“Keeping Secrets” – Ch.19 – No longer friends (3rd storyline)

No longer friends….

 The day of the slumber party finally arrives. I feel like I have been waiting for the day for months. Roxie has avoided me all week at school, even resorting to being driven to school each day.

It is one of the longest weeks of my life. Firstly I have to spend more time with the twins walking them to and from school on my own. When Mum found out Roxie was getting a lift to school, she insists that I walk the twins each day.

“But why,” I complain each morning in the kitchen as I attempt to eat breakfast.

“You know why young lady. You can’t walk on your own and it saves me driving them to school and then racing off to work,” says Mum as she moves hastily around the kitchen cleaning.

“I hate taking them to school. They fight the entire way there and back. It’s so annoying.”

“Don’t speak like that Alexx. They are your sisters and they love you. This is just the age they are at.”

At least with Mum and me arguing every day about the Bree and Ella, Dad and Mum don’t get the chance to argue too. Most mornings Dad simply walks into the kitchen, kisses us all on the head (except Mum) and leaves for work. Sometimes I think silence is worse than the constant bickering.

Secondly I miss seeing my beautiful Brendon every day. Now that I am no longer walking with Roxie, Brendon isn’t walking me. I don’t think he is avoiding me, we just leave the house at different times. He is being loyal to his sister, which I know of course he will.

He always makes me feel special, even on our short journey to school. When an older boy, a gorgeous older boy is happy to walk with you, talk with you about cool stuff, it makes you feel special. When our skin would accidentally touch as we walked, my heart almost leaped from my chest. I hope he never noticed my reaction to his touch.

Brendon gave me reasons to dream. The dream is always the same, him and I together alone. He would stare into my eyes, always making me nervous but comfortable in his company. He would tell me how beautiful I am and how much he really likes me.

His hands would reach for mine, gently holding them as he rubbed his fingers ever so slightly over my palms. All my senses would come alive, tingling excitedly. He would make me the centre of his world, even for the brief moments we would spend together.

Time stood still as our connection became more intense with each moment. His eyes never leaving mine, he would lean forward, slowly, confidently taking the moment into his hands. As our lips touch slightly, my hairs would stand on end and butterflies would soar inside my stomach.

With our lips touching, his kiss turns me into the most beautiful girl in the world. He is so gentle and caring, I would never want this feeling to end. My first kiss belonged to him and him alone.

This week I miss out on all my dreams. I need to see him, be around him to dream, pretend this is a possibility. I feel like I have been cheated from precious time with Brendon.

Thirdly, the most important of all is I haven’t spoken to Roxie all week. She is avoiding me everywhere we go, the walk to school, the playground, and the telephone. Nothing. No contact what so ever.

I try to call a few times but each time I speak to her Mum, she says she is unavailable but will leave a message I called. It became clear that she knows what has happened, so Brendon probably does too.

I never realise how much I had in my friendship with Roxie. It wasn’t just Roxie, it is her family too. I care for them all and I know they care for me too. My Mum asks about Roxie all week, saying she misses her happy smiling face around. Even the twins ask why they haven’t seen her.

School is the hardest time though. It was always Roxie and I doing everything together and the rest of the girls simply formed part of our friendship circle. Roxie and I would meet before lunch and walk together out to the playground. We would walk back into class together.

At assembly we stood together as everyone needed to pair up. We did everything in pairs but I no longer had my partner. Instead I was left out, no one to pair up with. Poppy and Bella are inseparable as usual, nothing and no one would get between them. While Jo and Sam paired off in most things, it had become habit that these two chose each other. That simply left me, alone without my security.

Every time I see Roxie in the school grounds she seems happy, happier than I have seen her in a long time. There is always a new face around her, requesting her friendship. Even when it is time to pair up, Roxie always seems to have a willing participant by her side.

I never realised Roxie was my security, my rock and I have taken her for granted. She is moving on with other friends, other people who will share her life and I am left on my own. I have other friends but they are all happily secure in their friendships. I have no one, no other special pair.

It feels wrong. I am forcing friendships that may never have occurred and in doing so I have lost the one friendship I really care about. No one else seems affected by my loss, not even Roxie.

All day every day the conversation is about Poppy and her slumber party. With Roxie no longer hanging around, there is no need to be secretive. Roxie only came up in conversation once and it is as though she has never been part of our circle of friends.

It was the first lunchtime after our fight and I walk out to meet the girls on my own. I am very self-absorbed by my own sombre mood not realising I have somehow become the centre of attention.

“Hey Alexx, where is Roxie?” asks Sam, concerned by my appearance.

I hadn’t slept well the night before, tossing and turning every hour. Even though sleep has evaded me, the nightmare of the damage I have caused is truly alive. With dark circles under my eyes and my skin even paler than usual, I look as sickly as I feel.

“She is at school somewhere,” I say, intentionally evading the question.

“Yeah I saw her heading towards the library with some other girls,” injected Jo unaware there is a situation developing.

“What girls?” asks Poppy.

“I don’t know their names. You know the girls who hang out with Sam’s cousin,” replies Jo.

“Katey?” says Sam.

“Yeah, Katey and her friends,” agrees Jo.

“Why is she with Katey?” asks Poppy, turning her attention to me.

‘Umm, well, Roxie and I had a fight last night. She is not talking to me at the moment. I am sure she will be back with us tomorrow,” I respond quietly, trying to convince myself it is true.

“What is the fight about?” Poppy demands.

“It doesn’t really matter.”

“Yes it does. You two never fight and now she is playing with someone else. I need to know,’ demands Poppy more aggressively.

“If you must know it is about your party,” I growl, anger building in my voice as I try to match her intensity.

“WHAT??” shouts Poppy making everyone around her freeze with fear.

Poppy is someone you don’t want to get angry and you definitely don’t want to get on her wrong side. She is like a lion, she will not let go until she has hunted down her prey and destroyed them. Today is looking like I will be her prey.

“I told you it is a secret. It is none of her business,” screeches Poppy.

“I know you did but she is, or was my friend and I didn’t think it is very nice not to tell her. I didn’t want her to find out from someone else.”

Poppy moves closer to me her arms on her hips towering over me making me feel like a coward. I am intimidated by her, scared to be at the other end of her anger.

Jo eased her way in between us, trying to defuse the situation before it gets out of control. With Jo acting as some protection, I contemplate turning and running,  running away as fast as I could until either my legs can no longer carry me.

A voice inside my head told to stand my ground and not back down. If I ran now I will have nothing, no one. I will have done all this for nothing.

“Girls, let’s talk about this,” says Jo calmly, guiding the group to sit down and talk about this like friends, not enemies.

“I am sorry Poppy, I felt bad for Roxie. That’s all.”

“It isn’t your place to tell her. You promised me you wouldn’t,” replies Poppy frustrated.

“I know I did and I am sorry. I am really sorry Poppy. Please forgive me,” I plead.

Sam stands by my side sensing that I need some moral support. She will never cross Poppy; it is not in her nature. She is kind at heart and hates to see anyone hurting as I am.

“Okay, you’re forgiven, but don’t think that I am going to now invite Roxie just because she knows about my party.”

“No, I don’t. Plus I don’t think she will want to come. I think she hates me.”

‘But why you?” asks Sam distressed.

Sam’s caring nature always takes me by surprise. I often think of her as an added appendage to Poppy and Bella. However she is nothing like any of my other friends. Sam is kind in her heart, kind to everyone and everything. She never judges what she sees, what she hears. Sam accepts people’s choices without regret and she is able to put herself in someone else’s shoes, really feeling what they are going through.

“I think she wanted me to not go to Poppy’s party,” I reply directly to Sam, ignoring the reaction of gasping from Poppy.

“Oh Alexx, I am sorry you have to go through this,” says Sam.

“Oh, stop this you two,” interrupts Poppy. “Forget her. I am sick of talking about Roxie. It is about me and my party.”

Relieved the attention has been taken from me but annoyed that Poppy shows so little patience or sympathy I have lost a true friend and I have lost this friend for her.

As each day that passes at school, the conversations never waver from Poppy and her slumber party. Roxie is not mentioned again except for the odd sideways glance from Sam asking me how I am coping with everything.

Poppy informs everyone about what we need to bring to her party…sleeping bags and pillows and a special teddy and a secret. The secret part frightens me as I am unsure what she means by it. Poppy won’t elaborate any further just says it is part of the fun for the night.

By Friday I am completely over the slumber party. I have heard about it all week and I am no longer looking forward to it. It is like an anti-climax to such a stressful week.

The exhaustion I feel from my disrupted week makes me look and feel almost zombie like. The bags under my eyes have grown darker and more defined, with nightmares occurring every night. They aren’t scary nightmares like being attacked by zombies. The nightmares are deeper than that.

I am alone in my nightmares. Everywhere I go, no one is with me. Others are in my dreams but there is no one who cares for me, no one who loves me, no one who wants me around. I search each time for someone I know but there is never anyone.

When I wake up I am still alone but at least I am in the safety of my bedroom. I try to talk to Mum about it but the words evade me. My mind goes blank when I try to put together how I feel and what is happening in my life. I need a friend. I need someone I can talk to and trust.

Feeling trapped between what I have want and what I am living, I can’t seem to escape. I try to dream, go back to places that make me happy like the time I spent with Roxie or Mum or even when I would be in Brendon’s company. It is no good. I am still trapped with no key to unlock the world I have left behind.

Sitting in my bedroom on the new stripy multi-coloured rug Mum bought me attempting to cheer me up, I have the music quietly feeding from my dock. Flicking through the latest ‘Miss’ magazine, pretending to be interested in the fashion section I normally crave to view. Nothing is able to hold my attention at the moment.

“Alexx,” Mum says tapping gently on the door, opening slightly before I can answer.

‘Yes Mum,” I reply, not looking up from the magazine.

“Can I come in?”

“Yeah, of course.”

When Mum asks to come into my room it means one of two things. Either she needs to ask me a favour like babysitting the twins or she wants to talk. Not chit-chat talk but really talk, serious talking.

I don’t want either but I am not going to get a choice. As Mum sits on my fluffy quilt neatly folded around the sides of my bed, I keep my head down pretending to be engrossed in an article on ‘Destroying Pimples’. Thank goodness I don’t have pimple problems to add to my problems.

“Alexx, I have been watching you over the past few days and you don’t seem like your usual happy self. Is there anything troubling you at the moment?” Mum asks.

Without looking up I reply, “No, all is good.”

“Why haven’t we seen Roxie here all week?” Mum continues pressing me for more information.

“I don’t know. Maybe she has been too busy.”

“Are you two fighting?”

Silence.

“Alexx?” Mum asks again apprehensively

I am racking my brain to come up with a good excuse why Roxie hasn’t been over but the trapped feeling makes my brain shut down. I can think of nothing remotely intelligent to say. Come on Alexx… think. Nothing, just blank thoughts.

‘Close the magazine Alexx and look at me,” Mum asks softly but sternly.

I close the magazine, forcefully holding back tears I can sense are about to arrive.

“Look at me darling.”

Slowly I raise my head, trying to avoid eye contact as long as possible, giving my tears time to stop developing and me time to control my emotions.

“What’s wrong? I know something is wrong darling. I hate seeing you like this, so unhappy. You are such a beautiful young lady with so much to offer. You have nothing to be sad about. I want to help.”

“I don’t think you can Mum,” I finally find the courage to speak.

“How do you know until you try?”

“I just know. I have tried to think of how to fix things but there is nothing I can do. The damage is done.”

“Try me?” Mum asks reaching down to cup my face in her hands so our eyes can connect.

With this I cry, I cry tears that have been held deep inside me all week unable to be freed. Mum’s protective arms wrap around me, holding me tightly while I cry and cry until exhaustion set in.

I am unsure how long Mum and I stay in the same position, not talking just being together. Mum knows I need to release so much hurt and anguish inside me and words are not need. She asks no more questions, she is simply there for me. Allowing me to trust her again, a trust I have locked away.

Pulling away from the safety of her arms, I sit back on my heels ready to open up to her. I need to open up and trust her, trust that maybe she can help me and get my old life back. I miss my old life. I miss Roxie and Brendon and Mum and Dad and I even miss the twins.

Once I begin talking, the words flow freely. I hold nothing back from Mum as I am determined to set things straight again. When I realise I can’t do this on my own, the only person whom I know will be able to guide me is Mum.

Mum listens to every word, judging me occasionally when I deserve to be judged. Concern I am going through all this on my own, not letting anyone in. I even told her how I feel when they fought all the time and how I blame Roxie for this and for not understanding.

I talk of the slumber party tomorrow, the way Poppy behaves, telling Roxie everything. I can’t seem to stop the secrets coming.

Mum is patient with me while I search for words to express how I feel. Her simply being there is enough for me. I am the centre of attention, I have all the attention I can ask for. No interruptions, no ‘I’ll be back in a minute’, it is the two of us and I begin to feel like the old Alexx.

“Oh darling,” Mum says on many occasions.

“So should I go tomorrow night to the party?” I finally ask the one question I don’t want to answer myself.

“Do you want to go?”

I want a straight answer not a question. Juggling words and playing guessing games give me no joy. Just give me a simply yes or no.

“Can you tell me what to do Mum?”

“No Alexx, you are grown up enough to make your own decisions. Party or no party, I will stand by your decision.”

“Why should I miss out on going to the party. Roxie hates me anyway, whether I go or not.”

“I don’t think Roxie hates you. It maybe something you need to work on to try to sort out your friendship. Is the party something you are looking forward to going to?”“Yes, well I have been but after the weird week I am not sure.”

“Why don’t you sleep on it and I am sure in the morning the answer will come to you,” Mum suggests, guiding me off the floor and into bed.

Like a little child, she tucks me in, folding the quilt around my neck and flattening the remainder of the cover. Her kiss on my forehead is gentle and loving, signalling my body to rest now and dream sweet thoughts only. She turns around at the door while flicking the light switch off.

“Good night darling.”

“Night Mum,” I say rolling over under the warmth of my quilt.

“Sweet dreams.”

With those simple words sleep falls upon me bringing the sweetest of dreams to assist in my slumber.

“Keeping Secrets” – Ch.6 – ‘Mum’s Help’

Mum’s help..

“Come on girls, hurry up or we’ll be late,” screams Mum down the hallway.

Searching my room for the perfect accessory, my beautiful shoulder handbag with black and white prints scattered all over, lined in a vibrant red. It will go perfectly with my new stretch blotched leggings, red skivvy and dark grey waist length jacket. The reflection I see in the mirror conflicted to how I was feeling.

Poppy’s slumber party next weekend is playing on my mind constantly. It has been three days of keeping the secret, but this time from only one person, Roxie. She has no idea there is so much excitement building behind her back. Every time I look around at school, I see my friends congregating, whispering, and laughing in preparation of the party.

My attention is immediately drawn to Roxie, somehow trying to defend her from the situation. Instinctively I need to protect Roxie from her friends. This seems ridiculous that I need to protect one friend from another. It is also ridiculous that one friend is protecting me from my Mum and Dad.

I am certain Roxie knows nothing about the party. I am sure she would ask me if she suspects anything. Roxie trusts me and trusts our friendship. I am betraying her each day I keep my mouth closed and keep this secret.

“Alexx, we are going to be late,” screams Mum, a little more frantic this time with a tone that says she means business.

“Coming, I’m coming,” I yell happy with my reflection.

As much as I am unhappy, today is going to be a fun day. Mum always tells us, ‘I know everything about you kids, more than you know about yourselves’. I have to believe her. When Mum came into my bedroom last night I pretended to be asleep. Mum had something on her mind and that was me. She knew more about me that I dare to believe.

“Alexx darling, are you still awake?” she whispered as she sat on my bed, softly stroking my hair.

“Mmmm”, I replied wishing Mum would leave me alone.

I was awake, in fact I was wide awake but I didn’t feel like talking, especially to Mum. The sleep I had over the past few days had been sporadic, constantly disrupted so I should’ve been exhausted, welcoming the sleep in. Every time I tried to relax my mind and let my body drift away to a restful slumber, thoughts of Roxie and Poppy would not leave.

“Alexx”, Mum continued to interrupt my pretend sleep, “ you seem so unhappy lately. I hate it when I see you like this. Is there anything you want to talk about darling?”

Silence.

“Alexx darling,” whispered Mum realising I is awake.

“Hmmm, I’m OK Mum,” deciding to play the game or Mum would never leave me alone.

“I understand you may not want to talk to me, but you know I can help or at least try to help.”

Silence.

“I love you Alexx, you are so special and my heart breaks when I see you so sad.”

I rolled over in my bed so I could see the shadow of Mum in the darkness. Grateful that the darkness was able to hide the real me. A hot burning sensation was building in my eyes but Mum wasn’t be able to see. Part of me desperately wanted to scream at Mum that this is all her fault. That I hated her, that I loved her, that I needed her.

Mostly I needed to confide in her and needed her trust in return. I didn’t need her to say ‘Oh you are just being silly’, or ‘This is just a little girls arguing, it will pass’. This was more serious than that, I knew it but I didn’t think Mum would understand.

“It’s nothing”, I hesitate.

“Are you sure? You seem…”

“Uhh, huh,” passed my lips as I tried holding back the tears.

“Well darling, I’m here for you. You are maturing into a woman and I understand how young woman feel. I can sympathise with you,” replied Mum waiting once again in the darkened silence for me to respond. When no response is forthcoming she continued, “I thought we could have a girlie day tomorrow. Just you, the twins and me. What do you think?”

Still no reply, I had nothing inside I wanted Mum to hear. Nothing that I thought she could hear.

“Let’s go shopping, then movies and perhaps a yummy lunch too. What do you think darling?” Mum asked excitedly.

“Sounds great,” I stated unenthusiastically.

“Oh,” replied Mum dejected, her feelings hurt. “I thought you might like a special day out.”

Guiltily I responded quickly,” I do, I do. I really do, it’s just…”

“What darling? What is making you so sad?”

“Ummm, it’s just. Well….”

Mum waited patiently for me to find the right words.

“Can I ask you something but I don’t want you to ask me any questions?”

“If that’s what you want, I won’t ask anything,” replied Mum.

“Well if you knew of someone who is getting left out of something, something you know they would like and should be a part of, would you tell them?”

“Is it intentional?” asked Mum, “Or can’t I ask that.”

“Yes you can ask that and yes I think this person is doing it intentionally.”

“How does it make you feel?” Mum asked slipping in another question hoping it would go un-noticed.

This is such a simplistic question and required no thought. Somehow I was lost for words, unsure how to express my feelings into actual words. I knew it made me feel like a bad friend, a friend I wouldn’t want to have. I was shamed each time I saw Roxie but the hurt I would cause not only Roxie but also the rest of my friends, including myself would be greater if I spoke.

“I don’t like the way I feel,” I replied softly.

“I think you may have answered your own question,” said Mum still stroking my hair lightly. “I know you will do the right thing. You are a beautiful young lady and a special friend. Trust those feelings darling.”

“Thanks Mum”, I said sincerely.

Mum bent down and lightly kissed me on my forehead whispering how much she loved me. Emotions raced through my body finally causing the tears to begin. Luckily Mum hadn’t noticed as she quietly moved out of my personal space allowing me to suffer the pain on my own.

My insides were like a washing machine, all these emotions mixing together, swirling together, all uncontrollable when combined together. Mum’s love for me became clear in that moment and I was able to see again through the haze that had settled into my life. With this love came guilt from betraying friendships. Hurt, anger, sadness, loneliness, all these emotions were confusing me.

Around and around these emotions continued to flow and so did the tears. I cried in silence, no one could hear but me. This was my creation and I needed to fit together all the pieces I wanted in my life and remove the pieces that no longer belonged together.

When the final tears stopped rolling down my cheek, the final tissue thrown in the bin, I lay there exhausted but exhilarated. I had made a decision. I knew it is going to be hard and maybe some friends would not like what I had planned, but I could live with the consequences. I had to live with myself and the decisions I made will be forever. I believe this, I had to believe this or I wouldn’t go through with it.

 

 

 

“Keeping Secrets” – Ch.5 – The Secret Party

The secret party….

Reaching for my lunchbox, I grab out the sandwich and some choc-chip biscuits before racing out to the playground. My favourite part of school is lunchtime and it is all to do with my catching up with my friends. Ever since Mum and Dad began arguing, I lost my appetite. My stomach is constantly tied up in knots, so the thought of food makes me feel ill. Today however I could eat, I feel happy today.

Lunchtime is the time to catch up on everything. This year I wasn’t in a class with any of my friends. When I found out I would be on my own, with none of my best friends, the disappointment was enormous. I thought my life was over.

“But it’s not fair,” I moaned to Mum through a tsunami of tears. “Everyone has someone in their class but me. What did I do wrong?”

Mum placed her arms around my shoulders, pulling me in to reassure me with a hug and said; “Now darling you know you’ve done nothing wrong. Teachers don’t pick classes like that.”

“Then why am I the ONLY one left out.”?

“Have you thought that the teachers might think you are the only one strong and brave enough to meet new people,” Mum responded in a calm manner.

As I thought about what Mum is saying, desperately trying to picture the teachers in the staffroom looking at rows of students photos and picking who goes with whom. I just couldn’t imagine the conversation being based around the ‘brave’ and ‘strong’ students that could handle being on their own. I felt like I was being punished.

Mum continued, “We can’t do anything about the classes for next year, so why don’t we look at it like a challenge. Make new friends in your new class. But also make a BIG effort with your other friends. That’s what lunchtime is all about, catching up on what everyone is up to.”

I knew I had no choice but to take Mum’s advice. So lunchtime became my favourite part of the day.

“Hey Alexx, wait for me,” shouts Roxie over the noisy crowd heading in the same direction like a swarm of bees heading to the hive.

“Come on Roxie, push through,” I scream back impatient to move with the crowd again and stop wasting precious lunchtime.

“What have you got today?” asks Roxie finally catching up to me.

“Looks like the usual, vegemite.”

“You eating it today or throwing it in the bin like yesterday.”

“If it’s any of your business, I am hungry today. I wasn’t hungry yesterday. I always eat my lunch,” I snap, agitated she even noticed me throw my food away yesterday.

“I’m not having a go, I was worried yesterday when you did that, that’s all.”

“Yeah I know, but after our talk I feel much better.”

I really want to put my arm over Roxie’s shoulders as we walk outside but I know she won’t like it. Even though it will make me feel better, I know it will make her feel worse. I owe Roxie at least that much since she is being such a good friend.

As we approach the rest of the girls sitting on the grassed area dying from the continuing drought, the conversation appears very intense. Hevanton Primary isn’t what I would call a pretty school. Most of the play area is concrete painted with games, which require balls or bats to play. What little grass remaining in the school is mostly dead, with no plants or trees for decoration. This is a complete contrast to the beautiful array trees and greenery that align my street.

The classrooms are old, made of faint sickly yellow coloured brick, making the school look similar to an old fashioned boarding school, like the one in the movie Annie. Each room blended into the next leaving nothing for the imagination, no room of dreaming you could be anywhere else but school.

“Shh, shh,” I heard Bella say sternly as we approach not realising we can hear her.

Even though I don’t know Bella very well, I think she is beautiful. Her long dark brown hair always worn slightly off her face in a trendy style, matches her immense dark brown eyes. Her round face and high cheekbones make Bella look sweet and innocent but behind the sweetness lay a darker side, a side I wasn’t sure I ever want to know.

“Oh hi girls,” said Sam looking in our direction but over my shoulder as if expecting someone else.

Automatically I turned around to see who Sam is looking at but the only person behind me is Roxie.

“What’s going on girls?” I ask trying to sound upbeat but feeling a little apprehensive after hearing them shoosh.

“Nothing really,” responds Poppy a little too quickly. “We are just discussing how much we hate that maths class with Ms Turner.”

Roxie sat down to join in the group and said, “Yeah, I had Ms Turner last year too for maths. But I really liked her.”

“You “Well you seem to like everyone, don’t you Roxie? replies Poppy with a tinge of arrogance in her voice.

“No I don’t. I… I don’t really like Mrs Cox.”

No one likes Mrs Cox. She is like a prison warden, so bossy and very controlling. You are not allowed to speak in her class unless she asks you to. You are not allowed to get up from the table unless you ask permission. Even when the bell goes confirming that the lesson is over, you can’t leave until she dismisses everyone.

“Does anyone know the new song by Usher? I heard it this morning when my alarm went off but I couldn’t catch the name,” I interrupt, trying to change the subject.

I can’t quite pin point what is going on with my friends but something is happening, as everyone is acting weird.

Poppy, Jo, Bella and Sam brighten to my question and all four begin talking at once. The mood changes immediately with Usher being the centre of our conversation for most of lunchtime. I sit amongst the group quietly observing, speaking only when asked a question, which wasn’t often. As much as I sense something must have been going on before we arrived, the atmosphere has altered as we connected over Usher.

While I may have been quiet, Roxie was in full of conversation, more than anyone else. I don’t often see Roxie being the centre of attention and actually enjoying it. The rest of the girls, well mainly Poppy usually don’t allow Roxie to have that much of a say. This proves Roxie is wrong about the girl not liking her. They love her today.

Poppy is the leader of our little group, which suits me. I wasn’t leader material. She is the kind of friend you want on your side and not as your enemy. I once saw her in a disagreement with another girl at school and it confirmed to me that Poppy is a girl you shouldn’t mess with. She is self-assured and bold like our mums want us to be but aggressive and a little manipulative in a scary way too.

Secretly I am frightened of what she may do to me if I’m not her friend. Poppy knows what to say – good or bad and really knows how to embarrass people. I know this sounds like I don’t actually like Poppy but I do, I really do. She is good to me and we are friends.

Lunchtime always goes too quickly. I never think the same thing about english or maths classes. Slowly, reluctantly we all begin packing up our lunchtime mess and head off into different directions for the afternoon lessons.

Poppy grabs my arm pulling me in another direction as I try to head back to the lockers.

“You guys go ahead, I need to ask Alexx something about maths,” states Poppy very matter-of-fact like.

As the group move away, Poppy links arms and begin talking softly but with intensity I know she had an exciting story to tell.

“Now as you know it’s my birthday coming up. Well I am having a slumber party, just like you did only better,” said Poppy.

I force a smile at the idea of a slumber but am annoyed by her comments about my party. Poppy always knew what to say and how to say it to let you know exactly where you stand.

“Yeah it’s your birthday and…”

“Well anyway, Mum has said I can have it next Friday but I am only allowed to have four friends stay.”

Mentally I did a quick count of our group, even though I knew immediately how many are in the group – six of us, but with one being Poppy, add the four.

“So I am not inviting Roxie but you have to keep it a secret,” said Poppy.

“That doesn’t seem very nice, or fair. Surely your Mum would understand if you told her that there is five of us.”

“No, no, I tried to tell her,” Poppy lies, “She said four is enough.”

“I don’t think that’s very nice….”

“Well it’s not my fault Alexx. Blame Mum. I can always ask Roxie instead of you.”

Stunned by Poppy’s use of words and the intensity of her insult, I try to assess what she meant. Roxie is our friend and it didn’t seem very fair to leave her out. Even if Poppy’s Mum had said no, surely we should at least tell Roxie about it. Secrets like this are mean and I’m not a mean person.

Even though Poppy is being nasty, I still want to be friends with her, aspire to her level of popularity. Her golden eyes grow narrow, looking hard into mine, analysing my thoughts.

“Can we explain to Roxie that it isn’t your fault?” I whisper feeling the intensity of her stare.

“No, I would prefer to keep it a secret. Then she won’t feel bad about being left out you see.”

“But…”

“Anyway,” interrupts Poppy, “I am so excited about my party. I have heaps of stuff to do and can’t wait until all my best friends are there with me. You know you are my best friend Alexx, not Bella.”

Touched by Poppy’s tenderness and the idea of being her best friend, I put the painful information about Roxie securely in a box at the back of my mind, to deal with later. I am confused about what to do but ecstatic at being of such importance in Poppy’s life.

“So you will be coming wont you?” asks Poppy, anticipation in her voice.

“Yes, of course I will come. Why wouldn’t I,” I reply convincing myself everything will be fine.

“Great. Can’t wait. Remember, no Roxie. It is probably for the best anyway, she doesn’t really like girlie stuff and I am having heaps of it at my party.”

Poppy skips off excitedly as if today is her actual birthday. I have never felt flat after being asked to go to a party, and a slumber party at that. Roxie is my friend, my best friend really and Poppy didn’t want her there. I begin to sense Poppy doesn’t care much for Roxie just as Roxie had always said. I know I have to keep it a secret but how am I going to keep a secret as big as this from Roxie.

Sitting bolt upright in bed, my dreams have been interrupted by nightmares. My body is soaking wet as if someone has thrown a cold bucket of water all over me. I wake disorientated, confused from the nightmare but soon I realise I am safe in my favourite place. My body relaxes a little.

I finally fall asleep after tossing and turning for hours. My mind wouldn’t stop going back to the conversation with Poppy at school and the guilt I was already feeling for betraying Roxie. I had walked home with Roxie, all afternoon dreading being alone with Roxie, afraid she would be able to read my thoughts.

I don’t think Roxie noticed my nervousness. When Roxie wanted to come over after school, I lied and said I needed to do stuff with Mum. I couldn’t stand the thought I spending all afternoon with Roxie alone without saying something.

The cool night air lingered on my body, making me shiver. Gently lying back down, I can’t stop my mind racing between Poppy and Roxie. Keeping the secret of the party is only one thing. What about after the party? We always talk and laugh about what we do on the weekends, so keeping the party a secret would be impossible.

I desperately need my best friend’s advice but how can I when it is about her. Mum is someone I also trust when it comes to friends but Mum isn’t really in the right place to listen to me. I feel alone, on an island all by myself. As I try to trick myself into going back to sleep by thinking about ‘fun things’, the pains in my stomach come flooding back letting me know I can try to trick my brain, but my body will let me down.

If you want Alexx to tell Roxie about Poppy’s party, go to Ch. 6

 Mum’s Help…. 

If you want Alexx to keep the secret about Poppy’s party, go to Ch. 10

Growing Apart…

 

 

 

 

“Keeping Secrets” – Chapter 2

Roxie…

Football is a game were grown men run around chasing an oddly shaped ball, trying to kick it through tall posts. One team loses while another wins, with the crowd acting as though they are part of the team itself. I have never understood the intensity supporters have for the game and their team.

Roxie adores football more than anyone I know, except maybe Brendon. She would cry when her team lost and celebrate when her team won. She is not a moody person but when it came to football, her moods were often determined how well her team was performing.

Whereas I don’t care for football, in fact I hate football, passionately. Hate is maybe too harsh a word because I watch it often when Roxie and Brendon play together at the park, just like today. I was invisible when football was concerned but that never bothered me. It is my time to watch Brendon, devouring his every move.

Brendon is a year older than me and he is beautiful with his dark brown hair, scruffy all over but styled to look messy. His eyes are a darker blue than Roxie’s but with the same intense stare. Brendon is tall and muscular with strong defined arms and lean legs but it is his smile that captures me every time.

My eyes never left Brendon, innocently memorising each movement he made, each muscle extending. I was unable to look away. His shirts are always unbuttoned to his chest, drawing me in as if I were under his spell.

“Nice one Rox,” shouts Brendon as he reciprocated with a clean handball straight back to her chest.

“Well I’ve been taught by the best,” laughs Roxie, catching the ball and getting her feet in position to make a short pass back.

“I can’t play long today, I have heaps of homework, then I’m out with my mates. Mum already had a go at me earlier this week for slacking off this early in the year.”

“You’re never slack,” replies Roxie, stopping the play to concentrate on what her brother is saying.

“Mum thinks so.”

Brendon was everything Roxie wanted to be, defending him constantly and hanging onto his every word. He is popular with his friends and able to handle any situation with an untimely ease. There isn’t a sport he can’t play and play well. And then came school work, he never works too hard but his grades were always excellent. Since he began high school, his life appears fantastic and Roxie envied that.

“What more does Mum want from you? Hey! Did you hear that Alexx?” Roxie shouts in my direction including me in the conversation.

I nod, raising my hand in the air, hoping I was responding correctly as I was unable to hear anything they were saying. Neither am I really interested. Watching Brendon is all that matters.

As I sat hidden away from the rest of the world, I pretended Brendon was playing for me, only me. I pretend our love for each other is a secret, treasured between our two souls. Everyday he would ask me to watch him play football at the park and everyday I would go, with Roxie as our cover up, to keep our love a secret. I would sit where only he can see me and share the romance our hearts desired while the world remained unaware.

“Don’t you worry little sis, that’s what mums are supposed to do, stress over everything to make sure they have done their job right.”

“I suppose.”

“Roxie, I better go,” Brendon said, motioning to leave.

As Roxie ran towards Brendon with the football tightly in her grip, a group of girls from school walk towards them. Huddled together like a pack of hyenas were had been watching and commenting on Roxie’s every move. These girls are our friends, a new group of friends that are the popular group and I loved being part of it.

By the time Roxie became aware she was being watched and judged by these girls, her relaxed demeanour instantly becoming on-edge, waiting for their response. I know Roxie sometimes feels uncomfortable around these girls but can’t understand why. She told me they treated her differently to the way they treated me. However I don’t see it. It simply isn’t true.

As Roxie approaches Brendon, all the while keeping her eye on the girls, he playfully puts his arm around her neck and pretends to wrestle her for the ball. Normally Roxie would join in, playfully fighting back but she instead pulls away quickly, allowing him to easily take the ball.

Brendon laughs at the ease in which he had beaten his sister.

“Hey, that was too easy Rox! Maybe we need to work on building those muscles next,” he laughs.

“Whatever! Let’s just go home.”

“What has gotten you in a stir all of a sudden? Girls are so hard to work out sometimes,” replies Brendon, annoyed by her sudden change of mood.

As the group of girls approached them, I could see Roxie looking anxious as she nervously wiped her palms along her jeans. She has not been around these girls outside of school and is always uncomfortable in new situations. It isn’t that they would do anything to her, but Roxie is nervous about what they will say, especially in front of Brendon.

Poppy is the ring leader of the group and she seems to dislike Roxie the most. Poppy is one of the popular girls, the typical cheerleader type seen in American movies. Her hair is a picture of perfection, silky straight golden hair that sits flawlessly down the middle of her back, as if styled by a hairdresser daily.

When anyone meets Poppy they are drawn to her stunning looks. Most other girls would give anything to have just one of her pretty features. Poppy has a natural flair for styling her hair, up or down, straight or curly. With matching golden eyes and naturally golden tanned skin, she looks at home as a surfie girl. Her delicate nose, pinkish soft lips and unblemished skin, Poppy took pretty to another level.

Poppy had style too. She seems to understand fashion in a way most will never understand. People are drawn to her and want to be around her. I am definitely one of these people.

Roxie believes she always has an ulterior motive to her actions and we can’t trust her. I simply can’t understand what Roxie has against Poppy. I desperately want to be part of her group.

“Oh hi Roxie,” Poppy says in a soft, welcoming tone. “We knew it was you when we saw that, that red hoodie you always wear.”

“Hi Poppy, hi girls,” Roxie replies quietly looking towards the ground.

“This must be your brother Rox. Well, aren’t you going to introduce us?” Poppy continued.

The girls start to giggle.

“Yeah, I suppose so. This is Brendon. Brendon this is Poppy, Jo, Bella and Sam.”

Before Brendon has a chance to speak, Poppy leapt forward and gave him a peck on the cheek like they are long lost friends. She gently touches his arm, staring directly into his eyes, flashing her sweetest smile to draw him in.

“Hi Brendon, Roxie has told us so much about you and how wonderful you are at just about everything. She thinks you are awesome and I can see why now.

Brendon is speechless, instantaneously turning a deep shade of red, unable to string words together. The girls continue to giggle from the boldness of their friend. Poppy stood confidently in front of Brendon, ignoring her friends, waiting for his reaction.

Roxie looked nauseated, as if she desperately wants to run and hide. This is the first time I have witnessed this behaviour in Poppy and I am shocked. The girls can’t see me from where they are standing. Poppy has actually kissed Brendon, the boy I want desperately to just notice me.

Poppy knows how to twist things around to make you look like the fool. She has managed to do this to Roxie. There is nothing wrong with talking about your brother, telling people how great he is, but Poppy has a way of turning it around to make her look good.

“Hey girls, umm great to meet some of Roxie’s friends,” stammered Brendon still embarrassed by the kiss but pleased to be the centre of attention.

Turning his attention to Roxie, he continued, “Rox you stay here with your friends if you want, but I really need to get going.”

“No, I’m coming home too. Heaps of homework to do,” replies Roxie swiftly.

“Cool, see ya girls”, said Brendon weaving his way through the group and heading towards home.

“Yeah, see ya,” Roxie says, sticking close to her brother in fear of what else her so-called friends might say.

Roxie has been against these friends since the moment I introduced them to her. Poppy and I had established a friendship within the classroom and not long after Poppy had asked me to join her and her friends at lunch time. Naturally I had brought along my best friend, but something never really clicked between all of them.

Our friendship started when Poppy came up to me as I was walking into school by myself as Roxie was away sick. I was elated that the most popular girl at school actually wanted to talk to me. I had always been afraid to speak to Poppy in class as she had a reputation of only speaking to the cool kids in school.

“Hi, I’m Poppy. You’re in my class right?”

Bewildered by Poppy’s approach, I simply nodded in response, afraid to say something stupid. Of course I knew we were in the same class. I also knew who she sat next too, Bella to the left and Simon to the right. How uncool is that?

“Thought so. I saw you talking to Simon yesterday in class.”

Confused why Poppy was still talking to me and not quite understanding what about, I stood like an idiot without saying anything.

“He was at your desk and both of you were laughing,” she continued drawing the words out slowly.

“Oh yeah,” I finally managed to get the words out. “I was helping him with the maths work.” Maths work, could I think of anything lamer to say.

“Is that all? Just about maths? Hey, maybe you can help me one day,” Poppy proposed, her face radiating with a smile. “Simon and I are sort of going out with each other you see.”

So our friendship began from there. I have so much in common with Poppy and her friend Jo and I couldn’t wait to catch up and get advice about fashion and boys. Another girl in the group Sam loves music just like me. It is only Bella that I don’t share a common interest with but we manage to talk about day-to-day things instead.

Roxie told me she fells left out when they are around, not only by me but by everyone. No one starts a conversation with her but she doesn’t put much effort into getting to know the girls either. Everything we gossip about at lunch time Roxie says is boring. It confuses me because I fell comfortable around Poppy and the girls but I also love being with Roxie. If I can get along with everyone, why can’t they?

I hope time will sort out their issues and we can all be one big group of best friends.

As Brendon and Roxie walk away from the girls, heading towards me, the soft giggling developed into sniggering and finally into enormous laughter. I suspect they are laughing at Roxie, making fun of her choice in fashion and the fact she is playing football with her brother. But that is normal to laugh, isn’t it, if you didn’t blend in with the group?

I wait for Brendon and Roxie to meet up with me, all the while watching the girls walk away. They are unaware I am there watching everything as they couldn’t see me from where I am sitting. Poppy raises her hand and waves but her expression doesn’t say ‘See ya friend’, it clearly said, ‘I don’t know why we even bother with her, she is such a tomboy’.

 

 

“Keeping Secrets” – Chapter 1

Ashlea had I have written a tween book together. Here is Chapter 1. Would love some honest feedback.

Keeping Secrets

By Natalie and Ashlea McNamara

‘Alexx’

“GO AWAY, ” I screamed throwing my khaki brown school shoe forcefully at the bedroom door.

The smack of the shoe on the door caused a ripple effect of instant silence. Before I could soak it in, a faint sound of giggling took over followed by heavy thumping as if a herd of elephants were on a rampage outside my room. As usual my sisters were in the mood to annoy me and it was working.

Bree and Ella were identical twins and most people struggled to tell them apart. With their milky blonde hair and petite button noses their outside appearance was the same. For those who close to the girls, could always tell them apart by their eyes. Bree’s eyes would draw you in, making you feel you were the most important person in the world. Ella radiated the opposite effect, avoiding eye contact and pushing you away at every opportunity.

The twins were five years younger than me but insisted on involving me in their childish games. Yeah right, I was almost a teenager and I just didn’t need this immature behaviour surrounding me all the time. All I needed in my life was music, my friends, the privacy of my bedroom and of course my thoughts.

As Bree and Ella scurried back to their own bedroom like wild field mice, satisfied with disturbing me once again, I attempted to get back to my own inner thoughts.

My absolute favourite place to be myself is my bedroom. Everything I cherished is in here. The pastel fairy floss pink walls were covered in posters of inspiring people, most I felt like I knew them on an intimate, fandom level. When I loved a book or a movie I obsessed over it until the inner fan girl could learn no more.

My other passion is animals. My dream job is to become a veterinarian. This was no secret as I would tell anyone who wanted to listen about becoming a famous vet to the stars. I often practised my veterinarian skills on our dog Koko, a pure inky black Jack Russell with a short stubby tail to match his short stubby body.

Koko often sat quietly on my pink fleecy quilt draped over my bed, his dark earthy brown eyes wide open watching my every move. He was perfectly behaved, perfectly adorable, only barking when he needed my attention.

I loved Koko especially when he licked my face with his warm tongue showing me how much he loved me too. I have a beautiful photo of us cuddling on the trampoline in the backyard sitting by my bedside. With my copper brown wavy hair, perfectly styled as always and golden skin Koko and I looked the perfect pair. I treasured this picture.

I also have three orange fish in my room – Tiger, Snowy and Doc. They were only goldfish but the way they glided through the water without a care in the world, was mesmerising. I would watch them for hours, with my music blaring whenever I needed to escape.

Music is my real passion. The sounds, the vibrations, take me away to a place I call my sanctuary. No one can annoy me there, no one can scream at me there and no one can hurt me there. I love my iPod almost as much as I love Koko – I did say almost.

Some days I would lie on my bed, close my eyes, turn up my music and drift away to where no one can make me feel anything I don’t want to feel. No one fought in my world. Everyone loves me and I love being Alexx.

There are days when I get lost in my music, with my friends plastered over the walls and forget the rest of the world even existed. When I am in the zone, in my sanctuary, no one can penetrate it. Today had to be one of these days or I will go insane and take my anger out on the twins.

The day Mum brought the twins back from the hospital was of the best and worst day of my life. They were tiny, breakable little dolls, with delicate features and angelic expressions. I was afraid to touch them in case I damaged the angels, destroying these pictures of perfection.

They were flawless, perfect little people until they began to cry – scream in fact – shattering my fascination with them. The crying, the screaming lasted almost an entire year and by then I no longer thought of them as delicate or fragile. They were noisy and demanding little people instead.

It was around this time I noticed a change in Mum and Dad. Mum always seemed tired and angry, her unhappiness directed mainly towards Dad. Dad seemed to always have an expressionless facade, never showing any emotion, even when everything around him was chaotic. It seemed to me that the twins were to blame for the changes I noticed in Mum and Dad.

I rolled over on my bed, the loud music pounding through my mind acting as a distraction from the twins. Now Taylor’s music started to take over, controlling my thoughts, calming my mind. Up until this moment my thoughts had been on my parents and their never ending arguments but as I drifted away with the music, so did my thoughts.

The following morning began in the usual way with the twins fighting over who has what bowl and what spoon and who was going to have what cereal. I sat quietly at the table pushing my food around the bowl, pretending to eat, trying to block out all the noise.

I notice Mum giving Dad one of her looks. A look that says ‘I am not in the mood for your rubbish’. This look happens all the time and they don’t realise I notice. Dad was arguing with Mum but I can’t hear a thing over the continuous bickering from the twins.

As Dad reached across the bench, apologising for something he has apparently done wrong, Mum jerked backwards, as if his touch is poisonous. He slammed down his coffee mug, spilling its contents onto the bench, coffee running down the cupboard and onto the floor. Dad then stormed out of the kitchen.

“That’s right David, just walk away in a bad mood again,” Mum shouts after him before turning to leave in the opposite direction.

The instant silence rips through me, interrupted only by the sound of coffee dripping onto the floor. The twins explore my eyes for an answer, which I can’t give them. I don’t know what the answer is. With my appetite gone, I push the untouched food away, feeling bitter toward the twins, my family and my whole life.

I head back to the sanctuary of my bedroom, the one place I can be myself and forget that everyone else exists. Just being in my room makes the bitterness slowly evaporate.

As Taylor blasted out of the iPod, I could hear banging on my door again. Why won’t they leave me alone? I start to believe the twins really are the reason our parents are fighting so much. Maybe they are fed up with the stupid games and their childish behaviour just like I am. Agitated by another interruption from my music, I leap towards the door ripping it open with so much force that one of the posters of my beloved stars blew right off the wall, floating to the floor.

“GO AWAY NOW,” I scream angrily my face turning a deep shade of red.

Stunned by the fury and attitude in my voice, Roxie stood frozen like a snowman staring at me, not sure whether to scream back or laugh at my embarrassing behaviour. Before my friend has a chance to react either way, I yank her into my room, slamming the door behind me, throwing my arms around her neck.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry, Rox. I didn’t know it was you,” I said ashamed for being caught looking so childish.

“Ummm, it’s OK,” chokes Roxie.

Pulling away from my firm grip, Roxie mumbles something about it all being cool. She hates being hugged or kissed. She says it makes her feel weird and a little nervous, even with me – her best friend.

Roxie isn’t normal. I mean more like a typical twelve year old girl kind of normal. She hates most girlie things. She hates wearing make-up, hates going shopping and hates dancing.  Roxie hates talking about girl stuff, hates gossiping and wearing dresses. All the things I love.

Today she has on her usual boy cut Regour jeans, a bright red hoodie and sneakers. Roxie is pretty but not in a model sort of way. Her dark blonde hair is always pulled back in a messy pony tail with hair falling out all over the place. Her heart-shaped face and piercing aqua eyes make me feel as though she sees deep into my mind. I wish I had her full naturally rosy lips instead of my thin strips on my face.

The one thing I like most about my best friend is she lets me be myself. With Roxie what you see is what you get – no secrets.

“The twins have been even more annoying than usual, if that’s possible. I thought it was them again at the door,” I said as I jump back onto my bed, motioning for Roxie to join me.

“You guys are always fighting”, replies Roxie, standing near the door, reluctant to move, recovering from my hug.

“They’re painful. What can I say? Don’t you fight with Brendon?”

Brendan is Roxie’s older brother by a year and I never see them argue or stir each other up. Brendon is different; he really understands Roxie and never judges her. For a brother and sister, they get on really well, hanging out often. He always asks Roxie to join in when his friends come over to play football. The two of them sometimes hang out together. Roxie secretly idolises her brother, but it’s no secret to me.

I also care for Brendon more than I can ever let on. He is my dream boyfriend, I think about him every night and every morning. I have never kissed a boy, so Brendon is just a dream, a wonderful beautiful dream.

“Not really. I like my brother.”

“Yeah so do I,” I quickly interrupt smiling sweetly.  “He is soooooo cute”

“Stop it, Alexx. He’s not cute – yuk. Cool maybe.”

“Well I think he’s cool too,” I continue, my fondness for Brendon sweeping through my mind.

Roxie and I are so different, so opposite, yet we always balance each other out. My liking of boys amuses Roxie as she prefers to play football with them. I wear make-up – she doesn’t. I adore fashion – she only likes to wear jeans. I read all the girlie magazines cover to cover every month – she only reads them if there is an article about sports.

It was Roxie’s turn to pick up the pink fluffy cushion lying near the doorway, throwing it towards me. She gets embarrassed whenever I mention how cute her brother is. I want Brendon to be my first kiss, a kiss like in the movies, but that is one secret I can never share with her.

We both start to laugh as I turn up the volume on my iPod so our voices would be drowned out from interfering ears outside my room.

Roxie and I have been best friends since the day her family moved into the small house next door. A removals truck had been parked up the driveway; people were everywhere, barking orders and screaming to be careful with the breakable items.

Roxie didn’t want to move as she hated it when things in her life changed. She was standing near the truck, holding onto her dog Tom, a big scruffy looking German Shepherd, quietly observing all the commotion surrounding her.

She hadn’t seen me watching from my house, excitedly staring at her, wondering if we would be friends. When I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer, I marched over to find out more about this person moving in next door.

“Hi, my name’s Alexx. I live there,” I said pointing towards the house next door. “Do you want to be friends?”

Roxie’s aqua eyes stared at me, giving away no secrets while she looked me over, clearly concerned by what she saw. Dressed in my pale pink ballet leotard with plastic fairy slip-on shoes and hands firmly planted on my hips, I was the complete opposite to the jeans, dark green t-shirt and thongs she wore.

Eventually she nodded her head shyly, comfortable I wasn’t some weirdo and maybe worth being friends with. As I grabbed my new friend’s hand, pulling her towards the backyard with Tom in tow, I knew then and there I had met my new best friend.

Laying back on the bed, swinging my legs in the air to the beat of the music blaring from my iPod, I try to forget about my parents. Roxie has a way of making me forget the bad things and concentrate on the good stuff without even knowing it.

“You know, I think you’re lucky Rox.”

Staring at me, unsure why she is so lucky, Roxie sat on the floor, waiting patiently to hear the rest of the story.

“Your Mum and Dad are really cool and never seem to get angry at all. And Brendon’s cool too. You guys are perfect together really, ” I start to drift away into my own world of negative thoughts once again.

“What are you talking about Al? I think your parents are cool too. You’re always allowed to go places I’m not. You’ve got a cool house and look at this bedroom.”

Roxie holds up her arms, waving them around demonstrating the excessive possessions I have scattered around my room. “I get jealous of you, not the other way around.”

“What? Jealous of me?” I reply, rolling over to look at Roxie who is staring intently at me, waiting for the conversation to continue.

She will never understand how messed up my life is becoming because her life is so perfect. My best friend will never know because I can’t tell her. I am embarrassed by all the screaming, the fighting, the intense arguments. I am starting to think that maybe it’s not all the twins fault, maybe its me too. Roxie will never understand.

“You have so much Alexx. You’re pretty and popular and everything always looks good on you. I’m just not like that, but that’s cool too.”

“Well yeah but …” I hesitate giving myself one more chance to tell her how I am feeling.

“Alexx can we come in?” shouted Bree tapping softly on the door.

“No, go away,” I reply, leaning over to turn the music up even louder, drowning her out. The moment is gone. Maybe the moment was never really there and I should just pretend nothing is really going on.

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