I tossed and turned in my bed, unable to get back to sleep. I checked my iPhone, 4:10AM it said. I slid my thumb across the screen and entered my passcode; 4768. Looking at my extremely long music list I decided to listen to Eminem— it might not be the best bedtime music but I really, really hate to listen to piano and classical music at night.
Anyways, I reached down and grabbed my earbuds that I always keep next to my bed; I plugged them in and popped them in my ears. Next I logged into my Instagram account. I saw Maya from school was awake too and we both posted pictures of ourselves in bed. We had some rather long conversations on how school was going to be heck today and then logged off.
I checked the time again.
5:15AM. Good enough for me.
I hopped out of bed and crept downstairs, careful not to wake my sleeping mother— Dad went to work —as I left my room.
As I snuck down the stairs I jumped lightly over two especially squeaky ones and hopped down the last three to land silently on the first level of my house.
The house was quiet and the fish tank bubbled in the corner. I heard my twelve-year-old sister groaning slightly in the next room— too loud if you ask me. She’s been faking it for the last three days, trying to get out of school— of course I was the only one who realized that…
Probably because I’m an actress and can tell when someone is attempting, and my sister is really bad at acting.
My elderly black cat, Apollo, meowed and padded over to me. He was very anti-social and I was the only one who could get him out of hiding. He crawls into my bed a lot, though, and then it’s a little hard to move.
Anyways, I looked in the kitchen for something to eat. Nothing good, so I just grabbed a piece of bread and spread some strawberry jelly on it.
After I finished I walked to the laundry room and found the outfit I set out the day before; A pink Justice tank top underneath a wide-scoop neckline white shirt with a lily on it. Then I threw on some plain ol’ skinny jeans and grabbed my iPhone out of my pajama pants pocket. Then I left a note on the kitchen counter saying I went out and I’ll be back at six at latest.
Then I slid the back glass door open and walked out. I sighed: I loved running early in the morning and late at night. If you couldn’t tell yet, I really hate sleeping— it’s just a waste of time if you ask me.
Back to topic: the sun was only halfway up and the usual morning mist was still hanging in the air. In other words: it was the second best time of day— second only to 9:00PM at night
. As I walked down to the front of my house I looked through my list of music again. Hm… Hard choice. I scrolled down and finally chose my playlist consisting of OneRepublic, A Great Big World, Avicci, Eminem, Maroon 5 and Adele… All of my favorite artists. I pressed the “shuffle” button and put my earbuds in.
I took off down the street, listening to “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic— one of my favorites so naturally I started singing along. Quietly, though, I was a bit shy with my singing.
“Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be, But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been playin’ hard, So no more counting dollars we’ll be, yeah, we’ll be countin’ stars…” I whisper-sang as I ran down the street, the beauty of this was everyone on my street was asleep at this time so I had complete privacy. When I reached the end of my street I turned right and kept going, now listening to “Say Something” by A Great Big World. That one was memorized too so, I kept singing.
“Say something, I’m giving up on you. I’ll be the one, if you want me to. Anywhere, I would’ve followed you. Say omething’— I’m giving up on you…”
Finally I arrived! My lips curved up in a smile as I caught sight of another figure by the creek cutting the grassy park in half. No one else was around.
“Jessie!” My best friend, Mariah, called and I smiled, I only had time to stow my earbuds in my pocket before I was tackled to the grass in a bone crushing hug as if we hadn’t seen each other for a million years. When in fact it had only been yesterday.
“Whoa, whoah, whoah! I have no intentions of being crushed today so if you could just loosen your hold a little, there…” I gently pulled myself away from the tangle of arms and legs.
“Okay, so, what do you want to do?” Mariah asked, sitting up and shaking her head so her white-blond hair flew about her face, her sparkling blue eyes lit up with mischief.
I thought, pulling at the ponytail I had pulled my auburn hair into earlier. “We could always visit the little shop and grab some sodas,” I suggested, “Maybe see if we could have one of Nikki’s glazed donuts…”
As soon as I mentioned the donuts I knew Mariah was in. “Absolutely.” She said and hopped up, dragging me along with her.
☼ ☼ ☼
Once we reached the tiny run-down store/dry-clean place Nikki was already there, working her shift. No one else was there. She looked up and smiled when she saw us. “Oh, you two again.” She sounded mock-disappointed but then smiled and said “I’ll go get some donuts.”
“Donuts!” Mariah and I both shouted, raising our hands in the air and doing a weird little dance.
Nikki laughed as she pushed open the back door to retrieve the legendary donuts. Sure enough when she reappeared a small paper bag was in her hands and it had homemade glazed donuts in it.
Mariah and I both dove forward and grabbed a pastry each before flopping onto an old wooden bench at the exact same moment. I swear it’s like we have the same mind sometimes.
Nikki watched us and sat on the counter. She was pretty, about twenty-two years old and had cocoa brown skin. Her hair was naturally brown but when the light caught it her hair looked like gold was weaved into it. She had warm brown eyes and a small button nose, too.
After we finished the delicious donuts I bought a Dr. Pepper for myself and a Coca-Cola for Mariah. When she looked at me questioningly I said, “You owe me for lunch, now.”
She scowled at me as I laughed with Nikki. I hopped up on the counter next to Nikki and tucked my legs underneath me while Mariah leaned against the wall. I checked my iPhone, it said 5:43AM. “Alright, so how’s everything going with John?” I asked Nikki, John was her attractive “friend” who was a male model and obviously interested in her. Nikki blushed and I smirked. “We’re still friends if that’s what you mean.” She said matter-of-factly.
Mariah groaned. “You know what she means!”
“Yes that!” I exclaimed, exasperatedly. Nikki smiled sheepishly. “Well… Turns out that rubbish you two’ve been telling me wasn’t rubbish.”
Both of our eyes widened. “Did you say yes?” We asked at the exact same time.
“Goodness girls! You make it sound as if he were proposing!”
I tilted my head, a thoughtful look on my face, “In a sense he was…”
“Jessie, sh! This is no time to be a Grammar Granny!” Mariah scolded and I put a hand over my heart.
“Ouch. That hurt.” I said but turned back to Nikki. “Did you?” I demanded. She nodded.
“We’re going to the coffee shop, downtown tomorrow when he can get some time off.”
“WE KNEW IT!” Mariah and I both shouted. I hopped off the counter and we did our donut dance again when the doorbell tingled and an older lady walked in. We both stopped and the lady stared until Nikki got up. “Hello, ma’am. What would you like today? We have sodas, coffee and even a few homemade glazed donuts for sale.”
As she was talking I realized I had five minutes to get home. “Text me,” I whispered to Mariah before sneaking out, holding the bell so it wouldn’t ring.
On the way back I popped my earbuds back in and resumed the shuffle of my favorites. This time it was “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele. I chose not to sing as people were starting to wake up now but it was nice to listen to.
Once I got home I realized my mother and sister were still asleep. I packed my bookbag and received a text from Mariah. We started a conversation and soon my phone was dead.
My sister walked down, I woke her up. She was still in pajamas and was holding her blanket around her shoulders.
“Tricked Mom into letting you stay home?” I asked, barely looking up as I grabbed my book and settled on the couch.
Her eyes widened. “How did you know?”
“Um, I’m an actress and I know when someone is acting— especially when that someone is terrible at acting.” I looked up to see her stick her tongue out at me and I chuckled silently. “Bye, Sickie!”
“No, thanks, I’m good.”
“What?” My mom’s voice could be heard from her room. It was followed by a: “Jessie, leave Cadence alone!” I smiled and turned back to my book.
Apollo the cat came over and hopped on the couch next to me. We stayed like that for a while before I realized it was seven’o’clock and had to go. I gently rubbed Apollo’s head and got up. “Bye Mom!” I shouted, slinging my bookbag across one shoulder. My reply was just a: “Love you! Good luck on the math test!” The usual. I swung out the front door and saw the bus come down the street at the exact same moment.
Huh, funny how that always happens… Anyways, I got on the bus and sat next to my friend, Taylor. She was nice, with vibrant red hair and pale green eyes. She was always laughing at something or other and never stopped smiling. “Hi, Tay!” I said and slid onto the seat next to her. “What’s going on?” Taylor shrugged. “Nothing much. But you need to see Maroon 5’s new music video!” She said and I leaned over to watch on the screen of her phone. One word: amazing. That video was awesome! We talked about it basically non-stop until the bus stopped at school.
“Okay, just one more day to go through in this prison and then I have basketball. Just one more.” I said half to myself and half to Taylor.
Taylor laughed. “Let’s see if you survive first.” She said.
I scowled at her. “Gee, thanks. I feel so encouraged.” I said, sarcasm dripping off my voice.
“You’re welcome!” Taylor called before running off to meet her all-time BFF, Maya— the one from Instagram. I smiled and looked around for Mariah. Oh, there’s her bus— 17. I waited by the steps to the school.
“Hurry up, Mariah! We haven’t got all day!” I shouted when I saw her.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” She grumped and finally got next to me. We walked up the stairs together.
“So, did you stay around with Nikki and the elderly after I left?” I asked, smiling a little. Mariah frowned.
“I was going to but then I realized the elderly wasn’t nice like the elders that give you candy.”
“Good discovery.” I said. “What did she do?”
“She asked what the two crazy girls were doing and if they were bothering Nikki. She said if they were she would smack us out with her walking stick.”
I tilted my head. “Nice lady.”
“Exactly what I thought.” I laughed.
“Crazy minds think alike!”
“Oh, shut up, Grammar Granny!”
“What is it with the Grammar Granny???” I asked exasperatedly.
Mariah shrugged. “I don’t know. I came up with it this morning and it stuck. So that is your new name.”
“Gre-eat.” I said sarcastically
“I knew you would love it!”
“You obviously don’t know the meaning of the word sarcasm,” I replied quickly.
My BFF shrugged and linked her arm through mine. “I know the meaning of it, I just don’t remember it when other people use it.”
I laughed and my auburn ponytail bounced as we walked. “Okay then… Hey, do we have basketball practice tonight? I know about the game but the last time we had practice first.”
Mariah shook her head. “Nope,” She said, popping the P. “I asked Coach last practice then forgot to tell you.”
“Well, don’t I feel loved?” I huffed and stopped at my locker. I spun the lock and opened it. Once it was opened I looked to Mariah.
“What books do we need, today?”
“History, English then we have an assembly right before lunch.” She recited, sounding as if she swallowed her schedule…
What, I didn’t mention we have all the same classes? I smiled. “Thanks” and slid out my textbooks. I also grabbed the novel I was currently reading: Broken by CJ Lyons. It was a very good book. Anyways I turned to Mariah as the bell for homeroom rang, my face solemn. “Nothing, yet everything is fair in war.” I declared. Mariah looked confused then her eyebrow’s raised.
“Auditioning for another play? Musical?”
“Play of course— you know I don’t do musicals.” I said then added. “And I don’t need to audition. I already have the lead role.”
“What did you say to the director?”
“Oh, nothing much, he just asked and I said yes.” I shrugged and grabbed Mariah’s left hand. “C’mon, we’re going to be late!”
Laughing like little kids we both ran down the empty hallways, walking animatedly about the upcoming game tonight. Little did we know that game would be the cause of so many deaths...