Holding On

January 7th

Day 1

The only thing I could hear was the sweet sound of Eddie Vedder's voice as I thought. I had an English paper due in four months. It had to be a five thousand word essay and I hadn't even began prewriting.

"Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies." I sang. I always listened to Pearl Jam when I needed to think. With a heavy sigh, I picked the assignment paper up and reread it like I had for the last hour every five minutes.

Dear Student, January 1st

This essay is to test your creativity. Remember, you are in tenth grade: DO NOT WRITE THIS LIKE YOU'RE IN KINDERGARDEN!

You must include the following:

5,000 words or more

- A beginning, middle and conclusion

- First draft

- Second draft

- Final draft

- At least 5 paragraphs

Remember:

- stick to the plot

- check for spelling errors

- check for punctuation errors

- check for correct capitalization

This essay is due on May 1st! I will not except any late papers and this is 80% of your final grade, so make it interesting! If you have any questions, you can usually find me in my classroom!

Your teacher,

Miss Blake

Miss Blake always told me I was an amazing writer, but I wanted this essay to be interesting. I wanted it to be creative, yet believable, and sometime that was hard to come up with. Just then I heard a knock at the door.

"Selene, sweetie, will you check that?" my grandmother, Nana, called for me.

I walked down twenty seven, maroon carpeted stairs to the black painted door. Again, I heard a knock at the door, but this time it was accompanied by a voice.

"Selene, answer the door!"

A smile crept its way upon my pale face as I recognized the voice at once. I put the bat down and reached for the door. I unlocked it and opened it to see my brown hair, hazel eyed friend RJ. He gave me a sweet lopsided smile and I stepped out of the house and into his skinny pale open arms.

"RJ, what are you doing here?" I asked him as I parted from his arms. His eyes sparkled in the sunlight.

"Well, I'm on my way to meet up with Jade and Cliff at the movies and I wanted to know if you wanted to come with me." he gave me a cocky smile and winked. I laughed and looked at him with big brown eyes.

"I don't know. Miss Blake gave us a report to do a week ago and I haven't even started writing yet." I said with a sigh. RJ put on the puppy dog face and whimpered.

"Come on Selene. Let loose, besides, you may find some inspiration at the movies." he chuckled and grabbed my hands. I sighed and glanced back into my open doors. I looked back at him and sighed. I walked inside the house and into the kitchen where Nana was standing. Her hair was completely silver and her eyes where a beautiful hazel. A smile was on her face so you could really see her high, apple cheeks.

"Nana, RJ wants me to go to the movies with him, Cliff and Jade. Can I go?" I asked her. She looked at me and kept the smile on her face.

"Cliff?" was her only question.

"Clifford Ackles." I answered. She looked at me for a moment, but nodded. I smiled with joy and gave her a kiss on her cheek and ran back to the door.

"Okay, I'll go, just let me go get dressed." I said as I slid out of his hands and walked inside. I could hear him mutter a, "yes!" behind me. I smirked and closed the door. I sighed and ran upstairs and into my room. My walls were painted black and red and one wall was a chalk board. My closet was right as I walked into my room on the left, so it was a sharp turn and I stood in front the closet doors. I was wearing a pair of grey sweat pants, a saggy grey shirt and a pair of ankle socks.

I rummaged through my closet and grabbed a pair of black leggings, a dark blue Jean pair of shorts and a red third quarter length shirt that only covered one of my shoulders. I pulled of my grey shirt and stepped out of my pants to pull on my new cloths. I looked in my full length mirror beside my cloths hamper. I smiled and brushed my hair quickly. I reached over and grabbed my blue Jean messenger bag and threw my keys in it and ran out of my room and down the stairs. I slid on my black leather combat boots and calmly opened the door. As I stepped outside, I saw the change in RJ's face. His hazel eyes widened and a smirk crept its way across his face.

"Wow Selene, you look, um, wow." he stuttered and I chuckled.

"Alright, well, let's go." I said and walked past him but stopped short.

"Good bye Nana!" I called before I shut the door. I heard her yell "I love you Selene!" behind me. I reopened the door with a smirk.

"I love you too Nana!" I called back and shut the door.

"Do I need to go grab some cash?" I asked him. He shook his head and guided me towards his shining black Convertible. He opened the passenger side door and gave me a wink. I smiled and lowered myself into the car. He gently closed the door behind me and jogged around the front of the car, his shoulder length brown hair bouncing as he moved. He appeared at the other side and quickly got in the car, slamming the door shut behind him.

"Can I turn the radio on?" I asked shyly. He nodded and gave me a quick smile. I reached forward and turned the radio on to hear the sound of Adam Gontier's voice blasting to every inch of the car. I turned it down and looked out the window. I hummed Animal I Have Become as I stared.

For miles, I could see the lush green trees of West Virginia and smiled. This was the sight I had grown to love, but hate. Just then, RJ's hand rested on my knee. I whipped around and saw his face clouded.

"Are you okay? I mean, I can turn around if you're upset." he offered and he glanced at me.

"I'm fine RJ. Why would you think I wasn't okay?" I asked and then realized we weren't moving anymore.

"Well, to start off, you haven't said a word since we left your house and we quit moving about five minutes ago." he said.

"Really? I was just looking outside. I'm fine Ronnie." I said with a smile. He gasped and leaned over.

"It's RJ." he whispered, his breath tickling my ear.

"Technically it's Ronnie Jason Slate." I smirked. He made a pouty face and flicked my ear. I covered my ear and punched his arm.

"Hey, what was that for?" he asked as he unbuckled his sear belt and opened his door. We were sitting in the movie parking lot and he was getting out. I did the same and looked over the top of the car.

"For flicking my ear!" I laughed as he stuck out his tongue.

"Me, flick you? Never!" he gasped as he covered his mouth and twitched away. I burst into a laughing fit and ran after him and jumped on his back. He staggered under my weight, but slipped his hands under my legs and gave me a piggy back ride to the theater door.

"Get a room!" I heard a voice behind us. RJ and I burst out laughing and I got off his back and straightened my shirt.

"Hello, that's what I've been telling you and Cliff, but have you gotten one? No." I laughed and wrapped my best friend Jade up in a hug. She giggled and hugged me back.

"Why get a room with him when I have you?" she laughed as she wrapped her leg around me. I burst out laughing as I looked at Cliff's face.

"Babe, you're not leaving me are you?" he asked. Jade twisted her head, her dirty blonde hair blowing in the wind and her green eyes gleaming.

"Never!" she laughed and let go of me. I was still laughing as she walked over to him and jumped in his arms and gave him a kiss. After a moment, RJ spoke up.

"What movie are we seeing?" he asked.

"I want to watch Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2." Jade smiled.

"Really; Harry Potter?" Cliff asked as he looked at her.

"Selene and I have talked about this for months!" she defended and gave me a look.

"That is very true." I agreed and looked at the guys. RJ sighed and glared at Cliff.

"Dude, they are the girls." RJ sighed.

Cliff looked from Jade to me and back again. Jade ran over to me and like total idiots, we both fell onto the sidewalk onto our knees and put our hands in a fist. We pouted and looked at the guys who crossed their arms and gave each other the are-they-really-going-to-beg look. That is exactly what we did.

"Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please!" we begged. The guys sighed and looked at us then each other.

"Alright, okay. I'm in if you are." Cliff held his hands up in a surrendering position and looked at RJ. RJ looked at me and then nodded.

"Okay girls. You win. To the Harry Potter!" he yelled and pointed his hand towards the door. Jade and I smiled and ran after the guys.

-x-

"Okay, I'm starving. That movie was long and between Jade and Selene, the popcorn was gone within ten minutes of the movie." Cliff chuckles as we walked out of the theater. Jade and I had been talking about the movie and how we were angry and happy and excited and sad all at the same time. I heard Cliff talk and instantly held up my right arm straight above my head and made a fist.

"Popcornholics!" I started and Jade joined in.

"Unite!" we screamed and burst into a laughing fit. Cliff and RJ smiled at us and went to their cars. Cliff drove a silver Cadillac and Jade ran after him.

"Hey, do you guys want to stop by Dairy Queen and grab a bite to eat?" RJ called to them. They both nodded and I walked towards RJ's car.

"Are you hungry?" he asked me with a sweet smile. I nodded slightly and climbed into the car and buckled up.

"Thank you for watching Harry Potter with us." I gave RJ a smile as he got in the driver's seat and started the car.

"Hey, it is what you wanted to see and it wasn't that bad. I actually had a good time." he gave me a smile and pulled out of the parking space. I smirked.

"Hey, did you see that news story about that girl? What's her name? Jaycee Lee Dugard." he asked me. The smirk melted off my face and my eyes started to water. He looked at me and his expression changed.

"Are you okay?" he asked quietly.

"I'm fine, it's just, I think her story is so sad. I just don't understand what can make someone so sick and twisted that they take a little girl and keep her for eighteen years, while they rape her and drug her." I said in anger and sadness. He looked at me questioningly and nodded.

"I know, right? Some people are just sick." he agreed.

"Yeah, some people are sick and some people are really good at hiding it." I muttered under my breath. He looked at me questioningly, but kept driving as he turned his attention back to the dark grey road.

"Did I say something wrong?" he whispered. I looked at him surprised but shook my head, my long black hair swaying to the side.

"No RJ, why would you think that?" I asked him, puzzled. He sighed and glanced at me.

"Well, I mentioned Dugard and you got all sad and quiet." he spoke quietly and I had to strain to hear him.

"No, gosh no. I think her story is sad, but I'm fine." I gave him a sweet smile.

He is so sweet. I love that he takes the time to pay attention to how I feel. Jade is right; he is perfect boyfriend material. I thought happily.

"I'm not trying to bum you out or anything, but how's your dad doing?" RJ asked, his face showing no emotion. It took me a few minutes to answer.

"I haven't talked to him since he left." I said, telling a lie within the truth.

"I'm sorry." he whispered.

"Oh my gosh RJ. Don't be sorry. He's the one that's gone. Besides, I was always closer with mom mentally." I muttered.

"She died when you were three." he pointed out. I nodded slightly and tried to change the subject.

"Hey, do you believe in vampires?" I asked him. He looked at me for a second and nodded.

"Yeah, why?" he asked as he kept his hazel eyes on the road.

"I'm reading this series called House of Night. I really like it. It's based on vampires and stuff like that." I said. He muttered under his breath.

"What?" I asked, feeling less enthusiastic.

"Oh, it's nothing. I just think the books are a poor portray of vampires." he replied with a wink.

"Okay, what do you think vampires are like?" I asked him. He smirked and sighed.

"Well, first off, I don't think they get freaky tattoo type things on their faces and I don't think they get 'marked' by some older vamp. I do, however, think the sun doesn't really have an effect on vampires. I think they are like humans except, their hearts stopped beating, they like the taste of human blood, and they have fangs." he said, like he really believed every word he was saying. I thought about this for a while.

"So you're telling me you don't think House of Night got anything right, except for the sun hurting their eyes?" I asked, interested in his thoughts.

"I think the blood lust thing is a possibility. I mean, I don't think they're monsters though. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a 'creature of the night'?" he asked me. I was surprised at how much he was getting into the topic.

"Yeah, I think it would be interesting. You never age, right? I would like to stay this way." I said.

"I think they age, minus the silver hair and stuff." he thought out loud.

"I've never heard any of those ideas." I smiled.

"Well, I think it's a possibility." he looked to the side and turned into the Dairy Queen parking lot.

"You could be onto something RJ." I smiled and got out of the car.

"I don't envy them though." he said as he got out of the car and walked over to where Jade and Cliff were talking. I followed him and looked around. The sun was sinking behind the horizon and no one was here except us and the workers.

"Okay, how about me and RJ go order and you girls go get a seat?" Cliff spoke as he pulled his brown leather wallet out. Jade and I nodded and started to walk away.

"Babe, you want an Oreo Blizzard right?" Cliff called to his girlfriend. She turned around and walked backwards.

"You know it!" she called and smiled.

"Hey Selene, what do you want?" RJ called.

"An Oreo Blizzard please." I replied with a sweet smile. He smiled back and nodded as they arrived at the bar. Jade and I sat down at the cleanest table there was outside.

"Has RJ asked you out yet?" Jade said bluntly. I was sitting across from her, so it only took one glance in her direction to see her face was dead serious. I could feel my cheeks getting hot as I started to blush and looked at her.

"No he hasn't asked me out. Besides, we're just friends." I said as I looked down at the table. I could hear Jade snicker at my words and gave me a crooked smile.

"Well, we'll have to fix that now won't we?" she batted her eye lashed and gave ne a sweet smile.

"No, we won't because me and RJ are just friends. Infancies on the 'just friends'!" I said sternly and batted my eye lashes. She laughed which made me laugh. Jade's laugh was simple and almost silent. It was funny because we have known each other so long, that we laugh almost the same. She laughs really loudly once and then it's silent until she runs out of breath, but you can still see her body moving.

"Okay girls, here are your Blizzards." Cliff reported as he and RJ walked up. RJ sat down beside me and gave me my Oreo Blizzard.

"Thank you." I said sweetly. He nodded and gave me a lopsided smile. Across from us, Cliff was sitting down on the wire bench beside Jade and was handing her her Blizzard. She kissed him on the cheek and took a bite.

"So RJ, where is Darcie?" Jade asked. RJ threw her a glare that I didn't quite understand and stayed silent fir a moment. He finally replied quietly.

"She went out of town for some school thing. She should be back in, I think, about three months."

"Are you worried about her?" Cliff said as he took a bite of his Cookie Dough Blizzard.

"Yeah I'm worried about her. She's my sister." RJ replied in monotone, keeping his eyes on his chocolate milkshake.

"She'll be okay man." Cliff replied and everyone was quiet for a while.

What's with everyone? Darcie is away for some school thing right? Why would RJ need to worry, and what would she he doing that was so dangerous for school? I wondered silently as I ate.

"Hey, did you hear that Dean got suspended for getting in a fight on the bus?" Cliff said in the mist of awkwardness. Jade looked at him in shock and RJ shrugged.

"It is Dean. He tends to get into trouble for breathing." I pointed out, trying to break the ice. Apparently it worked because my remark made everyone smirk.

"That's true. Remember last year when we were in gym and he got so mad at Coach Miles that he mooned him? It was so gross!" Jade laughed. Everyone burst into a laughing fit.

"I'm surprised Brea is still with him. He can be a jerk sometimes and she is so sweet." I said.

"True, bit their names sound cute together. Dean Leon Craigstien and Brea Missy White or Brea Missy Craigstien. It sounds good." Jade said. I thought about it for awhile and nodded.

"Dean and Jess would be good together too." Cliff said in a girly tone as he flipped his head back and batted his eyelashes. Everyone burst out laughing until our sides hurt and our eyes watered.

"Well, I like Jade Kay Saden and Clifford Franklin Ackles. Jade Kay Ackles. Clifford Franklin Saden." Jade threw Cliff a warm loving smile and thought.

"Yeah, if we get married, you're taking my name." Jade said matter of fact to Cliff as she ate. He just nodded and kissed her cheek. I couldn't help but admire their love. They had been dating since eighth grade without one 'break'. They were perfect for each other.

"Hey, have you all watched Insidious?" RJ said as he threw his cup into a nearby trashcan.

"Oh my gosh! I jumped like twenty times during the movie. It was amazing! Most horror films have been kind of sucky the last few months, but Insidious was awesome." I spoke up. RJ nodded and we started talking about the movie. While he was telling me about Josh getting his picture taken at the end, I heard Jade whispering to Cliff.

"They look so cute together." she said.

"We have to get them together." Cliff agreed. I sighed and looked at them, instantly seeing their guilt and embarrassment. I smirked and shook my head at them slightly.

"Has anyone thought of any ideas for their report?" Jade asked, trying to lure everyone into a similar conversation.

"I haven't." Cliff admitted.

"Ditto." RJ agreed.

"I was trying to, but someone wanted me to come to a movie." I said and threw RJ a sweet but cocky smile. He looked all guilty for a second, but it faded.

"Me neither." Jade said as Cliff took her empty cup and his to throw them away.

"I actually had an idea. Miss Blake never said if it had to be non-fiction or anything, so I may do something on vampires and unicorns and demons and angels. You know, things that haven't been proven to exist, but a lot of people believe in them?" I said as I finished my Blizzard and threw it away. Everyone nodded at the idea and looked at me. Just then, Water's Edge by Seven Mary Three started playing and I dug through my messenger bag until I found my cell phone. The caller ID said Dawn Smith. I answered it and said, "Hello?"

"Selene, hey, what's up?" Dawn's cheerful voice sounded over the phone.

"Nothing much, just hanging out with Cliff, Jade and RJ." I told her.

"Oh, okay, well I just wanted to tell you that Shane told me that Kevin told him that Rachel told him that Jack told her to tell Kevin to tell Shane to tell me to tell you that Jack wants to have a 'study date' with you." Dawn said in one long breath.

"Jack wants to have a study date?" I asked simplified.

"Yeah, a study date on Science." she giggled. I knew she meant that he didn't want to study books, but I didn't even like Jack.

"I'm going to have to pass on that offer. I need to work on getting my English report started." I made an excuse.

"Okay, I'll text him and tell him you're not interested." Dawn said and laughed.

"Okay, well I have to go. Bye Dawn!" I said.

"Bye Selene, talk to you later." Dawn said and hung up. I closed my phone, threw it in my bag, and sighed.

"Poor Jack, he has no chance." Jade said with a pitying look. I stuck my tongue out at her and laughed.

"Her guys, I got to get home and help Nana cook. The church is having some cook out thing and asked people to bring in some food, so like usual, Nana is slaying away in the kitchen and I promised I'd help." I said and everyone moaned in disappointment.

"I'll drive you home." RJ smiled and, together, we got up, said our good-byes and headed towards his car. We got in his shining car and he drove me home, the world silent and still except for the sound of the radio.

As he pulled in my driveway, I saw Nana outside drinking a glass of lemonade, a small lemon wedge placed on the rim. She was still wearing her pink apron, though it was covered in coco powder and flour. RJ got out of the car and ran to the passenger side, opening the door for me like a gentleman. I nodded and grabbed my bag and walked up to Nana.

"Oh, hello sweetheart! Did you have a good time?" Nana asked as she stood up out of the tan wire chair she had been sitting in.

"It was awesome Nana." I smiled. I looked closer at her and sighed.

"Nana, I can finish the food up. You need to go lie down and rest." I told her, even though she didn't say anything to me. She didn't have to. Black bags were under her soft hazel eyes, visible behind her clear glasses. With my words, RJ reached out and tapped my shoulder.

"I'll see you later. Call me or something okay?" he asked and gave me a hug. I nodded and wrapped my arms around his small torso.

"Bye Selene. It was nice seeing you again Mrs. Creepton!" RJ said with a smile as he walked off. I stared after him as he drove away and when he was out of sight, I walked Nana inside our house and closed the door behind me.