Kali Bauer wandered out onto the front porch and made herself comfortable on the old couch, curling her legs up underneath her and hugging her body. She stared out at the afternoon sky, hues of orange and yellow stretching across it as the sun began its descent towards the horizon. She breathed out deeply, a heavy feeling of sadness filling her chest cavity.
Donna Crandell found her sitting in the same place yet again with the pensive stare. Making herself comfortable next to Kali, she put her arm around her and lay her head on her shoulder.
"I miss them Donns. Why did they have to die?" Kali asked quietly.
Donna tightened her grip around her. "Come on, come inside and I'll make you a nice cup of coffee," Donna coaxed. Kali nodded absently and let herself be guided inside.
It had been three months since they had moved to Santa Carla. On Donna's insistence, they had moved away from the bad memories in San Jose, to vibrant Santa Carla. Donna thought it would be a good move for Kali as she could start fresh and not have people stare pitifully at "the poor Bauer girl."
Her parents had died four months ago when their house had collapsed on them while they were sleeping following a large earthquake. Fortunately for Kali, she had stayed at Donna's that night. On returning home, she found a pile of rubble where her house had been. Living in San Jose proved to be too difficult, so Kali decided to move in with her boyfriend, Michael Larson, and Donna. Her parents would've been happy that she had decided to move in with people they knew and trusted. Santa Carla had appealed to Kali when Donna had suggested it as it was on the coast and was supposed to have an awesome boardwalk that was always happening.
They had moved into a nice little three-bedroom house, which was only five minutes from the boardwalk. Five minutes from all the action. There was always something going on, whether it was bonfires on the beach, concerts on the boardwalk or hoons nicking merchandise from stores and being chased through town. It was often speculated that Santa Carla was the "murder capital of the world". It made Kali laugh. A little coastal town like Santa Carla? She had neither seen nor heard anything that could prove the statement true. She was sure it was a tourism ploy!
As Kali sipped her hot coffee, the weight on her chest began to ease. She smiled at Donna, who smiled back. There was nothing like best friends. An hour later, Kali was in hysterics. You wouldn't have known it was the same girl who was depressed an hour previous. She was reminiscing with Donna about their school days, Donna retelling the story of how they'd met when Kali first started at Halliwell High.
Kali looked at her watch. The bell for lunch should be going any minute. She was starving, yet not eager to go outside. What was the point? So she could sit by herself and have the popular crowd make fun of her. Usually, it was just Callie Matheson. The other girls laughed along and said nothing. Kali had only been at Halliwell High for two weeks and already she hated it. Why had her parents wanted to move to San Jose anyway? Kali knew the answer to that but she had been so happy in Los Angeles and resented them for making her move. Her father's work had offered an employee the option to transfer to San Jose and her father had taken it, as he and her mother had wanted a change in environment. What about her? Did they even care that she hadn't wanted to move? Now, within a week, she had become the target of taunts. Kali was an attractive girl, yet not in the blonde, blue-eyed California girl way. She had beautiful long black hair, piercing green eyes and a slender body. She was very fair skinned, which was often the fuel that the girls would use to pick on her with, giving her names like "Goth Chic" and "Death Girl". Kali was also very alternative in her fashion sense. For example, today she had worn black hipster pants with a silver-studded black belt, black high-heeled boots, a punk-style black and red tank top that had safety pins down the sides and had tied her mane of hair into a ponytail. Her wrists and fingers were adorned with gothic bracelets and rings and she wore a black velvet choker with a large metallic red pendant around her neck. Kali rode her motorbike to school, which too had initiated taunts. She understood why they teased her. She was different and they obviously didn't like it but she wasn't going to conform to their standards.
Venturing outside, Kali headed towards the grassy area so she could sit quietly under a tree and not be harassed by anyone.
"Hey Death Girl?"
Kali stopped and looked witheringly in the direction of the voice. Or not. Callie Matheson had other ideas, beckoning Kali to her table. Against her better judgement, Kali walked over to her, gripping her satchel for support. Callie gave her the once over.
"Love the get up!" she sneered.
"What do you want Callie?"
"Well, it's like this…um…?" Callie looked to the heavens, as though she had forgotten Kali's name. Kali gave her a sickly sweet smile.
"Oh yeah, of course. Kali," she said mockingly. "Name doesn't really suit someone of your…type."
Kali glared at Callie. The other girls snickered. Kali had had enough. She was stupid to have even walked over in the first place.
"Do you have something you want to say Hitler or can I be dismissed?"
Snorts erupted from the girls at the table. The girl sitting across from Callie spoke then.
"Hey Callie, wanna bite of my donut?"
The girl held out her donut as Callie opened her mouth to take a bite. To Kali's utter shock, the girl then proceeded to ram her half eaten donut into Callie's mouth. Kali snorted and giggled, looking over at the girl in astonishment. The girl smiled warmly back at her. Callie's eyes grew wide, her arms flapping around in distress as she spat out the donut. The girl grabbed Kali's arm and walked off with her to the other side of the campus
"You bitch!" Callie screamed after her.
The girl and Kali turned around and smirked, then continued walking. The girl pulled her down onto a vacant grassy spot and introduced herself.
"I'm sorry she gave you such a hard time. She is such a bitch. She's just one of those people who gets thrills out of hurting other people and watching them squirm, you know. I don't like that. You handled her really well though. I loved the Hitler comment! Thanks for giving me a perfect reason to tell her where to stick it. I'd had it up to here with her. I'm Donna by the way.I" Kali stared at her, wondering if she was going to come up for air. The two looked at each other for a moment, before breaking into hysterical giggles.
Snorts of laughter erupted from Kali and Donna.
"God, that was the funniest day wasn't it? Callie got her just desserts!"
"Yeah, I wonder what happened to her."
"She probably died of shock after the prom. Remember, she was expecting you to turn up in some weird and wonderful outfit? Instead, you went in soft black silk and looked so beautiful."
Kali smiled, remembering that night. It had been a big change for her. She had worn a long black silk skirt that sat on her hips and showed off her belly ring and a black silk strapless, backless top that had a small tie at the back. Her shoes were black with diamante straps that wrapped around her ankles. To accessorise, she had worn a thick black beaded choker and matching bracelet with small dangly silver earrings. Her hair had been piled loosely on her head with bits dangling at the back and a long loose bit down the side of her face. It was the probably the one and only time she had ever dressed that way. Boy, had she turned heads that night. People barely recognised her, including Callie.
Michael sauntered into the kitchen then. He walked behind Kali and put his arms around her neck, planting kisses all over it.
Kali had met Michael two years ago at a party that she and Donna had gone to. Kali had been instantly attracted to him as he was to her. He was very good-looking, with his soft brown curly hair, bright blue eyes and sexy smile. It wasn't long before he and Kali started seeing each other and eventually became an item. Donna was jealous at first, as she had been attracted to him too, although she got over it quickly. Kali was her best friend, so she was happy for her.
Kali glanced up at the clock on the wall. Shit, it was ten minutes to four and her shift was due to start at four! She wasn't even ready. Jumping up suddenly from her stool, Kali ran like a madwoman through the house, leaving Michael mid-kiss. She quickly threw on something to wear for work, eventually deciding on her long bell-bottomed sleeved emerald-green dress that was made from soft velvet and came all the way to the floor. She complemented the dress with an emerald-green choker and earrings that offset her illustrious green eyes. She grabbed her hair and pulled it back into a sleek ponytail. Kali could feel a headache beginning to form. She hoped it would go away, but just to be sure, she quickly downed two painkillers. A headache was not something she wanted to deal with at work. Kali looked up at the clock. She ran back into the kitchen and found Michael & Donna making themselves something to eat.
"Alright guys, gotta fly, I'm running late!"
Donna waved goodbye as she had a mouth full of food. Michael pulled her in for a lingering kiss goodbye.
"I might be a little late coming home. We just a received a huge shipment of new stuff and we don't get much of an opportunity during the day to unpack it all."
Michael's face dropped a bit. "OK then, I'll see you when you get home. I'm making baked macaroni & cheese, so I'll save some for you." Kali grinned.
"Thanks," and kissed him again, then ran out the door. Fortunately, she didn't have to go very far. Her work was a five-minute walk away. Kali had managed to find herself a job fairly easily after moving to Santa Carla. She worked at the "Enchanted Forest", one of those Middle Eastern influenced stores that were full of incense, beautiful and unusual ornaments, Kalilery and knick-knacks. She loved it and was a wonderful haven for her. Santa Carla was always busy, no matter what time of day, so she wasn't surprised that the store was crowded when she walked in. Putting her bag out the back, Kali said a quick hello to her colleagues and began helping a customer.
By seven o'clock, things had settled down. Kali was sitting on the floor at the rear of the store unpacking a small box of ornaments and putting them on the shelf. The problem with working in this place was that she often bought lots of things. Of course at a discount rate, but her wardrobe & ornament collection had doubled over the past few months, while her savings had halved! As she was unpacking one of the boxes, she found a small pack of beKaliled tiger lily ornaments. Kali smiled, remembering the time when she had given Donna a bunch of tiger lilies as a present when one of her many boyfriends had dumped her for Callie Matheson. Donna had been so overwhelmed and she had made a point of telling Kali that she would love tiger lilies forever. It was their friendship flower and was often given to the other when they were sad or just to say I love you heaps. Kali kept one aside, and would take it home for Donna tonight as a surprise.
Rubbing her forehead, she was starting to feel worse than when she'd left home. The painkillers hadn't done a great deal for her headache and it was starting to make her eyes quite heavy. Her manager Arielle walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Kali, you've been unpacking that box for the last hour. Is everything OK?"
Kali looked up at her. "Yeah mostly, but I've got this headache that seems to be getting worse. I took a couple of painkillers before I left home, but they haven't really done much. I hope it's not a migraine."
Arielle looked at her sympathetically. "Why don't you go home sweetie?"
Kali deliberated with the idea. On one hand she wanted to stay as they had a lot to do and she'd feel guilty if she left. At the same time, she wouldn't be much good to anyone the way she was.
"Yeah I might Arielle. Will you guys be OK?"
"We'll be fine. Just go home and get some rest."
Kali smiled. "Thankyou. I'll see you tomorrow."
Arielle nodded. Kali grabbed her bag, paid for the tiger lily and waved to Karli on her way out.
"You take care OK?" Karli called out.
"I will!" she called back.
Kali ambled her way through the mob of people swarming along the boardwalk. She was glad the walk home was only short as her head was really beginning to throb. A familiar sound of engines roaring came from behind her. She turned around to see the usual gang of youths on their motorbikes, tearing along the boardwalk, whooping and yahooing, and generally trying to stir up the crowd. Kali smiled, thinking that they weren't doing any real harm, just trying to get people to react to their obnoxious behaviour. She noticed though that one of them wasn't as loud as the others. He seemed to just keep an eye on what they were doing. Well, they weren't hurting anyone so that was the main thing. Beisdes, it looked like they were having fun. Kali turned off the boardwalk and headed for home.