Carla’s legs bobbed up and down nervously in the car. Sam had received a call from her mother informing her to send Carla straight home. Sam said that she’d sounded worried but Carla wasn’t fooled. She glanced at the clock above the dashboard. The time read 11:30. She’d only been at the party for about four and a half hours as it’d started at seven, right when the sun set. Her mother was usually on the night shift and didn’t get home till 2:00am.
What is she doing home so early? Carla thought.
Dread began to fill her stomach like lead and made her entire body fill heavy. All too soon she pulled into the driveway next to her house. Carla turned off the ignition and sat in the car. Her dark house loomed ominously in front of her and fear began to settle in her chest, causing her heart to beat fast. Taking a deep breath she unbuckled herself and opened the car door, closing it quietly behind her.
She walked up the long driveway and across the brick pathway that split her yard in two up to the front door. Glancing nervously around as if she was afraid her neighbors were watching she quickly opened the door, darted in and shut it behind her. She didn’t even have time to lock the door before the first blow came.
A long flat object collided repeatedly with her head until it had successfully beat her to the floor. Looking up at the gray object Carla realized it was a cookie pan. Her mother was standing over her practically smoking. The anger radiated off of her almost as strong as the smell of liquor. She was drunk again.
“Where have you been?” she shrieked. Carla flinched at the sharp noise and received a kick to the side, right underneath the ribcage that knocked the air from her lungs. Her eyes stared at the ground, already watering.
“At a party,” she squeaked out. There was no point in lying as her mother already heard from Sam. Her mother crouched down in front of her glaring, her eyes slightly unfocused and her balance questionable.
“And who gave you permission to go to this party huh? Who?” She flicked and smacked Carla’s face around.
“No one,” Carla breathed out shakily as her head was smacked from side to side. Her mother then grabbed a fistful of Carla’s hair before dragging her down the main hallway towards the kitchen in the back of the house. There was a small tub of water on the floor and some kind of circuit next to it. Carla’s eyes widened in fear. Her mother tossed her into the tub and she stumbled, slashing around in the shallow water.
“How dare you have the audacity to go to some hoodlums party in the woods looking like some back alley prostitute! Do you know who I am? What if my colleagues heard about this? What if someone they knew or their child recognized you? Do you know how embarrassing that would be for me?” Her mother got deathly quiet and it only served to scare Carla more.
“I’m sorry mother,” she said quietly. Tears were right on the edges of her eyes, ready to fall at any moment. Her mother walked over to the circuit and fiddled with something before placing one end into the water and lifting a black box with a small switch on it.
“This will teach you to be so insolent,” she sneered out before flipping the switch and turning the circuit on. A light sparked from the end that was in the water and not a moment later an electric shock filled Carla’s body. She felt like she was being fried from the inside out and she screamed at the burning pain. After an eternity it was over and she fell to her side shaking and shuddering.
“Oh please that was nothing!” her mother cackled out through a laugh. “Let’s make this really interesting,“. She turned a dial on the side of the box until it couldn’t be turned anymore. She flipped the switch again.
Carla’s body spazzed and shook from the shock. She couldn’t think coherently and everyone of her nerves felt like it was on fire. All she knew was pain and couldn’t even open her own mouth to scream. She felt frothy drool come out the side of her mouth and then her world was filled with darkness.
When she came to she was still lying in the pool, fully clothed and soaked to the bone. She shivered at the chill she felt and looked around. Her mother was nowhere to be scene and even the circuit was gone. Slowly Carla began to lift herself out of the pool, ignoring the screams of her cramping muscles and biting down on her lip to hold back more tears before she dragged herself up the stairs.
The whole endeavor took over thirty minutes to accomplish due to the fierce pain she felt throughout her entire body. When she made it upstairs she went straight to her bathroom and stripped out of the damp clothing and took a hot shower. She massaged the muscles in her legs, arms and feet until they came unknotted and loose.
When she finished she towel dried herself and put on a robe. Brushing out the tangles in her hair she shuffled to her room. Her purse which held her phone was still by the front door where it had fallen during the beating from the previous night. Carla sighed in depression as she looked at the clock. It was noon. She’d already missed half the day of school and decided to go ahead and miss the rest.
She was already ahead of all her classes since she usually studied in all her free time and she didn’t care about attendance since her school didn’t contact parents unless you missed more than three days. She was sure her mother had anticipated her wake up time and had already called in anyways so she wouldn’t look bad later.
She shuffled to her bed and pulled back the covers, gently climbing into the welcoming soft cushions and drifting off to sleep. When she woke up she was greeted by a large pair of chocolate brown eyes directly in front of her face. Sam. Leaping upright with a small yelp she scooted back on the bed putting some distance between her and Sam.
“What are you doing here you creep?!” she asked, her voice near shriek mode. Sam laughed at her reaction before leaning across the bed, elbows resting on the mussed comforter.
“I’m here to see you silly! You didn’t answer any of my texts or calls and you didn’t even come to school today! I was so worried,“. Carla looked at the clock on her bedside and saw the time read 5:00pm. School had been out for almost two hours and she’d been asleep for five. Sam waved Carla’s phone in front of her face which saw did in fact have over thirty unanswered messages from both Sam and Ridian.
“How did you even get in here?” Carla asked still in shock at seeing Sam in her room. Sam turned back from some family pictures of Carla and her dad that were on her dresser.
“The door was open,” she said sheepishly. Carla frowned as she remembered how she’d never gotten a chance to lock it the night before. Her mother never went out the front door because her car was in the garage in the back of the house.
“And you just let yourself in? That may not be breaking in but it is still trespassing,” Carla said sternly with narrowed eyes. Sam stared down at her shoes, her cheeks flushed in embarrassment.
“I know but I was worried about you,” she said softly. Carla’s expression softened at the look on Sam’s face and she crawled out of bed giving her friend a soft squeeze on the arm. She wasn’t much of a physical contact person.
“It’s fine. I know you meant well. It was just a little strange to wake up to some strange face y’know?” The two girls giggled at that.
“You hungry?” Sam asked her mood bright again. “I brought McDonalds!” she said excitedly. Carla raised an eyebrow in surprise her mouth open to question her friends food choice but Sam held up a hand to stop her.
“That diet was over before it even began. So do not give me your judgements. Give me your appetite because I bought a lot,” Carla smirked at her friend but soon blushed in embarrassment as her stomach rumbled loudly. Sam smiled. “Perfect,” she said before taking her arm and dragging her down the stairs.
“Jesus,” Carla whispered as she took in the amount of food laid out on her counter.
There were about five Big Macs, six chicken sandwiches, some bacon burgers, three double cheeseburgers, six large fries, three wild berry smoothies and two large sodas and a small pyramid comprised of apple pies. Carla turned her wide eyes onto Sam’s shining ones.
“Are you trying to restart the trend of obesity in America; first stop my home?“. Her tone was incredulous and Sam laughed at her statement.
“Of course not silly! There’s more people coming!” Carla let out a sigh of relief.
“Oh thank god,“. Then the full meaning of Sam’s words hit her and she straightened up stiffly turning a fresh glare on her friend. “What do you mean more people? Who gave you the authority to invite people into my home?!” Sam slowly backed away from Carla with her hands in the defense position and nervousness evident in her eyes.
“Now Carla, babe. I’s just Ridian because he heard I was coming and I couldn’t get him to stay away. And a couple of his friends from the lacrosse team at school,“. Carla’s anger increased and her cheeks flushed a deeper shade of maroon as her chest heaved from her short pants of fury.
“Five seconds,” she spat. Sam cocked her head to one side in confusion.
“What?” she asked.
“That’s how long you have to run,” Carla answered deadly serious. Sam’s eyes widened in fear but she tried to calm Carla down first. A brave move.
“Now calm down Carla please-“.
“I was just trying to broaden our social circle-“.
“They were just worried about you-”
“You’re not really gonna-”
“Four,“. Sam let out a yelp and made a run for the front door.
“Five,” Carla muttered before chasing after her. “Get back here you little traitor!” Carla screeched as Sam opened the front door to run out. Before she could get far she ran smack into a tall and solid body that sent her flying back into Carla’s house, landing on her butt at Carla’s feet. It was Ridian.
“Ow,” Sam cried rubbing her butt as she got to her feet. She glared at the doorway but when she saw who it was she let out a squeal of delight and darted behind Ridian clutching at his arm. “Help! She’s trying to kill me!” she cried pointing at Carla.
Ridian followed her finger and looked at Carla who stood in the middle of the foyer surprise written plainly on her face. He smirked at her before entering the house followed closely by Sam and two other guys who had been hidden at first by his large frame.
“Why are you trying to murder my sister?” Ridian asked nonchalantly. Carla blushed beet red from embarrassment and crossed her arms.
“Because she brought you here,” she snapped. Ridian faked mock hurt.
“Aww! Cupcake I thought you liked me!” he gasped. Carla rolled her eyes and stormed up the stairs. “Nice robe!” Ridian called after her. She looked down and realized she was still wearing her batman robe and she let out a loud groan before slamming her bedroom door shut and locking it behind her. She heard laughter from down below and flopped onto her bed.
Just what was she getting herself into?
Slowly getting dressed she threw on a pair of sweats and a baggy Cage the Elephant band tee before brushing her hair back into a sloppy ponytail. Carla applied the necessary medical care to her old cuts and bruises and made sure none were visible before heading downstairs. She’d been too casual with Sam in her room and hadn’t even checked if her damaged skin was exposed.
When she entered the kitchen she immediately saw almost half the food was already gone. Ridian and Sam were sitting on one end of the island drinking the sprites and chowing down on some double cheeseburgers. Two other guys were sitting across from each other in the middle of the island leaving one empty seat on the end closest to the door for Carla.
She sat down slowly as to not over do it on her already sore muscles and slowly dragged the remaining smoothie and a chicken sandwich to her side. She slid one of the large fries towards her and popped a few into her mouth. Sam noticed her arrival and smiled at her while Ridian gave her a small wave as he continued to stuff his mouth.
The boy on her left turned to her and swallowed down a large chunk of food before speaking.
“Hey I’m Chris. Goalie. Harry Potter fan. Indie music. Food lover,“. After his introduction he continued to chow down on the Big Mac in one of his hands while simultaneously shoving fries into his mouth. He had straight sandy brown hair that flopped into his face and bright blue eyes. Freckles splattered across his mouth. Cute.
“Chris, goalie, HP fandom, Indie music, food. Got it,” Carla said between slurps of her smoothie. She turned expectantly to the boy on her right for his introduction. He shoved about five fries into his mouth, chewed, swallowed and then spoke.
“Peter. Center. Gamer. Rock music. Also food lover,“. He dived back into his pile of food and started popping open an apple pie. Carla nodded her head once her eye watching him eat in fascinated disgust.
“Peter, center, gamer, rock music and food lover. Got it,” she muttered. Peter had pitch black hair that was short and curly around his ears. Hazel eyes and when he laughed at something Ridian said she spotted a dimple in his left cheek. Decent.
Carla watched the people around her stuff their faces and laugh and joke. Occasionally she would join in but for the most part she would sit back and watch. Never in her life did she ever imagine she would be having “friends” over and they’d just be hanging out. It wasn’t something that seemed feasible in her life.
A hand snapping in her face brought her out of her trance and she tuned back into the conversation. Sam was standing next to her, a smirk evident on her face.
“Huh? What?” Carla asked a little embarrassed at being caught zoning out.
“Well space cadet I was just telling Ridian over here that you could totally beat his ass in Dance Dance Revolution just like you walked all over the lacrosse captain but he didn’t believe me. Since you have a wii and the game I figured it’d be nothing for you to back up your claim,“. Carla frowned at her.
“You mean your claim,” she corrected. Sam waved her hand in the air.
“Tomato, tomahto it doesn’t matter. The point is, you in or not?” Sam stood with her arms crossed staring at Carla expectantly. Carla looked over at Chris who was smiling kindly at her looking mildly amused and Peter who’s hazel eyes were trained on his phone and barely looked interested. Lastly her eyes fell on Ridian who shared in Sam’s smirk but his looked more devious.
“Are you scared?” he teased as he rocked back in his chair, arms crossed in a challenge as a smirk played across his face. Carla’s eyes narrowed at him.
“You are so on Hayes,” she snapped as she got to her feet. Ridian stood up as well and his smirk grew wider when she used his last name.
“Bring it Broche,“.