Plot: Ray's gone, and her brother dying. What can Reggie do? Hopefully she can move on with the help of her step mom Noelani and little sister Melinda, as well as help at the Shack from Tito. Moving on is going to be tough, but can this extraordinary girl pull through it all?
A Songfic based on the song Extraordinary Girl, by Green Day. An old one-shot I got around to finishing for Rocket Power.
I thought losing my Mom was rough. And then…it hit all at once.
First off, my Dad was a good driver, so I can't blame him for that. It was the other driver, who was obviously drunk, that should be to blame. It all happened so fast. One moment we were enjoying a lovely breakfast together…who knew it would be our last as a family? The next there was the phone call. It just can't get worse than hearing from Officer Shirley that my Dad, my Dad, was in a terrible accident.
I rushed the four of us to the hospital. Noelani was too distraught to drive, Otto just wouldn't, and Melinda…I guess you can't expect a five year old to get behind the wheel.
The doctor took us to the room where my Dad was. So many things were wrong with this picture: my Dad was hooked up to IVs as well as having a good portion of his body burned from the crash. I called Tito to let him know what was going on. He said he'd close the Shack early and be right there.
No matter how many times I prayed, Ray Rocket didn't survive the night. In the morning, when the doctor told us the terrible news, all we could do is stare into space. Of course Melinda didn't understand that her father was gone, what can you expect from a five-year-old girl? All we could tell her was that her father was in heaven now, and she quickly accepted it.
Otto was quiet for the most part. I knew deep down he was suffering big time, but I left him to his defenses. Noelani, of course, cried all the way home, a place that was missing something.
Before we could go home, the doctor noticed something on Otto's neck.
"May we examine that? It could be nothing, but it doesn't hurt to be safe," The doctor asked.
"What do you think it could be?" Otto asked, suddenly scared by the possibilities of what it could be. This scared me as well.
"I am not sure, but a close examination will determine what it really is."
Otto was checked out, and wouldn't you know that mole he hadn't thought about much over the last few months was cancerous. It gets worse. The cancer had spread to his face. I had told him months ago to get it checked, but no, he just said those new moles were just that—moles. I guess he learned the hard way. It would be very costly—his life.
Now, not only did I lose my Dad, I was losing my brother as well. As soon as I got home, I went to my room. I cried in my pillow for an eternity. What could I do? I was losing my whole family at once! Yes, I had Noelani, but she was not my true blood mother, unlike the one I had lost so many years ago. Melinda was my half-sister, but she was too young to understand, plus she couldn't provide the comfort I so wanted.
Otto was worse off than me. He could sense his mortality running out of him, and he cried for a long time. He seemed so child like. He just shut the world out and closed his inner world to the rest of us. I had so much to do; I didn't have time to keep up with his mood. A funeral was in the works. I, along with the help of Noelani, used some of our precious savings to provide my father a good service. We had little time, and so much to do…it flowed through my mind all at once.
Thank God, through all the chaos, I still had friends by me. Twister did his best when he heard the news to comfort us, but Otto refused to come out of his room. Twister and I shared a bond; his being there was the one thing that kept me from falling apart.
We finally laid my father to rest, right next to my mother. The funeral was beautiful; so many people came to pay their last respects. Breezy even showed up. A while back my father had a thing for Breezy, but as the years passed they remained good friends, and nothing more.
After the funeral, so much had to be done. What to do with the Shack? Tito couldn't run it by himself, and Otto…well, Otto was deteriorating mentally. It was all up to me. Noelani would help, but she had to take care of Melinda, so that left me with the sole responsibility of helping out.
I am also thankful that I was out of school. Poor Otto, the headaches he got from the advancement of the cancer made it hard for him to concentrate on his senior year of high school.
Sometimes I felt like I was all alone like God was choosing to hurt me in particular. First my Mom, and then my Dad, now Otto. I know Noelani is around, as well as Twist and Sam, but they couldn't understand, I was losing my whole family! Nobody to be there for me anymore from my tight-knit family life I used to have. I cried often because of this fact.
My brother deteriorated quite a bit towards the end of the school year. I often heard from Twist that Otto often spoke of wanting to die that the pain was immense. I felt sorry for my little bro. A seventeen year old boy shouldn't suffer what he's been going through. He wasn't even well enough most of the time to enjoy what he used to. I curse the sun the culprit for this. What he once loved has turned against him.
I often told him to wear sunscreen, but no he didn't listen. He said the sun couldn't be that damaging for him how bad could it be? Very bad, I'm afraid. That mistake was costing him his sanity his life.
I often looked at myself in the mirror, wondering, could I be next? I would do anything to sell my position, my life, for something much better. But would anyone buy it?
I doubt it.
Since there was nothing more to do for a long period before Otto's graduation, I often cried to myself, Why me? How could this all be happening to me?
During my grieving period, I connected with Twist in many more ways than we could possibly imagine. I being eighteen, responsible, and not having anyone to stop me, decided to bring our relationship to the next level. We had been together for a while, so I didn't see any problems with going through with it.
I wanted this last moment of my childhood I still carried to be broken in a special way. Tito let us borrow his place for this special event. Otto didn't approve at first, but he didn't tell us not to go through with it.
The moment began with a meaningful kiss. This caused me to forget my woes, all of the problems just seemed to drift away. His kisses on my neck sent me into ecstasy.
We went through the ritual, and then it was all over. I couldn't believe how interesting this could be. It was as I dreamt it would be.
We stayed the night, Tito had decided to spend some time at home to keep an eye on Otto and the family. After our new bliss, I lit some candles and we ate at candlelight. It was the saving grace amongst all the chaos that had happened as of late.
Graduation for my brother and Twister came fast. Sam came to the event, bringing with him someone new, yet familiar. It was Trish. I didn't recognize her at first; she had cut her long hair to just above the shoulders. She also had ringlets in her hair. Plus she had streaked her dark black hair with red highlights.
By that occasion I had found out some interesting news: I was pregnant. Considering I felt my future was secure enough for this surprise, I took this as good surprise. Twister was also ecstatic. We waited to tell everyone the news until after the graduation.
Otto wasn't really well enough at this point to get up on stage, so Twister got the diploma for him. His classmates were sympathetic and even set up a surprise for him. That I'll get to later.
Otto was rather nervous about the whole thing. He fiddled with his hands as he sat there. Twister stayed with him the whole time.
I sat with Noelani, Melinda and Tito in the stands and watched as the principal made a speech, followed by the ceremony where each name was called, which meant that the person would go up on stage and get their diploma.
Finally, the R's were called. Rocket came first before Rodriguez, so Twist had to run up before his turn. He also had something planned. As I said before, Otto's classmates had something planned for him, and this was it.
"Hi, my name is Twister Rodriguez. Actually it's Maurice, but don't tell anyone I said that." The crowd laughed a bit at that. I knew how much Twister hated his real name, and I found it brave for him to make that public. "Seriously though, I have a friend. Some of you may remember the boy from a few years ago that loved maybe to the point of obsession to skateboard and surf. As of late, however, this boy has been robbed of one thing: the ability to practice these things. Yes, he is suffering from an incurable state of cancer, which makes it so he can't come up to get his diploma today. Being the good friend I am, I am acting in his behalf and accepting this for him. Let's give a warm "congrats" to our boy Otto Rocket!!"
The crowd cheered, and Otto was able to stand long enough to bow. He wouldn't get the chance to sit still and let the procession go on just yet; Twister wasn't finished speaking on his behalf.
"Since Otto's always loved being the center of attention and this might be the only way my best bud can get it in shape he's in these days me and some friends got together and agreed that we think he deserves one last chance in the spotlight. So we're gonna bring him up here for his fifteen minutes of fame." To Otto's utter shock, Sam and Trish helped him up to his feet and onto the stage to join Twister.
Twister whispered a few things into my brother's ear, ushering in a chair for him to take a seat on with the help of Sammy. Twister then walked off stage to leave Otto to his own defenses the microphone perched and ready for when Otto would speak. It took him a few moments and attempts at clearing his throat before he could speak.
"I wasn't expecting Twist and them to go to all this trouble to get me up here," Otto began. He looked around, unusually nervous for my attention-seeking brother. "This last year has been a big bummer for me; I lost my dad to a drunk driver and I learned I've got some kind of cancer they can't cure, and it's killing me. I've spent so much time feeling sorry for myself and crying out why me?? Since all this started happening it never made me realize just how lucky I am have always been. I'm dying so what? I spent most of my years doing everything I've ever dreamed of doing skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and so many others I lost track. I got the chance to do the things so many never dreamed to; I shouldn't be whining that I never did anything that my life's gone to waste. I've done things been things so I shouldn't feel so down. So what if I'm dying? I've lived that's more than some can claim in a lifetime much longer than what mine's gonna be. I lived. I lived."
For the first time in a long while I saw some fire in Otto's eyes almost the same kind of fire he used to have before dad's accident before his death sentence. As I watched him continue, I noticed him smiling delightfully laughing contentedly. Otto was becoming a little bit more like the old Otto again and that made me smile.
When Otto finished with his speech Twister helped him off stage. Not long before he got to his feet did the class, the crowd of parents, fellow students, and guests get to their feet to give him a standing ovation. In shock and alarm, Otto looked out to the crowd, wondering what he'd said, what he'd done that had set it all off.
"I think they liked you speech, Bro," Twister said to my brother, whose expression lost its cluelessness and grabbed for a grin in it's place.
As the two returned to their seating I stood nearby ready to congratulate him; I beamed at my little brother. I unexpectedly caught him up in an embrace.
"Hey, Reg what's all this for??" Otto exclaimed as I held him close. I rustled his hair with one hand teasingly and grinned at him as I let him go.
"You gave them an awesome speech," I told him. "I'm proud of you getting up there and speaking up like that. I'm especially proud of you for the defying death part of your speech. It's been a while since I've seen the old Otto in you."
"I finally realized that I can't keep letting this whole thing get me down," Otto replied. "It isn't me to not hold my head up high and face it bravely. I might as well accept the inevitable and enjoy what I do have."
"Sounds like a good thing to me," I told my brother. "Hey do you think you'll be up to a luau celebration for you guys' graduation tonight? The whole gang's gonna be there and I've got Tito and Noelani helping out with the set up and everything at the beach where we practically grew up." I looked from my brother to his friend the boy I'd come to fall in love with after all these years. "So what do you say will you be up for it?"
"I'm up to it whether I'm gonna have the strength to or not," Otto said enthusiastically. "It's not gonna be whether I have the strength or not I'm gonna make sure I have the strength period." Otto was sounding more like the old Otto the more he spoke. That made me feel happy inside.
"Glad to hear that, bro," Twister told him gladly.
After that point, we fell silent and waited out the rest of ceremony until it reached its conclusion.
The luau was the moment for Otto to relax and be himself; it was my opportunity to tell everyone about my future plans my future outlooks for Twister and myself.
It was time to show them all that I was growing up. After all I'd been through in the past several months all the death and despair that I'd been pummeled with in such a short period of time I'd matured at a rate I never would've realized if it hadn't been for the hardships. Otto's graduation speech had made me realize something I shouldn't discount what life throws my way; I should the make the most of what it gives me. I'd lost so much and was set lose more but there were a few things along the way I gained, and those things would help me get through the pain I've been dealt and still will be dealt.
Otto enjoyed his moment in the spotlight at the luau having the time of life like he never had before. He surprised us all when he took to joining us all for a moonlight surf session.
"Yaha!" Otto cried in excitement as the surf proved to be fruitful in wave action. He caught a magnificent wave and road it to shore like he used to.
"You go Ottoman," Twister shouted to him from the sidelines. I too watched him the sheer joy the boy was expressing as he caught the greatest wave of his life. It didn't have to be the biggest, the most difficult, or even the greatest challenge he could ever face; it was the greatest to him because he was able to actually face it in the condition he was in.
Not to say the wave wasn't impressive by any means; my bro still knew how to pick them and they were never wimpy.
There were snacks, a few things laid out on the grill, and then a follow up with a small beach pit fire, which we all gathered around to roast marshmallows to make Smores. We had Trish and Sherry present, along with Eddy, Trent, Oliver, and of course Sammy, Otto and Twister. Tito provided the marshmallows, Noelani helped build up the fire, and the rest of us kept up the conversation around that pit of flames.
"It's sure good to see you so full of energy, Otto," Noelani told my brother in a gratifying tone. "I'm also glad to see you not wallowing in your own despair anymore."
"I figured I need to live while I'm alive and not rag on myself over stuff I can't change," Otto replied. "Better to have a life while I can instead of being dead before I've stopped breathing."
"Now that's the kinda motto I like to see you living by little cuz," Tito told him approvingly. "Your dad wouldn't want you to keep living in such a gloomy state like you have been."
"Speaking of dad " I spoke up, catching the attention of all present. "I recently discovered me and Twist are going to be parents. I'll take over Dad's old position at the Shack until I can get into the local university for courses in journalism. I know it's a hefty plate for us to deal with so young but I feel up to the challenge and Twist and I feel like we're committed enough to each other to take this one head on together."
"That's a bit of a shocker," Noelani stated. "If you're up to the task know that I'll be there to support you both the whole way."
"It makes me wish Raymundo was here to hear the news," Tito wiped a tear from his eyes. "Congrats, little cuzzes. I'm with Noelani if you ever are in a pinch, I'll be there for you one hundred percent."
I had to look over to my brother for his response. The nighttime had darkened his face making it hard for me to read his expression either way. It didn't help that the flames of the fire only cast his face even more into shadows than it should have.
"Bro what's your opinion?" I asked him. For a moment he said nothing.
"Reg, Twist congrats," Otto had a smile on his face. "I'm not sure if you both should've started with this so young, but I know the two of you can handle it. And that you both have the family unit support behind you all the way." He smiled solely for me, addressing me from across the fire pit. "Dad would be happy for you. Now you don't have to cry anymore. Not for him, not for me not for anything. You've got Noelani, you've got Tito, and Sam you've also got Twist and the upcoming baby and you've got me until I'm gone. You've got support Reg you're never gonna be alone."
"Thanks little bro," I said with a smile. He smiled back.
"Thanks for all you've done for me sis the good and the bad," Otto told me directly. "I think you ought to know sis you're one extraordinary girl. I might not have been willing to admit it before, but I thought I should let you know I always thought that you were." He smiled even more broadly as he kept addressing me across the flames. "I always thought you were extraordinary sis. Don't you ever forget that."
It wasn't long after he told me across the fire that I was an extraordinary girl that Otto finally succumbed to the cancer that had weakened him so. The luau had been his last surge of energy before the final blow. It had hit me hard that he would fade so fast but at the same time…I felt at peace with it.
I could never explain to myself how I couldn't break down after Otto passed; It might be that part of me that is reminded of his last energetic day the message he relayed on the stage at graduation, how he laughed at his own inevitable mortality and declared he was going to live. Maybe there was a part of me that believed he would frown on me for mourning him like that from wherever he might be now. Or maybe it was the fact that he told me at the luau over the fire pit that I didn't need to cry over him anymore.
I knew in my heart that Otto didn't want me to be brought down with his absence; he would've wanted me to be happy to live. Not like my mother, my father and even my brother whose lives had been spent and were gone; I had the chance to have a life.
He would've and had told me I had a lot to live for; I shouldn't waste my time being depressed.
After all, the last thing he told me in an admirable sort of way was that I am an extraordinary girl and I had to make sure I lived up to that.
I would do it for my brother Otto.
I know the theme was a bit tragic; I came up with this little fic a few years back after listening to that Green Day song when I first got the CD. I'd let this sit in a Word DOC folder a few years collecting dust, and I couldn't but think, why not finish this up? Figuring it was time to polish it off and post it, I did just that.
I haven't been nostalgic over Rocket Power in a while. This little fic surely helped bring back some memories I haven't thought over in a good long time. Hopefully, even with the depressing atmosphere to this story, it's still enjoyable in some respect. I have yet to work over an old multi-chapter work I left half finished a while back; I intend to get back to it eventually.
Anyway, enjoy---and let me know this isn't too much of a downer :)
~Mara (jadeflower82 for the record)
[Fixed up some grammatical/textual errors]