There is a horrible feeling that you get when you lose someone you truly care about. At the bottom of your throat there is this tightness that tingles and makes you feel like you are going to be sick. Your eyes fill with tears, and there is a stabbing in your back exactly where your heart is. Butterflies start to fly around more than just your stomach, reaching up to your lungs and making you feel like you are going to suffocate from a lack of air.
That was how I felt when Darien left. I knew everything had changed. You can't take back your words. Once you say something like that, it is permanently imprinted in that person's mind. How can you fix a mistake like that when you were telling the truth?
I think back to the last time I saw Darien. He was staring at me from the skating rink's entryway with a grim expression on his face, before fleeing away without saying a single word. Things seemed so surreal after that. Before I knew it, Raye and Amy had practically dragged me to the Cherry Hill temple where Raye lived. With the youmas defeated, our identities would be compromised if we didn't leave the scene according to Amy. The last thing the sailor scouts needed was to be identified by the press when things slowly turned back to normal.
"So, where is Luna, Serena?" Amy asks me, holding a pillow up against her chest. She sits up against the wall of Raye's room, textbooks piled high beside her. Raye is sitting next to Amy, reading a Sailor V comic book. Everything seems peaceful as we all sit in our pajamas, enjoying a sleepover.
"I dunno." I answer, gazing at the single red rose laying in a glass vase full of water on Raye's desk. I miss him. It's only been a few hours and somehow, it feels like half my world is missing. I reach for my pearl earrings, taking them out of my ears, and look at the creamy white hearts in my hand.
Amy crawls over to my side, and plops herself next to me. "Where did you get these? They are pretty."
I give her a small smile before closing my hands, squeezing the studs into my skin until they leave little dots. I glance over to Raye, who is looking at me quizzically, finding my behavior strange and unusual.
"I'd rather not say," I answer, my heart throbbing with misery. Raye likes him too. She made that clear during the first youma fight against the Black Widow. Why should I say anything when I'd already lost him? There was no point in hurting her as well.
"We should find Luna tomorrow," Raye says, putting her comic book down. "I don't know about you two, but I need to get some sleep."
"Yeah, I'm sleepy too!" Amy agrees, curling up into her sleeping bag. "Glad you're back, Serena."
"Goodnight guys." I reply, tucking myself into Raye's extra blankets. How was it possible to feel so alone when there are other people in the room? How can I let one person affect me so much? I just don't understand.
Soon Raye and Amy are asleep, and I am stuck listening to their light snores. I wrap my blanket over my head, and finally let my feelings go. I cry silently over my loss of Darien. The tears pour from my eyes creating a pool of wet cloth on my pillow. This was my fault.
The next morning comes quickly. My sleep is interrupted by crows screeching at each other while flying around the shrine. I toss my pillow at the window and hide my head under the blankets. "More sleep." I mumble to no one in particular.
The bedroom has been abandoned by everyone but myself. I smell a whiff of pancakes and syrup. At first the smell makes my mouth water, but then I think of how Darien was going to make me pancakes that day before we ate fruit instead. My throat dries up, and I sulk under the blankets feeling like I could just drown in the cotton and fabric.
"Serena!" Raye calls as she slams the door into the wall with her side, carrying a plate with pancakes piled two feet high. "Here's your 'welcome back' breakfast!"
She plops the plate on the square table in the middle of her room. I glance up at the plate of pancakes to observe the pancakes dripping in syrup with strawberry chunks and blueberries on top. My heart sinks, and I hold back another round of tears.
"C'mon, Serena." Raye demands, dropping to the floor and trying to rip my blankets off me. "I made you your favorite breakfast and now you have to eat it!"
"I'm not hungry."
"Meatball head, not hungry?" Raye taunts. "Are you sick or something?"
"Where's Amy?" I ask, avoiding her question. Is being sad a sickness? It sure feels like it. All I can think about is how I want to see him. How I want to speak to him.
"Well, since the youma are defeated and most of the town got their energy back, the power's back on." Raye explains. "The people are repairing the city and well, Amy's mom called and asked her to volunteer at the hospital. Guess there's a lot of people there."
"Oh." I respond in a dull voice. Finally I get off the floor and dress into my t-shirt and jeans from yesterday. Raye frowns at me.
"Serena, are you okay? You're not acting like, well... you."
"Seems like everyone is asking me that." I shrug. I look at her, the girl who calls me names and yet can be so kind at the same time. This girl has Darien's number. "Raye, I need to call Darien."
"Why?" Raye asks defensively, her eyes filled with annoyance...and did I detect a hint of jealousy? "You hate him, remember?"
"No I don't." I argue. "Besides, we're having a scout meeting and I think he should be there."
Or rather, I want an excuse for him to come over. I want to talk to him and try to get him to understand that I do have feelings, but I'm not in love yet. If he just gave me more time, I honestly think I could fall for him. His expectations were unfair.
"Why would he need to be at a scout meeting?" Raye raises her voice at me, obviously thinking I am insane. I suppose having someone go to a scout meeting when no one else knows their alter ego, is a little crazy.
"Well, he's Tuxedo Mask. Kind of makes sense he'd be there, right?" I answer, grinning as her expression turns wide-eyed. Her cheeks turn red as she imagines Darien in his tuxedo. "Not so crazy now, huh?"
"I'm going to call him, and invite him over right now!" Raye squeals, reaching for the phone on her desk.
"Wait!" I whine, "It was my idea!"
I jump on top of her, trying to grab the phone before her. We both crash to the ground, Raye lying beneath me with the phone in her hand above her head. "Get off me, Meatball Brains!"
"First tell me his number, then I will get off you," I laugh. I steal the phone from her hand and prepare to dial.
Raye groans. "How can you be this heavy when you didn't even eat the pancakes I made you?"
I squish my butt into her back, making her yell his number. I pull myself off of her, the phone held up to my ear. The phone dials and then I hear the ringtone.
He won't want to talk to me. I broke his heart. I suck in a breath of air.
"Hello? This is Darien," He says, his tone dampened from the night before.
I can't speak. My voice is frozen. I cover the microphone part and turn to Raye. "I can't do it, you do it!"
I shove the phone back into her hands as Darien asks annoyed, "Is anyone there?"
"Sorry, Darien. Do you think you could come by the temple today, in like an hour?" Raye asks. I sit on the floor, pulling my knees into my arms. I lean my head at the top of my knees, and feel like I want to bang my head against the wall. I want to see him so badly, but I'm scared that he hates me.
"Darien, what's wrong? You're acting like Serena!" Raye says suddenly. By giving up the phone, I had given up the rights to hear his side of the conversation. What had he said? "Yeah, she's here. No, it was her idea. Mhm. "
What was he saying? I look at Raye with questioning eyes. She puts a finger up at me, signing for me to wait. I huff, and wait until she gets off the phone.
"I'll make sure she's here. Yeah, I'll see you later. Bye."
Finally the conversation is over, and I rise from the floor to be at the same height as my fellow scout. "So, what'd he say?"
"I don't see why you care, but he says he'll only come over if you are here. He should be here fairly soon."
Maybe there was a chance. I reach for my plate of pancakes and start devouring them. My appetite is back, and I feel a relief I hadn't felt since I saved Sammy.
I wonder how Sammy is doing? Surely mom had called the hospital by now, right?
In the middle of my thoughts, a black cat with a crescent moon strolls into Raye's room through the open door. She jumps up onto the table, and watches me eat with her red eyes. This is Luna. The cat I have dreamed about for the past week and a half.
"I see your appetite hasn't changed at all," Luna scolds me. "I'm surprised to be back considering how you act when you actually do have Raye and Amy's help."
Who the hell does this cat think she is? "Exchuse- frme?" I ask between mouthfuls of pancakes. I had barely eaten in the last few days, and drained my energy trying to save Sammy and the whole town. I think I'm entitled to sleep in and enjoy my pancakes!
Luna shakes her head at me, clearly frustrated with my lack of etiquette. "Serena, why didn't you go home after the last youma fight? Your brother was worried sick about you!"
I slam my fork onto the table. I wipe my face with my arm, letting the syrup stick to the hairs of my skin. "Why is it any of your business what I do or do not do?"
"I see you still don't have your memory back. Considering that, you've done pretty well on your own," Luna answers matter-of-factly. "It's time for us to restore your memories with the Luna Mindmeld."
"The Luna what-now?" I snap back at her. This cat was so frustrating. Luna was bossy, mean, and to be honest, kind of annoying. Is this what I always had to deal with? A narcissist who lectured me all the time and only gave me backhanded compliments when I did well? If so, this cat was going to have to live somewhere else.
"The Luna Mindmeld." Luna says calmly, closing her eyes and sitting in front of me, facing me. The crescent moon on her forehead shines brightly, and a golden beam of light hits my forehead.
My head begins to ache, and memories of meeting Luna, becoming Sailor Moon, and discovering the other Sailor Scouts resurface. As these memories come back, I notice things like how I began to spend less and less time with Molly. I feel queasy with guilt. Then a memory I clearly hadn't wanted to remember at all rips through my skull, stabbing at the bone like a hammer trying to bang a nail into a wall.
"If you just stopped eating and sleeping in class, maybe you would pass a test!" Miss Haruna yells, raising her ruler above my head and pointing it at me. She emphasizes her words by shaking her ruler at me, making me feel little and small. "You need to try harder. Why don't you work hard like Melvin and Amy?"
"I'm sorry, Miss Haruna. I promise to try harder," I say, squinting underneath her ruler, afraid that she might accidentally smack me with it.
I walk out of my classroom, sulking as I clutch yet another 30% test paper in my hand. Maybe I would actually do well if the teacher explained things better. I often felt lost and confused when trying to study my algebra, or even basic English. I struggled in history because the dates were just too hard to memorize.
On top of all that, I have to fight evil on a daily basis, searching for some reason about why the Negaverse steals energy. You'd think we'd have an easier time after destroying Jadeite, but that wasn't the case. Instead, a newer, stronger general took his place, attacking one person at a time, making it even harder to detect attacks.
Over time though, even he began to become easily detectable. With his red convertible, his long brown hair, and his pseudo name "Maxfield Stanton". The only problem is, we can't kill him, he always vanishes after releasing a youma. You never knew who he would target next.
I groan, nearly reaching the doorsteps to my home. If I go inside I have to show mom this horrible score...
I take a deep breath, and open the door to my house. As expected, Mom is standing on the other side of the door, a bright smile on her face, as she has her hand out, waiting to read my latest test score. Sometimes I wonder why she even pretends to think I did better than the last time. We all know what I ended up with.
I sigh, handing her the test, and bend my head down to stare at my shoes. We've done this too many times. The reaction is obvious.
"A thirty?" My mom says, her voice rising as her face turns red. She shoves me out the door yelling, "Don't bother coming home until you've studied enough to pass the makeup test!"
Mom slams the door behind me, and I, rather bored with this routine, slump to the porch steps and stare at my fingernails. What was the use of banging on the door, and crying until my mother let me in? She was right. I should study for the makeup test. I'm already so far behind though, that to be honest, I've already given up.
Luna's fur brushes against my bare legs, tickling my skin. I grab Luna, squeezing her in my arms, pressing my cheek against her fur.
"Alright, why was your mother upset?" Luna asks, nuzzling my cheek.
"I failed another test," I whisper, stroking her back with one hand, while rubbing her ear with the other.
"You know, if you spent more time focusing on being a Sailor Scout, and doing the important things in life, you wouldn't disappoint your mom and friends."
I feel my face flush at yet another one of Luna's insults, and shove her out of my lap. I stand up, patting my skirt, and grab my book bag. "Just be quiet!" I yell down at her.
Absent-mindedly, I run towards the arcade, feeling like I'm about to cry. No one seems to understand me. I feel like I don't really have anyone to talk to. I can't exactly just tell mom or Sammy or even Molly that I am Sailor Moon. So, in everyone else's eyes, I'm just a failure, and for no good reason.
Finally, I'm walking through the arcade doors. I breathe a sigh of relief, thankful to be in my favorite hang out spot. Here I can admire Andrew, the wonderful male waiter who makes my delicious chocolate malts. My secret crush, who when I see him, makes my heart turn into goo.
I take a seat at the arcade bar, right up front where I can see my favorite employee in the arcade, not realizing that a certain dark-haired jerk was just a couple of seats away to my left. "Oh, Andrew!" I sing, giggling to myself as I wait.
"Hey, Meatball head!" Darien the jerkzoid greets me, purposely trying to get on my nerves. I snap my head to the side, ignoring him.
Darien walks to where I am facing, and says, "Come on Meatball head, I've actually missed your annoying screeching voice whenever you talk to me."
"Hey, jerk, why don't you just leave me alone today?" I say, trying to dictate him to do what I want for once. All I want is for him to wipe his face off the earth and leave me alone! Was that really too much to ask for?
"Aww, c'mon Meatball head, I know you love fighting with me too," Darien says, lifting his hand to his chest, feigning hurt. I roll my eyes. Finally, Andrew walks to the bar from the kitchens, and I turn to him with a huge grin.
"Hi Andrew!" I say happily. I ignore Darien's defeated sigh as I ignore him, focusing all my attention on Andrew.
"Let me guess?" Andrew grins, pulling a coffee mug and a large sundae glass from the shelving under the bar. "A dark coffee and a chocolate malt for my favorite customers?"
"You know me so well, Andrew!" I smile, watching as Andrew works. Darien sits next to me, and grabs my wrist. He pulls my attention away from our friend once again.
"Hey, why don't I treat you today?" He asks, smiling at me in a way that seems genuine and not like the mean jerk I'm used to.
"What's the catch?" I ask, suspicious of his actions. "Are you going to spit in it before it reaches me?"
Darien's eyes dim at my words and his smile diminishes. "Just forget it. I wouldn't want to treat a brat like you to anything anyways."
"Then why did you offer?" I argue, raising my voice as I point my finger at him.
"Because I'm an idiot for thinking we could ever be civil." Darien whispers, dismissing me when Andrew hands him his coffee. I feel confused when Darien backs down from the argument he had started the moment I walked in.
All those thoughts disappear when Andrew places my chocolate malt in front of me. I admire him, staring into his eyes, before saying, "Thanks, Andrew!"
"No problem," Andrew replies. He glances at Darien, and Darien nods at him. "It's on the house."
"Wow! Thanks Andrew! I could just hug you right now!" I say gleefully, taking my spoon and digging into my sweet and free treat. Maybe today wasn't so bad after all.
I hear Darien smack his forehead, and look at him to see him shaking his head into his hand. What was his problem?
"So, how did you do on that test that you and Amy were talking about yesterday?" Andrew says, quickly diverting my attention.
At that moment, Raye and Amy walk through the arcade doors, the little bell jingling behind them. I turn their way, and smile, happy to avoid the question. "Hi Raye! Hi Amy!"
"Hi, Serena! How did you do on the test? I didn't do so well, I only got a 98%." Amy says, scolding herself under her breath. "I should have studied harder."
If a sweat drop could appear on my forehead, it would have at that comment. I twiddle my thumbs. "Well..."
"Oh, Serena!" Amy gasps. "You didn't study, did you?"
"Well, no, but..."
I think of the last youma we fought against in the park. The animals had become evil somehow and were terrorizing the citizens, aiding the negaverse. A youma made from plants had come out of Mister Baxter, Amy's good friend. Not to mention, I had been spying on the Jerkmeister Darien, who was on a date with Raye. For some reason that had made me angry. No idea why though, it's not like I'd ever date him. She could keep him, so long as they don't talk about my hair!
"Serena, if you want, I could help you study." Amy offers, trying to cheer me up.
I space out, staring at the ceiling. I didn't want to think about this stupid test. All I wanted to do was get my mind off of it. Then Raye has to open her big mouth and put her two cents in. "Yeah right! Serena, study? She's too busy stealing my comic books to actually be responsible!"
Raye laughs, and my body begins to shake in frustration. I squeeze my hands into fists. Not responsible huh? I do try, it just doesn't make sense and I give up! Not to mention the many attacks that I have to be there for. Raye and Amy were able to skip plenty of the fights, they weren't there from the beginning like I was! Without my tiara enemies cannot be defeated, and as a result, I've been sleep deprived for quite some time now.
"Well," I say, my voice shaky. "I promised Molly I'd meet her somewhere. So, I should go."
"What about your sundae?" Andrew asks, sympathy in his voice. I look at the pitiful sundae, half melted with chocolate sinking to the bottom.
I sniffle. "I don't want it."
Darien blurts out, "You know, 'Andrew' is paying for it. You should enjoy it. You know, so 'his' money doesn't go to waste."
"Why don't you go suck on a mothball Darien, and mind your own business!" I push the sundae towards him. "Or maybe you should eat it so it doesn't go to waste. You know, since you care so much about other people's money."
"Well maybe you should care more about other people!" Darien yells at me. "You're so selfish, Meatball head. You don't notice when other people care about you and love you. You never pay attention to anyone else, or how anyone else feels. It's all about you!And yet, you can't even care about yourself right. You flunk all your classes, and trip and fall over the place, bringing at least two other people down with you. You eat all the wrong foods, and you never try to succeed at anything. What a disappointment you must be to your poor mother and father."
"Shut up!" I scream at him. He doesn't even know me! He doesn't know how hard I try. He doesn't know how unselfish I really am, sacrificing my teen years to save a bunch of people who will never know it was me. How many times I have helped my family, and my friends, Molly and Melvin. He doesn't know about all the near death experiences.
"No, I won't! You don't know how lucky you truly are to have all these people to care about you. You take it all for granted. Your parents work so hard for you to have a successful future, and you don't appreciate it. In fact, you throw all their hard work down the toilet! You will never make it into high school, or be successful at anything!"
I slap him across his face so hard my hand stings. Tears are dripping down my cheeks, and rather than defend myself against the one man who would never understand, I simply whisper, "I hate you. I hate you so, so much."
I'm trying to run out of the arcade, pushing past Raye and Amy who are trying to stop me. I hear Amy say to Raye, "Let her go. Let her calm down."
Yet there are still footsteps behind me. I run faster, ignoring the rain outside, trying to get to the cross walk.
"Serena! Please, stop." I hear Darien call towards me. I don't want to hear what he has to say. He was so cruel. He didn't care how much he hurt me.
Finally, I reach the cross walk. I click on the button several times.
I stand at the cross walk, patiently waiting for the green human to appear on the digital sign. What is only seconds feels like hours. Tears are pouring from my cheeks. I'm crying yet again. I'm so useless. So worthless. There is nothing I can ever seem to do well. Maybe they were right. Maybe 'he' was right.
The light switches, and finally I am free to cross the street. Darien has nearly caught up to me, and I run out into the road as quickly as I can, desperate to get away from him.
Darien's voice sounds panicked as he shouts from the sidewalk, "Serena, watch out!"
I turn to see what he is yelling about, and a blue jeep is making its way towards me, at high-speed. The teenage boy blasting music in his car is happily talking on his phone, completely ignorant to his surroundings.
But it is too late. I've already been hit by the car. It took less than half a minute for the car going at double the speed limit to crash into me. My body crumbles to the ground and all I can feel is pain. The colors of vehicles and the road swirls around me as my knees hit the pavement. The young man continues driving on, and I feel sick.
Raindrops and dirt cover my body. I notice a slice on the left side of my torso. My school girl blouse seems to be splattered with blood. So much blood that I feel as if I am going to throw up just looking at it…I am losing too much blood.
"Serena! What happened to you?" I hear Raye and Amy cry from the arcade doors. I can see the fear in their eyes. Fear for me. But I don't feel frightened. In fact, I'm not scared at all.
I hear the honking of horns, and Darien running towards me.
I try to open my mouth to speak, but no words come out. Slowly my head becomes dizzy, and my body numbs. Almost instantly after the numbness begins my eyes retire into an involuntary sleep, and I am lost to the world around me.