Reflections of Pride
Jackie tossed back her hair as she looked in her dressing table mirror. She so did not want to go to this school today. But she remembered her father's earlier threat about her either going to school or going back to New York. Normally she never took him seriously. Why should she? He was barely around anyway, so she figured she didn't have to do anything he said. But then again, she certainly didn't want to be shipped back to New York again with her pathetic excuse for a mother.
She couldn't stand the thought of living with her mother again. The woman obviously had no respect for herself since she had stayed with Jackie's father all these years while he ran around with every woman in town. All she did was take her little pills and just ignore everything around her while everyone walked all over her. Jackie vowed to never end up like her.
Jackie glanced down at her nightstand, where she knew her bottle of pills was hidden. If there was one thing her mother had been good for, it was unknowingly supplying her daughter with the pills that made all the hurt and pain fade away into a hazy fog. Jackie figured that if she didn't want to end up like her mother, she should start with tossing out the pills. But she had to admit, those pills had gotten her through many tough times back in New York and she might need them here in this silly little town, probably just to get past the boredom she would suffer.
She thought about taking a pill before school, but decided against it. She wouldn't need to be in her hazy fog today. She was beautiful and rich, her father was a former famous baseball player, and she would be arriving at school in a Porsche. She was on top of the world and there was nothing the nobodies at Neptune High could do to pull her off.
Jackie tossed back her hair as she looked in her dressing table mirror. She didn't know why she was even going to this stupid dance. It's not like she cared who won Homecoming King or Queen. It's not like she wanted to hang out with her classmates. She couldn't even stand any of those losers.
But, no, she would go to this silly high school dance anyway. She would not let anyone, mostly Veronica Mars of all people, think she was at home crying.
Veronica Mars. Just the thought of her name made Jackie seethe with anger. She couldn't stand the girl's high-and-mighty act and her stupid, smug face. Most of all she couldn't stand the way Wallace jumped whenever the pixie stick snapped her little fingers.
Jackie remembered when she had spoken to him earlier, and he had whined about how she had humiliated his best friend on TV and how he was going to the dance, just not with her, blah blah blah. Jackie didn't know why this bothered her so much. If some high school boy wanted to whine and be the Robin to some pasty white chick's Batman, she should have nothing to do with him, right?
But Wallace wasn't just some high school boy. He was the first boy who had shown a general interest in her. Not her body, not her money, not her dad being a celebrity, but her. And as much as she hated to admit it, it pained her to know that she had probably just blown any chance she had at ever being with him.
She smoothed down the front of her leopard print dress and flipped her hair. She would go to the dance and show Wallace and his Wonder Woman, Veronica, that she didn't care what either one of them thought of her. She would look right in Veronica's face and give her the same smug look that was always on her face. She would let her know that she wasn't quite as badass as she thought and that she could be taken down a peg. Jackie wasn't going to bow down to her like everyone else did.
Taking one last look at herself, she smiled, pleased with what she saw. Then she picked up the bottle of pills on her dresser top, and swallowed two without water. They should help make the dance much easier to get through.
Jackie stood in front of her dressing table mirror as she pulled off her hat, which covered her still-damp hair. Closing her eyes, she thought about the day she had just endured. She could honestly say that the day at the Winter Carnival had been the longest day of her life.
She remembered how she had stood in front of her mirror earlier that morning, shaking her pill bottle in her hand. All it would take would be the swallow of two of those little white pills and she would spend the day at the dunk tank in her hazy fog. She wouldn't be able to hear her classmates laughing at her, or calling her names. She wouldn't see them pointing at her and whispering to their friends, or the ugly words written next to her name on the bathroom stalls.
As she shook out the pills, she thought about what she had told herself when she had stood in front of this mirror months ago, before her first day of school. She was still beautiful and rich. Her father may be an accused murderer, but he was still famous. And he had a whole hangar full of expensive cars that she could drive whenever she wanted. She was just as good as those other rich kids at Neptune and she was not going to let them think they were better than her. She wouldn't let their vicious comments get to her. She would look them right in the eye and show them that she didn't care what they thought about her. She dropped the pills back into their bottle. No, she would not be spending the day in her hazy fog.
She had been prepared for their scornful remarks. She had been prepared for their angry stares. She had been prepared for Madison Sinclair to make her little snippy comments. She had not been prepared to be accused of stealing the senior trip money. She couldn't believe the utter stupidity of those losers. Did they really think that she needed or wanted their silly school trip money?
"You need it to bail your daddy out of jail?" she remembered hearing that dickhead Dick something-or-other shout at her as he dunked her at the tank.
"Does your daddy need it to buy more explosives?" one of Dick's equally dickheaded friends called out. "Maybe he wants to blow up the school gym next!"
She had stared right at them and hadn't said a word. She wouldn't give any of them the satisfaction of even responding to their stupid comments. She had tried reasoning with that witch Mrs. Hauser, but she was dead set on believing Jackie was trash. If she hadn't been so depressed, Jackie would've laughed right in her face. She was the furthest thing from trash, unlike Mrs.—no, MS.-- Hauser who couldn't even keep a husband and was stuck in the oh-so-glamorous job of teaching a high school health class.
So despite their taunts and accusations, she had held her head high and did her best to ignore them. She saw Veronica lurking around and that made her even angrier. She remembered how Veronica had followed her into the bathroom, thinking she had stolen the money. She figured Veronica was only there to laugh at her also. Maybe pull Wallace and his new little girlfriend over so they could all have a good chuckle at her expense. If that had happened, she would've been gone, pride be damned. The last thing she could bear would be Wallace and Ms. Holier-than-thou Veronica laughing at her.
But surprisingly, Veronica had seemed mostly concerned and had cast evil glares at their classmates as they stepped up to dunk Jackie. Jackie was glad she wasn't laughing at her, but she didn't need the girl's pity, either.
She remembered how she had felt as she climbed down off the dunk tank after the last dunking by the particularly nasty Madison Sinclair, her pride pretty much shot. Now she wished she had just taken her pills and spent the day in her fog. She wouldn't have heard anything Madison, Mrs. Hauser, Dick and his dickheads, or anyone else said about her. All she wanted to do was go home, swallow her little pills, crawl into bed, and let it all slip away. But then Veronica had stopped her and asked if she wanted to watch "Mrs. Hauser squirm in her own personal hell." Of course she did.
Jackie smiled now, remembering Mrs. Hauser's rushed apology. And seeing the looks on her and Madison's faces when it was revealed that the thief was actually Mrs. Hauser herself just made the hours she spent on that dunk tank so much more worth it. She didn't want to admit it, but she had been impressed with the way Veronica handled the situation. Veronica was gutsy and had balls and she did admire that about her. There was no way she would ever tell her that, though.
Jackie reached into her dresser drawer to take out a hairdryer. As she did, her eyes fell on her pill bottle and she picked it up. She couldn't believe it, but she had survived the day without her little pills. She hadn't needed to be in her hazy fog just to make the day bearable. She hadn't sunk to her mother's levels. She hadn't just popped the pills and sat back, letting the world walk all over her.
Tossing the bottle back into the drawer, she smiled again at her reflection. The kids at Neptune High might be laughing at her and whispering about her, but she didn't care. If she could survive a day like the one she just had without her pills, she could do just about anything. After all, she was the beautiful and rich Jackie Cook with a famous father and expensive cars. She was still on top of the world and there was nothing anybody could do to pull her off.