The Fake Plastic Trees Theory

Aberdeen Nesbitt finds solace in these things and in these two things only; oldies rock music and taking care of her younger step-brother. In a reality where her idols are dead punk icons and her own life represents an episode of a soap opera gone terribly wrong, she decides to wing it and do a risky Psychology project in a weak attempt to get into a good college and finally find her talent( which was doing one hell of a job of hiding). But when Kieran Galen, a borderline mathematics genius with an exquisite taste in clothing decides to befriend her,she somehow ends up tangled up in a messy bundle of friendships, late nights discovering new music and first love. And her seemingly harmless projects becomes the task of manipulating the "It crowd " into doing something no student has ever before tried to pull off. Can anyone tell her when she signed up for this?

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1. c h a p t e r one

 

When your ten year old brother uses the word sophisticated to describe  his diary ( or,as he would correct you – journaling habits) it’s most likely time to question your word stack, or better yet, your intellectual abilities as a whole.

“Okay, sorry for interrupting. I just wanted to check if you’d prefer a roasted monkey or a baby elephant for dinner. I heard they’re good when it comes to increasing the level of arrogance in the blood system,” Of course, Aberdeen had too much pride not to talk back to the boy whose long and thin fingers ( the universe  made it clear that  creating unreadable musings would be his call) gripped the  neat edge of the notebook, but at the same time he  held it softly, as if  there were a fragile, beating heart hidden  between the scrambled pages that led him to the right words without ever being mean to the word not needed at that exact moment. In the pit of her gut, Aberdeen knew that there was absolutely nothing out of order in that picture; the diary, or shall we say – sophisticated journal- was a natural add-on  when it came to the little boy, and the sight was almost ethereal, because she could not make herself imagine  him without it in ten years time. It was as essential as lungs, limbs, a mouth and nose were. Even the leather  covering the paperback seemed vividly alive, acting like second skin to the creature whose face was defensively towered over it. In a perfect world Aberdeen could have looked at him as he wrote down the entire history of trains and never get bored, but this world was far from perfect; it was a world where she had to call him out for being a geek at such a young age and later comfort her conscience by saying repeatedly that she had no other choice, due to the fact he had touched the matters of…feminism. Yes, feminism. A ten year old dared to commit the courageous and  inevitably foolish act of  challenging the capacity of  the intellect of all living creatures female. And everyone knows  you don’t just walk away without forming a bit of dust on the horizon when it comes to defending girl power.

“Nah, I think I’ll stick with pizza, thanks.”

The blond head dipped down to see a fluent river of words come out from the pen held with  the left hand.

“Although I did hear the elephant’s pretty good at poisoning annoying teenage girls .”

The river came out in another rapid flow.

“And by the way, your sarcasm is not appreciated.”

Scott kept his gaze focused as he went through the pages of his own little world he held in his hands  and did a fairly good job  with not  acknowledging her presence as she graced him with an amused stare before leaving.

As she  went down the stairs the echoes of her light footsteps greeted her with a mocking edge to them. A pained sigh escaped her as a response. She wasn’t supposed to be the one furrowing her eyebrows at the top of  her forehead in constant worrying if Scott eats, sleeps and grows properly. In fact, she was quite sure mothers described that as a moment that would struck them with and overjoyed feeling. They’d complain about their arm and thigh  and calf muscles being exhausted, but their face muscles would be arranged in a luminous smile.. But those mothers weren’t widowed and then remarried after four years, ruining the hopes of their little daughter s who hoped  mommy would live in an eternal celibate in order to savor the memory  of the soulmate who was, due to a series of unfortunate events, three feet under the cold ground. It’s not like she  thought her mother’s oblivious to  the endearing sensation of motherhood. Her emotions flashed form time to time in the form of unexpected kisses on the cheek, glowing smiles and annoying head taps. But sometimes Aberdeen craved for aggravating questioning regarding schoolwork, eyeliner removal and first dates that would make her head boil because a) when you’re a loser going borderline failure school can’t be viewed as a safe place and b) whenever she tried to master the skill of using eyeliner she felt a violent stab in the eyeball which made her sure that’s how sticking a fork into your eye feels like and considering the previous two axioms of her life c) who in their right mind would consider her dating material?

If only Oprah would announce in her show that being a caring mom is the new must have maybe her mom’d  be here preparing lasagna or baking cookies with cinnamon instead of letting Aberdeen go through the endless choices of food delivery services. Chances were  she was out doing yoga because Stacy  told Loraine who said to Ann to inform the whole pack of highly fashionable middle-aged  women  that yoga is the new mind savior, and naturally , there’d always be the bleach blonde baby mommy who heard from reliable sources that yoga also saves the Amazon forests.

Jesus, Aberdeen thought.

Lou, her step-step dad was one of those die hard workaholics who thought sleeping , resting and family time are obstacles that must be passed in order to conquer the  ultimate prize of owning and managing the largest ( and only) chain of supermarkets in Vasilville. Lou and Betty were a perfect couple in that way; the less time they spent at home the lesser the chance of them realizing how big of an illusion their lives are. Aberdeen wondered if everyone’s skin acted like a mask, or if her family won the lottery of destiny by being a bang of traveling comedians in some of their previous lives. If they existed, that is.

 

You know that festive and lively feeling that fulfills your heart  while you just stand and look at the building of the high school longingly and you think that if you  wait any longer your heart just might burst open your chest and run out to your friends to envelope them in a murderous grip? Well. Neither did Aberdeen. He efforts in making friends were apparent until the point she realized, very painfully I must add, that  her fellow classmates were unintentionally determined to inform her that monkeys can’t be arctic when she decided to share her favorite band, Sheffield’s finest, with them. You’d  think  going all Casper and maintaining an invisible façade would represent a task not easy to be accomplished  but time showed that Aberdeen had been gifted with a knack for keeping a low profile. Her eyes did not hold the ominous look of the skies above, they were just blue like a pool completely filled with water. Her hair did not embody the sweet taste of honey or sinful dark chocolate, but utter indecisiveness. The only  constructive purpose of the  not really flat not really curly brown curtain was to frame the petit pale face and when needed provide protection from  foreign looks. Foreign equals everyone’s. Being on acquaintance terms with  Jess Giovanno was,well, okay. Okay meaning the only seemingly friendly enough relationship with another girl which resulted in the two of them going to junior prom together only to satisfy the high expectations of their moms to a certain point.

But this year was different. Senior year. Or , as she saw it- the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. She thought of it in this manner because the future scared her. The future scared her because it was a whole lot of  imaginative what ifs and maybes that could scatter her solid bones into a million little pieces. She looked around the hallway as she made her silent way to class. They all possessed something, a virtue  or talent, which managed to make them distinctive , make it look like they have some sort of special airy aura surrounding them and making them untouchable to brokenness. And Aberdeen felt like she was missing  the glue that would bring her together when brokenness decided to appear. Maybe when her dad died he took the glue with him. Maybe he was the glue. Go figure.

As she attempted to go and figure it for the nth time she collided with a wall. She’d never expect of a vertical piece of concrete to be so comfy and  solid and so chest-like. Ha. Not a wall.Apparently, she  also had a knack for  putting herself in the middle of the most awkward situations  thanks to her amazing lack of spacious intelligence. She’d probably be able to make an art out of it, but unfortunately such unconventional talents were not granted with a thumbs up from society.

 

Struggling to maintain her balance she became fully aware of the light touch which had engulfed her waist and  the scent of coffee and cigarettes and  drizzle. ( She was not quite sure how to describe the scent of drizzle, but  some sort of internal instinct seemed be quite familiar with it.) He subconscious shamelessly admitted that being held was one of those things you had to go through to really get them. Like, she could feel how the weight of her baggage was lifted off her back and put onto another, literally. . But not knowing  who the owner of that back is could form a slight problem. So  her eyes cautiously drew an invisible path  from the slightly wrinkled oxfords and  long khaki pants to the light azure shirt neatly tucked into them and  the black tie and the sweater vest of the same cover that acts as a bow of a really neatly arranged package.  Kieran Galen  had always  praised the style of the sixties, that is, as long as Aberdeen could remember. He carried the vestige of the  fashion of French movies with his head popped up high and his nose slicing the air proudly. His eyelids were always half shut and a half smile held a fixated spot on the left side of his face.  As  she stared up at him, Aberdeen couldn’t help but think that he’s a person fond of bountiful usage of thank you and your welcome and how are you.. A chimera accidentally misplaced into high school from the secret ocean of daydreamers.

“”Hey, are you okay? Sorry, I didn’t  see you there.” A soft look, one that seems to believe the  remaining wonders of the world.

She almost wants to say it’s her fault and that she’s sorry. Almost. Instead, she greets him with a nod filled with self-righteousness and brick hardness.

“Yeah, just dandy.”

Something along the lines of skepticism runs through his brown orbs which were slightly crinkled at the sides as he continued to examine her for a few long seconds.

“You sure? Once you become a klutz it gets kind of heard to break the habit.” He gives her a sleepish smile followed by an apologetic shrug. Shoulders going from left to right to avoid bumping into other students moving in waves through the crowded corridor.

Cautiously, she eyes him but fails to maintain a serious appearance as she lets his humorous attempt of an apology sink in and graces something that could become a smile upon her face.

“Maybe you should tattoo that as a warning on your forehead – klutz in the house, run for your lives.”

He furrows his eyebrows in fake contemplate.

“Oh, yeah, that would go really well with my cheek bones. A total trend setter.”

Comprehending she’s been chatting with him in such a casual manner she quickly untangles herself from that strange mess of bodies colliding in the hallway. Who would have thought Kieran was seemingly an easy guy to talk to. All of the indicators had always pointed in the completely opposite direction; rumor on the asphalt was that he was proclaimed to be a mathematics prodigy at the age of ten and he also had the title unlikely honor of being the whiz of Vasilville High. Of course, Aberdeen would have known he stood for a lot more that a mush of brains, but that required very little time in which she could cocoon herself in a blanket of bitternes, which is why she could only wonder about him from a far, not that it happened often..

“Ha. Well, I’m late for class so I’d better be on my way.”

“Psychology, right? ’ Aberdeen’s eyes widened ever so slightly, urging him to share how he had known that information.

“Like I said, I was bound to misplace a few corners on the way to that class.”

He carelessly started walking next to her and the girl choose not to reply anything more. She heard the echoes of quite a few voices inside her head hissing and insinuating that a well dressed boy like Kieran walking next to an antsy looking teenage girl with too much black eyeliner was indeed an odd sight. Like having a lion stroll through the valley next to a lamb. She knew he voices pictured her as the lion but was not so sure if it was meant to be taken as a compliment. But if there was one thing she was sure of, it’s that talking to the boy just took a seat behind her was the peek of her high school misadventures ( not that there were many of them, anyways) and, surprisingly, the highlight of that day so far.

It was no secret that Miss Jensen had the habit of encountering students with the possibility of doing a project of their choice on their own or in groups, which ever they liked better. Aberdeen had found solace in planning her project for that year while strutting through out pages and pages of psych related articles the past summer. Thought the plan had not yet been thoroughly outlined, to say that it was grandiose would be the understatement of the century. As the teacher started giving out the syllabus Aberdeen wondered if she could really do it, stand up from her pond of plainness and use the results of her research as college essay material. God knows if she failed, it would take weeks for her to convalesce

''So, what's the omniscient master plan?“

She quickly turned around td the owner of that melodic voice mindlessly drawing digits into his notepad. Ah, so the rumors must be partially true, she thought to herself. He truly had that fog of geekyness surrounding him.

''Excuse me?“

''The project', Miss Jensen said-“

''I know what she said, I just find it weir that we only started talking today, you probably don't even know who I am and now you expect us to do this damn thing together?“ She knew far to well that shegoing over the boarders of tenderness, but sometimes you just needed to venture everything out. Kieran just happened to be there at the wrong place and time, due to a line of unknown events.

His eyes perked up at her as his head came to rest on his arm that were now laying fully crossed across the desk. He did not look at her creating a silence that was awkward because he was taken aback; she found it awkward because she was looking at her as if she were a white bunny trapped in a science lab and he represented the loony scientist.

„Of course I know who you are. You're Aberdeen. Just so we're both on the same page, I''m Kieran.We''ve been going to this school together for how long now, five years I'd say? See, that's a period that deserves to be called a long, long time. I mean, it's not like we really talked until now, but I need more friends called Aberdeen, you know. One can never have too many of them.  “

 

 If her tone cut the air with it’s sharpness, his dissolved and became part of it in it’s calmness. Kieran was definitely something else. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, so figuring out it that was a virtue or vice represented a real challenge. But it would have been foolish of her to ignore the fact his academic skills could only stand for an enormous plus if accumulated to her plan.  

“Fine, if befriending me means so much to you.”  She muttered and sighed heavily, pretending he was deeply bothering her.

Soundless laughter escaped from his bony lungs.

“Of course it does. So?”

And that’s when she smiled promising to let him in on a great mystery.

“So, how do you feel about manipulation?”

For the outside viewer, this point could be considered as the start of her biggest and craziest adventure to date. And to think she wasn’t aware of it at all. 

 
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