It had been an awesome party. All of our friends came, and the music was perfection. Everyone had rocked out with Green Day, and hip-hopped with Usher. I myself had partaken in some of the merrymaking (I danced my head off), and I was sort of exhausted for doing so. I stood on a step-ladder, taking down decorations.
I was pulling a tack out of a streamer, trying to detach it from the wall. Shoot! It just poked me. Guess I was out of it. It was 11 o'clock at night, and normally I don't start getting tired until about 12:30. What can I say - I like to dance. And luckily, most of the decorations were already put away, thanks to the people who stayed to help. Hey, some buzzed-out sodaholic teenagers can really get a lot done expending their energy, ya know? Now, though, everyone had gone home, and I was the only one left. Where else was I going to go, anyway? I did live here, after all.
Fortunately, I wasn't bleeding. Feeling a sense of accomplishment, I let the streamer drift to the floor and took the step-ladder over to another corner, where more were hanging on the wall. Not step-ladders, I mean - streamers. Yeah, I'm still out of it.
I heard a door open down the hall. The guest of honor! She must finally be coming out here to help me clean up. I mean, I threw this whole party just for her, and it's not like my cousin not to return the favor.
"Hey, Daphs. 'Bout time you got out here. I -" I stopped. My cousin was standing there staring at me, tears streaming down her face.
"She told the story again, didn't she?" I said sympathetically.
Nodding, my cousin sat down on the couch. I got off the step-ladder to sit next to her.
"Hey." I said, putting my arm around her. "One of these days, that guy's gonna show up."
She looked up at me, sadness gleaming in her eyes. "How can he," she sobbed, "if he doesn't even know I exist?"
Man, I didn't have an answer for that. As much as I wanted to give her one, I couldn't. "Look. Tonight...tonight just wasn't the night, is all."
My cousin looked down. She had nothing more to say. I held Daphne close as she cried into my shoulder...
12-year-old Meghan looked at the TV Guide.
She and her mother had just moved in with her cousin and aunt, after both families had struggled to pay the bills for two years. Mom had been reluctant to leave their house just outside of Chinatown, New York, but she and her sister-in-law had decided it would be the best thing for them to each pay half the bills and live together with their children in the old converted art studio that Meghan's cousin and her mother had lived in for two years. Though it was smaller, it was cheaper and closer to Meghan's grandparents. Besides, the house held too many memories...
"CSI, CSI, CSI Las Vegas, Walker: Texas Ranger, news, news, Spongebob, Welcome to Windows: The Bill Gates Story, news, The Weakest Link, CSI..." Dang it, there was nothing on. Wait a minute - what channel was this?
"BBC America." Meghan pronounced. "Hmmmmm..."
She switched the channel. An old episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? came on. Meghan laughed, but was puzzled to find that instead of Drew Carey, the show was being hosted by some dude named Clive.
"Hey, can I join you?" said a voice. Meghan looked up to see her cousin, Daphne, with a big bowl of popcorn in her arms.
"Sure." She grabbed a handful of popcorn and shoved it into her mouth, turning back to her show. Soon, both of them were laughing so hard that they almost choked on the salty snack.
As the show ended and the credits rolled, they tried their best to stop laughing and calm down.
"Oh, man." Daphne giggled. "I think we're gonna make great roomates."
"You think so, huh?" Meghan responded, desperately trying to contain her laughter.
They were finally able to stifle themselves as the next program came on, which was a news program.
"I guess this channel's from Britain." Meghan concluded. "I wonder if their news programs are less depressing than ours."
Of course, Meghan didn't mind watching this channel. In fact, Britain seemed like a very interesting place. "Hey, Daphs." she said. "Do you think maybe it would be cool to go to England someday?"
She didn't get an answer. Looking to her companion, she saw that Daphne looked to be completely entranced in the television.
She saw her cousin draw in a sharp breath. Meghan turned back to the screen, expecting to see video of a huge fire or something, but she saw nothing of the sort. Just some boring story on some guy in the English nobility.
"Uh...Daphs? Am I missing something here?"
Meghan watched as Daphne's chin began to quiver. Her head bent, and she forced her eyes closed, holding back tears.
"Oh my gosh! Daphne, are you alright?"
She held the crying girl close, comforting her for a reason she didn't know. "It's OK. Don't cry."
Meghan looked up to see her aunt come into the room.
"Auntie Libbs, there's something wrong with Daphne."
A look of concern came over the blonde woman's face as she rushed to her daughter's side. "Daphne, sweetheart? What's wrong? Why are you crying?"
Trying to comfort her child, Libby caught a glimpse of the television. She quickly looked again, and her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh, my..."
Now, Meghan was really confused. Both her cousin/best friend and her aunt were acting like they'd just seen a ghost, but she still could see nothing out of particular interest on the screen whatsoever.
"OK, what's going on?"
The woman looked back to her daughter. Daphne looked up to her, then at Meghan, then at her mother questioningly, with tears still streaming down her face. Libby then stared hard at her neice, and looked to be making a decision.
"Meghan." she said seriously. "If I tell you something about Daphne, can I trust you not to tell anyone else? Not even your mother?"
Meghan looked away for a second. "You can trust me." she told her.
Her aunt looked away for a minute. Meghan waited.
"Alright." she said. "Look at the screen."
Meghan did so.
"Do you see that man?"
Meghan stared for a minute.
"Yeah, what about him?"
Silence. Libby looked down, and away.
"That man," she said, still staring at the floor, " is Daphne's father."
And thus, we sat there now, crying and fretting. You can probably tell - I still watch that channel. But only when I'm the alone in the house.
I, just as Daphne, could find no way possible in which that 45-ish year-old man from London who's been blissfully unaware of my cousin's existence for 17 years could all of a sudden turn up on our doorstep and ask Daphne if she'd like to have tea with him, or watch a polo match or something. But I'm not one to accept reality. That's why I always change the channel when the news programs come on.
However, I am rational enough to see that this can't be hidden forever. It's unfair, to Daphne and many other people. I haven't gone against my aunt's wishes, though - because believe it or not, I understand her side of everything too. And what right do I have to interfere? Really, I shouldn't even be involved.
The only reason I can see that I'm involved is maybe for Daphne to have someone to talk to. I don't see how I'm any help. But then...
"Daphne," I tell her, "someday we're gonna go to London, you and I. And we'll march up to his castle thingy and, well, we'll tell him ourselves!"
Daphne looks at me with disbelief.
"Or," I say, "you can fly there yourself, and break into his mansion pretending to be the paparazzi. Just know that you'd be on your own with that one."
Please don't hate my randomness.
Daphne laughs, and pretends to ponder the idea."I think I like the first one better."
I look at her.
"Then that's what we'll do."
Okay, so that's the first chapter of my first fanfic. I really, really, really hope you like it. But if you don't, please don't be too harsh with your reviews. I will, however, graciously accept constructive criticism. I have a slight fear that I may have made Daphne a bit too much of a crybaby...
I have posted the second chapter as well. If you don't hate the story already, please read on. :)