town had, and get some books.”

                “Oh, so you’re the new girl.  Sophomore, right?  Well, how’s University compare?”

                I nodded at the sophomore comment and gave him what my friends in California had nicknamed my “evil grin” because I used it to get what I wanted, and it pretty much always worked.  Fingers crossed.“Well, it’s not up to my standard, but it will have to do.” I say with an obviously fake snobby voice and sweeping hand gesture.

                He catches on and adopts the same tone.  “What?!?  I’ll have you know our town is the finest in the state!  We are famous for our beverages.  Have you sampled our coffee yet?”

                I put my nose in the air, which made him stifle a laugh.  Encouraged, I continue.  “I haven’t had the… pleasure yet.”

                (Back in his normal voice)  “Do you want to grab a cup with me?  It’s just around the corner, and I can give you a ride.”

                “Yeah, I’d love to.”

                “Cool.  Let’s go.”  On the drive, he tells me about himself.  We were laughing the whole way. He is so funny!  I was laughing practically the whole way! But I can’t remember what he said for my life. We went into the coffee place, a really cool little café. Inside it’s dark and loud, but in a comforting way- like a party at your best friend’s house. They have a live band-rock, I think, and black iron tables with mismatched, colorful plushy chairs in the middle of the room. The counter is in the back, and there are sofas on every wall. “Want a drink? I’m paying.”

                “But you drove. I should at least pay for my own!” I protest, digging in my purse for money and coming up short. “On second thought, can I just give you some gum?” I say, producing a packet of Juicy Fruit.

                “*Laughing* Sure.  What flavor?”

                “Um, there’s cinnamon and tropical. Take your pick.”

                “What? No good flavors? Fine, cinnamon. Mmmmmm.” *wink*

                *Laughing* “So sorry, I’ll get better gum soon, I promise.”

                 An hour later, Michael dropped me off next to the family car. We had ended up at the center iron table, with two Cinnamon Dolce Lattes and mini espresso brownies, and then pasta salads and muffins. (It was lunchtime after all! And neither of us had eaten breakfast.) In between, I had told him about everything that was going on, and even a little about the school year following that summer! It surprised me to be able to talk to anyone so openly about myself. I don’t like to talk about myself or what I’ve been through, even to Liz or Resa. I absolutely hate talking about the death also. It was now three weeks ago and I still forget sometimes, and try to call Resa. But now some other old lady lives there, someone else’s grandmother and someone else’s best friend. It was painful just to think about it. But there was something different about Michael. We could just talk freely to each other, about anything. He wants to help look for the diary. I told him to come over after school tomorrow. That should be enough time to semi-clean up around the house. I don’t want Micheal to see everything all chaotic around the house. Thank goodness for Sara and Mom being neat freaks! Even though, we still have four boxes unpacked from the move. All my stuff is (somewhere) in my room. I hope.

 

                The bell rang for the end of sixth period rang as I was walking out the door from my chemistry class with my cute, brand-new eco-friendly book bag. My next class was gym, which was practically all the way across campus. This was one class where I didn’t know anyone yet. My schedule was changed from last week for no apparent reason, and the office won’t change it back. (I tried. I was in the office for over an hour arguing with cranky old Mr. Lahoma.) I was starting to hate this place. The teachers were way too strict and only gave busy work. I still had some friends, but I really only knew Evalyn. Of course, I talked to nearly everyone, but I still didn’t really know them. I was amazed that more people seem to like me just being me, more than last year when I tried to fit the requirements other people set.  Anyway, I walked into the blue locker room and looked for Coach Megs-I had heard she was fun and caring. I found her over to the side of the gym, talking softly to a tall, melancholy girl who I assumed was in my class. Coach Megs was about 6’ with medium-length brown hair in a messy ponytail, wearing sweats in our school colors. The girl looked like she had been pretty once, but had had a tragedy of some sort. Her wide innocent eyes were a cold, dead gray and showed interest and guilt masking sadness. She also had an odd scar above her right eye that she was trying to cover with her dark blonde hair. She looked so uncomfortable, I decided she wouldn’t mind if I interrupted.

                “Excuse me, are you Coach Megs? I’m Bee, the new girl? I was just transferred to your class.”

                She held up one finger and said something to the girl, then turned to me. “Sorry, what was that?”

                “I’m Bee, the new girl. I should be in your class, they changed my schedule.”

                “All right, what’d you say your name was?” she said, looking through the roll sheet on her yellow clipboard.

                “It’s Bee, but I’ll be there as Beatrice Florentine.”

                “Ok…found it! Well, because it’s your first day you can sit out with Shannon here. All right? You two girls can just stay here; the class will be inside today.” Coach Megs gathered the class and started stretches on the opposite side of the gym.

                “Hey I’m Bee, from California. “ I smiled and tossed my hair slightly so I could see everyone while watching the sad girl; I think her name was-

 

                 “Shannon.” Came her response as she pulled up the hood of her black jacket, in a voice surprisingly strong and a little cold. I was right. She stopped talking, and we lapsed into an awkward silence for the remainder of the period. I wonder what was up with her. Maybe I should have said something, but I was really preoccupied about Resa’s diary. I just had to find it today, there wasn’t any other option.

 

                I jumped as the final bell rang, then grabbed my stuff and left. It took about five minutes to get home, and twenty to find a good enough outfit to look for the diary in. I decided on comfy skinny jeans and a light green v-neck, throwing on key earrings as the doorbell rang.

                “Coming!” I called, running downstairs.  “Hey! Ready to find the diary?”

                “Yep! Where’s your family?” Micheal asked, walking in and following me upstairs.

                “My parents are out in a nearby town, and Sara is at a friend’s, so we’ll have the house to ourselves for a couple of hours at least.”

                “Perfect. Where did you want to start?”

                “Definitely on the second floor; Resa would have hated the first floor.”

                “Got it. Too modern?”

                “Exactly. So, I found a trapdoor in my room that leads to another empty room that’s like a tower. I think we have one more of those, you can see the tops outside the house.” Almost an hour later we sure that nothing was in my room, the one above it, or the one across the hall that didn’t have any trapdoors. There was one room left that no one had been in yet.

                “Here’s the last room on this floor! It’s got to be here.” I said, not quite able to turn the door handle.

                Creeeeeeeeekkkk Micheal opened the door and stepped inside with me right behind him. “It looks empty, but so did the other one. Maybe it has a hidden room?”

                “Maybe, because it can’t be the tower. That’s on the other side of the house.” We looked and looked for over an hour but couldn’t find anything.

                “I’m sorry, Bee, maybe it’s not here.” Sighed Micheal, leaning against the wall.

                “It has to be! There’s nowhere else. I have to know why she was here the night she died. It had to have been important!” I said exasperatedly, sliding down wall and plopping on the floor with a loud thump. Frustrated, I pulled my hair into a bun and tried to think of where we could have missed something.

                “Hey, what’s that on the back of your neck? It looks a cut.”

                “It’s nothing.” I flushed and undid the bun. “I fell a long time ago.”

                “No, it’s way more recent. My dad’s a doctor, I know these things. Let me see.”

                “No! I told you, it’s nothing!” I pulled away and knocked into the wall. Suddenly, the wall fell away. “Oh             my             gosh.”

                “Bee, you just found the hidden room!” There was a tiny entrance, only big enough for us to crawl inside. In there, the light sparkled around the walls covered with newspaper clippings and a kid’s artwork. And there, on a small oak wood table, was Resa’s diary.

                “Oh my god we found it!!” I was jumping up and down. I ran over to the table, grabbed the diary, and then ran back over to hug Micheal. “Thank you so much!!”

                “Don’t thank me, you found it! What’s it say?”

Ding Dong! “Honey, I’m home!” My mom’s voice drifted up the vinyl stairs to our hidden room. Or I guess it used to be Resa’s hidden room. All the wok on the wall’s was mine or Sara’s, and the newspaper clippings were about various events in her town and my old one, with an unexplained emphasis on some lady’s funeral ten years ago.

                “Damnit! We have to get you out of her, my mom would freak if she knew you were here this whole time! Umm, if you can get downstairs there’s a door on the right side of the kitchen where no one can see you and you can get outside. Call me tomorrow?” I whispered in one breath, starting to feel faint.

                “Kay, don’t worry, she’ll never know. I’ll be gone before she turns around. I’ll call. Bye.” Micheal said braggingly, practically flying downstairs. He was out the door before Mom even got her coat off.  I have to admit, it was impressive.

                “Honey, are you there?” Mom asked, finally turning around.

                “Yeah, I was upstairs. What’s new?” I asked, trying to look nonchalant. I followed her into the kitchen. There was no trace anyone but me had been home. Smiling with relief, I grabbed a bowl and got some Cheerios.

                “Nothing really, sweetie, just another day at the office. Did you have fun at school?” she said, juggling with a magazine, newspaper and briefcase before dumping it all on the sleek white table.

                “Yeah, but I’m still not used to this stupid new schedule. I only got to keep one class!” I complained.

                “Well, that must be hard, but you have plenty of time to get used to it. If it really bugs you, Dad and I could always complain to the school. Oh, but you should go start your homework now. I’ll need your help with dinner in about an hour! Love you!” she managed to get out without a breath, as I started to walk towards my room. Five hours later, and I was completely exhausted and still hadn’t got to look at Resa’s diary. Every time I tried, someone came in with something else I had to do. I finally gave up in favor of sleeping.

                The next morning, I hid the diary back in its room before heading off to school. Mom had the morning off, and was planning on cleaning up around the house. (She’d be gone from three to seven) I was going to tell her, just not yet. After I read the diary, unless it needed to be kept a secret. Besides, I had a feeling it shouldn’t leave the room just yet.

                The first six periods just flew past me-I couldn’t concentrate for more than five minutes. Of course, everyone loved it; I was hilarious.  It was really ironic- here where I was trying to not care what anyone thought of me, everyone loved me and flocked around me as if I was already popular. I guess I was. So, gym class I decided to test my popularity and my newfound strength. Before class, I strode over to where Shannon was to start a conversation. I got to join the class today and play some random game Coach Megs thought of, (it was actually fun) but that left Shannon sitting off to the side by herself. You should have heard all the rumors people made up about her! But I had decided not to listen for once.

                “Hey Shannon!” I said triumphantly.

                “Hey Bee.” Yay, she was being friendly today!

                “How are you?” I asked.

                “Fine. Tired of watching you guys get all the fun, but I will get over it.” She said teasingly and I laughed.

                “Why aren’t you playing too?” I asked.

                “I crashed my bike.” She looked the other way, somewhat nervously.

                “Well that sucks!” I retorted.

                “Yes it does.” She turned around.

                Ummmmmm… Ut oh. Some girls came out of the locker room and started staring at me. Come on Bee, you can do it, just ignore them.

                “You better go before the others shun you for your entire high school life.” Shannon said dryly. I hope she didn’t notice me over-reacting to the staring. I flushed.

                “I don’t care what they think! I like you and will hang out with you no matter what they think.” I firmly declared.  There I go over-reacting again. But it’s true.

                “Your funeral.” She retorted with a smile, pulling up the hood on her celery green jacket.

                “So, where do you live?” I asked, trying to strike up a conversation again.

                “I live on Carlson Drive, in the big house at the end surrounded by all the thick trees.” She said, relaxed.

                “Ohh, I heard there’s a beautiful river down there.”

                “Ya, I used to go there when I was little to go swimming during the summer.” She said. She seemed to change right then; she looked softer and happier. I was about to ask what that was like when Coach Megs blew the whistle for the class to gather. I stood up.

                “I’ll see you later?” I asked. I didn’t want to hang around if it was bugging her, but I doubted she’d say no. She thought it over for a second, and I guess I made a good impression.

                “Sure.” Shannon said with a small smile, the first time she really smiled and it reached her eyes. I smiled back and jogged over to the class. Surprisingly, only three girls were whispering and pointing at me. The rest were nice and added me to their team. (There were only ten girls in all; it was a very small class.) I barely noticed the three airheads. After class, I tried to find Shannon again, but she seemed to have disappeared.  I decided we could talk tomorrow and left school. I couldn’t wait to get home and read the diary!   

                Five minutes after I entered the house, my cell rang. It was Micheal. “Hey. Ready to read the diary?” he asked through the bad connection. “Of course! Let’s see, meet me at the library?” I responded, hiding the diary in a coat and starting to leave a note. “I’ll be there. See you in a few.” He said, and I hung up the phone.

                We both arrived at the same time. The library was even emptier than when we meet, with a slightly mysterious edge to its soothing atmosphere. “Here it is!! I can’t believe I’m actually about to read it! Maybe we shouldn’t read all of it.” I said, thinking aloud.

                “What do you mean?!? After how hard we searched? Fine. No big deal.” He exclaimed.

                “It’s just…this is every secret she ever had. Don’t you think Resa deserves some privacy?” I asked.

                “You’re right. Well, let’s just skip to where she last wrote.” Micheal compromised.

                “Her entry was dated in September. It’s about some girl she saw- it looks like Resa thought something was up. Here she is again. She’s like covered in bruises! Ok, now we’re at the day she disappeared. It says-“ I stopped. I couldn’t believe what was on the page. “She wrote to me.”

                September 12, 2007

as you help her. She’s in danger, but doesn’t believe it. Her mother died about ten years ago. ThThatl

Today I am going to this cool house, to find a place to hide you. I think I know what is happening with the poor girl, and I might not live past today. Bee, if you are reading this, I am dead. I chose this spot especially because I know your parents will move if I die, and this is the house they’d pick. You are slightly predictable, honey. I knew you would find this if I left it for you-you’re an even better detective than I was. Know I love you and your family. You will make it far if you listen to your heart-whatever happens. And whatever the past was, you can overcome it. But not by yourself-let someone in. I know there was something, Liz was concerned. Be strong, Bee. Now, I have to go, but before I do, let me tell you what I was working on- do you know (smudge)? She goes to your school. She’s the one I mentioned earlier. By the way- you can read this. I don’t mind-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The rest was torn off. So Liz and Resa had known something was wrong. I wonder if they knew everything. But who was it Resa was talking about?  She only said they were covered in bruises. Oh, and they had a scar above her eye. Like Shannon. But it couldn’t be her. “Hey Micheal, do you know a Shannon Peters?”

                “Yeah, I’ve heard of her. This is wild, isn’t it? How did Resa know this stuff? You’re so lucky to have such a cool grandma.” He said, without looking away from the page.

                “Thanks. She was the best. But anything in particular about Shannon?” I asked.

                “Naw, just the normal rumors. She’s lesbo, she’s gay, she’s an orphan. I don’t believe anything I hear at that place, it’s all so dumb. Why?” he asked, finally looking up.

                “No reason. I was talking with her today. I think I’m going to try and be her friend. She’s like always alone at school, I feel bad for her. She’s actually pretty funny.” I said. No reason to raise false hope.

                “We have to find out who this is. It’s what Resa wanted when she left it here. Wow. She could actually like predict the future! Freaky.” He said. “I gotta go. I’ll call you tomorrow.” He added after looking at his watch.

                “Kay. I think I’m going to leave, too. I still have to do that science homework my parents think I just did.” I said, following him to the parking lot. Micheal started to laugh. “Alright, Bye, Bee.”

                “Bye.” I called out my window. There’s no way it could be Shannon.

The next morning, I decided I should just find out today if Shannon’s mom died. And if she did, when Shannon got that scar. Seventh period couldn’t come fast enough. Shannon was the first one out of the locker room, but dressed for once. I guess she was finally feeling better. I followed here into the gym, smiling. She smiled back. “Hey Bee.”

“Hi Shannon!” I replied. “So, what are your parents like?”  I asked. She paused for a moment before answering.

“Well, my father works as a policeman around town, and my mother died ten years ago so I don’t really remember her all that well.”  Shannon said.

“I’m so sorry! How did she die?” I asked. Oh my goodness! That must be why she looks so sad all the time. Just please let there be an explanation for the scar.

“We were driving in the rain when a car almost crashed into us. My father swerved the car and it went over the side railing. My parents were both able to get out but I was too scared to move, my mom came back in the car to get me but it fell before she was able to get back out.” she whispered, bowing her head. “You don’t have to be afraid to ask me about it, you know.” She added. I  jumped, before turning away and blushing. She had caught me staring at her scar. It was so sad! I didn’t want Shannon to have any more sadness in her life.

“What happened?” I asked, picking at my nail.

“My father and I were vacationing in Hawaii and I decided I wanted to try cliff diving. Anyway, I went a little too close to the coral reef and when I jumped, I got scraped by an insanely sharp piece of coral. I guess you can say that was my souvenir from that trip.” She stated. I was silent for a few seconds. Well, it sounded like a good explanation. Thank god.

“Well, that must have hurt.” I said and laughed a bit.

“Tell me about it, what about you?” she asked, joining in the laughter. Huh?

“What do you mean?”

“I mean the scar on the back of your neck.” Shannon clarified. My heart stopped beating. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, but I will be here if you want to talk.” But I can’t talk about it. I didn’t get to say anything, though, because class started.

                Once class was over, I changed my mind. “Shannon, wait up!” I called after her anxiously. She turned and saw me running.

                “What’s up Bee, are you alright?” she asked, sounding rather worried.

                 “I’m fine, I just wanted to tell you how I got that scar.” I said

                “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” she said, already turning away.

                “No, its fine. You told me your story, so now it’s my turn to do the same with you.” I replied. I had no idea where this was coming from.

                “Thank you for trusting me.” She said, looking relieved.

                “No problem. Well, I’ve never told anyone this before. It was, not the summer right before the school year, but the one before that. I was going out with this amazing guy, but he had a bit of a temper. He had already been having a bad day. I was so stupid, I totally provoked it. I tried to tease him and just be like all those other happy, normal couples. Well, he snapped and starting hitting me like he hadn’t ever before. I couldn’t move or anything, it was so terrifying. Anyways, somehow he cut the base of my neck. I was lucky he could carry me to the car and drive to the emergency room. We told everyone else I fell and hit my head on a rock. You have to promise to keep it a secret! He broke up with me shortly after; he said I was too much trouble. Anyways, I just wanted to tell you. I’m not really sure why.” She was silent for a moment, and then pulled me into a tight hug. I flinched at her ice-cold skin but hugged back. I was on the verge of tears.

                “I’m really sorry,” Shannon said, pulling back. “I have to go!” she yelled, rushing away. I stood in the parking lot for a moment, shell shocked at what I had done. Not even Liz or Resa knew about my scar-that’s what she had meant when “something was wrong”. Something was really wrong. I needed to talk to someone, or do something. I was being swallowed by my terrifying memories just standing there-my skin was just as cold as Shannon’s was now. So I decided to drive over to her house later today, maybe bring something I could help fix her bike with. Feeling accomplished, I drove straight to the local supermarket and bought a wrench and some silver paint. (It looked the prettiest) I decided to wait an hour, so she’d have a chance to relax or do homework or whatever she was in such a hurry for.

                Back home, I got absolutely nothing done before I could stay inside any longer. I just had to see Shannon’s house! So I yelled at Sara to tell Dad I was at a friend’s when he got home and left with the old baby blue Volvo. It took me a while to find Carlson Drive; it was at the opposite end of town. There was a gorgeous river behind her street that you could see at the end of the street. I grabbed the Ace Hardware bag and rang their brass doorbell. No answer. I peeked through the window; all the lights were on. I rang again, and then banged on the door. I was just about to leave when I swear I heard someone scream- a blood curling, high-pitched scream. I dropped the bag and ran behind Shannon’s house into the backyard. There were two sets of footprints, one Shannon-sized and one much, much bigger. I followed the Shannon-sized ones as fast as I could. They went straight into the forest.

                I was running through the deep forest now, I could see the river straight ahead. There was something creepy going on; I tried to be silent to shake the feeling I was being watched. Someone had fallen-they were right in front of me. I slowed down and hid behind the trees, watching. It was Shannon! She was curled up on the ground, hiding too. Slowly she sat up, and I was about to walk forward when I heard him.  The sound of leaves crunching underfoot filled the clearing, but Shannon didn’t hear. She was still facing the wrong direction. Now the man was visible. He could only be Shannon’s father; they looked too much alike, and had the same aura of sadness around them. But he was also angry and drunk. I could smell alcohol from where I was. Suddenly he spotted Shannon and stomped over. She still hadn’t moved. He put his hand on her shoulder and started punching. Shannon fell and didn’t get up.

 

                It was the middle of summer at twilight, on a Californian beach. The only people out were a young couple, walking holding hands. The girl wasn’t more than fourteen, but she looked older and her boyfriend was sixteen. She was laughing at something he said when suddenly the mood changed. The both stopped laughing and walking. The moonlight shifted, throwing bruises and scrapes on the girl that it hid before in the couple’s faces.

                “It was just a joke, Zayden! You don’t have to take everything so seriously! Wait, I didn’t mean that either! Come on, just take a deep breath and-“she was cut off as he snapped. No longer a cute surfer but some horridly angry monster.

                “No! I will not ‘take a deep breath’ you are always mean and rude and horrible! You’re the worst girlfriend ever I deserve so much better!” he screamed, and started hitting her as hard as he could. Bee fell to the sand. She tried to turn away, even just to roll an inch but she couldn’t move. Suddenly she could felt something warm and sticky on the back of her neck and seeping into her hair. She reached to stop it, but couldn’t, it kept flowing. The last thing she saw before blacking out was blood covering her hand. “This is all my fault.” She whispered.

 

                NO. That’s over. I’m in a different state, nothing can-stop. Think calm. This isn’t even my story, its Shannon’s. I couldn’t move an inch. Shannon’s screams bounced off the trees, echoing through the forest and I knew the end was near. No way she can last this long. I was lucky Zayden was able to stop when he saw all that blood-no. Focus on Shannon. I subconsciously clamped a hand on the back of the base of my neck. My scar was ice cold. Trembling, I noticed that everything was suddenly silent. Deathly silent. Tears started to flow as I cautiously peeked through the leaves. He was walking away, shaking. It was over. I sank into the brush and sobbed, crying for my newfound friend. Please don’t let Shannon be dead. Memories of Resa’s death and that summer flooded my head. It was already too much. I got up slowly. She was covered in blood and not moving. My hands were shaking as I searched in vain for a pulse.

                “Shannon. Shannon. Wake up, Shannon. Wake up! It’s over; it’s me now, me Bee. Wake up!” I started off whispering and ended yelling. “No! You can’t leave me Shannon! I was going to fix your bike. You were going to be my friend. I told you!! No one else knows! You can’t be gone!!” I screamed, suddenly hysterical. “Shannon! No! This is not happening! He didn’t kill you! No, no no! I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here.” I jumped up and ran faster than I’ve ever run before, and didn’t stop until I was in the car. Fumbling with the keys, I hit the gas and drove. Just drove away, as fast as I could. When I realized I was on the freeway I pulled over and cried. I must have cried for an hour straight in the car. It had started to rain, the clouds were crying with me. I thought it was fitting. Suddenly I heard a sharp knock on the windshield and looked up. It was Micheal. He was standing in the rain, knocking on my car, asking to come in. With a feeling today couldn’t possible get weirder, I let him in.

                “Hey. What-How are you here? I asked, struggling to stop crying. He slid in the car and pulled off a soaking wet forest greed raincoat.

                “I saw you driving and followed you.” He said. “Are you alright? What happened? You were driving really fast and I could see you crying.” Micheal asked, concerned. I was touched.

                “No. But it doesn’t matter. Everything was so horrible. It just-“ I couldn’t finish the sentence. I was crying again. Micheal tried to comfort me, letting me lean against him.

                “It’s alright. Whatever it was, it’s over.”

                “I know. Thanks. But I need to talk to someone. Something happened today, horrible beyond belief. It’s making me relive my past. I-I don’t know if I can say it again.” But I have to. And I did. We sat in silence for a second. Then Micheal pulled me over and started talking.

                “I’m so sorry Bee. That’s terrible. He had no right-you’re too-there’s no way that could have been your fault. You could never have deserved it. You weren’t stupid. He was a-“ I cut him off before he could finish.

                “Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. I’ve spent so long convincing myself if only I had done something different-but it doesn’t even matter now. Anyways, like I said before, I’ve told someone else. But only one person. And now she’s-“ I couldn’t finish the sentence. Saying it aloud would somehow make it real, final. Like there was no hope.

                “What? Who was it? What happened?” Micheal asked. I gathered myself.

                “Today I told Shannon Peters. Micheal, I think she was the girl from Resa’s diary. She had the same scar- and after what I saw today, I know it’s her. Micheal, she’s-“ I couldn’t do it. But I had to. Again. “She’s dead. I saw it. She’s in the forest, behind her house by the river. Oh god, it was so horrible. I can’t- words can’t describe it. I went to her house to talk, I even brought stuff to fix her bike ‘cause she had mentioned it before and-anyway, when I got there no one answered the door but all the lights were on so I stayed and waited and then there was this blood curling scream. I dropped everything to see what was going on, it was her, I swear, then her dad I think came into the clearing and just starting beating her up and I was having this appalling flashback and then it was all over. She was dead! Ohmygod I saw someone die! And he just walked away, he was so drunk I could smell it fifteen feet away and I was just terrified I couldn’t move. I went over and she didn’t have a pulse-“ I was crying too hard to finish. “So here I am.”

                We sat there for a minute, just me in his arms crying. I couldn’t believe it; this had to be some sick dream. Wake up, Bee. Wake up! But I couldn’t. Nothing could save me from the truth.

                “Wow. That was- intense. God Bee, it amazing you’re not like insane! No, you’re strong. But we have to do something.” Micheal finally said.

                “Do something? What can we possibly do? She’s dead! That’s the end of it.” I said, wiping away tears.

                “No, we have to tell the police. I mean you do. You saw it. I’ll be there with you. You don’t have to tell about your scar. Just say what you saw. It’ll be fine.” He explained. I could barely breathe.

                “No it won’t! Oh god, Micheal, I just realized, he killed Resa too! She knew it was going to happen, that’s why she wrote that in the diary! It wasn’t an animal, it was him! Oh god, he’s going to kill me too!” At that point, I was beyond hysterical. It took Micheal ten minutes to convince me, no, that guy could not just come and kill me that second.             

                “Bee, that’s why you have to tell. He doesn’t know you were there. You said yourself he just walked off and you were hiding! It’s got to be you. You have to avenge Resa and Shannon.” He said calmly.               

                “Avenge Resa and Shannon?!?! Micheal, it took me a year to tell someone I got a huge cut on the back of my neck! You just expect me to be able to walk right up to some stranger and say I saw someone get murdered?!?!?” I asked disbelievingly. I can’t handle this!

                “You can. You will. I’ll go with you. But right now we have to get you home. Did you know it’s already ten thirty?” Micheal commanded, taking the wheel. I buckled up, still not believing today really happened. Ten minutes later, we pulled up a block away from my house. “I should probably go now. You can get home from here, right?” He asked, turning off the engine.

                “Yes. Thank you so much! I don’t know how I would have survived if you hadn’t shown up.” I smiled and reached over to give him a hug.

                “You’re welcome. You would have survived, Bee. You’re amazing-you’re the most incredible person I know.” He said, pushing back my hair as the mood changed. The moonlight looked romantic instead of frightening, and my heart was going a mile a minute. Quick, I didn’t have mascara all over my face, did I?

                He was facing me, still in a hug. I closed my eyes and lifted my head and

                Ba-ba-ba-dump! Crash…Crash” Damn alarm clock. I dragged my arm out of bed and slammed the snooze button. Thursday. No! I have to go to school. Last night was unbelievable. It went from ordinary day to nightmare to perfect in a matter of hours. Before he got out of the car, Micheal kissed me. It was short and sweet and gentle and perfect, and almost made the day worth living through. Almost, but not quite. God. I was never going to be able to walk in the forest again. Wearily, I dragged myself out of bed, out the door and into the car. Micheal was right. I had to tell. It scared me to death-worse than actually seeing it. What if he found out? Oh no, I was going to have to do a line-up, wasn’t I? Because I couldn’t be sure it was Shannon’s dad! He would see me! I’d have to point at him and he’d see and come and get me and-no. This was ridiculous. I’ll get a picture from a newspaper or something to prove it was him. It’ll just be Micheal, the police and me. No one else. Nothing intimidating. Deep breaths. We were meeting up after school in the parking lot and going to the station. It’d be an anonymous tip-off, no names. With that thought, I started the engine and went to school.

                Several hours later, I was waiting in the parking lot trying to stay calm. I miraculously made it through the day. No one but me even noticed Shannon was gone. In their defense, they let me into their circles. No harm, no foul, I guess. Depressing. “Hey there. All ready?”Micheal’s voice came from behind me.

                “As ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s go.” I said, hopping into his car.

                “Don’t be nervous. You want to appear as calm as possible, but they get people falling apart all the time so don’t worry about making a scene.” He gave me pointers as we walked into the tall, dark building looming in front of us. Be calm. I didn’t do anything wrong.

                “Hi I’m Bee, I’m here to report something anonymously.” I said, striding up to the front desk.

                “Just back there. Who’s this?” said the pudgy officer, pointing at Micheal.

                “I’m Micheal, sir, here as Bee’s moral support. I can go in, right?” he said.

                “Sure, kid. I don’t matter to me.” The officer responding, waving us back.

                I emerged an hour later, completely exhilarated. I had done it! I just went in and told the officer what happened, with Micheal filling in after I couldn’t from crying. I felt great! The two of us went to get ice cream to celebrate. We ended up staying a couple of hours, and then I invited him over for dinner. My parents loved him, so we’re officially a couple. I’m flying right now.  I’ve never been happier in my life. I know Shannon and Resa are watching me right now and are proud of what I’ve done. The next day the police found Shannon’s body in the woods and arrested Rob Peters. (The drunk man-turns out he was Shannon’s dad.) I fell asleep that night the moment my head hit the pillow, exhausted but in a good way. Like this was finally my happily ever after.

               

                               

                Where am I? I thought to myself. I was lying on the ground- but it was so soft and I wasn’t getting dirty at all. I was in the most gorgeous forest I have ever seen, I can’t describe it. I wasn’t even scared at all- that’s how beautiful it was. There was an aura of peace, calm and happiness washing over everything. I thought I saw the river from behind Shannon’s house off in the distance. Even the light sparkled here- I could see rainbows in the light and some eighth color I had no name for. I got up. It was slightly humid, but still perfect. I looked down at myself. Huh. I was wearing a beautiful, soft, flowing, pale gray gown I didn’t remember putting on. It looked like something out of a romantic Greek fairy tale. Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me. It was Shannon! Ohmygod, where was I?

            “Hello Bee.” She said raising her hand in greeting, her voice flowing like silk. She was so much different from the Shannon I remembered, but still obviously the same person. Her eyes sparkled like the depths of the ocean, a deeper, more serene blue than I’d saw before or since. Her hair was a river of a lighter blonde and ran elegantly down her back. She was wearing a dress just like mine, but in a white whiter than the purest snow.

            “Shannon! Where am I? What’s going on?” I asked, perplexed. My voice sounded rough and low compared to hers! She laughed, the sound tinkling through my ears like raindrops. I paused a moment, then joined in.

            “I came to visit you the only way possible: in your dreams. You’re asleep, Bee. This is somewhere in between life and death. Come, follow me.” She almost sang, grabbing my hand and running off into the woods with me.  Her skin was warm for once, and soft.  I kept up best I could, but I realized if I stopped running, I just floated along beside Shannon.

            “Where are we going? Why am I floating?” I called over the wind-that’s how fast we were going!

            “I’m taking you to my house. You’re floating because you’re not really here; you’re still alive so you can’t really fit in here.” Shannon called back, her voice weaving through the wind in a way mine couldn’t. What she said made sense, in a very weird abstract way. This was going down in weird dream hall of fame. “We’re almost there! There’s someone I want you to see, and someone I need to introduce you to.” She said, flying to a halt. We were right in front of the river, beside a quaint little log cabin. “We’re here. Welcome to my home.”

            “It’s beautiful, Shannon!” I said, amazed. “You live here? Who’s that inside?” I asked, trying to peer through the glass window. A figure moved inside, and the door opened.

            “This, Bee, is my mother. Eve Peters. Remember, she died when I was ten? We’ve been living here together. She’s been wanting to meet you.” Shannon explained, holding on to her mother’s arm. Eve was tall and willowy, emphasized by her white gown. She had Shannon’s blue eyes, but they twinkled with a deeper edge of sadness. After all, when things went wrong, she could only watch. Her hair was the same color as well, but it ran to her ankles.

            “Hello Bee! I guess you know who I am now. Shannon’s told me so much about you. Thank you for what you did for my family.” Eve said, with a voice that melted my heart, wrapping her arm around her daughter. They were heartbreakingly beautiful standing together.    

            “I missed you!” Shannon chimed in. “We all did. We’ve been watching you!” she sang.

            “We? Who else is here?” I asked.

            “I think you know her.” Shannon said with an expectant smile on the edge of her pale rose petal lips. Another person stepped out of the doorway.

            “Ohmygod!! Resa!! I missed you so much!” I yelled, running forward and enveloping my grandma in a bear hug. “Did you see me? I did it! I found the diary and followed your instructions! Oh, I missed you so much!” I said again, squeezing as hard as I could. Resa laughed, the sound tinkling like an older version of Shannon’s laugh. Resa looked a little different, I realized. She wore the same white gown, with a white rose in her hair that was a deep, chocolate brown river to her knees. She looked younger and brighter. In fact, all of them seemed to be glowing. “What’s going on, Resa? I don’t get it.” I asked, confused again.

            “It’s alright honey, you’re not supposed to get it. We’re just here to comfort you right now, and to tell you how much I’ve missed and will miss you!” she said, draping her arm around me. “You did so great! I watched the whole thing from here. I’ll always be watching you now. You’ll never be alone.” Resa vowed.

            “I’ll be here too.” Shannon added. “I can’t thank you enough. You’ve solved everything! I have a family again! We can’t wait for Dad to join us. And thank you for being my friend when nobody else would even come near me ” She said, mentioning her father for the first time. “You might not understand why I still love him, but I do. We both do.” Shannon whispered, motioning to her mom.

          “It’s alright. I’m not supposed to understand, am I? All that matters is you’re happy now.” I said.

            “And you know, that Micheal guy is really cute. I think you should go for him.” Shannon said and laughed, winking at me. I turned away, blushing.

          “We are already kind of going out.” I said embarrassed.

          “Well than keep me posted, I heard that he didn’t believe any of the rumors people spread about me. He seems like a really great guy but if he hurts you let me know and I will haunt him for the rest of eternity” she threatened. I was horrified! Then she started laughing and I calmed down. Duh. It was just a joke.

            “But what happens now? Do I get to stay a while?” I asked.

            “You can stay as long as you want, as long as you stay asleep.” Eve explained.

            “Tell me about your life now, Bee. I’ll be watching anyway, but I’d love to hear your voice. I will miss you so much! But it’s better you’re not here.” Resa said. “ As beautiful as it is, it gets lonely. I’m lucky to have Shannon and Eve for company. But I’ll have to find my own home soon.”

            “What? No Resa, you’re staying right here!” Shannon protested.

            “Thank you darling, but this is your story. I’ll soon have to find my own.” Resa clarified.

            “You’re welcome to stay as long you want, Resa. I understand.” Said Eve. “We all have our place in life. The most important part is living it.”

            “Thank you Eve. I’ll only be a while longer. Now Bee, talk to us. It gets boring here after a while!” Resa commanded, laughing.

            “Well, I-

            Ba-ba-ba-dump! Crash…Crash” I swear, I am going to break that clock!

 

 

 

THE END!!!

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