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Hidden Illusions Chapter 6

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Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:59 pm
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tigershark17 says...

Melanie sat and stared at the calendar hanging above her desk. Since getting home from Jordan’s three hours earlier, she hadn’t done anything but wait for Miranda’s email. At 1:00 am, she finally heard the little ding! that told her Miranda had sent something. A chat window popped up and she rapidly scanned Miranda’s message.
Hey. I’m ok, but they want me 2 come back in 2 wks for a pregnancy test.
Oh right, Melanie typed back. I’m so sorry. What will you do if… if that happens?
Oh jeez, I don’t know. I don’t even want to think about that. Can I talk 2 u?
Um, now? I don’t have a phone…
Can we meet somewhere?
Melanie quickly gave her directions to the lake, telling her she’d meet her in half an hour. They walked straight to the tree house. Melanie climbed up and threw down a knotted rope to help Miranda up.
“Does your dad know yet?”
“No, he won’t be back until the first.”
“Of May? Wow, that’s…
“I know. He’s gone a lot. My mom doesn’t want to tell him until he gets back.”
“Are you serious?” Melanie covered her mouth with her hands. A few moments silence passed before Melanie spoke again. “Can I ask you something? Is your father kind of… controlling?”
Every muscle in Miranda’s body seemed to tense as her eyes went wide and she gaped at Melanie. “How did you know?”
“I can see it in you. I can see parts of me in you.”
It was the first time Melanie had ever opened up to anyone about her father, and she felt the release in her heart. Miranda took her hands and compassion filled her eyes.
“Tell me.”
Melanie’s face filled with fear and she drew back. She saw the hurt in Miranda’s eyes, but she stood and turned her back, facing out of the tree house into the wind. Several minutes dragged by, and she never even heard Miranda get up. The girl’s arms reached around Melanie and hugged her. Melanie couldn’t stop the tears from falling as she realized that it was the first time anyone had ever reached for her. She returned the gesture and the two stood there crying over the shared pain they both knew.
“Come with me,” Melanie told her. As the house came into view, Melanie’s heart pounded, and she sneaked a glance at Miranda, who was walking calmly beside her. Thankfully, her friend hadn’t picked up on her fear.
“Wait here.” Melanie climbed up and scanned her bedroom quickly, locked the door, and then called her up. They sat down on her bed, and Miranda just looked at her, waiting.
“My dad…” Melanie stopped. She had never told anyone about her father. What if Miranda told someone?
“You can trust me.”
Melanie smiled sadly. “Do you read minds?”
“No. Just eyes.”
Melanie began her story a few minutes later.
“I was a year old when things started happening. I think my father was always an alcoholic, but it never got really bad until then.” Hugging her knees to her chest, she rocked back and forth and told the story softly. “My mom was five months pregnant with my baby sister, Alana. They had an argument. He was drunk, and… she was carrying laundry downstairs…” Melanie gasped for air. “He pushed her… down the stairs… and killed Alana…”
“Oh, Melanie,” her friend cried, covering her mouth with her hands.
“I think that’s when he started hitting my mom,” she whispered. “And he must have started on me soon after, because I pretty much remember him always being like that.”
Miranda looked horrified. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I can’t imagine what that must be like for you, trying to live some semblance of a normal life with all that going on. My father… I mean, he’s pretty aggressive, but not like that.”
Melanie began to look nervous again, and Miranda put a hand on her arm.
“Don’t worry. I’m not gonna say anything.”
“I know, I just… I’ve never told anyone before. Well… at least not anyone who could say something about it.”
“What do you mean?”
“I told Kaylie a few years ago, but… she’s gone. She died sophomore year.”
Miranda sighed, her eyes conveying the pain she felt.
“You two were really close?” It was more a statement than a question. Melanie leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes.
“We were soul sisters.”
“And it tore you apart when she died,” Miranda whispered. They were both silent for a moment and then the sound of gravel split the air. Melanie jumped from the bed, pulling Miranda with her.
“That’s my dad.”
Miranda nodded understandingly. “I’ll go,” she said, and then threw her arms around Melanie, hugging the girl until the front door slammed. The she was gone, her figure merging into the darkness. Melanie lay across her bed and slapped the light on her clock. 4:00 am. She had to get up in an hour and a half anyway; it wasn’t worth going to bed. She got to school earlier than usual that morning, and saw Chloe at her locker. Melanie hesitated for a moment, trying to think of what to say, and then Chloe turned and saw her.
“Where have you been?” they asked simultaneously, then smiled.
“You first,” Melanie told her.
“I didn’t see you at lunch the day after Amanda’s performance.”
“I had to study. But I haven’t seen you in like, two weeks.”
Chloe shrugged. “We took a vacation. And when I got back, well, Britt’s busy with singing and Mark, and you haven’t been there, so… it got kind of boring with just me and Amanda. By the way, what is up with Miranda? She goes from treating Brittaney like her personal slave girl to totally ignoring her!”
“Chloe she’s… been through a lot lately.”
“Oh, now you’re defending her?”
Melanie was taken aback. “Chloe, what’s gotten into you? You’ve never been judgmental like this.”
Chloe rolled her eyes. “Should I tell the other we’re back on for lunch today?”
“Oh, are we doing lunch again?” a voice behind Melanie asked. Chloe plastered on a smile and answered yes. Brittaney and Mark joined the two and were soon discussing details with Chloe about a different class project. Melanie ducked out as Miranda came up to her. They hugged briefly.
“Did you get home okay?”
“Yeah. My mom didn’t even wake up when I came in.”
Melanie nodded. “When does your dad get back, again?”
“Um, the first of May. Exactly one month.”
“Miranda, what happens if…” Melanie stopped. Could she even ask?
“If he got me pregnant?”
Melanie paused and then nodded.
“I think she would call him home if things got that bad. Hey, do you want to come over tonight?”
“Oh, um, let me think about that. I just need to talk to someone first.”
Miranda frowned a bit. “Do you have something else going on?”
“Well… yeah, but…”
“No, Melanie. Don’t cancel anything for me.”
“Well, it’s just…”
“It doesn’t matter,” Miranda cut her off again. “I don’t want you to jeopardize anything you have going on just to hang out with me.”
Melanie agreed reluctantly and Miranda smiled.
“Where are you going?”
Melanie pulled her a little farther away from Chloe and the others. “Promise me you won’t say anything.”
Miranda drew her index finger and thumb across her lips, shaking her head.
“Well, I’ve been kind of hanging out with Jordan some night for the last few weeks.”
Miranda smiled. “I know.”
“He told you?” she asked almost frantically.
“Melanie, relax. No one else knows.”
“Oh. Are you two… close?”
“Yeah. We always have been.”
Miranda saw the look in Melanie’s eyes and immediately realized her mistake. Impulsively, she grabbed the girl’s hands was about to assure her it wasn’t like that when her phone buzzed, and she apologized as she quickly texted her mother back. “She’s been one me constantly since it happened, and now she’s trying to get the doctors to move my appointment up… She texts me all day long… it’s ridiculous.” Miranda fumbled with her phone. “Well, not ridiculous, I guess, I just… I just wish she cared a little more, you know?” She finally met Melanie’s eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” Melanie whispered. The bell rang a second later, and Chloe called out the normal lunch time and place as she rushed by. Melanie planned on talking to her later, but she didn’t see her until lunch. When she walked into the library, it was completely empty. She set her tray down and browsed through a few books before Chloe stepped in.
“Oh good, you’re here.” Her tone was calm, but Melanie detected a hint of bitterness behind her voice.
“Hey. I was gonna talk to you in PE but you weren’t there. Did you skip?”
Chloe scowled. “Everyone skips PE, Mel. It’s not like it’s a big deal.”
“You weren’t in English either,” Melanie said softly.
Chloe glared and was about to say something as Amanda walked in.
“Hey. Where were you in math this morning?”
Melanie raised her eyebrows, but Chloe just shrugged.
“I had to go do something.”
The answer seemed to satisfy Amanda, who had also skipped a few classes lately to get in a little extra practice and the small rink near the school. Melanie’s eyes skimmed over Chloe’s bright orange sweatshirt, jeans, and aqua blue hair accessories. At least her friends was still her old self when it came to clothes. Brittaney joined them, and by the way her eyes were still sparkling, Melanie guessed she had been with Mark. Surprisingly, no one mentioned him, but launched into discussion about getting Brittaney to perform again, and the latest history test. As soon as they were finished, Chloe disappeared. Melanie followed her on impulse. She slipped into the bathroom just as the bell rang. Melanie took the next stall and saw Chloe’s lime green shoes sink away from the wall until she was on the floor. Then she heard the music blasting into her friend’s ears and sighed. Sneaking back out was simple; Chloe’s music drowned out everything. She never saw her friend slip out, or come back in again during last period to see her still sitting there. After school Melanie approached her and asked if she was doing okay. Chloe’s lips drew tightly across her face, but then she faked a smile.
“I’m fine. Why do you ask?”
Melanie sighed. “Never mind,” she said, just as Jordan appeared.
“Hey. See you tonight,” he called as he passed.
“Who was that?”
“Um, a friend.”
Chloe raised her eyebrows. “How good of a friend?”
“He’s just a friend, Chloe.”
“Where are you going?”
“I can’t tell you that,” Melanie said quietly.
Chloe sighed. “You know, Melanie, why don’t you come talk to me when you’re ready to start sharing things again?” She gathered up her books and slung her backpack over her shoulder. “We used to tell each other everything. You never tell me anything anymore, and I don’t what’s between you and Miranda, but suddenly you’re all buddy-buddy with her? I’ve just about had it.” Chloe looked near tears as she walked off. Melanie could do nothing as her friend disappeared into the crowd, but figured it was probably better to give her time to cool off anyway. As soon as she got home, Melanie sat down to finish her homework. It was then that she noticed it. Another small, brown fragment of glass, this time by her closet doors. Her heart pounded as she got up and went over to it. Several more like it littered the area behind her door. Melanie gasped aloud when she looked up. The door was cracked open.
Behind every impossible achievement is a dreamer of impossible dreams.
--Robert Greenleaf

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Gender: Female
Points: 1690
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Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:39 am
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Sonotmybirthday says...

ok, I read this a while ago and knew there was something i wanted to say, but i couldn't figure out how to articulate it. The other day I realized what was missing from this chapter...Jordan!!!! in the other chapters he was much more involved and his involvement is cute and as the reader we REALLY want to see him be more involved because it's good for Melanie and he seems to make her happy. Without him the chapter seemed to drag (to me at least) and I got kinda bored toward the end. so I guess my advice is: MORE JORDAN...which sounds terrible so maybe i should just stop talking ;) keep up the good work and let me know when chapter 7 is out and about :)

I’ll paraphrase Thoreau here... Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness, give me truth.
— Christopher Johnson McCandless