Looking over at Owen as he served the two giggling girls who were in the shop to buy, well nothing that I could work out. part of me wanted to walk out without purchasing my milk and cereal but I needed it or I would starve tomorrow morning before school. I walk towards the counter holding my Count Chocula to my chest. I watch Owen actually flirting with the girls, he looks at them like there the only girls in the world. What would it take to get someone to look at me that way? No I don’t want that. The door opens then and I turn just in time to see Milo and Hunter walking in. Hunter grabs a bag of gummy worms from the side next to the counter and drops it on it, I can’t even claim hes pushing in, because he hasn’t I have been rather slow going up to the checkout. I prefer coming when the old lady who works here is on, least she only ever looks at me like she suspects me of being about to steal from her.
“Well heres my number call me.” One of the giggling girls says handing Owen her number. Smiling at him in a way that is over confident, I can’t help but notice her rather imprsseive ladies myself.
“Thanks babe.” Owen says and I watch him put her number into his work pocket. The other girl starts flirting with Owen and I have a feeling I am never going to get to purcuse my cereal. But after what feels like 100 years and myself feeling smaller than a bug the girls leave and Owen chargers Hunter for his gummy worms.
“So whats up, you both aren’t normally around this late on a Sunday?” Owen asks his friends. Oh come on just let me pay and then I will get out your hair. Hunter looks around his eyes settle on me for a second obviously waiting to pay and he smiles.
“Why don’t you serve the very pretty young poppet first then whilst your empty we can chat.” He tells Owen with a grin that tells me how excited and happy he is. Does I can almost see him bursting at the seems. Hunter winks his chocolate brown eyes at me that makes me blush and hide behind my hair as much as I can. Owen looks up at me then though and his dark blue eyes look at me like they can see straight through me, did they even see me the other night at the club?
“Is this everything?” he asks me, I shake my head like normal and find myself just pointing at the lighter like normal, he just grabs me one without a second thought without IDing me. Hell I’ve seen people younger than me served alcohol in here. Where do you think kids get the kegs for the partys.
“Is this everything?” Owen asks me, he looks at his best friends though as if he wants to know whats so important, I nod and just hand over the cash.
“You go to are old school don’t you?” Hunter says suddenly from behind me. I find myself jumping but nod. does he reconise me from the library.
“thanks.” I say quickly grabbing my stuff and change from Owen and then find myself practically running out of there. Before I shut the door I hear them laughing.
“shut up she’s so cute.” I hear Owen say,
“rediciously.” Hunter agrees. they are possibly talking about the girl who gave Owen the number. I walk back to my apartment building and unlock the lobby door. I thankfully don’t come across anyone as I make my way to my room, I take in the empty world around me, is this really what I want in life?
The moment I am in my room I feel releaved. I put my cereal up in the cupbored and the milk in the fridge then look around at my pale blue walls. Everything I own and am fits into this small studio apartment. But I don’t regret that, this is my home. A home away from constant changing foster parents. A home away from my drunk, abusive and drug addict parents. I pick up one of my notepads from the side and open it up, a bit of one of my storys I have been messing about with stands out to me. I could get lost for hours writing my books, a book where the main character overcomes her parents and saves the world. When I am writing like this I can see what my brother enjoyed about writing songs. I feel more connected to my siblings than I ever did but at the same time I know the world I write about is just my own. I will never have the confidence to share my storys with anyone. I write until the very early hours of the morning loosing track of time. Curled up on my bed I look up at the map that takes up a lot of one wall the same pins in it from Jez of everywhere she wanted to go and everywhere Grey went to in his life. I climb off my bed and walk over to the map, I pick up a pink pin and debate it for a long time. But then I do it. I put the pink pin in where I have been. The only place is here but its like ive made my first mark on the world myself. I walk back to my bed and climb in, turning the light off I find myself just staring at the map whilst fiddling with my locket. Ever since I saw Ella and Alfie a part of me feels like I should take Greys money. I should take the money for college and start living my own life. But how can I do that? I take hold of the lighter and take it to my arm I watch as I burn myself with the flame. Burns are so much easier to hide than knife marks, a burn I can say I caught myself on the oven if anyone questions me.
I eventually manage to fall asleep but it couldn’t have been long before my alarm woke me as I felt like death warmed up as I forced myself to the bathroom to get ready. Showering to try wake myself up I know that the only person I have to blame for my tiredness is myself. I go about getting ready for school eating my breakfast. then I choose a pair of light blue jeans and a light pink tee, then put on a grey waterfall cardigan. I look just like all the other kids in my high school I just blend in and that’s what I like. I run the straightner through my black hair and put on some big sunglasses, fill up a bottle of water and then head out the door. The house is now a buzz of girls getting ready for the day. I walk out of there though and start my walk to where I parked my car yesterday. I look in the shop as I walk past it and see Owen in there behind the counter with Zach sat on the side of it, they are obviously deep in conversation and it looks rather animated. I look at my phone for the time and realise I have a few minutes to spare so I could actually get myself a packet of chips for school. I go in even though I know the real reason I am going in there is to see Owen.
“It really does sound good.” Owen is saying to Zach.
“We are only just starting to get a small amount of attention an original is just too risky if no one likes it.” Zach says sounding worried.
“We got till Thursday to get it perfect and the manager himself did say Dan Lewis wants to hear us do some new material.” Owen says. I grab a bag of Cheetos from the bottom shelf and look at Owen and Zach as they’ve gone silent. Owen is looking over at me then, possibly making sure I am not stealing from them. I grab two bags of Cheetos and then grab a chocolate bar, I could deal with some sanitry towels, but I will wait until anyone but Owen is on to get them. I nervously make my move up to the counter realizing both of there eyes are on me. I put them on nervously on the counter.
“Can I get you anything else?” Owen asks me, looking at me like he can see through me, but is that because he can see the real me or because he litrelly doesn’t see me?
“No thank you.” I manage to get out not sure why he makes me so nervous. He nods and smiles at me.
“you’ve heard our band at least once right?” Owen asks me. Telling me he didn’t see me the other day when he was staring right at me.
“surely at least once at school?” Owen says looking at Zach rather than me. I nod not sure whats happening here.
“Do you think we should do an original song?” Owen asks me. I blink at him wanting to run miles. I just nod and then pay for my items, the moment he hands me my change I make my move to run.
“Your such an asshole sometimes.” Zach tells him as I get to the door.
“Dude I’m really trying, if you know what to say help a brother out.” Owen groans to Zach as I leave. I put that to the back of my mind as I get to my car and make my move to school. Where I then get lost into a thong of people. I’m not just friendless I’m invisible and im the one who did that. Ive never been bullied and ive been at school with most these kids for years but I bet they will still not reconise me in the yearbook.
Thursday night comes quickly and I debate for a long time if I’m ready to go see Ella and Alfie again. But I decide to go. What have I got here to do anyway, look at the four walls that seem to be closing in on me more and more each day? I tell myself it’s the fact I am going stir crazy that I park up near the club and make my move towards it. The clubs already buzzing and the que is massive. I go to the end of the que and then take a deep breath. I could wait out here forever or I could text Ella as even I admit its her ive come to see tonight. Texting Ella wins out, although it takes me a hell of along time to write the text and what I send is possibly rather needy of me.
Riah – Hey Ella im outside the club are you there tonight?
She might not even text back and I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t. but what I don’t expect is a pair of hands suddenly going over my eyes. The only reason I don’t let out a scream is the fact I can tell they are Ellas from her perfume smell and the fact the person is defiantly a girl and not much bigger than me.
“guess who?” Ellas voice says but I can tell shes smiling.
“Do you sample your own alcohol a lot Ella?” I say but I find myself smiling for what feels like the first time since last week with Ella.
“I told you you never sample your own.” Ella tells me letting go of my eyes. I turn to face her and she pulls me straight into a hug. I take in the guy with her and have to raise an eyebrow. Is Ella on a date? Why has she come out to see me if she is on a date?
“Riah this is my date Harry, Harry this is one of my best friends in this world Riah shes practically my sister from another mister.” Ella says with a grin.
“you must have really bad friends if I make it to best.” I mumble, Ella laughs and squeezes me tighter, I let out a smile I cant help it.
“Nice to meet you Rena.” Her date says sounding slightly put out. Ella looks deafeted herself.
“Ella we aint ever going to get in here, I have some beer at home., we could” Harry is saying. I look at Ella and she seems tired.
“I told you I could get us in.” Ella says weakly.
“I don’t want to interrupt, if you had plans.” I say worried that Ella changed her plans for me.
“no its fine Riah. I have to go see someone in there tonight.” Ella says seriously. I look at her worried. But nod.
“We will just be queuing for hours and never actually get in.” The guy Harry groans. Ella reaches in her bag and pulls out her phone. My cell beeps a second later. I look down at it and read her message.
Ella - this date sucks. I tried to ditch him hours ago, but he aint taking the hint. He didn’t get my question about blue.
I look at Ella and wonder if I could just have a tiny bit of her confidence. I decide what the hell and text her back
Riah – so you want to loose him in the club?
Ella – yeah just walk in and hell follow. I don’t think he will understand that side of my life at all.
Riah – just walk in do you mean the backdoor?
Ella – no go to the bouncer and hell let us in.
Really? But I don’t ask that. I look around and sigh.
“come on then.” I actually find myself saying. Ella grabs my arm and links with me and then we make our move to the club door. The bouncer does indeed let us straight in. Ella grins at me when we are in.
“Harry want to dance?” she says excitedly turning to her date.
“um what?” Harry asks. But she grabs his hand and pulls him away from me. I shake my head smiling at her as she goes. I notice Alfie stood with a group of football players. I see him take Ella in and then go back to talking. I make my way to the bar and order myself a soda. I sit on a barstall and watch as Milo and Owen seem to sing there hearts out to a song I vaguely recognize. This isn’t there original I know that much. Watching them I find myself pulling out a small notepad from my purse and start writing. Two songs later and the music changes. I look up briefly to see the dj is on so Milos band can have a break. I go back to writing not wanting to loose where I was in my own world. My pen seems to have its own mind tonight. Ella’s right it being loud makes it easier to think.
“What are you working on?” I hear a males voice ask and I freeze where I am. Owen I would reconise his voice anywhere. But would he reocnise me out of context. I find myself jumping and knocking my drink over. It goes over the bar and I can see the smashed glass. I look up like ive been caught doing something wrong. Owen watches me looking slightly worried. I quickly put my notepad in my bag and run wishing the world would swallow me up.
“Sorry.” I hear Owens voice echo as I run. But its to late. I manage to get to the ladies bathroom and hide in the stall for a while. I take out the lighter from my purse when I am in there and take it to my arm. It hurts but it makes me feel alive.
The last time I cried was when Grey died, I promised myself when I finished that pity party that no one would ever make me cry again. I think that’s why I hurt myself sometimes. Because I know that the only person who can really hurt me now anymore is me and im doing such a great job at it I don’t need any help.
When I have calmed myself down enough to know that I can make my move out of here I got off the toilet, I then went out the stall. Girls were in doing their makeup but no one gave me a second look. I make my move out, but Alfie is stood outside the bathroom. I find myself looking up into his worried brown eyes.
“You spent along time in there.” He said worriedly.
“I needed to give myself a pep talk.” I find myself admitting.
“Everything alright?” Alfie checks worried. I nod because now it is. I look around and don’t see Ella.
“wheres Ella?” I ask him worried.
“She is with a friend in the office because her date was a jerk.” Alfie says.
“Can you both not date?” He asks me with so much hope. I smile at him and nod.
“no issue from me on that Alfie.” I assure him. I look up at the band then, if I didn’t know better I would say both Milos and Hunters eyes are on me. I look back at Alfie who shakes his head at me.
“I want you to date, just.” Alfie starts trying to cover his own ass. I shake my head at him.
“I should be getting home Alfie, I got school in morning and I was tired enough this morning as I was up most the night unable to sleep.” I admit.
“why is anything wrong?” Alfie asks me sounding so worried.
“I just started something before bed and couldn’t sleep.” I admit.
“oh?” he asks me but not pushing.
“I put my first mark on Jez’s map.” I admit nervously. He grins at me.
“that’s great Riah you need to make your own mark on the world. Both of them would have been so proud of you, no matter what you do as long as you make yourself happy they will be happy.” Alfie assures me. I smile at him. It feels like an honest smile, not even fake. He smiles at seeing my smile. Soon we are both grinning at each other like idiots.
“want to come vegas with me next weekend?” he asks me.
“im 17 what can I do in vegas?” I ask him interested even though I possibly shouldn’t be. But I did say to myself only last night that I would start to see the world I live in, if not for me for Jez.
“stop me making mistakes.” He mumbles. I shake my head.
“I’m not a miracle worker Alfie.” I say with a smile.
“Alfie,” a girls voice squeals we both turn to see the drunk girl almost tripping over her heals. Alfie quickly wraps his arm around her to stop her falling. She wraps her arms around his neck and then kisses him flat on the mouth.
“Riah.” Alfie says quickly as if wanting to explain as soon as the kiss is over.
“its alright Alfie its been over 7 years. Shes gone and she would want you happy too.” I assure him.
“I’m going home Alfie I got school.” I say and quickly make my way away from Alfie. The moment I get outside I suck in the air as if I was being starved of oxygen for hours. I take a look at the huge que and wonder what made me special enough to walk past everyone and go straight in. Grey was famous for his music but he grew up how I did, in and out of foster homes, with mom and dads drunk abusive asses. He turned his life around. He made his own millions. He made himself happy. I take hold of my locket and look around at the que again. Jez never got a chance to live, but she made sure even when she was cursing mom and dad out left right and centre that she and I at least had some fun. Days sat at the park for hours, yes we were avoiding going home but she also pushed me on the swing played with me. Jez will always be my hero. But she wasn’t perfect, neither of them were. But nor am I, im so far from perfect. I walk to where I had parked my car and climb in. when im sat down I pull up my cardigan and look at my fresh burn.
“Todays the last time.” I lie to myself.
I drive home and go in quickly, the moment I get in my room I look up at the map on the wall. I open up the college brochure I was given the other day in school. I walk up to the board and pin it on. I will go college. I will apply for a few and if I need it I will agree to a bit of the college fund. Wow what is with me. I throw myself down on my bed still in the dress. My phone buzzes so I look at it wondering who actually would text me.
Ella – are you alright home safe?
Riah - I’m fine.
Ella – I swear I will drag you into nomore of my disaster dates.
Riah – don’t worry about it.
Riah – night Ella
Ella – Night Riah
Riah – what college do you go to?
Ella – just local I couldn’t go far because of the clubs, did you want to come look round will give you a private tour.
Riah – sounds great.
Ella – does that mean your going :D
Riah – yeah I’m going to go college.
Ella – :D That’s amazing! Love you
Riah – sweet dreams be safe.
I then put my phone down a smile on my face I cant shake off. I look at a picture on the side, its of me and Jez.
“Its time I start living my own life.” I mumble telling myself more than her, she would agree it was me who needed convincing.