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Rated: 13+ · Novel · Teen · #222351
Cynical Chloe and her h/s life. Not meant to be wholly defined by its listed genres
Chapter 1: First Day in Hell, aka School
And a Thought from Chloe: "What Moron Said High School Was the Best Part of Somebody's Life?"

A year ended and another began, and today was the first day of Chloe Abbens' sophomore cycle. Mrs. Ludwig was handing out the infamous self-test, a test she gave out at the start of each year seemingly graded only on a credit/no credit basis, since nobody ever received a score short of perfect. Karen Ludwig was just the Hastings High English teacher, but she tried to include as much philosophy as possible in her classes. A student sighed: Chloe. Maybe Mrs. Ludwig should have been a college teacher. Chloe was annoyed with the array of pointless tests to come throughout the year, but secretly enjoyed English class.

1. Describe life in one sentence. (No run-ons)

Describe life? Life was a meaningless existence in which we try to do as much as possible with what little we have. Chloe saw no point in knowing what life had to be, because if it was meant to be an enigma, quit being snoopy and stop asking the same questions.

Life is a set of sequences about nothing.

Ms. Abbens decided to be stupid about the test. If the test included stupid questions, Chloe would provide stupid answers.

2. Where do you imagine yourself in the next 10 years?
Alive, or perhaps not.

3. If you had to change one thing in your life, what would it be?
Intelligent aliens would take over the world the year I am born.

4. If a tree fell in the middle of a forest and no one was around to hear it, has the tree still fallen?

How typical could this be? The "unoriginality" in this question is so sad, it became obvious and pitifully apparent... Chloe sighed again. This day was going to feel like a long, long day.

If a tree fell in the middle of a forest and no one was around to hear it, the tree is still down because the animals have heard it. The animals who have been crushed by the tree will also know that indeed, the tree has truly fallen, with or without a person to hear it.

5. Do you believe in love?

What a romantic. Wonderful. Questions about love? Chloe wondered what the purpose of asking this question would be. Mrs. Ludwig didn't seem like the type to hit on students. After all, she IS in her 50's. She sighed again. Sighing was going to become quite a frequent habit this year.

Yes, I believe in love. I cannot believe that love doesn't exist, because otherwise that would mean that way too many people have been fooled into believing in it. Despite what our society has come to, I cannot accept that we, the human species have been conned into the belief that love exists for all this time. That would be very sad and quite depressing.

Was that written correctly? It felt like a run-on. Chloe no longer cared. The questions were lame and her yawning mouth had shown it. Several students looked at her with mixed looks. Realizing that her yawn was overdone, Chloe blushed.
"Hmm..." Chloe wondered silently. Was this it? Only 5 questions this year? What do I do now? The other students were looking at their test papers intently, concentrating as hard as possible as if they were asked whether or not America should start a WWIII. Or perhaps they were just faking it. Apparently Mrs. Ludwig intended for this test to last the whole period. That was fine with Chloe. She could contemplate ideas for her next screenplay.

Chloe Abbens was an aspiring screenwriter, and had been so ever since 5th grade. Fascinated with the notion that she could make up her own heroes and enemies, she took a pencil at age 10 and began writing. Screenwriting was the center of her life. She brought along a pencil and notebook with her everywhere to jot notes down when she heard a good "line" or had some ideas pop in her head. She devoted all of her time to screenwriting; so much that she convinced herself she did not have time to live the high school life: the one-hour phone calls, the all-night parties, the dances and the passing around of notes. No, she did not believe in that. Even without her love of screenwriting, she still wouldn't live the "high school life". Chloe wasn't big on extroversion anyhow.

The bell rang and English was finally over. Students with arms full of books quickly headed for the door. They go as if they have someplace to go, somewhere important. But what is there to look forward to besides yet another class? Why do I care? After staring at them in awe for a complete minute, she walked out the door herself, only to bump into a human being.

"Hey." Chloe uttered the greeting with disregard.
"Hey," the person replied. It was Darren Matthews, a.k.a. Poetry Guy . Others would consider him Chloe's best friend, but she couldn't care less because that phrase had been "thrown around way too many times". He was just there, and so was everyone else. They hung out all the time and had the routine of trying to decide where to go for 30 minutes every Sunday morning, only to end up doing nothing and going nowhere. It didn't take much to satisfy them.
"So how's your..." Darren began.
"This school day sucks... just like every other day that I'd waste at school," Chloe retorted.
Darren smirked. "You haven't changed, I see..."
"I don't see how that remark was relevant. You saw me over the weekend!" Her patience was slowly shrinking. She had enough of the morning to have Poetry Guy tease her for the millionth time in her life. They were friends as little kids, with the familiar scene of him making her mad with another tease she always mistook as an insult. As she grew up to be the age she is now (15), she still was offended by his merely affectionate comments.
He sighed. "I'm only making an observation."
"Whatever. I'm not in the mood right now. I'm going."
"Fine, I'll see you later." Darren left with the most irritating grin on his face. Irritating, at least, to Chloe.

---

It was second period and Chloe's naptime, disguised as "Geometry Honors". She daydreamed in the class as usual, created strange worlds in her vivid imagination. At least, until she was interrupted by Mr. Komiyama.
"Ms. Abbens, could you please define what I've just lectured in your own words?" Mr. Komiyama asked, unaware that he had snapped her out of her reverie.
"Yes Mr. Komiyama." Her mind was designed to handle these unexpected situations, Chloe answered in the most apprehensible clarification. Apprehensible clarification being the only possible description of what she had just said; a definition, by all means, very puzzling. Chloe had no idea what words came out of her mouth, but all that she knew was that the unusual facial expression had shown that he was clearly impressed.
"Wonderful explanation, Chloe. You never cease to amaze me," the teacher acknowledged. Soon afterward he continued to lecture once more. Chloe, meanwhile, was motionless for a good whole minute. The whole event had amazed her too, shocked her, and happily surprised her. How was she able to do such a thing without a clue of what the hell he was talking about? She temporarily grew overconfident, and then went back to normal after the realization that there is such a thing as luck after all. Chloe was about to continue daydreaming when she heard an angry muttering and felt a kick to her chair. Who wanted to bother her now? She cursed herself as she instinctively turned around, failing to feign maturity.

"Yes?" she asked sweetly, showing her teeth as she smiled and blinked her eyes. Kindness was a trait she could easily fake. What the hell do you want and what the hell is your problem??
He scoffed. He rolled his eyes as he replied, "What? Nothing." He looked very attractive, something Chloe would never admit. She didn't believe in being attracted to the opposite sex. She wasn't attracted to the same sex either. She didn't want to waste her time being attracted to anyone. The male had dirty blond hair clearly resembling the end of a mop, with bright blue eyes and a small nose. Immediately she labeled him "ass snob". Yes, ass snob. No, no... don't rush when you say it. Emphasize. Aaasss...snob-uh.
Fine
, Chloe muttered. She didn't give a damn about some aaasss snob-uh giving her crap. It happens, oh well, let it go. No, forget hospitality. He's still an ass, She thought. Mr. Komiyama's voice once again interrupted her thoughts. He had called on someone, Edward, to answer another question. The ass snob behind her spoke. So... your name is Edward... Edward Edward Edward. Eddie. Ed. I could say your name in any way and it is still a stupid name. Hehe. Eddie. Eddie the Ass Snob. No.. Edward the ass snob. Hehehe. To her surprise, Edward a.k.a. Ass Snob answered the question quite skillfully. This had added to her long list of reasons why surprises were sinister. Chloe saw the same impressed face plastered on Mr. Komiyama, causing her to cringe. How fake, she thought. The special feeling she received whenever teachers complimented her suddenly lost all of their appeal. Teachers are fake. They're all fake, I suppose. How can everybody be so fake? Stupid fake fakeness. Chloe frustrated herself with her child-like jealousy. She had worked hard to maintain the aura of sophisticated suave maturity, that like a person in their late twenties (at least in her opinion…), and to see it easily broken, broken by a guy nonetheless, added to her frustration.
Before she could continue bitching some more, class ended. She grabbed her books and started to walk out when she mindlessly bumped into Ass Snob himself. Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it... damn. She tried to walk away, far, far away, and as quickly as she could, but felt a hand firmly but softly hold her arm. Why did I damn myself? Chloe gave him a "what-the-hell-do-you-want?" look.
"Excuse me, you don't bump me, not apologize, and get away with it. Don't you know who I am??" He demanded. Chloe burst out laughing. She couldn't help it. It was too easy. He was some guy who expected her to know who he was! How could she not laugh? It wasn't possible. It wasn't. The title she gave him couldn't seem more fitting than ever. He looked at her perplexingly as she walked away, still laughing. What a crazy bastard. Little did she know that he was thinking the exact same thing, replacing the word "bastard" with a certain other b-word.

---

Time for lunch, and Chloe's longtime routine: she would walk slowly away from the classroom, taking notes as she passed by students. She'd put her books away in her locker (with the exception of her coveted notebook, of course), and grab a seat in the middle of the set of lunch tables. It was a strange spot to choose to be alone, but somehow she always managed to be, not because of what people thought of her, but what she thought of them. Every once in a while, people would stop and talk with her, despite Chloe not even taking the time to acknowledge their presence. It was known far and wide throughout the school that Chloe always gave her full attention, even though she didn’t look like she did. Why give them the satisfaction of thinking I care by showing it? Chloe reasoned. Then, Darren would come by, begin to talk, and immediately Chloe would engage in conversation. She would never take notice of how important she considered Darren, and also would never know that Darren constantly kept that in mind, despite his most obvious hints.

"So...uh...can you call me tonight?" Darren managed to blurt out. Chloe didn't see the blush in his cheeks.
"Why?" She asked, not bothering to look up at him as he asked the question.
"Because...? How come you never call me?" He accused. He knew too well that starting a fight wasn't going to turn out well, because Chloe could care less concerning fights. His stubbornness got the best of him.
"You know how I feel about phones. Phones are lame. Phones kill. Example is cell phones. Cell phones are stupid. I mean, I see people in the freeway driving, and they're dialing on those stupid things, and it just makes me so damn--"
"I got it.." He interrupted.
Chloe stared at him for a moment. He flustered in awkwardness as she stared. "You just want a girl to actually call you, don't you..?" Chloe stated more than questioned. She sighed.
"What are you talking about? I mean... you're crazy. Why, I can't believe you actually... ok. Yeah." Darren admitted.
"Ugh, I knew it. You know, Darren, sometimes I mistake you for being normal," Chloe thought aloud, the comment being meant as an insult. She looked down to her notebook in time to miss the mad crazy look that appeared on his face. Darren considered yelling and making a scene, but he knew that it would be no use. Sometimes he wondered why he continued to hang out with Chloe throughout the years, and realizing why, his face reddened. Chloe, in a world all her own, didn't notice the silent treatment she was receiving or see the set of beady eyes looking back at her.
Suddenly, and for no reason, she looked up. Chloe smirked, lightening his mood. Darren had lost. "You're such a pathetic hopeless romantic. Like all poets are, pretty much."
"I see nothing wrong with it," Darren retorted, crossing his arms with his face upturned.
"So I'm not allowed to make an observation?" Chloe laughed.

--

She could hear the steps walking towards her. She recognized the stride in which the person walked, the signature hum. This person was coming closer and closer towards her. Oh no, another moron who thinks they could actually get me to talk to them. Why couldn't they just leave me alone? Maybe I’m just being paranoid. Maybe that person is walking towards someone else. Maybe I’m wrong... no. Damn it, it is her. Because I'm cursed with always being right, a gift that almost never fails to irritate me. Why me? Let's try my hand at faith and see if it works. It's time to pray.

"Hey, Chloe!!!"

Damn.
It didn't work.

"So, how's it going?" she asked in singsong. "She" being Vanessa Crawford, your typical bimbo. Oh... yes. Every school had to have the "school bimbo". Many schools were even equipped with multiple bimbos, just in case one suddenly became intelligent (sure) or got pregnant. This school, unfortunately, was one of them. Happy happy joy joy.

Chloe listened as a bimbo colleague of Vanessa's walked to her to greet her. With a hug, of course. Always a hug. It was the custom for this species, usually with a giggle or two. Chloe ignored their small talk (too much pretend conversation) and took down some notes of these habits. I should remember this in case some future moronic boss of mine decides that having a school bimbo is a MUST in a teen flick. I'll write teen flicks if I have to, of course. I know, it's shameful, but I'll sell myself out only if I'm almost bankrupt. I just hope that it will never have to come to that. I mean, who in their right mind would voluntarily write a teen flick? Just as Chloe was about to delve into a one-sided argument in her mind about how there can be and probably are people like that existing, Vanessa sat back down next to her.

"Ugh, thank gawd that's over!" she exclaimed. Chloe sighed, but she didn't notice. Every time she comes over to routinely irritate me, it's always about how someone's a something. Here it comes…It’s not good for me to be expecting this, is it…

"She's such a bitch. I heard that her boyfriend finally dumped her. That’s too bad for her. Ha!" She paused, waiting for Chloe's reaction. In what felt like a million years late, she finally realized that Chloe wasn't going to reply and continued (as if I was really interested).

"Oh my gawd he is SUCH a hottie! Ohh! What I'd do to get me a piece of that!" Yuck. Yes, I know, saying child-like words such as those is below me, but how else could I describe that?? Eww? Ick? Ahh, I guess the words DO keep on coming. Can somebody tell me why she should, would, and did tell me this? Let me guess now. Vanessa will devise a particularly lame "plan" to get together with this male bimbo. Yes, I know, you'd think that a person of my stature (a pessimistic unenthusiastic "I don't care" novice-intellectual) would not let such small matters get to me, and would not complain about these small matters using the same word over and over again: "bimbo". But why get smart about something so absolutely NOT smart? Thank goodness for my over-thinking tendencies and strange idiosyncrasy of veering off the subject like I just did; because of that I managed to ignore most of Vanessa's mindless ranting about how she'll get her guy.

"... and then we'll be together, and Britney's going to be mad at me for that, but I really don't care. Oooh he is so hot!! Have you seen him with his shirt off? Wow, he’s got the body of a model!" she finished, with a swooning romantic sigh. Chloe sighed also, but for other reasons. Just then, someone walked by them, a nerdy dweeby sort of a boy, with arms full in books and a face full of acne. Normally Chloe would care just as little as she does about Vanessa, but at the moment, Chloe pitied him. That's because Vanessa thinks that every decent loser in the school was staring at her breasts. In their defense, I say, "Do you blame them?" Her shirts are so low-cut, too low-cut to be legal, in my opinion. And that "I'm not a slut" act is so tired and old, played way too many times by the high-class whore Britney Spears.
Vanessa stood up and walked towards him, ready to bitch him out... "Excuse me? What the hell are you looking at??"
He started to stumble in his speech, a big problem, considering that Vanessa picks on guys like him for everything remotely wrong that they do. "Uh... I, I was just-- just walking to my locker Ms. Crawford."
"Oh, really? You were just, just walking to your locker?" She raised her voice to the official shout. "Did that involve staring at these?" Vanessa pointed at her boobs. "I don't think so!"
Vanessa had a style of argument she always used that was effective for winning. The key to it is to not give the other person room to talk.
"I don't know what your problem is, but I don't work like that. I have MORALS. I'm a person too, and I have a mind just like everyone else. You are such a chauvinist pig, did you know that? I can't believe you; it is SO disgusting! They're breasts! Just because you don't have them doesn't mean that you have to go looking at every girl that does, all right? Eww. And you couldn't even admit it? You had to lie, too? Ick, you're a lying chauvinist pig. Get away from me you pig!"

Chloe had to stifle a laugh. "Morals." Sure. You have morals. Yes, you're all for honesty too. Oh, and was that a bit of feminism too, I heard?

The boy started to walk swiftly away, as if in a hurry, almost running to get away from her and save himself from even more embarrassment. He dropped some books on his way out, but nobody seemed to notice. Chloe shook her head in shame. There goes another one.
Vanessa, lost in her self-righteousness, walked away, desiring to yell at more people. Now that that's over... I can write. But she didn't. Just then, Darren came over. The perfect timing wasn't a coincidence, Chloe suspected. He had a routine of letting things flow, things such as events, events such as what just happened with her and Vanessa and the dweeby nerdy sort of a boy. Things Darren did such as this, letting her go through a million mini-fiascoes without taking the time to get her out, irked her the most. She wasn't very happy with him right now. As he was walking closer and closer towards her, she tried to think up an argument to throw at him. Sighing after a minute, she felt defeated when the thought that she would win in the end like she always does hit her. Chloe kept her mouth closed; she was going to sit out this one. Darren sat across from her, pausing for a moment, he himself expecting "the complaint". Surprised, he moved on to other matters, ignoring what happened and what didn't.

“Alright, Chloe, you’ll never guess what happened to me today…” He sighed. “You and your depressing outlook on life couldn’t possibly handle this…” He continued. Darren was getting cocky all over something she hadn’t even known of yet. Chloe wanted to smack him back to reality, but it wouldn’t look too good. Oh well.
“Ouch!” Darren yelped. She decided to “hurt him to help him” after all.
“What is it?” Chloe half-shouted, scowling at him.
“Patience, little one,” Darren replied. He patted her on the shoulder. “Soon you’ll learn.”
“Age discrimination, Darren? How low can you get? Must I think up a decent insult and give it to you to use on moi?”
“Dear Chloe…” He shook his head in mock-disappointment.
“I pity your short attention span, Darren,” Chloe replied. She used his name only against him, knowing this irritated him to the core. She sighed exaggeratedly. “It’s too soon that you’ve forgotten what you wanted to tell me.”
Darren cleared his throat. “Okay. As I was saying.. or about to say before you rudely smacked me…”
“Yes…?” Chloe inquired.
With a hand over his heart and his head held up high, he finally told her with a tinge of hopeless romanticism… “I think I’ve fallen in love.”
Chloe didn’t say a word, but the skeptical expression on her face said too much. Not again… She let him drone on and on about the new “love” of his life. Perhaps if he talked enough he would crush his own miniature, impossible dreams.
“She’s beautiful. With reddish-brown hair and gorgeous hazel eyes… she has a flawless face and the perfect white smile. Ahh, with such perfection, I could have died completely and utterly happy just from the look she gave me today…”
Chloe suppressed a yawn. She rolled her eyes, but he didn’t notice. Darren was too busy wondering what wedding dress this dream girl would look just right wearing. He shook his head, as if out of a trance, proving Chloe right once again. She thought she could handle this nonsense, but then Chloe realized (again) that she is a very impatient person. Time to cut the crap.
“So, who is this ‘perfect’ girl you’re babbling about?” she asked. Seeing the frown immediately replace the childlike daydreamish expression on his face, Chloe smirked. My work is done.
The stumbling in his speech was an obvious sign that he had lost. “Well, I.. um… yeah—well, you see here..” Darren stopped himself from looking any more stupider and sighed before beginning again. “The thing is, I don’t quite know her name yet…”
“Ohh…” Chloe replied, with distinct disbelief.
“Mere details, Chloe! It’s just a small technicality. A miniature obstacle. I’ll get over it ASAP.” Excuses, excuses. Ahh, that was beautiful. Totally worth applauding for. Chloe began to clap.
“What the hell are you clapping for?” Darren asked.
“Oops. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to do that in front of you.” Darren half-sighed half-growled with aggravation. He knew that he had lost. Chloe beamed with pride, treating this as an achievement.
“Whatever,” Darren said, attempting to brush this off, trying to look the part of “the mature one”. “Anyway, I think I’m going to ask her out. First,” he devised, “I’ll get to know her. Hmm… She’s in one of my classes; I could ask her for ‘homework help’. And then… after we become friends, which should happen, maybe something bad will happen to her, but I’ll save her. And then she’ll be like ‘ooh, Darren, my hero’ and then I ask her out and then…,” he sighed dreamily, “we’ll be together.” Darren smiled at his “master plan”. Chloe looked at him like he had no nose. She flicked him on the cheek to get his attention.
“Stop the violence, Chloe,” he commented as he rubbed his cheek with a mock-hurt expression on his face. “Ouch, Chloe. That hurt… a lot…” He said with fake puppy-dog eyes.
“Darren,” Chloe began, deliberately using his name, “you do realize that you’ll never ask her out, right? I bet you won’t even get to the point of talking to her.”
“I will ask her out, she will fall in love with me, and we’ll be together until the end of time…,” He retorted, proving that he could be as stubborn as her.
Chloe stared straight into his eyes, looking for something, SOME thing, she didn’t know what.
“No,” she exhaled. She knew him too well.
“No?” He asked. “No? Can’t you just say ‘Yes, Darren, I believe you. I know you can do it’? Can’t you just make up a comforting lie to give me some much-needed self-esteem? I hope you’re happy. You’ve crushed my already microscopic-sized confidence, all my hopes, my dreams. I could be old, bitter and alone because you didn’t believe in me when I wanted you to the most!” He ended, almost shouting.
There was an awkward silence for several moments. Chloe unsuccessfully tried to remain subdued, but she almost shaken over that. Darren began to breathe again, eyes full of hurt and disappointment and a little bit of rage.
“Wow, I almost believed that,” Chloe commented, interrupting the quiet and ending with a short chuckle.
“Really? Thanks, I’ve been working on it.” Darren grinned, puffing up his chest as if he had a reason to.
“I can’t lie to you anyway. It’s not my style,” Chloe acknowledged.
“I know. I can try, can’t I?”
“Yes,” she replied. “I still don’t believe you’ll ask her out.”
“Yeah, I figured. It’s fun to pretend,” he admitted.
“You mean lie?”
“Don’t get technical.”

--

The day was growing long and it seemed as if it would be forever until school would actually end. It was Biology now, another period in her schedule that would do no good in her life. The reigning adults in Hastings High were out to get her, she mused. They hated her, and all youth. The teachers were single, lonely and wrinkly, had dead-end jobs and no social lives whatsoever. So in turn, they took out all their useless frustration and mild, amusing depression on the students, by making them waste away their good fun youth in a stupid class that shoved useless information down their throats until they had the desire to throw it all up. But alas, it was too late to even try. The useless information already spread, like a virus, into students’ brains. It stretched out and sprawled all over their brains, taking up the space that could’ve been used to learn and remember better, more useful things, like self-defense, safe consumerism, and legal get-rich-quick schemes. Chloe was determined to keep the useless information away from her brain, determined to do that and somehow manage to pull off a lovely A on her report card. She planned out a long time ago (ok, so it was freshman year, and yeah, so I’m a sophomore now) that she would semi-try to pay attention in class, and she would concentrate when she did her homework, but for useless dumb periods like Biology, she wouldn’t study for tests. Yes, her plan relied on a lot on luck, but it worked out so far; she was still on the honor roll. However, today she abandoned her supposedly precious plan. She couldn’t take it anymore. Chloe just could not pay attention. However, leaning on her elbows and using her palm as a pillow until her head fell with a bang onto the desk was not the solution. Chloe thought for a moment..
I, Chloe Abbens, am bored. I can’t listen to Droning Teacher; that would not achieve my miniature, moronic goal: short-term entertainment. Let’s see… what options do I have? I could sleep, but I don’t know my hibernating habits, and that’s a dangerous risk to take. Do I drool? Do I snore? I don’t think I want people to find out… Hmm. I can’t possibly pay attention, of course. Let’s see… Hmm…
Suddenly observant of her surroundings due to desperation, she finally noticed the obvious whispering going on in the back half of the class. Lucky Chloe Abbens sat right smack in the middle of the class, where she could blend in with either the front half or the back half. The front half had a reputation for being occupied by intelligent, quiet losers who spent their Friday nights studying, found themselves addicted to their computers and knew strange trivial facts about science fiction movies. This might not have been true in all cases, but the front half did have a reputation for being that way. The back half was known for having more of a variety. There were the dumb, cocky, good-looking jocks that only sat there to be possessive of their perky (also dumb) highlight-haired socialite cheerleader-types. There were also the half-dumb half-smart loners who sat in the back to successfully remain unnoticed by any human beings. Chloe, out of pure boredom, chose to listen in on the whispering for the sake of staying awake and alive, in a sad and pathetic way. She made a mental note in her mind that teenagers were lazy in this generation; they couldn’t take the time to pass notes? But the reasoning behind that was in the teacher: a balding, half-blind old man with his hearing virtually shot. Ahh, I see, I see, thought Chloe, beginning to think like a scientist observing apes in the jungle. Well, they’re sort of like apes. And the school is SORT of like a jungle… Damn, I’m bored… Chloe was beginning to panic now. Her wit! Her precious, intelligent, sometimes-catty wit was diminishing. She needed to pay attention to the events going on behind her now. She needed something to put in her mind, so she could twist and distort those things and be amused for a fraction of a class period. She already labeled all the voices she heard.

Left-side bimbo (LSB): Hey, did you see the new guy? He’s sitting on the right-hand corner over there.
Right-side bimbo (RSB): What? Who?
LSB: Over there. (I guess she’s pointing or something.)
RSB: Oh.. oh! Ahh…wow, he’s hot. It’s too bad he’s in the front. Loser. (Yep, I knew it..)
LSB: Maybe he just doesn’t understand the way it goes. Oh my God, I could.. like show him! [Dumb signature bimbo giggle]
[Droning Teacher mutters angrily as he thinks he hears something. He turns away from the chalkboard to look at the class and squints. Finding nothing wrong except a class full of eerily smiling students, he turns back to the chalkboard and continues droning]
RSB: Aww, that’s too bad. I’m still Johnny’s boyfriend; no fun. [Yuck. Pouting.]
LSB: Yeah, still Johnny’s girlfriend… concentrate on him and let the rest of us to have a try! [Joking pout of the supporting best friend character]
RSB: Alright, alright… [Her sentence trails away and she ends it with the stereotypical conceited, egotistical, snobbish sigh] [Mean giggle] I guess you can have him.
LSB: Thank you, chica! You’re the best! [Supermodel-worthy posed smile]
RSB: Yeah, I know… [smirk-giggle] people tell me that.


Due to the utter and extreme stupidity and nonsense in this conversation, I will spare you the time and IQ points and move on. However, Chloe had to go through this torture (Because there “is like noooooo fucking way I’m listening to biology, okee!?”) and slowly-but-surely found out that this “hot guy” was named Miguel Gonzalez and he played soccer. I can imagine it now. A blood-curdling wicked witch of the west type of scream: “Die stereotype die! Noooo!” In reality, he had no accent, preferred alternative music, was an honor student, and didn’t belong in a gang. Normally, to average girls, he’d look pretty attractive, but Chloe was Chloe and never understood the concept despite being intellectually advanced (but highly procrastinating, which explains why she is in the grade that girls her ages are usually in).
With pretending to hopelessly boycott biology class in mind, she decided to take a look at “hot guy”, which she immediately labeled him as, for no particular reason except the obvious one: boredom. Miguel sounds like a soap-opera teen. Eww, soap-operas. Eww, teens. She stared a peculiar, confused stare at this “hot guy”, bewildered by his label. How do you define hot? Exactly what makes a hot guy hot? Why are hot guys appealing? Why are looks important? Did she think he was hot? Why is he hot again?
She looked down on her desk, crinkling in disgust, not noticing that just then, Hot Guy turned around and looked at her. Yes, just like in the movies, like in bad books and TV shows whose dying popularity needs boosting, he did indeed fall in love with her. Really, I imagine that people ask? No, not really. He had a crush on her and just wouldn’t admit it. However, he did make a mental note to try to get to know her somehow, wrongly assuming that she must be a nice girl. Or maybe correctly assuming this; it all depends on my mood, as Master of the Story.

So with her head bent low, Chloe twiddled her thumbs, knowing how lame twiddling one’s thumbs really is and eventually laughed at herself (inside her mind, of course) for doing such a thing. She then looked up to check the clock, seemingly counting the seconds until the bell would ring. Chloe looked around her, noticing that as each minute passed by, more students paid attention to Droning Teacher (pretended to) and everybody's enthusiasm grew, including Droning Teacher's. It was understandable; Chloe herself was beginning to think that Biology was starting to grow on her. She shook her head, hoping to get it together. No way could she give in to Biology.

Was it just her or did there seem to be a silent countdown of the clock? As each second passed, the people grew more and more peculiar…
Ten: Droning Teacher makes a Biology joke, and then laughs, admitting how lame his joke was. Class laughs with him.
Nine: Popular-girl clones stop making fun of Front Row people.
Eight: Stoned loner in the last row sparks conversation with jock on philosophy.
Seven: Front Row people talk in class.
Six: Random student raises hand and asks an intelligent question pertaining to Biology.
Five: Several students in the back-half of the class write down the assignments in their agendas.
Four:: A popular-girl clone rants about how “hot our teacher is”… (Chloe shudders in disgust)
Three: A student in the back-half of Biology class shouts, “Blink 182 sucks!”, apparently aiming to spark a loud debate. However, the majority of students nod in agreement, and Student slumps back in bored defeat.
Two: “Hi,” somebody says. To Chloe. Miguel said “hi” to Chloe.
One: Chloe looks back at him, and utters a “hi”, immediately regretting the action afterwards.

The bells rings, and alas, it is too late for Miguel, because nervousness, denied nervousness that Chloe deemed non-existing, helped encourage her to pick up speed to exit Biology. Nervous? Nervous about what? Ha ha ha. I just want to get the hell out of here and save the precious seconds of my life.
Miguel searched for her in the large crowd with his eyes, slightly disappointed at not finding Chloe, but unwilling to admit it to himself. He pretended to mentally blow her off; she’s just another girl. He was still interested in her nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Chloe walked casually, completely satisfied to have gotten away from Miguel. What if she didn’t hide, what then? He might have walked towards her and would have tried to start a conversation with her, that is what. No, no way. Absolutely impossible. Oh no, he could’ve talked with her and then suddenly dropped a bomb on her and asked her out on a date. Chloe was frightened for a moment, clinging for the lockers she was leaning on to at the time. The fright showed on her face, and if someone were to pass by her, they would’ve assumed that the look on her face resembled one of a person who had just seen a dead body. However, logic soon calmed her down. What kind of stupid, stupid ass would want to ask me out? Chloe nodded her head, agreeing with the thoughts in her mind. Then she burst out laughing. What kind of stupid, stupid ass would want to ask me out? After a few minutes of wild, tear-jerking laughter, she breathed in. Ahh. How ridiculous… That was fun. Chloe, slightly tired from the strange little episode but relieved it was over, then began to walk to Darren’s car. That bastard better have waited for me, Chloe thought. And if I find out he left already, and I have to walk home…? She developed the start of a headache with her angry thoughts. Could it be a gift that Chloe could annoy herself so easily? It’s a curse. A damn curse.


- Chapter 2: An Attempt to Look Social by Having Someplace to Go, Minus "Someplace to Go"
And a Thought from Chloe: "Try to try something different?"

Sunday Morning. The sun is out, the sky is blue and the birds are chirping. Who the hell opened the blinds and why is there so much noise!? Chloe interpreted it as.
“Wake up, Chloe,” Darren said straight in her ear, rocking her back and forth until she rocked with a crash onto the floor.
“Damn it Darren, it’s…” Chloe began, checking the clock. “It’s 10:42 am, why can’t you let me sleep?? It’s too early for the human being to be up and… up,” she remarked, not knowing the right words to say. She rubbed her head, which banged against an unknown yet surely hard object when she was pushed to the hardwood floor. She used that as her excuse for her temporarily lacking vocabulary.
“Or maybe it could be that you’ve been getting dumber and dumber for a while now, and you just won’t admit it,” he vocally threw at her.
“Whatever,” Chloe said, groggily. Too many cobwebs were in her head for her to try winning the little argument like she usually (usually always) did. Darren smirked because he won. Chloe smirked right back at him, because this was the only way he could win.
Darren walked over to her drawers and went through them, tossing out clothes as he did. Some landed on Chloe, and she grumbled. “Just put them on,” he said to that.
“Aren’t you aware that pajamas are the fashion trend these days?” Chloe mocked. She was the only one who actually laughed at her joke.
“You should be grateful for what I do for you, you know,” He remarked casually, intentionally ignoring her stupid little offhand comment.
Chloe just laughed. “Just because you’re one grade higher than me you assume that you’re the ‘responsible one’. I do a lot for you too. I make you realize how stupid you are whenever you forget, and I resort to physical violence when you’re in those ‘oh, I fell in love again today’ moods. I know it’s a lot, but you don’t have to thank me…”
Darren leaned in to kiss her, but Chloe slapped him jokingly instead. “I don’t think so, Poetry Guy. Don’t get romantic with me.”
“But lots of close friends do that kind of mushy, corny, stupid crap,” he said.
“Says who!?”
“Says MTV,” he remarked mockingly snobbishly.
“MTV blows, and since when do you watch MTV?”
“Since never…” Darren looked at her. “Come on, we’re friends, one kiss isn’t going to hurt…”
For some strange reason, this moron wants me to lock lips with him, Chloe thought. It was strange to Chloe. However, Darren was a brokenhearted love fool, a hopeless romance believer but quitter. He was 16 and never had his first kiss. Chloe was okay with that because she didn’t care, but because Darren had love on his mind 24/7, his consciousness ate at him for never experiencing anything resembling first love. He gave up on himself at the moment, believing that nobody would truly desire to really, and not just politely, kiss him. So he resorted to Chloe. But Chloe laughed again; the rejection before the official rejection. Her laugh was starting to irritate him, probably because she was always laughing at him. As she answered, he sighed. No first kiss. He couldn’t just get it over with, with the only girl in the world (not related to him) that paid any attention to him.
If only Chloe knew what he was thinking. If she did, she’d probably lecture him on his stupid romanticism. Darren would have been grateful that she didn’t know what he was thinking, but he wasn’t grateful because he could see that he was getting a lecture anyway. “No way. Swap saliva with somebody else. If it makes you feel better, kissing is overrated anyway, and besides--”
“It doesn’t make me feel better,” He interrupted in an attempt to shut her up. It didn’t work.
She continued. “And besides, you can get diseases and etc from kissing. Like AIDS, or… AIDS. Hey, AIDS is the big killer there, you could die from AIDS and—“
“And you would want me to live, right?” He asked.
“Sadly, yes.” Chloe: shot down.
Darren would have his ridiculous moment of triumph. “Can you kill me now? I want to die with this moment fresh in my mind. Chloe Abbens has finally admitted her want for me to survive, because…” He paused, for emphasis. “Because she needs me,” He rambled, being deliberately overdramatic.
“Quit it,” Chloe said flatly.
“Fine,” he replied equally flatly to imitate her and irritate her. “Let’s go eat.”

They walked towards the kitchen after Chloe changed and did those mysterious things that girls do. He wondered what took her so long, but really, it was only 6 minutes.
“Did you cook?” Chloe asked.
“No.”
“You spend the night at my house, in my bed, and you push me off the bed when I’m trying to sleep AFTER opening the blinds, and you have the nerve to try getting away without even cooking?”
“Yes.”
“Yes, you admit that you really did cook and that you were just lying after all?”
“No.” Another one worded answer.
“Cook, damn you, cook!” She said, loudly and hopelessly.
“No.” Chloe and Darren seemed to have traded places for the day, because Darren won yet another argument, but Chloe would never admit that. She blamed it on lack of brain food, and in this case, food was breakfast. He enjoyed pushing her to the point of pointless. Pointless (and pathetic) shouting, that is. He chuckled the male cocky chuckle, and Chloe didn’t say a word as she elbowed him in the side, walking ahead of him immediately afterwards to save herself from his physical payback.

Chloe ended up grabbing some leftovers. Darren microwaved his own food, as Chloe’s “punishment” for freeloading. She knew it was a lame punishment, but at least this time it looked like she won. Darren privately chuckled at her childishness, acting pompous for several seconds because he was “the responsible one”. (The responsible one and the mature one, let’s all praise Darren the Great..)

They sat down at the table, where Chloe’s mother was sitting. She was sipping wine, yet again. She drank wine all the time, but acted just the same as when she was sober. For some odd reason, she had a European accent. It was odd because she was Japanese.
“Good morning, my dear Chloe,” she exhaled. “And how are you today?” If only there was a cigarette in her free hand to complete the 1940s image. Except she didn’t smoke. Smoking would take away from her natural beauty and would yellow her teeth, and she would not have any of that.
“Fine, mom,” she replied. “Why are you drinking wine again?”
“Call me ‘mother’, my dear Chloe. I always asked—requested that you refer to me as ‘mother’, like those people in the movies.”
“Those people in the movies?” Chloe repeated, questioningly.
“Yes, those people in the movies. You know. Those people in the movies. And I’m drinking wine again because I like wine.”
“Is your marriage in turmoil?” Chloe asked flatly. Her face resembled Daria’s. “Do you need joint marriage counseling?” She asked, finishing her therapist imitation.
“No, my dear Chloe. Your father’s too good in be—“
A scream. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” A scream from Chloe.
“Stop it,” Chloe said, calmly and firmly, as if she didn’t scream in the first place, an action that was out of place with her personality.
“But he IS—“
“Stop it,” Chloe repeated.
“I love you, my dear Chloe,” Chloe’s mother commented, nonchalantly. Chloe lost her appetite but ate anyway, knowing that she was hungry at one point in time. The food became tasteless since she lost all enthusiasm to eat.

Darren, seeing that Chloe was persistent to not talk with her mother any more, decided to cut in and start a conversation with her himself. “How is the art exhibit?”
Kioko Abbens (“Abbens” being the last name due to Chloe’s father’s European heritage) was a painter for a living. Is she famous? Does she get paid well? If she is, she doesn’t think so, nor does she care. Kioko focused on painting, not being a painter, and aside from painting, she only cared for her family and wine.
“It’s good,” she muttered, not particularly interested in speaking of it. “Darren, you said you would bring some of your poetry to me soon. Where is it? I’m curious.”
“Ohh…” Darren exhaled. He failed trying to stall. “Well…”
“Don’t be shy,” Kioko assured him.
“I’m sorry, Kioko.” They were friends with each other, hence the first-name usage. “I didn’t bring it today.”
“Fine… You got away with it this time, but next time you’ll be in big trouble, dear.” She smiled, laughing a bit, but meaning every word she said. The smile didn’t help Darren.

Darren and Chloe finished breakfast. Chloe muttered a, “Love you Mother, we’ll be going now” as they left to return to her room. Darren looked mildly distraught and was enveloped by his innermost thoughts. Chloe accepted the silence and didn’t bother talking. After several moments Darren stopped, a few feet short from Chloe’s bedroom door. Noticing him stop, Chloe stopped also, and they looked at each other; Chloe gave him a befuddled look while Darren looked at her thoughtfully and intently.
“What is it?” She finally asked. She smiled, hoping it would open him up and that he would tell her what was on his mind.
“I lied,” he admitted, simply. He looked down at his shoes, as if his shoes would give him the answers to life’s endless questions.
“Hmm?” Chloe still couldn’t comprehend.
“To your mom. Kioko. I lied to Kioko.”
“Oh,” Chloe replied, to fill the uncomfortable silence that followed. She looked at him as she walked towards her door. He followed as they went inside her room, and she sat down on her desk chair as he sat at the edge of her bed. She was silently frustrated with herself for not knowing what to do during these situations. She didn’t get it; so he lied. So what? What was eating at him so? She wished she could help. The only way she could was by listening, but even then, she felt helpless. Chloe distracted herself momentarily by making a mental note to make the bed. It worked, but only for the moment of course. She stopped looking at the bed Darren was sitting on and finally looked at him.
“Why did I lie?” He finally said, or asked, really. Chloe opened her mouth to speak, but not knowing what words to say, closed her mouth. She acknowledged, then, that he was only talking out loud, and the question was not really aimed at her for her to answer. She didn’t know what the answer was anyway.
“I lied because…,” Darren paused, contemplating. “Because! My poetry is… it’s really personal. I write from deep in the pit of my heart. And I know that sounds really lame, but it’s true.” Chloe nodded, finally figuring out that Darren would be okay with just nodding. Words would be inappropriate to use at this time, his time, to talk. Even though Chloe thought that Darren blew it out of proportion, she knew it was only because she wasn’t having the thoughts he was having.
“What is she doesn’t like it?”
What is she doesn’t like it? That’s what he’s been worried about all this time? Chloe understood just then.
“Big deal,” she thought. It was too late, though, because she thought that out loud, and Darren glared at her. His poetry must mean a lot to him, recognizing the obvious. She inhaled, and began.
“Don’t worry about it,” she said, simply. Now it was his turn to look at her with confusion. Chloe got up and wrapped her arms around him in a bear hug.
“Trust yourself,” Chloe said.
“Thanks,” he replied. He put his arms around her to complete the embrace. “Thanks,” Darren repeated, thinking. “I love you,” he mumbled.
“What?” Chloe asked.
“Nothing,” He said. “You’re just a good friend.” Darren hugged her tighter. “A really good friend.”
“You are too,” she replied. She put her arms down, ending the hug. Their little moment was over. Darren shivered a bit, missing the warmth Chloe gave him; and it wasn’t just the hug. He sighed softly, but Chloe didn’t hear.

“Come on,” Chloe said, with unfitting enthusiasm, acting as if the moment never happened. “We still have to plan what we’re going to do today. I actually want to leave the house today!”
Darren just stared at her for a minute, not really responding.
“What?” Chloe asked.
“Nothing,” He said. He shook his head. “What were we talking about?”
“Where should we go today?”
“Oh.”
“Well? Where should we go today?” She asked again.
“How about we stay here, in your room, eh?” He raised his eyebrows twice and smiled flirtatiously, stroking the bed and beckoning her to come.
“Oh yeah?” She came towards him and licked her lips. “Yeah.” She slipped a hand behind him and grabbed the pillow, bashing his face with it and causing him to fall back on the bed.
They were overtaken with laughter, their stomachs hurting as they wiped tears from their eyes. In between laughs, Chloe told him how crazy he was.
“I know,” he said to that. Their laughter soon winded down and Darren lay on the bed with his elbows propped up as Chloe happily sighed, adjusting herself as she lay on the bed along with him, with her hands behind her head and her arms semi-folded. They stared at the ceiling silently for several moments before Darren spoke.
“Why do we have to go somewhere?” He asked.
“Why should we stay here for?”
“It’s inexpensive. You’re so cheap, you always make me pay for everything.”
“Well, you’re male,” she replied, nonchalantly.
Darren stopped himself from a sudden outburst and cleared his throat. “Well,” mimicking Chloe, “you’re female.”
Glaring at the ceiling instead of him to show that she could handle it, she casually asked, “And?”
“Well?”
Chloe huffed, knowing that this would go nowhere. “Fine.” She paused, hoping to move on. “Where should we go today?” She asked again.
“I don’t know.”
“You’re not even trying.”
“I’m not even trying; Chloe is whining…,” Darren commented.
“That was stupid.”
“I know.” He shrugged.
“It didn’t even rhyme.”
“I know.”
Upon realizing that Darren managed to waste even more time sidetracking Chloe, she knocked down one of his propped elbows and Darren’s upper half plopped on the bed. Darren rubbed his hurting chin and grumbled.
“Let’s try again,” Chloe offered.
“I don’t want to go anywhere.”
“Why not?” She asked, curiously.
“I just want to hang around here with you, and that’s it. I don’t have to buy anything or move anywhere. It’s easier that way. Besides, why do you want to go somewhere? Tired of being here with me and just talking? You have to do something too? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t you just be with me instead of doing something? ‘Ooh, let’s go to the mall and roam around stores complaining about overpriced clothes and bad Starbucks’… It’s all stupid and aimless. Are you sick of doing nothing but being with me? Am I that bad? Must you do stupid and aimless things that happen to be with me to be entertained?”
“Are you done with your speech?” Chloe lifted an eyebrow and smirked.
Darren breathed in and nodded. “Yes, I think. Was I good? Was it believable? I just thought of all that, you know.” He beamed, sitting up on the bed now, and bowing with a grin.
“Yeah, you were good.” She smiled, proud of him. Another little moment. They were happy. “Okay, we’ll stay home this time. Again.” Chloe rolled her eyes jokingly.
Darren laughed. “Good.”

- Chapter 3: As if School Wasn't Enough, She Gets Social Interaction Too
And a Thought from Chloe: "I hate people."

Another day of school,Chloe thought. I wake up, get ready, say my goodbyes to Mother and Dad and head for hell. Are we supposed to be learning? Yes, that’s the idea. How will these things help us in life? Chloe groaned. She was whining about school again. I don’t know.
“What is it?” Darren asked. They were in Darren’s Honda Accord; Darren was driving while Chloe looked sullenly out the window, sitting in the passenger seat. It was a quiet drive toward school, except for Chloe’s groan, which interrupted the silence. Chloe looked at Darren, and he turned his head for a second to look back at her before staring at the road again. She looked out the window.
“It’s going to be hot today,” Chloe commented, still looking out the window. It was California September. The weather still had the possibility of reaching three digits. Darren stole a glance at her. He didn’t say a word. She was only beginning.
“The sun is out and the sky is blue,” she said, not directly to Darren, more to herself. She thought for a bit. “I want to go to the beach,” Chloe thought out loud, saying it simply as if the idea really wasn’t absurd at all.
Darren’s eyes widened, but Chloe didn’t notice; she turned her head to look at him one second too late. “Let’s go then,” he said, shrugging.
Chloe unexpectedly scowled at him. “We could’ve gone yesterday!” She rolled her eyes, looking at him with disappointment, then sighing in defeat. Another wish that didn’t come true, she thought. Another one to add to the list. These were the little disappointments, life’s disappointments, that ruined her mood and created the bitterness in her personality. At one point in time, she was a presumably happy child. Where did it go? Blame society, Chloe decided.
She saw Hastings High in the distance. “It’s too late.”
“Sorry.” The word came out of Darren’s mouth. Chloe heard, and she fumed inside. I don’t need to hear your pathetic excuse for an apology!! We could’ve gone somewhere yesterday and we didn’t (although we still had fun, but that’s not the point) and today I want to go somewhere and you finally agree that--- Darren you are such an idiot! I can’t believe you! She groaned with exasperation. I just want to smack you so badly… She glared at Darren. Why am I friends with such an oblivious ASS?
Chloe finally hit him, of course the hit not being the first time nor the last. Darren looked at her, and seeing the expression on her face, laughed. He glanced at her every other second, laughing some more each time for she still was bright red with anger. She sunk in her seat in defeat, annoyed that she was already developing a headache. I hate you.
Darren parked the car under the shade of an oak tree. “We’re here!” He said with bothersome enthusiasm. I hate you, Chloe thought as she got out of the car and headed towards the building.

They went their separate ways; Chloe had English while Darren had history. Chloe smiled. English was okay, even to the point of good, almost. She liked Mrs. Ludwig; she didn’t irritate her with monotony like other teachers did. Maybe if she created a bit of optimism in herself and clung to it all day, it wouldn’t be so bad. Yes, it was a good idea. There was nothing wrong with wanting to be in a good mood, was there? Chloe was happy for a moment, a moment she thought would last throughout the day. She smiled at the students walking past her, and they smiled back upon seeing her. Everybody seemed to be even better now, she thought, until somebody bumped into her and didn’t apologize, only walked away. What the hell? Who was that?, she wondered. She recognized the figure; a male, for sure, the dirty blonde messy and pitiful excuse for hair, the intimidating snobbish stride as he walked. Snobbish.. “Ass Snob,” she uttered, realizing too late that the words were said out loud.
Ass Snob, or Edward (his real name), stopped in his tracks and turned around to glare at her. He opened his mouth to begin accusing Chloe of something “legitimately illogical”. (Yes, that is an oxymoron.) Chloe, however, cut him off before he could start. “What is your problem?” She began. She paused for a moment, and decided to use Vanessa Crawford’s flawless argument style. Actually, pretty much all females use this style at least one point in time, she commented in her mind. She stifled a laugh. A minute passed in silence; Chloe was thinking deeply, and during this one minute Ass Snob didn’t attempt to say a word; he only waited for her. What an idiot. “Well?” she asked. Thinking back to what happened that first day, she shrugged, knowing it was hypocritical of her to expect an apology from him. She noted how polite he was for not saying a word. Or was he dumbfounded by my beauty?, she joked in her mind. Looking up at him again, she saw that he was bewildered. When Ass Snob saw that she was done doing whatever she was doing, he improvised and simply glared at her, as if she would be frightened by such an inadequate and frankly quite pathetic action. Chloe laughed at him, then sighed. Ass Snob was a slow thinker; he couldn’t bite back (or vocally bite in general; she didn’t officially insult him as of yet) while she was thinking. He walked away, as did she. It looked as if she was following him, and they were both irritated by that. It turns out that they had English together. More disappointments to add to the growing list. Chloe grumbled.

She sat in her seat already trying to forget the events that just passed. Everything was ruined, thanks to Ass Snob. She tried to be optimistic for the first time ever, and she was immediately shot down. Oh, the luck Chloe has. She continued bickering in her mind for several minutes before stopping after a headache began.

Mrs. Ludwig was great, but Chloe wished that she had better hearing. The popular-girl clones were talking again, just slightly louder, worsening her headache. She cursed them several times in her mind, then chuckled to herself in her mind over thoughts of what their future may hold for them…

”Welcome to McDonald's, would you like fries with that?’


Hmm, that kept her amused for a good second. She smirked. She supposed that she’d settle for that. However, somebody interrupted her second of amusement, with an irritating and not surprisingly immature tap-tap-tap on the shoulder. The tap was so rhythmic, it felt like a Barney song was obligated to begin. What the hell is purple dinosaur doing invading my thoughts? She looked to her left, expecting a perky transfer student attempting to befriend her. Instead, she found somebody just as annoyed and aggravated as she was.
“Is the public school system in this area that inadequate?” she asked.
Chloe’s eyes would’ve widened had she not been too lazy to widen them. Instead, she impassively replied. “Yes, sorry to say.”
Chloe looked at the girl. She had black bold almond-shaped glasses and short layered blackish brown hair with a thin green streak on the side. The girl wore loose carpenter jeans and an interesting black t-shirt.

I’m sorry, I have too much character to be limited by one word, but if it makes you feel better, you can be the “hottie” or “princess” instead


“That’s a cool shirt,” Chloe nonchalantly commented.
“Thanks,” she said. “I designed it myself.”
“Figures there’d be only one of those,” Chloe replied, mostly speaking to herself. She intended for the “conversation” to be over. The girl now disinterested her. She wanted to be enveloped by her unique thoughts once again, only to be interrupted once more, by a comment from this “girl with the black T-shirt”. Chloe didn’t hear what she said, she only paid attention to the invisible fumes seeping out of her ears.
“Why are you talking to me?” Chloe asked, not in the mood for useless tact. Could it be PMS?
“Who else is there?” she replied, with the same sardonic tone. They glared at each other, and it was unsure which was more stubborn.
Chloe thought. Why can’t people just leave me alone for once? Who is this person? Why is she talking to me? Does she look stupid? She continued to glare until her eyes hurt and she blinked, unwittingly surrendering. The Girl with the Black T-shirt almost “Ha!”ed at her like a Simpsons cartoon character. She didn’t, but Chloe knew that it looked like she was going to… The Girl with the Black T-shirt stuck out her hand. Chloe bitterly shook it. The Girl with the Black T-shirt smirked. “You’re not so bad,” she said.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Chloe asked, successfully fighting the urge to cross her arms to complete the Old Maid image. “I’m Chloe,” she added.
“My name is Alana. And I wanted to make sure that this school doesn’t completely consist of complete morons.”
“I didn’t even say anything,” Chloe remarked, eyeing her suspiciously.
“You liked my shirt. Normally, people are offended by it like I intended them to be.”
Chloe just shrugged.
“Mind if I follow you around, claiming that you’re a friend of mine?” she asked.
Chloe gave her an expressionless look, and paused. “Sure." Chloe smiled to herself. Ass Snob didn’t win after all. Perhaps optimism wasn’t such an outrageous notion as she originally thought. Or maybe I shouldn’t give optimism… TOO much credit… And so was the end of her little experimentation with optimism.

--

“Yeah, so I was telling him ‘maybe’… and then I could tell how hurt he was!”
“Really? Aww!”
“I know, so I was like ‘okay’ and he had the biggest smile I’d ever seen!”


Such enthusiasm. Joy in their voices. Excitement. Almost squealing. Happy. Chloe was in a thoughtful mood today, pondering the strange, trying to picture herself as not Chloe Abbens, but somebody… somebody else… but nobody in particular. Walking down the hall and heading for her next class, she turned her head around and about, and studied her surroundings. Chloe caught bits and pieces of the conversations that passed through her ears, almost trying to bury them deep into her mind to dig up some time later when she decided that they would be useful.

”I don’t know, what do you think?”
“I liked that first one. It really shows feeling.”
“Yeah?”


Contemplative, smart and inquisitive…, she described the voices she heard as she passed by. What would it be like if she was deaf? she wondered.

”Seriously??”
“Mmhm. I got my driver’s license!”
“Get it out, lemme see it!!”


Perky. Loud. Excited. Typically teenage. If she were deaf…it would be so limited, wouldn’t it? No… no music, or conversations like these. Whispers in the wind and rushing water… birds chirping and babies chattering… Interesting little concept. To not be able to hear. What a strange sentimental mood I’m in.

”Hi.”

Soft, shy. Sweet. Unsure, insecure. Hmm, this was a good thing to hold on to, she thought. Makes for something to write about. She smiled. Another idea bagged for the day. Or the hour. Perhaps, just the moment. Yes, there will be many more to remember. The bell rung then, it was time to rush now. No more pseudo-philosophical ponderments; it’s time for class. She half-ran towards the door and relaxed as she sat down on an unoccupied desk. She felt, or mostly heard, somebody shuffling towards the empty seat behind her and sitting there. He grunted a bit. “Hi.”
That same voice again. That soft and shy, sweet, unsure and insecure voice. Was the voice speaking to her?
Crazy, she thought. She reached into her backpack for her notebook, wanting to record the ideas she came up with for another plot line. Curious, she turned around slightly as she reached, and matched the face with the voice. Him again. Miguel Gonzalez. She caught him staring at her, and blushed a bit, stopping before she realized she was. Chloe pretended that nothing happened, and opened her notebook to write.
To do: think up plot involving… deafness. Dramedy perhaps? Who knows. Figure out later.
She closed her book, wishing it took her longer to jot her ideas down. Now she had to put away her notebook. Maybe she could do it later. Yes, that was an idea. Uncharacteristically nervous, Chloe looked straight ahead and did as she should: took notes and paid attention. Nevermind the guy behind her, she had class, which was definitely more important. Like I ever cared.., Chloe thought, admitting it to herself.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that this male had her flustering, (If I giggle like a schoolgirl, I swear I will die and take him down with me..) he had the nerve to attempt to drive her over the edge by touching her hair. Soft strokes, so soft that it seemed to her that he tried not to make her aware of the action. Before, she was a little shaky from the nervousness, but now she sat rigid and still. Screaming in her mind, she wondered if she could will herself to die, despite her opinions against suicide. Chloe couldn’t help it; she liked the feeling of his hands touching her hair lightly. She almost closed her eyes and smiled, but stopped before it happened. Actions such as those were so “cheesy-novelish”. They would imply that something was happening. And nothing was happening, nothing at all. She frowned, wishing he would stop, but wishing he wouldn’t even deeper down inside herself. He stopped as soon as he began, and Chloe felt a little empty afterwards. Time froze, it seemed, for Chloe was still stuck in that moment, and soon class was over. All of a sudden, huh? And then Chloe ran out of the room again. She was just in a hurry, she told herself. Just in a hurry. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. Mature as she was, most of the time she was still just a child.

--

The day went by slightly quicker than usual, but still all too slow in Chloe’s point of view. Any time wasted on supposed academics was too much time. But it was over now, and Chloe was back in Darren’s Honda Accord, and they were heading for her house.

Chloe leaned forward towards the dashboard and squinted her eyes a bit. “I’d rather be snowboarding,” she read aloud.
“What?” Darren asked. He glanced at Chloe for a moment before eyeing the street once more.
“What a stupid license plate border,” she commented, simultaneously answering his question.
“There are too many of those,” Darren added.
“Yeah..” A short uncomfortable silence followed. It was apparent that Chloe stopped making any effort to fill up the silence. What a lame conversation. It’s so pathetic that it shouldn’t even be called a conversation. It’s just talking. No, not even talking. Words that happened to fall out of our mouths..
“It’s a station wagon too,” Chloe said, somewhat attempting to salvage what’s left of a topic so pathetic and sad. “Come on, speed up so we can see what kind of loser this person is,” she nagged.
“Fine,” Darren said, and did so. It turned out to be a squinting elderly lady. Chloe shouted into the window that old people shouldn’t drive. Darren laughed at another one of her tactless and brutally honest comments. Chloe will never change.

“So… how was your day?” Darren asked as he made a left turn, leaving the Snowboarding Geezer as Chloe already began calling her. She was slightly disappointed at having to leave such a… person. Oh the memories…
“What is this, a pitiful endeavor from Darren Matthews to act like he gives a damn? Or are you just trying to be fatherly?”
“But Chloe, I… care about you!” Darren mocked, pseudo-aghast. He patted her on the shoulder and then tentatively left his hand on her shoulder.
Chloe flicked away his hand. “Get off me.” She gave him a look. Darren laughed, and then gave her a look back.
“Stop kidding yourself… Chloe, like I’d really try to hit on you of all people.” He emphasized her name intending to irritate her.
But Chloe dealt with it with a straight face. “Don’t deny it. You know you want to..” she smirked.
“Shut up. How was your day!?” He asked again.
“Are you PMSing?” Chloe asked. Knowing that she could easily make him breakdown, she added, “It was okay.”
“Wow, how descriptive!” Darren remarked, annoyed. “What’d you do?”
Chloe beamed just then. “I did… stuff. It was really boring and nothing much happened.”
“Darn. I was hoping to have a chance to laugh at you.”
“Shut up.”
“Nah, I can just laugh at you right now.”
“Shut up.”
Darren laughed.

- Chapter 4: Chloe's Been Reduced to This (Part 1 of 2)
And a Thought from Chloe: "This is all so pathetic and... pathetic.."

For some odd reason, there is a telephone in Chloe Abbens’ room. It sits on her nighttable, beside the bed. It’s a black phone, very simple. Cordless too, with Caller ID and various telephone perks. The black cordless phone with Caller ID sitting on the nighttable beside the bed is also collecting dust.
Why would Chloe Abbens need a phone? Does she use it frequently? Does she use it all? No. But it sits there still, waiting to be touched.


It could be defined as a typical Saturday night, but for Chloe, it isn’t. Darren came down with a cold, and therefore Chloe and him aren’t hanging out, as usual. Chloe is stuck sitting on her bed, indian-style, hunched over her spiral notebook, jotting some screenplay ideas down, but she is bored as hell and is beginning to doodle. She isn’t hungry, she doesn’t watch TV, the radio is overrated and she’s not in the mood for music. Perhaps she could take up a hobby? How about stamp collecting at 9:41 PM? She’s not in the mood for people-watching, nor does she want to interact with her mother or her dad. Chloe is officially bored, and once again, she is not amused. She resorts to staring into space. Maybe watching lint. What is that on her wall? She attempts to figure it out. However, she is rudely interrupted by the loud, obnoxious noise pollution suddenly created… created… by the phone. That damn phone collecting dust is actually ringing. Who the hell would call her? Who, why and above all, how the hell did somebody get Chloe’s phone number? Should she pick it up? Maybe the evil caller will give Chloe a break, and let it go… Maybe they just dialed the wrong number. Maybe the phone will stop ringing. No. Five rings and it’s still… ringing. How do people deal with this headache-inducing hullabaloo!? What has caused Chloe to use the word ‘hullabaloo’? Maybe she should pick up the phone. Chloe seizes a tissue from the tissue box and proceeds to wipe the phone down before picking it up. After doing so, while the wretched object still rings, she picks it up. What does she do now? After taking a moment to think, she presses the “talk” button.

“Who are you?” Chloe asks immediately.
“Hey, it’s Alana.”
“..” Chloe blinks, twice. She glares into the blank wall ahead. Maybe that’s a dead insect, she ponders as she glimpses at the spot on her wall.
“Chloe?” Alana asks, curious as to whether or not she is still there, noticing the peculiar pause.
“How did you get my phone number?”
“I asked around.”
“Who?”
“I have connections.”
“People have my phone number?”
“Yeah, are you bored?” Alana asks, trying to change the subject, indicating that they should move on. How rude, Chloe thinks.
“Why…would people have my phone number…” Chloe ponders aloud, mostly to herself.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing much. Who gave you my phone number?”
“It’s no big deal—“
“Yes it is.”
“Damn it, I looked you up in the phone book!”
“I’m in the phone book?”
“Yes!”
“Damn… I have to change that, then…”
“Are you doing anything, Chloe!?” Alana impatiently asks, exasperated.
“Hmmm…” Chloe contemplates. “I guess not.”
“Want to go somewhere then?”
“Why?”
“Cause. I’m bored.”
“Good for you. Where would we go?”
“I don’t know.”
“..Then.. Where would we go if you don’t KNOW where we’d go?”
“How about the mall?”
“I think they’re closed by now.”
“Record store?”
“No thanks.”
“Movies?”
“What movie?”
“Can’t we figure it out when we get there?”
“Who says I want to go?”
“Please?”
“I have no money, Alana.”
“Fine, I’ll pay.”
“Hmmm..,” Chloe contemplated once more. “Okay, I guess I’ll go. Will you pick me up?”
“Alright then, I will.”
“Thank you,” Chloe said as she chuckled a bit. “Goodbye then.”
“Bye.” Alana hung up, and Chloe sat for a moment listening to the dial tone, then realizing the moment afterwards that this would be the part where she would hang up also. She looked at the phone. Conveniently next to the “talk” button was a button, labeled… “off”. She pressed it, and the dial tone stopped. The phone call was over, which was nice, and she put the phone back on that thing, whatever it was called.


While waiting for Alana, Chloe suddenly hopped out of bed (only after putting her spiral notebook and pen aside of course). She stood in front of a mirror, which was placed for some unknown reason… in her bedroom. She stared at her reflection for a moment, and then decided that she was too lazy to change. I look good enough. As usual. She walked around the room a bit, acting like she was busy, and then sat at the foot of the bed. Should I get a purse? What would I need a purse for? Do I even have a purse? Hmmm…, Chloe thought. It turns out that she didn’t. Maybe I should get one, Chloe thought then. But she brushed the thought off; she’d get one when she’d find something that demanded to be brought with her anytime that she wanted to go out. It was rare enough that she wanted to go out anywhere, so it would be right to assume that Chloe would probably never get a purse. At least, not on her own.

Chloe shuffled downstairs after deciding that it would be a good idea to inform her parents that she would be going out. She wasn’t in the mood to interact with her mother at the moment so she looked for her dad, whom she found in the study. Chloe tapped on the door lightly. “Come in,” he responded. Her dad sat at a large desk, apparently doing some paperwork. He took off his reading glasses and swiveled the desk chair he was sitting on, to turn to Chloe.
“Hi Dad,” Chloe began. “I’m going to be going out tonight.”
“With who?” He asked.
“Some girl. Her name’s Alana, I met her the other day during English class.”
“What about Darren? Oh, right, he’s sick.”
“Yeah, Dad. So can I go?”
“Sure. Remember to get your pepper spray,” He added.
“Okay. Goodnight Dad,” she said as she leaned over to give him a kiss on the cheek. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Abby,” he replied. Abby was his nickname for Chloe, derived from her last name. “If anybody hits on you, claim that you’re lesbian.”
“Don’t worry, nobody’ll hit on me.”
“That’s what you think,” he said, before Chloe closed the door.

She ran back up the stairs to grab her pepper spray when the doorbell rang. After retrieving the spray and shoving it in her pocket, she ran back down to greet Alana, and they headed for the car.

It was a red Mitsubishi Eclipse, an older model, and the better kind. At least, that’s how Alana described it to Chloe. As they opened the car doors to get inside, Chloe had a thought.
“How did you get my address?”
“Shut up and get inside,” was Alana’s answer.

--

“Saturday night, and the place is full dumb teenagers and annoying couples with no etiquette,” Chloe narrated as they walked towards the movie theater. “And the only movies released are specially made for those with outrageously low IQs…”
“I never said we’d go here to actually watch a movie.”
“As two losers head for the movies, one reveals to the other that their intention is to not watch a movie but to go to a movie theater anyway… What the hell are we here for then?”
“I just feel like making fun of people…”
“What kind of answer is that? We can always make fun of people while watching TV, we don’t have to actually leave the house and waste gas and energy and… I repeat, what the hell are we here for then?”
“Well okay, there’s this guy--"
Smack! Alana winced from Chloe’s impact and rubbed the back of her head, hoping it would relieve the pain.
“You’re a damn idiot, Alana. I’m going home.”
“Your house is at least 3 miles from here, do you realize that?”
“I don’t care. Anything to get away from a complete moron. I have my pepper spray, I’m prepared.”
“Please, pleeeeaaaase,” Alana whined as she tugged at Chloe’s arm.
“Ha! Get off me,” Chloe said, giving Alana an unsympathetic look. She shook away Alana’s hold on her.
“I’ll pay you..”
Chloe yawned. “That is so lame, so tired, so old… I don’t need money. Frankly, I’m a rich little bitch, and besides, money is temporary.”
“You’re so--"
“Mean? Thank you.” Chloe turned away from Alana and crossed her arms, standing in the parking lot and minding her own business, pretending Alana wasn’t there.
They stood there for several minutes, Chloe with her arms crossed and Alana glaring at her back.
“Do you realize how stupid this is?” Alana said, interrupting the silence.
“Yes. Do you realize how stupid it is for you to be dragging me here just for some guy?”
“Yes. But we’re stupid people, so let’s go,” She said, and began tugging at Chloe’s arm once again.
Chloe yawned again. “Fine. I have nothing better to do.” She turned to Alana, arms still crossed. “Let’s go.”
Alana headed for the theater, but after a minute she noticed that Chloe wasn’t walking beside her. Turning around, she saw that Chloe was still standing in the parking lot with her arms crossed, so she dragged her inside. “You’re so lazy, Chloe.”
“I’m just very unenthusiastic about going, that’s all. I hope you don’t mind,” Chloe said, with a smile. Alana sighed.

Chloe suggested that they get tickets for “that movie with the talking dog”, and after Alana paid for them, they went inside. Chloe noticed the little arcade section of the movie theater and nagged Alana for a few quarters, to which Alana said, “Hell no.”. She looked around while Chloe admired Bubble Bobble with wide child-like eyes and pulled her away when she (Alana) found her guy. Alana pointed over to the male near the cash register of the snack bar.
“He’s the manager. Isn’t that so hot?”
Chloe stared at Alana and told her to shut up. “Who the hell are you talking about?”
“Over there! He’s the one with the paper hat.”
“Stupid ass, they all have paper hats on.”
“The one with the blonde hair!” Alana pointed again.
It took Chloe a moment to realize who it was, but when she did, her mouth hung open, dumbfounded. But she immediately shook her head free of her awkward facial expression, and resumed looking bored and annoyed like she usually did. She sighed, looked down to the carpet floor decorated with bits of popcorn, and softly groaned in disappointment. “Edward?”
“Yeah, that’s his name, do you know him?”
Chloe nodded, too drained to admit it to be so. Yes, she knew him alright. Ass Snob. Time froze for a moment, and Chloe thought to herself. Look on the bright side, Chloe. He’s wearing a stupid paper hat. Chloe laughed and time moved again.
“What are you laughing at?”
“Sorry, I was just telling myself a joke.”
“Oh.” Chloe continued laughing for a moment and Alana gave her a peculiar look. When Chloe finally stopped, Alana spoke once more. “Let’s go buy some snacks, eh?”
“No.”
“What?”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Well I am.”
“Okay, I’ll go find us some seats then.” Chloe turned to walk away but not before Alana grabbed her arm.
“What are you talking about? You’re not going to leave me all alone, not when I paid for tickets for the stupid talking dog movie.”
“Hmmm…” Chloe thought. “Buy me nachos.”
“Fine.”
“And ice cream bon bons!” Chloe added, with irritating enthusiasm.
“What?”
“Yes.”
“Damn you.”
“It’s been done.”
“Shut up.”
“I’ll shut up and find us some seats then.”
“Okay okay! Damn you.”
“You just said that!” They walked towards the cash register. Alana was in front of Chloe, with her hair checked, back straight, lips pouty and eyes seemingly innocent. On the other hand, Chloe was slouching with her hands in her jacket pockets and her eyes wandering the place. She was bored while Alana was pathetically desperate. Using her intelligence, Chloe tried to look for the up side to this situation. I can make fun of Alana for this later. And then she smiled.

Alana smiled and blinked her eyes twice, which was disgustingly fake to Chloe. And then she began, with a “hi”. But Ass Snob didn’t really notice Alana’s existence. He did, however, notice the slouching figure behind her, and made a note of it too. “Oh look, it’s you.” Chloe looked up. It turns out that he was talking to her.
“Tend to your customers,” she muttered. He glared at her for half a minute, but Chloe didn’t notice because she already continued staring into space while waiting for Alana. So he resumed to serving Alana by choking out a “Hello, I’m Edward. How may I help you?”.
Alana wanted to beat the crap out of Chloe, but smiled again instead. “Hi, I’d like a large coke, small nachos and some…” She turned to glance at Chloe. “ice cream bon bons, please?”
“Coming right up,” he replied, gritting his teeth.
“Thank you,” said Alana, who ended up giggling like a schoolgirl. Why are you giggling?, Chloe wondered. Moron. Alana must’ve mistaken Ass Snob’s teeth-gritting for some sort of smile, Chloe justified the giggling with.
“$13.95,” Edward told Alana, and Alana almost choked on her saliva.
“What-- I mean alright then,” she said, chuckling a bit to hide her outrage. She turned around to glare at Chloe and in turn, Chloe smiled at her. Alana took out her wallet and paid him the money, crestfallen to see the hollowness in her wallet afterwards. Chloe beamed. Ass Snob handed her the junk food.
“Thank you, next!”
Chloe could see that from the look on Alana’s face, she felt like screaming. Chloe thought about offering to carry some of the food, but decided against it, wanting to see how far she could go before Alana went insane. She reached over to make it look like she was going to help Alana out, but only grabbed a nacho instead. Alana silently fumed.
“It’s going to be a great movie, huh?”
“Yeah, fantastic,” Alana replied, clearly annoyed and still carrying the junk food. Chloe smiled in return.
“I think you’re evil, Chloe.”

- Chapter 5: Chloe's Been Reduced to This (Part 2 of 2)
And a Thought from Chloe: "This is all Darren's fault."

The talking dog movie ended up being pretty funny. It wasn’t funny in the way that they intended it to be, though. It was just so crappy and cheesy that it amused both Chloe and Alana enough to be pretty funny, and that was just as good. Afterwards Alana invited Chloe to some coffee and sandwiches or some midnight diner, but Chloe declined, and she went home at around 11:30. She changed into her “pajamas”, a big white t-shirt and some shorts, and was now laying on her bed staring at the ceiling. She had been on the bed for about half an hour, and here she was, still wide awake. She stretched out her arms on the queen-sized bed, and felt nothing, except for her sheets and extra pillow. It was an awkward feeling, because usually Darren’s oversized 6 feet tall body would be next to her. He slept over at her house every weekend, and on Saturday nights they would always watch videos or talk all night, things like that. And this weekend he wasn’t there next to her on the bed, he wasn’t there at all, and that just felt strange for her. Very strange, the bad kind of strange. Chloe didn’t like it.
She sat up and gradually stood up, leaving her bed which was too empty for her tastes. Suddenly the bed had been too big for her and she couldn’t take sleeping in there any longer, not that she had been sleeping at all before. She walked around the room, considering what she should do then. She clicked on the TV and then clicked it off. It reminded her of Darren. Damn him for not being there, now she couldn’t sleep, she thought. She looked out her window. It was dark outside, but comforting. The moon was out and shining over all the houses. The stars seemed to be tiny, faraway lights. It was pretty. She looked through the windows of the nearby neighboring houses and found none with their lights on. That’s because they’re all asleep…, Chloe thought, annoyed. Stupid Darren. Thoughts of him again, that bastard! She left her bedroom window and left her room altogether. Chloe walked down the hallway and down the stairs, headed for the kitchen. If she wasn’t as annoyed with Darren’s absence maybe she would’ve noticed the eerie feeling it gave out, since she wasn’t used to going to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Chloe didn’t even bother turning the light on. She just opened the fridge door and it provided the light for her, but she cringed at the sight of it. Her eyes had been accustomed to the dark for over half an hour. She scanned the insides of her refrigerator up and down but the food she saw disinterested her. It turned out that she wasn’t hungry after all, so she went back upstairs, to her parents’ bedroom. She knocked on their door lightly and opened it a bit, and then completely, and then she walked inside. Chloe leaned over their bed. “I’m going to Darren’s house.”
“Be sure to put on something warm, my dear Chloe,” her mother muttered, only half-awake.
“I’ll bring my pepper spray too, Dad,” Chloe said before her dad mentioned anything. She kissed them both goodnight, reminded them that she loved them, and bid them goodbye, closing the door as quietly as she could as she left the room.
In her own room, Chloe opened up a drawer in her dresser and pulled out a large sweatshirt. She had openly stolen it from Darren a while back and still had it with her. After that she pulled out some pajama pants and simply put them on over her shorts. She slipped on some sandals, clung onto the pepper spray she took from atop her desk and also brought her housekeys along with her, shoving it into her pocket. And then she walked back down the stairs and out the door, careful to lock it too.


Darren’s house was only several blocks away, which was convenient for Chloe. She didn’t mind the walk, not when a bright moon accompanied her. It was peacefully quiet and she liked to study the houses as she passed them by. Chloe was watching everything around her and next thing she knew, she was standing at Darren’s house.
It was too late to even fathom ringing the doorbell. Why disturb his parents when all she wanted to do was disturb him? Chloe thought for a moment, trying to figure out which window would be Darren’s. Luckily, his house was only one story high, so she didn’t have to climb anything. He didn’t have any pets either, thankfully. She looked around. There were no leaves nearby his window, just grass. Would it be easy to climb through? Easy enough, the window wasn’t too high. Chloe thought about taking it slow and creeping along, but knew that in the movies, slow creeping ended up being louder than just running fast, so she quickly ran over to his window and suddenly crouched in case anybody would notice. Ahh, thank you bush and gate for hiding an individual like me, Chloe thought. She concluded afterwards that thoughts after midnight should not have been thought.. she should just stop thinking altogether because her thoughts were starting to get on her nerves. Or did she already stop thinking? It was all very frustrating. Chloe grimaced and simply moved on to tapping on his window. Mwuhahaha, he left it slightly open a bit…enough for me to completely open myself, she thought, and so she did. She climbed into his room with a bit of a stumble, but it wasn’t too loud and Chloe thought that Darren wouldn’t hear. Good thing his bed was queen-sized too, otherwise she would’ve kicked him out of his own bed. And he had an extra pillow too, how nice. She slowly reached for it, hoping to smack him with it as a lovely wakeup call, but just as she did Darren muttered something in his sleep and rolled over, dangerously close to her hand. Chloe pulled it away, but curious, she moved in closer to try to make out his words. He muttered again. What was that he said? She moved in even closer.

“I said, ‘What are you doing here?’,” Darren repeated, speaking as if it wasn’t past midnight.
Chloe immediately shushed him. “Your parents will hear!” She whispered.
“It’s just you, they won’t mind,” he replied.
“Oh yeah, you’re right,” Chloe agreed, speaking in a normal tone along with him.
"So.. what are you doing here?" Darren repeated.
Chloe yawned. “Just a case of insomnia, I guess. I was bored.”
“Bored in the middle of the night, right?”
“Right. Most logical.” Chloe yawned again.
Darren sat up, revealing a most irritating lack of shirt. Chloe half-stared and half-stared into the space occupying his annoyingly bare chest. Annoying because she kept staring at it. Odd shapes… she thought, and yawned again.
“You’re so obviously not tired,” Darren commented.
“So obviously not tired, it’s absolutely ridiculous for you to presume that I am. Just out of this world…”
“You’re babbling.”
“I know.”
“Chloe?”
After a moment or two, Chloe reasoned that the idea would be to stop staring and to look up at his face. So first she stopped staring, and then she moved her head up and up and up. Oops, too far, she thought as she found her eyes staring at the ceiling. Moving her head back down she almost missed looking into Darren’s eyes, but luckily she made it. At last!, she thought, and beamed with child-like pride. She looked at him to find him laughing.
“You need to sleep.”
“Ha!” she replied, throwing her hand onto her heart. “Me? Sleep? That’s crazy.”
“Come on…” Darren scooted over to one side of the bed to make room for her. “You’re going to start hallucinating soon.”
“The colors?”
“No colors, okay? Come on,” he said, patting the bed.
“Why are you patting the bed for?”
“Because the bed needs to be patted.”
“I want to pat the bed too..”
Darren sighed. “You really shouldn’t be up at this time.”
“Perhaps.”
“So come here and go to sleep.”
“I can sleep just like this…”
“Sitting up you mean?”
“I’m not mean.”
Darren laughed again.
“Fine. But… fine.” She jumped onto the bed, surprising Darren with that odd burst of energy. Chloe really does act odd when she’s tired, Darren decided, making a mental note to make sure she’s never tired, however cute it is.
“At least not in public.”
“What’s that you say?”
“I just felt like talking to myself,” Darren replied. “Go to sleep.”
“YOU go—okay..” she stole his pillow despite using one of his already. “Mwuhahaha!”
“You’re really tired, aren’t you…” Darren commented. “I love you, Chloe,” he added, but Chloe already fell asleep.

- Darren's P.O.V.

You’d think Darren would’ve fallen asleep eventually, but an hour passed and then another and here he was, staring at the ceiling from his bed, awake at 3:30 AM, which was the time he saw as he checked the alarm clock on the night table beside him. He couldn’t help it. The impossible was happening; somehow Chloe ended up in his bed. A devilish smirk appeared on his face, but he knew that it didn’t imply as much as he wanted it to. He reasoned with himself that if he fell asleep his Chloe would disappear and he definitely treasured her at his side, so he stayed awake memorizing every moment that passed…
Sometime during the night, he didn’t care when, in her sleep Chloe turned to face him and tossed her arm across his chest. He left it there. In fact, his hand slowly creeped over to hers and he cautiously interlocked his hand with hers, eyes focusing on Chloe’s, making sure he could get away with such an action, as if he were committing a crime and making sure he wouldn’t get caught. When Chloe didn’t make any sudden movement, a boyish smile slowly came into existence on his face.
Eventually, Chloe woke up during the night, but only temporarily. She blinked her eyes once or twice and sleepily turned her head about, trying to recognize her surroundings. He called out Darren’s name and when he responded, she went back to sleep, using his chest as a pillow.

Darren wondered if Chloe knew the difference between their relationship and that of a boyfriend and girlfriend’s. Those thoughts also kept him up, along with Chloe at his side, breathing slowly, in and out, in and out, hypnotizing him into insomnia, if that were possible. Turns out it isn’t, he decided later after defining the word ‘hypnotizing’ in his head. Concluding that defining words past 3 am made no sense, Darren turned off his endless thoughts somehow and fell into a contented sleep.

--[And no more of his POV now..]

It was around 6 am when Chloe became aware of the bumping noise. Bump-bump. Bump-bump, bump-bump, bump-bump, bump-bump… and her head was against a warm surface that slowly raised and lowered, raised and lowered, along to the rhythm of the bumping. Or was it really bumping? It could be beating, perhaps… yes, she would redefine it as beating. And when Chloe opened her eyes, her point of view was all sideways. It was very odd indeed, but cool in its way, since the surface that her head was upon raised and lowered WHILE her head was sideways… oh, what was she thinking about now?

Chloe sat up.

It was Darren. (Darren’s chest, really..) Darren? How’d she… hmm. She thought for a moment, cocking her eyebrow, and then shrugging in defeat a second later. Suddenly, inches, no, centimeters from his face, she waited.. he opened his mouth and made some sort of sound. Aha! I knew it! He DOES snore… And she deviously chuckled for a moment before she suddenly jerked her head back and away from Darren’s as he swung his hand in the air, her breathing on his face disturbing his sleep. “Hehehe, you missed.” But Darren didn’t hear. “Heavy sleeper, oy…I can break him.” Chloe tiptoed over to the bedroom window a little bit before thinking, “Why am I doing this for?” and so she casually walked to it, and then ran in impatience. Aha! She pulled up the blinds, letting the fantastically bright and sunny day shine through. Ran over to him, jumped on the bed and slammed a pillow on his face, pulled away the covers, exposing him to the cool air and attempting to run away. She almost thought she wouldn’t make it, that is, until she went inside the bathroom. Before this, she managed to slam the door shut to stall him, and luckily it worked. A fanciful combination of groaning, shouting, and thumping came from across the bathroom, which is Darren’s bedroom, yes. Chloe chuckled to herself as she locked the bathroom door.

Inside, Chloe did the usual, making faces in the mirror the entire time. It was just her style, she could nonchalantly say. She was usually in a stupid-happy mood if nobody pissed her off. The problem was that it was too easy to piss her off… she had no patience compared to Darren… Chloe wondered how they managed to stand each other as she finished washing up. Opening the door, she thought about how they met, or was about to think about how they met until she collided with Darren’s chest (Not again!) and shouted into his chest with utter annoyance. She didn’t know what to shout so she made up words as she went along for a few seconds before Darren stepped back and stuck out his hand, revealing that it was clamped onto a pillow.
Smack!
“Agh!” was all she managed to shout previous to the head-pillow collision. Chloe punched him hard in the stomach but Darren would admit no pain. “Put on a damn shirt, stupid!”
Darren stared at her for a moment before it hit him what she actually said. “What?”
Chloe just rolled her eyes. In response, Darren asked, “Why?” He smirked. “You know you can’t get enough of this,” he said as he rubbed his chest to the point of utter disgust, overdoing it on purpose as usual.
Chloe turned away, yelling, “Wrong! Wrong! Stop it!” repeatedly. Darren laughed as he flexed his muscles in typical maleness. “Yeah yeah yeah,” Chloe said as she quickly brushed off his exaggerated gestures with a wave of the hand. “Put on a shirt before I kill you. It’s pretty gross-looking.”
“Hey!”
Chloe stuck her tongue out in disgust. “I’ve interacted with it enough times to last this lifetime.”
Darren grumbled. “I think I happen to have an admirable chest,” he muttered to himself. But Chloe heard. “That’s funny, Darren…”

After Darren put on a decent shirt, they headed towards the kitchen, Darren’s arms crossed the whole time in stubborn annoyance. Chloe smirked until seeing his parents in the kitchen. The curve in her face turned downward as they spoke.
“Little Chloe! You’ve grown!” exclaimed Mrs. Matthews.
“Well, not much,” Mr. Matthews added. Last time they saw Chloe, she was 5’1, as opposed to now, 5’4. It was very embarrassing to see his parents because they always commented on her height. It also made her uncomfortable to be surrounded by tall people; Darren’s mother was the “shortest”, being only 5’8. His father was 6’3 and Darren was 6’2. Chloe cursed herself for always forgetting why she rarely went to Darren’s house.
“What are you standing there gawking at us for? Give us a hug!” Mr. Matthews exclaimed, and Chloe shuffled over to them to hug them. They weren’t so bad, really..
“Okay, what are you doing here?” Mr. Matthews asked firmly, cutting straight to the point.
“Unless you deem it perfectly normal to visit us around 6:30 AM, which I seriously doubt, Little Chloe…” Mrs. Matthews added.
Chloe stared at them for a moment, and then to the floor. The tile won't help me now! They're all against me somehow.. and then she looked back up at them, smiling sheepishly.
Darren cut in to explain. "Chloe's been too used to me sleeping over at her house. It's only understandable that she'd be lonely the one week that I'm not there. She just needs me every Saturday night. I'm like her teddy bear."
She sighed and put her hands over her face, lowering her head. Oh my god. There is no god. Oh my. "That's not true!"
He beamed, which was usually her thing, and he knew it. "Yeah it is." He turned to his parents and repeated himself. "It is. She's just in denial."
"I'm not in denial. There isn't anything to deny." She turned away from his family and crossed her arms.
He leaned his elbow on her shoulder, an action that she abhorred and that emphasized his height. "Doesn't it make sense, Dad?"
"Yes, son. We understand perfectly," he said as they headed towards the cabinet to get the plates and utensils and set the table for breakfast. "You know you're always welcome at our house, Little Chloe. We were just teasing you," he called out from the dining room.
Darren's mom leaned in to whisper to Chloe. "It's okay if you don't know how much you love Darren yet. It'll come in time." Chloe turned around to reply, opening her mouth. But not knowing exactly what to say, she closed it back. Darren beat her again, but it wasn't time yet for her to figure out that they were never truly competing.

"So what shall we eat for breakfast?" Her mom asked, and the issue was over.

- Chapter 6: The Most Californian Thing to Do (Go to the Beach)
And a Thought From Chloe: "You'd Do It Too If You Lived Here."

It was still Sunday morning, and Chloe knew that they were scheduled to have a discussion on what to do today. It would end after half an hour and they would wind up staying at the house, doing nothing. Nothing was nice, but nothing was starting to annoy her to no end. She wouldn’t give him a chance to intervene. Chloe was going to cut straight to the point.
Darren was sitting at the foot of his bed, minding his own business (well, staring at the mirror facing him and being insecure about his looks) when he found Chloe standing in front of him with her arms crossed. Before he could even think to worry about what could happen next, she told him that they were going to the beach.
“We’re going to the beach?” he repeated.
“Yes.”
“How?”
“With your car.”
“When did you plan to inform me of these events?”
“Approximately 1 minute ago. Now get ready.”
“What?”
”Damn it Darren, you’re so lazy,” she said as she went through his dresser and threw out clothes for the trip.
“It’s almost October…” He said aloud to himself. Well, really to her, but she paid him no attention.
“Where’s your swimming trunks?”
“I can’t swim.”
“So? We’re in California, you’re obligated to have swimming trunks.”
“Bottom drawer to the right.” She followed his directions and threw his trunks at him.
“You wear briefs?” She shuddered. “Too much information.” Darren laughed. “I quit, you get your clothes yourself. Where are the towels?”
“On the shelf in the bathroom,” he said as he packed himself. As she went to get the towels, which were only across his room, he continued talking. “Don’t you think it’ll be cold?”
“Open the window and stick your hand out. Your hand won’t be cold, therefore you won’t be cold,” she said from across the hallway.
“What? But we’re an hour away from the beach.”
“Then pack a light jacket. I like it cold anyway,” she said as she threw the towel at him.
“You know that by throwing everything at me, I have to refold them, right?”
“Yep, your point?”
He groaned.
“Don’t groan, we’ll have fun.”
“Doing what?”
“Doing lots of stuff. Oh yeah, bring some money too.”
“Why?”
”You’re buying me lunch. And besides, we’re going to Santa Monica. I’m female, so chances are I’ll be awed by something sparkly-looking they’ll sell in those booths somewhere in Venice Beach and while I will conveniently have no money, you conveniently will have money and therefore Darren comes to the rescue by buying it for me,” she ranted.
”Yay.”
“Don’t worry, you won’t need to wear your SuperDarren cape and costume outfit. Now hurry up, we have to stop by my house too. I can’t wear my pajamas to the beach.”
“Why not?”
“Ha ha, shut up.” Darren smirked.
“Alright, done,” he said. “Let’s go.”
“Wait, can you rollerblade?” Chloe asked.
“Nope.”
“Yeah, neither can I,” she said. “Now let’s go.”

--

“While you were pacing around in my room acting busy while I packed, I chose some CDs for the trip,” Darren said with male pride. Male pride? What for? I, Master of the Story, am female so I wouldn’t know, and Chloe’s female too so she wouldn’t know either. But he puffed up his chest like a stupid idiot and missed the redlight, cutting off some buffed up guy with a large Chevrolet truck. Chloe noticed that there was a good-natured looking female next to him, so he suppressed his outrage and simply flipped the finger at him and shouted profanities. Darren was blabbering away about the CDs he brought so he didn’t notice. Figures.
Chloe attempted to catch up with his constant stream of chattering (this “constant stream of chattering” is very very rare, by the way) but quit about halfway there and simply flipped through his portable CD case. Ghost World soundtrack, Radiohead’s “Amnesiac”, Moby’s “Play”, Garbage’s “Version 2.0”, Daft Punk’s “Homework”, Marcy Playground’s self-titled CD…
“What would you like to hear first?” Darren asked.
“This is a very eclectic collection,” she muttered. “I’m not really into music.”
“I know, you’re not really into anything,” before she could object, he added, “except screenwriting.”
“I don’t even know any of these bands, err people…or whatever.”
“Just pick the prettiest looking CD.”
“Fine. What’d you burn on this one? It’s not labeled.”
“I don’t remember. Put it in.”
She did. Turns out he burned Spanish techno tracks. “Umm…how about the Garbage one then?”
“Be open-minded,” he told her. “I like it.”

--

The Santa Monica Promenade was a respectable hangout (except last she heard, their independent book store was closing down…) and so was the Farmer’s Markets they have now and then, the mall, and the little stores down Venice Beach. They were nice and she liked to go there today, but not now. Beach was all on her mind. No worries if Darren were to drown… he was tall and easily noticeable by the lifeguard, and plus she didn’t have the stamina to swim in a beach. In deciding that, she took him by the hand and solemnly forced him to come into the water with her.
“Take off your shirt, stupid. It’s going to get wet, and what good would that do?” she told him.
“What good would getting wet in general do?” he retorted.
“Ha ha, that’s funny. Off with it, now,” she ordered.
“Take it off, take it off, right?” She glared at him. “Fine, but one day you’ll admit you love this..” he said as he took off his shirt.
As they got into the water, he squealed like a little girl, causing Chloe to burst into laughter. “It’s cold!!” he whined.
“I think the water’s fine..” she replied nonchalantly.
“You know your cold and heartless soul is used to this kind of climate,” he said.
“Ooh, that almost hurt me,” she bit back. “Come on, quit pouting, you’ll get used to it.”
Darren grumbled. “Hey wait, this isn’t so bad after all…”
“See?” she smiled.
“Great view,” he mumbled.
“What are you talking about?” she asked, but he wasn’t paying attention. Oh how gross, he’s staring at females… She groaned.
“You’re looking pretty good too…” he added, pulling her close to him.
Of course, she smacked him. “That’s nasty,” she said, and he laughed.
“It’s fun to disgust you, you make the cutest face…” He smirked, his aim, apparently, to irritate her.
“Stop hitting on me Darren, you’re getting desperate now,” she sighed. Bending down, she scooped up a handful of sand to dump on his head.
“Hey! Don’t start with me,” he shouted.
She kicked water at him. “I already have,” she laughed. She turned turn to run in the other direction when he grabbed at her waist and pulled her to the ground.
“Ow, you’re brutal,” she said in “defeat” before kicking him in the groin and running away with glee.
“You’re such a bitch, Chloe,” he muttered, doubled over in pain.
“I know… bet you can’t catch me,” she taunted, sticking her tongue out.
“I am SO going to get you. Start running,” he threatened as he chased after her.

Half an hour and several bruises later, they headed for the outdoor showers.
“Did you mean to cover me in sand after pushing me into the water, Darren?” she sulked, combing her hair with her fingers as she stood under the showerhead.
“Yes, actually,” he chuckled. “Ow,” he mumbled, wincing whenever he moved his legs. Chloe, it appears, kicked him in the groin pretty hard. “You deserve it.”
“Aww,” Chloe said with mock-sentimentality. “You deserved that too.”
“Can you feel the love in this room?” he asked.
“Yep,” she answered. Rubbing her knee, she told him that the sand isn’t as soft as he thinks. “You didn’t have to push so hard..”
“Don’t even start, Chloe. One knock-down drag-out fight a day is enough for me.”
Yeah, you suck.. she muttered.
“I heard that!”
“Umm..hehehe..” She laughed a bit. “Anyway, did you remember to get your shirt?”
“Yep.”
“That’s good, the bums might’ve stolen it if you forgot it. You done?” she asked, stepping out of the shower. Chloe left her bikini (more like tankini… like I have the body for an official bikini) on and just put some shorts on over it.
“Yeah,” Darren said as he stepped out of the shower himself.
“Let’s go on the swings,” she suggested.
“Aren’t you hungry?” he asked. His stomach grumbled, as if on cue.
“Oh right.. food. How could I forget that? There’s a little pizza place near the pier if you want to go there.”
“Sure..” Darren replied, before his stomach growled. “Please.”
“You’re a pig..” she told him, and took a giant step away from him, sticking her tongue out at him.
“Later, Chloe. Not now.”

--

They stopped at the pizzeria, which was unsurprisingly called “The Pizzeria”, painted in red on white stucco, stuck in between some other non-chain fast food joint and the souvenir shop with cheap sunglasses made in China and t-shirts. Darren ordered first, only because Chloe was kind enough to let him cut in line (his damn stomach growling was getting on my nerves, she claimed) and he ended up buying for her. Elbowing him in the back repeatedly really helped in making that decision.
They got a whole pizza, and Darren forgot that Chloe was thin due to high metabolism and not exercise and dieting. Imagine his disappointment when he found that she ate half of the pizza that he paid for. Obviously he ate too slowly. You’d think that he’d be in more of a hurry because of how hungry he is.

“You chew too slow,” Chloe explained.
“Shut up. Give me some of your soda,” he commanded, trying to be domineering.
She laughed because it didn’t suit him. “You don’t even like orange soda.”
“I do now,” he told her, and drank some, face contorting awkwardly. “It’s fantastic,” he commented, then proceeded to stick his tongue out and his index finger in, in a “gag me” gesture.
“I know,” she replied. “Isn’t ‘fantastic’ my word, Darren?”

They got up after finishing their food and headed for the nearby swings. On the way, they passed the carousel and set of tables with chessboards printed into them. People were scattered about around the area, playing chess and trying to chat casually while concentrating on beating the other. Close by began a long row of various apartment buildings; some over-the-top with tasteless stucco and fancy windows, others with very unique architectural designs based on simplicity. To the right were the swings, some muscle-man structures for the exercising-types to get buff and show off on, and volleyball nets that “tanned people” took advantage of. Chloe was about to run towards the swings before some dumb kid and their family hogged them for an hour and a half when Darren pulled her to a stop before she could bolt.

“Have you ever played chess?” he asked, ignorant to the horrified, panicky look that Chloe was giving him. (The swings!!)
She took a breath before answering, knowing that he was taking advantage of their friendship benefits.. like the right to drive her insane. Chloe was in the mood to act like a little kid and now was the time and the place, but she answered him anyway, out of some sick love, or something… “Yeah,” she told him after taking a moment to think about it. “Around 3rd grade Dad dragged me into the living room, away from my books and taught me how to play. But I got bored when he kept telling me what moves to make, so I made a kiddie vow to never play again and I forgot how the game went.”
“It’s really fun,” Darren told her.
“Really,” she said, unbelieving.
“Really!” he answered. “I can teach you sometime. And you can move yourself. I’ll go easy on you.”
“Umm… I don’t know,” she said, eying the swings again. No families were in the vicinity of them, luckily.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s the smart person’s game…” he commented, trailing off on purpose.
“FINE!” she shouted, falling for it. “As long as I learn here.”
“Okay,” he replied, a little too happy that he won. Chloe noticed and kicked him in the foot.



[Forgive me if I forget some of the characteristics and quirks of these characters. I'm too lazy to read 29 pages of MY crap. Eh, edit it later..]



--

VERY IMPORTANT NEWS


I'm editing Miguel Gonzalez out, due to conflicts in the extensive outline of Not Amused that I wrote. No racial jokes please, and don't complain because the majority of you lazy bums didn't give me your opinion the one time that I asked, and frankly I am not willing to change everything down to the ending just because of one character that wasn't going to get with Chloe anyway.

--
Afternote: From a personality that is unwilling to do anything intimidating, I tell you now that I won't read 29 pages of my crap to edit out Miguel. So I'll edit him way way later, but just know that he is NOT involved.

[If you people find this annoyingly long, I have it in chapter form too. Sorry, but you'll have to click to my lame portfolio first to get there.]
Not done yet! Comments and ratings appreciated if positive. If negative, please state why. My motivation is your reader participation....
Thank you to the people who gave me the nice comments. Thank you to the people who gave me comments at ALL.
WARNING: I edit a lot. I don't change things around, as in parts of the story. Just grammar and etc; plus I add lines, usually.
-Christine



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