Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there were two girls at the age of eleven who had decided that they loved each other more than life itself. Not in a romantic way. Romance is hard. But being a good friend isn’t. Because you never have to question anything that you do. You just be there for your other half as much as you possibly can. Until the very end.
These two little girls knew that one could not live without the other. It wasn’t even a question really. So on a sunny day, in late June, four very long years ago, the girls were picnicking with a very happy mother named Sharon Summers, in celebration of their elementary graduation. Sharon had gotten up to go to use the restroom, and the girls had decided that if one of them ever wanted to end their life, then they would call the other before doing so, and if the other was unable to convince the suicidal friend to keep living her life here on earth, then they would both end their lives. Together.
So on a cool day in early December, that day came, and the two of them did something that didn’t make them sad. How could it? Because remaining to breathe here on earth without the other by their side was just unthinkable. Impossible. Wrong, maybe? And if there was something that both of them agreed on more than anything, it was that life was only precious is there was another girl to live happily ever after with.
Nadine called for her mother who drove her to the girls’ special place. Nadine got out of the car, and instructed her mother to wait around the corner. She said that she would be right back.
Nadine went running up to Jocelyn. Jocelyn turned around. Their eyes glistened in love for one another and no words were exchanged. Jocelyn sat down in the dirt. Nadine fell into her lap and started crying. Jocelyn cried too, but tried to hide it from Nadine as she combed her fingers through Nadine’s hair to comfort her.
The sun was about to set. They could each see as the sky met with the clouds, which met with the mountains on the other side. Nadine pointed to it.
She knew that Jocelyn had already seen it, but wanted to savor this moment. They had been here before long ago on a school field trip in the third grade. Funny to think of a time like that now. It was a bright day, and the birds had sung their songs just as they had been doing today.
The air was crisp, and the earth in which they sat upon was warm despite the fact that it was December.
The girls looked out over the horizon, and cried together while both remembering their past. Some memories alone, but most overlapping.
Nadine opened her lips, and said the first words, “Remember that time when...”, they both laughed at the fond memory. Jocelyn shared memories too. And Nadine again. Back and fourth as Jocelyn rocked Nadine.
There isn’t ever really an answer as to why a smile has to be stolen from someone who seemed so happy and content. You can always just guess. I think I know why. Whoever it is out there watching everyone isn’t very happy themselves. For they have never know companionship, love, or how to smile purely through the heart. But how could they?
They never had a best friend.
To be content with themselves could be proven, but not easily. For it isn’t so easy to be content with yourself if there is no one to share the wonders of life with.
The girls stared out at the sunset, and each wondered to themselves if they had ever seen something so beautiful before. And indeed, they had.
Nadine stood up, and took Jocelyn’s hand in hers. They wrapped their ankles around the each other’s, and stood in a perfect symmetrical pose.
It was a Friday evening, and the last week of school before winter break was upon them.
“I don’t wanna go to school tomorrow,” Nadine spoke.
Jocelyn laughed, “Me either.”
Nadine spoke again, “Are you ready?”
“Yeah,” Jocelyn was sure.
“You know I love you more than anything - right?”
“Yeah I know,” replied Nadine.
“Good,” Jocelyn spoke through a smile. It had something missing. As if the smile had been half empty. Or maybe half full. But it didn’t matter.
Nadine spoke her last words, “You jump, I jump, right?”
Jocelyn smiled and nodded.
Nothing could ruin this moment.
Nadine looked down at their hands, still clasped together. She looked up from the hands to see Jocelyn smiling right back at her. Nadine nodded.
And from the distance, in my car, I watched as my daughter and her best friend jumped off the edge of the earth and left this world forever - together. And I was happy.
I had known for quite some time that Nadine would die. It is something that I had struggled with. What parent wants to think about their only child dying.
But never in my life had I ever considered that it was something that would make me smile from the inside out. Because my daughter left this world with a smile on her face, and I will start this new beginning with one too.
One thing that is always nice is a happy ending. After all that the girls had gone through, things were finally shaping up. The only problem is... we haven’t yet reached the end. An unbelievably fabulous week had struck, and no one could stop smiling and laughing. But let me start from Sunday night.
Two weeks until winter break. It was only two more, and tomorrow would be Monday. There was a big English test and Jocelyn was doing a cram session with Nadine at Jocelyn’s father’s house.
And suddenly, there was a knock at Jocelyn’s door.
“Come in,” Jocelyn called.
The door opened, and a dreary looking Paul Summers announced, “Nadine, your dad is on the phone”
Nadine asked, “What does he want to talk to me about? He is picking me up in a half hour...”
Paul shrugged his shoulders expressing that he didn’t know any more than Nadine did. But Nadine took the phone and answered, “Dad”?
Nadine looked at Jocelyn who was just as surprised as Nadine. It wasn’t everyday that Nadine’s father said, “hey”.
“Hey...?” Nadine replied.
Mr. Hart wasted no time and immediately said, “Guess what?!”
Nadine wasn’t nearly as excited as her father was, but she tried to brighten up her voice, “What?”
“Well it was supposed to be a surprise, but I was walking in the mall with your mother, and we stopped at a makeup store to get you a birthday present.”
Nadine was confused, but said, “Mm hmm” to acknowledge that she was still listening, and Travis Hart went on.
“Well you know that your mom doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, so she took out a picture of you to show the woman so that she could get you the right color. And the lady said that she wants you to be the new model for her teen line! Isn’t that great?”
Nadine was speechless. Jocelyn gave her a gigantic bear hug and started jumping up and down with her.
“Jocelyn are you there too?” asked Travis after overhearing their screams of joy.
“Uh, yeah,” she replied.
You could hear the smile in Travis’ voice when he continued on and stated, “Well you were in that picture with Nadine and the lady said that she wanted you to be one of her models too!”
There were now two speechless teenagers jumping up and down on Jocelyn’s bed.
The funny part was that Jocelyn’s father, Paul, hadn’t heard the news and had been standing right there in Jocelyn’s bedroom while the girls randomly started cheering and jumping on the bed.
Paul was a quiet man. Well at least when he was with someone who wasn’t family. And even though Jocelyn’s house was like a second home to Nadine, without his ex-wife Sharon in the house, it was almost as if he was living in an empty hotel room. Paul was never fully settled in and never made himself completely comfortable in his own home.
But Paul broke the ice and shattered his momental silence, “Uh - what happened?”
It was Monday morning now, and the news had spread all over school. Some of the juniors were models for Abercrombie, so they looked down on the girls and thought of themselves superiorly. But besides the juniors, everyone was very excited about the whole thing and asked how much they were going to be paid and how the entire thing had happened.
Sure, the girls embellished a little bit. Instead of saying that their parents had shown a makeup sales woman a picture of them, they enhanced the story and told everyone that they had been walking in the mall, and a woman ran up to them and begged them to model for her because they were just so stunning.
Or... I guess that is what Jocelyn told everyone. Because as I have said in the past, Nadine didn’t really ever talk to anyone. She kept to herself, and when Jocelyn was telling all of her peers the story, Nadine just smiled her breathtaking smile and nodded her head at the appropriate times.
Some might think that she wasn’t excited. Others could say that she was just stuck up... but me, well I know that she was just bubbling with excitement and wanted to tell everyone, but her shyness got the best of her.
The end of the day was near and the girls were in English. The test was postponed and the pressure was relieved.
They had lived the perfect few days. And the rest of the week was perfect as well. It was almost as if they had peaked. Not in the sense that the rest of their lives would be bad, but meaning that this was the best that their lives would ever get.
They went home together on Friday, and watched the one and only Titanic. They had gotten to the part where Rose gets out of the life boat and climbs back onto the ship and goes running back to Jack. They meet and Jack kisses her over and over again and says, “You’re so stupid! Why’d you do that? Huh? You’re so stupid Rose! Why did you do that? Why?”
And then Rose says in reply, “You jump, I jump, right?”
The movie ended and Nadine went home, and Jocelyn sat in her bedroom. Just sat there. Thinking. The day had been perfect. Perfect. She got on her pink bike, and rode to a place that was very special to Nad and herself. It had been an hour since Nadine had left Jocelyn’s home.
Jocelyn waved her cell phone around trying to get reception. She finally got two bars, and called Nadine. Nadine answered after the first ring.
“Joss? Did I leave something at your house?” Nadine asked, bewilderedly.
“No. But I’m here. In our place.”
“Why?” Nadine questioned.
“You jump, I jump, right?”
The food was served to the table by Jocelyn and Nadine. Nadine had wiped away all of the tears when they had gotten the chance while in the kitchen alone. They exchanged a long hug, and Nadine encouraged Jocelyn to stop crying with words of love.
“I love you so f**king much. You know that, right?” Nadine spoke trying to make Jocelyn laugh. It worked, but backfired because after a short laugh, more and more tears poured from her lined eyes and fell to the floor.
“Joss, I love you. And you know that I will always be there for you,” Jocelyn nodded her head into Nadine’s shoulder on agreement and Nadine finished with, “I’ll stand with you, and we can walk ‘till the ends of the earth,” Jocelyn sniffled, and Nadine felt success.
The crying was over. At least for now. And dinner had to be served.
Nadine held the turkey, and Jocelyn the stuffing. They took short trips from the kitchen to the dining room and back until all of the dishes were on the table.
Paul Summers asked, “Travis, do you want to do the carving?”
Travis Hart smiled and accepted.
“You know, when we were still married, Paul would always let me carve the turkey,” Sharon stated. Jocelyn knew that she was trying to make Cecile uncomfortable. And Cecile fought back.
She smiled and combed her fingers through her stick straight ginger hair. And a feisty side of Cecile Rogers was revealed, “How long were the two of you married for again?”
Sharon frowned, “Seventeen years,” she said coldly.
Paul intervened, “Fifteen,” he stopped, “We were married for fifteen years.
Sharon raised her eyebrow just as her daughter Jocelyn did in confusion.
Jocelyn too raised her brow, “Huh? I always thought that you guys were marred for seventeen years? At least that’s what you told me,” Jocelyn was angry. Why did her parents have to break big news like this right now? In front of both Cecile and Nadine’s family.
“Well Jocelyn, we got married when your mother was three months pregnant with you...” and I think that it was right then when Paul Summers realized what he had done. It was too late now. He had to finish, “We were... in a long engagement.”
Conversation changed, and Jocelyn was even more angry and confused than she had been prior. She was angry at her father for making the entire dinner awkward. She was upset that Cecile had invited her mother. Jocelyn was pissed at her own mother for even bothering to show up. And she was mad at Nadine for not being able to do anything about it.
Everything was finally going smoothly. Cecile pulled out the pictures again, and was showing them to the girls. Mostly just school pictures and photos from family vacations. You could tell that she was just trying to connect and relate with Jocelyn. Obviously Cecile had no idea how to interact with children, much less teenagers, but Jocelyn went along with the entire thing.
“And this was from a time when I got poison oak on a hiking trip. It was awful! Have you ever gotten...” but Cecile was cut off by Sharon.
“I got poison oak one time,” interrupted Sharon. She was gnawing on one of the legs of the turkey as if she were a rodent eating from a trash can. No. Sharon Reynolds wasn’t the rodent. That was too close to having a soul. No - Sharon Reynolds was the trash that a rodent devours. Sharon Reynolds was white trash.
Cecile cringed. It was so gross. Sharon was chewing with her mouth wide open, and her yellowed teeth were gnawing at each new bite of the meat.
Because Jocelyn had been mad at her and they hadn’t been talking in weeks, it was just then when Jocelyn noticed something.
Sharon’s teeth were yellow. Her blouse was dirty. Her shoes were covered in dirt. How could a woman who was always so uptight and almost as perfect as Cecile become like this.
Jocelyn pulled Sharon into the kitchen and asked her the question which would end their relationship.
“Mom, why are you being like this?”
Sharon looked at the tiled floor and merely ignored her.
A maternal side of Jocelyn reigned over her own mother, “Mom,” she was stern and persistent.
Sharon looked into the eyes of her daughter. Jocelyn looked so much like her mother. The eyes, the lips, the face, the eyebrows, but her personality was reverted. All different. Jocelyn thought back to a time when all was good.
A sunny day in late June of four years ago.
Sharon had brought Jocelyn out to a park to celebrate her graduation of elementary school. It was a place where they had been many times. The trails familiar, the trees had words carved into them. “Mom + Joss 4EVER”, it’s too bad that forever... wasn’t.
Nadine had come with them. They laughed over funny memories and made fun of teachers. There was chocolate milk. A treat. It had kind of become a tradition with them. Whenever Sharon had taken them anywhere, they would always have chocolate milk and race to see who could drink it the fastest.
Thinking back on the memory made Jocelyn smile. For a moment. Reality was blurred, and she missed the days when kids of her age seemed like scary giants, and her mother was her idol. But then the sting of reality set in, and Jocelyn had to face the present.
Jocelyn asked again, “What is happening to you?”
Sharon stole back the maternal role and answered, “I have been living in the car,” the way that Sharon said it was strange. She was normally shy and would stutter when nervous. But it seemed as if she knew that this moment was going to happen and was prepared for explaining.
The entire conversation was much too scripted. Too uniform and formal. And for what? It wasn’t like Sharon Reynolds was trying to keep up a good reputation or anything. She was living in a car! And Thanksgiving dinner is not the proper time to break important news like this to a teenager.
Girls of their age need stability in their lives. And Sharon was not a good source. But even a surprise like the fact the fact that she was currently living in a car couldn’t top what she would be unveiling in a matter of minutes.
Whether Jocelyn knew it or not, the reason why her parents had split was because her mother was an alcoholic. That is why Paul left her.
So Paul left her? You ask... well she had been an addict for two years and had kept it from Jocelyn. She wasn’t getting any better. Sharon Reynolds had chosen a bottle of beer over her family. And this would never change.
Dessert was served. Cecile had brought the apple pie - it had always been Paul’s favorite, and I guess someone had shared the news with her. Sharon excused herself to go to the bathroom, and Cecile started to make small talk with Nadine and Jocelyn.
“Are your teachers nice?”
“Yeah, they are all pretty good.”
I have to say, even though Cecile was so perfect, I have to give it to her, she is sure pretty damn persistent. After each question was answered and had another one. And another one. And another one.
A much-too-happy-for-the-situation Sharon Reynolds danced her way back into the dining room. Jocelyn had never seen her mother like this before. But Paul had.
Paul looked at her in pure horror, “Holy shit,” a thought which he had meant to keep to himself was now shared with everyone, and he was embarrassed. A woman who had stood by him and was his partner in life for seventeen, or I guess it was fifteen years, had now crashed into his beautiful future family and wife.
But to make matters worse, Jocelyn had no idea what the hell was going on.
“Mom?” Jocelyn questioned with a sense of respect.
“Sharon?” asked Nadine too.
Sharon smiled, in her mixed up and confused head, victory was only another bottle away, “Yes girls...” but she stopped to burp. Yes - the woman to whom Paul Summers had been married to; and the mother of the beautiful and confused Jocelyn Summers was both homeless and a drunk.
And as Sharon smiled, she fell to the ground and into a sleep which lasted until three o’clock in the afternoon the day after. No one need remove her from her spot on the ground, she just lay there. Quiet and beautiful, and everything that Jocelyn had thought her mother to be prior to that depressing and eyebrow-raising Thanksgiving dinner.
Time passed, and Thanksgiving was upon the girls. And at this time last year, they had both been confused over starting at a new school, and being overwhelmed with confusion. So much had changed.
Jocelyn’s parents had still been happily married. Or at least that is how they were perceived to be. Lily Korp was still alive. And Nadine Hart had been in love with a gay teacher.
There was so much more knowledge now. If only they could have just gotten a glimpse of their future. But the present isn’t anything to be afraid of. For it is the people who are with us in the present whom we should fear.
Nadine was to come over to Jocelyn’s house. Paul Summers was introducing his new girlfriend to Jocelyn, and she didn’t want to be alone.
Originally, only Nadine was invited over, but with Nadine came her parents, and within one short phone call, Thanksgiving had changed from a quiet dinner to a dinner party. Jocelyn was happy.
It was something to distract her from the meeting with Cecile. She had seen pictures, and she seemed like a nice woman. She was a nice woman. Cecile wasn’t the type of bitchy woman who would be in a children’s movie. You know. The one who is dating the single dad and turns out to be a total... well, let’s just call her a bitch.
But what Jocelyn had not been aware of was how at home Cecile felt in the Summers household. I’ll explain later...
The doorbell rang. “I’ll get it!”, announced Jocelyn.
She smiled before opening the door, “Hi!” she had been expecting Cecile, but it was just Nadine’s father with the drinks.
It was pretty much a tradition that the Hart family brought drinks. The Summers were the cooks of the friendship, and the Harts were the ones who knew how to mix drinks.
Nadine walked up the steps and entered the house which was pretty much her own. She had grown up here. The people, the art, the stained furniture, all the things that made this a place of coziness and warmth were part of her childhood.
The girls were on their way to Jocelyn’s room to talk when Paul stopped them, “Girls, could you stay in the living room?”
Jocelyn felt bad. She knew that it wasn’t because he wanted them to be included in conversation. He just knew that there wouldn’t be any conversation without them. The girls insured no awkward silences and good entertainment for the Harts.
Nadine and Jocelyn were setting the dinner table now when the doorbell rang again. Jocelyn looked up from the silverware and to Nadine. Jocelyn’s eyebrows automatically raised and her eyes opened wide.
“She’s here,” Nadine spoke softly.
“Are you ready?” this was something that Nadine constantly asked Jocelyn. And Jocelyn always answered with silence, because that’s just it. Jocelyn Summers never was ready. The comfort in her silence however, filled the dining room with an eerie warmth, and Nadine asked again, “How about now?”
Paul yelled from the kitchen, “Joss, get the door!”
Nadine answered for her, “We’re getting it!”
Nadine put her hands on Jocelyn’s shoulders and they walked to the door. Jocelyn in front, and Nadine pushing her from behind.
The doorbell rang again.
Nadine opened the door and gasped.
How had Paul Summers managed to get this woman? She was absolutely stunning, and wearing all white. Not a cream white - but a pure stark white. Her hair - red, and stick straight sitting right on her shoulders as if it had just been trimmed. Nadine was sure to like that.
“Hi, you must be Jocelyn,” she said in a warm voice while motioning to Jocelyn with her perfectly manicured fingers.
Most of the time people would confuse the two girls if they had not perviously met, but Cecile had gotten it right on the nose.
“Yeah,” Jocelyn said through a big smile.
I know that appearances aren’t supposed to be good judges of things, but you know those people who you just know are good? Like Lily to Jocelyn and Jocelyn to Nadine. Cecile was one of them.
Cecile smiled back at Jocelyn. Nadine saw that Jocelyn was stunned and saved her from an awkward moment by allowing Cecile inside, “Here, I can take your purse,” Nadine offered.
“Oh, that’s okay dear, I have to get out a few pictures that I brought to show Jocelyn.”
Jocelyn smiled even bigger. There was something ever so maternal and warm about Cecile. Apparently she’d never had children, and had never been married. And come to think of it - hadn’t her father said that Cecile was two years older than him? Goodness. He was 51. That means that...
Cecile was 53 and perfect. What a dream. She looked like she couldn’t be a day over 40, but at the same time it didn’t look like she’d had any work done.
Dinner was about to be served when the doorbell rang yet again. Jocelyn looked up from the childhood pictures that Cecile had been showing her. She raised her left eyebrow and her father excused himself from the table to get the door.
Cecile had tainted her perfect streak.
How could her father not have told Jocelyn about this? Cecile and himself had invited no other than Sharon Reynolds over to Thanksgiving dinner.
She waved at Jocelyn, and a look of embarrassment flew over Jocelyn’s face. How could someone who had been so important and good from Jocelyn’s past disrupt the present so much? Someone who had been the maternal figure was now interrupting a new and happy family, and the most shocking part of all...
... Cecile smiled at Sharon, “Hi Sharon! I’ve heard so much about you!” Jocelyn’s eyebrow was still raised.
Sharon hid the distaste and horror from her face with the same false smile that Nadine often used, “Cecile! It was so very nice of you to invite me!”
The water which had previously been in Jocelyn’s mouth now all over her napkin. The most perfect addition to their little pathetic family is what ruined it. No! How could this be? Nadine looked to her. They weren’t sitting together.
Since they met, they were always sitting next to each other, but because Jocelyn had been so interested and in love with the idea of having Cecile as her step-mother, Nadine had figured that sitting apart just this once would be of no problem. But she had figured wrong.
Nadine wanted so badly to put her hand on Jocelyn’s knee to comfort her inconspicuously and pull the anger and confusion from her body, just as Jocelyn had always combed Nadine’s hair. It was the same type of gesture.
Jocelyn bit her tongue as she smiled at the woman who had given birth to her, and looked down at her plate in disgust. “Damnit,” was all she could think. Over, and over, and over again.
Nadine’s heart was hurting. Not in a physical way. She didn’t have heart problems or anything, but she wanted to help Jocelyn so badly. She could see her best friend on the verge of tears, but couldn’t do anything to stop it.
The one night that was supposed to be perfect and wonderful, now shattered into a million pieces, and the girls’ hearts with it.
Nadine couldn’t bring herself to tell Jocelyn the news. Jocelyn had always been there and would have beat up any kid (or at least tried to beat up) that wasn’t completely excellent to Nadine. But Nadine wasn’t like that. She would definitely defend Jocelyn, but she wasn’t sure what to do in this situation because it concerned her best friend and another friend.
Sure. It may seem like it isn’t a hard choice. Obviously, you would pick the best friend... right? Well it isn’t that simple. You want to pick the best friend because they have always been there for you and you love them more than anything. But then again, if you do one wrong thing to this new friend of yours, then it could ruin your relationship. And your best friend will always be there. Always. But should that give you the excuse to choose someone over them?
There isn’t an answer. So Nadine just tried to keep the entire situation from her mind for the next few days. The party was in three weeks, and she had plenty of time to tell Jocelyn the bad news, or try to convince Andrea to let them both go.
Now... from my perspective, I personally think that Andrea should’ve had no problem inviting both of the girls in the first place. But I think that Andrea was the jealous type, and wanted all of the attention to be on her at her party... which I guess is understandable, but it still wrong.
Sunday passed, and Nadine saw Jocelyn at school on Monday morning. Nadine had gathered the courage to talk to Jocelyn about it, but as soon as Jocelyn saw Nadine, the first thing that she said was, “I didn’t get my invitation yet.”
Nadine acted surprised and suggested, “Maybe it got lost in the mail?”
Jocelyn considered it for a moment and then said, “Maybe,” she stopped for a second and then continued in a resolving tone, “I’ll just ask Andrea for a new one.”
“You’re not invited,” Nadine just blurted it out. And it wasn’t in the right words. Nadine had made it seem like she was the fact that Jocelyn wasn’t invited to the party. And that was exactly what she hadn’t wanted to do.
“What?” Jocelyn asked immediately in a very confused and high pitched squeak of a voice.
“Andrea told me last night that she didn’t invite you,” Nadine said apologetically.
Jocelyn’s small lips started to quiver. She tried holding it back, but the tears just came out.
“Oh, Joss,” Nadine spoke, trying to comfort her.
Jocelyn asked in a shaky voice that was trying to suppress more tears, “But... why?”
Nadine had been dreading this question... because she didn’t know the answer. And during the phone call when Andrea had broken the news about Jocelyn’s missing invitation, she hadn’t asked or even stood up for Jocelyn. She wished so much that she would have said something in defense... but she hadn’t. And no matter how hard she tried, Nadine Hart could not change the past.
Nadine answered, “I don’t know.”
The day went on, and Jocelyn kept her head down. She didn’t know whether to be furious at Nadine, Andrea, or both! So she was just silent. The only time when she whispered a single word the entire day was in English when the teacher picked her from the students to answer a question in front of the class.
It pained Nadine to see Jocelyn like this. And when lunch time came around, Jocelyn went straight to their stall in the bathroom, and waited ten minutes before Nadine to appeared. In those ten minutes, Nadine had met Andrea Smith at her locker, and confronted her.
“Hey Nad!” Andrea said as soon as she saw her.
Nad was Jocelyn’s name for her. And it seemed like Andrea was trying to replace Joss when she called her by that name.
“Don’t call me that,” Nadine spoke under her breath.
Andrea heard her, “Oh, alright.”
Andrea could now tell that something was up.
“Andrea, I can’t come to your party. Sorry.”
“Why?” Andrea asked, confusedly.
“I have plans with my one and only best friend,” Nadine informed sassily, “You know, Jocelyn Summers. We’re seeing a movie.”
Andrea was shocked. Nadine was picking a movie over her party? Andrea was angry now, and argued, “I guess if you want, she can come to the party.”
Nadine smiled a smile that was different than her normal breathtaking one. This smile was fake. And both Nadine and Andrea knew this. Nadine finished their discussion by adding, “Naw, it’s okay. I’m sure she’d rather see the movie.”
Over time people’s tastes change. We all have pictures of us during youth when we are wearing absolutely awful outfits. Some of us were picky about food, but learned to love the dishes that at one time made us cringe. The same thing happens with relationships. People who one might not have been so fond of might merge closer and closer to you, and your relationship could change from a negative one to a friendship. This sure happened with Andrea Smith and the girls.
Everyone always invited Andrea to eat lunch with them. But she was normally picky about who she chose to sit with. However, Nadine and Jocelyn never invited anyone to eat lunch with them. But this doesn’t quite mean that they walked to classes alone.
The girls didn’t have every class together, but mostly their schedules overlapped or the classrooms were near each other. The same went for Andrea Smith.
So when school started the Monday morning after their meeting with the superintendent, the girls were a bit more friendly. After the car ride home and the bond that Nadine had made with Andrea, Jocelyn too opened up to her.
No, she definitely wasn’t as close with the girls as they were to each other, but it was nice to be on her good side. That was something that everyone wanted. And never in a million years had the girls ever guessed that this would happen. Ever. The first month of school went by quickly just as it always does. Teachers were extra nice for that short period of time, and freshmen got lost in the hallways. October was upon them, and the leaves began to turn golden.
When they took romantic walks with boys, their world was surrounded by reds, yellows, oranges, and golds. But there was something ever so comforting about the crunching under their feet.
After coming home from a short walk on a Saturday in October, the girls saw the mail man driving away. Nadine checked her mail box. There was an invitation to a party. But not just any party. Andrea Smith’s birthday party.
The girls were some of the youngest in their grade. Jocelyn’s birthday was in May, and Nadine’s was in July. But Andrea was on the older side. Neither of the girls could remember ever being invited to one of Andrea’s parties. They had gone to school with her ever since middle school, but they had just never been invited before. Which had been a shame, because Andrea always had the parties that people talked about for weeks.
When Andrea had turned thirteen, she’d had a birthday party at a spa, and invited all of the girls in her classes, including Nadine and Jocelyn. But the party had been the weekend after Nadine got suspended for pulling a boy’s chair out from under him; so she was not allowed to go. And there was no way that Jocelyn would have gone without Nadine... even though Nadine tried to convince her to go just to be able to get the inside scoop on it.
After that one party that the girls had not attended, they were no longer invited to Andrea’s birthday parties. But in my opinion, they were only invited to this one because of the friendship that they had started with Andrea and because it was Andrea’s sweet sixteen party. And something tells me that the more presents Andrea got, the happier she’d be.
The girls opened Nadine’s invitation and were very excited to go. Nadine immediately called Andrea. She picked up after the second ring.
“Hello?” answered Andrea.
“Hi! It’s Nadine.”
“Oh, hi!” Andrea spoke happily.
“Hi! I was just wondering what Joss and I should wear to your party,” she asked nicely.
There was a bit of an awkward pause, and then Andrea answered, “Uh, you don’t need to be too fancy. Like comfortable, but you can wear a dress.”
“Ok!” Nadine replied excitedly.
“Do you want me to text you a picture of what I’m wearing?” Andrea asked, trying to be helpful.
“Sure! That’d be great.”
Andrea said, “Alright, see you on Friday!”
“Bye!” Nadine said, and then hung up the phone.
Jocelyn made a strange face and then said, “Nad, that was kinda awk.”
“I know, right?” Nadine replied.
Jocelyn went home, and Nadine gathered the courage to call Andrea back.
At first, she didn’t answer. So Nadine called again. Still no answer. So Nadine decided to leave a voicemail. As soon as she started talking, Nadine got a call from Andrea. She answered.
“Hi,” Nadine answered.
“Hey!” Andrea said, “Sorry for not picking up. I just got out of the shower.”
“It’s alright,” Nadine was going to continue and ask why it was so awkward earlier, but Andrea started speaking before Nadine got the chance.
“Hey, so I need to talk to you about something,” Andrea said in a serious tone.
“Sure,” Nadine replied; not sure as to what Andrea would say.
There was a short pause, and then Andrea continued on, “Alright, well I’m just gonna say it. I think that there has been a misunderstanding,” Andrea stopped talking for a moment to see if Nadine would say anything, but she didn’t, so Andrea went on, “Jocelyn isn’t invited to the party.”
Many people enjoy sitting far too much. Television these days is loaded with commercial advertising on ways to lose weight. And teenagers sit more than many other ages. Teens sit at school, when on the computer, at the television, when playing video games, and in cars.
The girls were sitting accompanied by Andrea Smith who was glaring at her studded black flats. The office was quiet besides the roaring of the air conditioner which was on full blast. Nadine, who could break the awkwardness of any situation, decided to break the silence.
“So...” she said in an awkward but comfortable voice, “It sure is chilly in here!”
Jocelyn laughed quietly. She had only ever seen Nadine do things like this when it was just the two of them. And if there was one thing that Jocelyn knew to be annoying about this was that Nadine didn’t give up until she got a response from the person whom she was annoying. And Jocelyn was glad that for once that person wasn’t her... but Andrea Smith.
Nadine continued to annoy Andrea, “So, Andy, where did you get your shoes from?”
Andrea hated being called Andy, but still remained quiet.
Nadine continued on, “I only ask because you seem pretty interested in them... you know. Being that you’ve been staring at them for the past ten minutes.”
Jocelyn laughed even harder than before and failed to conceal it, so she decided to add a stupid addition to Nadine’s annoyances, “Are you counting the studs or something?”
Nadine burst out laughing. It wasn’t at the dumb remark but at the fact that Jocelyn knowingly contributed to such idiocy that had annoyed her for years.
Jocelyn started laughing too, and then Andrea had had it. She started screaming and swearing at them in the superintendent’s office who was late to meet with them. She waved her hands when she talked - and was getting very into it - and waved her arms a little bit too far. A frame which held a picture on the wall came crashing down.
Andrea leaped from her chair to save it, but instead, accidentally pushed the chair on top of the fallen picture and landed on top of it. Glass shattered onto the floor and the picture of the happy family inside was ripped and creased.
A woman who had been working in the neighboring office opened the door and didn’t say anything for a moment and then harshly stated, “You’d better have a pretty damn good explanation for this.”
No one said anything and then the woman asked, “Who did this? Was it you?” she asked pointing to Jocelyn who obviously hadn’t done it since she was farthest from the mess.
Nadine looked to Jocelyn who was pointing at Andrea and Nadine decided to point at her too.
The woman was angry and told the girls that the superintendent was sick and would not be coming in to work today.
“So can we go?” asked Nadine.
The woman nodded.
Nadine was the first out the door and Jocelyn followed. They were both holding back huge smiles. Andrea followed them out but the woman stopped her.
“You will be coming back in tomorrow to explain to the superintendent how this happened.”
The woman wrote the time to come in on the back of a business card and let Andrea go.
The girls laughed all the way to the parking lot and then realized that Andrea’s parents weren’t there yet.
Jocelyn got into Mr. Hart’s car and left the door open for Nadine. But Nadine just stood on the sidewalk looking at Andrea.
“Nad, you coming?” Jocelyn asked.
“Gimme a sec,” Nadine said.
Nadine walked over to where Andrea was standing and asked, “Are your parents almost here?”
“I’m not sure,” Andrea answered.
Nadine pressed for more information, “Well how long do you think it will take for them to get here?”
Andrea was looking at the studs on her shoes again.
Nadine sensed that something was wrong and asked if Andrea needed to talk.
Andrea Smith nodded her head and then spoke, “My parents are at work.”
“Oh,” replied Nadine, “So who is picking you up?”
Andrea’s lip quivered as she was about to cry.
“Nadine sensed that she wasn’t going to get a straight answer from Andrea without some tears, so just asked in her sweet little voice, “Do you need a ride?”
Andrea nodded again.
“Common, we’ll drive you home,” Nadine comforted.
Jocelyn was texting on her phone in the car when the door opened and Nadine motioned for her to scoot over. Nadine sat in the middle with Jocelyn to her left and Andrea Smith to her right. The car was silent until Mr. Hart asked what the address of Andrea’s home was. And then more silence until they arrived outside of an average looking house.
Andrea opened the car door and got out. Nadine got out too and walked her to the door. It was completely out of the ordinary for Nadine to be so friendly. She was always quiet and liked to keep to herself. Andrea opened the door with her key and Nadine said goodbye but was interrupted by Andrea giving her a huge bear hug. Andrea was at least a head taller than Nadine so they looked kind of funny hugging like that.
Nadine broke it off and then asked, “What was that for?” in a friendly voice.
Andrea smiled and answered, “For not letting me walk all the way home.”
Nadine said goodbye and then got back into the car to explain everything to Jocelyn. The car started and they were on their way home. Doing what every teenager loves to do... being in a car - sitting.
Summer ended just as it always does. The last few days of summer had been stretched out so long and when they finally ended, the girls had no idea where they had gone... but that always seems to happen - doesn’t it?
Time was against them. It was the morning of the first day of school, and for the first time in both of their lives, neither of them had laid out their clothes the night in advance. Or gotten up extra early to curl their hair to perfection. No, neither Jocelyn nor Nadine cared about school anymore. Because when no one seems to care about you, well... you tend to share the same feelings for them.
They car pooled. Paul Summers drove the car, and dropped them off in the front of the school to the right of the parking lot. The past summer had been one to remember. So much drama had occurred that it was just one that you didn’t mess with. A summer that’s memories would be next to impossible to tamper with. Because at this time in the girls’ life, all of the drama... it was real.
Real? You can go ahead and ask what I mean. I’ll tell you. Real in the fact that they weren’t the cause of it, and that they weren’t just sitting around and waiting for the drama to happen. It happened naturally. It really happened.
As they entered the halls of the school which they’d had such high hopes for in the past, there was a certain sort of deja vu.
The year before, when they had entered, the girls had expected all eyes to be on them. Or at least a few... but on that day, people were only watching them because Nadine had accidentally gotten toilet paper stuck to her shoe and at the time had no idea of its presence.
But this day was different. It had been a whole year since that incident, and the girls were completely different people... for the better and for the worse.
Nadine was more open with the world, because she found that when she was open with them, they accepted her more... and Nadine Hart had secretly always longed to be accepted into the society that she so sparsely understood.
Jocelyn had gone from being the bubbly girl who you chatted with during math class to a quiet and depressed human being who was stared at and gossiped about for the one outburst that she had performed when she cracked over her parents’ divorce.
But there was one thing that changed... for the complete better.
Both Jocelyn Summers and Nadine Hart were still best friends in a way that no one else in the world could understand. They were each other’s air that flew through their lungs, the blood in their veins, and there was an engraving on each of their hearts that was a contract in pure agreement over the fact that they will be friends forever, and that neither could live without the other. Because when you take one away, it is like taking away one of their kidneys and leaving them with an injured one.
They can survive for a while, but will soon collapse and die.
That is something that you can’t change.
And if you don’t have a friendship like the one that Joss and Nad did, then I don’t think that there is any way that you can understand what I am talking about here. Because it is something that sympathy cannot be shown for. Only empathetic feelings can be excepted for it.
But on a lighter note, when the girls entered the school, all eyes were again on them. Only this time, they all knew why.
Jocelyn Summers and Nadine Hart had started something that doesn’t happen in just any high school...
Joss and Nad had taken down the queen... or the tyrant in this case. And they had done it in public over Facebook. Everyone had seen the picture of Andrea Smith. In fact, the photo had gotten over a hundred and fifty likes on Facebook... not to mention the comments.
I guess you could say that people were quite delighted over the fact that that certain someone who they had always secretly hated had been taken down by someone just like them. A real person. Or people I guess you could say. Because despite the fact that combined, the girls make the perfect person, they are still different people. And this is why when they entered their school on that dreaded Monday morning, everyone cheered. Everyone.
The girls were so happy that they had gained the support of all of their classmates. They were finally accepted. Finally.
And then someone yelled, “Luke! I heard what happened to you!”
Another shouted, “Was it exciting?”
And, “How did you meet her?”
Yes, the crowd hadn’t been cheering about the drama that Nadine and Jocelyn had created the week prior. No, they were more excited over the fact that Luke Stone had been cast in the new Katy Perry video.
No one cared. No one clapped. Or at least not for the girls. Their drama was old news... of course not to Andrea.
Andrea Smith had been threatening them for the past week to take down the picture, and hadn’t succeeded. It was obvious to her and to everyone else that she wasn’t winning this battle, but that didn’t mean that she was going to go down without a fight.
And when Andrea decided that she was going to start a war, she doesn’t get the army, she gets the marines. All of them. Or in this case, Andrea Smith didn’t go to the “popular” girls, the teachers or the principal. No. Andrea Smith went to the district superintendent.
And boy, was he mad. The thing is, he wasn’t mad at Nadine and Jocelyn. He was mad at Andrea. But not exactly for the reasons you would think...
Many days passed. Weeks even. Nadine and Jocelyn were both upset over what had happened, and relieved, because if they were going to cry, then they would get to cry together.
With the huge mess that Luke Stone had created in mid-summer, it was easy to forget how precious summer was. And for Jocelyn Summers and Nadine Hart, summer would end soon and school would start back up again.
The girls had gone to the mall for back to school shopping, and they were in a dressing room when they heard a girl in the dressing room neighboring theirs talking on her phone and mentioning Nadine’s name.
Due to the fact that Jocelyn and Nadine had known each other since they were in pre-school, there was no awkwardness in sharing a dressing room. Jocelyn was slipping her shirt back on, and Nadine was looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Two minutes prior, they had been discussing how Nadine’s shirt looked on her.
“Does this make me look fat?” asked Nadine.
Jocelyn looked up from her cell phone, “You know what I’m going to say”.
Nadine smiled and mimicked Jocelyn, “You aren’t fat! You’re skinny!”
Jocelyn thought about ignoring her, but instead, decided to back up the fact that Nadine was skinny, “Nad, you’re only like a hundred pounds. You are skinny. And don’t you dare tell yourself that you aren’t.”
“But I’m short. So that hundred pounds doesn’t even mean anything,” whined Nadine.
Now Jocelyn was ignoring her. This was at the point where a girl walked into the dressing room next to theirs while gabbing on her cell phone for the everyone to hear. Obviously, she didn’t know that Nadine and Jocelyn were here... because well... as teenagers say, she was talking “shit” about them.
“I know right! I mean who dates a pothead?!” exclaims the girl, “Well that was only once. I didn’t even like it,” she said in response to the person on the other line.
Jocelyn was a nosy person, and naturally just listened to everyone’s conversations. Even if she didn’t know them... and at this point, Jocelyn didn’t yet know that the girl in the dressing room next to hers’ was talking about none other than her best friend.
The girl went on, “But you know what bothers me even more? He dated her! I mean, how did she even get with him? Luke is so much better than her. Way out of her league,” the girl laughed at what the person on the other end had said to her in reply.
Now Jocelyn had figured out who it was next to them. It was Andrea Smith.
Andrea Smith was that mean girl. Like the one that you see in the movies. Except in the movies, the mean girl always loses in the end. Either she gets punch spilled on her dress at prom, loses the guy, or gets caught by a teacher. But Andrea just didn’t get caught. It just wasn’t in her nature. She got away with everything, and teachers loved her. They just loved her...
As you probably know from earlier on, when Jocelyn gets angry, she speaks her mind. Jocelyn’s opinions don’t go unnoticed. For an example when she cracked in the middle of her science class and then stormed out of the classroom. Jocelyn was not afraid of a dramatic outburst.
Nadine, however, was completely unaware of what was going on and what was about to happen, because she was too busy looking at her stomach, which was perfect... she just didn’t know it.
Nadine whispered to Jocelyn, “God, that chick is annoying,” and Jocelyn nodded in return... there was no point in explaining. Nadine would see everything in a matter of minutes.
Jocelyn didn’t want to freak out on Andrea. It wasn’t that she was shy or anything... in fact, Jocelyn didn’t really care what people thought of her as long as whatever they were saying was true. But she did care about what was said of Nadine. And even if it was true, Jocelyn still freaked out just as much each and every time.
So Jocelyn told herself that as long as she didn’t hear Andrea say anything else, she would remain quiet. Jocelyn sipped her punch flavored Slurpee to try and calm her down. It was working.
“Nad, are you ready to go?” Jocelyn whispered.
“Yeah, just give me a second,” Nadine replied.
Jocelyn just wanted to get away from there, so told Nadine that she would meet her outside. But as Jocelyn was walking out of the dressing room, she heard Andrea say one last thing, “I know! She’s such a freak. She’s probably the reason why her parents got divorced,” then Andrea laughed at what the person on the other line said, and said, “Yeah! I’ve always thought that Jocelyn’s dad was hot. Maybe she’s adopted or something... I mean she definitely didn’t get any of his genes!”
Jocelyn told herself to just continue walking out. But her body took control of her, and she stormed back into the dressing room. It was the kind where the doors didn’t lock, and you could just open them by pushing.
Jocelyn pushed on the door just as Nadine was exiting the room that they had been in.
“Joss, wrong door,” Nadine said completely unaware of what was going on.
The door opened, and Jocelyn threw the first thing that she could think of at Andrea.
Andrea Smith was now wearing a beautiful white dress with a huge red stain in the crotch area. Jocelyn Summers had thrown her punch flavored Slurpee at her.
Andrea hung up the phone, and didn’t say anything, because she was still processing what had just happened.
Andrea was about to say something when Jocelyn cut her off and said, “Ooh, I think the store policy says ‘You stain it, you buy it’. And yes, that does apply to the new Marc Jacobs dress.”
Nadine smiled, and Jocelyn went on, “I actually like the cut on you. The big hole in the back is really flattering. Too bad your other hole kind of messed it up...”
Andrea had never been beaten before. Never. And it was such a surprise that the two people that she thought she had such ultimate power over were the ones who had embarrassed her the most.
“Nad, stop looking at your phone, you’re ruining the moment,” Jocelyn nudged.
Nadine smiled from Andrea to Jocelyn before saying, “Actually, I’m savoring the moment. Forever,” and a flash went off from Nadine’s cell phone. She had taken a picture of Andrea Smith.
Andrea pulled herself together and tried to sound smart by saying, “You do know that you are going to have to pay for this, right?”
Jocelyn smiled, “Oh sweetie, I’m definitely not paying for this. You are. There’s no way that you can prove what I did... I mean seriously. We’re in a dressing room. No cameras here. I guess this time you just lost... and frankly, you lost pretty bad,” she paused for a moment and then spoke in a sweet voice, “I think it’s time to go now, Nad.”
“Just a moment Joss,” and Nadine turned to Andrea before leaving, “Here, I feel bad about what happened. Take this,” Nadine left a tampon on the little bench of the dressing room and led Jocelyn out of the store.
They were still walking through the mall when Nadine tapped Jocelyn on the shoulder.
“Yeah?” Jocelyn responded.
Nadine looked embarrassed, “Well... it’s just. Um, why exactly did we do that?”
“Oh god, I love you Nad.”
Just a girl...