Of Confidence


Melanie sat on the counter staring at the shower across from her, glaring at the boy who was turning on the water. She heard the noise of the falling water and it sent shudders down her spine.

Kennedy looked at her, her arms folded across her chest. "Melanie, I'm sorry but you have to do this. You're going to get really sick if you don't."

She huffed before looking at John who was leaning against the bathroom door frame. Haley had gone out for the night, leaving her alone with the two boys. "I-I don't want to," she said awkwardly, letting her confident guard down.

Kennedy placed his hands softly on her shoulders, guiding her chin with his left finger to look at him. "I'm sorry, I know you don't want to, but we are not letting you get sick from laying in your sweat all day. Besides you stink," he chuckled at the end, successfully getting her to lightly laugh.

She looked at the two boys as she held her body awkwardly, "Can you guys leave though? Like, stand outside the door...making sure no one gets in."

Melanie saw the boys exchange glances, obviously worried that she thought someone could get to her with the two of them there, but they wouldn't say anything about her fear. She let them exit the room and she locked the door, checking it repeatedly before peeling off her t shirt.

She stared at herself in the mirror, not wanting to believe what she saw. She had cuts all over her body that were slowly healing, but the bruises along her hips, ribs, and most vibrantly on her wrists still shone brightly. Her blonde mess of hair was tied in knots from not being cared for, for nearly a week now and the skin on her face was dirty and bruised.

She felt dirty inside and out, longing to be clean but hating the process that it would take. She bravely stepped into the shower, letting the water fall over her long hair and wet it. She exhaled deeply as the hot water burned onto her skin, not even caring that the temperature was so high it reddened it.

She grabbed the green shampoo bottle that sat on the counter in her shower before lathering the yellow liquid into her hair, freshening the dead follicles in her hair. She repeated the process three times before grabbing a razor and shaving every hair that was on her skin besides her head.

She slowly shaved her ankle before she felt a pinch, and watched the red liquid begin seeping down her skin, slowly hitting the floor of the shower. She watched as it mixed in with the water as it trailed down into the train.

Melanie felt her knees give out as she fell to the shower floor roughly, tears cascading down her cheeks, not being seen through the water that was falling on her from above.

She felt angry; all she could feel was his hands running all over her body as she sat helplessly on the floor of the shower, water pouring down on her weak body. She saw his green eyes staring into her as he pushed himself into her and she didn't even notice she was screaming until she heard the shower door open, and her curtain rip open.

Melanie laid in the fetal position of her shower as she listened to the shower water turn off, and felt hands grab her waist, lifting her off the ground. She felt warm hands wrap a towel around her body and pull her out of the shower.

As she opened her eyes she was met with John's worried ones looking into hers. She didn't even mind the fear that she felt as he pulled her against him tightly, whispering soft coos in her ears; she was just thankful that he was there.


The three friends sat on the couch as the game of Scrabble sat between them, Melanie's words dominating the board.

Kennedy laughed, "Unbelievable. You just got 75 points off that word, Melanie."

She looked down proudly at the word 'Jukebox', smiling proudly at her win. "I forgot to mention I'm amazing at Scrabble."

She looked at John out of the corner of her eye, knowing the smile he would have on his face thinking back to the day he taught her to play Scrabble on one of the many afternoons they spent in their tree house together.

Melanie watched as Kennedy wiped all the words off of the board, putting them back in their rightful places in the game's box. "I'm going to have to call it a night, I think. That okay?" He asked, standing up from his seat on the floor.

John nodded his head looking at Melanie, "I've got it tonight. I can sleep on the plane tomorrow."

And with that Kennedy was off to the guest room, leaving Melanie and John in the family room. Melanie got up from her seat on the ground and sat on the couch that she had previously been leaning against, John following her in suit.

Melanie looked at John who was staring at her blatantly. "What?" She asked.

"Come with me," he said, a coy smile on his lips.

Melanie watched as he sat up from the ouch, pulling up his gray skinny jeans as he walked for the door to the backyard. He turned when he noticed she wasn't following him and he ran his hand through his hair. "Come on, Melanie!" He repeated enthusiastically.

She groaned as she stood up from her seat on the couch following John into her backyard. "John, where are we going?" she asked as he walked to the back corner of her yard. She stopped as recognized the patterned footsteps, and a small smile came on to her lips as she saw his lanky frame climbing the ladder that led to the small tree house in her yard.

She climbed the steps behind him before letting him guide her carefully around the broken wood panels and into the aging house.

"Is it even safe to be here anymore?" Melanie laughed as she turned the on the switch to lamp that she and John had nailed to the ceiling so many years ago.

He laughed, "Probably not."

Melanie looked around the small room that was in the tree. Their parents had built it when the two were just five years old and it had been their safe haven forever.

The walls were a dingy blue, fading from exposure of the heat and sun through cracks in the wood. There were toys left around the small room and markers and paints in the corner. Melanie looked at the walls that were covered in notes for each other from when they were younger.

Melanie smiled as she read her five year old script on the wall: John O'Callaghan is my bestest friend.

John smiled too as he traced his fingers over all the words on the walls explaining the emotions of the young friends. It read notes to each other about their days, note about their parents, sibling, first crushes. The walls captured their childhood.

Melanie laid back on the rug that she had brought up here years ago, coughing when dust filled the air. She stared at the ceiling that was covered in pictures that she had painted, the background being the sky and the stars, then whatever random object she felt like painting being up there as well.

John smiled as he followed her eyes to the roof of the tree house. "When did you stop painting?"

"When we stopped being friends," Melanie replied honestly.

He looked at her astonished, "We never stopped being friends, Melanie."

She looked at him incredulously. "John, remember when we had our first kiss in San Diego?"

"Of course I do," he replied, unsure of where she was going with this.

"That's the day we stopped being just friends. That's the day I decided I liked you...that's the day we started tumbling downhill," Melanie said sadly.

John looked away, silently agreeing with every word she had spoken. "Why did that cause you to stop painting?"

"Because you were the one I began painting for," she replied. "I stopped painting out of my love for it, and began painting for you to judge every painting, and when you never said you liked any of them I stopped."

He looked at her unhappily, "I always loved your paintings, I thought you always knew that."

"I did when we were younger, but as we grew older I became so dependent on you and your constant feedback, that I lost my love for it, and fell in love with you. "

Melanie was always a painter; from the day she picked up a pencil she began to draw and then her mother handed her a paint brush and was infatuated. Painting gave her the positive reinforcement she needed; she was good at painting. Her family, her teachers, and John always made sure she knew that.

But as she grew older knowing she was good at painting wasn't enough. The girls around her were good at singing, good at dancing, good looking, while she was good at painting.

When she kissed John, when he told her she was good at kissing her life changed. She wanted to know she was beautiful and he told her every day. She needed to know that she was needed and he needed her every day. She needed to know that she was loved, and he showed her love every day. He became her rock.

John looked at her thoughtfully, remembering the words she had told him the other night about how they'd never be together any longer. He stuck his hand out to her, and Melanie looked at it perplexed. "Let's be best friends again, Melanie. Not any of the 'I secretly love you' best friend thing anymore, because as you said the other day, it's over. But let's be best friends like we were when we were five."

Melanie smiled, nodding her head and shaking his hand, "Agreed."

The two sat in a comfortable silence, each thinking about new promise they had made to fall out of love with the other; both wondering if this was even possible.

"When did we stop coming up here?" John asked, curiously a few moments later.

Melanie felt herself frown. "The summer after your freshman year."

John nodded his head in disappointment in himself, "I thought we were too cool for these childish things."

She gulped sadly, "I believed every word you said."

John leaned over, taking a black Sharpie from the corner of the room. Melanie watched as his long fingers gripped around the cap, tearing it away from the marker and temporarily placing it between his teeth.

His fingers slid easily against the wood and she wished he would have written those words so many years earlier: Don't hurry to grow old.

John smiled at her, a melancholy grin on his lips. She took the black marker from his hands as the words she wrote turned John's frown to a grimace, pity in his eyes.

Don't trust anyone.
♠ ♠ ♠
I'm a day late! Ah! I'm sorrry! Don't hate me.
John and Melanie are just friends now, anyone think that'll ever work? Haha.