Chapter 1: Insincerely Yours
“Dear Principal LaFontaine,
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice one of our Saturdays in detention for whatever we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy for making us write an essay...”
Oh wait...sorry! Wrong story.
Sincerely yours (or at least the next best thing anyone around here could ask for)
The Hopewell Club.
PS: By advice of our lawyers, we should mention that we have never heard about any movie called ‘The Breakfast Club’. Nor other parodies, imitators, homages or derivative works inspired by such film.”
It all started at Saturday detention; there were only three students in the classroom, and for the better or the worse, they opened to each other, saying things they wouldn’t even consider the day before they’d share.
Because when you have no cellphones, no tablets, no TV or not even an old-school Game Boy you decorated with “Steven Universe” stickers, the only other option available, human interaction, suddenly doesn’t look that bad.
And, to be fair, it wasn’t a bad day, at all, once it was all settled and done. Allyson, for example, discovered that others, no matter how different and creepy may look, are not so different to herself. Sarah, in this case, the weird, half-goth, half-rockabilly chic that no one seem to understand is way more sensitive and logical in her own way to see life than anyone could expect.
Then, there was Jake. Allyson have heard, just like all her fellow students in Hopewell High a lot about him: he was a trouble-maker, expelled from half the schools in the district because... well, it really depends of whom you ask to. He dated the daughter of the principal (and in some stories, he went as far as knock her out), he sold weed to both students and teachers, or even that he was arrested because some kind of political protest (most likely a lie, though: the farthest people went to fight a political position in the Hopewell area usually signs online petitions to bring old shows back to Netflix).
She couldn’t deny she kinda wanted the latter to be true: it sounded cooler, almost hero-alike, and not all heroes wear cape, and in this case, may proof some of them wear shirts of The Libertines.
The tough guy wasn’t so tough at the end of the day. And in the final balance, it was a good one. Not the best, nor the worse, and she surely knew deep down her heart there will be more days like that one. But it was an experience she would hardly be able to forget.
That wasn’t the issue. She wished so badly it was; it would make everything else seem so easy, so smoothly-going. Forget would be the ultimate goal.
But no: that wasn’t meant to be.
What it was meant to be arrived next Monday, when they had to face each other, with fresh memories of what it was said, done and confessed.
But there was an even worse possibility; one that truly stormed Allyson’s heart and mind with fear, anxiety and the constant feel of jumping from her bedroom, at the second floor of her home, and let Jesus, Buddha, Xenu or whoever is responsible to bring order to the universe.
That they meet each other, once again, and say nothing at all.
“What should I do?” she asked herself, checking her face at the mirror of his bedroom. “It was too late to play sick?”
A decent plan in other circumstances, but she knew her mother knew that trick very well, and once they are in the doctor’s office, she would be completely lost. She had the hope some incident could happen, a fire, a flood, a starship from Kolob’s planet starting an intergalactic war, but neither of those scenarios was really likely. No more that just face the music, and accept her fate: Hopewell High is her second home, and it will be for the upcoming three years. Maybe she could make it two if she takes advanced courses, but given her laziness, she knew she just couldn’t say goodbye to her afternoon naps.
With no other option, she dressed, she bathed, and she was ready for the world. Even if the world wasn’t ready for her.
“Goodbye mom!” she said, rushing to the door.
But her mother wasn’t ready to let her go. Not yet. There was one more little chat they had to have.
“You better freeze there young lady” the mother said as she got closer to Allyson. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“That would be cute and nice, but that’s not exactly what I had in mind.”
Her mother’s arms were crossed, and her expression remained stoic; she wasn’t in the mood for her silly jokes, and being honest, Allyson wasn’t in the mood of making them.
So, instead of trying to appear an even more smarty-pants that her mother and almost everyone she knew thought she was, Allyson decided to be blunt and direct.
In a way.
“Yeah, I know,” the daughter said, “I’m sorry for the... Saturday thing.”
“I don’t want it to become an usual thing, am I clear?”
“Yes mom.” Allyson whispered.
“Did you said something?”
“Yes mom.” said louder.
Allyson’s mom nodded, and the daughter knew she was free to go. But not exactly free of emotional chains.
On the other side of her street, she saw Ryan Logan, a senior year student. They knew since almost a decade ago, when Allyson’s family moved to the neighborhood. And ever since, she wasn’t be able to forget all the conversations between she and him.
The whole four of them.
Allyson almost felt tempted to make it five that morning, and at least say a innocuous and friendly “hi!” but that taken something the girl couldn’t never count on: bravery.
But God, you can’t deny she tried.
“You can do it Allye, you go girl,” she thought, as she walked to the other side of the street, “just... follow the same steps of all your heroines. Marion Orr became the first female flight school operator in the country, at a time when we were expected to start popping out babies when we reached puberty... alright, the details are a little blurry, but I’m sure I’m not that far from reality. And someone threw acid Malala to her face... or were those some girls in Colombia? Goddammit Allye, how can you confuse Pakistan with Colombia!”
And she thought maybe she was a little louder than she expected to be, because as soon as she decided to ditch her mental argument, Ryan was nowhere to be seen.
“I need to calm down my geographic insecurities,” she said to herself, before marching to Hopewell High.
Rumor has it the name of the school is ironic, apparently proofing that hipsters existed way before someone decided to market to 20 somethings in that awkward time of self-discovery between finishing college but not being stable enough to not depend from their parents’ help. Others said it was founded as a mental institution for troubled teens, but that no one really notice the difference between a mentally healthy young man or lady and one who probably is safer far from human contact or sight.
In any case, Allyson had designed a simply plan to make it through, whatever it took: shut her mouth, don’t respond to anything, don’t reply to anyone, make decent grades, and spend her nights enjoying her videogames and occasional masturbation as a way to escape from the constant reminder adulthood is not that far from her.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she heard, “our mascot needs a new look”.
It was Sarah, Sarah Greenberg, the other girl she met at detention.
“Oh... yeah... I mean, I think I get it, a cheetah is kind of cool, but not when it looks more like grumpy Cat.”
“Grumpy Cat got a book deal and a Christmas special.”
“True... but just think what MY new mascot could get! Maybe an Avenger’s cameo!”
“I’m not sure the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a desperate need of characters from a middle class area high school.”
“A girl can dream, am I wrong?”
Allyson didn’t disagree with that statement. She would be hypocrite if she suggested the opposite. But she wasn’t sure if she knew that well yet Sarah to expect her to be part of her day to day. She didn’t have the heart to say her clear and loud, “go away, this bitch flies solo!“, but if she had thought in those words, well, it was because a reason.
But, she didn’t want to be rude.
“Wasn’t that why you were in detention, anyway?” Allyson asked.
“Some people just don’t understand art.”
Allyson wasn’t sure if she, or anyone else, could classify as “art” what got Sarah into troubles in the first place; a giant homoerotic picture painted in the conference room ceiling is, by itself, an act that would call anyone’s attention. Using the figure and likeness of the principal for the main character, a mermaid-like creature kissing a Viking left no place for doubt in two fronts:
A) That girl was crazy talented.
B) That girl was crazy.
Not as crazy as what happened next.
“What are we staring at?” Allyson heard, this time, from a male’s voice.
It was Jake.
“N-nothing,” Allyson replied, “we were just discussing about... you know Sarah, the thing...”
“That they never are gonna caught that flesh-eating bear terrorizing the F building?”
“YES! Exactly! The flesh eating bear...”
“I thought it was just an urban legend, like how KFC is made out of rats, of Donald Trump’s natural hair.” Jake said.
Allyson felt even more uncomfortable, but that boy, unlike Sarah, was able to notice it.
“You... you look good.” He said.
“Thanks.” Allyson replied. “You too.”
“What about me?” Sarah asked.
“You know? I’m not sure what to say because I don’t know too much about fashion and all that, but... you look good too. On that... crazy, ‘throw everything at the wall and see what it sticks’ kinda way.”
“Thanks! I wasn’t sure if a polka-dot dress and a old Halo 2 jacket would combine, but you know me, right?!”
“Barely.” Jake said as he marched to the front gate. “But yeah: looking good girl. Looking good”.
“Well, that was almost not awkward at all.” Allyson thought.
But never doubt that there’s always going to be a chance for Sarah to make it even more awkward.
“Are you two cool?” She asked.
“Are you sure?”
“...sure.” She said (not really that sure.)
Allyson resumed her walking. But she was still being closely followed by Sarah, and she won’t be satisfied until there’s a third Avatar: The Last Airbender series, but also when she gets some more answers.
“I must say, I really admire you.” Sarah said as she got into Hopewell’s hallways, along with Allyson, who kept walking without even trying to take a look at the girl.
“Good for you.” Allyson replied, trying to not let her ego inflate, since she knew she was very susceptible to fall for easy and cheap compliments.
That was not going to be a problem, judging by Sarah’s treatment of a touchy subject.
“I mean, almost every kid, at least the freshmen and freshwomen are scared the living shit out of Jake. I don’t, because I know more often that not rumors are just, well, rumors. But you did something even more than just bust a myth.”
“Yeah, I should have my own TV show, right?”
“A TV show is too much for now. Maybe a book? Or a series of books? Oh well, in any case, I don’t know how I would deal with... that.”
“‘That’ was nothing.”
“It didn’t look like nothing”.
“Are you annoyed? Angry? Because you kinda sound angry.”
“But did it really mean nothing, like, at all?”
“IT WAS JUST A KISS!” Allyson shouted at the top of her lungs.
And in less than a second later, she knew she shouldn’t have exploded; if there was a doubt of that regret, the looks of the students walking and passing by was a good reminder of it.
“What’s this?” Allyson asked, noticing someone giving her a flyer. “LGBT Hopewell Alliance? No! The kiss wasn’t between her and me! I’m not a lesbian! Not even a letter in the LGBT acronym! I don’t need this! Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”
“But I might.” Sarah took the flyer. “I hope they really accept the ‘B’ part in LGBT: one side thinks you’re a double agent that just wants attention, and the other thing just keeps you asking to make out in front of them because it’s hot.”
“Alright... that was more than I was expecting to find out but... once again, good for you.”
Allyson took the chance to depart from Sarah’s shadow, and get into her first subject; she never desired to see her mind being overwhelmed by algebraic formulas as much as she did in that moment. It was better than being overwhelmed by the thought of Jake.
And that God damned moment.
“I want to kill SO BADLY the guy who wrote that song.” Allyson whispered.
“The one that goes ‘a kiss is just a kiss’.”
“So, does that mean you wanna make out after all?”
Seems like, no matter how much you wish it: what happens in detention, can’t stay in detention. That will follow you wherever you go, for the better and the worse.