"Izzy... wake up," Carl shakes my arm.
"Huh?" I ask sleepily.
"Get up. We need to go... we slept really late," he shakes me again.
"Okay, I'm up... stop shaking me," I use my elbows to prop me up and look around.
Light is streaming in from behind the white curtains. It must be at least noon or later. "Sorry," he laughs a little.
"Are Mark and Katy up yet?" I ask.
"Yeah. I woke them up first."
"Okay. Well let me change and fix my hair. I'll be out in a minute," I tell him.
He nods and leaves the room. I walk over to the door and close it. I walk back over to the bed and pick up my bag. I rummage through it and pick out a white, skin tight tank top and a baggier, gray one to go over it. I don't have any other jeans besides the ones that I am wearing. I'll have to change them when we get back to WAL-MART. Once I have changed into the new shirts, I move on to my hair. I pull the black pony tail out of my hair that was holding it up. I put my head forward and run my fingers through it to comb it. I flip my head up and smooth the hair down around my face.
I walk over to the big wooden dresser and look at myself in the mirror. I don't look awful, but you can tell I haven't showered. I would find a lake to wash off in around here, but I just didn't think of it earlier and I told Carl we would leave today. My hair isn't as greasy as I expected it to be. I guess keeping it up in a pony tail every now and them helps. It looks different now that I cut it. The ends flair out at the bottom and it has more volume. Must be from the layers. The bangs look the weirdest. I had gotten used to what my hair looked like long because of the apocalypse.
My eyes still look the same though. Light blue in the center with a dark blue ring around the outer edge. The only difference is now they look tired. Worn out from the constant fear and despair I feel everyday now. I can only imagine how bad I looked before I went to sleep last night.
My cheek bones are more prominent than they used to be. Probably from the lack of food. Though that could also be aging. I mean I am 15 now. Overall I do look older. I don't look like a child anymore, even though I am still considered one. I look like a smaller version of my mom. A little younger version of her. I wonder what my family would like now if they were still alive. Would my brother be as big as me? Would my mom's blonde hair be streaked with gray? Would my dad's small beard be grown out? I wish I knew the answers to these simple questions, but I cant even answer those.
I turn away from the mirror and pick up my bag. I open up the door and walk down the hall to the living room. Katy is sitting on the floor with Mark and Carl is sitting on the tan couch. They all stand up at the sight of me. "Lets go," I say.
We head outside the door and walk along the road. Me beside Carl and Katy and Mark behind us. "Do you think they'll be mad?" I ask after awhile.
"What do you mean?"
"Do you think they'll be mad at us... for leaving," I explain.
"Oh... probably. I don't really care. They can yell all they want, they don't control me," he shrugs.
"You are talking about your dad you know," I smile.
He chuckles. "Yeah, but he's never been the one to be able to stop me from going where I want."
I shake my head as I let out a small laugh. "You really are something," I tell him.
"Yep. You'll never find anyone like me," he jokes.
"Nope. And you'll never find anyone like me."
Mark makes a gagging sound and I spin around to glare at him. I walk forward and punch his arm about half of what I really could. "Owwy," he pouts.
I give him my best "you are so annoying and I really want to hit you right now" look and he smirks. I hit him again, this time a little harder. "Dang girl watch where you're swinging that arm. You might actually be able to do some damage if you gained a couple pounds," he teases.
I take a deep breath and force myself to smile. "I think I liked it better when you didn't talk to me," I say in the sweetest voice I can muster.
Carl laughs a little under his breath and Mark rolls his eyes. "You know you like me."
I look past him to Katy. "How can you like that?" I ask.
She tries her best not to laugh, but she ends up making a contorted face and laughing anyways. "He can be obnoxious at times. Usually not this much, but he is nice to me. Plus he's hot," she smiles at him and he smirks.
I gag and turn back to Carl. I make a face that says "Mark is an obnoxious idiot that is just going to get us killed in the long run and that Katy only likes him because you are taken and there is no one else." He smiles as if he knows exactly what I'm saying. He could just be guessing what I am thinking.
"Can we find a creek or stream or something?" I ask.
"Really Izzy?" Carl asks. "We don't really have the time."
"I wont be long. I just need to... wash up. I feel dirty and grimy," I scrunch my face. "And to be honest I don't really smell good."
Carl rolls his eyes. "Fine. We can find a stream and we can all wash up for a minute and then we can keep going."
"Where should we check?"
"Oh... um... oh yeah. While I was coming to find you I took a rest in the woods a little before the house and there was a small pond there," he tells me.
"Like where along the woods?"
"Like really close to here. We should just check now... we have to be close now," he says.
We head off the road and enter the dense woods. "How far into the woods was it?" Mark asks.
"A small walk. I was just resting so I didn't go to far."
We walk a little further and I see a pond up ahead. Luckily it doesn't look to bad. There is just some moss in some places, but the rest looks clear. I remove my gray tank top and I hear Mark clear is throat. I turn around. "Oh don't worry," I sneer.
"Oh I wasn't worrying," he smirks.
"Would you just stop," Carl snaps. "I mean seriously, you have a girlfriend. Stop hitting on mine."
I resist the urge to say "Ooh."
"I wasn't hitting on her. I was joking," Mark rolls his eyes. "Why would I hit on her?"
"Oh I don't know... um... maybe its because you are a guy and she is girl and that's what guys like you like to do," he sneers.
"Oh like you don't? Come on man seriously... you're being a hypocrite."
"I'm being a hypocrite?" Carl is on the verge of yelling.
Mark takes a step forward and I place myself in between the two of them. "Stop," I demand.
Mark looks down at me and I feel Carl grab my waist, like he's afraid Mark might do something to me. Mark may be an idiot, but he's not stupid enough to hit me. "I am not afraid to shoot Mark. I mean it. We are going to wash up and be on our way without a fight," I raise an eyebrow, venturing for him to object.
"Whatever," he backs away and rips his shirt over his head.
I turn around to Carl and look him in the eye. He still looks pissed. "You get into a fight over the stupidest things," I smile.
"You are not a stupid thing."
I roll my eyes. "That's the way he's always been. Annoying, obnoxious, a jerk, rude, disrespectful-"
"I'm still here ya know," Mark chimes in.
"Yeah I know," I smile, but only Carl sees the smile.
"I don't want to be the first one to get in," Katy whimpers.
"I will," Mark tells her.
"Good if there is are some human eating fish in there or zombies you'll be the one to die," I flash him a big smile. Carl chuckles.
"Aw thanks sweet pee. I feel the love. Maybe I should just push you in there," he flashes back a cheesy grin.
"Neh, I'll pass."
Mark sakes his head before full on sprinting toward the pond. He does a cannon ball, causing a huge splash and waves throughout the pond. He doesn't come up. I see Katy start to get worried after just a few seconds. She walks close to the pond. "Mark?" she calls.
I count the seconds in my head. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10... 20. He still hasn't come up. I walk a little closer and look over the edge. I see bubbles floating to the surface. He's still breathing so that's a good sign. "Why don't you go down there and get him?' I ask.
She looks at me, her face torn. She doesn't want to go in there if there is something down there, but she doesn't want him to die. "Oh forget I'll go down there," I shake my head.
"No," Carl protests.
"Too late," I say and run to the pond. I jump in. I feel myself going down deep. When I finally stop I open my eyes and look around. I cant see anything. Its too muggy. I feel around with my hands until I feel a body. It grabs my hand and yanks me up to the surface. I take a big breath and look around. Mark is right there. Cracking up laughing. "What the!" I scream.
"I got you guys good," he smiles.
I raise my hand and bring it down hard on his face. His eyes widen in surprise. "I cant believe you did that! How can you joke around like that?" I demand.
He swims over to the edge and snatches Katy up. He drags her in the water as she lets out a little yelp. "Come on Carl," I wave my hand for him to join us.
He takes off his shirt and jumps in beside me. This causes water to splash me in the face. I shut my eyes just in time and have to spit out water. He pops out of the water beside me. His long hair is stuck to his face. He shakes his head really fast and water flings out of it. When it lands it is already drier. "I'm going for a dive," I tell him.
I take a deep breath and duck under the water. I paddle my arms and kick my legs until I am so far down that the water is probably only 60 degrees. I sit there and look around even though I cant really see anything. It is just a brown and black blur. After a minute or so my throat and chest starts to hurt so I float back up to the surface. I pop up beside Carl. I see Katy and Mark on the other side of the pond, kissing. I find it awkward to look at them so I look back at Carl. "Are you almost done Izzy?"
"Almost," I smile.
I cup my hand and splash water at him. He cringes back before hitting me with water. We continue pelting water at each other, laughing uncontrollably. I flick one last bit of water at him. He garbs my hand and pulls me to him. His arms wrap around my waste and he touches his lips to mine. Its a nice feeling. Being in the water in Carl's arm, with our lips touching. He lets me go and I smile. "Yeah, I'm ready."
He smiles too and drags me to the edge. We climb out and Katy and Mark follow. I put my nice gray tank top on over my soaking wet, white one and grab my things. Everyone else grabs there things and we walk back to the road, each and everyone of us drenched in pond water.