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Realistic Fiction > The Song My Teenage Heart Plays

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message 1: by Allison (new)

Allison | 679 comments Prologue: Fire

I sat up, breathing hard, and looked back at the burning school. Where was she? Her math class was out here, so why wasn’t she with them? She should’ve been in the line of students, saying “Crystal’s present,” and her teacher should’ve been writing down that she was safe and whole and alive and here but she wasn’t. She was here with me this morning. She was crying this morning into my shoulder, telling me it was too hard, she couldn’t deal with the bullying anymore, telling me never let go of her. Then I had wrapped my arms around her and told her I would never let go of her and I would always be with her.

I wasn’t with her now.

I inhaled sharply, the smoky air scorching my throat like I was in that cursed school building. I wasn’t in there anymore, I was out here, in the grass, paramedics checking my vitals. “You’re lucky,” they had told me. “You were the last one in there, along with that one girl you carried out, the firefighters already checked the building. You’re so lucky, young man.”

I had carried out Jennifer, not Crystal. They had already taken care of Jennifer. She was alive and here. Just a little cut up and traumatized, that’s all. Nothing some bandages and water couldn’t handle.

We were not the last ones out, everyone realized, as Kathrina came painfully sprinting towards me, blood running down her skin. The paramedics almost tackled her to the ground and started bandaging up the cuts on her legs, her arms. I looked at her and hatred swooshed through me. She was bullying Crystal. She was the one ruining Crystal’s life. Through the commotion of trying to get her on a stretcher (she was in there too long, what was she doing in there for so long?) I was the only one that heard her whisper: “Crystal” and suddenly, all of my hate disappeared and was replaced by fear.

And that’s when I knew that Crystal was still in there, that’s when I knew Crystal needed help.

The paramedics weren’t paying attention to me.

That’s when I ran.

I ran straight into the fire and through all of the craziness going on, nobody noticed me but Kathrina, who was saying no, no, no you’re going to die, Isaac, no. But I didn’t listen to her.

I would be nothing without Crystal. I needed to get her to safety, no matter what anyone else was telling me.

As I entered the building, the heat immediately got to me. My head swam and I screamed her name over until my voice fried because of the hot, dry smoke building up in my lungs. I searched and searched the school, avoiding fallen beams and broken glass and the flames. I was wasting time, I had to hurry, every second mattered.

There she was. Under a beam with blood, lots of it, pooling under her torso. She looked dead. Sparks leapt into her hair. Her skin reflected the orange flames. Her clothes were torn and burned.

I grabbed the beam, avoiding nails and splinters, and hauled it up. It was heavy and I could barely move it. Adrenaline coursed through my veins. Thoughts coursed through my head. She can’t be dead, she can’t die. I threw the beam away, as far as I could. It landed in flames two feet away and ash and sparks and embers flew everywhere, singeing my skin. It burned and my body was saying, Ow, too much pain, stop. But I didn’t stop. I couldn’t.

With tears stinging my eyes, I picked Crystal up, slung her over my shoulder. Her blood seeped into my shirt and ran down my arms and back. I didn’t care. As I ran over to the nearest broken window, I felt her body rise and fall with shallow breaths. She was still alive. I couldn’t let her die.

I climbed up onto the windowsill, shards of glass cutting my hands and legs. Then I adjusted Crystal, held her head close to my chest, and jumped, twisting so I’d land and she’d fall ontop of me. The ground was hard and rocks stabbed themselves into my back.

Then I screamed, pain flaring through my head, black spots blurring my vision. “HELP! Somebody, please….”

The last thing I saw before I blacked out was a group of paramedics and firemen lifting Crystal’s lifeless body off me.

message 2: by Allison (new)

Allison | 679 comments Chapter One: A Quick Introduction to My Story

Ever since that day two years before, I hadn’t been the same.

I wasn’t depressed or anything afterwards. I mean, Crystal survived. That’s all I could’ve asked for. What I’m trying to say by “I wasn’t the same” was that I was happier. I was more grateful for her in my life. I was more grateful for everyone in my life, to be correct. I learned how precious human life is, how easily it could break and how easily it could die.

The day that Crystal came out of the hospital, Kathrina burst into tears and apologized for every mean thing she had ever said to her. She explained that she was just really jealous of Crystal’s family and the life she had because her sister had run away month before and her dead body was found on the side of the road. And then Crystal did something amazing: She forgave Kathrina for all the names, all the insults, all the times she was told to kill herself. Forgiveness is an amazing thing, really. If someone apologizes for hurting you, just forgive them. It’s so much easier in the long run.

I hope the story I’m about to tell you changes you somehow, Reader. I hope it stirs something from deep within you. I hope it gives you faith, I hope it gives you courage and strength. I hope this book is a place you can turn to for inspiration, when you need something to pick you up, or when you’re trying to avoid the reality of the trials in your life and just need a break.

And although my story is completely different than yours, although you may be old or young, although we may have different opinions on different subjects and different ways of coping with emotions, I hope you can relate to my story, see that I turned out fine, and know that you, too, will turn out fine.

Since this is the introduction chapter to my own story, I feel it fit to introduce myself properly. Hello, my name is Isaac. You are welcome to call me anything you want, I don’t care: Amazing Person, Blockhead, Stupid Idiot, Mr. Cole, The Narrator, whatever. (Actually, anything but Lover Boy.) But I prefer Isaac. It’s my first name, in case you haven’t guessed yet. When that fire in the prologue happened, I was about fifteen. In this story I’m going to tell you, I’m seventeen. Now... well, let’s just say I’m older than seventeen. Way older. I’m old enough to be married and have three teenagers of my own. That’s all the information I feel like disclosing at this moment.

You are welcome to imagine me however your brain feels like imagining me--again, I don’t care--whether it be a unicorn or a caveman, but I’ll just have you know that I am human, and at the time of this story I was pretty dang good looking, if you know what I mean. I was the kind of guy girls would swoon over all the time, with my height and blonde hair and freckles and blue eyes and my scars from that fire and all. My wife says I’m pretty arrogant and I always have been. I guess I am. You’re just going to have to deal with it, Reader.

I was born as the baby of the family, with my dad, my mom, and my older sister Ashton. In this story she’s nineteen and weird. You’ll see why later.

Anyway, Crystal and I met in fourth grade when she moved in to the city. We quickly became best friends. Then I introduced her to my other friends: Brandon, Nate, Johnny, Kathrina, and Jennifer, all of which immediately adored her. So we were all a group, up until Kathrina started bullying Crystal our freshman year and Johnny left to keep Kathrina company, and Jennifer rarely hung out with us anymore because she was torn between the two groups. So Crystal kind of felt lonely, being the only girl. But she got over that fast. She told me she was just glad to have friends.

The fire happened shortly after Kathrina started bullying Crystal. Jennifer had passed out because of seeing so much blood inside the building from people being cut on broken glass and such, so I carried her out. Then a beam fell on Crystal and Kathrina came out as fast as she could to tell somebody, and... well, I guess you know the rest.

Crystal was in the hospital for a while and I was worried sick. She wouldn’t wake up for a week. I was worried I was going to lose my best friend forever. But then, one day, I walked into that hospital room and she was sitting up in bed, reading. When she saw me she had gasped and dropped the book. Then she started crying and I started crying and we just hugged and cried for thirty minutes. And then we talked for hours. And then she fell asleep and I fell asleep in the chair beside her bed and her mom took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook with the caption: “Very happy reunion!”

And then I came home and was grounded for a week because I was three hours late. But that’s a minor part of the story because I snuck out a lot to go to the hospital to see Crystal and my parents kind of gave up on the grounding.

Ever since then...things had been pretty uneventful. I played around with some foreign languages (Vietnamese stuck) and kept going with guitar and piano. Ashton was starting to look for colleges. The only thing in life that really sucked was that my dad and Ashton were pretty mad at me for running into that building. But other than that, life was good.

Now, since that’s over with, I’ll get on with the real story.

message 3: by Allison (new)

Allison | 679 comments Chapter Two: Senior Year

It was the first day of senior year and I just wanted to get this over with. This as in the whole school year. My first two class periods were okay, but since it was the first day of school they were both filled with the teachers trying to hide their disappointment when they found out I was in their classes. This happened a lot, unless it was my choir class. All my teachers from the last year would go up to the next year’s teachers and say, “Hey, this Isaac kid, he’s trouble. Keep an eye out on him.” I was used to it. A lot of the teachers knew about me because I was sitting in detention a lot of the time, so a lot of them were scared of me when I walked into their classes and took my seat. It was no wonder that I was assigned some of the strictest teachers.

When lunch rolled around, I went to my locker and opened it up. I didn’t like carrying a lot of stuff in my backpack throughout the day so I locked away the books I didn’t need anymore and made my way to the lunchroom.

As I was walking down the stairs, the girl in front of me tripped and slid down four steps. She dropped all the books and papers that were in her hands. She sat at the bottom of the steps, looking defeated as a group of sophomore girls pointed at her and giggled silently. She then sighed, fixed her light brown hair, and started to pick up some papers.

I ran down to the girl and started helping her gather her things. “Hey, are you okay?” I asked. “That was quite a fall you took there.”

“Nah, I’m fine. I’m clumsy. I’m used to it.” She glanced up at me. “Uh, thanks.”

“No problem.” I stood up and offered her my hand. She took it. “I’ve never seen you around here before. You new?”

She ran her fingers through her hair and looked at her feet. “Yeah. My name’s Nellie.”

“I’m Isaac.”

“What grade are you in?”

“I’m a senior,” I said. “You?”

“Junior. Yay.” I figured that “yay” was sarcastic.

There was an awkward silence for a moment before I said, “Uh, so... Do you need me to show you somewhere, or--”

“Oh, I was just heading to the lunch room. Isn’t it down this hall?” She pointed down the hall we were in.

“Yeah. Do you want to sit with me and my friends? There’s some girls, if you don’t want to just hang out with guys.”

“Um, sure. I’m fine hanging out with guys though.” She winked. “I have two older brothers. I’m used to it.” She smiled shyly.

We walked into the lunchroom and got in line for food. As we talked, I found out that she had moved here almost a month ago from Alaska. She liked hiking and doing things outdoors and dancing, although, she said, she wasn’t very athletic or graceful at all. She had been playing piano since she was five, so she had a lot more experience and was way better at it than I was. Her two older brothers were both at college. Her dad had just started up a cafe’ in the city a couple weeks ago, and business was slowly climbing.

When we got to the table, I introduced Nellie to Crystal and Jennifer, who were the only ones there so far. Jennifer immediately offered to sit by her (of course), and they chatted it up like old friends. Jennifer tended to have that effect on people. She was very friendly to everyone and absolutely hated it when someone was sad.

Crystal turned to me, her brown eyes shining, her lips upturned in a smile. “How’s today been so far?”

“Very boring. You?”

“Same.” She laughed. “Although my next class is art, so that might change.”

“Lucky,” I mumbled. “I have all my fun classes tomorrow. Today’s all core classes.”

“That’s harsh.” But, despite what she just said, she giggled and poked my shoulder, teasing me. “It’s because the teachers think that if you’re tired and bored you’ll behave better.”

Which was exactly opposite of my thinking.

Just then, Brandon sat down at the table and eyed Nellie. Then he turned to me and whispered, “Hey, who’s the new chick?”

Here’s a quick picture of Brandon: He was on the track team and he was just about the most obnoxious person you would ever meet. He was a smart aleck and ridiculous and I had never seen him be genuinely serious in my whole life.

I whispered back to him, “I think the new chick won’t mind if you asked her.”

He rolled his eyes and turned to Nellie. “Hey new chick. Who are you?”

Nellie’s eyebrows shot up. “Did you just call me a chick?”

Jennifer interrupted. “That’s what he calls all the girls he doesn’t know. He’s weird like that.”

“Oh.” Nellie turned to Brandon. “I’m Nellie. I’m new here.”

“Nice to meet you, Nell. I’m Tony Hawk, but you’re welcome to call me Tony.”

Scrunching up her nose, Nellie said, “Your jacket says Brandon Armstead.”

“Oh, that guy? That’s my brother. He’s an idiot.”

“You don’t have a brother,” Crystal stated. “You’re an only child.”

“Wow, Crystal.” Brandon took a bite of pizza and put his hands on his hips. “I didn’t know you were such a liar.”

I leaned over to Nellie and whispered, “He’s the one lying.” Nellie giggled.

“Anyway, Nell,” Brandon continued. “You’re going to like it here. It’s amazing. I should know. ‘Cuz I live here. Wait, no, scratch that. It’s amazing because I live here. That’s better. So, as long as I live here, you’ll like it.”

Another thing about Brandon: His ego was as big as Texas. Which I’m pretty sure is where he was from.

Nellie blushed. “Oh, okay.” Nellie looked at me as if to ask, Is he always like this?

I nodded slightly.

Suddenly, Brandon shot out of his seat. “Nate, my man! You must meet the new chick!” He then jogged over to the lunch line, where Nate was just picking up his lunch of a hamburger and chips. He looked up as Brandon tapped his shoulder and proceeded to drag him to our table. Nate was shy, sometimes even around his friends. But when he was comfortable enough he would burst out of his shell and drive us all insane. He glanced at Nellie with caution. “Who’s this?” he asked.

“I’m Nellie. I just moved here.”

“Ah. I’m Nate.”

Nate sat next to Brandon and started eating quietly. Then Brandon started talking again. “So, Nell, when’s your birthday?”

Nellie looked perplexed. “My birthday?”

“Yeah. For me, a birthday is, like, the most important thing you could know about somebody. Along with their favorite cake. And their favorite Olympic runner. And their favorite chore to do around the house. And--”

Nellie cleared her throat. “My birthday’s on Valentine’s day. My favorite cake is vanilla. I don’t really have a favorite Olympic runner, and my favorite chore to do around the house is making dinner, to answer all your questions.”

Brandon opened his mouth to say something, but Jennifer spoke first. “Your birthday’s on Valentine’s day? So cool! That must be so romantic.”

Trying to hide a smile, Nellie said, “Not really. It’s kind of just like any other day for me, except with cake.”

“Wait, so nobody’s ever asked you out or anything?”

Nellie sighed. “The guys that do are always creepy and I barely know them. Guys I actually like never seem to like me back.”

Jennifer gasped. “How old are you?”

“Sixteen. I’m a junior.”

“Oh my gosh. Then this Valentine’s day, Crystal, Kathrina and I will throw a girls party for you. Unless you get a date. Which would be awesome, by the way. You’re really pretty and you seem really cool. You’re definitely going to get a date soon.”

Brandon looked at me like, Ugh, more girl conversations. Nate just sat there eating his food. I sighed. Once they started talking about that stuff it would never end, so I butted in. “Uh, hey, where’s Kathrina and Johnny?”

Crystal answered. “Kathrina said something about about ‘catching up’ with him during lunch because she was gone almost the whole summer at camp. So they’re probably hiding outside, talking about who knows what.” She then turned to Nellie. “So you might not get to meet them until later.”

“That’s okay.” Nellie pushed her bangs out of her face. “I think I already met Kathrina on the bus. Redhead? Plays the bass?”

“That’s the one,” I replied.

“She’s an interesting character,” Brandon said to himself. “She said she doesn’t even watch the Olympics. Especially not the running part. I don’t get her logic. And then she said she would rather read than sit on her butt and watch TV all day. She’s confusing. I thought everyone liked sitting on their butt, watching TV all day.” He paused, then continued. “Well, besides me. I run in place while watching TV. Gotta stay fit.”

Nellie giggled. “You’re weird.”

“Proud of it.” He winked at Nellie. “So what’s your favorite time of day, Nell?”

Nate looked up. “Brandon, I think you’re asking too many--”

“The morning,” Nellie said, opening her chip bag.

“No,” Brandon shook his head. “I mean, specific time. Like my favorite time is 9:30pm because that’s when my parents make us go to bed. I like sleeping. The best part is the really weird dreams you sometimes get. Like, last night, I had a dream where all the tigers in the world started eating sidewalks and--”

The bell rang, cutting him off. “Oh darn,” I said, heavy on the sarcasm. “We don’t get to hear anymore of Brandon’s interesting dream. Man, now I have to go to math.” I grinned when Crystal giggled. “Nellie, you need any help getting to class?”

She slipped her backpack over her shoulders. “I have to go to the drama room. Do you know where that is?”

Brandon raised his hand and waved it above his head. “Oh, I do! I do! I have drama too!”

Nellie looked at me like, help. “Oh, cool. Can you show me?”

“Sure thing. Come on, Nell.” He grabbed her by the arm and dragged her out of the lunchroom, with her telling him to slow down and him calling her a slow-poke.

Jennifer gave me, Nate and Crystal hugs and skipped off to class, then Nate just kind of waved and walked away.

I shrugged. “Don’t ask me why Brandon’s crazier than normal today.”

Crystal took my wrist and we started walking. “I think I know why. He has a crush.”
Then we both looked at each other and started laughing.

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