Disclaimer: I don't own Beastly, but I own a copy of the book. I am overjoyed to say that I DON'T own a copy of the movie.
This was one of the many times when I regretted going to Tuttle.
The dreaded school dances.
Up-herself girls strutting around with their hair tortured into fake-curls with canary-yellow highlights, skin-tight dresses and whole cases of makeup practically thrown at their faces. But the worst part was that they always laughed at me, poor little date-less me.
There were tons of boys at Tuttle. Thousands, probably. About two-hundred would have been my age as well. But the problem was that they went for girls with dyed-blonde hair who plastered themselves in make-up and had expensive clothes, Gucci shoes and Chanel skirts. It would have been OK if we wore a uniform, and I could disguise myself a little. But uniform was outlawed at Tuttle during my first year there, due to several parents complaining that their "Little darlings couldn't wear their favourite $580 sneakers", so now I was stuck wearing my second-hand, too-large T-shirts and jeans that my father had presumably stolen from the Goodwill charity bins, and everyone knew that I was poor. Poor at Tuttle was like eating steak at a Vegetarian dinner; people were disgusted and distanced themsleves as much as possible, even the teachers. So it was no big surprise when nobody asked me to the dance, and I was allocated taking the tickets- just like last year, and the year before.
The day of the dance, I was one of the six girls who was still at school. The others had gone off for their ten-hour beauty package; hairstyle, massage, manicure, pedicure, make-up, mineral treatment, face-mask, false-tan- some of them had even missed a month of school because they were having botox, plastic surgery and liposuction. The only girls who stayed at school were the five ticket-takers who were all date-less scholarship students, myself included, and one other girl I didn't recognise. The other scholarship students were all friends, though, so I felt even more alone than ever at lunch. Eventually, after a sneering boy passed me and snickered at my T-shirt, I retired to the library. I was sitting at a table, engrossed in Jane Eyre when someone sat down next to me.
"Good book." The girl commented. I looked up, startled. The other girl just smiled. She was most likely a scholarship student or exchange student, since she was rarely around, and most likely dateless. Like me, she would have been picked on for her looks; her nose was longer than fashionable, her body slightly rounded with weight. Her clothes were flowing and old-fashioned, and her hair was- to my surprise- dyed green. Most Tuttle people would probably rag on about that and say it was stupid, but I liked it. It showed she was expressing herself and looking the way she wanted. The girl smiled, as if she knew what I was thinking.
"Good book." she repeated. "I like Jane Eyre."
This startled me. "You do?" I'd never met anyone at Tuttle who had read anything besides a magazine.
She nodded, when suddenly her face fell. "Nobody reads any more."
"I was just thinking that." I exclaimed, surprised. This girl was eerie- it was as if she could tell what I was thinking. I shook that thought out of my head- nobody could read minds.
The girl sighed. "It's sad, really. Tuttle's going downhill."
"Was it ever uphill?" I muttered quietly. The girl laughed slightly.
"I'm Kendra, by the way. Kendra Hilferty." It suited her perfectly- intriguing and exotic.
"Nice name." I commented. "I'm Linda Owens."
"Hmm." Kendra looked deep in thought. "Are you a scholarship student?"
I nodded and looked down, cheeks flaring red. I knew that people could instantly tell a scholarship student by the fact that I didn't have $200 false eyelashes and clothes that probably cost as much as my father's drugs.
Kendra seemed to know she'd embarrassed me. "There's nothing wrong with that. It shows that you're smart. People judge looks too much here."
"I know." I suddenly found myself confiding in this girl. "There's someone here that I really like, but he doesn't even notice me because I'm not rich or pretty. Nobody does. The guys think I'm some disgusting urchin and tease me because I'm not a millionare. The girls all hate me and giggle at me. I don't have any friends- even the other scholarship students are richer than me, so they shun me."
"That's disgusting." Kendra scoffed. She seemed very understanding about my outburst- I was sure I didn't normally talk that much in a month, let alone an hour.
"I know. And I'm stuck ticket-taking now, and that's the worst job."
Kendra sighed. "I'm a transfer student. No-one wants anything to do with me. They never talk to me."
I didn't mind talking to her. "That sucks."
"Mm. I know. Someone asked me to the dance, but I know it's just a prank. I'm pretty sure he's going to stand me up."
"That's horrible!" I cried, feeling a surge of pity. The librarian- if you could call her that- shushed me lamely before returning to her self-manicure.
Kendra nodded slowly. "Yeah, I know." Her eyes darted down at her watch- an elaborate, old-fashioned gold piece.
"I've got PE next period, so I'd better get changed." She stood up to leave, before looking down at me with an odd look on her face.
"And Linda, don't give up hope. I promise you that one day you will find the one who loves you, even if they don't know it yet."
I smiled. "Thanks." I said simply, even though I knew it was hopeless.
"It could be soon. It could even be today." Kendra said, her irises vivid green and almost... pulsating. Then she was gone, stalking away in a whirl of black clothing. I stared after her, a strange feeling in my head. I wondered oddly if she had read my thoughts.
I didn't see Kendra for the rest of the day. I assumed it was because she wasn't in any of my classes, but strange thoughts attacked my mind: What if she just appeared in the library? What if she disappeared again?
At the end of the day, however, I saw her flitting across onto a different bus. Obviously, I just hadn't seen her. Sighing, I pulled myself into a seat on the other bus. No-one came and sat with me, naturally, and I continued reading. I had read Jane Eyre so many times I had lost track, but each time it drew me in. I loved it, loved to pretend that I was Jane and everything would work out for me, even though I knew it wouldn't. People would tell me I was 'sad' if they ever knew that I liked to pretend that I was Jane Eyre, not just a scrawny fifteen-year old who lived a depressing life. Despite my torments, however, I loved school. It was the one time I could get away from the hardships of home...
"Yeah, An orchid." I looked up and couldn't help the small flutter in my chest. Sitting in front of me was someone that I had secretly crushed on ever since my second year at Tuttle. He obviously couldn't see me stare at him as he confidently barked orders into his state-of-the-art mobile. But I could see him- the back of his clear-skinned head, covered in immaculate blonde hair. I couldn't see his face, but I knew it would have probing blue eyes and perfect features.
Kyle Kingsbury, the most handsome guy of the century.
"No, I don't want that. I want an ORCHID." he snapped at his mobile in a voice that, though clearly frustrated, was nothing short of perfect. "Purple. Big. Get it now, Magda, 'cause I'll be home in half an hour and I need it soon." He fell silent as someone spoke to him, then I heard him sigh furiously. "No, don't go there. I don't CARE, Magda. I want an expensive one. Sloane has to have the best! No, it's not the freshness that counts, it's the price. Yeah, yeah, just get the damn corsage. Now! Don't waste time." Grunting angrily, he snapped his phone shut and snorted. "I go to florist? Why not nursery? Fresh flowers are better, Mr Kyle." He mimicked under his breath. I wondered randomly who Magda was- probably his maid or something. These rich types always had maids and servants. At home, my father had a very loyal servant- me.
I sighed, hoping desperately that he would be there when I got home before turning back to my book. I was glad that nobody paid any attention to me- I couldn't help but shed a few tears when a distraught Jane had her wedding day ruined by the revelation of Rochester's insane wife. It was a silly thing to cry about, but I was so engrossed in the emotional scene that I didn't care. The bus drove around the tall apartment buildings and penthouse suites, rich kids getting off at luxury homes. The numbers on the bus dwindled until I was the only one left, and the driver stopped at the subway station. I leapt off and sprinted to the station, where I presented my battered pass and hopped onto the train. It was fairly early in the evening, so I was able to get a seat. I squeezed between a woman with her kid and a wall, and silently flipped open my copy of Jane Eyre. I barely noticed the people getting on and off until a crackling voice announced my hometown from a speaker on the wall. I eased myself up and trotted through the sliding doors. Nobody even noticed me leave.
To my horror, my father was not there when I unlocked the rusting door to our apartment. My eyes searched the front room- he was not lying on the sofa, or in the kitchen.
"Dad?" I called.
Sighing, I walked slowly down the dark hall into his room, expecting him to be there. But he was not, and I started to worry. Shivering slightly, I pulled the peeling front door open. As I expected, our middle-aged neighbour Hayley stood outside the door to her apartment in a tight leopard-skin shirt, smoking a cigarette.
"Excuse me?" I asked politely. Hayley turned to me and I lightly dodged the cloud of smoke she blew in my face.
"What you want, girl?"
"Have you seen my father?" I asked quietly. Hayley coughed gratingly before stubbing her cigarette with her clunky heel.
"Sure I have. He left about an hour ago. Oh yeah, and he told me to tell you he wasn't coming back until tomorrow."
I groaned and put my head in my hands. This only meant one thing; a 'night out with the lads', which usually meant him and his friends stealing a few bottles of some kind of spirit, drinking them, passing out near the dustbins then waking up at 3: AM for a late-night trip with Cocaine or Weed before he returned home. I wished desperately that he wouldn't do that- it was really bad for him, and he had been severely sick several times. He may have treated me badly, but he was still my father. Sighing hopelessly, I turned around and headed back inside to prepare for my grueling ticket-taking job at the dance.
Not long after the ticket-takers prepeared ourselves, the couples started showing up. The first one had an ordinary guy but a totally snobby girl, who snickered cruelly at me as I took her ticket and strutted past in a too-tight, transparent red dress. As soon as one couple came another followed, then another and another, until the drive outside the building was flocked with limosines and hummers of different makes and colours, though most were black, and people in tuxedos and dresses were chatting joyfully. I stood there dutifully, watching lucky, happy couples. People who had friends and a life.
People unlike me.
I blandly checked tickets and let people in, uncaring as to who I was checking, until a ticket was casually placed in my hand. I saw the perfect hand and looked up, heart fluttering, to see none other than Kyle Kingsbury. He stood there, looking glorious in a lovely tuxedo, the most beautiful flower held in a box in his hand. It was a Rose, perfectly fresh, crisp and so white it was practically glowing; the most beautiful flower I had ever seen. I couldn't help but comment on it.
He stared at me with a strange look on his face, inspecting me closely with laser-blue eyes while I flinched slightly. His gold eyebrow raised, and he looked down at the flower with disgust. I was shocked at the horrid look on his face- it was so beautiful and divine, I was sure that even boys would find it lovely. If I could have been given a flower like that from anyone, especially Kyle Kingsbury, I was sure I would have been happy for eternity...
"Hey, you want it?" he asked me. My eyes widened, and I was stunned into silence. Yes! I so desperately wanted to cry, but I knew better. If I did he would just laugh and call me a loser, then give the rose to his girlfriend- the evil Sloane Hagen, a girl as nasty as you could get. Instead of saying yes, I composed myself.
"That's not nice." I announced furiously. To my surprise, he looked genuinely offended.
"What?" His eyes narrowed, as if he was trying to remember being mean.
"Goofing on me." I explained. "Pretending you're going to give it to me, then taking it back."
Kyle rolled his eyes. "I wasn't pretending." he sighed. "You can have it!" his tone implyed that he really didn't want it, and I relaxed minutely, my hand outstretching a little.
"It's not the right colour for my girlfriend's dress or something, so she won't wear it." He continued. My eyes flitted towards Sloane, who was moaning to a comforting friend- I caught a few words about the corsage. But she was wearing black, and the rose was white, two colours that went with everything, especially each other. It probably just wasn't expensive enough.
"It's just going to die, so you might as well take it."
I wanted to say no, but it was so lovely... I couldn't help myself.
"Well, since you put it that way..." I drew closer and gently pulled the Rose out his hand. He didn't yank it back, but let me have it- that was good. I looked down, and noticed the small vial of water that kept the Rose alive, the silk ribbon attatched and the professional box. I had never owned a Rose like that; I had never owned anything slightly like that.
"Thanks. It's beautiful." My face split into a grin as I looked down at it.
Kyle shrugged. "Hey, enjoy it." And he strode away, leaving me gaping at the lovely Rose. I stood there, motionless, until I noticed an even bigger drama unfolding.
Kendra, the girl who had been kind to me in the library, had now appeared. I thought she looked otherwordly, but still incredible, in a flowing black-and-purple dress, her green hair subtly styled. She waltzed over towards one of the other ticket-takers.
"Where's your ticket." The other girl said.
Kendra froze. "Oh..." she stammered. "I don't have..." her eyes searched the crowded place for her date. "I was looking for someone..."
I fely a surge of pity. Kendra was right; her supposed date had ditched her.
"Sorry, I can't let you in without a ticket." the other girl said to her.
"I'm waiting for my date!" Kendra objected.
My eyes were drawn away when a pushy girl in a tight yellow dress that was so short and low-cut it was practically a belt of clingy satin slapped me angrily in the face.
"Hell-o-o!" she whined. "I've been waiting for, like, two hours, you loser!"
She'd been waiting barely two minutes, but I said nothing, checked her ticket, and let her through. Before I could turn back curiously to the drama unfolding, another girl with sprayed-solid curls wanted her ticket checked, then another, and I was distracted.
I never found out what happened to Kendra, but I heard a loud, communal chant of loser, and suspected the worst; Kendra's date had showed her up, most likely turning up with someone else. Bitterness clenched inside me at the injustice, and I hoped that whoever it was got what was coming to him. Kendra had every right to get revenge.
It was a long trip home from the plaza on the subway trains, with a couple of changes. During the longest train trip that took about half an hour, I spent almost the entire time gazing at the flower corasge that had been casually given to me, as if it was unimportant. But, to me at least, it was important. I'd never been given anything slightly nice before- I was given five dollars a year from my so-called father to buy clothes IF I was lucky, and my small collection of battered books were my mother's, before she died. But this rose topped everything else. It was so... pure. It looked almost surreal, the way it glowed, perfect white and green. And the smell! It was so fresh and lovely that I couldn't believe it had ever been in a dirty garden or given manure as fertiliser. I tied it briefly to my wrist, but as my hometown was announced on the speaker for the next stop, I gently eased it off my wrist and pulled the ribbon off. I knew that it wouldn't last if I left it out so, as the train drawled to a stop, I pressed it deeply into the thick pages of my book, which I tucked into my threadbare, too-large jacket as I stepped off.
At home, unfortunately, my father was still out. The thought scared me- he was most likely passed out in some alley by now, drugs in hand...
Eyes watering, I opened the tiny fridge and rummaged around. There was barely anything- and amongst the small collection of food, a majority was inedible- but eventually, I discovered a slice of bread in its packaging that was two days before its used-by date. It was horribly stale, but I'd eaten worse food. It didn't quite fill me up, but it was better than nothing. I sat, trying to relish my poor excuse for a dinner, worrying about what my father was doing. I waited for hours, alone in the delapidated kitchen, my stomach growling for more than just a piece of bread. My eyes flickered to a battered and slightly torn dollar note that was sticking out of a chipped biscuit barrel, but I shook my head. There was no way I'd get away with it...
However, I found myself looking to see just how much was in there... I whisked the lid off the biscuit barrel, and sighed at the lone dollar bill. There was no way I'd ever be able to buy something decent for food, and I wasn't going to sell myself the way my father so often suggested. Maybe I could become a governess like Jane Eyre... I almost laughed at myself. There was no way I could get a refined job, especially not in this age and this city. I was stuck here, and I was never going to know any better. The only beauty that had ever graced my life was the rose, the single rose. I resolved to thank Kyle Kingsbury for it on Monday, thank him for an indifferent gesture that had brought so much joy to me. Yet on Monday, when my father had finally rolled back- drunk and stoned, to my unhappiness- Kyle wasn't at school. I caught whispers around saying that he had come down with an illness, and was missing the rest of the semester. Over the holidays, I was still adamant towards thanking him again, reminding myself every time I saw the rose- though unfortunately its scent departed after just a few days of being in the book. However, I was hindered by another setback; when we returned to school, he didn't. Once again, gossip I overheard provided me with all the facts; he'd gone off to some snobby boarding school. Though there had never been any chance of us being together, I couldn't curb my disappointment. I was sure that I would never see Kyle Kingsbury again.
I was almost right.
Author's note: Erm... I don't know what to say. BUT I have to say this: I KNOW Lindy supposedly didn't know Kendra at the end, but I wanted her to play a bigger part in this. If any of you are going "I don't remember this in the movie..." I'd like to remind you that this is the BOOKVERSE. Sorry for so much caps, but my italics feature is... touchy right now.