May's Cherry Tree

There was a girl once. She had loose ringlets and dark, brown eyes. She wanted to be noticed, but no one ever let her. And when she tried to change and be noticed, she disappeared.

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1. Chapter One

I look at our reflection. Common girl and beautiful girl. Brunette and blonde. Shine and shadow. Jenna and I.

            Jenna’s electric blue dress clings to her body shape, hugging her tall, curvy body. I wouldn’t wear the dress myself: mainly because I would never wear something so revealing, and partly because Mum wouldn’t like to see me wearing it out of my room.

            Not that Mum would notice now. Today, she didn’t even notice me carry my baby pink dress out of the house. I just told her I was going to Jenna’s, not to a stranger’s party.

            I don’t want to go the party, mind you. I’ve declined to go to a stranger’s party with Jenna before, and it didn’t go down well. Jenna continuously teased me about it, made up rumours that weren’t true. Well, I am used to that sort of thing coming from Jenna, but then she started to make comments about my Mum. I couldn’t bare it. I don’t like her spreading things about my Mum around and to know people would be talking about her behind my back. When my name Ella-May comes into their head, they’ll think of my Mum. Not of me. Not something good about me.  But something about my Mum.  I told Mia, my sixteen-year-old sister, and she told me what to say. I said it to Jenna, which wasn’t the best thing in the world. She laughed at me, and teased me a little more, but at least the rumours stopped.

            For now.

            She knows that she still has that threat, about my Mum. So that’s why I agreed to go the stranger’s party. She promised her Dad will bring us back home by about twelve, but I’m still unsure. Jenna also promised that she’d stay with me the whole time, which I seriously doubt.

            “Do I look okay?” Jenna asks, placing one hand on her hip and posing. She smiles at her reflection, before reaching for her hair to fluff it up a bit. Her hair’s been dyed blonde, although it is a natural blonde anyway. She’s dyed it ‘lighter’ (I, personally, don’t see much of a difference, but there you go).

            “You look fine,” I tell her. I look at my own reflection. “Better than me, anyway,” I grumble. I watch Jenna’s eyes flick to my reflection. I’m wearing a stupid, baby-pink dress. It goes down to the middle of my shin, which I previously thought was short before I saw Jenna’s dress. I look awful, to be honest. It poofs out like a plum, with the stupidest pink you would imagine. Paired with Jenna, I look like an annoying little sister tagging behind her beautiful, slim older sister.

            “No,” is all that Jenna says. She slides her hands underneath her hair, before flicking them forward, on her shoulders. “Let’s go then.”

            I nod, taking in a deep breath. “Let’s go.”

            She smiles, and watches her reflection smile back, before she turns around and leaves her room, leaving me to skittle after her.

            “I can’t believe you missed the party last time,” Jenna starts saying as we walk down the stairs. “You’re going to see how much you missed out on.”

            I nod in agreement. I don’t really agree with Jenna, but sometimes – most of the time – it’s easier to agree.

            We get into Jenna’s car. It’s tidy and everything has its own place, like Jenna’s room. In my house, everything sits where it can, if it’s convenient. Like, there might be a glue gun on the table or a packet of blu-tack by the television, but I like it like that. It’s not too untidy: everything is put back to where it should be every so often, but it doesn’t always stay like that. I prefer that. I prefer things to change a little, make it more interesting.

            It’s not long before Jenna’s Dad and her brother (apparently Jenna’s brother is coming to the party, too) climb into the car. Her Dad’s tall, like Jenna, and usually wears a suite, teamed with a tie. Strangely, he isn’t Jenna’s strictest parent as you would think – her mother is. Her Mum is always in her office. I’m not actually sure what she does, but she’s in there a lot and misses out on Jenna’s life. That may be why Jenna is like how she is; she doesn’t have a Mum to walk her through her teen-hood. I guess I’m lucky in that situation: I have both a Mum that I can talk to, and my older sister. Although, lately it’s been mainly Mia that I’ve been talking to since what happened to my Mum, but I don’t want to get into that.

            The drive in the car doesn’t take as long as I feared. I didn’t want to be at a stranger’s party which was far away. I don’t know why – it just makes me feel uncomfortable. Jenna talks about all the amazing people there are at the party, all the people she’s missed for so long. I know she’s exaggerating, she always does.

            Jenna’s Dad stops outside of a tall, slender house. It looks posh, like the house you’d expect someone rich to live in. There’re steps up to the front door, guiding you with a high hedge that’s been neatly trimmed. It looks like the type of house that is a home to people who insist on cleaning your shoes when you arrive and when you leave, and the type of people that clean your plate away before you’ve barely swallowed your last bite.

            I doubt the house contains them.

            The cue of Jenna and her brother’s seatbelts clicking undone signals me to do the same. We leave the car, before walking up the steps to the front door. Jenna’s Dad waves out of the window, until he drives away, back to his house.

            Jenna’s brother rings the doorbell. We all listen the tune echo through the house, and peoples’ voice rise, saying ‘I’ll get it’, and ‘who is it?’.

            The door opens to loud voices and laughter. The boy that opened the door is also tall, like Jenna and her brother, and has dark brown hair. He’s still laughing from something that had happened before he opened the door.

            I hear Jenna take in a gasp. “That’s Austin,” she whispers to me. I nod. Austin is the boy she’s talked about for a while, and how they hang out a lot at his house. I didn’t believe her, but I considered that possibly she’d been to his house once.

            “Hey, come on in,” Austin smiles, stepping back to allow us in.

            “How you doing, Austin?” Jenna’s brother says as he enters the house. Jenna smiles nervously when she passes him, and I try to avoid eye contact. Luckily, he doesn’t make any comment about how he doesn’t know who I am.

            Austin closes the door after us. I follow Jenna into the large room, which I assume would’ve been the living room before the party took over.

            The room is buzzing with chat and laughter. Over one side of the room, there’s a table with plastic cups, along with jugs so you can pour your own drink. From here, I think there is some fizzy drinks, non-fizzy, and several bottles of alcohol, as most of the people here are over sixteen or so. I’m fifteen, and although I don’t mind alcohol, I don’t want to drink it. I don’t like thinking about what it can do to you without you realising.

            Instantly, Jenna breaks her promise and walks over to Austin to start ‘flirting’. Well, I don’t know if it is flirting – I’ve never had a proper boyfriend. Jenna had once jokingly asked someone out for me, although they didn’t realise she was joking and said yes. I didn’t like him, and I was furious with Jenna. She said, innocently that it wasn’t her fault, and how cruel it would be to break the ‘little boy’s heart’ as soon as you go out with him. So, she technically made me date him for three days, before I broke up with him. I’ve never talked to boys in a flirtatious way since.

            I watch Jenna’s eyelashes flutter several times as she talks to Austin, occasionally flicking her hair over her shoulder and fluffing it up. She continuously runs her side fringe through her fingers, pouting when she isn’t talking to Austin. He looks quite awkward talking to Jenna. I tilt my head to one side, wondering what’s going on in Austin’s mind. He looks up at me, somehow sensing that I was looking at him. I feel my cheeks redden, and I look down.

            I stand by Jenna for a while, not really listening to her conversation. She talks a lot while Austin talks very little. I hear several times Austin tries to leave the conversation, by saying things like ‘oh, I think I need to say something to Olly…’, but Jenna would stop him and say something else.

            “I need a drink,” Austin says, clearly trying to escape his awkward conversation with Jenna.

            She smiles. “Okay. I think you need a bit of loosening up,” she says. I might be wrong, but I think she winked at Austin.

            Austin sighs, rolling his eyes, but he smiles afterwards. Maybe he does like the attention from Jenna after all.

            I follow them to the drink table, and pour myself a glass of coke. I don’t really like fizzy drinks, but I like something to entertain me whilst I listen to Jenna attempt to flirt with Austin.

            As we walk back, I suddenly feel self-conscious of my dress. All the other girls wear tight, slim dresses, much like Jenna’s. I tug the back of my dress, trying to make it look slimmer than it really is, but it doesn’t work.

            Jenna and Austin go back to where they were talking, back to where I was standing and daydreaming. I do a lot of daydreaming when I’m with Jenna. I used to hate daydreaming, but I suppose then I didn’t really understand the concept of it. I used to think ‘oh, thinking’s boring’: I didn’t realise you go into a whole different world, imaging things and trying to solve the biggest problems. The one my mind normally focuses on is: how do I leave Jenna’s cage?

            I mean, I do like Jenna. She is a good friend sometimes, but she isn’t the friend I’ve wanted and the friend I hear others have. I’ve seen photos on Facebook saying things like ‘Friends? We’re more like sisters’, but I don’t feel the same about Jenna. I know Jenna isn’t the friend that I enjoy being with. I’m with her to avoid her spreading things about my Mum. I’m the quiet sort, and now after being with Jenna, I’m tricky to give people my trust. I trust my family, but other people at school – I avoid talking to them. I don’t fit in like I used to.

            Mia tells me to just do ‘cold turkey’, and leave Jenna completely, but I don’t have anywhere to turn after that. I think I’d prefer to be spending half my evening listening to Jenna flirting rather than being lonely around school.

            “Let’s start this party then!” I hear Austin announce loudly. I furrow my eyebrows – has the party not already started? Has my boredom only just begun?

            I sigh. This is going to be a long night.

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