|When In Doubt
Author: head-in-the-clouds-18 PM
Chelsea Hargan hoped to get all of her worries out of her mind while in London. Now, 5 yeares later, shes back and ready to show everybody what she's made of. NOT BASED ON BOOKRated: Fiction T - English - Words: 3,939 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 3 - Published: 08-01-09 - id: 5267532
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
October 24, 2004, 8:35 am
This is it, my last day here. You can do it. Chelsea Hagan thought to herself as she pushed through the heavy metal doors and into the bleak, teal hallways of St. Mary's Middle School. Pushing passed crowds of kids in over sized sweaters and tight jeans she managed to make her way over to 'her' group. Well, it wasn't really hers, she was the 'vice president' so to speak. Second in command only to Violet Bullhover. Which was never a bad thing because Chelsea and Violet were tighter than glue and paper. They knew all of each others secrets and had special connections none of the others had. Nobody, not even the other girls of their uber exclusive, tighter than spandex clique knew where Violet and Chelsea got all their Gucci and juicy stuff. The truth was, Chelsea really didn't know. Half the time she assumed they just went into Violets mom's closet. It was practically the size of a store.
Ellen, Violet's mom wouldn't notice. She never noticed Violet, she was to busy handling her time consuming job as a vice-president of a marketing firm. Deep down Chelsea always wished her mom didn't notice her, but being an only child, there isn't normally another person to pay attention to. Another reason she never let her eyes off of Chelsea was because Chelsea's dad was killed in a car accident when she was little. Now her paranoid mother was constantly scared of letting her daughter out of her sight. Chelsea secretly died to get away from the ever looming eye of her mother. It seemed like whenever she did something, her mom were always there to correct her, or show her how to do it properly. Walk like this, wear this like that, talk to him like this. She didn't give a crap! Didn't her mother get that? The society life her mother planned wasn't what she wanted. She had tried with Violet so many times to get kicked out, but her mother always seemed to save her ass. But what the hell, they tried and had fun doing it.
"Vie!" Chelsea greeted Violet first, then greeting every body else, only after Violet had responded. At St. Mary's, things had always been done a certain way. There was no public school board for this uber-smart school. It was all run by the half-blinded, dinosaur they called headmistress. Who didn't give a rats ass about who did what. As long as they got their funding. Okay, so that's not completely true. St. Mary's was a prestigious school and had to keep up it's status and reputation. No attention was to be drawn to the school, unless one of the students won an award of coarse. Then it was okay to give the press the royal treatment. But Chelsea never minded how the school was run. She lived like that, her mind functioning in lists
Get thought the day.
GO TO BED. EARLY MORNING!
"Chels, tell Emily that the pink doesn't look good with that orange, then give her something out of the closet. Kiss kiss." Violet commanded. Good Gawd she was bossy. That's why Chelsea was so willing to leave this hell hole the second the trip to stay with her aunt and uncle in England popped up.
Nobody knew about her trip. She didn't want to jeopardize the spot in her clique just to go away to London for two weeks! She had spent years working to get that spot. And even though she knew Violet would be mad, she couldn't bear to loose her BFF status to someone else.
May 15, 2009, 3:22pm (New York) or 8:22pm (London)
"AHHHH!" Chelsea heard her mother scream as she bounded down the stairs of the plane that held her captive for eight hours as it brought her back to reality. As if her entire (extended) stay in England had been nothing but a dream. Science lied though, her slight accent proved that I'd lived there for five short years
As her eyes adjusted to the light, she was nearly knocked to the ground by a tall, aging woman. Ugh, her mother. It wasn't that she despised her mother. Her mum was just to controlling. Never letting Chelsea leave the house without playing 20 Questions'. Tears spilling over her eyelids, Hannah Hagan squeezed Chelsea tightly nearly cutting the air flow to the brain.
Go home get ready/ unpack
Surprise friends at prom!
"It's so good to have you back baby!" her mother screeched, trying to control the tears running down her frail cheek bones. "oh my, mum, I missed you so much! England was bloody murder without you. I was always wondering how you were but, but, but-" Chelsea's slight British accent was shining through the tears gathering in her eyes.
"I know, isn't London enchanting?! Time just gets away from you doesn't it. Now come, come lets go home darling, I don't like airports and I have a surprise waiting for you."
"Mum, you didn't organize a party did you? I told you I didn't want anybody to know I was coming home. You know, so I can surprise them." She reminded her mother.
"Oh, right, right of coarse. But no, thats the surprise is not a party, it's better!"
Pressing her feet to on the brake, the car screeches to a halt and her mother looked right at her and said. "Chelsea Anne, why did you leave for so long?" Why did she leave for so long? Was it the horrible days at school? Was it her mother? Chelsea knew that deep down, she just needed to get away, clear her head. London was amazing and she couldn't bear to leave it, not her new friends, not her uncle and aunt, not even the over grown oak tree that shaded her as she read. Her time there, was just to perfect for words. She had everything she ever wanted. Not that she was a brat, she was just content with what she had. In all truth, Chelsea couldn't answer her mother, she wouldn't understand.
When they arrived home, Chelsea ran upstairs to her old room, taking the stairs two at a time. Breathing in the scent of her home, during lonely times in London, she longed to smell the scent that loomed the house. Now, taking a whiff, she felt fulfilled, like everything was still good. Like nothing could go wrong
Turning to the right, she pulled into her old room and let out a sigh of relief. Her room was the same. Except for the long, midnight blue dress sitting on her ivory bed spread. It was if someone had pulled it out of a fairy tale. It was, perfect. No lace or sequins. Which were something she'd come to avoid while in London. She was in a way, re-inventing herself. No longer was she preppy and trying to impress everybody. Now she was just, herself. No hair dye, just the same dark brown style, not much makeup (even less than she wore in the 7th grade). Now, she's back into the pit of pressure. Violets Clique.
Slide into dress
Arrive at prom.
May 15, 2009 7:12pm (New York) 1:12am (London)
Suddenly, as she sunk into the soft, well worn leather seats of her mothers car, she felt all of her confidence drain. What would happen if nobody remembers me? How will they know it's me? What if Violet has moved away ? But she told herself to keep going, that the only way to answer these questions was to go to prom and answer them herself. She realized this and put the car into gear.
Just at that moment, her mother walked out and screamed "What the hell are you doing!" Oops, she'd forgotten that she was no longer driving on the left side of the road. After a long discussion, her mum persuaded her that the dress would not look good with blood on it if she just so happened to forget where she was.
When the car came to a screeching halt in front of what should have been her high school, Chelsea got out and was instantly met by the blinding flash of photographers and the low chatter of other couples . Taking it all in, she took a breath and pushed the front doors open with such force, she knocked somebody on the other side over. On such adrenaline, she almost didn't stop to look at him.
He was beautiful, the kind of beauty that just didn't seem mortal. His hair was a dark, coffee colour and his eyes were melt your heart green. He reminded her of a boy she knew while in London.
"I'm so sorry!" she knelt down and said.
"No problem, just gimme a hand up and I'll forget what ever happened."
"Oh, okay" she replied and felt a blush creeping up her cheeks.
"Jeremy" He said and extended his hand to shake hers.
"Oh, Chelsea." she said in return.
"Is that an accent I hear?" He asked with a sweet tone of voice.
"Yea, I spent the last five years in London, England." she stated plainly.
"I can tell" He said, he looked deep into her eyes and for a moment, she forgot where she was and why she was there.
But reality came flooding back all at once and the silent sparks flying between the two people was ripped right in two by a loud, whiny voice of a young female. A small blond girl in a big, pink ball gown came rushing over. She flung herself into Jeremy's arms and let out a relieved sigh.
"I panicked because I couldn't find you." She cried to him, suddenly looking up and noticing for the first time, that Chelsea was there. "and who might you be?" She asked rudely
"This is Chelsea" Said Jeremy in an unnaturally deep voice. That prompted a giggle from Chelsea's lips. He was clearly trying to impress her. "And Chelsea, this is Emily Gilligan"
"No Shit!" Chelsea exploded, earning a strange stare from others in the hall.
"Yes Shit and if you don't mind I'd like to get back to the dance. See ya around Chelsea." When she said Chelsea's name, her already snobby tone became venomous.
"You honestly don't recognize me?" Chelsea asked, surprised.
"No." Emily sneered as if there had never been anything more obvious in her life.
"Well, I suppose you'll find out." she replied with a smirk and turn down the hall.
In the background Chelsea could hear Jeremy and Emily's conversation behind her.
"You were flirting"
"No, Em, you know I only have eyes for one girl."
"Sure. Now come on their waiting to take a group picture."
Then she heard Jeremy sigh and follow the prancing girl. Jeez, how did Emily become such a bitch? It almost made Chelsea scared to face Violet.
She took a moment to collect herself and turned around. She was lost. Chelsea had been wandering the oatmeal coloured corridor for a while. Looking for either the prom, or another human being. Preferably, one who won't try to size her up.
Hoping that it was okay, she walked into a room where she could hear two girls voices. Yes! The bathroom!
"Hey," Chelsea said, interrupting the girls mindless chatter "Do you know how to get to the prom?" she asked self-consciously. Hoping the pitiful act could arouse decent instructions.
One of the girls looked up. She had a kind face, brown eyes, glasses, freckles and strawberry blond hair that was pulled into a messy bun. "Yea sure. It's down the hall and on your right." She explained. A blush crept onto Chelsea's cheeks. She was defiantly closer that she thought.
"Thanks. I was a bit lost. I'm Chelsea" She explained and extend her hand.
"Leigha." The brown eyed girl saids.
"Molly." Said the other one. She had black hair laying limply around her face, a pale complection and hypnotizing green eyes.
"Well, I should get there. Nice to meet you, and thanks for the directions. Who knows how long I would have aimlessly wandered these bland halls." Chelsea joked and ducked out off the room.
* * * * *
Well, she made it. She swung open the gym doors and instantly regretted it. At least fifteens different people turned to look at her. Only one registered. A tall, big-boned girl began to shriek. "Your kidding! There is no fucking way that you are who I think you are." The girl says as the walks towards Chelsea and begins to inspect every nook and cranny of her body. Making Chelsea rather uncomfortable. "Are YOU, Chelsea Hagan?" The girl asks after a few minutes of silence.
"Yes." Chelsea said uncertain about what will come next.
The Mystery Girl shrieks again. A very high pitched squeal that draws a lot of attention. However, she doesn't even seem to notice. She's to busy jumping up and down in circles. When she settles down she says "It's Ellen Vilma! Ohmagawd! I can't believe your back! Where the fuck have you been? We were so panicked when you left. Jeez!" Ellen said all in one breath
"London." Chelsea said simply.
"You. Spent. Five. Years. In. London. And. Didn't. Tell. Anybody?" She asked in an annoyed tone.
"Yes." Chelsea said again
"Wow. Well, I guess your back now. Come with me!" She sequeled and roughly grabbed at Chelsea's wrist before she could protest. Ellen pulled Chelsea over to a long table with a dozen couples sitting around it. All of them were laughing.
The first thing that stood out was their beauty. Tanned, manicured, and pampered. Then Chelsea saw Jeremy sitting dead it the middle next to Emily who wass chirping bits of gossip with a Barbie like girl next to her.
"Hey! Is Violet here?" Ellen asked with Chelsea still in tow. Emily looked directly at Jeremy, to make sure he isn't looking at Chelsea. Chelsea noticed and smiled sweetly at him. Emily returned the gesture with a scowl.
"No, what do you want potbelly?" Barbie scoffed rudely. Earning a laugh from the others at the table.
"Well Naomi," Chelsea remembered Naomi. She was always jealous of her closeness with Violet.
"I found someone she might like to see. May I present Chelsea Hagan" Ellen chirped with enthusiasm.
Her comment aroused a chorus of murmurs and stares. It appeared that nobody could believe Chelsea was back.
"She's Alive? I thought somebody kidnapped and murdered her!"
"Where's Violet. I want to see the look on her face."
"Does it speak?"
"Ugh, yea, it speaks." Chelsea said with a hint of annoyance.
"So we see." Sneered the guy beside Jeremy.
"What a relief. I was worried you were deaf." She said. Every guy at the table twisted his head to look at Chelsea.
"Wow, you've got a tongue on you." The guy said.
"mhm." She concluded and went to walk away when a fifth person said something.
"Do you honestly think that you were going to just walk in here and be dog piled by all the people you knew five years ago?" Chelsea spun around, it was Violet. She would recognize those eyes anywhere. Everybody was quiet after she spoke.
"No Violet. I wasn't, but I defiantly wasn't expecting a chorus of Bitches and Bastards to try and pull me under. Did you ever think that I wanted to be your friend? Why do you think I left?" Chelsea spat. Stunning Violet into silence. When she finally regained speech a tear formed in her eye. But she blinked it back.
Rule number one, never let anybody see any weakness. I remember her saying.
"Your dismissed" she said with a defeated look on her face.
Chelsea started to laugh. It was the only thing she can do to stop the tears on their way. She never expected to come back and be bombarded with love. But she never expected the venom and hate she received. It was what she got for leaving.
Leave this shallow School
Call Mum for a ride
Arrange a plane ride back to London
As she was sitting on the curb outside of the school, waiting patiently for her mum to come and pick her up, the door swung open and there was Jeremy barreling towards Chelsea.
"What?" She said, interrupting his deep thoughts.
"I'm sorry." he sighed heavily.
"Yea well, it's self induced." Chelsea said simply.
"What happened." He asked thoughtfully.
"Are you seriously that stupid? You were there, I should hope you know what happened." She said offensively.
"No, I mean five years ago."
"Five and a half." She corrected.
"Okay, well what happened five and a half years ago?" He asked.
"I just went on vacation to London for two weeks in 2004. But I loved London so much, in the two weeks I was there it felt like more of a home than here. My Aunt and Uncle knew how much I loved the city and offered to let me live there. I was so happy when they asked that I stayed for five years." She explained.
"Five and a half." He corrected, making her laugh.
"I saw how sick you looked when you had to come and see us. It was like you couldn't stand the sight." He said after an awkward silence.
"Not you people in particular, just the whole clique idea. I used to be the Beta you know." she pointed out.
He looked at her up and down, "You?"
"Yup. Before I became me, I was one of you." she explained.
"I'm not one of them. I'm not like that." He said defensively.
"No?" She asked with a look of surprise "'Cause by the way you stood up for me in there I never would have guessed you were different." She jeered.
"You don't understand the pressure. I can't speak like a free man with them. I need to be Mr. Perfect. Especially with Emily." He explained beginning to trail off at the end .
"Your right, you do need to be Mr. Perfect. But when you figure out how far it will get you, give me a call. " She concluded and went to wait at another curb.
After he finally wiped the surprise off his face, Jeremy shrugged and walked back into the school. Not once looking back at Chelsea.
What a good guy he turned out to be. She thought grumpily.
"Leaving again?" I whirled around to see Violet, with a look of rage on her lovely face.
"Yeah. I decided that your welcome was so heartfelt I needed to go write about it in my diary." Chelsea replied dryly. Tired of the witty remarks she'd received tonight.
"So that's your motto then." Violet stated.
"When in doubt, run." She said
"No, it's not."
"Well when you decide to prove it, call somebody who cares." Violet sneered, standing up and shaking the dirt off her dress, she turned to go back inside.
"Sure, I'll call you." Chelsea called after her.
"Don't bother." Violet called back, not even turning around.
That was it. She looked around, she was alone. At least in seventh grade she had friends. She looked down at her dress and started to cry. All she wanted was to leave again. Maybe Violet was right, she was a quitter. She ran away when things got hard. The realization hit her like a tidal wave. It made her cry harder. Sobs came with hurricane force.
But her sobs were cut short by light footsteps approaching behind her. She figured it was Emily, coming to threaten her about Jeremy. Bracing herself for the worst, she wiped the tears and smudged mascara from her face. Looking down, she realized that fixing the dress was not an option. She looked over, and it wasn't Emily, or Naomi who sat down next to her. It was Leigha. Her kind face was such I sight.
"You okay?" She said quietly.
"Yeah, I guess so." Chelsea replied. She tried again to wipe her tear stained face.
"I heard your last conversation with Violet. And not to make you feel any worse, but she has a right to be mad, you know. You were her best friend and she probably felt abandoned when you left. All those feelings she buried years ago must have just come back when she saw you. I know you had every right to leave and I think it did you well but I don't think Violet sees the trip the way you do." Leigha whispered softly. Trying extra hard not to darken Chelsea's already black mood .
"I know I was stupid to not tell anybody I was going. But I never intended to stay so long. I just, did. And I know she has every right to be mad at me. I left her here while I went and lived abroad for five years. And I know she felt like shit seeing me again. I saw the look on her face that moment she appeared inside. But I never realized how much I really hurt her. And my mother, and Emily, and Ellen, and Naomi and everybody else I knew." Chelsea started, getting choked off by tears. Tears that became sobs. All the while, Leigha waited patiently and tried to calm her down.
"You were thirteen, you didn't think about all the people you effected. But now, your eighteen and it's time to face up to those people. Even if they aren't ready to forgive you yet. In time they will. But I think, for now, you just need to stick to your decision to stay here. Your not a quitter. If you were, you wouldn't have come back to face all these people again. You wouldn't have reached out and come here tonight to reconnect. Your not a quitter, you may run and hide for I while but you always seem to come back out. Your a hider. And in time, maybe you'll learn not to run away at all. But right now, you need to know that you do have people who will support your decisions, what ever they may be. That person is a friend. And when you need one, I'll be here. Don't worry about Violet, Naomi, Emily, And all the others, what are fifteen people to all of America!? You're better than them, and you should know that by now! So don't worry about them, when you have people like me, and Molly." Leigha extended her arms in a hug.
Maybe she was right, I'm not a quitter, I'm a hider. But you just see Violet, I'll change that, and I''ll have people standing with me the whole time.
Chelsea thought pleasantly. And for once, she knew she was right
1. Say Goodbye to Leigha
2. Get Picked Up
3. Go home and unpack. Sorry Violet, I'm here to stay.