Light Up The Sky

By Emalee Nelson

1. Holiday Vacation

“Claire! You going to the party on the 31st?” I asked my friend Claire as soon as I caught up with her in the hall before second period in school. Claire is tall and blonde, the ideal cheerleader, because that‘s exactly what she was. She always wore the high heels, mini skirts, and the lowest cut shirts allowed. “I don’t know. Samantha… she wants me to go… but Luke… we’re going to be hanging out for New Years,” she said reluctantly. She’d hesitated when she told me about Luke. Claire knew I liked him. Sam had made some stuff up when she found out. So know, I avoid Luke and Billie both. Billie would be my ex boyfriend that Sam stole when we were friends with each other. That is one of the top ten reasons on why we aren’t anymore. Forgive and forget? How about try to forget then avoid. That’s what you have to do. That’s what I did anyways. Sam has caused many troubles in my life, but I’ve learned to live with them. “Oh… have fun with Luke,” the guy I like. God. Could my life get any worse? It was Boston. Of course things could get worse. “You know I will. Are you going to the party?” Claire asked me. Of course I was. She knew I hated being home on holidays with my dad still there. I just nodded and walked to my next class. I was already running a minute late, I didn’t need to be too late. Second period class was always study hall for me. Too bad I shared it with the small eighth graders. “Annabelle, you’re late again.” Mr. Tice scolded as I walked in the door. Jennie, my younger sister who’s two grades below me, tapped the spot next to her for me to sit at with an evil smile playing across her lips. Mr. Tice’s room was a chemistry room - complete with all of the beakers and everything. He was a nice man I suppose, all his hair seemed to creep out of his shirt buttons at the top of his shirt though, he had no hair on his head. Being a basketball coach for our school, he was on the muscular side too. “Hey Jennie. Get to your homework.” I said with a scowl as I sat next to her. There wasn’t another free spot for me to sit, so I reluctantly grabbed up the spot beside her. “Fine, Annie.” Jennie mumbled defiantly. I couldn’t stand being called Annie. Not one bit at all. And not because it was a childish name, that wasn’t my reasoning. “My name isn’t Annie. It’s Anna.,” I growled at her under my breath and started my math homework. I was in Algebra two this year, a year behind my other classmates. Next thing I’m aware of, I’m walking to lunch. I didn’t have lunch with the eighth graders, so I felt grateful. My lunch was scheduled with the ninth thru twelfth grades. I grabbed up a salad and a bottle of water. I got out my wallet from my purse and paid for the meal silently. I ate alone at my table while everyone in the room glanced my way. I threw away my container and water bottle when I was done. Even though I

wasn’t quite finished with everything. I got out my headphones and Mp3 player and put my headphones in, turning my music up to as loud as it will go. I got out my cell phone from my pocket. The screen said I had one new text message. “Okay, so who is it this time?” I thought. Hey. What’s up? Was all that it had said. I think It was from Jennie. I didn’t have her number in my phone so I couldn’t tell. I answered slowly. Who r u? I typed in and I waited for a reply. Going to the New Year Bash? They asked. I got freaked out and wrote: Who. Are. You? Thirty minutes until the early dismissal for the holidays. In a way, I couldn’t wait. My phone vibrated, indicating somebody was messaging me. Eagerly wanting to know who was messaging me, I got out my phone again. A friend. That was all it said. A friend? Seriously, come on. I decided I would call the number. Taking one of the headphones out of my ears, I dialed the number. They picked up after the first ring. A man’s voice told me: “Annabelle James, hang up. Now.” and so I did, not sure of what I was doing at all. The voice hadn’t sounded familiar to me at all. Then I got another message. Why did you call me, Anna? I was confused now. What did she mean? I wanted to see who was calling me. was what I’d written back to her as a reply. Anna, it’s me Jennie. I was jus messin witcha. I couldn’t believe Jennie would do something like that. Who had ur phone? I asked her, wondering who the guy was. Uhm, Annabelle, my phone was turned off, nobody had it. ah crap. What was going on now? I felt panicked. Okay, well bye. I didn’t know what else I was going to say to her. Did somebody take her phone? Or did they just mess with the call back number? I’m going crazy, aren’t I. The bell rang, dismissing everyone from school to start Christmas Vacation. I made a run for the doors, getting out before most. Vacation has finally begun. My intent was to run all the way back to my dad’s house, which was only two streets down. There was a lot of snow and quite a bit of ice on the sidewalks, and I wasn’t paying much attention, so of course, I slipped and fell. “Great” I murmured as I went down. I landed face first on the sidewalk and laid there for a moment. Just my luck, I always fell at the right time. Or not right time. Hah. “Need some help there?” a guy asked me and I slowly sat up. “I-I’m fine,” I stammered, looking down at my hands. I had no clue who the guy questioning me was. He was… gorgeous though. That was all I could think of when I looked up at him. He had shaggy black hair and piercing blue eyes that caught my attention and had me getting lost in them. Wearing a black zip up hoodie with a black shirt under it and black skinny leg jeans that look like they were from Hot Topic, he was handsome. He laughed at me, probably my bewildered state. I started to get frustrated with him. “What are you laughing at?” I said, anger flooding into my voice. “Well, you’re sitting on your ass in the snow and I offer you a hand, and you just stare at me. Now, isn’t that funny?” he asked me, a smile playing at the corners of his lips. My heart skipped a beat. I held out my gloved hand with a grin, a gesture saying he could help me up. He did. “I guess it is…” I mumbled to him. “I’m Owen,” he said, grabbing my hand gently and helping me to my feet. As

soon as he let go of my hand I almost toppled over backwards. Owen grabbed my elbow, steadying me. “Uh, I’m Anna.” I said. Funny how I had to think of what my name was. Eesh. He smiled as if he already knew my name. I had some questions for my mysterious source of help, and I wanted to kill some time, or myself. Whichever came first I suppose, my dad would get to me sooner or later. “So are you from around here?” I asked him. “No, I’m actually from Austin, North Carolina.” he answered easily. “Oh cool. That’s where my mum lives.” I said while I picked up my book I’d dropped when I fell. I had a report on that book due when I got back from vacation. “Oh… that’s cool. I’m going back down on the tenth of January… and I heard there’s a party next weekend. Are you going?” Owen asked me, a gentle smile on his face. I couldn’t help but smile back. Answering easily, I said, “I would have to sneak out. My dad’s been being a jerk about everything lately.” Wait, why am I telling him this? Why was it so easy to spill my guts to him? I was utterly confused. My phone started playing my South Park ringtone. “You’ve got ten seconds to answer this call….” and so on. My dad was calling me, wonderful. I looked up at Owen apologetically. “Hold on, my dad’s calling.” and I rolled my eyes. Owen nodded, understanding I had to take the call. “Annabelle Maye James you were supposed to be home ten minutes ago, am I correct?! Where are you? Your sister is here freaking out because you didn’t ride the bus home!” he screamed into the phone even before I got a chance to say hello. I had to pull the phone away from my ear in order to hear him and still have some hearing left. “Dad, calm your damn hormones, Eesh. I was walking home and slipped. Then a friend stopped and helped me and we’ve been talking.” I told him, trying to stay calm and not get angry with him. He got even more mad. Was that even possible? “Annabelle, get home before I come looking for you. I do not want a repeat of last week. I’ve told you hundreds - no, thousands of times that I wanted you home at a certain time. I’m leaving for a conference and you’d better be back before I leave!” he yelled into the phone. All through his rant I kept my eyes closed, a hand on my forehead. Why did he have to freak about anything and everything possible?! I hung up my cell phone on him without saying anything or letting him continue ranting at me. I have better things to do than waste my time on him and go home and baby sit a fourteen year old who can take care of herself. I was in deep concentration when Owen finally spoke, interrupting my train of thought. Would I ever get my thoughts back? Pft, no. “I see what you mean about him being a jerk.” he said and nodded towards my phone that I was clenching in my hand. “Are you going home like he wants?” he asked me curiously. With a big grin, I answered, “Nope. Let him rant all that he wants. He’ll of course and unfortunately survive. Why give him the satisfaction of me cooperating with him? I can’t stand him…” Owen grinned at me. “So where will you go, then?” he asked, looking curious as to what was going on in my small mind. Interesting. Actually, I hadn’t even given that a thought yet. I wasn’t sure on where I was going to go after all. My phone vibrated in my hand at that moment. A new text. Hmm… Annabelle James, get out of there. was all that it had read. I couldn’t take anymore of these messages. If it wasn’t Jennie messaging me, who was it? I threw my phone as hard as I could against the concrete sidewalk and stomped on it. Owen looked at me suspiciously. What was he thinking? He probably thought I was on the psychotic side. Maybe I was, who knows. But wouldn’t it mean that I am perfectly sane if I am questioning my sanity? But wait, if I have come to the assumption I am sane because I am questioning my sanity, that would mean I’m no

longer questioning it but just assuming I am sane. Eesh, too much thought! “What’s wrong?” he asked me and his glance turned to my face. I was trembling with fear. Obviously that was showing. I was afraid because I didn’t know what my father was capable of and number two, I was afraid because I didn’t know who was harassing me on my cell phone, trying to freak me out. What if I didn’t get out of here? What then? I answered him slowly, picking my words wisely. “The usual, for me that is. Nothing important is wrong.” I mumbled. I tried to calm myself but I wasn’t sure how to so I sat on the ground and settled with covering my face. Owen sat next to me. “Obviously something is wrong, Anna. You probably wouldn’t be sitting on the cold ground, trembling, and just staring off into god only knows what.” he said, sounding quite concerned. “Kay, so something is wrong I suppose. I’ve been getting these weird, stalkerlike messages… if I didn’t smash my phone I could’ve shown you the messages. There’s voicemails too though…” I answered reluctantly after a minute. What was he supposed to do about that? “And then there’s my dad…” I trailed off, not even wanting to go there right now. Not ever, especially with Owen. He looked lost in thought. Was he thinking about the messages or was his mind going over every possible thing my father does to me? I shuddered at that thought. “You could always call your voicemail, if you’d like. And… what about your dad, Anna?” he questioned me seriously. He picked up my phone and looked it over, getting out his phone and offering it to me. “Here, you can use my phone.” he said with a shy smile. I grabbed his cell phone from him and dialed in my phone’s number. Entering my password, I was fully aware of Owen watching me carefully. I pressed one and handed the phone carefully back to Owen so he could listen to the voicemails. Nobody ever called me, so I wasn’t worried about any personal messages from anyone. Just those messages were on my phone. “Interesting. One new message. Do you mind if I listened to that one also?” he questioned sweetly. I nodded, allowing him to go through all of the messages if he wanted to. “It’s a man… telling you to go? What? The number is listed as unavailable…” he murmured as he pressed some more buttons on his phone. That‘s when he finally spoke to me, “Anna, I’ve never heard anything like this.” He closed his phone, ending the call to my voicemail. “What’s going on?” he asked me, looking deep into my eyes with his breath taking ice blue eyes. I tried to find my voice, but it took me a minute. I shrugged. “Honestly Owen, I’ve no clue what’s going on in my life anymore. Any suggestions?” I answered, stammering, trying to find some good words to put to use. “Not even the smallest of clues, Anna.” he answered with a worried look on his face. Why would he need to be worried about me? Pathetic, small, worthless, me. Just then I noticed exactly how far away from me he’d been sitting, and he’d been angled away from me too. Odd. Oh well I suppose. “I’d better get going. C-ya around?” I asked, standing up and starting to walk away. He nodded to me and I turned around, walking a little further away, a million things running through my mind at that moment. What was going on? Why didn’t I know what I was doing these days? “Be careful, Annabelle.” he called after me. I turned and gave him a small smile. Holiday vacation, here I come, I suppose. It should be a nice one, all except for the warning eating away at my calm and sereneness I wanted to be feeling. And then there’s going home to my father. Yikes. If I shall see Owen again, it should be an even better vacation. I couldn’t get him off of my mind. He was the main occupant of it at the moment, every other worry just falling into the background of my thoughts. No matter how hard I had tried to clear my mind of his smiling eyes, I failed miserably. I walked up the long stairs that led to my bedroom, thinking about him and the party. About my mysterious phone calls and my father. Of what was going to

happen to me. Would I actually sneak away to go to that party after all? I thought of all of that to myself. Or was it out loud? “Annabelle Maye James!” Jennie screeched at me once she spotted me with her beady little green eyes that always had too much make-up outlining them, making them seem a little bit bigger. I rolled my eyes at the brunette who bounced up and down in front of me, trying to see where I’ve been and who I’ve been with. I got out my Mp3 player and put my earbuds in my ears, cranking up my music as loud as it would go to drown out her annoying little voice. “Anna!” she screamed. I smiled as I turned on Brick By Boring Brick by Paramore. I woke up to large hands shaking me, trying to wake me up. “Annabelle Mayuki Taylor James wake up this instant!” my father barked in my face. Nobody ever called me that. And I mean Nobody. It was either Anna Maye James or “Girl”. He must be pretty mad. I know I was. “Get your skuzzy hands off of my before I cry rape, Matt.” I yelled. That got his attention. He backed off quickly, probably only because Jennie was right there, getting ready to leave. “Annie, you know I’m not like that,” he cooed. Half a lie. I could feel my face getting redder and redder, nobody was allowed to call me Annie. “Just leave me alone,” I complained, pushing him away from me before he got any ideas. Jennie slammed the door shut, a sign that she’s mad and gone. He huffed out a breath of air. “Your mother and your friend called.” he said and then added, “Never ever do that again. You know how your sister can be. Plus, you’re grounded. Two months.” He growled all of this at me. I let out a sigh. “Spaztastic.” just like Jennie, I added in my head, laughing silently. I knew Jennie wasn’t the one who was throwing these fits. It was all Matt, my dad. I smiled when he’d left. Oh how I wish he’d just leave me alone. “Oh wait, Dad. I uhm, need a new phone?” I asked him cautiously, afraid of what his answer would be. “Anna…” he started sternly.

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