Charla Ann Swann kept having dreams about the island. They made no sense, no matter how she looked at them. And then there was the song that played every time….
She put the headphones in her ears and blasted the sound. Her dad knocked on the door. She heard it – the sounds she heard nowadays – but she wasn't expecting him to actually enter her room….
"Hey, Charla," he said. Suddenly the sounds of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" filled his ears. "Turn down the sound a bit, honey," he remarked. She turned it down to make him happy. "You might want to get ready. We're leaving to pick up Nichole from your uncle's in fifteen minutes."
"Okay, Dad," she said. He left the room. As soon as he did, she cranked up the sound. She liked not being able to hear anything. She looked over to her nightstand. There was a picture of Mom. If there were any way to bring Mom back, she would do it.
"Charla, you and I both know that's not possible," her dad told her every time she brought up the subject of resurrection. "I would love to have her back as well, but that's not happening."
Friggin' cancer screwed up her life. It was worse for Mom, though; she died from it. At least she was with the Lord now….
"CHARLA! LET'S GO!!" Dad. It was always Dad now that Mom was out of the picture. "IF YOU WANT TO BE ON TIME FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY, THEN YOU BETTER GET A MOVE ON!!"
Mom would have been gentler. She would have said, "Still aren't ready, are we, Charla? Okay, then, if you want me to go to your party by myself I will…." Then Charla would cave in and get ready.
"CHARLA ANN SWANN, YOU GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE NOW!" Dad was in a bad mood. At least he could make ends meat, unlike before. He made more than enough; he could have taken in Nichole's entire family of Nichole, Uncle Earl, and Aunt Pearl. Charla and Nichole felt like twins in every way, it almost felt like they WERE twins. And Nichole's boyfriend was cute. But Charla would have liked to have her own boyfriend: Luke.
Sure, she was nuts about him. But she had to seem like his friend or else he'd probably laugh at her or refuse to talk to her. That's what you get when your biggest crush is friend with J.J. Lane, she thought as she trudged down the stairs.
When she reached Dad, he acted as if she had just walked off the set of the Thriller music video. "Are you sure you want to wear that?"
"Grow up," she heard herself mutter. Luckily, Dad didn't hear. He didn't hear anything important these days, anyway.
The girls embraced. Uncle Earl and Aunt Pearl whisked Nichole off anywhere at a minutes notice. She could tell Nichole had been to Japan this time; the Naruto shirt spoke for itself.
"You look great!" Charla beamed.
"You don't look bad yourself," Nichole said back.
"Oh, come on! You can say it." Charla was still wearing her Christmas gift (after all, Christmas was only 6 days earlier) – an old shirt of her mother. It was her favorite ACDC shirt. Her mother loved ACDC and their memorabilia.
"No, you look great. Love the jeans, by the way."
They waited until everyone arrived – they had school friends Brittany, Bethany, Jane, Mandy, Hannah, Brett, Jerico, Seth, and Candace, Charla's neighbor Molly-Rachel, family, of course, Charla's best friend Carly, Nichole's boyfriend Joe and his brothers, and, of course, Lyssa, Will, J.J., Ian, and Luke.
So far only Joe and his family, Seth, and Jane had showed up. Joe's family ironically had the names of the Jonas Brothers: Kevin, Joe, Nick, and Frankie.
Finally, it seemed like only three people were missing: Molly-Rachel (she was going to be a little late), Jerico, and Luke.
"God, what is taking him so long?" Charla said.
"Charla, watch your tongue," Nichole warned about her saying the Lord's name in vain (Nichole, too, was heavily Christian). "And who are you talking about?"
Luke walked in. He started talking with Will, Ian, and J.J. about something and kept glancing at Charla to see if she was listening.
"This guy I like," Charla said, still gazing at Luke. "His name is Luke, from the island?"
"I KNEW IT!"
Nichole and Charla looked up. Lyssa Greenfield was standing over them. "And by the way, happy birthday!" She added. "How can you stand sharing a birthday party?"
"You get by if your cousin's birthday is December 26 and yours is January 2. I'm lucky I get a party at all. You're lucky your birthday is in summer. No one has too many plans. Mine sucks."
"What sucks?" A familiar voice asked.
The three of them were so busy talking that they hadn't notice Luke walk over.
"Nothing," Charla said quickly. God – excuse me, Nichole, Charla thought, gosh – she hated lying to him. But if he found out…
No. She would make sure that wouldn't happen. Because she would never tell him unless necessary. Hopefully, it would never be necessary.
"Uh huh," he said, only half believing her. "Hey, guys, can Charla and I talk alone?"
Immediately Lyssa walked away, but Nichole still remained. Lyssa practically had to drag her away.
Luke looked very edgy. He kept cracking his knuckles (and when he couldn't crack them anymore, attempting to), his palms were sweating, and he stared at his feet instead of Charla's face. "So…" he said finally.
"So," she said back.
"Happy birthday," he finally said.
"Was that so private you had to tell me alone?" Charla asked, stifling a laugh.
"Um, no, but…"
"That's what I thought."
He laughed. He couldn't help it; it was just his instinct. Charla was so funny, a lot funnier than Reese. That bastard almost got him arrested and killed. But at the same time, it made him meet five of the best friends he could ever have. And that little stunt, the gun in his locker – that was not funny, no matter what Reese thought. And then there was that bastard, Ratface, the jerk tried to kill everyone, even the most innocent of them all, Ian and Charla.
"Are you paying attention at all?" Charla asked, bringing him back to reality. "Look – you've cracked your knuckles so bad that your hands are all red."
OUCH!! He thought when he saw them. "Yeah, I'll get over it," he said.
They stood silent for a few minutes. Unbeknownst to them, the others were talking about the situation.
"What's this all about?" Lyssa asked.
All the boys smiled.
"Will," Lyssa said teasingly, "You know."
"He's asking her out," Will said.
"Ohmygosh!" She said, linking the three words together.
Back to where Luke and Charla were, Luke said, "So, you know we've been friends for a while."
"Yes, I know that," Charla said distastefully. "I'm not stupid."
"And you know that nothing means more to me than our friendship."
"Uh huh," Charla said, wondering what he was getting at.
"So please don't take this the wrong way or anything but…I've always sorta liked you."
"Not as a friend either. As a girlfriend…I guess."
"Actually…I did, too, really, I did. I'm not just saying it."
"So you wouldn't mind being my girlfriend, then?"
"Of course not!"
He smiled. She smiled back. They exchanged "digits", as the taken ones call it. They knew long distance relationships were hard, but they worked it out: they came over to each other's houses when it was possible, and they had MySpaces. Suddenly Charla tensed up.
Uh…Luke," she said. "It looks like we have an audience."
He looked up. "It would appear so," he said, referring to the five watching them.
"You think we should tell them?" Charla asked.
"I think they already know," Luke said.
"So they walked over and told 5them, anyway. The boys were still laid back, but the girls pretty much went nuts. Then Lyssa looked upset. "Now you're taken and I'm not," she said.
"We could fix that," J.J. said, trying to sound romantic but ended up sounding like a dork.
"Keep your perverted hands off my sister!" Will warned. The seven of them laughed.
So Luke and Charla were officially a couple, and so were J.J. and Lyssa, but little did any of them know their lives would change completely.
So what did you think? Just to let you know, here are the points I have to prove that it looks like there should have been a Larla:
Luke seems gentler to Charla than any other character, and he talks to her most.
(This might have nothing to do with it, but) Luke, Charla, and J.J. seemed like the big characters.
Luke seemed most worried to find the others (mostly Charla) when he was shipwrecked with Will and Ian.
Charla and Luke were chosen to get medicine for Will.
Finally, there was that thing with the Quonset hut. Charla held his hand, and he did NOTHING.
And for your info, here are things I added/changed (mostly added):
Charla and Lyssa's have been switched, however Lyssa still fights with Will and Charla is still athletic. Charla is the blonde and white now, Lyssa is tan and brunette now.
Charla has asthma now. She is said to have it since age ten in another chapter I'm adding, but I wanted to let you know now.
I gave the adults first names and the children have middle names, such as: Charla Ann Swann, Luke Gregory Haggerty, Lyssa Ariel Greenfield, Will Howard Greenfield, Ian Michael Sikorsky, and, Gordon Korman told me this through a reply to an email I sent him that this was J.J.'s name the entire time, Jonathon Junior Lane. The adults, the only ones mentioned, are Charles Swann (Charla's dad), Danielle Haggerty (Luke's mom), Gregory Haggerty (Luke's dad), Howard Greenfield (Will and Lyssa's dad), and Ann Swann (Charla's mom).
I have killed Ann Swann. I have done this because in the book, when it talks about Charla's background, it says "Dad…dad…dad," never "parents…parents…parents" or even "Mom…mom…mom."
And I gave Charla a family.