All I Want (Chapters 1 and 2)
CHAPTER 1: The Secrets of a Teenage Girl
She had a perfect hourglass figure, seemingly varnished dark skin, and an angelic voice. It was almost too fitting that her name was Beyoncé; and that was her real name too. Being the new girl, Heather quickly learned of the admiration and sometimes envy that surrounded “Bee” on a regular basis. She was the girl every girl in Grey Mountain High wanted to be, and if that didn’t fuel Beyoncé’s ego, what did?
Heather boldly sat in the empty seat next to her and for a second couldn’t stop staring at Beyoncé’s long curvy legs. ‘I swear to God I don’t know what Lily sees in you,’ Beyoncé was saying without even glancing Heather’s way, ‘what is it with you two, anyway?’
‘That’s between me and her, Beyoncé,’ Heather replied, trying to sound as cool and collected as Beyoncé did.
‘I’m about to hand an ambassador’s underage daughter a pass into an adult’s club, I might as well know what I’m getting myself into.’
‘Trust me, Bee, you’d rather not know.’
‘Yeah, whatever,’ she said, handing a thick gold-plated square to Heather, and then leaving the auditorium. Heather watched her go before turning her attention to the play rehearsals before her; Hamlet or something. As she stared at the VIP card in her hand, she lamented her decision to help Lily out. Still, even though this is what it took to get what she wanted, she would do it in a heartbeat.
As soon as darkness fell in the town of Bethany, Heather, as always, managed to sneak out of the Mexican embassy residence and make her way to Lilacc; perhaps the most teenage infested over twenty one club in the world. As became somewhat customary, she turned a multitude of heads, and she thrived in the attention, but was careful not to make anything of it. Of all the illegal things Heather did, soliciting with an adult wasn’t something she was willing to add to her repertoire
‘It’s about time,’ Lily said when Heather came over to one of the more secluded booths. The club was dimly lit, as all clubs are, and thanks to the dark colored lights, it was impossible to make out exactly what color dress Lily was in. all Heather noticed was that it was rather glittery and very short; it was probably meant to be a dress-top.
‘I swear to God, Lily, if you are messing with me…’ Heather began before she was cut short. ‘Don’t worry, Heather,’ Lily was saying, ‘I will get you in.’
‘You better,’ Heather replied, and for the first time Lily actually felt threatened by her.
‘Whatever,’ Lily said, trying to sound like she wasn’t at all intimidated by her, ‘just give me the stuff.’
The next few seconds were tense and felt almost silent, even though the music was blasting through the walls. Both sets of eyes were intensely locked on each other during that time, and not for the first time, Lily was dying to tell Heather how pretty her eyes were. Slowly, Heather reached into the alligator-skin purse and pulled out a small white box, which she handed to Lily. The latter didn’t glance at it for more than a split second prior to stuffing it into a large white purse and walking away without another word.
Even though she was doing the exact same thing, Heather couldn’t help but feel a little used. As she watched Lily’s back disappear into the crowd, something heavy and warm landed abruptly onto her shoulder. ‘Ma’am,’ the soothingly deep voice came, ‘may I see your ID?’
Heather froze, but also wanted to laugh. A bouncer had come for her and there were about a thousand other underage kids here? Then, it hit her that this wasn’t a bouncer. That voice was too familiar and too awesome to be some random bouncer’s. Now she did smile, and she turned around saying, ‘You know you almost sounded convincing there?’
Dennis smiled back, revealing an almost perfect set of teeth, and Heather felt her soul melting. This here; Dennis Crawly, was the perfect example of her dream-man. He had everything she wanted: good looking, funny, charismatic, and on top of that, he was the most humble guy she had ever met. The only problem was that every other girl in school thought the exact thing Heather did about Dennis, and they wanted him as much as she did, if not more.
Then he said, ‘Have you seen Lily?’ and that absolutely killed her spirit. Her smile dropped and her soul froze again. Yes, one more aspect she didn’t like about him was that he was taken. ‘No,’ she replied almost convincingly, and then smiled again. ‘It’s a school-night, why are you here?’ she added.
‘I could ask you the same thing.’
‘Touché,’ she replied, and began brushing past him. Suddenly, Heather felt Dennis’ warm grasp around her arm and she submissively turned around, meeting his gaze. Now not only was her soul melting, but everything else as well, but she was always very good at masking her real emotions. She fought hard but ultimately was able to hold back a smile.
But, to her disappointment, Dennis was not about to relieve her of her urges. ‘The guys will warm up to you, don’t fret about it,’ he said.
Up until then, she had forgotten everything about her “miserable” life in this new town. She was fitting in well with everybody except the people she wanted to fit in with. Heather had this thing about her that she hated dearly, but also somehow loved it. All her life, wherever she went, she was always a member of the so-called “cool kids”, and she got so used to it that she constantly craved more and more popularity. Unfortunately for her, in Bethany; and particularly Grey Mountain High, the cool kids weren’t exactly the most popular. As a matter of fact, the kids that considered themselves “cool” were actually the least popular; simply because they had planet-sized egos.
So far, Heather was proving to be an exception to the rule. All the guys in school loved her because she was unbelievably pretty, and the girls liked her but no one knew why. Everyone enjoyed her company except Dennis’ friends. Dennis was something of a friend, Lily just used her, Beyoncé and her best friend, Athena, hated her, and Chris and John were almost non-existent in her life.
‘I’m not,’ she lied, ‘I’m fine.’
‘Even after last Saturday night?’
‘Especially after last Saturday night.’
‘Okay,’ he said, letting go of her, ‘see you tomorrow, then.’
‘Yeah,’ she smiled back and then left the club.
The door creaked open really slowly, and through a tiny crack, Lily crept into the house. She had just shut the door and locked it in pin-drop silence when the light suddenly came on with a soft click. There, at the foot of the staircase, was her mother in pajamas; fuming. ‘Where the hell were you?’ she demanded, arms folded by her chest and her scowl rather intimidating.
‘Out,’ Lily said boldly, but she immediately regretted her choice of words. She had just walked away from the door and was now inching closer and closer to her mother with the intention of brushing past her and heading to her room. Almost like Lily had expected it, her mother dished out an ear-splitting slap that was sure to leave a bruise on her cheek for the next week or so.
‘Watch your tongue with me, young lady!’ she shouted with another slap to her daughter’s cheek.
Lily’s face burned and she could feel the tears streaming from her eyes and meet her skin like water in a hot pan. As always, she fought hard not to let loose some profanity at her mother, and she fought even harder not to cry. This was a woman who took advantage of weakness in anyone.
‘What’s in the bag?’ her mother demanded.
‘Nothing,’ Lily said as she tried equalizing the pain in her cheek with her palm. Her mother grabbed the handbag and stretched it open; almost like she wanted to tear it at the seams. When she fished inside, all she saw were books and stationary, a phone and the box Heather handed Lily. Lily knew her mother wouldn’t bother looking inside it because it was marked in bold: O.B. She threw the bag back at Lily saying, ‘To your room, young lady! This conversation will continue tomorrow.’
Lily held the bag tight and climbed the stairs and slammed the door to her room, locking it. As she threw herself on the bed, she finally let her tears out, but only for a few seconds. She wasn’t worried about tomorrow because she knew her mother would either be too drunk or missing-in-action to punish or hit her some more. And, knowing what was coming next, she emptied the contents of her bag onto the bed, opened the box, took out all five white pills that were in it, and tossed them into her mouth.
Deep inside her underwear drawer was a bottles of Jack Daniels. With the pills still weighing on her tongue, Lily took out the bottle and took a long hard gulp, placed it back in its place, then threw herself onto the bed. A few seconds later she was hit with a terrible migraine, nausea, blurred vision, and finally she passed out.
In the unheard of hours of the night, while Lily was still knocked out cold, there was a click on her bedroom door. Sure enough, it was unlocked, and in came a slight draft. The draft disappeared suddenly as the door shut again and locked.
From far away in her induced slumber, Lily could vaguely smell cigarette smoke and peppermint and all sorts of alcohol. Gradually the smell grew stronger and stronger, and a slight rough warmness brushed over her skin. Still somewhat unconscious, Lily felt her body get colder and colder from the bust down.
When she awoke she would find herself naked, battered and bruised in a locked bedroom. The drugs and alcohol became the only way she could take being raped every other night by her mother’s alcoholic and junkie boyfriend. When morning came she would feel everything, and smell and taste that horrible man all over her, but thanks to the drugs, she would at least not recall the event. She would cry as she washed herself thoroughly in the shower, applied as much make-up as she possibly could, and wore clothes that would cover up her bruised body.
Maybe one day she would wake up and all this would just be one long nightmare.
CHAPTER 2: End ofthe Dream
Why she didn’t just say something, she wondered each day. Lily knew that she could just speak the cops and al this would be gone. Hell, why didn’t she speak to her mother about it? Kara Kelly may have been a drunk and a failed excuse for a mother, but she was the only mother Lily had, so why didn’t she tell her of her abuser? But, after wondering the same thing every day, the apparently obvious answer would hit her. Not only was Kara the most unreliable person in the world, Don had so much dirt on Lily that the latter had no choice but to shut up. One piece of information that would start an undesirable chain of events was the fact that Lily was a junkie.
Well, she wasn’t a junkie of her own choosing; it was the only way she could live with herself given the family life she was thrown into. Had Don decided to tell the authorities that Lily was an abuser, word would have got out that Heather Cruz was her supplier, and among other things, that would have tarnished the name of the Mexican ambassador. So, out of what she considered common sense, Lily kept quiet, came down for breakfast like nothing had happened, and since her stoned mother and her psychotic boyfriend were nowhere to be seen, she rushed out of the door with nothing more than an apple.
In school all everyone saw was this pretty girl, who was mostly rather quiet, girlfriend to the most charming guy in the world, and who had equally amazing friends. Even her supposed closest friends knew nothing of the secrets Lily had, and she was determined to keep it that way.
As soon as she spotted Dennis in the hallway, she put on that ever so perfect fake smile and hugged him tightly. She could have fooled even the most observant of her friends with her masking emotions and supposed happy life. Unlike all other couples in school, Dennis and Lily refrained from kissing in public. It was Lily’s idea. Dennis never really understood the explanation she gave, but anyway, only she knew the real reason why.
‘Where were you last night?’ Dennis asked, Lily’s lanky body still pressed firmly against his.
‘Oh,’ she said like it slipped her mind, ‘I’m sorry, I got caught up.’
‘My mum,’ Lily replied, pulling away from her boyfriend, who decided to dismiss the topic. Dennis had never really met Kara, and wasn’t intent on doing so any time soon, since really explained that she was super-strict.
Arm in arm, Dennis and Lily began walking along the corridor to class. As they passed the multitude of students in the hallway, they attracted their fair number of eyes, but none of them were quite ogling like they would on a regular basis. As she leaned on her locker, Beyoncé watched as her two friends walked past her and Athena like they weren’t even real. Even through that, neither was willing to address that issue. When Athena was certain that Dennis and Lily were out of ear-shot, she said to Beyoncé, ‘Was it just me or does Lily look like she’s at a funeral?’
‘Oh, you know Lily,’ Beyoncé replied, unwilling to speculate too much on what she saw, ‘she’s a goth ad goths always have that kind of look.’
‘I know, Bee, but sadness is sadness, and it looks the same on everyone.’
‘God, don’t you watch a lot of Lie to Me?!’ Beyoncé replied with a grin and a slam of her locker. She and Athena began heading to class when she said, ‘Lill’s fine, Athena, she always says she is anyway, doesn’t she?’
Athena thought about it, and realized that Beyoncé actually had a point. Regardless of the situation, no matter how it looked like she was suffering, Lily would always say that she was fine. So, basically, if the victim doesn’t fret about it, then Athena figured she shouldn’t bother.
In the auditorium, while she sat alone in the rather small audience, Heather realized that the play wasn’t Hamlet at all, but one created totally from scratch by the teacher. From what she understood, it was called Of Stone, but that was about as much as she understood about it. From the complex storyline, to the characters speaking in Ye Olde English, it was no wonder she got nothing from it. Still, watching the rehearsals beat doing some constructive work, and anyway, regardless of the language barrier, she was dying for a part in the play. If only that not-so-pretty princess just caught a nasty case of small pox or something, Heather thought…
The teacher cum writer cum director cum producer called a recess of sorts where the actors could freshen up a bit, and Heather saw this as her chance of sneaking into the play. Backstage was just as hectic as onstage, but at least here there were no rules. Still, the only reason she got in was because she was Heather Cruz, the hot new girl from Mexico. Sometimes popularity did pay off.
She was traversing and observing the landscape without much purpose when she came face to face with the sophomore playing Calantha, the supposedly beautiful princess. Heather smiled at her, trying not to judge those less blessed than she was. ‘Hi,’ she said kindly, ‘I’m Heather.’
‘Christina,’ the girl replied with a smile. Of course she knew her name. There were few in the school that didn’t. ‘Are you in the play?’ she continued.
Heather shook her head no. ‘I wish,’ she said, ‘I’m not so good with English as it is, but the one used in the play… seriously, whose idea was that?’
‘Who do you think, Heather?’ Christina asked, reaching for a bottle of water that was on a counter adjacent to Heather. ‘You want to be in the play?’
‘Isn’t it too late for auditioning?’
‘It’s never too late, sweetheart,’ Christina said through gulps of cool quenching water. ‘This play is the caliber of something from Broadway or Hollywood. It’s really tough but those of us that are determined will get through it.’
‘Those of you that are determined?’
‘Yeah,’ there are people quitting every day. Some parts just get too hard for them.
‘Any princesses that have quit recently?’ asked Heather slightly cunningly.
‘Sorry, only one princess and I am not quitting any time soon.’ It did not show but Heather felt a hint of disappointment run across her body. She loved a fight, but starting one now with Christina for the part of Calantha was pointless, considering the fact that the play was in a couple of weeks, and there just wasn’t enough time to fight it out. ‘You know there’s tons of rumors about you flying all over school,’ Christina continued, ‘But one that people can’t seem to grasp is why a Latin girl is called Heather and not Maria or Soledad.’
‘You know, Christina, I ask myself the same question every day,’ Heather mused. ‘Seriously, though, I’m not fully Mexican. My mother is American, that’s why you see my gorgeous gold locks.’
‘Can you sing?’
‘Talk about a change of topic…’
Christina smiled as she gulped some more water. ‘Yeah, because if you can, there may be a part for you in the play.’
‘What is this, a musical or something?’
‘Or something.’ Christina took her hand and led her to the other side of the backstage area where five dark haired guys were fixing up guitars and guzzling bottles and bottles of water. ‘These are the guys doing all the music in the play, Heather, and they are looking for a female voice to add to their angelic boyish ones. Can you do that?’
‘You want me to sing?’ she asked, almost in disbelief.
‘You want a part in the play, don’t you?’
The guys had stopped what they were doing and were now looking at their leading actor and Heather but mostly the latter. ‘Guys,’ Christina turned to the band and said, ‘I trust you’ve heard of Heather Cruz. She wants a part in the play and you guys have a great spot open, don’t you?’
What Heather assumed was the lead vocalist, a tall buff guy with long spiky hair, face piercings and eyeliner stood up and shook her hand; an action she figured he did just to touch her. ‘Can you sing?’ he asked, almost as if he was emphasizing Christina’s question. Heather found herself staring into his mysterious dark eyes, and almost losing herself in them.
‘Heather?’ the boy said, snapping her back to reality.
‘Yeah,’ she smiled at him, ‘I can sing.’
‘How good are you?’
‘I’m the best damn thing,’ she replied, still staring into his eyes.
It was dark and as usual, she wasn’t able to see a thing. As had become customary, the clicking sound came, followed by a smooth draft, and then the clicking sound again. Since she had consumed all her pills last night, Lily was fully awake and could make out the dark figure inching closer and closer to her.
This time, however, she could smell his stench of alcohol and nicotine from a mile away. Her blood pumped faster through her body, but only because she was scared. She was seated on the bed with her legs pressed together and her eyes half shut. The next thing she knew, Don had jerked her at the shoulder and she fell to her back on the bed.
Even in the dark, she knew she was exactly what part of him was directly before her eyes, but it didn’t take long before she shut them so that all she saw was complete darkness.
He hit her, pulled her hair, pressed her hard onto the mattress and choked her. Lily was fully conscious and she felt every single bit of it, and she cried in distress. Her efforts to fight him off were futile at best, and they were even less when he finally got around to forcing himself on her.
To his surprise, a single slap to his face was enough to push him away if only slightly, and then she got to her feet and began dashing to the door. Lily hadn’t moved an inch from the foot of the bed when Don’s rough hand clamped her forearm and drew her back. When she turned around, she was met by a scalding slap, to which Lily let out a loud scream.
Suddenly the light came on, shining brightly in her eyes, but she didn’t care. Finally, cavalry. Whether it was the police, the neighbor or just her mother didn’t matter, Don had been caught in the act, and this would be the end of her torture.
But, a familiar voice came, ‘Lily, are you okay?’
When Lily looked up, she noticed that what had come to her rescue wasn’t really any rescue at all. The Chem. teacher looked startled by her scream, as did the rest of the class. She looked up at the teacher, hand over her nose and mouth, and she began crying. Her nightmare was to continue.