Beep beep. Beep-beep. Beep-beep!!
I'm going to kill Zack! "Okay!" I slammed my hand down on the snooze button and sat up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes I looked out the window and saw the pale grey sky and sighed.
You make me feel like I'm living a teenage dream, when you turn me on. I can't sleep let's r-'
"Zack why on earth would you put that song as your ringtone?"
He didn't say anything then cursed, "I'm so sorry Jenna I didn't think about that I-"
"Well you wanna open the window?" Glancing out the window I saw Zack, smirking I lifted the thing and he grinned, "Hey birthday girl."
My smile fell and I walked to my closet, "Don't remind me."
"Come on Jenna it's your eighteenth birthday it's your time. You're free, it's your senior year, in two months you're gonna graduate and be out of this house. And on your own against the world, but for right now it's your time come on Jenna." He begged and my eyes flickered to his, his hair was long just below his eyebrows and his boyish features were gone all that was left was this perfect Zack smart and caring. Over the three years since Emma's been gone he's taken the responsibility of taking care of me.
"I'm sorry you know how hard it is on our birthday."
He sighed, "I know it's okay Jenna I'm sorry, but hey I have a surprise for you."
"I don't like surprises you know that."
He laughed, "Well too bad because this is already paid for and I'm not taking no for an answer."
He tickled my sides and I giggled, he reached for my iPod and pressed play Ever enough came on and slowly we began to sway from side to side. I laughed and he twirled me around and dipped me, he pretended to drop me and I burst out laughing and the door opened. Zack was still leaning over me and I was still upside down when Cory walked through the door, "What are you guys doing?"
We both smiled and he snickered, lifting me back up Zack scratched his neck, "Cory me and your sister were just preforming a birthday ritual where I go total Edward and Bella on her, I'm going to make her a vampire."
They both snickered and I rolled my eyes, "I watch the twilight movies because Andi has no other friends."
"No you're her best friend and she loves you the most out of all of her friends." Zack smiled.
"Whatever Cory do you have cologne on?" I asked and he blushed, Cory was now thirteen and in the eighth grade. He was young when Emma left so he didn't really have a hard time with the memories of Emma, but I could still tell he wished he could have done something back then.
"Maybe..." He smiled and Zack ruffled his hair.
"Aww little Cory has a crush and is trying to impress her." He laughed but I punched his shoulder.
"Shut up, what's her name?"
He hesitated, "Hanna."
"That's a cute name, but Cory girls don't like a guy who reeks of Axe. Ask Zack that's why he never gets laid."
Zack gasped, "Hey I get laid, I get laid all the time. You just don't remember."
Cory laughed and walked back to the door, "Well I gotta go get dress, I'll see you guys at the car in twenty."
We nodded and he walked out, "Now Zack sit down and be quiet I need to get ready."
He nodded and I went to my drawer pulling out a black off the shoulder sweatshirt, a pair of black tights, and my converse. Black was my new color, once I was changed I put my straight but wavy hair in a messy bun and added some eyeliner, grey eye shadow, and mascara.
"Don't forget that strawberry gloss I love." Zack winked and I rolled my eyes but put on the gloss, he grabbed my jean jacket and my old wore out bag and we strolled out the door.
"Cory come on let's go!" I shouted and he was beside me in seconds, I came to the hall of the door and looked into the living room, "You guys go to the car I'll be there in a second."
They nodded and I looked back at my mother who was passed out drunk on the couch, vodka, Ciroc, and Hennessey surrounded her. An ashtray sits on the coffee table with the cigarette still lit, I sighed and put out the cigarette and brought all the empty bottles to the garbage. One more look at her I saw her eyes were open, "Hey."
"Hey mom, um I'm off to school."
"Mmm hmm have a whatever day.." I watched as she turned over on the couch and shook my head, I walked to the door but not before I heard her say, "Oh yeah happy birthday."
"How old are you?"
"15." I lied, since Emma left mom has gone down the rabbit hole. She still believes I'm fifteen, I don't try to get her to realize I'm older so I just go along with it. It's been three years and she still stills every birthday is my fifteenth.
"Okay maybe your dad will give you some money to go roller skating."
"Yeah sure mom." Slowly I walked out the door and climbed into the car but Zack didn't start the car, "She isn't any better."
"She still things you're fifteen." With one nod he left it be and started the car, Cory sat in the back quietly as Zack drove.
The last three years have been terrible, it's not an exaggeration, it's been so bad I've thought about killing myself. But I couldn't do that to Zack or Cory. My father has been in a permanent denial, he's been working 24/7, avoiding us at all costs, if I'm lucky I'll be up until three in the morning and I'll catch him pass my room to his. I find him a sad excuse for a father now, he's worse than he was when Emma was still here.
My mother. Words can't explain what happened to her. Time has taken its' toll on her, the bags under her eyes never leave and make her look thirty years older than 43. Her blonde hair lost it's volume, her movements are slowed, and her mind is no where to be found. She sometimes even questions who Cory is, I will sit back for hours trying to explain to her who her children are but she just picks up another drink and passes out. She was fired four months after Emma went missing, she started to get drunk all the time and didn't show up sometimes so she lost her job. She hasn't had a job since, all she does is drink, sleep, and go to bars all day long.
My mind was pulled from my thoughts as Zack stopped the car, "Jenna?"
"We're at school." I looked in back of me and Cory was gone and like he had said we were in from of our school. Munro High School was a public high school and a lot went down everyday. Fights, pregnant teens, and tons of arrests, let's just say I can't wait to graduate.
"Right let's go, I'm so glad it's Friday." Before I could shut my door a body propelled at mine and I smiled, "Hi Andi."
"Oh happy birthday baby doll." She said in her sweet voice, Andi was from North Carolina and she still had her accent and sweet attitude. Even at eighteen Andi still acted like an eight year old, she kept things interesting and took my mine off my reality. I was glad to have her.
"Thanks" I looked at Zack and whispered in her ear, "do you know what he has planned for me tonight?"
She grinned and shook her finger, "Nice try little one but I'm not telling you."
Sighing I let the two of them lead me inside and prepared myself for the everyday routine, the minute we walked through the door the stares and whispers started. Back three years ago people would come up to me and give their sympathy and they would put candles and teddy bears around Emma's locker. But now people just stared and talked behind my back, I've just gotten so used to the solitude because no one bothered to talk to me anymore only Andi and Zack did.
"Jenna close your eyes." Andi interrupted my thoughts making me smile down at my shoes.
"Why is this another birthday present?"
Zack paused and halted my stride, "Jenna turn around we'll go the other way."
"What why?" Before they could stop me I looked up and saw my and Emma's old lockers. My heart clenched as people laughed and pointed, tears pricked the corners of my eyes and Zack growled. There on our lockers spelled in spray paint said:
The Slut and the Virgin one dead one to go.
The tears fell and four girls stepped in front of me, "Aww what's wrong Jenna does the truth hurt?"
"Robin if you don't get away from her right now you will regret it." Andi threatened but it only made Robin laugh.
"Robin you did this didn't you?" Zack's voice dripped with venom.
"Oh Zacky you give me too much credit, I paid someone to do it for me." She said and her three skanks laughed. It's amazing to think that her and Emma used to be best friends since they were 9 years old.
My voice was low and quaky but I managed to get out, "Why would you do this Robin you and Emma were best friends."
"Well that was before she became a slut."
My whole body trembled when she said that, my fist balled and she saw this and laughed, "Oh look guys Jenna is angry."
Zack stepped in front of me, "Jenna let's go."
I pulled away from him and drew my fist back and punched her dead in the middle of her face, she dropped to the ground with a doof, clink, umpf. Everyone gasped, her three Robin clones rushed to her side trying to help her up. Andi laughed and helped Zack yank me out the school entrance and back to Zack's car, once inside Zack started the car instantly and sped off before school officials came.
"Woohoo!!! Oh yeah Robin Hendricks finally got what she deserved!!!" Andi screamed out the window making me smile. Zack started to laugh and so did we.
"Woohoo!!!" We all screamed and drove for hours until we came to Wilson Beach, it was our favorite place to go when we wanted to skip school which was often. But since we were all good in school or me being descent in some classes we had enough credits to skip, we would still graduate in June.
"I've missed this place so much." I whispered, we all smiled at each other and ran to the waves. We stripped of our clothes it was almost May so it was warm enough, finally down to our underwear and bras and Zack in his boxers we sped off toward the water and jumped in. The waves crashed against our bodies relieving me of the stress that I held and washed it away
"Jenna!" Zack yelled and picked me up and through me over his shoulder and back into the water, I laughed and Andi jumped into my back. It was days like this that kept me going, hopeful, happy, thinking that maybe Emma would come back.
We had been at the beach for four hours, now we sat on the side of the water on the sand watching as the sun sat near the horizon waiting to go down, "Hey Zack?"
"What time is it?"
"5:35, we should get going we have to bring Andi home and get you to your surprise." He smiled and tickled my side.
"Wait you're not coming Andi?"
She shook her head, "Nope you get your present from me now, but your real surprise is only for you and Zack. I have to get all set up for tomorrow's bouncy house." She grinned.
"You're getting me a bouncy house?"
"Yup you're gonna have a full birth weekend." Zack smiled and I laughed, Andi ran over to our clothes and pulled a small blue box with a black ribbon around it out of her bag and handed it to me.
"Happy birthday love."
I smiled at her and grabbed the box, once through the ribbon and the paper off I found the little black box. I lifted the flap and inside there sat a gold bracelet with a charm written in cursive that read 'Hope'.
"Oh Andi it's wonderful, I love it." I smiled and hugged her making her giggle.
"You're welcome Jenna I knew you'd love it."
"Alright girls come on we have to get going if we're going to be there on time." Zack announced putting his clothes back on, we followed his lead and got dressed. We walked back to the truck and drove the two hours back to Philadelphia, at Andi's house she hugged us both and waved us goodbye. Zack got on the highway and I got curious.
"So where are we going again?"
He grinned, "Somewhere special."
"Am I dressed for the occasion?" I asked making him laugh.
"You're perfect." He said making a blush come to my cheeks, he grinned at this and I looked out the window and saw my reflection. Emma, I thought.
"Zack what do you think Emma's doing right now?"
He was taken back by this but he looked at me and thought about it, "Wherever she is I'm sure she's happy and loving life."
I nodded and he continued to drive, finally when he stopped the car we ended up in New York in front of a small restaurant. On instinct I pulled out the missing Emma posted and starting hanging then up, when I finished I looked at the restaurant and smiled at Zack.
“Is this my present?"
“Yup now come on." We walked in and he gave the quarter his name and they led us to a table, “Like I said this was already paid for."
I giggled as the waiter took our orders, “You're so funny but this is nice."
“It gets better." He raised his hand and five waiters walked over to us with a big piece chocolate cake with white frosting, they began to sing happy birthday making me blush. When finished I giggled and everyone in the restaurant clapped, “Am I doing good?"
“Yes Zack you're doing great."
“Good now make a wish." He smiled, I looked at the big eighteen candle on the top of the cake and how nice it looked. I wonder if Emma is looking at the same thing right now, I thought and took a deep breath.
Please let me have my sister back.
There was a whoosh and the candle went out, I slowly opened my eyes and saw something that made me freeze, “Zack..."
“What's wrong Jenna?"
I lifted my finger, “Em....Emma...the Emma posters someone's pulling them down."
I jumped off my seat and Zack yelled a waiter over, pushing the door open I ran at the figure and saw another, “Stop!!"
They looked my way and bolted the posters still in their hands, “Stop please give me those back!!"
“Jenna!!!" Zack screamed but I kept running, I chased the figure and came to an alley inching closer to them. Just inches from them I leaped and tackled them to the ground, we both rolled and I stopped laying on my back. Pain shot up my body and I groaned, a grunt came from the side of me looking up there was the figure lying on their stomach struggling to get up. Though it hurt I pulled myself up and onto the back on the figure.
“Ahh!!" The screen was feminine and yet familiar, curiously I spun them around but their dark hair covered their face. Surely I swept it away and I looked back at myself, those sea blue eyes, long dark hair, my wish had came true.
“Remember me?" They smirked.