Day 19: Pandora’s Box Continued…

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Dear Vodka

!!!!!! Argh! What is life?

Aiden wouldn’t speak to me when we got home. He threw his keys on the kitchen counter and shut his bedroom door. I started crying. I felt so overwhelmed! The worst thing was that I didn’t even know what was going on. Why would Theo act out like that and what had Aiden done to deserve the title of ‘traitor’ from Theo?

Aiden eventually surfaced from his room and allowed me to explain myself. We sat on opposite sides of the sofa and I could feel the tension sparking between us. I told Aiden why I didn’t want anyone to know about my depression and anxiety and he apologised for being so brash about the matter. After a moment, he told me that he had a history with Theo. They were close friends until Aiden’s parent’s death and the incident with his best friend. Theo started believing everything that people were saying and Aiden allowed him to drift away because he didn’t want to hurt anyone else. Theo resents him for giving up on their friendship and Aiden hates Theo for believing all those stories about him so easily. They haven’t spoken since. They avoid each other like the plague.

I proposed that the only solution was to sort this issue out at the party. Aiden straight out refused but I reminded him that I’d be with him every step of the way when I took his hand in mine.

Step 1 complete!

Aiden and I prepared for the party. I wore my favourite black velvet crossover mid-drift top with a high-waisted check skirt and stockings. I paired it with a black pair of combat boots. I put my hair up into a messy bun, coating up my lips with a touch of deep red lipstick and my eyelids with liquid eyeliner, Cleopatra style. Aiden cleaned up pretty well too with his torn jeans and a navy Guess t-shirt. He’d actually put a comb through his locks!

We arrived at the party with a mission to repair his relationship with Theo. I am officially glad to say that I was successful! It was mighty difficult but I won’t go into the details now. All that matters now is that they’re friends once again. Well, to be more accurate, they’re acquaintances because Aiden thought it best that they remain that way. I had to agree with him. Putting back four years’ worth of a friendship is a whole other obstacle. And besides, Aiden is still working on himself. That takes time. We left the party around eleven because Aiden doesn’t like driving at night. We had a good time however, even if it was short. Time flies when you’re having fun!

XOX

Charlie

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Day 19: Pandora’s Box

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Dear Vodka

I swear, Vodka, that whenever things begin to work out, the universe dishes me a serving of some bad karma! Jonah made breakfast for all of us, which was simply cinnamon pancakes and bacon.  I was starving. Despite being awake, I felt like a complete zombie. Aiden picked me up and after noticing that I was barely responding he threw me into the swimming pool. I laughed about it but only once I managed to pull him in with me. After a much-needed shower, breakfast and a light application of make-up, Aiden dropped me off at group therapy. I told him that it was a youth gathering event and that he could fetch me around noon at the back of the centre. He seemed a bit confused but shrugged it off.

The last thing I wanted was Ellie questioning my choice of friends once again. It was great to see Theo again but Ellie was nowhere to be seen. She apparently had some dentist’s appointment. I guess that solved that problem! Theo bought me a berry smoothie at the refreshment station before we went in and our staring competition started. This time, however, one of the girls sitting next to Theo noticed and raised her hand, demanding that the coordinator remove me from the session. Drama queen much? Turns out, she has a thing for Theo and was getting a bit envious of all the attention Theo was directing at me.

Oh well, you win some and you lose some. I did, however, have to share in the group and I got my first “we’re here for you Charlie.” Theo said “not” at the end and everyone glanced in his direction. I simply laughed and said that he had something stuck in his throat. I asked to be excused and he followed shortly after. We stayed in the parking lot for the rest of the session. We caught up on my first week at a new school and he told me about all his catch-up time on series since the university was only staring in a month’s time.

Aiden spotted me sitting on the pavement when he fetched me, so going around the back wasn’t necessary. All was well until he saw Theo. He went absolutely still like a statue. So did Theo. I began to panic. What was happening? Then, all of a sudden, Theo called Aiden a traitor and Aiden looked as if he was going to explode. Theo asked me what I was doing with “this scumbag” and Aiden redirected the remark back at Theo. I’d never seen either of them this upset before! Theo practically grabbed my arm, leading me in the direction of his car but I violently shook him off and got into Aiden’s Jeep. Theo looked betrayed and spat out: “Do you seriously trust this traitor with your life? It’s enough that you’re suffering from depression and anxiety. He’ll only make it worse.” Aiden looked at me and I couldn’t help but feel as if I wanted to disappear into the seat. How could Theo say such things? Aiden looked betrayed too but he just sped off and said nothing throughout the ride home.

 

XOX

Charlie

Day 14: Senior Year at a new school

Written by Julia Smith

Dear Vodka

First week at a new school was … can I say? I was the shiny new toy in the preschool game room that everyone wanted to play with. Despite the fact that my nerves were shot, I felt really positive and ready to take on this new journey. Theo offered to pick me up along with Ellie whom he regularly dropped off at school every day before he went to university. It made me feel a load better knowing that Ellie would be at my side. I called Chloe before I left just to check in. I told her all about Theo and Ellie. She promised to see me soon. I can’t wait to see her. For now, though, my new friends were doing a pretty good job at keeping me happy. What more could I ask for? Life is great. I asked Ellie if we could look for Aiden. The moment I said his name, her coffee went from near-ingestion to on-the-floor-in-a-nice-brown-puddle-of-shock! I was confused until she started interrogating me about how I knew ‘The Aiden Clark.’ What? Apparently, Aiden is super popular and no one infiltrates his group but his close friends, which is three guys named Matt, Jonah and Connor. Who knew? Oh well, he’ll probably act as if I don’t exist if he bumps into me at school. Ellie warned me to stay away from him. It’s not because he’s some bad boy or anything; she just said that whoever gets close to Aiden ends up either going mental or dead. Okay. Hold the phone. Seriously? That’s a bit much! However, Ellie told me that Aiden’s parents both died in a fatal car crash of which he was the only survivor. Also, his best friend was treated for mirror-touch synaesthesia and because Aiden played lacrosse and got injured all the time, his best friend could feel his pain. It eventually drove him crazy. Literally. I couldn’t stop thinking about Aiden. He must feel pretty crap about what people say about him. Why didn’t he tell me any of this? I think I know why. Aiden didn’t know that we were going to be attending the same school. That would mean that he didn’t mind having me around. I suppose Matt, Jonah and Connor are really special if they’re around him all the time. I still think, however, that just because those horrible things happened to his parents and his best friend, it doesn’t make Aiden a bad person. It simply means that he has been very unfortunate. I’ll understand if he doesn’t want to be around me anymore. It will break my heart a bit too. Ciao for now! XOX

Charlie

Me and my big mouth

This hasn’t been the easiest week for me.

It’s been freezing cold again and with most of my body fat gone my teeth are rattling most of the day. I’ve started getting strange looks and whispers but I don’t care much. Gossip all you want. Only means I’m THAT important.

Mom and dad have been at me all week. I’ve had two counselling sessions and been for a full body work up this week. If someone tells me I need to eat just one more time I think I’ll stop eating just to spite them. I just don’t see the point in putting all that into my body. Mom made me watch To The Bone on Netflix. I rolled my eyes a lot. Why does everyone seem to think I have anorexia? Why does my lifestyle need to be labelled? So I’m very conscientious of a number of calories I put in my body. It doesn’t mean I have or will ever be anorexic.

I tried explaining that to my counsellor who then told me ‘If that is how you feel Chloe, then you need to tell me. It’s the only way we are going to be able to get to the bottom of this.’

Sometimes I just want to look him in the face and ask him if he’s happy to have ruined my life? I was such a normal happy human being before he walked in all beautiful and confused. I gave him my virginity and he tossed me aside like I was meaningless. Am I meaningless? Is this what I’m trying to achieve? Meaning?

I tried finding Noah – which I did. He just appeared, said: Chloe and then pulled his half of the science project out of a folder. So I gave him my full report. He casually weighed it in his hands before cocking his eyebrow at the fact that I’d had the grace to credit him for my work. After a good ten minutes, we both handed each project back but he said I could do whatever I wanted with his. I don’t know if he was angry because I’d done our assignment by myself but then he should have answered one of my many emails or messages. Noah can grow up and talk to me whenever he feels like it again. I’m not going to grovel at another mans’ feet again.

But maybe just one mans.

Dad has been by my side this whole week. He has stopped running with me in the morning. We’ve been having breakfast every morning. Just the two of us. He watches my every bite and it makes me want to throw up just so we can stop this charade but I know that is going to destroy our fragile relationship. He just said that he thought we were making progress. He asked me if there was anything I needed him to do.

I said: Please dad, don’t give up on me.

Then he folded me into his arms.

Chloe: So call me maybe…

I met someone. LOL! How is this possible? I’m absolutely besotted with him. His name is Finn. He is so German and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. He has the bluest eyes and jet black hair and full pink lips which I can’t stop looking at as he speaks. His English is about as good as my German, which is to say communication can sometimes be a problem. We met at the airport! We have exactly the same backpacks and happen to both go for the wrong one. I could see he was super annoyed about it at first especially because my German is rather ratty but… we figured it out in the end.

Then! We got to my aunts’ house and after a long lunch and a short snooze, my cousins Elias and Greta decided they wanted to show me around the town so off we went with Jack in tow. I am really trying to fix things with Jack this vacation. Things haven’t really been that great between us as of the beginning of the year. It’s all my fault and I want to mend it. He’s my favourite person in the whole wide world. I want us to be close like we use to be.

Anyway, we walked into this retro vibe music shop. The chick behind the counter is blowing bubblegum bubbles like a Guinness world book record holder. She has enough piercings to make me wonder if she just air dries after a shower and her hair is the most violent red I’ve ever encountered and immediately I thought of Charlie and what story she’d be making up for retro records girl. I doubt she even knew we were in the store. She was wearing a set of purple beats headphones and nodding her head while reading something I couldn’t see. It was CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber! The chick was reading the book of the bloody Young Adult reading list YEAR!!! I saw a Booktuber open a book Crate unboxing this book and I’ve wanted it ever since!

Anyhoo, as I was thumbing through a box of old LP’s, and guess who was clearing his throat right next to me. Airport guy. Finn. My stomach did a weird jig when I realised who he was and he gave me this lopsided grin. His eyebrows sat up into his fringe. Or his hair overhang. I don’t know but it’s edgy.

He lives two streets from where my aunt lives. Attends school with cousin Elias. We cousins are all born a year apart. Elias being eighteen. Me seventeen. Greta is sixteen in a few days. Their youngest sister Zeta, seven and Jack… well he’ll be six soon. We’re having a Captain America themed party for him. And Jack LIKES Finn. Probably because Finn brought over a bunch of his Captain America paraphernalia for him which melted mom and aunt Zelma’s hearts while Dad just whispered, “I hope your know what you’re getting yourself into with ‘this Finn character’ and then tapped his watch as if to say… time is running out.

 

NEW: Book of the month!

First going to watch the Netflix series.

Day Two: “Not all those who wander are lost”

Dear Vodka,

So it’s a new year and I guess it’s time to fill you in on all the details of my last moments as “Charlie Chopsticks”…

It took a mighty long time for me to convince my overbearing mother to allow me to go to the party Chloe had invited me to. No wonder I decided to live with my grandmother instead! Marianne (my mother) wanted to know every single detail- from where the party was to what colour underwear I was wearing. Geez! I understand that parents need to know these things but she goes wayyy overboard sometimes. My dad finally stepped in and convinced her that I would be fine. After all, Chloe’s grandmother was dropping us off at the party. Thank the good Lord for grandparents! Speaking of which, I’d call Grandma Lilith later in the day to tell her I’d be home by Sunday. I could only take so much of my parents, even though my dad was pretty cool. That was one more thing Chloe and I had in common. Two hours later, her gran fetched us and we arrived at this lavishly decorated double-storey house. Woah! These people are living the life. Chloe said that it was some Rockerfellar-guy’s house. I zoned out after about a minute because she wouldn’t stop talking about him. Bleh! I’m glad that she has a boyfriend that makes her happy and all but, in my opinion, most of them are hormone-dominated morons with an ego the size of Mt. Everest and the IQ the size of the field mice my cat, Lava, catches. Nevertheless, we had a great night. Well, at least I did. Chloe was basically M.I.A all night. I met some quirky musician-ny people. A couple of bookworms too, but I wasn’t there to talk about the great injustice done to J.K.Rowling when E.L James received best writer, instead of her, even though the mention of it infuriated me. So, I escaped to the punch table. But lo and behold! I wasn’t that naive. I knew that some nitwit spiked it but I drank it anyway. I remember dancing wildly to the music, after taking shots with a group of guys who looked like jocks. There were three of them. Two tried to shove their tongues down my throat but the third one didn’t, so I stuck with him and ditched the other two (after kneeing their magic spots)… I think his name was Aiden. Yeah. I must’ve passed out after all the dancing because I woke up on a soft surface. It was the living room couch. Aiden was sitting on the edge of it, while my honey coloured hair hung over the armrest. He just smiled when he saw me awake and handed me a glass of cool, soothing water. Oh, how I wished he would put his lips to mine but he did no such thing. Hello!!!? My brain yelled out at me. Oh, right! Guys are morons but Aiden wasn’t…I hope? It would be nice to have at least one more friend here besides Chloe. At least I got his number. Bonus!? We left the party at 6 a.m. to go to a nearby coffee shop. We talked about the party but mostly about our families. Chloe didn’t open up much but she didn’t have to for me to know that things were a bit complicated from her side… Gotta get some rest now… XOX Charlie