Breathe Again

by Madison Carter, age 15
Breathe Again Madison Carter is a 15-year-old writer from Maryland. She has two younger brothers and two old brothers, which means she is sadly the only girl in her family of eight. She loves to play soccer and read by the pool. She enjoys cooking, reading, and sleeping.

“Cecily hated the color yellow. Everyone knew that. Well, she hoped they knew, but she was always wrong about that. Sadly, the paint in her eyes that slowly started seeping into her mouth was yellow.”

Cecily hated the color yellow. Everyone knew that. Well, she hoped they knew, but she was always wrong about that. Sadly, the paint in her eyes that slowly started seeping into her mouth was yellow. As she wiped the paint from her eyes and spit out the rest from her mouth, she stared at the culprit who had dared to throw paint at her. As she looked through her paint-filled eyes, she knew this was going to be a very long day.

“Sorry,” said Martinho sarcastically.

Martinho hated her. He was constantly pulling pranks on her, causing her to always bring a change of clothes. The first time he pulled a prank on her, she had to endure the rest of the day with whipped cream in her hair, eggs on her butt, and tomatoes all over her body.

She knew he hated her, but she did not know why. She never said a word to him. She probably wouldn’t even know his name if it wasn’t for her friend, Varinia, who was crushing on him hard.

She gave him look that said, Why do you always do this to me?

He knew that look all too well. She gave him that look every time he pulled a prank on her. He started laughing at her and taking pictures of her. He always took pictures because he always had to have a souvenir. He ran into the cafeteria, grabbing The Richards, the most popular guys at school, to join him laughing at her.

When she saw them coming, she ran into the bathroom, hoping they didn’t see her. As she hid out in the bathroom, her friend, Luciana, ran in, wondering if she was okay. She wasn’t okay. Martinho was starting to get on her nerves.

Cecily asked Luciana to get her change of clothes from her locker, but before she could get them, someone pulled the fire alarm. Everyone grabbed their jackets and ran outside.  It was pouring outside, but she didn’t care. As Cecily stood outside in the rain, the paint started to wash off, and she realized that she couldn’t let this go on.

Behind Cecily, there was a crash! Bang! Zander jumped out from behind the dumpster. The teachers saw him and took him to the principal’s office. They assumed that he did it because he was always causing mischief around the school.   

“Well, that was unexpected,” Luciana said.

Cecily smirked and gave her a look that said, Really. “We both know he had it coming. Plus, we know who really pulled that fire alarm,” Cecily said, looking at Diamanda.

“Yeah, Diamanda. So, tell me, what’re you gonna do about it?”

“I’m going to do nothing. There’s no point,” she said, defeated.

What!” Luciana screamed, and everyone within a five mile radius turned to look at them. They didn’t care, but decided to talk a little softer. “What? This has been going on for half a year now. You need to tell somebody and stop going on, bringing different clothes.”

“Maybe you’re right. My parents are starting to wonder if I’m going to school to change my clothes and impress a guy, but I’m not. Now, my dad wont even let me keep my door locked unless I’m using the bathroom. Sometimes I’ll take a shower, and I’ll come out and find out my door is unlocked when I clearly locked my door,” Cecily said, crossing her arms.

Luciana started laughing her butt off.  She could never take Cecily seriously. She was the kindest person she had ever met. She would never hurt a soul. She would act all serious, but she always had kind eyes.

“Dang, girl,” she said, still giggling, “how do you live like that?”

Cecily whined, “Will you stop laughing at me? It’s not funny.”

“Fine, I’ll stop. But you’re gonna have to figure out what to do.”

“I don’t know what to do. It’s getting harder and harder, being someone’s puppet on a string.”

“Well, never forget that I’m always here for you, okay? Unless Elijah calls. Then, I’m going to be preoccupied.”

“Girl, you are never gonna be preoccupied because we both know that Elijah will be calling me up, not you.”

“In your dreams, chica.”

“You’re right. He is in my dreams.”

At that, they both started laughing. Elijah has never even spoken to them, let alone known who they are.

After the Fire Department declared it a false alarm, they went back inside. Once Cecily was inside, she quickly grabbed her change of clothes and went to the bathroom. When she opened the bag, she cursed like a madwoman. She accidently grabbed her younger sister’s clothes, which looked like booty shorts on her.

Meanwhile, outside the bathroom, Martinho gathered up The Richards, Diamanda, and whole bunch of other people to see Cecily look like a wet dog. In the bathroom, Cecily realized she only had two options: put on her sister’s booty shorts, or keep on the wet sticky paint clothes. Cecily really only had one option, but she made two to make herself feel better.  As she put the clothes on, they became smaller and tighter around her waist. Her top turned into a crop top, showing way too much belly button for her liking.  As she looked at herself in the mirror, her knees started to tingle and became very wobbly.

“Dang, girl. You look hot,” Luciana said, staring at Cecily with amazement.

Stop!!! You’re not helping! You’re supposed to tell me that I don’t look good,” Cecily said desperately.

As her voice got higher, Luciana said, ”Now why would I do that? I would never lie to you.”

She looked away at that last comment. “Lies. If I had a nickel for every time you lied to me, I would be rich.”

“Now, that is a lie. Look at yourself. I bet you, the moment you walk out of that door, those guys will be following your every move.”

“The only way I’m going out there is if there is no one out there. Go check for me.”

While Luciana went to go check to make sure no one was there, Cecily tried to boost her confidence and self esteem.

Luciana came back with bad news. “Ummm… I uh… really think you should put on your gym clothes.”

“I’m not taking gym this year, so these clothes are my only option.”

“Well… you see… there’s this really big crowd outside, and they’re waiting for you to come out.”

No!! Why does he hate me so much? I’ve done nothing to him!” Cecily whined.

“I don’t know. If you say you’ve done nothing to him, then I believe you. But your best bet is to suck it up, pull it together, and go out there like you came to school in that outfit.”

“Yeah, that’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one wearing this skimpy outfit,” Cecily started to yell.

She tended to yell when things were getting out of hand, and she couldn’t do anything.

“Yeah, I’m not wearing the ‘skimpy’ clothing, but you are the sweetest, nicest person I know who wouldn’t dare get mad at someone, even when justified. You need to stop caring what everyone thinks about you, and only worry about what your friends think, because we’re the ones who are beside you through thick and thin, not them.”

“You know, you maybe a bookworm and a soccer fanatic, but sometimes, you give really good advice.”

“So, are ready to go out there?”

“Do you think we can wait a bit? I mean-”

“No. We can’t wait any longer. You need to face your fear. And buy me lunch, because lunch was shortened thanks to the fire alarm. So we need to hurry before they run out of fries.”

“Okay, fine. Let’s get this over with.”

As they walked to the door of the bathroom, Cecily could feel her stomach clenching with butterflies. She came to the door and paused. As she was about to bail, Luciana yanked the door open. Everyone couldn’t believe their eyes. The nerdy girl, who always wore oversized clothes, actually looked hot. Even Martinho was staring, which is a first for everyone. As she looked upon the crowd, she saw smiles and looks of encouragement. Well, except for Martinho and Diamanda. Martinho stood next to The Richards with his mouth opened wide, staring at her, while Diamanda looked like she was going to kill her.

Diamanda growled at her, ”What are you wearing?”

Cecily replied, “Clothes, like you.”

Everyone started laughing. Cecily didn’t know what was so funny, but Diamanda sure did. Apparently, the “joke” Cecily made was to say, “Well, I’m wearing skimpy clothes, just like you wear skimpy clothes all year long.”

“Was that supposed to be joke?” she asked angrily.

“What was supposed to be a joke? I just answered your question.”

Cecily may have been a nerd, but when it came to popular stuff and noticing when a guy likes her, she was clueless. Diamanda started walking in a circle around Cecily, making her feel very uncomfortable.

“So, you think that you can just go around skimpy clothing, and everyone will forget what a dork you are?”

“I’m not a dork.”

“Oh, really? What are you, then?”

“I’m a decent person, unlike you,” Cecily said with a bit confidence.

Now Diamanda was furious. She could not let Cecily get the better of her. Cecily also couldn’t believe what she was hearing and seeing. Diamanda had the nerve to question what she was wearing, when she practically wore this everyday. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say Diamanda was little jealous. But why? She felt herself getting angry about this whole situation.

Cecily walked straight up to Diamanda, got in her face, and said, “You know what, Diamanda? I don’t care what you think about me. I know that you pulled the fire alarm so I could be soaking wet. And the best of all, I know damn well that I look good in these clothes, way better than you ever will.”

At that note, Cecily strutted into the cafeteria, with Luciana on her heels, who was laughing uncontrollably.

“Damn girl, I didn’t think you had it in you. You were on fire. After you left, Diamanda looked like you just took whatever soul she had left and ripped it into a million pieces.”

“Thanks, Luciana. Now I feel bad. Should I go and apologize?”

“Are you crazy? You just stood up to her, and now you want to say sorry? You shouldn’t feel bad about something that was a long time coming.”

“Yeah, you’re right. She totally deserved it.”

Luciana and Cecily were at the cashier, having their daily talk with the lunch ladies. Meanwhile, nobody could believe what just happened. Nobody spoke to Diamanda like that, let alone leaving her speechless in the process.   

“Well, Cecily’s a little spitfire, isn’t she? I thought you guys said she was a shy one,” said someone in a black sweatshirt.

He was one of The Richards.

“She is. I don’t know what’s gotten in her,” said Martinho.

He sure did like the new Cecily, but he kept that thought to himself.  

“She is so dead. The next time I see her…”

“Diamanda, just leave her alone. It’s not cool what you’ve been doing to her,” said Black Sweatshirt. “You too, Martinho. Why do you guys always mess with her?”

“Why do you wanna know?” Martinho asked defensively. “I didn’t ask questions when you were messing with…”

‘That’s in the past, and it’s going to stay in the past,” said Black Sweatshirt defensively.

The boys were neck and neck right now. Diamanda was about to step in when Cecily and Luciana walked out of the cafeteria. When Diamanda caught wind of Cecily, she glared like no tomorrow. Cecily was about to act like a coward when she decided to glare back.

As Cecily and Luciana were walking to the counselor’s office, Black Sweatshirt ran up to them. His heart was guiding him, not his mind. Black Sweatshirt secretly has had a crush on Cecily since kindergarten. She left soon after that, but he never forgot what she looked like. Seeing her again going into high school was like walking in a dream for him. He never thought he would get the chance to her again.

“Hey, Cecily! Wait up,” said Black Sweatshirt as he ran to her.

“Uh… hi,” Cecily said nervously.

“You don’t remember me, do you? We went to kindergarten together,” Black Sweatshirt said, hoping she would remember something.

“Uh… sorry. I don’t remember you,” she said nervously.

Black Sweatshirt gave Luciana a look that said, “Can you give us minute?” and she slowly slipped away.

“Don’t worry about it, it was a long time ago anyway,” he said. “My names Elektrec, and I was wondering if you could help me with something,” he said nervously, hoping she wouldn’t say no.

“Uh… maybe. Will I get in trouble for it?”

“No, of course not. I would never do anything like that to you,” he said sweetly.

Cecily couldn’t believe her ears. That was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her. When Elektrec realized what he said, he started to blush.

Diamanda, Martinho, and the rest of The Richards were watching this whole exchange. Diamanda couldn’t believe that the hottest guy in school (and her long time crush since 5th grade) would ever like someone like Cecily.

Martinho was suddenly very jealous. He liked the new Cecily. Before, she was a nobody, a nerd. Now that she was finally something, he wanted her. He was the reason that she was a somebody now anyway. He sprayed her with that yellow paint that made her change her clothes, and that probably gave her the boost to stand up to Diamanda. She owed him, and he knew exactly what he wanted from her. He gritted his teeth and began walking towards the two to interrupt whatever was going on between them.

“Hey guys. How’s it goin?” Martinho said mischievously.

“What do you want?” Cecily said, annoyed.

“Oh, I just wanted to come and talk to you for a second. In private,” Martinho smirked.

“Actually, I was talking to her first. I just need to ask her one question, so could you give us a minute?” Elektrec asked nicely.

“You know what? I think I’m gonna stay right here. So you ask her whatever you want. I’m not going anywhere,” Martinho said, crossing his arms.

Elektrec slowly breathed out, “Uh, okay. Well, I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me this weekend?”

“You… want to go on a date… with me?” Cecily asked, not believing a word that just came out his mouth.

“Yes. I really want to go on a date with you.”

“Is this a game? Are you just trying to play with me? Because that’s not cool and-”

Elektrec took a couple of step forwards and grabbed her arms. Looking deeply into her eyes, he said, “I want to be with you, and only you. So what do you say we go out Saturday night? I’ll pick you up at 7. Wear something comfortable and warm, because we’re going to be outside.”

Cecily was in awe. She couldn’t believe her ears. The only thing she could do was nod her head.  Elektrec gave her a swoon-worthy smile and, boy, did she swoon.

As he was leaving, he told Martinho, “You hurt her, and I hurt you. Got it?”

Martinho gulped and answered, “Yes, sir.” He turned to Cecily. “So, Uh-”

“No, just stop right there. I don’t care about what you have say. You don’t have the right to say anything to me after everything you have done to me,” Cecily said, getting angrier by the second.

On that note, she turned on the ball of her foot and went inside the counselor’s office. As soon as she got into the room, her friends started pestering her with questions about what happened. She told them about her date with Elektrec, and how she stood up to Martinho. She then realized that although today may have started out a terrible day, she stuck through it. Instead of today being the worst day of her life, it turned out to be the best day of her life, for new things began today. She might even wear her yellow scarf on the date.

 

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