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Hidden Illusions Chapter 7

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Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:07 am
tigershark17 says...

The stairs creaked and Melanie jumped up, locking the door again. She stood behind it, her heart threatening to leap out of her chest at any moment. The doorknob rattled. She jumped. And then she heard the sound of what could only be one thing. A key. Melanie did the only thing she could. She dashed into the closet, pulling down the clothes on top of her, hoping her father would be too drunk to notice. He grunted as he pushed the door open and swayed into the room. Melanie held her breath.

He wobbled over to the window, beer in hand. Melanie could feel her face going cold. Her head throbbed. Then the glass smashed and she heard her father fumbling around her dresser. He must have stumbled on something, because it slammed into the wall. She covered her mouth. Her chest felt as if it would split any moment. He was walking around the room. His hand pounded across the wooden closet doors and she jumped, forcing her face farther down into the musty carpet. He patted her bed and rattled her dresser drawers. Then he was gone.

Melanie forced herself to let out the air slowly. Black spots leaped before her eyes. She inched the doors open, then shot back. He was standing a few feet away, just outside the door, at the top of the stairs. He seemed to almost be thinking of where he was going as he rocked from one foot to another. Then she heard him pound clumsily down the stairs. She waited until she heard the sound of the front door and then went into action. Locking the door seemed almost pointless now, but she did, and then scanned the room for something to barricade the door. Finally, she settled on her dresser.

It was heavy, and it took her several minutes to move it, but she finally got it completely lodged in place. She picked up her pen to start and homework again and realized her hands were trembling. In fact, her entire body was trembling. She brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs in a half-attempt to stop shaking and forced herself to breathe in and out. She was so hot she thought she might pass out. The room began to spin and Melanie’s face felt as if someone was pricking it with hundreds of tiny needles. Suddenly chills racked her body, and she shivered, trying to catch her breath. She could hear her short, ragged breaths, coming in small gasps, but it didn’t feel like she was breathing at all. She was cold, but sweating. Her chest felt like it might split again, but this time it was different. She couldn’t breathe. It throbbed. She gasped as the twirling room flung her onto her mattress. For a moment she wondered if she might die. Was she having a heart attack? A moan escaped her lips.

Then it all began to fade and Melanie lay there as her chest released, allowing her to breathe again, and the room finally slowed, then stood still altogether. She could breathe again. A few moments later she realized she was literally panting for breath as if she had just run several miles. Once her respiratory abilities had returned to normal, Melanie got up to check the time. She was shocked to see that it was almost time to meet Jordan. As she took off her shirt to put on her bathing suit, Melanie stood in front of the mirror, checking to make sure she didn’t need to cover her scar again. She sighed, wishing she wasn’t so tall and scrawny, wishing she was a bit prettier. Then she realized what had just happened. Since when have I cared about that? she thought, pulling on her jeans and a hoodie.

She waited until Jordan had left, and then climbed down. It shocked her to realize that her stomach was a bit fluttery, and as she got further away from the house, she felt herself beginning to relax a little. Being away from the house never gave her those feeling; Melanie knew there was more than that. Was she actually beginning to trust Jordan?
“Hey.” He startled her out of her thoughts. She greeted him, and it was only a few minutes before they were in the water together.
“Jordan, I think we need to talk.”
“Okay.” He looked at her curiously.
“I don’t think we should be swimming together anymore.”
“Why not?” he asked, obviously surprised.
“I don’t want to jeopardize anything between you and Miranda.”
He frowned, unsure of her meaning. “There… isn’t anything between us.”
Now it was Melanie’s turn to be surprised. “Oh. You’re not… dating her?”
“Gosh, no.”
“She said you were really close…”
Realization struck Jordan suddenly, and he grinned, a bit amused at the whole conversation. “I think I need to explain something, don’t I?”
Melanie nodded and shivered, only just realizing that they had been in the water for over half an hour.
“Why don’t you get dressed and we’ll go back to my house?”
“You parents won’t mind?”
He grinned mischievously and shrugged. “They’re sleeping.”
Melanie attempted to pull on her jeans, but it was a hopeless task while she was wet. Her feet slipped several times, and the last time sent her jeans flying right into the water. She sighed, and Jordan handed over his towel, his dark eyes dancing with laughter. Melanie felt her cheeks grow a bit warmer as he wrapped it around herself and grabbed her clothes. Jordan was surprised to see the kitchen light on as they walked in. He glanced around, but no one appeared to be up.
“Wait here,” he said, and disappeared around the corner. He came back a few moments later with an armful of clothes, and held his other arm out towards the stairs.
“Shall we?”
She followed him into his bedroom and he handed her a pair of navy blue sweat pants.
“These are my mom’s. They should work for you. Bathroom’s right around the corner.”
When she came back in he was standing by his dresser, back to her, rifling through a drawer. His skin was tanner than hers, she thought, and then blushed when she realized he wasn’t wearing a shirt and she was staring.
Don’t be an idiot, she thought. You see him shirtless all the time.
He moved down a drawer and gaze wandered across his arms, bare and muscular.
Only in the water, she countered herself, and that’s different.
Jordan shut the drawer and turned, looking at her curiously. Melanie blushed furiously when she realized she’d been caught staring. He handed her a large blue sweatshirt. “This is the smallest thing I have.” Melanie took it, grateful for anything to cover her face with. They sat down on his giant rug, and he pulled his own shirt on.
“So. What exactly did Miranda tell you?”
“She said you two have always been really close.”
He nodded thoughtfully.
“Have you always known her?”
Jordan nodded again. “Yep. She’s my sister.”
Melanie gaped, sure she had heard him wrong. “Miranda’s your sister? But… how is that… possible?”
“My parents died in a car crash. We were on the way to the hospital, actually. My mother died upon impact, my father soon after. Miraculously, Randy and I were both delivered successfully.”
Melanie smiled at the nickname. Then it hit her. “You’re twins!”
He nodded. “But no one wanted two kids. So we were adopted by separate families. They met each other and realized that they lived close, and the agency figured it was the best possible arrangement for us.”
“Wow. So then, do Aiden and Hayley…?”
“Aiden knows. Hayley doesn’t. My mom was planning on telling her soon, but then…”
Melanie was quiet for a minute. “He’ll go to jail, won’t he?”
Jordan clenched his jaw and his left hand curled into a fist beside him.
“They can’t find him. They think he may have left the state.”
“He disappeared the day after it happened. He wasn’t in school the next day, no one in his family knows a thing, and the were shocked to hear he’d raped a girl.” Jordan’s eyes grew dark as he spoke, and Melanie realized she’d never seen him angry. It startled her, and Jordan must have noticed because his eyes softened and he looked at her.
“They moved her appointment up,” he told her.
“A week from tomorrow.”
“That soon? Can the tests detect that early?”
He shrugged. “They should be able to.”
Melanie stared at the rug, thinking. Jordan was quiet too, and after a minute or two, Melanie felt his hand beneath her chin. He tilted her face upwards until she was looking at him.
“What’s on your mind?”
“Do you remember the first time we swam, and you told me… about panic attacks?” she asked him quietly. Jordan nodded, and a concerned looked crossed his face.
“Another one?”
She nodded. “I felt like I was having a heart attack.” Melanie’s eyes were wide and scared as she looked up at him, and Jordan felt a sudden wave of protectiveness wash over him. He wanted to hold her, but somehow sensed that it was not the right time.
“There are medications…”
Melanie shook her head. “There’d be no way for me to get a prescription. My mom hates doctors.”
“And your father…”
Jordan thought carefully. “Would you ever think about… me taking you down there? We’ve got a really good doctor. My mom could come too, if you want.”
Melanie was surprised by his request and the fact that he was really that concerned about her, but accepted it as a possibility.
“Is your concern only for medical reasons?” she asked, surprising both of them.
“No, I…” He looked straight at her. “Melanie, I want to ask you something.”
She nodded, fairly certain of the direction this conversation was heading.
“Would you consider… going out with me?”
Melanie sighed. “I…”
“It’s okay if you don’t want to, I just…”
“No, I do want to. I just… don’t know if I can.”
“Oh.” Jordan rubbed his chin. “Are you not allowed?”
Melanie shook her head. “It’s not that.”
Jordan was no mind reader, she knew. He didn’t have a clue what was going on. So what was she going to tell him if she refused to open up but had just told him that even though she could go out and wanted to, she couldn’t?
“Then what?”
She stared back at him, a bewildered, almost scared look on her face. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “God, Jordan, my life’s such a wreck right now…”
He nodded, beginning to understand. “Is that why you said what you did about Randy?”
Melanie frowned in confusion, so he continued.
“You know, when you said you understood the whole… controlling mother, absent father thing.”
She didn’t bother to correct the details of that statement just yet, but only nodded.
“I can’t help her there. God gave me amazing parents.” He paused. “Do you believe in God, Melanie?”
“I think that’s a longer conversation for a different time.”
Jordan took his cure and let the subject drop temporarily. Melanie glanced at the clock.
“I should probably get home now.”
Jordan nodded, but was still just sitting there looking at her.
“Jordan, I… I want to thank, for everything you’ve done for me.”
“For what?”
“Just for… being sweet, for being here, to talk and… for being a friend.”
“Is that all you see me as, Melanie? Just a friend?”
Melanie was surprised by the question, and her cheeks warmed a little before she answered.
“No.” She seemed about to say something else, but then stopped and Jordan held out his hand. They stood.
“We’ll talk more tomorrow.” He handed her her clothes.
“I’ll bring your mom her clothes back, too.”
He grinned. “She’ll appreciate that.”
As soon as Melanie got to school the next morning, she went down to the music room. Brittaney often rehearsed down there before school, and Melanie loved listening to her. Mark had stepped into the hall for a moment when she got there, and Melanie decided to take advantage of the opportunity to talk to him.
“So how’re things going with you and Britt?”
“Pretty well.”
“Just pretty well? You guys are adorable together.”
The tips of Mark’s ears looked like someone had coloured them with a pink marker.
“She doesn’t like me like that.”
Melanie raised her eyebrows. “Have you talked to her about it?”
Just the thought made Mark squirm with embarrassment. He told Melanie as much.
“You should just talk to her. I think she likes you.”
In the end, she finally managed to convince him, but it took about the equivalent effort of writing a paper, Melanie thought. The bell rang and Mark hurried back in to help Brittaney carry her things. Chloe was back in class again, Melanie noticed. She was wearing the same outfit she had just worn yesterday, and yet… something looked different.
“Chloe… did you dye your hair?”
“Yeah, do you like it?”
Was she wearing makeup?
“Yeah, I… I do… it’s cute.”
“You don’t like it.”
“No, I do! I really do. I’m just… surprised.”
Chloe shrugged. “It’s the new me.” Her hair had gone from fiery red to a deep reddish brown, and from frizzy waves to completely straight. Melanie had to admit, her friend looked great.
“What did you do last night?”
“Um, I was just hanging out with Jordan. Why?”
“You were out till after midnight, Melanie!” she hissed. Almost everyone had left the locker room now.
“You’re not my mother, Chloe.” Melanie said the words without even thinking. A quick glance at her friend told her she was close to tears.
“Oh, Chloe.” Melanie reached for her friend. “I’m sorry.”
Chloe sighed. “Yeah. Me too.” But the words were flat as she grabbed her gym bag and left. Melanie still stood there, wondering what was happening to her friend.
Behind every impossible achievement is a dreamer of impossible dreams.
--Robert Greenleaf

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245 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 15440
Reviews: 245
Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:58 am
creativityrules says...

Hello there, Sharky! (May I call you Sharky? :D) Rose here to review for Review Team Yellow!

Wow. This piece was amazing. I rarely find writing like this on here; it drew me in and made me care about your character. I would love to read more of this. It's very, very good. Great work.

Still, I can usually always find something for someone to work on, and I won't make an exception with this piece. It has relatively few problems, but I'll point them out for consideration anyway.

She covered her mouth. Her chest felt as if it would split any moment. He was walking around the room. His hand pounded across the wooden closet doors and she jumped, forcing her face farther down into the musty carpet. He patted her bed and rattled her dresser drawers. Then he was gone.

This, in my opinion, seems just a tad choppy. Your writing wasn't like this throughout all the piece, so it isn't a huge problem, but I feel it would be better if improved. The choppiness of this piece is largely due to the overuse of overly simple sentences. If you combined a few of them, the writing in the choppier parts of this piece would flow and would make it an even more enjoyable read.

Other than that, there really aren't many problems I find with this piece.

The room began to spin and Melanie’s face felt as if someone was pricking it with hundreds of tiny needles. Suddenly chills racked her body, and she shivered, trying to catch her breath. She could hear her short, ragged breaths, coming in small gasps, but it didn’t feel like she was breathing at all. She was cold, but sweating.

The entire part of the story about the panic attacks was very well done. You gave me just enough details but didn't slather them on, and I could really imagine what your character was feeling. Nice job.

All in all, amazing work! I look forward to reading more of what you write.

Always keep writing!

“...it's better to feel the ache inside me like demons scratching at my heart than it is to feel numb the way a dead body feels when you touch it."

-Brian James

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Gender: Female
Points: 1690
Reviews: 11
Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:48 am
Sonotmybirthday says...

Oh MY GOSH!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH.....LOVE LOVE LOVE :) :) I can't believe how much i love Jordan :) he's so sweet...and the twins thing :shock: wow, didn't see that coming but it's sooooo perfect :) Oh how i wish my Mark liked me..but oh well. :? anywho really good!!! And at the moment i have nothing bad to say....but wait for it cus i'll probably think of something later :P

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am a man, I don't consider anything human foreign to me)
— Terence