Too Young

Ireland's parents had always told her and her brother that love doesn't exist, which led to the rule of them not being allowed to date. Choosing to disregard her parents decision, she finds the first person who makes her feel special, Declan Johnson. But, while looking for the love she's never received, she becomes a victim.

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2. Chapter Two;

Fortunately, I sit a row in front of Declan in band, so he has no time to question me on the fight with Nolan. I could tell on our short walk to the band room that he was either feeling very awkward in the situation or wanted to know what the hell is wrong with me. He’s probably thinking that I’m some crazy girl who talks way too much, is way too secretive, and way too nosy. Great.

I can’t get my mind off of the brief argument with Nolan. Because of this, I barely hear the band director, Mr. Dicks say, "The piece that I am passing around will be to determine your chairs- and will be played next week as individuals. I have underlined which excerpt you will be playing. This year there are two oboes and two piccolo players. You will play for who gets to keep the seat. Obviously, whoever does not win will play either the clarinet or flute. Whoever does not win will have to play once again to determine their seat among their new instrument." My heart begins to race, but just slightly. I feel nervous. I’ve always felt nervous when we battle for chairs, but I’ve already beaten all of these girls. Usually, they don’t battle a second time.

Due to the fact that I have a very small mouth, I have always been much more fit for playing the piccolo than the flute. While I’m also quite good at the flute (I assume that I would be first chair if I chose to play that instead), when playing the piccolo, the player’s mouth has to be much tighter than that of the flautist’s mouth, making it inherently easier for me to play. The girl directly to my left sticks her hand in front of me, introducing herself by saying, “Maya.” Her blue eyes mirror my own, but her hair is a dark, clearly dyed at home, brown color. Mine is a reddish-orange color, somehow known as copper blonde.

I take her hand and shake, "Ireland. Are you a freshman? I haven’t seen you around before." This would explain why someone is challenging me. Being as Maya is two years younger than me, I’ve never had the opportunity to play with her in a band.

"Yeah. I’ve played the flute since sixth grade, but I'm pretty new with the piccolo. Should be fun!" She’s bubbly, and I’m unsure if I like her yet or not. Either way, it’s a relief to me to hear that she’s new with the piccolo. Plus, I already played piccolo for Mr. Dicks last year, so she’ll have to be very good to beat me. 

I sit through English, Spanish, and Pre-Calculus (all talking about that same damned handbook) before having another class with Declan. It’s our eighth period study hall, which happens to be the last class of the day. We have it in our semi-large auditorium, and because we are sat in alphabetical order, Declan sits beside me. Our teacher happens to be Mr. Williams, who, as aforementioned, is the meanest teacher in our school, and he makes us all sit with one seat in between us. I watch Declan as he messes around with his phone. I notice that he alternates between unlocking it and relocking it roughly every thirty seconds. He also cracks his knuckles quite often, which earns him strict looks from Mr. Williams. I hate it when people crack their knuckles. Declan notices me watching him and smiles at me. My face heats up and I turn away quickly.

After forty-two minutes of switching between strangely watching Declan and pretending that I wasn’t when I get caught by him, the final bell rings dismissing us from our classes. The hallways instantly become loud, the sound of approximately four hundred voices excited to have their first day of school over with. Declan falls into step beside me, as is almost natural for him at this point, because he’s done it all day. When we’re approaching our lockers, I ask him, "How did you like your first day?" It’s a big question, something that my parents used to always ask me when I was younger.

He shrugs, "It was okay. Besides you, I didn't really make any other friends. Maybe tomorrow," he pauses, looking away from me and straight ahead of us. "Is that your brother at our lockers?" 

Undeniably, Nolan is standing next to my locker, leaning on his right leg, a clear indication that his left ankle is very bothered from the day of walking- well, limping in his case- around. I roll my eyes and groan, feeling extremely frustrated with him. "Are you sure everything is okay with you two, Ireland?" 

His question not only confuses me, but it also infuriates me even further. I have no rhyme or reason to be upset with Declan, but when Nolan does this with me, my emotions go haywire. Obviously, this is just something that Declan doesn’t even know about, so I can't rightly be upset with him at all. However, I didn't want to talk about it earlier, so clearly I don't want to now. As much as I wear my heart on my sleeve, I don’t want to talk to a basic stranger about Christian. I don’t even want to talk to the two closest people to me about him. Nolan and Lily are the only people I've ever talked to about the passing, as my parents hardly cared anyways. But Lily and I firmly decided that we wouldn’t be talking about it anymore.

"I already told you I'm fine, Declan. My brother is just waiting for me.” The annoyance in my voice wards him off, and I feel sort of bad for this. Actually, I feel more embarrassed. If Declan thought that I was some crazy girl before, he definitely thinks that I’m a full on psycho now. I huff loudly and turn the other way, deciding to just avoid going to my locker. I have no choice but to accept the fact that I’ll have nothing to take home for the night. However, I highly doubt either of my parents will notice this. They aren’t exactly the best parents. I walk to the bus instead of to Nolan’s car, which I had come to school in this morning. I’m not too worried that he’ll be waiting for me. He already knew that I wouldn’t be going to the cemetery with him. He had to have known.

As soon as I arrive home, I go up the small set of stairs to my bedroom, pulling my phone out of my bag to look up what time it is in London: 8:23 PM. I decide that Lily can take a call right now. After 3 rings, she answers. "Hello? Ireland?"

"Hey, doll, what's up?" 

I can hear her smile through the phone. "Hi! How was school? I miss you so much! I'm about to start in a few days." She doesn’t sound as happy now. I know that she’s dreading going to a new school. Even more than I was dreading going to school without her this morning.

"Good, great,” I exclaim, laughing, just happy to be talking to her. “We got a new kid. Declan is his name." 

"He cute?"

I laugh, of course this is the first question that Lily would ask. She’s always been a little boy crazy. But I answer her anyways. "Gorgeous, Lily- with a capital G." 

It's so nice to be able to talk to Lily. She tells me that she was able to enroll in the honor classes at her new school but has to do a shit ton of homework to catch up with all of the work that had to be done over the break. "I've only got about a week to get what they had six weeks to do. The British school system is so strange," she says and begins to explain the weird terms and vacations.

All too soon, we have to get off the phone (“Lily! I can hear you from my bedroom!” “Whatever, dad! I’m talking to my BEST FRIEND who you tore me away from so suddenly,” “Off of the phone right now!”). Her dad had used that stern voice that Lily swears she’s only heard three times before. “That means that I have to go.”

I sigh, sad that even forty minutes seems like no time when your best friend is forever away. But, still, I lay down in my silk blankets and think that maybe this year won't be as terrible as I had originally thought.  

"Ireland. Wake up, it's time for dinner," I hear my mother’s rough voice call at the door, knocking ferociously. 

"Coming," I call back to her, my voice hoarse, while stretching my limbs. I check my phone for the time- 7:21 PM. Unfortunately, I slept for nearly three hours and know that there is a zero percent chance that I'll be able to get to sleep on time tonight. This frustrates me because I can already feel how tired I’m going to be in school tomorrow.

I walk downstairs and see Nolan's tear-stained face and manage to look away the second he catches my eye. I understand that he would like to talk to someone, but I can’t be the one who he can talk to. Neither can Lily, as they decided to stop talking to one another nearly immediately after the accident. He needs to understand me like I understand him. And, no one else was any bit close with him enough to truly get Nolan's despair. I had suggested that he see a therapist, but he insists that I should need to see one as much as he does. Lily, too.

Christian was a muscular boy for our age. Even though he was a year older than me, he and I always could be found flirting with one another, to the annoyance of Nolan and Lily, even though they also flirted all of the time. The four of us hung out constantly, until a year ago today. Last year on this day, it was the day before my first day of high school, and no matter how hard I try to forget it, I can remember every detail of that day, and I find myself waking up most nights from reliving it over and over again. It’s surprising that I fell asleep so quickly after school today, because I’ve had a really hard time sleeping for a year, now. I always dream about Christian, and I can’t bear it. So, I don’t really sleep.

I shake any thoughts of him from my head. I do not need to deal with this today. I take my usual seat at our four chair dinner table, where there used to be enough room for six, seeing as my house was the hang-out place, but once Lily moved away, my parents decided to downsize- especially because our kitchen is so small. 

Overall, our house is quite tiny. We aren't poor by any means, but we aren’t the richest people either. We always get new clothes for each school year, are provided with the best technology, and have plenty of food in the fridge at all times. However, when my parents bought their house, they never anticipated having children, and they’ve never considered moving into a bigger house. They're the only people I know who accidentally get pregnant twice. The worst part is that they are not shy about the fact that they did not intend to have children.

My mother is incredibly well-composed- especially in comparison to my father, who is more boho than anything. He's a hippie, who doesn't have a job and spends his days volunteering at the homeless shelter, while my mother is a very successful lawyer- which is where our money comes from. The two equal out to us being a middle-middle-class family.

When it comes to looks, Nolan is an uncanny carbon copy of our mother. His dark features replicate hers, and they both have almost tan, olive colored skin. My dad and I have the stereotypical Irish features: a pale complexion and red hair. As far as relationships go in the family, Nolan has a sensitive spot for my mother, wishing to please her in every manner- well, except for the fact that he’s dating Emily, but he would never tell her that. But, she is as unpleasable as a cat in the bathtub. My father isn’t actually home much, so we don’t have incredibly tight bonds to him. As for my mother and I, we don’t get along in the slightest.

Dinner, as usual, is quiet, with only the same talk we have every night.

Always, "How was your day?"

Always, "Fine. How about yours?"

This is followed with whatever case my mother is fascinated with for the week and any news of if she will be leaving, with me being obviously annoyed and Nolan acting extremely interested. Then, my father discusses his work with the church at the shelter, and then talks about whatever missions trip he will be attending for the month. Of course, my mother finances these mostly, but there is some help from the church. No one else in my family is religious, and my father doesn’t pressure Nolan or I to go ever. I don’t know if he pressures my mother.

Next weekend, he says, he will be going to Michigan to help build a homeless shelter before winter comes. It’s surprising news to my mother, who is unhappy because she also will be gone next weekend.

Truthfully, dinner time isn’t much of delving into one another’s lives as it is them updating us on when they’ll be home. Which, most of the time, they aren’t.

"Looks like you two will be alone next week. No wild parties," she says, slightly laughing and I instantly touch the long scar that stretches across the left side of my stomach, hatred flaring inside of me at her laughing. Seeing as Nolan and I have only ever done one illegal thing and both have permanent reminders of this, she knows that we won't be doing anything wrong. I hear Nolan choke back tears, and I’m furious with her. Instead of showing this anger, I just say "Of course, mother," and allow for dinner to finish in silence, wrapping my foot around Nolan’s. He stops crying for a little bit.

I tell Nolan to go to bed early, and that I will take care of his chores for him. He begins to protest, but is so drained from the day that he doesn’t have enough energy to give any decent argument. Besides, I can’t help him emotionally, so I figure that this is the best that I can do for him. Sighing, I can’t help but to wonder when it was that I became the most mature in the house. After finishing cleaning the kitchen and living room, I go to my room. I’m still restless so I clean my bedroom and then mine and Nolan's bathroom.

I began compulsively cleaning about nine months ago, as my own way of coping. My school stuff seems to still be a mess, and I feel like I lose even more than I did before, but cleaning gives me some sense of control over my life.

I look at the time on my phone and still don’t feel tired, so I decide that it’s best if I just climb into my bed and await sleep’s beautiful mind-numbing, time-stopping qualities, even if it comes in an unpleasant manner.

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