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Conquering Chloe: Chapter 3

**Beep Beep BeEp BeeP bEEp*

The alarm, painfully waking Chloe up—even though being an early bird on the regular—was simply too much today. It was Friday, the day she knew she’d spend later eating Twinkies and maltesers until she found something good to watch on Netflix. Kelsey was going out to a party, invited Chloe, but being the shy one she was, declined. Chloe preferred nights alone with twinkly lights, movies, maybe a book-especially when it rained—and chicken nuggets from McDonalds. It was looking to be one of those nights—and Chloe was excited. Rubbing her eyes, she rolled to the left a little too far and fell out of bed pulling the sheets with her.

“Well that’s a great start to the day” she muttered under her breath.

Standing up, she went to her closet looking right at her reflection in the mirrored doors. Tugging at her brown hair which looked thrillingly atrocious she crunched up her face to make herself laugh as she pulled goofy faces. Giving a minute of thought to if what she was doing was weird, she stared at her reflection, then ended the moment with a stuck out tongue and rolled eyes. Spotify list was instantly begun before she took the usual shower and did her makeup. Once she got to the wing of the right eye she heard a *clank* outside her window, curiously she moved her feet to the side of the window to peer out into what was the sun rising—her favorite part of waking up. Smiling to herself she looked around finding nothing. Weird.

***********************

“I’m thinking of wearing the red lace shirt with my white jeans and heels maybe, but not tall ones because those will give off the wrong idea” Kelsey went on about her outfit for tonight.

“Yeah, that’d be cute” I said spooning yogurt into my mouth.

“I wish you were coming though—why don’t you ever? Doesn’t it ever get boring siting by yourself?” Paige, another one of Kelsey’s “friends” asked honestly.

Kelsey just shot her a look.

I accepted that I wasn’t destined to be a partier and that’s just who I was- it gave me way too much anxiety the idea of being stuck in a house with people crowding every inch of space, some crazy drunk while others crazy something else.

“Paige—it’s not that I don’t feel like I’ll fit in, it’s just that I don’t want to” which was a bold face lie even Kelsey knew.

“Okay” Paige said with a shrug as she got up to grab an apple on the other side of the cafeteria.

“Eh, she’s too much even for me today” Kelsey joked.

“She’s not horrible, I just wish she would Not judge me for something I can’t control.”

“Oh yes, your impossible need to be by yourself on a night when everyone else will be dancing and living their senior year to its peak” she said as she spun around the lunch chair flipping her hair into my face.

We both laughed.

“I highly doubt throwing up until my lungs cave in is living my life to its peak” I got out in time before I caught plaid shirt Hayden looking over me as he walked to the table to our left.

“I didn’t say ‘life,’ I said senior year.”

“Oh, correct me why don’t you” I said to her rolling my eyes with a goofy face, hearing a slight laugh only a table away.

*************

“No Hayden today” I thought as I passed his house, kicking a rock as I went.

* Kick*

oooo too to the left.

*Kick*

And now a little too far to the right

*Kick*

Why am I playing with a rock?

*Kick kick*

that barley moved…

*kick KICK*

I threw my hands over my mouth because I knew that was either going to hit someone walking or with any luck land in someone’s yard.

It didn’t end up being the latter.

“OW?” my neighbor a few doors down questioned with a puzzled look on her face.

She was old, it had only just missed her ankle, I felt she was being too dramatic yet I still responded with:

“Oh my god I’m so sorry! Can I get you anything?”

“What’s your name??” she demanded.

“Chloe…” I replied nervously.

“Courtney, you could’ve broken my leg. Now do you think that’s any way to treat— “

“No… I… it’s Chloe by the way, and” was all I could say before getting the look of death from her and an unexpected visit from yet another neighbor.

“Hi Mrs. Myrtle, are you alright?” a voice came from a distance too close for comfort. I didn’t even have to turn around to notice him, he was like a looming shadow. And all of a sudden it was as if I had completely vanished.

“Oh Hayden, I was just telling your Dad how much I loved the cake he brought over the other day on the phone,” she smiled gracefully.

“I’m glad, he was hoping you’d like the almonds on top too because the plain cinnamon apple one was getting too boring to him,” Hayden so casually says as if the details of the almonds didn’t shock me enough.

“Awee, no. I didn’t like it. I loved it. Any time you want to bring one over we’d be happy to try it.”

“That’s nice to hear, I’ll mention that to him. Well, I sort of need to get going, I promised this one we’d get her home before 3 because she has to get back for Days of Our Lives, just can’t miss that” he said in the most smug way.

“Oh, I love that—” she stopped as she remembered who I was and stared through my soul.

We walked away fast, but not enough to seem like assholes. She of course still smiled at Hayden before turning around to check her mail again.

“What a guy” I heard in the distance while I just puked a little in my mouth. Oh, if only she knew.

Rounding the corner to my house Hayden broke the ever-present silence with a “I saved you.”

I looked at him with raised eyebrows.

“You saved me? You bragged about cake and pretended I’m into daytime television, why would I thank you for that?”

“I didn’t say you had to thank me.” He smirked.

It’s kind of like the time when you fell off your bike because your dad took off your training wheels and Mrs. Myrtle told off your father until I came and said “we all have to learn some time.”

“I haven’t ridden a bike since,” I laughed while remembering that moment but not him.

“That was you?” I turned to look at him. He was taller than I thought, standing next to me was so much different than sitting.

“Yeah,” he said looking down. “Guess you forgot, ow” he playfully put his hand over his heart.

“You can’t be serious right now” I giggled looking to my left at the other side of the street at the distance we should be right now.

Reaching the end of my driveway, we stopped; I watched a few leaves fall as he said “to thank me, you could just invite me over tonight to watch a movie, or would that be too forward.”

“You mean impossible?” I looked at him hiding my lips because otherwise I’d end him right then and there.

“I’m not that kind of girl” I went on as he waved his hands like he was stopping traffic.

“No, no, No, that is not what I meant, I literally only want to watch a movie. Or two, or five” he tagged on to ease the awkwardness I felt in my throat.

“Were you listening to my conversation earlier at lunch?”

“Why, yes I was Courtney” he said putting a finger under his nose as if it was some kind of disguise.

“Look, you don’t get to decide when, where, or what we watch, and you definitely don’t get to listen in on my conversations.”

“I’m just looking out for you, and today at lunch was because I was at the table ear-shot away, I can’t help what I hear” he said kindly.

I don’t know why I believed him, there had to be something else. But what?

“I get that you like being alone, I like it too, but sometimes it gets boring. And you can’t tell me you’re not bored sometimes” he said in an understanding tone.

I looked at the ground, hoping my hair would hide the blushing from embarrassment. It did get boring, but it wasn’t so bad. At least I didn’t have people like ____ 24/7 directing me who to talk to, what to do, or who to be with.

“I’ll let you come over, but I pick what we watch.”

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Conquering Chloe: Chapter 2

Chapter 2

“Why- what…” this boy just…he just walked out and–

“Chloe?” asked an older voice a flight above me.

All I could do was stand with a confused look on my face, with my back turned towards them wondering whether or not I should ask t-shirt guy what his deal was, but I stayed.

“Chloe, you know class is starting in,” she glanced at her watch as if she didn’t already know, “about ten seconds.”

“I’m sorry miss Martin I was just…”

“No need to explain just get on up there” she said with a wink and definitely not a space for me to say anything more.

I ran practically, to room 207 where I saw Kels for the first time since we spoke over the phone as she struggled to keep her eyes open until she saw me frantically sit in my chair—past the bell.

Immediately I felt a light smack in my back from a crumpled up paper that I knew belonged to the sleep deprived wild child.

“Chloe, you’re never late what happened?” it read

“I don’t want to talk about it” I whispered loudly throwing it back to her.

“We don’t have to talk, we can write” she begged.

Nothing but silence from me until I caved and wrote back “I’m not taking any chances, plus writing notes is a decade old” I inked in, tossing it carelessly and realizing it didn’t get to the right hands until I got it back from none other than the boy who’s locker might’ve dented my forehead.

“I wouldn’t talk about it either, the mark on your forehead says it all” I read in messy handwriting I could recognize in a heartbeat.

Immediately I felt I was drowning in my own humiliation.

I glanced at Kels who had her mouth wide open and eyebrows furrowed.

“WHAT does it say” she mouthed with wide eyes.

I gave her the coldest stare, first she takes off in algebra, then lunch the other day, now she’s caused my insides to feel like they were melting because of her damn need to know about another embarrassing thing.

*****

“—Then he just rips open the note like its meant for him, as if everything I do is meant for him to catch…”

“What does that mean” questioned Kelsey.

“Nothing, just a figure of speech…” I trailed off focusing on picking up speed to get to my bus home. So pathetic, a senior who still takes the bus.

With a few seconds to spare I realized in the midst of replaying last classes nightmare, I thought of the boy in the white t-shirt.

He seemed unfamiliar at first, but maybe I did know him.

Kelsey could see my mind was elsewhere but didn’t pry too much, instead opting for “is there anything else on your mind.” Pretty much the most basic friendship question.

“No, not really.”

She didn’t believe me, I could see it in her mirrored expression of a fake grin as we both knew I had to go.

I sat closest to the window and stuck my head out calling to Kels to text me later.

As I turned back around I picked up my purple headphones and began listening to music, trying frantically to find something to relate to my mood, so I wouldn’t feel too alone at this moment.

*****

Stepping off the bus I started the 15 minute walk home, and as I turned the corner a shine caught my eye.

It was the keys of some guy, maybe a couple of years older hopping out of his car getting home from work—when I then realized another on the passenger side opening his door and climbing out.

Wow he has pretty hair from behind… and cool shoes… and… oh my god he’s turning around.

I look away as quickly as I can hoping with every fiber of my being he doesn’t recognize me, or at the very least think I was checking him out.

I walked as fast I could, as normally as I could past his house, trying my best to hide my annoyance. How had I not realized he lived in my neighborhood?

He didn’t have to catch me, he could’ve let me fall, it would’ve made sense too considering I had just banged my head against a locker about a minute before.

“Do you normally take the bus” I turn around to find Mr. curls checking the mail.

I stood in silence.

“Do you normally not speak?”

Once again, silence.

He shuts the mailbox with one hand while still looking at me.

“Look, I—“

“You just left, why did you just catch me and leave” I demanded to know, unsure of where that came from.

He stood shocked and began to open his mouth but I had a little more to say.

“I don’t know you, and I don’t plan on knowing you, but I what I do want to know is why didn’t you just let me fall?”

“Why would I do that? Because it’s a human reaction I guess, and I don’t want to just let my neighbor fall on her face.”

“We live a whole street away from each other.”

“Eh, that’s not so far.”

“Yeah, you’re right it’s not far enough” I said hostile.

“I think what you’re trying to say is thank you” he said back.

“What I’m trying to say is that I can handle myself thank you very much.”

“Oh, you’re welcome. But don’t forget you did walk into a locker before that—“

“So, you saw that too?” I questioned.

“I did—but it wasn’t bad, and it didn’t cause a lot of attention or looks.”

“Do looks matter to you?”

“No, not unless it’s you looking” he said as I felt my cheeks get warm remembering a minute ago..

“I wasn’t looking at you—it was your driver’s keychain that made me look.”

“Whatever works” he said with a slight smile.

I turned around and got about five feet away before I heard him say “I’m Hayden by the way.”

I kept walking, determined to get home and away from whatever was happening here; but his blue eyes stayed in my mind.

Conquering Chloe: Chapter 1

Chapter 1

She took a look in the mirror, laced her new grey shoes, and stood up.

It was time to face another day at Ludington high school with the oh so sweet backstabbers she tried to avoid for two years… but now that Senior year was a month in, something made her throw all caution to the wind.

This new power of knowing she was good enough, and not needing validation from anyone but herself.

Of course it helped that she took time to herself quite a bit to know that she wasn’t faking it for her own sanity, but knowing others didn’t see her as a fraud either just validated her confidence.

People can be cruel, heartbreak can be cruel, knowing the happiest feeling in the world and having that be squandered in a matters time, can be cruel.

But trust?

Trust can do more damage, with time especially.

Trusting that life will all work out, trusting that she is capable of creating her own universe is what drives her to be the best version of herself.

Chloe took one last look over her shoulder into the mirror as she turned the glass door knob, knowing that she wouldn’t look at herself again until nightfall; when she’d appear exactly the same, yet feel completely different.

********

“I really really really don’t want to talk about school mom, please can we pick another topic?”

I was being questioned again, what was always the exact same “how was school today, did anything new happen?”

My answer was always no.

Even if something new did happen, I couldn’t picture what it would be or what I would say, all I wanted was to curl up in a ball, listen to music, and read my favorite book. I missed reading, I used to do it more but since school got more intense, a few things just skipped my mind and instead I spent my time watching my favorite show than become immersed in a written world. It would be amazing to have magical powers or some rich grandmother who turns out to be the queen, but not everyone has that life, and definitely not me.

Today I had the joy of sitting alone at lunch because Kelsey decided she’d play sick, stay home, and get out of the Algebra quiz from last hour. “Kelsey, Whyyyy” I dragged on into my pillow as I re-capped the day, trying to keep as quiet as possible so no ears could hear through the wall.

“I couldn’t face it today, tomorrow absolutely but today hell no” I said as she laughed at the end.

“What was so bad” she asked raising an eyebrow.

‘Literally, EVERYTHING.”

“Oh I know that’s not true, because I heard you spoke to Max today” she mentioned slyly with a smirk on her face.

“Ha, Ha you’re so funny, I couldn’t get one word out and it’s not what you think- I dropped an apple, he picked it up, and he said ‘you might want to get a new apple,'” I rolled my eyes at myself, “what the HECK is that!”

“It will be better tomorrow Chlo, just ask him about his Banana or something…” she muttered towards the end.

“OH MY GOD, KELSEY.”

“I literally meant the fruit! If you run into him again, at least you have a fruit thing going.”

“Do I look that daft–”

Before I could go into how badly I wanted to erase my one chance of talking to the boy I’ve been trying to get to notice me for a decade, there was a knock at the door.

“Sweetie–Kelsey’s got to go we have to get up early tomorrow to get you to school”

“Alright, Mom she’ll be gone in 10!” I shouted loud enough for the neighbor to hear.

“We’ll pick this up tomorrow, while I pick myself off the floor from cram night tonight.”

“Haha, alright I’ll see you then Kels” I got out before my stomach got a twisted feeling unsure of what would happen tomorrow.

*********

“Look–she’s hot and you know it” I heard in the distance from one of Max’s friends.

Walking down what I would call my own personal runway of hell, this didn’t make things much better. Was that what max thought of me– That I was hot? Or was that just his friend talking out of his ass?

“Hey Chlo” said an unforgiving voice in my ear–

“Oh, Madelyn Hi” I babbled out as she blocked my hearing range from the conversation literally calling my name.

“I heard you were eating apples off the floor yesterday”

“what” I said statically, taking an earphone out.

“yeah, like a little piggy, so cute! Well, I just thought I’d let you know that those might be good for cleaning your teeth but they definitley don’t work for your attitude.”

“what the–” just as I was about to give her a piece of my mind I ran into a locker.

Not just anyone’s locker– but Max’s locker.

Son of a–

“I guess the apples don’t fall far from the floor do they” Madelyn squealed with excitement as I felt an utter fool sinking into the floor.

As soon as I could, I got up and walked as calmly as I could to the nearest bathroom.

“I’m such a joke” I whispered as I closed my eyes to try to re-imagine the moment without tearing up.

Thank god it was only an hour till school was out for the weekend– I couldn’t take any more time than that being stuck here.

As the warning bell rang, I bolted out the bathroom, and fast walked up the stairs leading me into the chest of a white t-shirt.

“OW- watch where you’re going–” I shouted, looking up shocked as I noticed a hand grabbing mine and myself nearly falling backwards down two flights of stairs.

“You should be more careful” a soothing voice sounded as an unfamiliar set of blue eyes pulled me closer.

“I should be more careful– I should be?!” I turned as curly hair opened the door heading onto the ground floor, but not before leaving my purple pair of headphones in the palm of my hand.

 

*** NOTE: Let me know what you think about it please! 🙂 ***