Charlotte refuses to go to the ceremony even though absolutely everyone else is going, as though it's going to be fun or something, digging up that time capsule and seeing just how stupid they were when they were kids, how pathetic, how painfully juvenile. She wants to forget she was ever nine, writing pathetic little essays for the school newspaper about the most important person in her life and actually believing that said person cared about her.

Stupid little girl, she thinks viciously. Babysitters are paid to look after kids; they have to put up with them for a couple of hours, nothing more. They indulge silly little things like being almost-sisters – and even the phrase now makes her want to do something like scream or bury her head in her pillow and never come up for air or down an entire bottle of vodka, something that will make her forget or make it not matter anymore.

Pathetic. So pathetic. Stacey McGill has spent the last three years studying math in New York and has sent three cards, every Christmas. She doesn't visit, doesn't call, doesn't bother dropping in to say hi even when she's back in town to see her mom. Last Christmas Charlotte saw her across the street and looked away so that they could avoid the awkwardness how-are-you-doing meaningless chatter thing that takes over when people stop being friends or almost-sisters (fuck) or even babysitter and charge, when they turn into people that used to have something.

She stays at home even though Becca begs her to come – Becca acting like a kid even though they spent last night getting drunk and making out on the couch, which Charlotte thinks is far more appropriate for a sixteen-year-old even though her head hurts today – and hates that even her best friend doesn't get that she can't go, because she doesn't want to be reminded of her desperate clingy nine-year-old self who thought some babysitter was practically family.

She paints her nails black instead and listens to loud music, and when Becca comes over later she forces herself to bite back questions about Stacey. Stacey McGill probably didn't even bother coming back to town for this. They lie on Charlotte's bed and Becca kisses her after the first two shots of tequila, which is just as well because otherwise Charlotte would start talking about Stacey. And that would be pathetic, and Charlotte is not going to be that. Not anymore. Never again. Never.

- end -