Friday April 12th
What a perfect way to end Spirit Week with a football game tonight at our home field! Come grab hotdogs, drinks, popcorn and some West Beverly Tigers gear and have fun watching your school’s football team (or at least try to). Afterwards, Hunter and some of the other football players are having a party at the captain’s house on the beach, if you get invited.
@peaceloveglitter & @druesaysrelax the story is up!
I lay back, staring straight ahead at the cerulean water in the shimmering pool. If I could take a wild guess, I’d say I’ve been staring at this same pool for approximately three hours now. I absolutely had to get away from the snickering, the staring, and the gossiping that lurked the hallways of West Beverly Hills High. Being asked, “Why doesn’t Allen have seizures since you two are twins?” or “Do you see God when you’re having a seizure?”
Honestly, I don’t see how I can show my face at the football game tonight, let alone the after-party. Yet, Allen is starting tonight and I have to be there to support my brother. Plus, I scored an invitation because of Allen…and Ben is supposed to be there.
The sound of flip-flops clacking on the cement of my backyard, and I turn my head to see Allen walking toward me in his football jersey. He pecks my forehead and I give a quick smile. “Hey,” I say softly.
“Hey. Where were you? I was looking for you all day at school,” Allen says.
I never told Allen that I skipped lunch and all of my classes afterward to come home. I lift my sunglasses atop my head and tell him that I had skipped and the reason why. I just got tired of people calling me “seizure girl”.
Allen’s ice blue eyes stare at me with a bit of anger. “Leesy, you can’t let people piss you off. Look, I can handle it if you need me to. I just don’t like seeing you like this.” He embraces me in a hug and tears begin to dot my eyes.
I sniff and retrieve the paperback copy of “The Awakening” sitting under my butt. “Al, I’m fine. I don’t want you to have to fight my battles,” I wipe a few tears streaming from my eyes, “I assure you. I’m okay.”
Allen flashes a smile and, before I know it, attacks me with his infamous character, “The Tickle Monster”. Yeah, it’s very childlike, but we know each other. He knows how to make me feel better.
I stand up and scream with the crowd as Allen kicks the football through the field goal flawlessly. My mother and father sit next to me and give me a tight hug. I never told them about school or the fact that I skipped, but that’s all water under the bridge…at least that’s what I’m telling myself. To be completely honest, I barely get the chance to see my parents. They’re always at the hospital with their patients.
My parents, who are wearing matching “Coolidge is Our Son” shirts, yell “Go Allen!” killing my ears. I’ve been coming to these football games for years, but I’m still not accustomed to my parents screaming. They are like rowdy fraternity brothers at a sorority wet t-shirt contest.
I reach in the pocket of Allen’s letterman jacket that I’m wearing for good luck, and take out my iPhone. I type a quick text to Ben “HEY. ARE YOU STILL GOING TO THAT PARTY TONITE?” Then, I go to my Twitter account and send “WBH IS PREVAILING. HOPING FOR AWIN. #WBHNATION”
Suddenly, my phone chimes and I notice a new message, a response from Ben. “YOU KNOW IT. HOPING TO SEE YOU.”
A smile forms on my face and I respond with “WELL YOUR HOPES WILL BE FULFILLED. SEE YOU THERE.”
I’m knocked from my little world with Ben by the squeezing of my knee from my mother’s hand. I snatch my knee from her and look at Allen running to the touchdown line, to be tackled by a player from the opposite team.
The crowd groans in disappointment, with a few claps to settle the mood. I see Allen throwing down his helmet and walking over to his teammates with a frown on his face. “I’ll talk to him,” I tell my parents. I stand up and walk over to the chain-link fence. I get Allen’s attention by screaming his name at the top of my lungs. I trace a heart in the air with my fingers and he smiles in delight. Hopefully, he’ll get his head in the game and win this for us.
Walking to the concession stands to get a snack, I see the exact same stares that I saw at school today. Can I just please escape this? I wrap my arms around the leather varsity jacket and quicken my pace. That’s when I bump into a familiar face with long, blond locks. “HI, Alana.”
Her eyes light up, as if surprised, “Hi, Elise. Surprised to see you here. Didn’t think you’d show your face.”
I’m taken aback by her words. “Uhh…yeah. I’m here supporting my brother,” I say with an awkward laugh.
She looks at me with a look of disdain. “Oh,” she says, pursing her lips. She bats her long eyelashes, and walks away, leaving me in a world of disarray and tears.
Trying to hurry and wipe the tears from my eyes, I walk to the concession stand and buy a bag of Reeses’ Pieces and a Diet Coke. I smile at the girl who took my order and turned away to go back to my parents. That’s when I hear the familiar laugh of Riley Jackson filling the air. Oh how I miss my WBH cheerleading uniform. Even more, I miss cheering with Riley. With Allen constantly talking about football, I retained that knowledge. Thus, Riley was the only person on the team who I could talk to about the plays being made.
I think about saying hello, but I decide to duck my head down and continue my trip back to the bleachers. Before I can take two steps, I feel Riley’s strong grip squeeze my wrist. She looks at me and I take in her kind face, “Hi, Elise. It’s been forever since we’ve talked.”
I give a faint giggle and say hello. If only Riley knew why I stopped talking to her…well to everyone for that matter. “So how are you?”
“I’m great. Just happy to see you. How are you?” she responds.
If only you knew, I wanted to say. It’s true. If Riley knew how I really was, her grip would have loosened and she would be running for the hills.
Allen maneuvers his Range Rover up the driveway of the beach house and cuts the engine. I get out of the car and slam the passenger door shut with Allen following me. Throughout the entire ride to this party, I had been biting back tears. I don’t know why I allow for people to get to me so badly. After the run-in with Alana, more people kept asking me ignorant questions and kept chucking and whispering about me. When I walk into the beach house, I see numerous classmates dancing, drinking, kissing, smoking, texting or a combination of all five.
Suddenly, I see Ben sitting along and I walk over. Embraced in Ben’s warmth, sends me to a world of relaxation. In that world, no one knows about my epilepsy. I’m seen as normal. In that world, Ben holds me tight wherever we go.
The world is then sliced apart by the presence of Nathan bombarding Ben on the sofa in the living room of the beach house.
I silently chuckled as Ben tried to save his beer from splashing all over the three of us.
He scratches the back of his neck, "I think you're the one who told me not to go to tryouts, bro,” Ben responds.
"But I'm an idiot!" Nathan grinned. I watched his face as he followed Ben’s arm to where it stopped behind me. "Obviously. Sorry man!" He then jumps up and hurries away.
I look at my knees and wait for Nathan to finally go away.
Ben apologizes for Nathan’s surprise visit. I nod and say, "It's alright. I sniff and tuck my hair behind my ear and bit my lip. "You're really, really great, Ben."
"Hey," he toys with his plastic cup, "Elise, you know that you've got a whole lotta people who see you as so much more than "seizure girl", right?"
I bit my lip again, drawing my right knee to my chest, "Yeah." I bring my other knee to my chest and fold myself in a ball.
The music turned to a slow, jazzy song that sounds strangely familiar. I’m positive my parents listen to this everyday. Couples found each other and swayed back in forth in the living room.
"Hey, you wanna dance?" I hear Ben ask.
My heart leaps in my chest and my eyes brighten. "Sure!"
He stands up and holds his hand out for me. I see Ben roll his eyes as RJ walks past, teetering at him..
"I'm bad at this," he says, taking me out of the way. "I'm sorry in advance for stepping on your feet, ma'am."
My tears vanish and a laugh escapes my mouth. This guy is really perfect. I honestly don’t know why such a perfect guy would fall for a mess like me. I hesitate as I feel Ben’s hands plant on my back. I look into his eyes as I wrap my arms around his neck. Then, I wince as I feel Ben step on my sparkly loafers with his Vans.
“Sorry,” he says, obviously embarrassed.
“It’s fine. I don’t mind at all,” I reply. Right now, I finally feel at peace.
When Allen and I get home, he rushes up to his bedroom, chanting, “Gotta pee. Gotta pee. Gotta pee!”
I shake my head and lock the door. Walking to the kitchen, I go to the refrigerator and find a sticky note on it. “KIDS, I HAD PATIENT EMERGENCY AT THE HOSPITAL. I’LL HOPEFULLY BE HOME SOON ENOUGH. DAD IS MOST LIKELY ASLEEP SO YOU’LL BE FINE. LOVE, MOM.”
I open the refrigerator and grab a bottle of coconut water. Suddenly, realization hits that I haven’t taken my medicine this morning. I think quickly and race up the stairs to my bedroom.
When I reach the door of Allen’s room, I feel a pang in my heart. I wince and grab my chest to try to relieve my heartache. I groan in pain and sink to the wall. Then, I felt electricity shooting through my body and my vision clouds. I can barely scream out for help and I sink down to the floor. Before everything goes black, I see the faint image of a figure standing over me, screaming in horror.