Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 18

Leo sat on a bench at recess, swirling his foot around in a pile of sand on the ground.
"Leo..." A voice came from beside him.
Leo looked up; Kathy was standing there.
His face fell and he said, "Oh, it's you."
Sorry to disappoint you. Kathy thought. She was tempted to say it out loud, but she didn't want to say anything that could make matters worse.
Kathy sat down next to Leo on the bench and said, "Leo, please look at me."
Leo turned his face toward hers. His dark hair hung from his head and his expression was anything but positive.
Kathy bit her lip and made herself look him in the eyes.
"Leo.... I'm sorry." She said.
When Leo didn't say anything, Kathy continued, "For everything. For the party, for how I treated Tae-Hyun, for how I treated you... I'm really, really sorry and I hope you can find a way to forgive me."
Leo's face was as blank as a fresh sheet of paper.
Kathy nodded to him in respect and stood up to leave.
Leo watched her walk away.
When Kathy had almost reached the school building, Leo called after her, "Hey, Kathy."
She turned around to see Leo jogging toward her.
Leo reached her and stood right in front of her, unlike before when he wouldn't go within three feet of her.
Serious, but not as harsh as before, Leo said, "It's okay. Thank you for apologizing. You, uh... You acted... Really bad... And..."
Now, he wasn't as scary and intimidating. Leo was shifting from foot to foot as he tried to find the right words.
"Uh... You were, like, really mean and stuff... And..." He said awkwardly.
Kathy raised an eyebrow at Leo and cracked a grin.
Leo ran his fingers through his hair and sighed, "I'm, uh, I'm... Sorry...  Too."
He glanced at Kathy sheepishly then quickly looked away.
Kathy smiled warmly and said, "If you forgive me, I'll forgive you."
Leo nodded, "You're forgiven."
"You're forgiven, too." Kathy said, smiling. She saw the edge of Leo's mouth turn up just the slightest bit.
He waved and said, "I'll see you later, Kath."
Kathy saved back, "See you."
Kathy watched Leo walk away and she smiled to herself.
"I'm done." She thought, "I'm clear. No one's mad at me anymore so I have everything figured out."
Then her face fell and she said softly to herself, "That's not true.

"I still don't know who's been putting things in my locker."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 17

I had no idea how to help anyone and I didn't want to make things worse. I couldn't ask biased Chris the Therapist or Alice and Mouse wouldn't give me a straight answer, so I turned to the one person in my school that I knew would be honest and would probably give good advice; Tina Fackler.
During gym class, I went up to Tina. She was sitting on the gym floor with her short legs stretched out and her tomato-red head almost touching the floor.
I leaned over her and said, "Hey, Tina. Am I interrupting?"
She looked at me and said in her usual soft, calm tone, "Oh, hello, Angie. No, you're not inturrupting. How are you today?"
"Um, bad, I guess..." I said, "Can I talk to you?"
"Oh, sure." Tina said, standing up and walking with me.
I wrung my hands and said, "So... You know my friend Leo, right?"
Tina nodded, "Yes, the dark-haired boy you're always with? Guillermo?"
"Yes." I said, "And you know Kathy?"
"Yes, I do. The girl who just returned from being suspended. Poor thing." Tina said placidly.
I nodded, "Yep. Well, a few weeks ago we had a small party at Leo's house and... It didn't end very well."
Tina patiently nodded for me to go on.
"Basically, it ended with Kathy mistreating Tae-Hyun," - Like how I used the word 'mistreating'? It's all big and fancy like the ones Tina uses - "Leo getting really mad at Kathy because of her obsene behavior," - Obsene. There's another one. - "Jenny being upset, and Kathy getting mad at everyone."
"Ahh..." Tina said.
"Yeah." I said, "So, now Kathy's back in school and I don't know the update on her, but Leo's really depressed because Tae-Hyun's mad at him."
"Why is Tae-Hyun mad at Leo?" Tina asked.
"Because he's been a total jerk." I explained, "Leo's been really inconciderate lately, but now he's just really sad. I don't know what to do and I was hoping you could help me. You're really smart."
Tina chuckled and said, "Thank you. Well, maybe you don't need to do anything."
I studied her and asked, "What do you mean?"
Tina said, "Perhaps you don't have to take care of your friends. Try just playing it by ear."
I thought about that and echoed, "Playing it by ear... Huh."
I looked at Tina and said, "Thank you."
"No trouble." Tina said, just barely smiling.
"You know, you really are smart." I said, chuckling, "I'm kind of jealous."
Tina shook her head, "Don't be. I'm not smarter than you are, you and I simply know more about different subjects. Teachers may seem like they know more than other people, but really, they just know more about specific subjects."
Tina smiled her little faint smile again and said, "I'm sure they couldn't recite the name of every episode of Heroes in all four seasons."
I gave her a look and questioned, "Heroes?"
Tina nodded, "It's a science fiction T.V. show. I adore it and I've memorize every character's name, the actor or actress who played them, and the name of every episode."
I laughed, "Four seasons? Wow, you really are something..."
"Thank you for your flattery." Tina said, smiling a little more.
The gym teacher blew the whistle and Tina said, "Oh, we have to go."
"Yeah." I said, "Thanks again, Tina."
"You're very welcome." Tina said, and she jogged off.
I smiled to myself. Tina Fackler is really her own person. I never have and probably never will meet anyone else like her.

I like that girl.

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 16

Kathy slowly approached Tae-Hyun in the hallway the next day.
"Hey, Tae-Hyun..." She said meekly.
Tae-Hyun looked at her and said, "Oh, hello, Kathy."
Kathy bit her lip and looked down at her feet, "I'm not sure how to..."
Come on, Kath, yes you do! She told herself.
Kathy looked Tae-Hyun in the eyes and said, "Tae-Hyun, I shouldn't have done all the things I did to you. At Leo's house, afterwards, just... Everything."
Tae-Hyun nodded, listening.
"Tae-Hyun," Kathy said, "I'm sorry."
Tae-Hyun smiled warmly and a heavy weight was lifted from Kathy's shoulders.
"Thank you, Kathy." Tae-Hyun said, "I really appriciate the apology."
Kathy nodded and said, "That's good."
Tae-Hyun nodded and Kathy added, "I'm... Kind of trying to not be so useless anymore. You know, start being nicer."
"You were never useless." Tae-Hyun said, "You just needed to know that someone cared about you."
Kathy knit her eyebrows and Tae-Hyun smiled again.
"I will see you in class, Kathy." Tae-Hyun said.
Before Kathy could say anything else, Tae-Hyun disappeared into the sea of kids filling the hallway.
Kathy let out a sigh that she hadn't realized she was holding in. She turned to walk down the hall and thought,

Now, all I have to do is apologize to Leo....

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 15

I walked toward our table at lunch with my tray. Leo was the only one already there and he was stirring his food with a fork, looking down at it.
I sat down next to him and smiled cheerily, "Hi, Leo."
Leo looked at me suspiciously and said, "... Hello."
I folded my hands on the table and asked, "So, is there anything I can do to help you?"
"I doubt it." Leo said quietly, still looking at me, "Everybody hates me."
"That's not true, Leo." I said, "I don't hate you, you're my best friend."
"But you hate me right now." Leo said, shaking his head, "Don't even think I can't see it. I know you, Ange. You're trying to act all nice, but you're really pissed."
I scowled and said, "Well, you could at least try to let me make things better."
Leo shook his head and got up with his tray, "You can't, it's too late. Everyone thinks I'm an ass including the girl I'm in love with. I don't know how to fix it and maybe I won't. Just let me rot in peace."
I watched Leo walk away to an empty table.
Alice and Chris sat down across from me and Alice asked, "What happened?"
"Nothing, I just tried to help Leo and he said everyone hates him, including Tae-Hyun."
"He's probably really upset about Tae-Hyun." Chris said pitifully, shaking his head and starting to stand up, "I should go talk to him."
I put my hand on Chris' and said, "Chris, I don't think your gay boy charm is going to get Leo out of his funk."
Chris rolled his eyes and said, "Fine, fine." 
"Did you suggest that Leo apologizes?" Alice asked me.
I shook my head, "No, he didn't give me the chance. You think it would piss 'em off?"
"Probably." Chris said.
"Maybe not." Alice said, "Knowing Tae-Hyun, she would probably forgive him pretty fast. I doubt she's that angry, anyway. Kathy, I'm not so sure about, but she seemed to be a little better this morning."
Chris cleared his throat and glanced at Alice.
"Oh, sorry, Chris." Alice said, "Would you forgive him?"
Chris crossed his arms and said, "Depends. I might, but I don't think he would apologize anyway. We've never been close and I highly doubt he would be willing to apologize to the gay kid. Waaaay too embarrassing. He probably doesn't even remember that he did me wrong."
"What are you talking about, Chris?" I said, "Leo's not like that anymore."
Chris gave me a look and said sharply, "Yes, he is, Angie. Don't you remember when he said I would make a better girl than a boy? He is still like that."
I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just gritted my teeth in frustration.
"Chris..." Alice said gently. She put her hand on Chris' shoulder and Chris shrugged her off.
I sighed, "Whatever happened to trying to patch everything up? Come on, man. I thought you were on my team."
Chris glanced at me for a second.
Alice nodded and agreed, "Someone needs to do something besides sit around and think about how mad they are."
"Come on, bud." I said.
Chris rolled his eyes and said, "Sure, whatever, I'll get over it, but Leo doesn't deserve my friendship. He has never respected or understood me."
Alice and I exchanged a look that indicated that we would just let Chris have his way for now.
Mouse and Tae-Hyun walked over to us with their lunches and sat down.
"Hey, guys." Mouse said.
"Hi, everyone..." Tae-Hyun said quietly.
"Hi." Chris, Alice, and I said.
Mouse looked from me, to Alice, to Chris, to Tae-Hyun.
"Huh." She said, "What's goin' on?"
Tae-Hyun glanced at her for a second, then looked back down at her lunch tray.
"Nothing." I said, "We're just talking about trying to clear the air with Kathy and Leo."
"Why?" Mouse said.
I gave her a look, "What do you mean why? So we can get back to everything not sucking."
Tae-Hyun sighed and said sharply, "We cannot do anything to make Leo better. He needs to apologize to us for mistreating us. He's a jerk."
We all looked at Tae-Hyun in question and Mouse said flatly, "Dang, Korea. What happened to being head over heels in love with Leo?"
Tae-Hyun crossed her arms and said, "My feelings will never overpower my knowledge of what is right and wrong. Leo has not been a nice person, so I will treat him how he deserves. Like. A. Jerk."
Chris and I grinned at each other. Mouse and even Alice were also cracking smiles.
Tae-Hyun looked at all of us and said sharply, "What?"
"Wow, Tae-Hyun." I said, teasing her, "I didn't realize that your beliefs could so easily defeat your burning love for Leo."
Tae-Hyun's cheeks turned pink with anger and embarrassment. But mostly anger.
"Well, Angela," She said sourly, "I am a very independent, capable woman and I know a mean person when I see one."
"Geez, sorry." I said.
"Wait," Alice said, addressing Tae-Hyun, "Then why didn't you get mad at Kathy at Leo's party."
Tae-Hyun said confidently, and almost a little bit prissily, "Kathy clearly had something emotional going on by how strongly she reacted to everything and I was just who she chose to take her feelings out on."
"She still hasn't apologized." Chris pointed out.
"Yes, but that's not the point." Tae-Hyun said, "Leo is just being a jerk to everyone because he doesn't care about other people's feelings. He's insensitive, inconciderate..." - Inconciderate. That's the word people always use when they're trying hard to stay mad at someone, but they're not going to. - "Rude, cruel, stupid..."
"Uh, Tae-Hyun..." Chris said.
"Egoistic, greedy, piggish, narcissistic, narrow-minded..."
I leaned over to Chris and whispered, "I had no idea one person could come up with that many adjectives for 'selfish'."
Chris nodded, staring at Tae-Hyun in surprise and maybe a little fear, "Uh-huh."
I added, "... At least I think they mean selfish."
So, I guess Tae-Hyun really was mad at Leo.

What the hell was I supposed to do now???

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 14

Kathy opened her locker at school the next day and found a package of shoelaces on the top shelf. Confused, she knit her eyebrows and picked up the shoelaces.
"Shoelaces..." Kathy said to herself, "Ohh..."
That's right, I broke my shoelace last week on the way out of the building. Thank you mysterious nice person who will not identify his or herself to me. It's not like I can just figure out who it is. Who would be nice to me?
Kathy spotted Jenny walking to English and she walked over to her.
"Hey, Jenny..." Kathy said guiltily, trying to smile.
Jenny eyed Kathy suspiciously and didn't say anything.
Kathy said awkwardly, "Hey, um, did you put these shoelaces in my locker this morning?"
Kathy held up the shoelaces and Jenny looked at her like she was nuts.
"No?" Kathy said, chuckling softly, "Um, okay. Sorry, that must've sounded totally weird."
"Not to sound harsh, but why are you talking to me?" Jenny said in a quiet, hurt voice, "The other day you freaked out on me and now you're just talking to me like everything's normal."
Kathy's smile faded and Jenny said, her tone pained, "T-then you came back to school and you just shaved your head and now everything's fine and dandy, huh?"
"Jen, I..."
"You broke my heart, Kathy. Do you know that?" Jenny said. Her voice was urgent and her eyes were glossy, "I'm sorry to be blunt, but... What you did to me... Was terrible."
Kathy nodded and smiled guiltily, "I know."
Jenny crossed her arms and waited while Kathy continued, "I came to do two things; to ask you about these shoelaces and... to apologize."
Jenny's expression softened and Kathy went on, "You're right, what I did to you was horrible and thoughtless and... I guess... I just really felt like I needed someone to blame, because I didn't feel like there was anyone I could talk to. You were the wrong person for me to treat like that. I'm sorry, Jenny."
Jenny's eyelids fluttered and she wiped tears from her eyes. She sniffed and said, "Thank you, Kathy."
The girls smiled at each other and Kathy held out her arms.
Jenny hugged Kathy and said, "You know, you can always talk to me."
Kathy looked at her and said, "Really?"
"Of course." Jenny said, shrugging, "I'm all ears. Someone else who's really good with the listening and advice is Tae-Hyun."
Kathy's face fell, quickly followed by Jenny's.
Jenny stuttered, "Oh... Kathy, I'm sorry, I forgot that-"
"No." Kathy said, "I just remembered... That I need to apologize to her, too."
Jenny raised her eyebrows and said, "Oh. I see. Um, good, good."
Mr. Sullivan, the English teacher, opened the door to his classroom and cleared his throat at the two girls in the hall.
Jenny turned to him and said, "Sorry, Mr. Sullivan, we're late."
Mr. Sullivan nodded and said, "I know. Care to join us?"
"Yes, Mr. Sullivan." The girls said together.
Jenny looked at Kathy and said, "Well, we can talk more later."
"Yeah..." Kathy said. She and Jenny followed their teacher into the English classroom and sat down.
Mr. Sullivan turned to the class and pointed to the whiteboard.
"Alright, The Catcher in the Rye..." Mr. Sullivan began talking about the book the class was reading.
Okay, Kath, Kathy thought, You apologized to Jenny, now you have two to go.

Tae-Hyun and Leo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 13

Lunkwill fell back on Kathy's bed and threw his head into his hands. He peered through his fingers at the white sheet of paper on the floor. His entire body was shaking.
Oh my God, what do I do? Where is Kathy now? What if she's already dead? Lunkwill felt so helpless. All he could do was sit on Kathy's bed and cry, shaking all over.
Then, he smelled car exhaust.
Lunkwill lifted his head and said out loud, "The car!"
Lunkwill ran through the kitchen to the garage and flung open the door. He was instantly hit in the face with thick, gray car exhaust, but he pushed through it.
Lunkwill could see the outline of his father's car. He ran to it and pulled the door open. Kathy fell out of the driver's seat and Lunkwill caught her. Though she was thin for her age, Kathy, being four years older than Lunkwill and a few inches taller, was dead weight to Lunkwill.
With a bit of effort, Lunkwill picked up his sister and carried her like a princess (A very sad and possibly dead princess) to the living room.
Lunkwill laid Kathy's limp body on the living room floor and he said, "Kathy!"
Kathy didn't respond. She didn't blink, she didn't cough, she didn't move.
"Kathy!" Lunkwill screamed, heavy tears running down his face.
Kathy's body remained motionless and her face remained pale.
Lunkwill touched her hand; it was cold. He sat on the floor, sobbing hard.
No one else was home. How could Lunkwill possibly explain what happened to his sister?
Minutes that felt like hours passed and Kathy suddenly started coughing.
Lunkwill's eyes popped open and he screamed, "Kathy!"
Kathy coughed harder and Lunkwill helped her sit up.
Kathy looked around the room silently and realized that she was still alive. The car exhaust hadn't killed her.
Kathy started crying hard and she flung her arms around her brother.
Lunkwill hugged her tightly and sobbed, "Oh my God! You're alive! Oh, thank God, you're alive..."
"I'm so sorry, Lunkwill..." Kathy sobbed. She was crying so hard Lunkwill could barely understand her, "I-I c-co-ouldn't take it a-anymore."
"It's okay, it's okay..." Lunkwill said, hugging Kathy tighter.
The brother and sister sat on the floor for a long time, sobbing and clinging to each other.
When they finally recovered, Lunkwill leaned away from Kathy and said shakily, "But... Why would you do that? Why would you try to kill yourself?"
Kathy shook her head and her tear-streaked cheeks glistened in the light from the kitchen.
"Were you depressed?" Lunkwill said, "Because we can help you."
Kathy shook her head again and said, "No, you don't get it. I wasn't just depressed."
She leaned toward Lunkwill and said firmly, "I am miserable, Lunkwill. Even before I got suspended, I couldn't walk the halls without people verbally abusing me."
Kathy's voice started to crack, "You... Have no idea... What that's like."
"Are you kidding?" Lunkwill said gently, "People tease me all the time. They make fun of my hair and they call me a reject and they accuse me of being gay."
Kathy knit her eyebrows and said, "Aren't you?"
Lunkwill clenched his jaw, "No, Kathy, but that's not the point. The point is that everyone gets teased and you shouldn't commit suicide because of it."
"No, Lunkwill, really..." Kathy said, holding up her hand and choking up, "It's more than just teasing. This girl, Stephanie, just pops up at random times and sucks all of my hope away. She makes my life a living Hell."
Lunkwill's expression softened timidly and his sister stared at him with her grim, cold, blue eyes.
"I thought I was getting better, Lunkwill." Kathy said, her words firm and dripping with icicles, "But then Stephanie came and hurt me again. You don't push someone down when they're just starting to get up. It's cruel. Sick and cruel."
Lunkwill stared at his sister pitifully.
"Kath..." He said softly, "Why didn't you tell me before?"
Kathy didn't say anything.
Lunkwill cautiously scooted closer to her and said gently, "Kathy, did you keep this all to yourself?"
Kathy slowly nodded and sighed.
"Lunkwill..." She said, her voice catching, "No one cares about me. I... I don't want to live anymore when there's no one here for me."
Lunkwill blinked back tears and said, "I care about you."
There was a still pause.
Kathy looked at her brother and her eyes stayed on him for a long, long time. Her eyelids fluttered as tears collected.
"You..." She said, choking back tears again, "You do?"
"Of course." Lunkwill said, nodding, "I'm sure a lot of other people do too. Mom cares about you. You have to have friends at school..."
Kathy's face fell. She thought about that word. Friends.
Did she have any friends?
"Jenny." Kathy found herself saying.
Lunkwill nodded and said, "Jenny."
Kathy nodded slowly and Lunkwill said, "...Who's Jenny?"
"She's this girl from school..." Kathy said, "She's the sweetest thing, but... I've been really terrible to her."
"Yeah? How?" Lunkwill said, putting his chin in his hands.
Kathy shook her head, "I've just..."
She sighed and wrapped her arms around her knees.
"Lunkwill," Kathy said slowly, kind of sheepishly, "Do you remember when I went to Leo's house for that party?"
Lunkwill nodded, "Yeah, I remember. You wouldn't talk to me for the whole day when you came home, like something was bothering you..."
Lunkwill studied his sister and said, "Kath... what happened at that party?"
"Nothing, I was just..." Kathy rubbed her face with her hands, "A terrible person. I made everyone mad at me-"
"Wait, what does this have to do with Jenny?" Lunkwill asked.
"Right..." Kathy said quietly, "Um... Do you know what Seven Minutes in Heaven is?"
"Of... Course..." Lunkwill said cautiously, "Why?"
Kathy bit her lip and said, not looking at her brother, "Well.... Jenny... And I... Had to go into the closet together."
Lunkwill looked uncomfortable and said reluctantly, "Go on..."
"And... She... T-told me that she had f-feelings for me." Kathy said, blinking back tears, "She said she was in love with m-me."
Lunkwill looked really uncomfortable now. He shifted his sitting position and said, "Um, okay."
"And I turned her away. I feel awful." Kathy went on, her eyes moistening, "Not only did I not love her back, but I yelled at her over something that wasn't her fault."
Lunkwill studied his sister and said, "This is really bringing you down, isn't it?"
Kathy put her hands over her face and said, "God, I feel terrible, Lunkwill. Jenny is the sweetest girl I know and I was horrible to her. What do I do?"
"Apologize." Lunkwill said.
Kathy looked at him and said, "What if she won't forgive me?"
Lunkwill shrugged, "Well, if she won't forgive you, then she probably isn't worth it."
Lunkwill grinned at how insightful his advice had sounded.
Kathy smiled and hugged him.
"Thank you, Lunkwill." Kathy said quietly, "If it wasn't for you... I wouldn't be here."
"I know." Lunkwill said, "But now you have to make your life worth living. Try doing something for you instead of, uh, worrying about others."
Good God, did I really say that? He thought.
Kathy smiled and kissed her brother's cheek. She let a few tears run down her cheeks and she stood up, turning toward the hall.
Before leaving, Kathy turned around and said, her voice shaky with emotion, "H-hey, Lunkwill?"
Lunkwill looked up, "Yeah?"
Kathy bit her lip and said, "Can you... Not tell Mom or Dad about this? O-or anyone else? Just... Between you and me? You know, about the..."
Lunkwill nodded and he felt a lump in his throat. He nodded and said softly, "Yeah. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."
"Thank you." Kathy said. She gave her brother a quick smile and went down the hall into the bathroom.
Kathy sighed and looked in the mirror. Her face looked aged and more tired than ever.
"Hey..." Kathy said aloud, "Take care of yourself. This is new Kathy, new Kathy who'll be nicer to everyone and to herself."
She smiled slightly and said quietly to herself, "You know, Honey, even without your hair or your uniform, you're still pretty when you smile."
Kathy put on the happiest face she could and thought, I can do this. 

I can do this.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 12

I stomped into the living room, Chris following behind me quietly.
Mom looked up from a cooking magazine she was reading.
"Angie, what's wrong?" She asked.
"I hate Leo." I said.
"She hates Leo." Chris said, "And, he kind of deserves it."
Mom put down her magazine and walked over to us, "What do you mean?"
I gritted my teeth and said, "Leo is so selfish. He doesn't understand why everyone's mad at him."
"That's what I'm asking." Mom said, "Why are you mad at him?"
"He won't forgive Kathy for freaking out on Tae-Hyun at Leo's party weeks ago." Chris said.
Mom put up her hand and said, "Wait, you've said this before. Is that still going on?"
Chris nodded, "Yes, but today, Kathy came back from being suspended..."
My brother and I exchanged a grim, sad look.
Chris looked back at Mom and said quietly, "She shaved her head, Mom."
Mom looked confused, "Do you know why?"
"No, no one does." I said, shaking my head, "We have no idea what's wrong, and Mouse said this morning, Leo started yelling at Kathy in the hall for no reason."
Mom pursed her lips and said, "Well..."
Chris and I gave her a questioning look.
"It was Mouse that told you that." Mom said, "Are you sure she's telling the truth."
"Well, no." Chris said, "But it's been happening a lot."
"What has?" Mom asked.
"Leo has been freaking out on people for no reason." I said.
Mom gave us a gentle look and said, "Well, maybe Leo has something going on that's upsetting him, too."
Chris looked at me and said, "Tae-Hyun."
"Huh?" I said.
"Tae-Hyun." Chris said again, "She was mad at Leo today. Leo's totally in love with her and now she's mad at him."
I nodded, getting it, "Ohhh, okay."
Mom sat down at the dining room table and said, "So, what do you think should happen?"
Chris and I thought for a minute.
I shrugged and said, "Well, in a perfect world, Leo would apologize to Kathy, Tae-Hyun, and Chris, then Kathy would apologize to Tae-Hyun, Leo, and Jenny."
"It sounds like Tae-Hyun has been through a lot." Mom said.
"Yeah, she has." Chris said, "Wanna know the worst part? Tae-Hyun and Jenny are two of the nicest girls I have ever met and neither of them did anything wrong."
Mom looked between Chris and I, "I feel like we've had this conversation a lot lately. It's kind of going in circles."
Chris and I both propped up our chins on our hands and looked at Mom.
Mom folded her hands on the table and said, "Maybe instead of telling me about everything that's gone on at school, which I'm fine with, but maybe you should try taking some action on getting everybody back on their feet instead of trying to convince so-and-so that this is this person's fault... Do you know what I mean?"
Chris and I nodded.
"Yeah," Chris said, "You have a point."
Mom smiled and patted our shoulders, "Well, I'm going to get dinner started. Spaghetti tonight."
"Cool." Chris said.
"Yeah," I said,


Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 11

Lunkwill opened the front door and tossed his backpack onto the couch.
"Kathy, I'm home." He announced. He waited to hear Kathy's voice, and when he didn't, he repeated, louder this time, "Kathy, I'm home!"
No answer.
Lunkwill knit his eyebrows and thought, Kathy's always the first one home. She's been kind of out of it lately, maybe she went on a walk or something.
"Kathy?" Lunkwill said again, kind of uncertainly. He walked down the hall and pushed open Kathy's bedroom door.
Lunkwill looked around the sad little room. The pink wallpaper was peeling from the walls and broken glass and pottery and sheets of paper were all over the floor.
Lunkwill walked into the room and turned to look at Kathy's mirror. It was completely shattered with little bits of glass still in the wooden frame. Lunkwill looked at his distorted reflection and thought, So, this is all the information I have about what's going on in Kathy's head?
But, it wasn't.
Lunkwill turned to leave and he spotted a crisp, white sheet of paper sitting on Kathy's bed. There were words written on it in Kathy's neat, girly handwriting.
Lunkwill picked up the sheet of paper and read it.

Dear Mom, Dad, Lunkwill, Liz, Cameron, Joey, and Beanie.
I am sorry you're reading this right now, it's probably very scary, but my life has been last than satisfactory for a long, long time; for too long. Now, I just can't handle it anymore.
I'm sorry we never had a better relationship, all of us kind of did our own thing...
I'm sure you can get along just fine without me.
Mom, you are amazing in your own special way and I love you.
Lunkwill, you are one of the only people who ever paid attention to me. I'll miss you.

Lunkwill was too terrified to put the paper down, so he read on:

This way will be better, I promise. This way, I can finally be happy. Wish me luck, I love you all.

"God, no..." Lunkwill said out loud. The letter fell from his shaking hands.
That wasn't just a letter... Lunkwill thought.

That was a suicide note.

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 10

In the girls' bathroom, Kathy washed her hands and splashed water on her face. When she looked up, she was startled to see Stephanie's reflection in the mirror.
Kathy spun around and said, "Oh... You scared me, Stephanie."
"Oh, did I?" Stephanie said, "So, what's up with the freak show haircut? A new trend you're trying to start?"
Kathy stared at Stephanie silently.
"Huh? Do you think that's cool?" Stephanie said, "Now that you're off the cheerleading squad, you want to be one of the freaks, like Chris Harper and Lester and Harold Sasaki?"
Stephanie paused dramatically and said, "Wait... Didn't you have a crush on Chris Harper? Wasn't that you?"
"Stephanie, please..." Kathy said quietly, fighting back tears.
"You would run around saying you were going to marry him all day long." Stephanie said, pursing her lips with pity, "And poor Chris Harper was so scared of you. On top of that, he's one of the biggest nerds in this school and he's about as straight as your hair is."
Stephanie looked Kathy up and down and said, "Well, was."
She smirked evilly and turned toward the door.
"See you around, freak." Stephanie said over her shoulder. She laughed cruelly as she left the girls' bathroom.
Kathy leaned against the sink she was standing by and put her hand over her mouth. She began to cry and no one was there to hear her.
Alone again. Kathy thought, The mysterious gift-bearer can give me presents, but they can never truly help me.
Kathy then realized something. She had thought the person who had been giving her the little gifts could be her savior, the person to get her out of her funk, but no. That person couldn't do any more than keeping her from starving.
My life is not going to get better. Kathy thought, looking up at the dirty mirror on above the sink, When there are people like Stephanie Bradley out their who take pleasure in my pain...

I'll never be safe.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 28.5 - CHAPTER 9

"Wait, Tae-Hyun! Will you please slow down?" Leo walked after Tae-Hyun at recess, trying to get her attention.
"No, I will not slow down. I am sick of you treating everyone like they are trash!" Tae-Hyun said over her shoulder, walking quickly.
"What are you talking about?" Leo said, "I treat you like a princess! When you were sick at camp, I stayed by your side the entire time."
Tae-Hyun didn't stop walking. She called back to Leo, "Yes, but that was weeks ago. You've changed."
"Tae-Hyun, please, you can't be mad at me." Leo said desperately.
"Oh, I can't? Why not?" Tae-Hyun shot back, "I can do whatever I want! This is a free country!"
Leo gritted his teeth and said, "Please, Tae-Hyun, just listen to me! I would travel the world for you! I would give you the moon if you asked me to! I would go to Korea and find those Korean rappers you love so much and tell them to come here to Florida and meet you! I would go to Minnesota and buy you the mall of America! Minnesota, man. It's frickin' cold there!"
Tae-Hyun stopped walking, but she didn't turn around.
"Come on..." Leo said, walking up to her, "I would do anything for you. I love you."
Tae-Hyun turned around and said through clenched teeth, "That's great, Leo. I would've... Really appreciated that a month ago... But you're different now. You changed... And I don't know if I can love you anymore."
Leo's face fell and he watched Tae-Hyun storm away. Leo bit his lip and slammed his fist into a tree.
"Damn it!" He cried, taking his fist in his other hand, "Damn it... That... Freaking hurt."
Leo shook his hand, trying to stop the throbbing. Cuts the bark of the tree had sliced into his skin began seeping blood and Leo said under his breath, "Damn it."

Chris, Alice, Mouse, and I were walking around the track at recess when we saw Leo walking through the field, scowling.
We walked over to him and Alice's eyes widened.
"L-Leo, you're hand!" She cried.
Leo curled his fist to his side and dark blood dripped from his knuckles.
Chris swayed and passed out, falling to the ground.
Alice yelped and bent down to help Chris, fanning him with her hand.
"Leo, what happened?" I said.
Leo scowled at me and said, "Oh, so now you care?"
I scowled back at him and said, "Not if you're gonna be a jerk about it."
Leo and I glared at each other for at least ten solid seconds before Leo said, "I punched a tree and it cut my hand."
"Well, that just shows how smart Leo is." Mouse said with a shrug.
"Shut up." Leo said.
I punched him in the shoulder and said, "Jesus, Leo! Stop it!"
"Stop what?" Leo yelled.
"Stop being a frickin' jerk!" I yelled back at him.
"Why are you such an idiot?" I hollered, "Haven't you caught on that you're being selfish and no one enjoys your company anymore?"
I gave Leo a shove and said, "Stop being so terrible!"
Leo pushed me back and said, "Don't push me."
"You're lucky I haven't punched your face in yet!" I snapped.
"Guys, guys, stop!" Alice said, putting her hands on our shoulders.
At the same time, Leo and I shrugged her hand off.
Alice picked Chris up off the ground and put his arm over her shoulder. She and Mouse stared at Leo and I intensely.
Leo and I glared icily at each other for a long, long time. Neither of us looked away once.
I can't remember the last time I was mad at Leo, but this time, I wanted to hit him. I actually wondered if I would be able to beat him in a fight. Probably not.
"You're a jerk." I said.
"You're a hypocrite." Leo said.
"You're awful."
"You're critical."
"You're selfish."
"I'm sick of you!" Leo said.
"I'm sick of you, too!" I shot back.
"You're a brat!"
"You're a bad friend!"
Leo wrinkled his nose and knit his eyebrows like he always does when he's mad.
I scowled into his dark brown eyes, trying to stare him down, but I knew it wouldn't happen. Leo hasn't gotten mad at me very many times, but I've seen him get mad at other people. He can be stubborn.
"I'm sick of all of you!" Leo said, and he turned and stormed away.
Chris opened his eyes wearily and said, "What's happening?"
"Leo's pissed off again." Mouse said.
"I hate him." I said.
Alice said gently, "No, you don't. Don't try so hard to be mad at him, Angie."
"Oh, don't try to be mad at him?" I said, "Well, he should try harder not to be-"
Alice held up her hand and said, "Whatever you were about to call him, he probably doesn't deserve it."
I laughed hollowly, "Doesn't deserve it? Alice, Leo has been terrible! He treats everyone like crap now!"
Alice gave me a look and said softly, but sternly, "Angie, do you know who would sound like now?"
I threw my arms up in the air and said, annoyed, "No, I don't. Please tell me who I sound like."
Alice smiled gently and said, "You sound just like Leo when he talks about Kathy. You're trying too hard to stay mad at him and you're not willing to forgive him."
"I can't forgive him if he's not going to stop being a jerk." I said.
Alice shook her head and said, "Ange, you and Leo are really good friends. You have known him since first grade and you guys never fight like this. He'll come through sooner or later, give it time."
I sighed loudly and said, ".... Okay, fine. I'll try to be easier on him... I guess..."
Alice nodded and patted my shoulder, "That's my girl. Come on, guys, we should head back toward the school."
I nodded and followed Mouse, Alice, and Chris, who was still a little confused from having fainted during our conversation.
Alice is right that Leo and I almost never have big arguments like that, but I just don't think I can forgive him yet.

Leo's a jerk.