Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
Beta'd by HollettLA.
Welcome to "Higher"! It was a plot bunny that got stuck in my head, one I HAD to write out. It started as a one-shot, but then...I quickly fell in love with Thugward. LOL. I'm sure my fellow authors know what I'm talking about. This plot bloomed, and I had more ideas...so I ran with it. It's also complete. We'll see how it goes...I'll be updating often.
It's not a drabble, so there won't be multiple updates a day. But I'm going to update once a day - five times a week at least. Nevertheless, I plan to wrap this up, have it be completed within a month span, or even less, depending on how it pans out.
Slang term glossary will be at the end of every chapter!
I hope you all enjoy!
Summary: Summer of 1994: Dial-up internet. Pagers. Walkmans. AOL chat rooms. O.J in a white Bronco. And blazingly hot weather in Brooklyn where eighteen-year-old Bella Swan is filling her days making ice cream sundaes before she starts college. But one long night – full of Ecstasy, subway rides, dark dance clubs, and a boy she doesn't want to stay away from – may change everything.
Bella Swan: Ice Cream Scooper
June 10th 1994
When it was a quarter to six—almost quitting time—I excused myself to the bathroom. My hope was to run out the door as soon as seven p.m. rolled around. After using the toilet, I washed my hands and tore off my Carvel visor, fast to comb my hair with my fingers. Then I spritzed on some body spray and fixed my makeup.
Before I left the break room, I threw my uniform into my locker, only to go up front with my mini backpack in hand—ready to dash out the door.
My direct supervisor also happens to be my friend, and the owner's daughter, but even she wasn't in today.
I haven't spoken to her since last night, but I bet Rosalie went to the beach.
She lives right there in Brighton now . . . She's so lucky. In junior year, Rose's family bought a house in a gated community—Seagate—which is kind of ritzy. Either way, her parents never made her transfer schools.
She graduated from Fort Hamilton High School with Alice and me two days ago.
Just when I turned the corner, I noticed we had an influx of customers suddenly.
"Jake…" I trailed my hand along his forearm, my lame attempt at flirting. "Would you mind if I left now?"
My coworker grinned, looking between my hand and the people who were staring overhead to the menu.
Before he could answer me, a woman with a toddler approached.
Of course she needed like three milkshakes, so I couldn't leave Jake in the lurch.
Them bullshits are time-consuming.
Luckily, I didn't get too sticky while I fulfilled their orders.
Now all I had to do was count the tips and take my half. It only took a minute, and we'd made a whopping eight bucks each.
"You taking off now?" Jake placed a cigarette in his mouth.
I stole it from him, placing it between my lips. "You chillin' tonight?"
Jake leaned closer to push my hair away from my shoulder. "Maybe…I'll be at the pool hall."
I scoffed. "That place blows."
He rolled his eyes and chuckled, which was kind of cute. Jake's a year younger than me, so I guess that would make him a senior come fall—seventeen.
Anyway, he's hot, can easily pass for a twenty-year-old, and…he's the most attractive guy in the neighborhood, to me anyway. All the guys I'd gone to school with, grew up with, were old news.
I've only known Jake from around the neighborhood before he started working here. I used to see him in school all the time, we just never had anything in common—completely different schedules, we hung with different crowds. But, it seemed like Jake had gone from boy to hunk overnight; he's totally noticeable now, always wearing a tank to show off his muscles.
Since we've been working together…we flirt constantly. I've been waiting for him to make a move since he started, two weeks ago. At first, I'd hardly speak to him, except for when ice cream bullshit was involved.
I'm so used to the morons around here being grabby, pawing, and just being jackasses. However, Jake didn't do any of that stuff. I had no idea if he was interested.
All of which is why I try my best to come out of my shell and be flirtatious.
Now he hits on me every so often, and I'm just waiting for him to ask me out—get the balls to do so.
"Where do you go that's so special?" he asked.
I started backing away toward the exit, and I caught him checking out my legs, this cute grin on his face. "Hmmm, where do we go?" I left the store knowing Jake would follow. "You gotta light?"
He lit the smoke for me, squinting as he stared out to the avenue. "Fuck…it's so nice, not even that hot. I could be playing handball right now."
I hummed, blowing the smoke out into the air. "You know my friend Alice? She comes in, makes her own sundae with like ten different flavors?" She makes a mess when she comes through, but she's the baby of the bunch.
"The short one?" he asked. "She a sophomore or somethin'?"
"Yeah…that's her, but she's not a sophomore. She graduated with me. Alice's parents are hardly home. Sometimes we party at her house. She's got A/C, and the guy at the bodega on the corner lets us buy beer and shit."
"Now that sounds cheesy." He chuckled.
"It's not," I promised. "She usually keeps it small, but people bring mad shit. We're always getting fucked up." I handed Jake back his cigarette, and for some reason, I really wanted to hang out with him tonight. "But…Rose and Alice like going into Manhattan, hitting the clubs, too..." I pursed my lips. "It's always a toss-up…when it comes to the weekend."
We never know where we'll end up, which is all kinds of exciting.
Sadly, we always seem to go to the same three places.
While the club scene has been great—since I've been old enough to go—I knew Jacob wasn't eighteen yet. Neither is Alice, but she has a really good fake ID. She's younger than Rose and me, and yet she's the only one who can drink when we go out. It's not like we need liquor when we go to Limelight, though.
Another customer waltzed in, and I almost made a run for it.
Carvel truly is a shit job. It's boring, and I'm always counting down the minutes until I can leave. I've only been working here a year. I started part-time, but this summer I'll be working steadily full-time.
And it's only been two days that I've been working from open to almost closing time.
I mean, a few hours after school was always cool. I used to do my homework, but all day?
I'm always tempted to count the rainbow sprinkles…that's how bored I get.
Not to mention that I totally hate ice cream now.
"Relax," he laughed, opening the door for the patron. "I'm closing. Remember? Another two hours, and I'm out!" He sounded enthusiastic.
I nodded. "See ya!"
Even though we hadn't finished our discussion, I didn't keep talking about it. The last thing I wanted to do was come off as desperate.
I truly am shy as fuck around guys, but talking to Jake has gotten easier.
"Yeah?" I turned back.
"If you stay local…gimme a shout. You know where I live." His apartment is a few blocks away from mine. And by "shout," he means scream his name from the sidewalk in front of his building; I hate doing that.
I just nodded, giving him a small smile.
Truth be told, I was more excited to be leaving work than anything, and I dug out my Walkman for the stroll home.
The sun didn't burn my skin, as it was so late in the day, but I liked the feel of it—the warmth.
The once busy avenue had turned quiet when I crossed the street.
Then it was just my Ace of Base cassette and me, and I was practically dancing as I walked.
Their music is like sunshine, sunshine for the soul. It just makes me happy, and I was even happier to party and chill tonight. I just hoped I'd get to see Jake—not at work, not wearing a stupid apron.
Ecstatic, I ran up the two flights to my apartment. It was stuffy when I entered, and I wondered if my mother was home. She's an elementary school teacher yet she's always busy doing something—she's never home—no matter the summer months.
"Ma…?" I called out, locking the deadbolt behind me.
"I'm in here!" she shouted, and it came from my bedroom.
As fast as I could, I hauled ass, curious as to what she was doing in there.
Mom was picking clothes up off my floor.
"Just leave it," I said, placing my bag down. "I'll do it."
She sighed, standing straight. "You have some towels in here."
I went to grab them away from her. "I'll wash them."
I always do.
Who is she kidding?
In fact, I should grab a camera—take a picture of this monumental moment, of Renee lifting a finger.
As of late, and since we have no communication between us anymore, she needlessly gets on my case about stupid shit. I think she's making up excuses to talk to me. However, the more she gets on my ass, the more I don't want to talk to her.
My mother squared her jaw, nodding, and I knew she was pissed about something—something more than dirty towels. But I had no doubt that it was still fucking dumb. "Clean up this mess, and then we're going to talk."
With all of Renee's free-spirited crap, I was always told that my bedroom was my space, and it could be in any shape, condition, or way I wanted it. She's a fucking slob, and my room was nowhere near as bad as hers.
I bet she just came in here to snoop.
"You're smoking cigarettes?" She produced an empty pack from her pocket.
Even if they were mine, I couldn't hide my shit-eating smirk. "And you just assume they're mine? Were you going through my trash again?" I needed a deadbolt for my fucking bedroom.
"It was laying right on top—"
"You smoke!" I laughed.
She does smoke, so I kind of knew she wouldn't smell the cigarette on me that I'd just shared with Jacob.
"Isabella, it's a terrible habit." She seemed exasperated now. "You know how many times I've tried to quit—"
"Well, relax," I soothed. "Rose threw that in my garbage, and her parents know she smokes…" I shrugged, trailing off. "Not for nothing…Ma, I'm eighteen, and you need to stop. I can legally buy cigarettes, but no. I don't smoke."
"If you're going to keep being like this…" I paused, my insides all cringe-y and frustrated. "I pull my weight around here. You're never home, but when you are…" I always clam up, when there's so much I want to tell her. There's so much I'm angry about.
One day I'll open my mouth.
"I can't live like this," I said. "I'm starting classes at Kingsborough in the fall; Rosalie and Alice are, too. Maybe we can get a place together? I don't wanna keep fighting with you." I blew out a breath.
I had no plans for moving, but she doesn't know that.
"No." She grabbed my hand. "I don't…I don't want to fight with you either." She relaxed her stance. "I don't want you to move out."
"Okay." I nodded, wanting her out of my space already. "It's hot…this place is stuffy." I placed my arm around her, ushering her out of my bedroom.
"Did you eat already, or…?"
"I ate," I said. "Don't worry about me. I just stopped by to shower and change—I'm going to Alice's."
"Are you sleeping over?" she asked, plopping all the towels into the hamper.
"But you work tomorrow—"
"Mom…" I gritted my teeth together, and I wanted to ask her where she'd be tonight.
She's one to talk.
During the school year, my mother is barely home. She works days, stays after three all the time, and then spends most nights with her boyfriends—for the past few months it's been Phil.
Sometimes they come here, and I always make myself scarce.
Phil is a total tool-bag, asshole. I can't stand that motherfucker, and I've caught him staring at my tits. He rubs me the wrong way; I know he'll be taking off soon enough, leaving Renee heartbroken, because that cycle never ends.
Besides, who wants to listen to their mother getting plowed?
They're always at his place, and that arrangement works. It's been working for years now. Since—for a while there—my mother's bedroom door seemed to revolve.
Renee can nag my ass all she wants, but I know the deal. She likes shit the way it is, too. Mom stays there for however long. When she needs her space, she comes home.
At the end of the day, I'm happy that she's happy, and I do my best to stay out of the way.
After all, she never let me forget that I was in her way while growing up...keeping her from her dreams.
Ever since she's had more time…my mother suddenly gives a fuck.
It's an act.
Renee forgets the fact that I write out most checks and mail them so our lights and phone don't go off, that I do the grocery shopping, the laundry, and I cook…that I'm basically the adult in this house when I practically live alone any-fucking-way . . . and it's been that way since I was eleven.
Actually, I've come to hate this apartment, and I leave it every chance I get. It's too quiet, and there's nothing scarier than being alone with your thoughts.
Sometimes, I feel like I've been alone my whole life.
Renee put her hands up. "All right. I'm sorry I pried. You'll be starting college soon enough, and…I worry. I don't want you to screw up at work, with hanging out all the time."
"I only just graduated two days ago!" I rolled my eyes. "The summer just started. And YOU haven't even been home the past two days. I'm eighteen. I'm a good kid, and you trust me alone here all the time…I can't hang out with my friends? I'm going to be working forever—for the rest of my life. I already do work…I help with bills."
And I always was a good kid until that shit just wasn't fun anymore…until bullshit with Renee literally came to a boiling point. Her hypocritical—do as I say, not as I do—garbage, her always choosing Tom, Dick, or Harry over me.
Two months ago, I had enough.
Why should I do the right thing when Renee doesn't?
I had freedom, no parents around to tell me what to do, so I started going out—doing whatever.
Before, and all while growing up, I never talked back, never manipulated my mother.
Being shy and timid is my curse; I must have been born that way since I've never been taught to be like that.
No one ever had to tell me to study, do my homework, or eat my vegetables…because there was no one around to do so.
I just knew it was the right thing. I listened to my teachers.
In a nutshell, I was a parent's wet dream—sometimes seen but never heard—I still am, kind of.
"Bella—" she palmed my cheek "—I want you to talk to me. Just…let me into your life. You are a good kid. You've always been a fantastic child, but something's going on...you're different. You snap at me, and you're hostile. My Bella never did that—"
"I'm the same as I've always been, and nothing's going on." I wished I could truly share my thoughts with her. "I go out two nights a week, and I'm just around the neighborhood the rest of the time—"
"Fine." She wiped her hands clean. "What do I know?"
"What do you wanna know?" I asked. "I don't have secrets. I don't have a boyfriend, nor have I ever, which you know. I'm at work five days a week. I hope to get a tan this summer..." I widened my arms. "Alice and Rose are still Alice and Rose…and we don't do much but scope boys and maybe have a beer or two. Ma, you know all that, and that's the summary of my life." Lame and true.
She nodded. "Rose called a few minutes ago, looking for you. Shouldn't she know when you're working?" She gave me the stink-eye.
"It's Saturday." I shrugged. "I always try to get out a little early, which she knows. Sue me."
"All right," she sighed. "Just—" Mom groaned and walked away from me.
But I couldn't figure out what she wanted to know.
Nothing was really different. Except that she's home more, whereas I'm not. Previous summers, we'd do things together like one night a week. I can admit that she was a friend at one point, but things have changed—I know better now. I refuse to be her fucking doormat.
I don't even know why she's trying so hard.
It's too fucking late for her to try and be a mother now, and I'm tired of the bullshit.
Later on, when she's at Phil's, I'll be a faint memory.
Believe it or not, Renee's like this annoying acquaintance—someone who shrieks about towels and then POOF!
What the fuck is the point?
I mean, now? Now…she decides to ride my ass?
Now that I'm an adult?
All I want is to enjoy my summer before starting college. Maybe get into just a little bit of trouble and have a great time.
My life is just…it is what it is, I guess, boring.
And I need that to change.
I'm slowly starting to chase the highs that I can.
Sure, I technically live in New York City, but we're in Brooklyn—the borough that time forgot—which is nothing like Manhattan.
It's Manhattan: the city that never sleeps! There are nightclubs; there's plenty to see and do, and it's glamorous while being gritty at the same time.
Brooklyn, especially my neighborhood, is stale, bland. I learned in history class that it was originally supposed to be a suburb of Manhattan. I don't know what happened, but most neighborhoods are ghetto, except for the few rich parts, which are nice.
And then there's Bay Ridge—where I live—which is neither ghetto, nor is it considered that wealthy. There's a row of mansions by the water, but that's it. The rest is crap. It's known for shopping and barhopping.
Even so, there ain't dick to do…I see the same boring people every day who have lived here my whole life. The teens in my age group…we either chill at someone's house, the pool hall, the park, or we get into other things.
We're always aching to head into Manhattan—New York City proper.
Truthfully, it's always the three of us—Alice, Rose, and me—and we hang out with different groups often, make our rounds to see where the best party is.
There's a guy drought around here, and no one piques my interest. That's why I'm hopeful when it comes to Jake.
Furthermore…nothing's going on with me.
My life is always the same—day after day it's the same old crap.
And I'm bored as fuck.
Before my mother could bitch about something else, I dashed into the bathroom to take a quick shower. Since I washed my hair this morning, I made sure not to get it wet.
While I reapplied my makeup, I turned the volume up high on the radio and tried to get stoked for tonight. I put on my red plaid miniskirt, my black, shell-top Adidas on my feet, and I wore my red bra. It always looks awesome under my black tank, and I had a red, short-sleeved hoodie to go over it.
Then I made for the door. "I'll-be-back-later." I rushed to unlock the door before Renee could say—
"Wait!" she shouted, and the phone rang at the same time.
"Hello?" I answered it right away. It's one of those wall phones that hang in the kitchen, and the cord is all stretched out because I try very hard to have private phone calls. I wished we had a cordless.
"Hey, Bells…it's Dad."
I slumped my shoulders, leaning back against the wall. "What's up?"
"I just…wanted to know when you were coming to visit?" he asked.
My father lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Queens. He drives a cab, and we usually have an OK but boring time.
For years, I did the alternate weekend deal, which was court-ordered and mandatory with their joint custody crap. Now…? I don't know. Since I'm eighteen, other things seem to be more important, but I do manage to see him at least once a month.
It'd be a different story if he took off from work when I visited.
I'm usually alone there, too, except for a few hours when we'll hang out.
For that…I'd rather just stay home.
The hell you know is better than…the same hell in a different borough?
"Um…I think I'm off next Sunday?" I wasn't sure, but I also wanted to leave already.
"Who is it?" Mom hissed.
"It's Dad…" I held the phone out to her; they never talk. I think they exchanged pleasantries at my graduation, but that's it. "Did you—"
"Talk to him," she mouthed, waving a hand as she walked down the hall.
"How's…life?" I didn't know what to say.
In fact, I haven't had a real conversation with the man in a few years. He still thinks I'm six years old. We go to Kings Plaza, have pizza, ice cream, and then we take rides in Daddy's taxi, or we go to the movies—which only takes about two to three hours.
So, again, to spend the weekend there when we only hang out a few hours…
It makes no sense.
My father's a laid-back guy, and I really did wish we had more to speak about. Or, it'd be even nicer if he took some time out of his busy schedule to get to know me, the Bella I am now.
I could get to know him as well—as a person, not just my per-diem father—although he's about as forthcoming as I am with details.
Guess we're fucked either way.
"That Jim Carrey guy has a movie out," he said.
"I saw that…The Mask." This dude, Eric, who was trying to get into Rosalie's pants, took us all last Friday. Little did he know, he didn't have to do that. Rose would have probably hooked-up with him anyway.
I giggled at my thoughts but felt badly. "It was a riot. I'd totally go see it again. We can go…I'm free every weeknight, or whenever." It'd be cool if we could do something during the week. Even if he just came by and we went to get food. "Just tell me when. I'll make sure I'm free. Dad, we can hang out whenever—"
"Right." Dad cut me off. "Okay…" He seemed stuck for conversation, too. "I was just calling to say hello. You haven't called in…in three weeks. We barely spoke when I saw you at graduation, but…are you still mad at me for having to work?" He'd left the ceremony early, but he drives a cab, makes his own schedule.
Guess he had the meter running?
"No, I'm not mad," I whispered. "You know, you can call me, too. Every day if you want," I giggled. "I always call you." Weeks can go by, and if I don't call him, I don't hear from him. "I'm actually surprised to hear from you since I just saw you—"
"All right…Good talk…I'll let you go." He seemed to be rushing off suddenly. "Love ya, kid."
"I love you, too." I hung up the phone, and I always feel lousy after one of his calls.
There's never any real drama with my parents, nor is there any drama between us.
There are never any problems . . . except my problems that I have with them, but I'm not a kid anymore, so it doesn't matter.
They've been divorced since I was a baby. I think I was months shy of a year old, actually.
And I've been neglected ever since. They carried on with their lives as if I didn't exist. At least, that's the way it's always felt.
But again, now that I'm old enough…I know I shouldn't care anymore, but I do. Especially since Renee's on my case these days, when she's never cared before. They point the finger at me—I don't call, I don't talk to them, I'm always out somewhere—like they're my victims.
It either didn't bother me before, my whole life until now, or I just didn't know any better—was too stupid to question, or bitch about it—since it's all I've ever known.
Looking back at my childhood…I wonder why Renee didn't have an abortion.
At least they're not drunken, child abusers, or whatever.
Things could've always been worse, right?
While Mom was in the back, near the bathroom, I stole one of her Virginia Slims. "See ya!" I waved, rapidly closing the door after myself.
With a smile, I ran down the steps, quick to place my headphones on my head. I was surprised to see it was already dark when I stepped onto the sidewalk.
My finger paused on the play button; I whipped around and looked up to my mother. She was half-hanging out our second story window. "What?" I asked.
"When will you be home?"
I widened arms, surprised and put out by that question. "I told you. I'm staying at Alice's."
"Okay." She blew me a kiss. "I won't be back 'til morning anyway."
I smiled and turned for the corner.
Thank you for reading.
Please leave me your thoughts.
Chillin' — hanging out.
Blows — sucks
Bodega — convenience store
Cheesy — corny/lame
Mad — a lot and/or another way to say "very"
Limelight — rave-style club in NYC.
Walkman — a personal cassette/music player. Before Discmans and iPods…and if you don't know what a Walkman is…you shouldn't be reading this story. LOL.
Hauled ass — hurried, moved fast
Kingsborough — a community college in Brooklyn, NY.
Plowed — fucked/having sex
Stoked — excited/enthusiastic
King Plaza — a mall in Brooklyn, NY