O n e
O n e ♥ June 10th
I had a relatively good relationship with my parents. In fact, I counted them as some of my best friends. I had a better relationship with them than my friends had with their parents , and I didn't call my mom a "bitch" like others might.
However, right now, they were on my top hate list.
I should probably back up a little so you could understand just where I was coming from. Once you understood though, I was certain you would wholeheartedly agree with me that my parents were being completely unreasonable and heartless.
The day started like any other. Well, except for the fact that it was the first day after my graduation and I was getting tons of texts and invites to a bunch of open house parties.
I woke up at 9 A.M., just like I always did, but I didn't actually get up until about 11 A.M., and then I headed down for breakfast with my small family. My parents were acting normal, which was why when they suddenly started acting abnormal later it truly surprised me.
I sat next to my younger brother, Cole, at the breakfast table. Well, really we sat at the counter but we called it a table...I wasn't really sure why though. The "table" was made of marble and was always very clean due to my mother being an extreme perfectionist. Or maybe she had OCD. Either way, she liked everything to be spick and span, including her kids.
"Did you brush your teeth, Cole?" she asked as if it was the most usual conversation ever. Which, for her, it kind of was.
Cole sighed. "Mom, I'm not a five year old."
"Doesn't mean you don't act like one. Now, did you or did you not?" she said as she set a plate of blueberry pancakes in front of him. Blueberry pancakes were my dad's specialty. They were delicious and perfect and were always served every Sunday morning.
"I did not. I'm about to eat. I'll clean 'em afterwards." Cole answered Mom. Cole was a "good boy" most of the time. He listened to Mom and Dad, didn't get into too much trouble at school, and had decent friends. (Meaning Mom and Dad had yet to meet the not-so-decent ones.) Cole was just a bit off this morning because today he had to try out for some music festival that was in town.
You'd think he would be excited and jittery, but instead he was like a big lump on his stool as he dug into his pancakes. Cole didn't get excited about stuff like this; I mean, I was sure he got excited on the inside, but on the outside you'd think he was dreading it. Cole was a wonderful musician and could play the guitar pretty damn well, even I knew that. In fact, I bragged about it all the time to my friends.
Mom handed me my pancakes, not even bothering to ask me about my teeth. I was the oldest, which to them meant that I was the most obedient. That was partly true. I did in fact brush my teeth this morning. But every kid had their share of secrets, and my secret that I was keeping from them wasn't the most...honorable.
I wasn't pregnant or anything like that. It wasn't even that bad of a thing. But to my parents' eyes...well, let's just say that if they found out, they'd be asking me every morning for the rest of my life if I'd brushed my teeth.
After breakfast had been served, my parents sat at the real table to eat. "So," my dad started, his attention on Cole, "have you been practicing the song you're going to be playing?"
Cole nodded and answered in monotone, "Yeah. It's ready to be played."
By the way his leg was bobbing up and down, I knew that Cole was nervous about it. "You're gonna do great," I smiled warmly at him. He smiled back, his leg coming to a stop. Cole was sixteen, and although he acted a lot older than that, he was still young and still had those foolish insecurities about his talent. I was the one of the family to really cheer him on. Sure, my parents encouraged him to move forward with his music, but in reality they just wanted him to go to college and learn engineering or something like that.
They didn't really understand music, which was why I was the one to urge him to try for music colleges. I liked, no, I loved music, and I especially loved his music. He was a great singer and guitarist and I was certain that if he got people to play the drums and bass, he'd be set to rock the world.
No pun intended.
"That's good, sweetie. I'm sure you'll amaze the judges," my mother said. "Do you know anyone that will be auditioning alongside you?"
Cole shrugged nonchalantly. "Yeah, a few people from school are doing it. But I'm not too worried about them." Okay, so that might've sounded conceited, but it was true. As a kid, and even young teenager, Cole had won all of the talent shows in school and out of school that he'd gone into. If I were him, I'd probably have said that too.
Mom rolled her eyes at what he said and went back to enjoying her meal. "And you, Erin?" my father asked me. "What do you have planned today?"
"I was thinking of just hanging out with Kennedy and going to the mall."
Mom's face scrunched up in dislike. "I don't like that girl." She said.
"You don't have to. I do. She's nice, Mom. I swear it." I answered. My mom had always said that Kennedy was a bad influence for me, which, truthfully, she was. Kennedy was a popular girl in school that "took me under her wing" as she had called it. Hell, she even introduced me to Heath, my boyfriend. She was a bit of a party animal, but she was nice to hang around with.
Mom was still uneasy about her though. She said that girls like Kennedy weren't true friends; they didn't care about who they hurt or didn't hurt. They only cared about themselves. Alright...so that might be true, but she was nice enough to me and I owed it to her to stay friends with her.
"Alright..." Mom said reluctantly, "just be home before dinner, okay? Your father and I have something to talk to you guys about." That should've been my first warning, but I'd just ignored it. It was usual for my parents to share stuff like birthdays or weddings at the dinner table. I wasn't worried about it and neither was Cole by his facial expression.
"Sure thing," I smiled and said. After breakfast I went back down to my room to get ready to go out with Kennedy. Kennedy would be picking me up from my house since I didn't have a car (my parents hated me for some reason), we'd go to the mall and possibly go to the movies with some friends of ours (meaning Heath and her boyfriend, Raymond).
Nothing was totally set in stone with Kennedy, though. She'd say one thing and did another. It got annoying, at least to me, and was one of the reasons why I didn't like hanging out with her. But, Kennedy was entertaining to be around. Kennedy wanted, and needed, to become an actress. Her facial expressions when she talked were positively perfect for the moment and whenever she acted (like in plays around town and in school) everyone really felt her emotions and understood what was going on.
But because of all of that, she was a great liar as well. Which wasn't so great.
I showered and did my hair and makeup. My makeup, to be honest, was just normal. A lot of people say they put on minimal. Well, I put on medium I guess. Pimples could be a problem sometimes, which called for my powder, and then mascara and eyeliner and (if I was doing something special) blush and eyeshadow. I didn't cake it on; I honestly did not know how to do all that highlighting and contouring stuff that girls were always talking about in school. It looked cool, and I tried it out once on my mom, but sadly for her (and me) she just ended up looking awful and nothing like "Kim Kardashian" (which was what she was supposed to look like, apparently).
Skin was one of my biggest insecurities. I hated my freckles, and even worse, I had zits and pimples to go along with them. My acne wasn't super bad, in fact, according to my father, not bad at all. But in my mind I imagined it to be horrible. Makeup was my go-to every morning that I'd be leaving my household.
I put my hair up in the classic ponytail, checked myself for any stains or marks, and then I went and sat on my bed until Kennedy came.
I liked my bed. It was a daybed (my favorite) and was decorated in whites, blues, and light greens. My parents had gotten it for me as a "sorry-we-moved-but-here's-an-awesome-bed" gift right after we left for St. Petersburg. It wasn't that great of a move - just a town over - but I was still very thankful for my gift.
They also had my room "professionally" painted. Well, actually, it was painted by my Aunt Tracie, but she painted houses for a living (or something like that; I wasn't sure) so I guess you could call it "professional". It was definitely super pretty and when I had first seen it, I was gushing to Aunt Tracie about how wonderful of a job she had done.
She'd painted a few flowers on the walls, and just like for the bed, the theme was white, blue, and green. Those were my three favorite colors, after all.
It didn't take long for Kennedy to get here. She lived pretty nearby, maybe three or so miles. I instantly went upstairs to the landing, where the door was and where she was knocking on it. To my surprise, Cole came running up as well, holding his guitar. Kennedy's eyes flashed over to Cole. She didn't really like Cole, but she put up with him for me. "Is he coming with us?" she asked.
I glared at my brother. "You are not. I never said I'd give you a ride."
He grinned back at me shamelessly. "You never said otherwise, either."
"Where's he going?" Kennedy cut into our little quarrel. I nodded toward the guitar he was holding.
"To audition for the music thingy in town." Sighing, I leaned back against the door. My parents were doing something today, which meant the only way he could get there on time was us. "Do you think we could take him?"
Cole's hand punched up in victory and I rolled my eyes at his celebratory smile. Kennedy's lip went up in a "seriously?" fashion, but I chose to ignore it. There were a few minutes of silence before she answered. Nodding, she said, "Fine. I guess it's on the way, but I don't want him doing anything disgusting in my car."
Cole grinned and squeezed past Kennedy out of the door, patting her back. "You got it, KK." Cole had been calling her that ever since he learned that she hated the nickname. Everyone called her that, though. Her name was Kennedy Kendall after all, which just shouted for it to be shortened to "KK".
Kennedy gave me a look to which I just shrugged. "My parents are going out with their friends today. We're the only ones that can give him a ride." I said and followed her out of the door. I made sure to lock it behind me. "Besides, town center isn't that far away. Not even Cole can destroy something in that amount of time."
"Wanna bet?" Kennedy mumbled under her breath as she got into the driver's side. I forced Cole out of the passenger's and into the back and then I got in myself. Kennedy put the keys in the ignition and started up her lamborghini. She'd gotten it right after her driver's license was mailed to her (her family was filthy rich from owning a law company.) Ariana Grande's "Problem" was blaring from the radio, so I quickly reached out and turned it down.
"Hey!" Kennedy protested, slapping my hand away. I quickly pulled back and she turned it up a notch. "I like this song."
"It's on all the time!" I answered. Honestly, I was getting tired of it. It was nice to listen to at first, but then it just got old, and I was never a big fan of Iggy Azalea anyways. It was sort of like that song "Royals" by what's-her-name. It was almost humorous to listen to some of the people on the radio. After hearing my brother (who was really talented) and then listening to some of them...I just didn't understand why they had a song on the radio and he didn't.
"So what?" Kennedy shot back. "It's still a great song and we're in my car. Driver's rules." I sighed and leaned back in my seat. Kennedy always said that; "driver's rules". To her it means she's in charge of everything that goes on in her car, including music and conversation. If she didn't like the conversation, she'd just shout "new subject".
That was annoying too, but I put up with it.
The town tub was only five or seven minutes away from where I lived by driving, so it was a relatively quick ride. We dropped Cole off without him breaking anything important, and told him we'd come pick him up before four. Cole said he had a few errands to run anyways, so it was fine by him.
Then we drove off.
"So," Kennedy began, turning the radio down to a more tolerable volume, "what's up with your hair today?" I glanced in the side mirror at my hair; it looked fine to me.
"What do you mean?" I questioned, patting at it.
"It just looks weird for some reason. You should dye it blonde. No boys like redheads." She said. Kennedy didn't have blonde hair either, but her hair was always gorgeous. She had deep chestnut colored hair that framed her face perfectly and always looked silky smooth. Actually, it felt that way too. I'd brushed it a few times for sleepovers and stuff. Her hair fell to mid-back in soft waves and always shined in the sun.
I frowned at her comment. "Heath likes redheads. He always says how much he loves my hair." I answered. Kennedy didn't comment on that. It was true, sort of. Heath was always saying how much he loved my red hair because it made me look "cute". "Cute" was not really a word I wanted to be called by my boyfriend, but whatever.
"New subject." Kennedy said. "I've got our entire summer planned out. We're gonna give you a makeover and then hit the clubs. It's going to be super fun..."I blocked Kennedy's voice out my mind as I leaned my head against my seat, but, sadly, that didn't mean I couldn't hear her. She was going on and on about the super hot boys we'd meet and me dying my hair and me getting a tan....
I cut her off at that last one. "I'm a ginger, KK. My skin is and will always be like this, unless you want me to get a ton of freckles."
"Don't call me that," she snapped at me. I held my hands up in surrender and she huffed and ran a hand through her hair. "Fine. No tanning for you. You can just read or something."
That was what I was planning on doing, I said in my mind. Kennedy wouldn't approve of that, though. She believes that books are for losers, but I was pretty sure she just hated them because she knew if she were in a book, she'd be the clichéd "bitch-of-the-halls". I wasn't exactly sure what I'd be, but I liked to think that I was the protagonist or the best friend.
"Erin? Are you even listening?" Kennedy burst through my thoughts.
I looked over at her with an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry. Say that again?"
Kennedy sighed. She pulled the car into the mall parking lot. "Do you have that money you were saving?"
I nodded with raised eyebrows. Where was she going with this?
She grinned. "Great! You can buy me that super cute shirt that I was talking about!" she exclaimed as she parked the car and unbuckled her seatbelt.
I shook my head as I got out of the car. "No can do, Kennedy. That money's for Cole; you know that."
Kennedy made a pouty face and shut the door of her car, locking it. "But he already has a guitar!"
Kennedy didn't understand music either, just like my parents. "He has a crappy guitar that's falling apart. The money's for him. End of discussion." Kennedy frowned and started walking towards the front doors of the mall.
I rolled my eyes at her childish behavior and followed closely behind. By the time we were in the mall, she was smiling again. "Have you talked to Heath lately?" she asked. Kennedy had a thing for Heath. I knew she would never act on it, and Heath was too nice to even think about it, so I wasn't that worried.
"No. I mean I talked to him yesterday, but so did you." I said. Kennedy's face fell. "How about Raymond?" I queried. Kennedy and Raymond had been a thing since forever, but somehow they weren't "serious". At least in Kennedy's eyes they weren't. As far as I knew, she never cheated on him, but she was always checking out other guys and talking about other guys.
Raymond was a pretty cool guy, but he wasn't someone I personally would date.
But Kennedy liked him. After all, they'd been together since sixth grade.
Kennedy shrugged and turned into Hollister. "I don't know," she said. "I think I might break up with him."
I raised an eyebrow while at the same time looking at a cute gray shirt. "Oh? Why? Did you two get in a fight?" I couldn't even count how many times Kennedy would tell me she was going to break up with Raymond. She did it at least once a month. She was always saying how they always fought and how he was always flirting with Harley, a slutty cheerleader from school. But she never actually did it. Mostly because somehow the news of her thinking about it would get back to Raymond and he'd buy her some flowers or chocolate, possibly even both if he really messed up.
"No," Kennedy shook her head. Well, that was surprising. "We graduated, ya know? I just think that it's time to, ya know, test out college boys and stuff. Raymond's the only guy I've ever had sex with, which is totally lame nowadays."
I nodded with a fake no-teeth smile. "Right...yeah...I'm just gonna go over here now..."I said as I walked over toward the perfume display. Kennedy came along with a sigh as I began testing them out.
"Erin, stop being such a kid. You and Heath have done it, right?"
I shook my head. "No, Kennedy. We've not. I don't want to talk about this, okay?" I said. Sex made me uncomfortable. I mean, talking about it did. And, I just didn't think Kennedy needed to know something that personal about me. No one did.
Kennedy shook her head at the smell of one of the perfumes. "Don't get that one," she ordered, taking it out my hand, "it wouldn't smell good on you. You need something more like this." She handed me different perfume, the title reading something about nature. I tried it on and to no surprise, it did smell pretty good on me. Kennedy was the master at picking this sort of stuff out.
"Thanks," I said.
Kennedy just shrugged. "I'm your friend. It's what I do."
After a few more stores and a couple bucks less, we decided to meet the boys at the movies to watch some horror movie that Kennedy was insisting upon. Kennedy loved to go see scary movies because she could make out with Raymond in the theaters. I just plain loved horror movies. It was just something about the thrill you get, ya know? It was something about that moment right before the stupid chick walked into the closet where your heart was pounding and your hands were sweaty and you could hardly breathe.
Huh. Maybe I was an adrenaline junkie.
"Hey, babe," was the first thing out of Raymond's mouth as he walked up to Kennedy and dipped her into an everlasting kiss. I rolled my eyes at them. Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't hate PDA, I just hated when Kennedy and Raymond did it because they do it all the time. They'd kissed more times than Allie and Noah.
Heath kissed my cheek softly as he came up to me and took my hand in his. "How was your day?" he asked with a stunning smile. Heath was pretty good looking. He wasn't nearly as attractive as Zac Efron or Channing Tatum, but he had the dimples and the chin and the body. His eyes were a little too...well, plain, for my tastes, but I still loved him nonetheless.
"It was good," I shrugged in answer. "Kennedy and I went to the mall and got a few things. That was about all, though." Heath and I walked together toward where Raymond and Kennedy were buying their tickets. Just like the gentleman he was, Heath paid for our tickets and snacks. I paid for the drinks.
It was sort of a silent agreement to us. Our relationship was subtle. Honestly, I wasn't even in love with him. I loved him as a friend; I wasn't in love with him. He and I both knew that. I would be leaving for college anyways; our relationship just wouldn't work. We made things work when we were together and in the same county, but I wouldn't, and he wouldn't want to be stuck with each other if we both moved for college and found another person. Because we weren't in love like that.
Sure, I would care if he cheated on me or something like that, but mostly only because I'd feel betrayed as a friend, not a lover.
The movie ended up being lame. In fact, it wasn't scary at all which made it totally unbearable. But Raymond and Kennedy obviously didn't notice due to their rather loud liplocking. After the movies, we parted ways with the boys and went to go pick up Cole.
That was when I got the second warning. It was a four-word text from my mom, who hardly ever texted, that said: We need to talk. That was when warning bells started going off in my head. When he got in, I asked Cole if he'd gotten the same text. He answered no, which meant that it was me that they "needed to talk to". Which meant they found out about something they shouldn't have.
I was shaking by the time we were home. Cole could tell, too, and said, "Is something wrong, Erin? What do they need to talk to you about?"
I didn't answer him, though. When we went into the house, Mom and Dad were being way too nice. Sure, they were already nice to us, but they were truly pampering us; they were asking about our day, about the mall and Heath, about Cole's music audition...They had Cole and I sit down at the table and eat (which we almost never did) and had us chat about the stupidest of things.
I was already nervous. I was playing with my necklace, my give-away sign and my legs were bobbing up and down uncontrollably. That was when it happened. Right when the corn was being passed around, my mother dropped the bomb.
"So, Erin," she said. My attention instantly moved to her. "Your father and I were wondering about those college applications you sent a while back."
"Yeah?" my voice was high pitched with fright and the fork I was holding was starting to indent into the palm of my hand.
"So we snooped a bit and guess what we found." I instantly dropped my gaze from her burning eyes. "You're going to MSU and you didn't tell us?"
Cole was just sitting there next to me, wide-eyed and with his mouth dropped. I hadn't told anyone about it, much less my parents. I knew that this was how they'd react. "Mom..."I began, but she cut me off.
"No, Erin. You will not be going there. I forbid it."
"Don't even start with me, Missy. You told your father and I that you were going to Florida State University. Why would you lie to us?"
"I can't believe my own daughter would lie about something this important. You are ground-"
"Mom!" I proclaimed, standing up. "I'm going to MSU. I'm an adult now. I'm eighteen, and I can make my own decisions. I want to go to MSU. They have the best veterinarian-"
"That's what this is about?" my mother scoffed. "I thought you gave up that silly dream years ago."
"It isn't a silly dream, Mom. It's my dream. Don't you see? I want it; not you, not dad, me. It's my life and I'll do whatever I damn well please with it." It wasn't even that awful of a thing to say, and yet Mom recoiled as if I'd slapped her. She stared at me, her eyes hardening with every second.
"Go to your room," she said.
That was where I was right now. I was pacing back and forth in my room while I listened to my father and mother fight downstairs. Their dream was for their kids to go to the same university they went to. They wanted us to live the same life they led. But I didn't want to be some computer tech. I wanted to be a doctor; a vet. Even though I'd never actually owned an animal, I was still in love with them, and they seemed to like me too.
It'd been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl, and unlike other girls my age, I never grew out of it. So I applied to the college that had the best program for it. Sure, I might've kept it from my parents, but for good reason obviously. It wasn't as if they were angry about the money, either. I had scholarships and funds. They didn't have to pay that much for me to go. They were just mad that I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do.
After an hour or two of pacing and listening to them fight about me, I was called downstairs. I was expecting them to tell me I couldn't go, or that they were forcing me to stay in my room for the rest of my life (or at least until I was thirty.) Instead, the last thing I ever imagined them to tell me came out of their mouths:
"We're going to Michigan."