Author: Ashley Williams
Evangeline-- go to prom, kisses Xavier, feels terrible, finds out her mother has cancer and she needs to live with her not dead father in Romania
Xavier-- broke up with his Romanian girlfriend, wants to tells E his feelings but then it is a let down because he needs to leave anyway
E's Mother-- reveals to her daughter that she has cancer and she will be living with her father in a different country
Grammar: (line edits)
Just my personal opinion:
The same things I mentioned for the first chapter still apply here. It is mostly the small grammar things (like the commas and dialog tags) and the “show don't tell” writer rule. I pointed out some moments in the line-edits where I wanted to see more. E's humor comes across well in the writing, and I think that if you show more details, more humor can be written in. That is a strong part of the writing. It won't hurt to add more. You'll see that I stop with the edits halfway through. That is just because I figured you could apply what I did in the first part of the chapter to the second with the grammar and such.
While reading chapter 2 and thinking back to chapter 1, I noticed something. I know this is your first draft, so your first round of big edits and rewrites is still ahead of you. I think there is a lot that needs to be cut out when you do them. There are parts that don't contribute to the plot and are just extra, unneeded information. It seems to weigh down the action and drama. For example, we don't need to know what a character eats for breakfast or goes to lunch with a friend if it does not contribute to the plot or tells the readers important information about the characters. I just want you to keep this in mind when you edit and when you write things in the future. I feel like a thirteen page chapter can really be cut down into six or seven pager. The story will still have the same plot. Nothing will be hurt; it will be improved with a better flow, tighter structure, and cleaner story.
Besides all that, the shift in this chapter with the diagnosis of E's mother was interesting. I was wondering how E was going to get to Romania, since that was where the story was heading . I'm excited to find out about E's father and what is going on with his side of the family. Now there is also a chance for E and Xavier's relationship. Great suspenseful ending. It suceeds in wanting the reader to go on.
Looking in the mirror I couldn’t help but feel like a full blown Disney princess. [ Great comparison!] [ My hair is all done up in a cascading side sweep with a dozen little crystals artfully placed throughout and my makeup is breathtaking complete with smoky eyes and shimmering lips.]--(Lonnnggg sentence) My dress is the color of buttermilk and has expertly placed crystal and cloth flowers in various places, while the back was a low Vee that is covered with lace.
Xavier texts me to [ tell me ]--(Me is mentioned twice. How about changing this to “say”?)that he’s on his way over, and my stomach does a little flip of it’s own accord. We still hadn’t had our talk about what had happened before he’d left for Romania[ , ]--( . In) fact, I hadn’t really talked to him at all about anything except prom preparations since he’d come home yesterday.
Ten minutes later[ , ] Xavier pulls up in his fancy Mercedes Benz. When he steps out of the car[ , ] I find it momentarily hard to breathe. He looks breathtaking in a classic black suit with his hair perfectly [ What is “perfectly mussed”? Describe this more. Let us see it instead of just telling us. It will be better to picture him. ] mussed up.
“E, you look….amazing[ . ]--( , )” he says with an ear splitting grin on his face. I try to hide the fact that it makes me feel mighty good that I put that smile on his face. [ Did I already say that I love the nickname, E? Love it! ]
“Thanks. Stop staring at me and let my mom take pictures[ , ]” I say trying to be funny, but Xavier regards me with greedy eyes and quickly turns to my mom to say hi.
After an agonizing half hour of pictures and a mortifying lecture from my mother about being safe[ I think a long dash will work better here ]if you catch my drift[ long dash here too] Xavier escorts me to his car and we head to prom.
“Please forgive my mother for putting you through that awful talk[ , ]” I say trying to hide my immense embarrassment.
“Yeah, I wasn’t exactly expecting that, but I’m glad to say I’m thoroughly informed on the topic.” I roll my eyes at him, hoping that he’s not talking from experience. Yet looking at him in all his glory I cringe knowing that he probably is. I decide it’s time for a subject change.
“So how was Romania?”
“Ok, I guess. My dad is pushing me to take over the family business when I’m done here, and my brother is basically bat s*** crazy.”
“Oh, sounds like a whole lot of fun.”
“So I take it you’re moving back there when we graduate?” I know the answer I’m hoping for is not the one I’m about to get, but it still stings when I hear it. [ This sounds awkward...]
“Yeah.” [ he sound]--(He sounds) a little disappointed.
“Well, that sucks. I guess I’ll go back to being friendless.” I sigh. “God we graduate in a week. We only have a week left together. Promise me we’ll end it with a bang.”
“Promise. Prom is a good start right?” he asks.
“Okay so I[ , ] Xavier[ , ] promise to make tonight the perfect night for my best friend E.”
“Ditto[ , ]” I say, then giggle like a child.
“Good we’re here.”
Xavier parks the car[ , ] and we walk to the banquet hall arms linked. Once inside the palatial building we line up to take pictures and then make our way to our table. We’re seated with people that Xavier and I have talked to on a few occasions, but everyone gets along fine.
Dinner comes out after a half hour of mingling and people arriving. The halls packed[ , ] and everyone is dressed in their finest. Penelope[ , ] a stupid wench[ , ] that has hated me forever glares in my direction, no doubt because she’s jealous that I’m the one sitting with Xavier and not her. Too bad it isn’t like that I want to explain to her. He has a freaking girlfriend, a beautiful Romanian girlfriend. [ While reading this paragraph again, I wonder if a high school girl like E would refer to a girl as a wench. It threw me off because I don't feel it is too believable. It feels like she is trying too hard. Maybe bitch? ]
I butter my roll and try not to let the thought ruin my night. The roasted chicken is divine[ , ] and being that I’d avoided food all day to squeeze myself into this dress[ , ] I probably look like a starved dog eating it.
The post-dinner music starts playing and group by group the dance floor starts to fill up with wreathing teenage bodies. As I look out across the dance floor from our table, that is rapidly becoming empty, I realize that even though I dislike a large amount of people here I’m still going to miss this part of my life. I glance at Xavier, and then the thought hits me that it probably isn’t high school I’m going to miss.
Xavier had kept me sane for the past four years, and while I know that college is a time for people to grow and make new connections, I knew I was going to have a hell of a time letting go of that particular relationship.
Xavier must have caught my contemplative stare[ no comma here ] because he nudges me playfully with his elbow.
“You good?” he asks.
“Yeah, just thinking[ , ]” I reply.
“None of your business[ , ]” I say playfully.
“Fair enough. Shall we?” He gestures to the dance floor.
Xavier leads me to the dance floor, and even though this is the most played out thought in the world, I feel like a total princess. Xavier is solid beneath my hands and has a firm grasp on my waist. It feels so right, which sucks so bad since the feeling is only one-sided. One of the worst feelings in the world has to be when your feelings aren’t returned by someone you care about so much, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it, except move on.
“You look beautiful tonight.” Whenever Xavier got serious his accent always got a little bit thicker. [ Good bit of information. ] The knife in my heart twisted a little. Why did he have to say these things?
“Thanks. You clean up pretty nice yourself.” I lay my head on his shoulder knowing that this is probably not good for my psyche.
To my surprise[ , ] he pulls me tighter against him as he expertly dances to the slow rhythm of the song. I close my eyes for a brief moment and just pretend that he’s mine. The song stops and my unhealthy fantasy is shattered.
“Come here. I want to talk to you[ ,” he ] says softly in my ear.
He takes my hand[ , ] and we walk out onto the balcony overlooking a well manicured lawn.
“E. Last week at my apartment[ ...” He ] runs his hand through his hair.
“Are we really doing this now? We were having such a good time.” A glimmer of anger sparks in my chest. He promised not to ruin this night.
“When else are we going to do it? We have a week left. A week isn’t that long E.”
“I know. Please stop reminding me.” My anger slowly starts to melt to sorrow. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do without you here[ , ]” I whisper into the warm night air as a lone tear escapes from my eye.
“Don’t do that[ , ] E.” He brushes his thumb across my cheek. His touch reminds me of what happened before and I want to cry even more. This is so unfair. “It’s just I don’t want you getting hurt. There are things going on you just don’t understand, and I can’t even begin to explain.”
I laugh at the familiar excuse that I’ve heard in almost every romantic movie I’ve seen. “Isn’t that how it always is?”
“Yeah I guess so.” [ he ]--(He)pauses. “E? Can I kiss you?”
I’m floored by his request. All I can do is nod, when inside I’m cheering like a deranged Philly’s fan. Without warning his lips, his soft warm delicious lips are pressed against mine, and I feel like I’m going to explode inside. I’m gripping the lapels of his shirt trying hold on for the sensuous ride, and then his tongue slips inside my mouth, and in that instant my world only consists of him. He tastes like rain and honey, with a tinge of copper weirdly enough. [ From the beginning, I thought Xavier was a werewolf. Now I'm thinking vampire.]
He pulls away too soon, and I realize that I’ve become the other girl in that moment. I don’t know what Xavier and Naomi’s guidelines are in regards to cheating, but I’m pretty sure normal people count kissing as a big offense. Even though I secretly hated the girl I still didn’t feel right kissing her man.
“Xavier, what about Naomi? Is that what kind of guy you are?” I step back for a moment and realization hits me. “Is this what kind of girl I am?” I whisper mortified with my behavior. Anger was making a comeback.
Before he can answer one of the teacher chaperones comes out to break up our little love fest. We go back in and sit in silence at our table for the rest of the night. My senior prom is officially ruined, not to mention the fact that Xavier broke his promise, not only to me, but I’m sure to his girlfriend back home too somehow.
Once the music starts dying down I suggest to Xavier that we should head out. He nods looking frustrated and we head to the car. The drive home is silent and awkward. [ Show us how it is awkward and silent. I want to know! Don't just tell us. ] Maybe it’s for the best that graduation is next week and that Xavier is moving back home.
When we pull up to my house[ , ] I get out of the car without saying anything to Xavier. I’m full of shame, and hurt, and physical dissatisfaction. Before I can escape the stifling atmosphere of the car though Xavier grabs my hand. I try to pull away, but I have very little fight left in me.
“Look at me[ , ] E[ , ]” he says. I refuse at first, but then find that my head is turning of its own accord.
“What could you possibly say that would make any of this better?” I ask on the verge of tears again.
“Naomi and I, we’re over. I broke up with her.”
“Oh god, you broke up with her tonight because of this? It’s my fault. You guys were so happy, and I opened my big mouth, in more ways than one and now you aren’t together.” I was a home wrecker. What’s worse is that he had to of broken up with her on the phone. I hear Xavier laughing.
“Why on earth are you laughing right now?” I ask[ , ] shocked.
“First of all I broke up with her the night I landed in Romania last week.” He smiles. “But it is your fault.”
“I couldn’t stop thinking about you[ , ] E. I wasn’t all that happy with her anyway, not as happy as I am with you.”
I stare at him through the car window with a mixture of horror and shock. The thought briefly crosses my mind that he’s messing with my emotions but the look on his face assures me that he is dead serious. Somewhere buried deep under the swirling torment of emotions I’m dealing with a little ray of hope bursts through. One thought keeps popping up in my head like a blinking neon sign. HE BROKE UP WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. [ Hahahaha! ]
“I don’t even know what to say.”
“I just want you to know how I feel.”
“Where does this leave us then?” I ask hope rising in my chest.
“I don’t know. Would it be smart to start something when we aren’t going to be living in the same country for much longer? It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that things are so complicated.”
Disappointment floods my being. For the second time in my life I’m being turned down by Xavier. The difference this time is that he’s telling me that he has feelings for me but we still can’t be together.
“You’re probably right.” I laugh trying to hide the hurt that is consuming me. “Just promise me that after this weeks over we will still be friends[ , ]” I say.
“I promise. Nothing will ever change that[ ,” he ] says smiling.
I stifle a yawn.
“Someone a little tired?” Xavier asks.
“A smidge[ , ]” I say.
“Well I’ll go then. Sweet dreams E.”
Pulling myself away from the car I make my way to my room, stopping briefly to talk to my mom. Once inside my room I strip down to my underwear and don’t bother to put on pajamas. I collapse into my bed pulling the covers around me and fall into a deep sleep.
Two days later
Monday mornings are the worst, especially during finals week. I feel a little twinge knowing that it’s my last week as a high school student. I brush my mane of thick black hair, apply a tinted lotion on my almond colored skin, and black eyeliner around my green eyes. When my routines complete I check myself in the mirror one last time and approve.
I’m running a little late for school so I scoop up my bag and keys and rush out the door. Among the boring humdrum of my life there is one thing that always makes me smile. My car. My car is the most amazing, piece of machinery in the world, at least to me anyway. It’s an 81’ trans am, looking like it did the first day it rolled off the assembly line. Pearlescent white with blue accents including the classic screaming rooster on the hood. It is the only thing that I had of my father. He left my mother before I had been born. It always makes me mad when my mother talks about him. I hadn’t known him, so it never saddened me that he was gone, I just have always disliked the fact that I had grown up without a father. I missed the idea not the person. I force the dark thoughts from my mind as I hop in the driver seat and start it up, it’s engine revving to life. I would never get over that wonderful purring.
My drive to school is like any other, boring and uneventful. It takes me 15 minutes to drive from my home to my school. I go to a private school just outside of Philadelphia called Maxwell Academy.
The grounds of Maxwell are typical of any other high class private school, with perfectly manicured lawns and topiaries that match the perfectly groomed students that dwell within its walls. To me it looks more like a private garden than school grounds, but still its a peaceful place to come to every day. Plus if it’s a sunny warm day it’s a great place to eat lunch.
The building itself looks modern, a glass and steel structure that reflects the structured learning that took place inside. The halls, bathrooms and classrooms are always kept tidy in a Stepford sort of way.
The student and teachers are a whole different story. The people who go to Maxwell Academy are distinguished people of society. The mayors daughter, and other wealthy children went here. They are complete assholes and bitches, typical rich snobby people, especially to me being that I am on scholarship, or as they like to call me “the charity case”. I never really had fit in here, not that I really want any of these types of people in my inner circle, but sometimes it’s nice not to feel like a total loner. I am nothing like them, and have absolutely nothing in common with any of them. Where they are polished and proper, I’m sharp edged and ill mannered at times. Most of my teachers dislike me because I’m not one of them, and because I never quite follow their prim and uptight rules. Other than that I’m a good student pulling all A’s every semester.
I walk into my first class, the one I dread most. History has to be the worst subject ever. My History classroom is average size for a high school classroom, with bookshelves lining the right wall. The windows are small and barley can be considered proper windows, but they do for the hour that we sit in the class. My teachers desk is a large heavy wooden piece that looks as if it belongs in a museum.
Because this is the first class of the day the teacher is often late, which gives people in the class time to chat about useless teenage crap. I look around at my classmates and envy that useless teenage chatter. Xavier’s not in my first class so I have no one to talk to. I sigh at my pathetic life.
“Ugh, Evangeline must you sit next to me? Your loser stench is suffocating me.” Penelope snickers.
Ignoring her I get my notebook and pen out. Penelope is a bitch plain and simple, she hated everyone except her perfectly chosen clique and gorgeous boyfriend Paul. When we were in ninth grade and taking biology she though it’d be a good idea to play a prank on me. We had been studying about dissection of animals and it was lab day. She decided that she was going to pour formaldehyde in my purse, which didn’t go over to well with me. So with all my anger backing me I punched her in the face, which of course, got me kicked out of school for the rest of the semester. And what did Miss Penelope get? Absolutely nothing. I truly hated her.
Professor Milo appears and begins class, which in fact isn‘t much of a class being that it‘s one of the last. Instead of teaching a lesson he hands out a small tome, that serves as our test. I look at it in disbelief, there had to be over two hundred and fifty questions. Trying my best I answer the questions knowing there’s no way I’m getting above a C on the test.
The bell pulls me back to reality and I ramble on to my next three classes, which are all study sessions not actual finals. Once I’m done with the first half of the day I head to the lunch room to grab a bite to eat before going to the library. Walking into the lunch room, which is more like a restaurant, I stop, look across the room and see a familiar and completely welcome face. Xavier.
He quickly pays for his food and leaves the cafeteria in a rush, as I wave in his direction which makes me look like a certifiable moron. That’s weird why was he ignoring me? Walking up the main flight of stairs and into the library, I shake my head wondering what the hell was going on. Once I’m in the library I feel my nerves unwind. Libraries are my weakness, well actually anyplace that has a large amount of books is. I love to read, it always helps me to escape my extremely boring existence.
My calm feeling only lasts a second because when I look over to the library desk I see Xavier checking out a book. Again he looks at me with those beautiful violet eyes. How in the hell had he gotten up here without me seeing him? He walks toward me with a friendly smile on his face.
“What the hell Xavier? You totally blew me off downstairs. Not cool man. Not cool.” His smile disappears.
“What are you talking about. I came to the library first because I knew that was where you’d likely be. Bookworm.” He smiles revealing flawless teeth. My hormones must be on overdrive.
“Really?” I say incredulously, “So your bat s*** crazy twin brother you talk about all the time is roaming the halls of Maxwell?” I roll my eyes.
His violet eyes turn dark and all traces of playfulness disappear. “s***. Look I have to go take care of something.” He says as he rushes toward the door. He turns back briefly and says, “See you in class okay.”
I nod and quickly realize that I may have been right. I hadn’t heard many stories of Xavier’s twin brother but every time he did talk about him it was about how crazy he was.
I go to my next class in a complete daze. While walking to my desk I feel a strange sensation. When I look to the other side of the room I see Xavier, or possibly his twin. I know it’s Xavier when he waves me over. Walking over to the desk next to him, which so wonderfully happens to be my assigned seat, I see Penelope give me the death stare.
“Okay , so what’s the deal. You freaked out in the library, and just left me hanging. Come on spill before Mr. Smith walks in and bores us to death.” I say.
He sighs, and I know instantly he was hoping that I had forgotten his earlier weirdness. He looks out the window and I slap him on the arm.
“Damn Evangeline, your stronger than you think.” I role my eyes in his direction to clarify the fact that he was a big ol’ wimp. “Fine. My twin brother is in town.”
“Really? Why though, you’re only here until Saturday. Why would he come here now? And why would he be at our school?” I say trying to push down the sadness I was feeling. I only had four days until graduation and five days until Xavier left for Romania for good.
“I don’t know but, he’s dangerous.”
“ He can’t be that dangerous.” I roll my eyes thinking he’s overreacting. “So he really is your evil twin eh?” I laugh uncontrollably but I’m alone in my reverie. Xavier is looking quite serious. “Jeesh who died?” I say mockingly.
His expression turns from seriousness to anger in an instant, and I realize that someone did die, and he was pissed about it.
“Did someone close to you die?” I ask hoping the answer is no.
“No. My family is, well was, investigating a murder on our land. That’s why I went home last week.”
“Holy hell Xavier, that’s some heavy s***.” I say baffled.
“Yeah tell me about it. They somehow think my brother was involved and I wouldn’t put it past him either.”
I’m a little scared now. His twin brother, who by the way is in my school at the moment, may or may not have murdered someone. “Your brothers here, and you aren’t concerned for anyone’s safety?” I’m nervously ringing my hands.
“Are you scared?” he asks sincerely.
“Hell yeah I’m scared.” I respond.
“Don’t be. I’ll protect you.” I want to laugh, but he says it so fiercely that I hold my laughter in.
At that moment the teacher comes in and all the murmuring ceases. He drones on and on about some miniscule subject that no one cares anything about. It is a wonder I pull off A’s all the time. Somehow things just come to me. I had been like that since I was little. The whole class period I feel Penelope’s eyes on Xavier and I. She is completely pissed, and I have no idea why. I mean he has a perfectly identical twin, minus the fact that he‘s probably a psycho. Not to mention the fact that she already has a perfectly gorgeous boyfriend.
“Xavier you hungry? Lets go get some grub.” I smile at him, hoping for some reason that he says yes.
“No, I’m going to have to decline today. I need to catch up on some school work and study for finals and everything.” He replies. I’m disappointed but I’ll live.
Fortunately that is my last class of the day so I can leave. Because of my scholarship I’m only allowed to take the core classes and not any electives, which was no bother to me since it eliminates me from having to take gym. So I walk out of the school and into the parking lot where I find my wonderful car waiting for me. There is something on the windshield though. I go over to it and inspect it then pluck it out from between the windshield and windshield wipers. I look at the paper in disbelief.
Leave him alone or you will be sorry.
Wow! What grade are we in? Penelope sounds like a whiny baby who hadn’t gotten her way. I crumple up the note and throw it on the ground. I open up my car door and get in. When my engine roars to life, I see Xavier standing a few yards from my car and think that he has changed his mind and wants to skip. He starts to walk over and my heart skips a beat. He really is gorgeous. But as he gets closer I realize that it isn’t Xavier but his twin.
Once he is near my car he bends down and picks up the crumpled note. I go to say hi to him but he cuts me off as he throws the note in my car window.
“You dropped this,” he says with a hateful tone, and then walks away.
Well that was a creepy. I drive off the school property and towards my home. Once I get there I unlock the front door and go inside, and up to my room to get started on my homework. While I’m completing a set of vocabulary words for Spanish, I hear my front door open and my mom walk in.
“Hi mom,” I scream down to her.
“Hey baby, can you come hear real quick, we need to talk.” she says with what sounds like a little bit of worry, in her voice.
“Yea sure be there in a sec,” I answer as I get off my bed, walk out into the hallway and begin to go downstairs.
My mom is sitting in the kitchen looking worried out of her mind. I wonder what’s going on, and become a little worried myself. Her black hair is a disheveled mess gathered at the top of her head in a messy bun. Her face, freckled from too much sun exposure, was twisted in an expression of pain. It was like she was empty.
“Hey mom,” I say cautiously.
“Hey, honey, look we need to have a serious talk.” she paused for a couple seconds.
“Shoot” I say.
“All right first off, we have to talk about your father.” She says looking tired and hurt. “He wants to see you. I contacted him…”
“WHY would you do something like that, he left us remember? Why would you even want to talk to him. And I don’t give a s*** if he wants to see me, because I don’t have any desire to see him.” I say anger coloring my words.
“Honey I had to contact him.” She pauses, “I’m, I’m-,” she begins to cry, tears rolling down her cheeks silently.
My mother wasn’t a person who openly cried unless something really bad was happening. My heart is beating a million miles a minute, drowning in all the possibilities of what my mother is about to tell me. I just stand there like an idiot, not knowing what to say or how to act.
“Mom, what’s wrong?” I look at her pleading with my eyes for her to tell me what is going on.
“Honey, I, I have cancer.” she says it sounding so final and defeated. My heart drops, so surprised to hear that come out of her mouth. Why this? Of all things why did my mom have to have cancer. My gut is telling me to be worried, and my gut was always right. But I have to console her, convince her, and maybe myself, that everything would be just fine.
“Yeah, but mom, there’s doctors for that. Technology is so much better now, and there’s medicines. Your going to be just fine.” I say frantically searching her eyes for some reassurance.
“No, I have pancreatic cancer. There’s nothing they can do. The doctor said that I have a few more months if I’m lucky.” I look at her feeling the tears well up behind my eyes. She looks at me and gathers me into her arms. My stomach is the consistency of jell-o as I rack my brain for any possible way to save my mother.
I refuse to let her die. I have no one else in my life except Xavier and he can‘t take the place of my mom. She can’t just leave me, she can’t. I turn on my heel and run up to my room not wanting to deal with all this. I lie on my bed crying out everything I had in me until I had nothing left to cry out.
She follows me to my room.
“Honey I can’t do anything about the cancer and neither can you but I talked to your father. He has everything figured out ok?” I look at her like she’s crazy. But she’s so frail and tired looking I decide not to fight with her. She looks at me. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow after school.”
The next morning I wake up still in my clothing from yesterday, and my homework that I neglected to finish, splayed out on my bed. For the first few seconds after I wake up everything seems great. Then yesterday’s events flood into memory, and I remember that my mom is dying. There is no way I’m going to school today. I pull the covers up over myself and then grab my computer to try to find my own way to help my mom.
As I search through thousands of useless pages of information, my mom walks in and gives me a disapproved look. She looks so frail and weak, and I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed her deteriorating before. I hadn’t seen her go from bubbly amazing mom, to this sagging defeated women in front of me. I was a horrible daughter. I gather my knees to my chest wanting to crumple up and die. Like my mom had read my thoughts she looks at me and smiles.
“Why aren’t you at school?” she asks.
I look at her, disbelief coloring my face. “What do you mean why am I not at school?”
“I mean exactly what I’m saying. Why aren’t you at school? Just because I have an illness, does not mean you are allowed to skip school Evangeline. Especially when it‘s your finals week. It‘s Tuesday and your Math and English finals are today.” she looks at me sternly a little bit of my normal mother shining through.
“Your illness? Jesus Christ mom you have cancer. Not only cancer but pancreatic cancer. I’m not going to sit at school while you sit at home dying. I won’t do it!”, I’m yelling now unable to control what comes out of my mouth, “You can’t just leave me alone to go off to some foster home. You are all the family I have, and you can’t just die!” By this point I was sitting on the floor with my back against my bed and my hands covering my teary face.
“Honey. You listen to me right now. I’m not leaving you alone. Like I said I’ve made plans, Okay.”
“What plans mom, I can’t go to college now. I mean I know I’m eighteen and I can live on my own now, but I don’t think I can function if I lost you let alone make enough money to support myself.” My sadness was turning into anger now. My mother might as well have signed her death certificate. It was like she had nothing to fight for.
“No your not mature enough to do that you and I both know that.” I wanted to deny it but she was right. She had done everything for me up until now and I couldn’t see myself without her, not yet. “Your moving to…..” she pauses with a worried look on her face. “….to Romania, with your father. ”
The moment it left her lips everything inside of me shuddered. My father? The man who left me and my mother to go off on his jet setting life? And he lives in Romania too? What the hell? I was heated with anger, betrayal, and surprise. My mind didn’t even
register the fact that Xavier’s family coincidently also lived in Romania.
“I don‘t want to live with someone that I don‘t know. Even if he is my biological father. The only thing that I share with him is blood.” The hurt I was feeling seeps into my voice.
“Exactly! You don’t know anything, I’ve kept you so sheltered from the truth. It’s so incredibly complicated. More than you or anyone else can even imagine. You have to believe me. When you go with him I promise he’ll explain to you. And I‘m begging you to please do as I wish after I‘m gone. ”
“And why can’t you explain it mom? Huh?” I say. She tries to speak, but I hold my hands up. “You know what mom? Just save it okay. Just leave me alone for a little bit. Just looking at you makes me want to scream. GET OUT!!” I yell.
She looks at me, not even phased by my meltdown. Turning to leave she says, “I’m sorry truly sorry. I love you and you know that. I know you do. When your ready to talk I’ll be down stairs. I‘ll tell you what I can.”
God she acted like what she had just told me was a minor thing. It wasn’t though. My whole life I had been told that my dad had left us because he was a selfish prick. That the only thing he had left was the car that I now drive. Now I had a living breathing father who lived in creepy Romania. My gut lurches.
I had to go live there now. With all of its superstitious citizens and everything. My life is truly sucking right at this moment. I lay in my bed for a couple of minutes trying to distract myself from thinking about everything. Since it isn’t working very well I get myself up and dressed and decide to just go to school late. At least it would distract me somewhat. I completely ignore my moms wishes to talk and rush through the door telling her I’ll talk to her when I get home.
When I arrive at school I go to my first final and breeze through it within 30 minutes which leaves me with some time to kill until my second one. I pull out my iPod and start listening to some music. The bell rings and I shuffle my feet to my second final which also goes by quickly. Before I realize it, it’s already lunch time so I head to the lunch room to get some food. Thankfully not many students had arrived in the dining hall, which allows me to pick a table in the corner of the room. I sit there picking at my gourmet meal, not really wanting to eat. Maybe I should of just stayed at home and spared myself the misery of trying to distract myself. Just as I decide that I am going to leave I feel a tap on my shoulder. I twist in my seat to see Xavier standing behind me.
“Hey Xavier,” I say trying to sound happy to see him.
“Hey you look awful.” he says playfully.
I look down at myself not even caring that I hadn’t changed out of yesterdays clothes. A lone tear slipped down my cheek.
“Hey what’s wrong?” Xavier grabs my hand in a gesture of comfort.
“Nothing.” I manage to choke out.
“Nothing? I know you better than that E. Come to get Gyros with me?”
“Eh, I don’t know. Just not in the mood, I just have some stuff going on. You know?” I say, not wanting to sound pitiful.
“Trust me, I know.” he looks at me with a warm smile. “All the more reason to go with me.”
“I….,” I don’t really know what to say to get out of it
“I won’t take no for an answer Evangeline.” he chides.
“Fine.” We make our way out of the cafeteria and into the parking lot to his car. He makes a stupid joke and I laugh.
“See your feeling better already. It’s what my presence does to women.” I roll my eyes at his ridiculousness, glad he’s there for a distraction.
We get in the car and make our way to the gyro place.
He pulls into the only available parking space which is a block away. We get out of the car and walk to the restaurant. The restaurant is a little hole in the wall, mom and pop shop that has been around for a while. I always liked coming here because it was never busy and it was a place where I knew that I wouldn’t run into anyone that I disliked.
Once we’re inside we find a table and look over the menu. At least he does, because I already know what I want. After we order our food, an awkward silence sets in. I look up to gauge what he’s thinking, and when he catches me I smile stupidly.
“So? Any news on the situation back home?” I ask.
He runs his long fingers through his dark silky hair. I watch mesmerized. “My brother, I wish he would’ve just stayed home. I don‘t know why he followed me here.” he laughs. “Sorry, I’m probably boring you with my family drama.”
“Not at all, I mean after he left the note on my car yesterday…” as soon as the words left my mouth, I regret saying them. For a second anger flares in Xavier’s violet eyes.
“He wrote you a note?,” I nod, “What exactly did it say?” he asks.
“Well, I mean nothing to get angry over. Just don’t worry about it okay, it’s really no big deal.” I’m getting flustered now. I don’t want to say anything to piss off Xavier or his brother. Especially his brother.
“What did it say, Evangeline?,” he gives me a stern look.
I sigh feeling defeated. “It said, ‘Leave him alone, or you’ll be sorry’. But really, like I said, no harm done. So there is absolutely no need to say anything. Ok?” I plead hoping he’d leave it alone.
“I’m really sorry, Evangeline, really.” he says looking truly pissed.
“Look lets just forget about it. Pretend it never happened. Please.”
He gives a curt nod. “Yeah, fine. Forgotten” he says. It isn’t very convincing, but I just let it slide wanting to get off this subject.
I look around wondering where our food is. That’s when I see a women sitting in a seat by the window. She’s frail and the color is gone from her skin. Her head is wrapped in a scarf, and I know that she’s a cancer patient, and just like that my mood is brought so far down I feel like hiding under the table. I need to get out of here, because I’m about to break down and cry. I can feel the tears pooling in my eyes, but I’m not about to let Xavier see me like this.
“Are you alright? You look kind of upset again.” Xavier asks.
I can’t bring myself to talk, so I just nod.
“Not very convincing, Evangeline.” he says as he grabs my hand. As soon as touches me I feel so warm and so protected, like nothing in the world can hurt me. “If you want to talk we can. I‘m your, what are we exactly? We haven‘t talked much about it since prom night.” he smiles.
“I don’t know Xavier, I mean you’re leaving in a few days so is there really a future for us?” I say as more disappointment and melancholy seeps into my life. I start tearing up a little.
“Lets worry about that later. What else is wrong though? You look really upset.” He looks so concerned and I know I can’t keep this from him. After all he’s known my mom for a while now, he’s even called her mom on a few occasions.
“It’s just family stuff is all. My moms kind of sick and I’m a little worried about her.” Major understatement but I’m not in the mood for a pity party. I’m two seconds away from breaking down. I have to get out of there. “I’m really sorry but I have to go.” I gather my belongings, lay a ten down on the table and rush out of the restaurant without looking back. Hurrying down the street I duck in an alley, fall to the ground and break down, sobbing like an idiot. My whole life is topsy turvey, my mother is really dying and the truth of it hits me like a ton of bricks, and to add on to that once she’s gone, I have to go to Romania and live with a man I don’t know anything about. Not to mention the fact that this man was the father who had abandoned me.
“Evangeline,” Xavier calls. I hear his footsteps coming, but I can’t stop crying. “Evangeline, let me take you home.” He just looks at me not judging, not prying, just there. I nod and we make our way to his car.
The ride home is quiet. I want to tell him everything, but I keep my mouth shut. When we reach my house I realize that I’d left my car at school. It’s already five o’clock, and I’m not in the state of mind to go all the way back to school and drive all the way back home, so I decide to just leave the car and get it tomorrow.
“Um, do you think you could give me a lift to school tomorrow? We left my car there.” I ask.
“No problem. If you need anything call me. Seriously. Any time. You know that though right?” he looks at me with sincerity.
“ Yeah. Ok. Well see you tomorrow I guess?” I say, and turn to walk away, but then turn back unsure of myself. “Xavier, thank you.” I smile and turn to go into my house.
While I’m walking up to my house I think about the first time I met Xavier.
It was my first day at Maxwell, and coming from a suburban public school, I really wasn’t expecting the harsh cold stares I would get upon entering my first class. It was obvious that I was a charity case, but I didn’t really think that it would matter. All of my life I hadn’t really put a lot of value on what others thought of me, which made me awkward at best in social situations, so when I sat down in my first class and heard people whispering things, about the impoverished, I blushed furiously. As the day went on it was more of the same which just pissed me off more and more. I was never good at keeping my temper in check. So when I was at lunch and a girl came over to me and
handed me a wad of food stamps, (where she got them I didn’t know), I was ready to wail off and hit her. I drew back my arm to do so, but before my fist hit its mark a handsome boy stepped in my path and stopped me. “It isn’t worth it, you’ll get in major trouble.” I argued with him, but then he turned around and told the blonde bimbo off. It was at that moment that I had found an unlikely ally in this handsome rich kid. I later found out that we had a lot in common, like the fact that we both loved cars and had grown up attending car shows. While he liked classy, quiet, and distinctly European cars, I liked loud obnoxious, American classics. He hated all the other kids at Maxwell so alls we had was each other. We hung out on weekends all the time, went to movies, went to the mall, we even went to a school dance with each other once and completely hated it so we ditched and went to my house and ordered pizza instead.
I go to the bathroom and hear the shower running, so instead I go to my room and wait for my mother to get out. I check my email and then start reading a book I had recently gotten from Barnes & Noble. When I check the clock again I realize that an hour has gone by. I go out to the hallway and still hear the shower running. My heart almost lurches out of my chest. She’s fine just taking a long shower, I tell myself, but deep down I know better. I push the bathroom door open and yank back the shower curtain. My mothers body is laying limp on the floor of the bathtub.
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