Appearing in the story
It was a nice night, it was uncharacteristically warm and Vanessa decided to hang back at the park for a while. She was done with her marital art lesson and first decided to go to the park because they had one of those sparing dolls there and she wanted to practice a little but she was hungry and there was a smell of hamburgers in the air, Lysa’s fiancee, the young man who looked like a giant teddy bear, was grilling.
Vanessa decided to stay for awhile, there was nothing waiting for her back at home. Her mum had transferred to the bistro when she was offered a job as a sous chef there but she still it meant her working nights. Zeke and Lysa, her brother and sister were at their other parents houses so it was just mum and Vanessa.
Usually Vanessa would call Latricia over, they would sit on one of those benches, eat burger, laugh and gossip but Vanessa couldn’t call Latricia… She would stare at the screen willing herself over and over to just press the call button but she never did.
She often replayed the events of the past year in her head, everything that led to her and Latricia’s fight, wishing to take back time, to fix it but she knew, deep inside she knew, there was no one to blame but herself…
And why then can’t I just pick up the phone, call her and say I’m sorry? Why? Vanessa asked herself in vain as she sat on that bench, all alone…
When she finally walked home mum was already there. She was eating alone outside, enjoying the bright and warm night as well.
“Hey Vanessa! How was practice?” She asked with a tired smile but Vanessa just shrugged. “Is there some more of that?” She asked feeling her stomach grumbling. “In the kitchen.” Her mother answered and she left not turning back.
Today will be a great day. Vanessa told herself as she got up, brushed her teeth, fixed her braid and got ready for school. She had a terrible muscle ache from yesterdays practice. It was immense pain to walk down the stair but she was determined to make the best of today.
She would be all alone in school. So what? She could see it right now, Mikha’il and Latricia sitting across from her in the cafeteria, laughing and snuggling, looking like the happiest couple in the world, looking like they don’t miss her at all…
It was a sight she had seen so many times, except usually she had Cecil next to her. She would then touch his hand , kiss him, or laugh loud at his jokes. Cecil didn’t mind it. Sometimes she wondered if he knew what she was doing and why but he never said anything, and she sure as hell didn’t bring it up.
And now Cece’s father died. She knew they were close, once Cecil got his licence he wouldn’t shut up with the talk of how many hours had his father spent with him, and how patient he was, and what a great dad he was. and now his dad was just gone. Vanessa called and he said he needed time to heal and that he would call her when he is ready to talk about it.
She felt a little relieved, she didn’t look forward to trying to cheer him up, what do you say to your boyfriend whose father died?
Leaving her thoughts of Cecil behind she sat outside to do her homework, she had an hour before the bus rolls in and she had no time to finish any of it last night. No time like the present, right?
Doing homework only made her think of Latricia more. Back when they were still hanging out constantly her mother, or Latrica’s mother would say something like: “You could do that only if you finish your homework…” And they were good girls, they really were, so they would do their homework together, sometimes in the most unexpected of places.
She missed that. She missed all of it. She couldn’t have anything like that with any one else in the whole world. Cecil wasn’t the outgoing type, he did like the park, but he liked watching TV, and talking about TV shows and movies more, Laquita, her half-sister, was now busy trying to succeed in politics, Mikha’il stopped hanging out with her after he and Latricia’s fight and Walter… Walter was another person she couldn’t call.
Sometimes when she was really mad at the world she would blame Walter for everything that befell her, but in more rational of time she was aware that even as that was concerned it was all her fault. Once upon a time, when Walter was still a new kid in school they hung out all together, Latricia, Vanessa and Walter. And then Vanessa got a stupid crush and kissed Walter.
That changed everything.
They continued hanging out, their little trio but the dynamics changed with Vanessa and Walter being a couple and somehow Vanessa forgot, she forgot that Walter was Latricia’s friend, and has been before she went and pressed her lips to his.
And when years later Vanessa started having doubts about Walter and complained about it to Latricia she never once thought of him as Latricia’s friend, just like her boyfriend. “I don’t know Latricia…” She told her. “I just don’t feel IT, you know… I thought there would be more… something. Somehow I would know he is THE ONE… You know?” “No.” Latricia replied. “He is your boyfriend, you have been together for ages… You love him don’t you?” And then those big blue eyes narrowed. “Is this about sex? If you are not ready just say so… I’m sure Walt would understand.” Vanessa felt her cheeks burn. She must have gone red as a tomato. She wondered how Latrica could talk so freely about it… For a second she wondered: “Had she and Mihha’il done it already?” But she dismissed the thought and shook her head no. Latricia just didn’t get it…
When she broke up with Walter, the day before he went to Firefighting Academy Latricia still didn’t get it… She kept saying it was just a break, which theoretically was what she and Walter agreed on, but they both also agreed to see other people so it was a break up…
And the day after she went to prom with Cecil when Latrica confronted her and asked her what she was doing she finally lost it. She yelled at her while Latrica stood there, watching her with those bright eyes of her filling with tears. She told her to stay away from her life, she told her she didn’t get it, she would never get it, she told her he wasn’t her precious boyfriend, or her little brother and he had no right to run her life, she told her she shouldn’t care what she was doing with Walter and many other things she didn’t want to recall. She spoke with anger she didn’t know she had, and which was, she was sure of it, misdirected but once she started she never stopped.
They never spoke again.
In the end she couldn’t do it. She spent the whole day avoiding Latricia and Mihha’il altogether. That is how she ended up spending her lunch hour at the back of the school in the area usually designated for smokers. She was alone there and she hoped it would stay that way, she had no desire to see anyone right now. She wanted to go up to Latricia and apologize, she wanted Cecil, she wanted Walter… She had no idea what she wanted. She felt the onset of tears building up in her eyes and she sobbed loudly. She would have continued if it wasn’t for a girl’s voice behind her:
“Don’t you people usually use the bathroom for THAT?” She turned around, ears now streaming down her face along with her mascara. It was a girl she knew both from school, and from martial arts practice. Chiquita Fegel-Targeryen was a skinny looking but though girl and Vanessa, under every other circumstance would stay clear from her but she was too weak right now, too tired from everything and she couldn’t move or stop crying. And then Chiquita did something she never expected, she came up to her patted her on the back gently and said: “Cheer up girl! I’m sure it’s not as bad as it seams right now.” Vanessa laughed at this and before she knew it she was texting her mom saying she would be spending the afternoon at Chiquita’s house.
It was nice having someone to talk to again and somehow before Vanessa knew it it was nighttime and time to head back home. She was surprised to find her mother there when she got back. She expected her to be at work but she explained she had taken a few days off, it was her fifty-fourth birthday tomorrow after all she added with a wink and Vanessa realized that she had almost forgotten about it. She blushed but her mother only laughed. “Don’t worry honey, I went to a parent-teacher conference today, apparently you are on honor roll again this semester! That’s the best present you could have given me tight now!” Vanessa smiled. She had honestly forgotten about that too, school was never a problem to her, and hadn’t payed her scholarly achievements that much mind. “And now I want to see how those martial arts lessons of yours are going. Up for a sparing match?”
They sparred for a while and Vanessa lost. She fell asleep rather fast that night, all in all it did turn out to be a good day.
The next day started well for Vanessa. She had biology class and afterwards she had started considering a career in medicine. During lunch hour she even smiled at Mikha’il and said: “Hey!” He replied but quickly, and careful to avoid eye contact.
But Vanessa couldn’t care. Not today. She sat alone in the cafeteria, looking around for Chiquita but she didn’t show. She must have gone out for a smoke first Vanessa concluded. She didn’t stay alone for long, soon she was joined by a younger girl, she didn’t even know who introduced herself as Sabina Javeed and immediately started talking to her. Maybe she would be weirded out but the girl was funny and pretty soon she was laughing, genuinely laughing, not even playing attention to Latricia and Mikha’il.
When she got back home her mother urged her to get ready soon since her party was starting at three. And surely, as soon as Vanessa got downstairs the people started coming in, her mother seamed to invited everyone she ever knew, even Cecil’s mother was there, and Jill’s ex-wife Phaena…
It was a good party. Vanessa used the time to catch up with Krystal whom she had not seen since moving out of Jesse’s. She apologized for Zeke and Laquita who were busy at work, the elections were next week and they had to pass some ballot counter training or something.
Her mother even managed to convince her to play a little mother-daughter duet, she was on her portable keyboard and her mom on the guitar. It was a good party and Vanessa felt thing were finally getting back on track.
/*Once more I apologize for the delay, I’ll try to get back on track with the next round of updates which should start pretty soon, or so I hope. But before that we again have an introduction, you’ll get to meet Nala Caliente, you have already seen her briefly in the previous Mayor rounds, 3.1 and 3.2 which are set in Nala’s house. but she should have her own chapters in round 5! Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed this round. 🙂 */