April 10th, 2015
Hey guys, so I wrote this forever ago - like we're talking years here - and I was rereading it a bit ago and cringing at some of the mistakes, so I decided to edit it. Considering I still have a deep abiding love of Thirteen, and I am forever seeking to improve upon my works, it's no burden at all.
I watched my innocent little sister turn into Evie Zamora's clone.
At first it wasn't really that bad. I mean, yeah they did everything together, but they were best friends. And that was totally okay with me, Evie Zamora was the hottest girl in school – who was I to complain if she wanted to spend all her time at my house? But then it started getting bad.
Tracy would start fights with Mom for no reason. She wouldn't eat much of anything, claiming that she was on a diet. She wouldn't tell mom where she was going, or who she was going with, even though I knew it was always with Evie and her gang.
I could hear them sneaking in at night, giggling to themselves about all that they had done.
Tracy got her tongue pierced, just like Evie. I didn't think anything of it at first, so she got her tongue pierced, so what? I just thought she was trying to grow up too fas,t like most kids do.
The first time I saw her belly ring she thought that that was what I was staring at in shock - and at first it was - but I snapped out of it when I realized that that was my baby sister leaning up against that counter looking like she was nineteen instead of thirteen.
I ended up punching my friend for what he said to her.
I didn't recognize her at all that night in the living room, her face twisted into a hateful
expression and her eyes filled with all that anger.
She wasn't my Trace anymore; she was Evie's.
I was almost relieved when Mom called Dad to come take Tracy. Of course, he didn't though. He was never going to in the first place.
He talked to her for all of two minutes before his phone rang. I could see the anger and sadness flash across Tracy's face when he called her a client.
I tried talking to him in the driveway before he left. "She needs help, Dad." But he didn't even know what was going on, when he should have known from the start.
So you can imagine how happy I was when Evie left with her mom, to apparently move to Ojai. I was so relieved and happy at first. Maybe Tracy could finally go back to normal, and be my little sister again.
But she didn't.
It's been six weeks since Evie's been gone, and Tracy has barely said a word to anybody. She just lays around in her room, staring into space or writing in a journal.
"Evie was her only real friend for a couple months, baby. She was smoking, and drinking, and doing god-knows-what else. She just needs time to heal. She's gone through a lot. She needs us right now." Mom told me quietly. We were sitting at the kitchen table, the topic of conversation once again Tracy.
"I know, Mom. I know." I sighed, tracing patterns onto the table with my fingertip.
She stood up and planted a kiss on my forehead. "I gotta go, baby. It works-"
"If you work it. I know. And yeah, I'll keep an eye on Tracy." I interrupted. She smiled and gave me a one-armed hug, planting another kiss on my forehead.
"Thanks, baby. Here's some money for supper." She handed me a twenty and some ones before leaving. I shoved the money into my pocket and walked into the living room, stopping in front of the door to Tracy's room. It was cracked open just enough for me to see inside.
She was sitting against her headboard this time, her knees pulled up to her chest, arms wrapped around her shins. Chin resting on her knees, she was staring blankly at her wall. I slowly pushed the door open the rest of the way.
Trace shifted her gaze from the wall to my face, eyes latching onto mine. She tilted her head to the side, a clear question of my presence. "Hey Trace." I greeted quietly.
She smiled slightly at me, and went straight back to staring at the wall. "Hey." She whispered back, so quietly that I barely heard it. She moved then, switching to laying down on her side.
"Mom left some money for dinner. You want a pizza or something?" I asked, walking across the room to stand over her. She looked up at me at the question, but it was like she was looking through me.
I wasn't expecting an answer, but I got one this time. "I'm not hungry, Mason." She cleared her throat before continuing. "I know you're going to try to convince me to eat, but I can't stomach anything right now." She looked away then, focusing on the blanket beneath her. I took the opportunity to look at her, really look at her then.
There were huge dark circles under her eyes, which were red-rimmed, probably from crying. Trace had gotten real good at crying almost completely silently. She was paler than normal, and her hair was longer than the last time I had seen it down. She didn't wear makeup anymore, and that dark nail polish Evie had loved wasn't there anymore.
She was wearing the usual long sleeved shirt she always slept in, but instead of her favorite pajama pants she was wearing an old pair of black cotton shorts that were only hanging onto her skinny hips by way of a drawstring.
"I know you're not hungry, Trace. But you gotta eat. You're way too skinny." I pitched my voice quiet, and persuasive.
She looked up at me again, her eyes fixed in a weak glare. "I don't want to eat. I'm fine."
I let out an exasperated sigh and yanked her shirt up, exposing her ribcage and confirming my suspicions. Her stomach was caved in slightly, and you could see every one of her ribs. "You aren't fine, Trace! You're skin and bones and you need to eat."
Her face twisted into that hateful expression again – only this time it wasn't as extreme as it had once been. She clawed weakly at my arms. "Screw you, Mason! I don't want to eat!" She screamed, trying to twist away from me. I let her struggle for a moment before letting her go.
She calmed down then, and rolled over to lay on the other side of the bed, back to me. She probably thought I would go after that, just leave the room with a sigh like Mom always did.
But I wasn't Mom.
I crawled up onto the bed and laid down beside her. Waiting a second, I hesitantly reached out and laid a hand on her shoulder. She made a small noise in the back of her throat, and leaned into the touch. It wasn't hard to see that she just needed someone to be there. "Trace..." I murmured, reaching out with the other hand, and pulling her back into me.
She let out a sob and turned into my embrace, throwing her arms around my neck. "It hurts so bad, Mase..." She breathed out against my skin. I could feel her tears dripping onto my collarbone. "She was my best friend. She said she loved me. I loved her, and she left me."
I didn't say anything, just tightened my arms around her and let her cry. I'm not sure how long it was, fifteen minutes or an hour, but eventually she stopped crying.
"I'm sorry, Mason." She whispered quietly once her breathing was back to normal, lifting her head to plant a soft kiss on my cheek.
"It's okay, Trace. I love you, you're my baby sister. I'm just as worried about you as Mom is." I whispered back, just as quietly.
"Love you too." She murmured, resting her forehead back against my collarbone. A minute later she was fast asleep.
I rolled over carefully, so that she was lying on top of me, then sat up and placed my feet on the floor. Adjusting my hold on her, I stood up and carried her out into the living room, setting her down gently on the couch. Walking into the kitchen, I grabbed the phone off the counter and ordered a large pepperoni pizza.
I turned around to walk back into the living room, only to see Tracy leaning against the doorway staring out the window. She pushed off it and walked unsteadily over to me, stopping when we were toe-to-toe, staring at my shirt. Then she looked up at me with wide eyes. "I'm hungry." She wasn't whispering for once, or yelling at me. Her voice was hoarse from disuse.
I don't really know what I expected her to say, but that wasn't it. I laughed in relief and gave her a hug. "Oh, Trace... I just ordered the pizza, it should be here soon." She nodded and clutched at the back of my shirt.
"Will you put a movie in?" She mumbled after a moment.
"Yeah. Come on." I let her go and walked back out into the living room. She followed, keeping a grip on the hem of my shirt.
We ended up watching an old action movie that Dad left behind. When the pizza came Tracy ate two and a half pieces, sitting in the chair across the coffee table from the couch. When she was done she set her plate down on the floor before shuffling over to curl up beside me on the couch.
"Thanks, Mason. You're a good brother." She mumbled against my side after a minute, wrapping her arms around my waist.
I slung an arm around her shoulders. "You're my little sister, Trace, it's my job." She fell asleep that way, but this time she didn't wake up five minutes later.
The phone rang from its spot on the coffee table. I froze for a second, but Tracy only muttered something in her sleep and turned over, releasing my waist and facing the back of the couch. I sat forward carefully and answered the phone. "Hello?" I kept my voice down so I didn't wake Tracy up.
"Hey baby!" Mom's voice sounded loudly over the phone. There was loud music playing in the background.
"Mom, where are you?" I questioned as I stood up, walking into the kitchen.
"Oh baby, it was Jill's fifteenth year sober! Some of the ladies decided to throw her a party and I couldn't just say no!" There was some rustling in the background before the music became muffled. "How's Tracy?" She asked in a quieter voice.
"She's actually pretty good, Mom. I ordered a pizza and she ate more than half a piece."I informed her quietly, glancing back into the living room to make sure Tracy was okay. This was the first time in awhile she's been asleep and hasn't woken up screaming from some nightmare.
"That's good baby, that's really good." I could hear the smile in her voice.
"I know." I held my breath momentarily when Trace stirred in her sleep again, but she was only rolling back over. I let my breath out in a rush of air, waiting for Mom to reply. It sounded like she was talking to someone else.
"Why do you keep talking so quietly, baby? I can barely hear you." She asked me after a minute of laughing with the other person.
"Trace is asleep on the couch. I don't wanna wake her up. Just come home whenever.
Trace is fine with me. I gotta go. Bye." I hung up. Leaving the phone on the counter, I walked back out into the living room. Glancing up at the clock, it read 11:12. Making sure Trace was still out of it, I walked into her room and pulled the covers down enough for her to slide in easily. Going back into the living room I scooped her up carefully, pointedly ignoring how light she was.
I carried her back into her room and laid her on the bed, pulling the blankets up to cover her. "Goodnight, Trace." I whispered in her ear, kissing her temple.
I walked back into my own room, slipping out of my clothes and pulling on a pair of old basketball shorts to sleep in, before crashing onto my bed.
I hadn't been asleep for very long when I heard the door to my room creak open. I propped myself up on an elbow and squinted trying to see who was standing in the doorway. "Mom? Is that you?" I asked around a yawn.
It wasn't. Tracy stepped into the little pool of moonlight by my window. She must have woken up awhile ago because she had changed out of her long sleeved shirt into one of the small black tank tops she and Evie used to share. "Mason?" She asked quietly.
"Mm, what is it Trace?" It looked like she'd been crying again, and she was nervously fiddling with the hem of the tank top.
"Can I sleep with you? I had a bad dream..." She trailed off, looking down at her feet sheepishly.
I grinned sleepily at her and patted the bed beside me. She smiled slightly and crawled over me to lay in between me and the wall. "Thanks." She whispered quietly, throwing an arm over my stomach in a one-armed hug. Her skin felt like ice to my overheated body.
I twisted so that I was facing her, and wrapped her up in a hug. "God Trace, you're cold." I muttered against her hair.
She seemed to agree because she pulled herself tighter to me, pressing her face into my chest. I let out a hiss of surprise, her lips felt like ice.
Reaching behind me with one arm, I pulled my discarded comforter over us. "How did you get so cold anyway, Trace?" I asked her after a moment, rubbing my hands up and down her arms to warm her up.
"Mom brought the fan in my room when she got home. She thought I needed it because I wasn't using my blankets, so I was obviously hot." She murmured without lifting her face from my chest. I didn't blame her though, she was half asleep already, and freezing.
She shivered again and pressed one of her legs against mine. "Holy shit." I exclaimed at the sudden press of frigid skin. "How long did you lay in front of the fan before coming in here?" She mumbled something along the lines of 'Dunno. Don' care.' "Why didn't you go in to lay with Mom? You know that would have made her real happy." I wondered out loud.
Tracy sighed. "Didn't wanna lay with Mom. I wanted to lay with my big brother. Now will he shut up so that I can do that in peace?" By the end of her little speech she had lifted her head to glare at me. And for a second she was the old Tracy again, the pre-Evie Tracy.
I grinned down at her. "Goodnight Trace."
I woke up to my door creaking open again.
For a moment I thought it might be Tracy sneaking out before I woke up, but it wasn't. I could feel her now-warm weight pressed against my side. Mom was standing in my doorway, just staring at Trace and I. "Mom?" I questioned softly.
Her eyes snapped up to my face. "Tracy wasn't in her bed. I thought maybe she finally decided to run away and find Evie." She explained, keeping her voice low.
"No, she just came in here because she was cold and had a nightmare." I reassured, matching her low tone of voice.
For a second hurt flashed through her eyes, before they leveled back out into a neutral expression. She smiled at me. "Well, I made oatmeal for breakfast. Come and get some when you're ready." Then she turned and left, closing my door behind her.
I laid there for a minute, before getting up. I carefully unlocked Tracy's hands from behind my back and untangled our legs, trying not to wake her up. This was the first time she had slept peacefully since Evie, as far as I knew. I changed into a pair of jeans and a shirt lying in the clean pile of clothes on my floor before leaving my room in favor of the kitchen.
"Morning Mom." I mumbled, plopping down in the chair across from her.
"Good morning, baby." She greeted handing me a bowl full of oatmeal. I mumbled a thanks and dug in.
I had just started on my second bowl when Tracy came in. That was a thing in and of itself too, because Trace hadn't eaten a meal with us since Evie. She was wearing those jeans Mom had put fake leopard fur on for her, and one of my long sleeved shirts. They were big on me, so she practically swam in it. It almost looked comical, tiny jeans covering tiny legs only to be engulfed by a huge shirt.
"Morning, Mase." She murmured quietly, sitting on the edge of her chair, back to the window. "Mom." She greeted with a nod of her head.
Mom looked like she'd just found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. "Good morning, baby!" She stood up and walked around the table to give Trace a hug, happy enough by her presence actually at the table with us to ignore it when Trace flinched slightly and shifted away from her.
"There isn't any oatmeal left, but do you want me to make you something else?" Mom told her gently, almost like she was afraid of the reaction she was going to receive. I guess that made sense though; Trace had gone from full speed ahead demon child in the making, to actual real life zombie in about a day flat, so it wasn't that far fetched to think she could do the reverse and be that hateful girl from that night in the living room again.
"Can you get me a spoon?" Tracy asked quietly.
Mom lit up again when Trace actually spoke to her. "Of course, baby."
Not a second later Mom handed Tracy her spoon, and sat back down across from her. Trace leaned forward and stuck her spoon in my bowl, taking a tiny spoonful and popping it into her mouth. I grinned and shoved the bowl in between us so we could share.
She ate slowly, just like she had last night. She had told me then that if she ate too fast she would throw up, and believe it or not she did not want to throw up. So we ended up taking bites at the same time, and the same size. When there was only a little bit left in the bowl I pushed it the rest of the way towards her.
At her puzzled look I nodded towards the bowl. "Finish it. I had a bowl before you came in." She stared at me for a second before eating the rest.
I glanced over and noticed Mom looking back and forth between us uncertainly. Her eyes were sad every time they landed on Tracy. She smiled when she noticed that I was looking at her. I felt a little guilty at that. Mom had been trying to get Trace to respond to her like this for six weeks with no results, and I watch Tracy for one night and she's a little better.
But I shook the feeling off, I didn't need to feel guilty. Tracy didn't want Mom's help. I guess Mom's help was just a little too late in Tracy's eyes, since Mom watched the whole thing happen and didn't really do anything about it.
Well, I didn't really do anything, either. But at time it seemed like Mom was encouraging it, letting Evie live with us, not punishing Trace when she did something wrong.
I snapped out of my thoughts and stood up. "I'm gonna take Hampton on a walk." I announced, grabbing the leash off the top of the fridge. Fresh air and a little exercise would be good for clearing my head.
Hampton was in the backyard, lying on his side in the shade beneath our tree. I shook him awake and attached the leash to his collar, smiling when his tail started wagging a hundred miles an hour at the implication of a walk.
I was almost out of the driveway when Tracy caught up to me. She was wearing sunglasses, her head bowed a little; away from the sun. She peered at me over the tops of her sunglasses. "Can I come with?"
I smiled and held out my hand for her to take. "Of course, Trace."
This little oneshot has been rattling around in my brain for awhile so I thought I'd type it out and publish it for you to read. Thirteen is one of my favorite movies, I have no idea why. It just is I suppose…
Okay, done. I tried to keep it as close to the original as possible while still fixing errors and adding and subtracting tiny parts. Enjoy!