Lies, Cheats, and Secrets That Were Meant to be Kept

"It was ten years after the endless war had ended, and Akira was too busy figuring out how to put on her blue jumpsuit properly to realize that she was late."


5. So-Called Poison, Bad Grades, and Lessons That Needn't be Taught

Earth; The United States of America. August 27, 2014


   After Henry left, I wasn't exactly sure what I was thinking. Was I just cranky because of my mom's lecture? Or was it, maybe, the fact that Jenna texted Henry?

   I sat in silence, but it didn't last too long. I heard a knock on the door. "What?" I snapped irritably.

   "Hey," my mom said softly. "I'm sorry I got so mad earlier, I just need to make sure that one bad grade isn't going to stop you from . . . um, you know, whatever you end up doing."

   "I already told you what I want to do."

   "But writing is so . . . impractical," she sighed.

   "How so?"

   "No offense, sweetie, but I don't-"

   "Think I can write well enough to get published. Okay." I turned away from my mother angrily. I waited for her to apologize, but it never came. After a few moments, she walked out, and I was left alone with my thoughts.

   I heard a buzz and looked down at my bed. My mom had left her phone in here. I tried not to read it, but I couldn't help myself. "Update on Chartenia Calhoun successfully sent," I whispered, reading the message. Update?

   Hands shaking slightly, I unlocked her phone and checked the memory. Her recentest app opened was  her email. 




Subject: Update 14.8.4; August 27; Eight Grade Year

   Chartenia Calhoun is showing signs of mood swings - gets offended easily, cries when not agreed with, happy one minute, completely isolated the next, etc. She seemed upset when her "friend" Henry Harrison was interacting with another female. Jealousy, most likely. This is a significant blockade that must be overcome before the deadline.


   I could not believe my mother. What the heck did that mean? I ran downstairs.

   "Mom?" I called.


   "What is this . . . email thing?" I showed her the phone.

   "Oh. Um . . . that. Here, I'm almost done with dinner, one sec." She tossed the pasta once more and put it on a plate.

   "Pasta? Again?" I teased.

   "It's your fault; you're the one who made me buy four different kinds last week," she said, not as jokingly as I'd hoped for. I took the plate from her and dug in quietly as she poured us water. I turned around to ask her a question when I saw her pour something I didn't recognize in my drink. I jerked back when she grabbed the glasses. She walked over and carefully handed the contaminated drink. I eyed it suspiciously. "Drink up," she said sweetly, horribly reminding myself of Dolores Umbridge.

   I took a bite of pasta. "So what was that about?"

   "Take a drink. I'm sure you're thirsty, being in your room all day," she insisted.

   "You know," I laughed nervously, "I'm really in more of a soda mood."

   Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Drink water first. It's healthier." I looked down at the slightly tinged water. "Go on," she urged, eyes narrowing even more.

   Thinking quickly, I brought the water to my lips, but kept them firmly shut.

   My mother laughed forcibly. "What is wrong with you? Just drink the water!"

   Help me, I thought as I took a small sip.




   "There, you see?" my mother laughed. "I have brownies on the counter. You can have one, but make it small because those are for work. I need to finish some paper work." She excused herself and took the remaining of her dinner into her office and shut the door.

   I dumped the water in the sink and went back to my room upstairs. After barely a second of staring at my finished homework, I accidentally fell asleep.

   Funny, though, because it was only seven o'clock, and I wasn't tired.

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