My Sister Abby (Part 37)

First block had never dragged by more slowly. At one point during my geometry teacher’s lecture on corresponding angles versus vertical angles, I saw Abby walk past the room. She must be getting some recognition for all of her work decorating.

I barely registered the homework assignment as the bell finally rang. I practically ran to my second block to get the nod from my teacher before I raced down the hall to the gym. Of course, the doors were still closed, and I couldn’t see the stage.

Whoever was up there had everyone’s rapt attention, however.

The security guards asked us all to line up single file and have our student id’s ready. If they scanned our Id, and our name wasn’t on the guest list, we got sent back.

I knew my name was on it, but as the scanner got closer and closer to me, I felt anxiety rising in my chest.

“Jessica?” The guard asked with a half smile.

I bit my lip, trying to hold back the faint blush that I knew had to be spreading over my face.

“Please tell me that you don’t remember me,” I begged, almost under my breath.

He smiled. “How could I forget? I put my neck on the line to make sure that you didn’t get suspended for attacking your sister across a lunch table, and then I had to drag you away from your crazy, ex-con father, all in one day!”

“Yeah, I’m not sure if “ex-con” applies if he’s back in jail,” I mentioned, trying to get the attention off of me.

“He is? For what?” He asked.

Apparently his memory wasn’t so good after all.

“Um, forgery, trespassing, violation of a restraining order, assault, stalking, and impersonating an officer,” I quickly listed. So maybe a couple of them weren’t felonies, but the longer list sounded more impressive.

His eyes widened. “That’s quite a rap sheet there!”

“Yeah, considering it was his first day on parole for abduction of two minors, counterfeiting, treason, and attempted murder, the judge didn’t waste any time.” I smiled ruefully, reliving my second time in court testifying against the man I once called my father.

“That was a while ago, though,” I reminded him.

“It was somewhat unforgettable,” he grinned at me before continuing down the line.

I wasn’t sure whether I should be flattered or worried.

I chose worried. I mean, I was worrying anyway, right?

The line of underclassmen slowly began to show signs of nervousness as we were still denied access.

People began to shift back and forth and hope that it would be worth it.

A few of the security guards smirked and offered to send them back to class, reminding everyone that winter break started at the end of school tomorrow.

“I’m sure some of the seniors are just getting a little carried away with the time of their speeches,” the head of security assured us.

Of course, all of this would be much easier if he could actually see the stage and be able to tell us who was talking. By now, we all knew who was long winded in the senior class.

There was a movement of some sort in the gym, and then I thought I heard the beginning of a scream.

The way the security guards all ran to the doors immediately didn’t help the tension that suddenly overtook everyone.

Everything happened at once.

One of the administrators put the school on lockdown, and the gym doors suddenly couldn’t be opened.

The security guards were running around to all the doors trying to find a way in to help.

Someone yelled at us to go into the locker rooms and lock ourselves in there, and I heard the words “active shooter” being tossed around.

I stood frozen, staring through the window in the auditorium door in the midst of the sudden frenzy.

Suddenly, Chad’s face appeared at the window, and a short lived peace found its way into my heart.

That was when I looked behind him.

Any feelings of peace instantly disappeared, and my only thought was, “Jessica, if you’re dreaming, WAKE. UP. NOW!”


My Sister Abby (Part 36)

Ariel here! I really wish I could have updated sooner, but everything just stayed exactly the same in Jess and Abby and Chad’s situation. Jess and Abby would fight, Jess would try to not call Nathan, Chad would get involved, and then the cycle would repeat. The only real news to report would be that it was now December of Chad’s senior year, he and Jess were closer than ever, and Abby had finally managed to completely keep Nathan worry free. Until now.

“Abby and I haven’t argued in three days,” I told Chad with a smile as I stepped into his car early on Thursday morning.

“You guys haven’t even crossed paths in three days, have you?” He asked. How did I get such an observant guy?

“Yeah,” I laughed. “That kind of helps. I wish she could decorate the gym every day!”

He grinned at me. “Well, I wish the seniors got to skip school for a banquet every day!”

I smiled back. “Well, I’m just glad that they can bring a sophomore date.”

“Hey, isn’t Nathan supposed to be there?” he asked. “I saw his name on the list of alumni special speakers.”

I shrugged. “We haven’t talked much lately,” I admitted.

He sighed. “Babe, you’ve got to stop that. How would you feel if something happened to him? You can’t protect him from everything, you know.”

I sighed. He was right, again. “I’ll catch him before he leaves today,” I promised. He smiled at me, proud.

Now I just had to come up with a viable excuse for my estrangement.

“Hey,” he reached for my hand, apparently recognizing my expression, “just tell him the truth. He’ll understand. I promise. If he doesn’t,” he gave my hand a slight squeeze and looked away from the road for a split second, “I’ll take you to prom.”

My mouth fell open. “You’re that serious?” I asked incredulously.

“Yeah, Jess. He’ll understand.”

I shook my head, but I started to believe him in spite of myself.

It might be a good day after all.

Then I mentally shook myself. Of course it would be a good day! After first block, I’d spend it all with Chad!

I smiled at him as we pulled into the school parking lot.

“Thanks,” I said as we got out of the car.

“For what?”

“For being there,” I answered.

“I’ll always be there,” he promised.

That didn’t surprise me. It’s what people always said. What surprised me was that I believed him.

My Sister Abby (Part 35)

I sat on the sofa totally confused. How on earth does this happen this badly? That wasn’t anywhere near right.
She heard me by accident, she was obviously already upset, there was nothing about that conversation that went well. At least it was over, though.
That was when mom came in. “Jessica,” she started very firmly, “did I just hear you yelling at your sister?”
So it was a bad time. A really bad time. I lost all control.
“Maybe you did, but do you know what else you would have heard if your selective hearing weren’t always aimed at attacking me? You would have heard her yelling back. You would have heard me try to take the high road and try to start over and try to keep in control of myself. And then you would have heard her tell me in no uncertain terms that she is not my sister. And you know what? She’s right. This isn’t working anymore, she’s back to being unreasonable, you’re back to defending her at every turn, and this little experiment is no longer working. We already hate each other, so back out before we hate you too. Or is that what you want? Because if it is you are doing a freakin awesome job if it. Are we clear?”
“Sit. Back. Down. Right. Now.” Every syllable was punctuated with a heavy footstep toward me. “Now it’s my turn. I fully understand that there is no love lost between us. I get that you think that I’ve replaced you with your sister. And I will keep calling her your sister. That’s absolutely not true, but if I weren’t your mother first, it would be hard to keep you two on a level plane. Every time I turn around, you are throwing a fit because you are being unfair and she won’t have it. I don’t want to hear it anymore!”
“You’re the one being unfair! I was in control for most of it!” I shot back.
“Oh yes, that reminds me! You have not nor will you ever be given control over Abby. That is my job, and I’m doing it, believe it of not!” With that, she got up and flounced out.
I grabbed my phone and dialed Nathan’s number, but just before I hit talk, I remembered how all this started. I was trying to be find without him. I’d have to hold on that phone call. I dialed a different number instead.
“Chad, it’s me. We really need to talk. Actually I really need to talk.”
“You want to go for a drive?”
I hesitated. “No, I want your full attention. Meet me at the curb?”
“Be out in five minutes,” he promised.

My Sister Abby (Part 34)

Abby whirled around. “I know I did not just hear you say that! Don’t you know what that means for my show?”
I racked my brain trying to come up with a way out, but I didn’t get anywhere fast. “Listen to me, big sister,” I tried for a light-hearted mood.
“Oh, none of that. Anytime something awful happens, it’s ‘hey big sister.’ Chad’s gone. You can’t get your permit. Or your license. That idiot social worker is back for an evaluation. Now you won’t perform in my show. Are you out to ruin my life or is it just one of your temporary hobbies?”
“Abby, I’m sorry but Chad was right. I can’t write a song without meaning it!”
“Oh, I’m sorry that my talent show isn’t meaning enough for you. Is it just because I’m in charge of it?”
“Abby, what is the problem?” I finally asked.
She threw her hands in the air. “What is the problem? How little can you comprehend?”
I motioned toward the sofa. “Why don’t we start over before you burn yourself on your temper?”
“Does that even make sense? Yeah, I don’t think so,” she shot back, but she sat down.
“I thought we were friends now, Abby. I have a boyfriend, you have a boyfriend, everyone’s happy, nobody’s jealous. How does my backing out of one little show ruin our relationship? There’s another show in the winter, I can do a song then.”
She looked like she was biting her tongue. “First of all, you have my dream boyfriend, secondly, I’m not happy. I never have been, and you know it. Some people get all the happiness, all the nice boys, and all the protective big brothers. Then there are people like me who don’t have any of that, but once in a while happy people get a little chance to do one thing for us.”
“Are you my sister or a walking book of Chinese proverbs?” I asked.
“One thing, Jessica! When have I even asked for anything before? I asked for one thing. All I want is for you to write and sing one song! Why can’t you do that?”
“I can’t do that because you don’t dictate my life and my songwriting is going nowhere. Maybe you only wanted one thing, but you’ve never asked. The only answer to your first question is that you’ve never asked before. You’ve never asked for anything. You added me to the program for the show.”
Abby rolled her eyes. “You know, I don’t care what the song means. There are already two hundred people who bought advance tickets.”
“Why is that significant?” I asked.
“Two reasons. One, almost all two hundred signed up to hear you sing. Two, when you add up all the different scenarios, do you know how many lives your dad destroyed?”
“Your dad,” I put in.
“Two hundred thirty-nine.” Abby stood up. “There’s more to this than you think. And just for the record, the answer to your question earlier is neither. I’m neither.”

My Sister Abby (Part 33)

Okay, let me be honest. I hid. I ran straight into my room when I got home, and I didn’t come out until school the next morning. We had a quick conversation that went something along the lines of “Hey, I didn’t see you come in last night!”
“Well, you know.”
“How’s your boyfriend?”
“He’s alright. What about yours?”
I didn’t stick around to find out what that meant. After I ran from the room on some excuse I can’t even remember, we didn’t talk again until after school. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that I wasn’t any more prepared after school than before.
And back to good news? Matt walked home with Abby.
Oh yeah, more bad news. He’s even more excited about the talent show than Abby.
And finally even worse news to top it off. Matt still hasn’t met my mom so I can’t complain to her about him. He’s seriously a jerk.
Anyway, I need to come up with some way to say this and fast. Maybe it would be best if I just came out and said it?
“Abby, I can’t do a song for your talent show.”
Yeah, not feeling it. Oh no. I said it out loud. I said it out loud and she’s right in front of me.
Two words. Syllables. Interjections. Well, one interjection. It’s hyphenated! Gimme a break!
(Just say the word!)

My Sister Abby (Part 32)

“Okay, Chad,” I said as we climbed into his car. “What’s with the drive?”
He shrugged. “I can’t tell you what to write, so here’s your chance to tell yourself. Also, I really wanted to get some popcorn. So talk!”
I sighed. “About what?”
“Let’s start with the biggy. Why do you want to write this song?”
I buckled up and leaned my head back as he pulled out of the driveway. “I want to write it to tell Nathan that I’ll be okay if he doesn’t have time to protect me anymore.”
“Okay, what do you want it to say?” He tossed over next.
“I just want to say that I appreciate that he’s always been there but he can get on with his life now.”
“His life without you?” Chad asked.
I shifted. “Yes, that’s what I want to say. Is there something wrong with that?”
“it’s the whole reason you can’t write the song,” he said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, how do you really feel?”
I thought hard, but I only confused myself. Chad suggested that I talk it out, but i couldn’t talk through this one.
“All I know for sure,” I finally admitted, “is that I can’t write that song.

My Sister Abby (Part 31)

I sat on my bed and stared at my wall. Song. Nathan. Talent show. Yep, still nothing.
The talent show was a month away. I didn’t have time to be drawing a blank. I’d tried everything, but nothing worked. The only title I could come up with was “Best Brother Ever” and you don’t even want to hear my lyric attempts.
Writing the tune only ended in me humming the Doctor Who theme song for ten minutes.
Basically, I was stumped, so I called Chad. I mean, what else is he there for? He makes me laugh when i feel like crying and he gives me ideas when I don’t have any. Today was no different.
“Chad? I don’t know what to write.” I lay back and stared at my ceiling.
“What do you want to write?”
I took a deep breath. “I just want it on record that you asked. I want to write a song that will tell Nathan how special he is, but I don’t want it to be cliche. I want to say that he’s my hero and I look up to him and I appreciate the way he’s always been there. Then I want to transition into how I want to be there for him now that I’m older or something like that. That’s part of the problem, I guess.”
I could almost hear him nod slowly. “So you aren’t going to say anything about his job?”
I sighed. “Do you think I should?”
“You don’t really want to do this do you?” He asked with a note of surprise.
“Of course I do!” I retorted, not sure at all what point he was trying to make.
“The time he spends with you is still more important to you than the time he spends on his new job. That’s what your problem is. You’re trying to write a song to tell him you should come second, but you haven’t convinced yourself yet. I know you, Jess; you can’t make your songs lie.”
I groaned. “Why can’t you just tell me what to write?” I asked. “Why do you have to make me face stuff like this?”
“You want to go for a drive?” He asked. This was a new thing. Instead of sitting on our curb, we went for drives to do our talking.
“Of course,” was always my answer. “I’ll be there in five minutes.”