Away With The Fairies

When Gaby's mom dies, her world changes. She starts new things and makes a new friend, the strangest she has ever met, with the strangest family imaginable....

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1. Gone

Chapter One

My mom is a fusser. She always has been- always will be. She fusses around the house non-stop and fusses over me non-stop. Every time I go over to my friends she fixes my collar and smoothes my hair beofre bustling off to clean some more, pulling on her rubber gloves and making sure our house is a germ-free zone.

I never liked having friends over. My mother embarrassed me, I wanted to get away from all the cleaning, wiping feet, washing hands. I wanted to go to Ali's house or maybe Paul's, where everything is scattered about, our messily folded, and there aren't baby wipes and sanitizer everywhere. Whenever Ali came she laughed even though she was used to it. But it wasn't an unkind laugh, it was a nice one, and she always went over to the sink and touched my mom's back gently and said, "I think they are clean, Mrs Hawkins."

I don't think I realised how much she meant to me until she was gone.

One day, I came in from the pouring rain, carefully wiping my feet and taking off my soaked shoes. I pulled down my hood and called, "hey Mom, don't have a heart attack, I'm a bit wet but I'll clean it up."

But no reply came. The car was in the drive, so I figured she must be detatched from the sink she was always bent over.

I continued past the kitchen into the sitting room. My dad was sitting with Josie and an officer, looking very solemn. My stomach squirmed nervously. Had I done something? "Officer," I nodded respectfully before sitting down by Josie. She rested her head on my shoulder, which she never does. She always stays well away from all of us.

"Where's Mom?" I asked, "if she was here, she would have given the officer some gingerbread biscuits and lemonade. Or fruit cake." I laughed, but they didn't laugh with me.

"Gaby," said Dad, leaning towards me, "your mother, she's... had an accident."

Silence followed as this sunk in. I looked around, wide-eyed and feeling numb. "Wh-What kind of accident?"

Now the Officer took over. "Your mom was in a car crash, and we have people over there now... The car collided with her and she broke her spine and injured her head and... well she's dead, Gaby." He looked me straight in the eye, "I'm very sorry."

I looked from the Officer back to Dad, frowning slightly. I felt nothing inside- no pain or fear or worry. I just felt my heart turn to stone. Without a word, I got up and walked to my room, where people were calling and texting me with their condolences. Ali was sobbing her eyes out when I answered, so I chose not to answer anymore.

For days I stayed up in my room, writing this, scrunching up my eyes in thought. I thought about what we were going to do now that Mom was gone, and I thought about Dad and Josie and how sad they must have been. But I never went down to check on them, I just stayed in my room, my stomach growling with hunger. Josie slid trays in my door, as it wasn't locked, with a roll and a yoghurt. But the food slowly ran out, and I didn't think they would go out to get food.

Our house became an empty, hollow building with no noise in it, other than the occassional mutter between Josie and Dad, or the sound of a sniff.

One day my friends came with bags full of groceries. Her, Paul, Ali's parents and Paul's mom gathered at my front door. Dad answered, forcing a smile, but told them I wouldn't want company. I peered down at their heads, their sad faces. Ali looked up at my window and waved and looked sympathetic, but I just flopped back on to my bed.

After seven consecutive days of lying on my bed and staring at the walls, I peeled off the covers of my duvet and jumped out of bed. I had a new sense to me, a brightness. I'd had a dream, where Mom talked to me. She told me what to do, and said she was fine. She also said to have a shower and go for a jog, so I did. Even though it was just a dream, I felt obliged to listen to her.

I let the hot water wash over me, scrubbed my hair and body, and got changed into shorts and a t-shirt. I ate some Fruit Loops that Ali had brought, and tied my laces securely. Dad and Josie were still in bed, and everyone was in school, so I had the park to myself.

I jogged and jogged and jogged around the park, about fifty times I'd say. Then I sat at a bench and bought an ice cream with a dollar bill I found on the ground.

This became a routine. I would shower each day, but not always wash my hair, have breakfast, tie my laces and go out for a jog. I always found a dollar bill somewhere, and always bought an ice cream. The grass started out as pristine green, but as Summer faded, it got mucky and mud splattered on my legs.

I had another dream in October. Mom was at the park, licking an ice-cream with me. Her blonde hair was perfect, not a hair out of place, and she was wearing her favourite pink sweater and three-quarter-length white pants. She told me to go back to school, have fun, start a few extra-cirricular activies.

I had thoroughly enjoyed running each day, and the ice-cream man had started to recognise me. It was nice, and all Mom's idea. So I washed and ironed my school uniform and got Josie's old books from Junior year and started the semester late. Dad has already put me down, so I had a place in the class. And I'd heard Dad tell the princinpal to give me more time, so I walked in there confidently, smiled at all the 'sorrys', and took up acting.

After my first Monday back, I headed straight to the auditorium and dropped my back just below the stage, in front of the front seats. Maggie, the drama and geography teacher (Ms Hepburn as a teacher, Maggie as a fellow actress). She always wore loose clothing and smelt of flowers. She had bleached blonde hair that didn't match her wrinkles and was very tall, still able to leap gracefully about the stage.

"Hi, Gaby, hon," said Maggie, beaming at me as though we were best friends. I grinned back and rolled up my sleeves, looking around at the other performers staring dully back at me.

We did an acting game/improv thing where you had to pick a partner and do a scene on something Maggie would randomly shout out. I went with Felipe, who's piercings glinted in the light and made you stare at his lips, nose and ears. When she shouted out bird to us, I yelled, "look, it's a creature, with wings that can fly!"

"He's soaring like an angel," said Felipe, "can you?" And he lifted me over his head, holding me up with his muscly arms. I extended my arms and pretended to fly, "why it's a pigeon, a common measly pigeon. Why should he fly, and not me?"

That was followed by Maggie clapping enthusiastically, "brilliant, brilliant. You have a knack for acting, Gabrielle. Well done."

Felipe shook my hand, shook my hand, before striding all masculinely out before we had even finished, flinging his tattered grey bag over his shoulder.

"Stay, Felipe," yelled Maggie, "you and Gabrielle work great together."

But he just shook his head and continued out. Maggie frowned after him, "strange child..." Then she shrugged, "ah well. Now. Show me what you have rehearsed for our mini play." I was handed a script with a few highlighted green lines. I was, haha, a bird, the one that tells the queen to buy the apples, poisin apples. Some added on scene from snow white, just like the bit in our production where Snow White neck chops the queen and stuffs the apple down her throat as she gloats over her pretend dead body. Denise, who plays Snow White, is an amazing actress, and an energetic one too. As we waited backstage she told me she ran 8 miles every day and 10 on weekends, drank loads of water and barely ever ate sugary foods. She devoted her life to performing arts, something I could never do with any sport or hobby.

"I heard about your mom," she told me as we walked out of the auditorium, "sorry."

"Thanks, but I'm okay," I shrugged.

"Where do you live?"

"61 Oak Street," I replied, bending down to tie my shoe lace.

"I live 74, I'll walk with you."

"Great." I smiled, glad of the company, "yeah, I've seen you before but I always thought you were visiting yout gran."

"I live with me gran," said Denise. She got suddenly quiet, "my mom and dad, they, they aren't really able to look after me."

I got the picture. Neglectful. Abusive. Junkies. "I'm so sorry."

She shrugged just like I had, and suddenly I felt this connection with her. I squeezed her arm empathetically, and she smiled back. "Thanks, but I'm okay."

Two

I continued acting for weeks, and steadily Alice and Paul and I grew apart, while Denise and I got closer. We went running every day, chatting like old friends. I went over to her house all the time, where everything was chillaxed, her gran ironing clothes or sitting in front of the tv watching talk shows.

Denise's room was huge, a large, L shape with a queen sized bed and loads of posters plastered over the walls of actors and flowers and Tourist Attractions and framed photos of her and two young and beaming people. The woman had red hair like Denise, and the man had her big, owl eyes. Her parents. As soon as we walked in the door she turned on a rap tape and rolled out a yoga mat, doing some weird stretches and bends. I just stood there, watching her. She rolled the mat up soon after and stored it above her bed. "So Gaby," she said, "any gossip?"

"None," I replied, "you?"

"I visited my parents at the weekend," she said, looking down at her duvet. "They're getting better."

"Really?" I smiled, feeling happy for her, "that's great."

"Yeah, it is." She lifted her head and said, "can I do your hair? Pleeeeease?"

"Sure." I headed over to her mirror and sat down in the comfy seat. Denise put little waves in my hair before scraping it into a beautiful bun on the top of my head, letting a few strands fall on either side of my face and making them extra twisty. Without a word, she got out her make-up and powdered my face, lined my lips, did my eyes, and soon I looked like some kind of princess, a smiling princess with a little fairy friend, her hair still in a ponytail but looking cute as anything.

"That's amazing," I breathed, "Denise! You have a talent for this! And running and acting, of course."

She just laughed. "Put on this dress and wait for me to get ready... We are going to a party."

"What?-" I began, but she was delving into her closet to pick a perfect dress. When she had found it, she dropped it on the bed and darted out of the room. I walked over to it, admiring the sequins on the silvery material. I picked it up delicately. It was very short, it would reach my mid-thigh. I hated short dresses. "Denise! This is too short."

"It isn't. Just come on!"

I grabbed a white tank top from her drawer and slid into it, feeling as though I was wearing only a few pieces of thread. It really was quite pretty, however, with a purpleish tinge and little rosebuds stitched just below my chest.

When Denise came in, a towel wrapped around her slim body, she crumpled up her face. "Yeah, I thought so," she muttered to herself. She bustled over to me. "You will look much better with your hair down, with a plait along the front of your head," she told me.

"But I love my hair like this!" I touched my do protectively.

She cocked her head to the side. "Alriiiight, but wear this over it." She passed me a black, short jacket and dashed out of the room again.

I text my dad: Going to a party, wont be back tonight- staying at denises. Love you xx

Denise emerged from the bathroom soon after, looking gorgeous with her hair down and flowing and wearing a short dress shaped alot like mine. Instead of gathering up her phone and some money, she told me to sit on the bed and took a deep breath. "Can you keep secrets?" she asked.

"Of course," I replied earnestly, because I was the best secret-keeper I knew.

"Like, serious, serious secrets," she said darkly, "I'm not exaggerating when I say that if anyone finds out, I'll die."

My stomach squirmed anxiously. "Why are you telling me then?"

"Because." Her eyes darted around the room, "I need your help."

"Go on." My palms were all sweaty and I was tempted to block my ears so I couldn't hear a secret this serious.

"Come with me."

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