Chapter One: A Girl's Gotta Do What a Girl's Gotta Do
Susan stared out of the window. The rain pelted the glass, leaving it blurred. Nothing could have prepared her for this, not even if they'd told her it was going to happen.
She sighed heavily, thinking of Peter's last words to her.
"You're losing it, Su," he shouted, his face red with anger. "You've got to stop this nonsense. Ever since we came back from Narnia-"
"Shut up about Narnia!" She screamed back. "It doesn't exist! It was a stupid fairy tale we played. We're not kids anymore, Pete. You have to grow up sometime!" His pitying expression pierced through her soul.
"And is that what you think you're doing? 'Growing up'? Su, you're less of an adult now than when you believed in Narnia. I wish you would remember, the way I do. But you've forgotten it all in favor of this…" he trailed off, waving his hand at the nylon stockings draped over her bed, the tubes of ruby red lipstick and bright blue eyeshadow that littered her dresser, and the flowered party invitations she'd taped to her mirror.
Instead of responding, of trying to make him see reason, she threw her compact mirror at him. He slammed the door just in time, leaving the small circle of glass to shatter against it.
Why had he insisted on playing those stupid games? A young man of twenty-two, pretending about a magical land where animals talked and the four Pevensies had ruled as Kings and Queens! Edmund and Lucy still believed, too; Lucy at eighteen, and Edmund but a year older. They were too old to be playing childish games.
But as she shifted on the hard rear seat of the car that bore her to her new home, she began to wish she could still believe in Narnia. Times back then had seemed much simpler, even though England had been in the middle of war. That was the very war that had brought them to the Professor's house. The Professor's house had been the birthplace of their Narnian adventures.
And what fun they'd had! Susan couldn't deny that. When she closed her eyes and thought very hard, she could drudge up vague images of palaces and princes, and even a lion that could possibly be the "Aslan" that Peter, Ed, and Lucy had fervently believed to be real, to be the ruler of this imaginary world.
The harder she tried to recall these images, the more they slipped away. Yet when she was dreaming, these images and more would play into her subconscious in ways that made her almost want to believe Peter.
She often wondered why she was the only one of the four who no longer cherished such fanciful notions. She also wondered if it could be linked to her stay in America with her parents. Edmund and Lucy had gone off to stay with their Aunt and Uncle and had come home claiming to have had another Narnian adventure. Of course Peter believed them without hesitation, but Susan… well, she had begun to wonder if those adventures hadn't existed at all, especially as the one Lucy and Edmund were claiming had been even more incredible and unbelievable than all the rest combined.
And then there were her new friends. She'd switched boarding schools after the end of the war. Her new school was ritzier and the students snobbier, and it had taken all of her cunning (and fashion sense) to be admitted into their ranks.
"Who are you?" Susan turned from her bed to face a pretty blonde with an upturned nose. Her expression matched her nasty tone.
"My name's Susan Pevensie," she replied. Two other girls, both tall brunettes, one with piercing blue eyes, stood at the other's shoulder. The blue-eyed girl snickered maliciously.
"Nice skirt, Susan Pevensie," she scoffed. Susan self-consciously smoothed her knee-length, navy blue pleated skirt. "You must be at least –what- twelve?" Susan flushed a deep scarlet as all the girls began to laugh.
"Are- are you my dorm mates?" She stuttered bravely. The blonde rolled her eyes.
"They're not," She pointed at the other two girls. "Luckies," she hissed at them over her shoulder. "Unfortunately, I'm stuck with you all year; or however long you last." She smiled meanly and spun on her heel, leaving the room with her fake friends in tow. Susan sat heavily on her bed and ran her hands over her face.
"This is going to be a long year," she whispered to herself.
Susan had never been a cunning or ambitious girl, but one learns new tricks when forced to for survival.
"Susan! Is that you?" Susan stepped off the train onto the platform and smiled mischievously at Anna, the blonde girl who hardly a few months earlier had hated her.
"Oh, hello Anna," she replied. "Still here, are you?" She'd learned, through a bit of snooping, that Anna was older than she professed to be and had been held back for failure to complete her courses.
Anna blushed deeply as the crowd around her laughed. Janet and Eliza, Anna's lackeys, smiled and joined Susan.
"I simply adore your blouse, Susan," Janet simpered, her blue eyes reflecting envy. Susan smoothed her blouse confidently, but said nothing. Eliza hooked her arm through Susan's.
"Come," she commanded. "You must tell us how you faired over your holiday."
Christmas was an ideal time to change one's image. After all, you could have anything you wanted for free. Susan took the opportunity to arm herself with all the weapons a girl could need to be made popular.
Even after she finished school, the calls and written invitations came in scores. Night after night that first summer after graduation, she was out the door and off to some party or other. She often invited Peter to come along, but he always declined. He preferred to spend his summer nights with Lucy and Edmund, talking of Narnia. They all cherished the hope that one day they would be invited back. As each year passed, Susan's beliefs in such place were eventually squashed altogether.
At first, Peter's refusals to come with her had hurt. She resented Narnia and the hold it had over her brother, a hold they made her dim in comparison.
When Lucy or Edmund tried to engage her in some discussion of Narnia, she politely refused. With Peter, the conversation always ended with him slamming the door and her throwing something.
Although Lucy continued to be amused by Susan's attitude, she came to realize Edmund was disgusted by it. Eventually he ceased talking to her about it at all.
She could still remember her one last conversation with Ed before the accident. Somehow, all of her final conversations included Narnia.
"Why do you act this way?" He asked. She was seated in her vanity chair; he stood in her doorway. It was reminiscent of the conversation she had with Peter the night before.
"What do you mean, Ed?" She replied vacantly, applying the last of her mascara. He came over to her dresser and took the applicator from her hand. Standing in surprise, she wondered when he had surpassed her in height and how she had missed it. She was just too caught up in her own life.
"I know you don't care about Peter's opinion, and it's obvious mine doesn't affect you either. But at least think of what you're doing to Lucy. She's always looked up to you more than anyone." He turned and left the room without another word, placing the applicator on her bed on the way out.
Susan felt like crying. She'd never want to do anything to hurt Lucy.
That conversation had taken place the night before Peter and Edmund were due to leave with their parents. Cousin Eustace and his friend Jill were coming to stay with Lucy for a few days, and Uncle Digory and Aunt Polly had come along to chaperone. They would leave on the train a few days later to see Eustace and Jill off to school.
"Susan, aren't you coming too?" Lucy asked. Susan smiled.
"I'm sorry, Lu, I'll be out late tonight, and I'll be much too tired," she replied. Lucy's face fell.
"Another party?" Susan nodded, pulling on her nylon stockings. Jill, who was staying with them, made a face. Jill was a rather plain and homely girl, at least in Susan's opinion. She and Lucy, however, had become the best of friends.
Lucy seemed upset, but said nothing more about it. They were due to leave the next morning.
Susan went to her party but found she couldn't enjoy herself. She left early, pleading illness, and returned home feeling deflated. Part of her wanted to go with them, but she had an early afternoon brunch the next day as well, and couldn't be in both places at once.
Her room felt empty and cold when she reached home. Leaving it in a messy state with the light off, she walked down the hall to Lucy's room. Silently, she climbed into bed next to her sleeping sister.
"I'm sorry, Lu," she whispered before drifting off to sleep. When she woke, everyone was gone.
That was the last time she'd seen anyone alive.