Note: NaNoWriMo is where writers work on a 50,000 word novel during the month of November without editing their work, including checking for spelling or punctuation. Therefore, my story The Swan & the Crow for NaNoWriMo is nowhere close to perfect. Please keep this in mind when reading this chapter and the rest of the chapters that will be following it. But I am open to hearing opinions on what I have written so far and am open to any feedback given. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my attempt at a novel and I hope you have a nice day!
The last bell for class rang. I ran out, ready to get out and party with friends. I had enough of school for today and just wanted to go home, change clothes, and party.
For the past couple months, partying has been a big part of my life. I party to get away from life, to forget everything going on around me. To dull the pain home has caused me, to feel numb completely. To forget the past, live in the present and make it to the future. I live life everyday like it is the last day I will be living on the Earth.
But I have to. It is the only way I can stay sane. What with all the trouble I have to deal with at home.
My parents are a complete train wreck. My mom is a hot mess, constantly dealing with father’s abuse. She is too kind and forgiving for her own good. But she refuses to leave him, ever. Even after he leaves her bruised and beaten and bloody on the floor, crying for help.
Not to say my dad does not have good moments too. He does, but they are very frequently now that he drinks on a daily basis. I just wish he laid off on the booze and gave mom the love and support she deserves. Instead, I am the one left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart that refuses to give out.
Not that I mind too much, usually. Mom is so loving and supporting of everything I do, almost like a personal cheerleader that I have a hard time being mad at her. It is usually Dad that I am mad at whenever I am at home.
But this has been going on for a while now, since I was little when we first moved here. I have just now decided that I have had enough and need something to get away from it all.
That is when partying became a big part of my life. All of my friends go out on a daily basis so I decided to tag along with them, just for something to do away from home. Ever since, I have been hooked.
And tonight was not going to be any different.
As soon as I got home, I immediately went to my room, ignoring my Dad’s far cries for more alcohol.
“Steph!” I heard Dad yell in a drunken stupor as I ascended to my room. “Can you go into the refrigerator and get me more alcohol? I just finished this bottle here, and your mother is on the floor in our room, crying like a baby as usual.”
I closed the door with a slam once I was in my room in response, immediately going to my closet wardrobe looking for clothes. I found the navy button down t shirt I liked hanging up, took the shirt I was currently wearing off, and buttoned it up to perfection before closing the closet door.
I then went to my mirror hanging against my bedroom door to look at my reflection, making sure to adjust my shirt just right. When I looked into my dark brown eyes, all I saw was fear. Fear and excitement for the adrenalin I was going to be experiencing tonight at the party. My long black hair that ran all the way down to my waist I decided to pull up in a ponytail to keep away from my angular face. Once that was done, I went to my drawer at the end of my bed, pulling out a nose ring, which I quickly applied directly to my nose. The nose ring was a dark shade of purple, bringing out a nice sense of calm to my already dark face.
In order to make myself look more exotic and dangerous, I also got out of the drawer some dark purple eyeliner to apply around my eyes in order to match my newly acquired nose ring. I then put on some purple lipstick to make my whole exotic look more complete.
Once I put all of my accessories away, I knew my look was complete. Time to get out of here and go party with Allison and Becca, I thought as I closed the door in my room and descended the stairs, heading directly to the kitchen. I grabbed the last bottle of booze we had left in our refrigerator and went into the living room, quickly putting it in Dad’s hand.
“Here’s your damn booze,” I said. “Now I’m going to go check on Mom, but I am going out tonight. I have some things I have to do that are more important than staying here with you and Mom, but I will be back home later. Try not to kill Mom for me while I am gone, please.”
“Oh and one last thing,” I continued before going into their bedroom. “That is the last bottle of booze that was left in the fridge. Looks like you are going to have to stock up on some more. Such a shame. I know how much you hate having to leave the house for anything.”
I walked into their bedroom and could hear Mom weeping on the floor in a corner of the bedroom. The room was dark, a void of silence and emptiness accept for the sounds of Mom’s weeping. I turned on a light in order to brighten the place up and went to check on Mom for damages to her face.
Mom was hurt badly. I could see the damage just from looking at her face. She had bruises covering both her eyes and a cut directly on her forehead. She was also shaking from head to toe, rocking back and forth as if to numb her body of the pain she had just endured. And she was crying too. I could see the tears streaming down her face as I bent over her to calm her down.
“Shhh, Mom,” I whispered gently to her as if I were talking to a child. “There, there. It is okay. The pain is over now. You are okay. You will be alright. Dad is in the living room. He is drinking himself into a sleeping stupor again.”
I then hugged her against me as the weeping continued, pressing my hands gently against her back to calm her down. I rubbed my hands through her wind-blown curly black hair as her sobs echoed throughout the bedroom, hoping to calm her down and get her settled in for the night.
My Mom is not one for words. She is often very quiet, mostly because of Dad’s abuse but also because she does not have a whole lot to say. But when she does talk, her voice echoes words of wisdom I often repeat to myself to make it through the day. She is a gentle spirit, very childlike in nature that I am always protecting with my life. I both hate her and love her all at once. I hate how much crap she puts up with Dad and how she does not stand up to the pain he causes her. But I love her gentle spirit and how strong she is against the odds and her devotion to Dad, despite all of the trouble he causes both of us.
I held her against me for a long time. Eventually, she fell asleep laying on the floor in my arms and I was able to carry her and gently place her in their bed. I then covered the blankets over her sleeping frame, gently stroked her face, and gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek before leaving their bedroom and the house to go out with Allison and Becca for the party.
It was dark when Allison and Becca arrived at Jason’s house for the party. Jason is Allison’s long time sweetheart. They have been together since we were sixth grade middle schoolers. And their relationship shows no signs of being anywhere close to stopping. They are both the cutest and dorkiest couple I have ever met. But they are sweet and both of them love me for me. They understand my problems at home and have always been supportive of me getting out of the house. Even if it means partying my nights away.
When we walked in Jason’s house, the party was just starting. The smell of alcohol filled my lungs with exhilaration and got my heart pumping, ready to start jumping and dancing. The music was upbeat, coming up and down in waves of shock and electricity that filled the room of dancing bodies with bursting energy. But we had to find Jason first. After all, this is his house and his party. It would be rude not to say hello to the host of the night. Even though I wanted to dance and forget my troubles at home, I was polite at these occasions.
As Allison, Becca and I pushed through sweaty bodies, we found Jason over by the alcohol cooler, talking to his buddy Matt. Jason is a man with upper body strength and a very lean torso. About an inch or two taller than me, Jason has dark brown hair, parted on the left side of his face, matched with a pair of black framed glasses. He is cute, in a dorky sort of way that draws Allison’s attention to him.
While Jason isn’t my type, him and Allison are a cute couple. While Jason is much more dark in comparison, Allison is an angel in disguise. With blonde hair and perfectly shaped blue eyes, Allison is the type of girl who could get whatever guy she wanted. But she doesn’t because she only has her eyes and ears for Jason. But like me, Allison also has body piercings. She has one in her nose, similar to mine but also a belly ring and gauges. She is the type of girl that draws people to her like moths to a flame. There is always a guy everyday interested in talking to her, but she manages to avoid them and pretends like they don’t exist.
Sometimes I envy her. Not because of her looks or anything. I envy the easy way she carries herself. She oozes confidence everywhere she goes, confidence I wish I myself had. She is very perky too and very social. She can talk to anyone in a room and have that person laughing within minutes of their conversation. She is that social and I envy it every time I see it. She is also one of my best friends and I love her for taking time out of her day to talk to me about anything. She is a very good listener too which is something else I adore about her. She listens to anything I say and is able to offer the best advice I need for the occasion.
Her and Becca both are the light at the end of my tunnel. They bring me a sense of peace and calm my life at home has never been able to give to me. And I love them for it with each and every breath I breathe.
And Matt is the guy Becca currently has a crush on. With short cropped ginger red hair, Matt is of shorter build than Jason but is very strong. He is about an inch taller than me to where I could almost look him directly in his green lizard eyes.
While Allison is an angel in disguise, Becca is the complete opposite. She is the girl I rely on whenever I need to get in trouble. She is the life of any party that is going on around her. With her and Allison, we are a storm in a world of chaos. Allison knows how to calm me down while Becca knows how to rile me up. Like me, Becca too is very exotic looking. Born in Jamaica, Becca has very dark black skin and short cropped dark red hair recently dyed from its normal dark black color hue. Her brown almond shaped eyes give off a hint of mischief to those who gaze upon them. But unlike Allison and I, Becca’s dark skin is not graced with any sort of piercings. Instead, she wears bangled sets of jewelry that she claims to have gotten from her home in Jamaica. All of which are a beautiful golden color like the sun.
As we approach Jason and Matt, Allison runs to Jason and gives him a bear like hug. Becca on the other hand approaches Matt awkwardly, grasping his hand in a firm handshake and mumbling a quick “hello.”
Jason hugs Allison back and gives her a quick peck on the cheek. I turn away from the romantic interaction, trying to dull the numb pain inside of me in my isolation. Because I know I will never find love like there’s, no matter how hard I try.
I am too much of a loner for such a thing. I do not have time for boys when my world around me is too painful. When all the people left in my life are those few close friends I currently have. Allison, Becca, Jason and my Mom are the only ones I really have. They are the only ones I love, the only ones who understand my pain.
“So how are you ladies doing today?” I hear Jason say amidst my inner turmoil. “Are you not going to go ahead and party, enjoy the moment? Things are already starting to get pumped up here. Might as well get in on the action.”
As Jason holds Allison close to him, he gently strokes her hair as she leans her head on his shoulder.
“We wanted to say hello first,” Allison, Becca and I say in unison. “We just got here after all. Might as well say hello to the friendly host before we get the party really started.”
I look all around me at all the people dancing, laughing and having a good time. Well, I think, I might as well get started. I know Allison is going to want to be around Jason for a little bit and Becca is going to want to talk to Matt too.
“I think I am going to go ahead and join in the fun,” I tell Allison, Becca and Matt as Allison keeps her head on Jason’s shoulder and Becca looks at Matt in a romantic way. “You guys look like you are comfortable here but I think I need to clear my head for a little bit.”
“Okay,” Becca says, a smile gleaming in her eyes. “But try not to get into too much trouble without us. I will be there in a minute. I want to hang out with Matt for a little bit. I have something I want to talk to him about.”
“Oh, I am sure you do,” I say a smile hitting my eyes as I give her a quick wink before slinking off into the group of people.
I take a moment to listen to the pumping music for a little bit, then start fist pounding and jumping around, laughing and giggling like I am having the best time of my life. And I am. Usually parties give me this sense of inner peace and excitement I never get from anything else. They make me forget how shitty things at home are, even when a party turns out to be a complete bust. Which normally, is never the problem for me. Allison, Becca and I have good luck at finding just the right parties to have a good time at. Mostly because they know my need to party but also because we know how to make parties fun when things are not looking so good.
Tonight is no exception, even now when I am dancing alone. I can already feel the high I get from dancing around at parties, the magnetic electricity stinging the air and making my hair frizz up. Time passes as I continue to dance, not at all noticing more and more people joining in on the fun.
Allison and Becca eventually join in the fray with Jason and Matt in tow. Both dance with their respective partners, giggling in sheer joy at the beautiful music being played to provide us with a good time. It is while I am dancing with my friends that I notice a different atmosphere to the party. I do not know what it is exactly, but I all of a sudden notice my heart thumping hard in my chest. And when I turn to try and find the source of my beating heart problem, I see a beautiful pair of blue eyes of a male staring right into my soul. And for the first time ever since I have gone to one of these parties, I feel the moment frozen in time like a picture from a fairy tale story. I do not know what is going on, but I am drawn to this guy and want to find out his name.
He stands out from the pack of male guys already here at this party. I do not know if it is his attractive looks or that he has decided to distance himself from everyone else here. But he is standing alone, not at all dancing. Just looking straight at me, straight into my soul. His eyes draw me to him and make me want to go over and talk to him. But I do not know him. I do not know him at all.
But he is attractive. I can say that for sure. With his dark brown hair and ocean wave blue eyes, he draws me into his gaze. He is tall for a high school student, one of the tallest guys I have ever seen at this party. He towers over the rest of us in the sea of people dancing and having a good time. I do not know why, but something about him looks familiar. I do not know what it is exactly.
But I do not care. Because I want to go over to him, talk to him and find out his name. And find out why I feel as if I have seen him before.