Your Guardian Angel
The clock on the wall was taking forever to reach 2:15. Her pen softly tapped against the notebook she had flipped open to take notes with. She rolled her neck in a circle, wincing slightly as she heard the loud pop emanate from it. Violet eyes peered down at the notebook open on her desk that had a full page of notes written in her half-way neat scrawl. Her Religion professor was on one of his fifteen minute lectures that no one really paid any attention to. When she had to sign up for classes, she had thought she was going to hate Religion. She wasn't the most religious person and had thought that the class would be spent shoving beliefs down her throat. She was wrong, though. When he wasn’t on these lectures of his that branched from the smallest comment, he really made the class interesting.
Today, however, she wasn’t interested in anything but getting out of class and going shopping for Friday; her twenty-first birthday. In a mere six minutes, she would be free for the day, going with Callie to the mall in Newnan to shop for outfits.
Finally, Professor Kellam stopped talking and told them their homework for Friday: read chapters fifteen through twenty and be prepared to discuss them in class. When everyone else started packing up, she realized he had dismissed them. Bringing herself out of her reverie, she pulled the planner from the side of her desk, scribbled the assignment down and put her stuff in the shoulder bag by her feet. She pushed her chair back, and along with the twenty-some other students, she walked out of the room down the hall towards the steps.
Just as she was exiting the building, she was almost tackled by someone. She regained her balance and saw Callie, her red-headed best friend grinning at her.
“Hey to you, too,” she said.
“Natasha! Your birthday is in two days!” Callie sang, linking arms with Natasha as they walked towards the parking lot towards Callie’s old Honda.
“Callie! I know this!” Natasha laughed back.
“I’m so excited! I think you should go with purple. Ooh, or maybe black. That would bring out your eyes.”
They unlinked their arms and Callie walked to the driver’s side, unlocking the car. Natasha threw her bag in the backseat, slid into the passenger’s side and reached for the pack of cigarettes in the center console. She pulled one out, lit it, and handed it to Callie after she started the engine. She pulled another one out, lit it, and inhaled greedily. She’d been in class since eleven this morning, and there wasn’t a lot of places to smoke on campus. Callie navigated through the parking lot, down the road back towards the highway.
Music blared through the speakers as Natasha handed Callie her cigarette so she could put her blacker-than-night hair up in a messy bun for the ride. Untying the black ribbon that was always on her arm, unless it was in her hair, she wound it around her bun and tied it in a bow. Since she was a little girl, she’d always loved ribbons, and kept a black one tied around her wrist just in case she wanted to toss her hair up. Unless it was raining, during the summer they always rode with the windows down. She took her cigarette back from Callie and inhaled deeply again, holding her breath in her lungs as long as she could before exhaling. This was the only time she could smoke, when she was with Callie because she knew her parents detested it.
“How was class?” Callie asked, shifting to fourth gear to get going on the highway.
“Kellam was kind of blah today. He didn’t really hit on anything interesting.” Natasha replied, flicking her shortened cigarette out her window. “He went on another one of his rants that lasted like twenty minutes. I zoned out after the first line.”
“Completely understandable,” Callie said, flicking her cigarette out as well. “He did that last semester. Are you guys on Partners yet?”
“No, we’re still on Black Elk Speaks,” Natasha replied. Callie had taken the religion class last semester, so she was helping Natasha out as much as she could. She even still had all the books left, and was letting Natasha use them (and her notes) for the class.
“Don’t worry, the class picks up,” Callie said, turning her head towards Natasha and she could see Callie’s green eyes shining behind her sunglasses. “Oh I love this song!”
Natasha was lost in the music as Callie turned up the volume.
The next day, after her classes were over, Natasha went straight home to get all of her homework done; she didn’t want to have anything to worry about on Friday, except getting out of classes and getting ready for going out with her friends. Her parents had also wanted her to stay home, claiming they were going to have a family dinner for her birthday tonight. Natasha groaned at the thought. That meant they were inviting her whole family. Her two uncles and their wives… and her cousins were coming. The only reprieve she got was Callie was able to come… and her brother would be there. At that thought, she couldn’t help but smile.
Her mom was a defense attorney for a huge firm in Atlanta. If she wasn’t at her physical office, she brought her work home with her and shut herself away in her second-floor office. The only time she saw her mom was when she was coming in from work, sometimes at dinner, and if her mom took the occasional bathroom break and Natasha just so happened to be in the hall at that time. Her dad, on the other hand, was a huge general contractor (also in Atlanta) and had recently been working on what Natasha described as huge bridges downtown. He was around more often, but he was also the one that pushed Natasha. He pushed her to get good grades in high school, join every club, be on every sports team, and get into a four-year college. Well, she had pleased him up until she decided not to go to a four-year college. Eventually she had convinced him that it was better for her to go to a community college and get her Associate’s Degree before she transferred to a four-year college, and she fell back into his good graces.
The only person she didn't have to worry about judging her was her brother, Benjamin, the "black sheep" of the family. He was 28, and had been on his own since he turned eighteen. He had graduated from college, yes, but after that he had become a musician, which her parents were not happy about. He was a lead vocalist and guitarist for his band Formula One. Ben had been the one that cared for Natasha when she was younger. Sure, her parents had always taken care of her, but normally she took a backseat to their jobs. Ben had always been her security blanket. When she and her parents got into a fight, she’d go and stay with him for a couple of nights until they cooled off. Callie had often joked that she should just date Ben, because no guy that Natasha had dated had lasted. Ben always found something wrong with each one of them, and not being able to stand that her brother didn’t approve, Natasha had dumped them instantly.
Speaking of the devil; just as Natasha had shut her Calculus book, her door burst open. She swung around in her chair and saw Ben standing in her doorway. She jumped out of her chair and ran to hug him. He wrapped his arms around her, lifting her up and spinning her around.
“I missed you,” she said as he set her back down. She missed him a lot more than she let on. If it wasn’t for Callie and a few of her other friends, she would be completely miserable with life.
“Miss you too, punk,” he said, plopping himself down on her bed. Natasha sat back down in her computer chair, pulling both knees up to her chest. Ben smiled again at her. “How’re classes going?”
“They’re going okay. I really like my Religion class. The list of books we’re reading is pretty amazing.”
“What’s the line-up look like?”
Natasha pulled out her Religion binder and searched for her syllabus. She scanned over it until she found her book list. “Mircea Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane, John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks, Melanie Rhyther’s Partners in Holiness: Guardian Angels in the lives of Saints, and some Twain book.”
“Sounds absolutely boring,” Ben replied, smirking at her.
“So says you.”
“Well, on a more fun level… guess where we’re playing on Friday night?” Ben said, picking up one of her pillows, playing with the frayed pieces of fringe surrounding it.
“Shut up! Oh my God that’s amazing! That’s where Callie wants to go for my birthday,” Natasha said, her face showing her excitement.
“I know. I called them to see if they had bands play there, and they said on Friday nights they let bands come in to play. We get our own set, there’s a cover charge and everything,” Ben said, swinging up to sit on the edge of her bed, his face matching his sister’s excitement.
“Oh, Ben that’s so awesome! Wait… Will I have to pay to get in?”
“Nope. You and Callie will be able to get in with us and won’t have to pay anything. I don’t even think you’ll have to pay for drinks.”
“That is so awesome!”
They were stopped in their conversation as Callie burst through the door just then. She spotted Ben, and hugged him.
Callie had been Natasha’s best friend since they were in the fifth grade, therefore she was considered family. She even went on vacation with them, if it should even be called vacation. Her parents sat in the hotel room or on the beach with their laptops and wireless cards or with their cell phones plastered to their head leaving Natasha by herself with nothing to do. That was the first year; the second year she had been smart enough to ask if Callie could come with them which her parents agreed to. Since then, Callie had gone every year.
Callie plopped down in the middle of Natasha’s bedroom while they filled her in on Ben’s news and the new plan for Friday night. Callie was instantly just as excited as they were. Ben discussed what songs he was going to play, telling Natasha the band had a couple of secrets for her since it was her birthday. They were interrupted minutes later by Natasha and Ben’s mom coming to tell them it was time to eat.
This was what Natasha was dreading: dinner. One thing she absolutely hated was how her parents just weren’t what parents should be. Her mom didn’t know how to make grilled cheese, and her father laughed when she suggested grilling. They had always had a hired cook and Natasha hated it. Sure, it was home-cooked meals, but it wasn’t home-cooked meals. They had a live-in cook and maid, Wendy. Most of the time if her parents were just too busy for dinner and it would just be her by herself, she’d find Wendy and help her out or even impress Wendy with her own cooking skills. Not only did it not really feel like dinner, but she had to endure the speculation of her uncles, aunts and cousins. There were three cousins in all: Margot and Alice were Uncle Jim’s daughters, and Stephen was Uncle Alec’s step-son. Margot and Alice always liked to pick on Natasha because she didn’t look anything like her parents; her mom was a blond-haired blue-eyed short woman. Her dad had sandy-blond hair and green eyes. The only thing she had in common with either one of them was her dad’s height. Ben, on the other hand had blue eyes and dark brown hair. She did know that she had the same smile as her brother.
Her cousins liked to say she was adopted, that her black hair and purple eyes meant she didn’t belong in this family and shouldn’t be allowed the things she was given. She ignored them as much as she could, but sometimes she couldn’t help but believe they were right. Stephen, on the other hand was much, much worse. Since he wasn’t blood-related (Margot and Alice obviously didn’t care because they found him “hot”), he tried to hit on her which was absolutely disgusting. She didn’t find him at all attractive. He was that prep-school type, with his hair combed back with gel, the polo shirts or the sweater vests of absurdly pastel colors that men were just not supposed to wear. The way he touched her and thought she was supposed to fall all over him made Natasha want to vomit.
It wasn’t their life-style that Natasha disliked about her family; it was the way they acted with their lifestyle. She played by most of their rules: wearing skirts on occasion to school, the dresses to functions she needed to go to with her parents, she even wore a strand of pearls her grandmother had given her before she died. Her clothes prim and modest, her hair was always in place, and with the tri-weekly nail appointments, she lived up to her parents expectations. Most of the time, though she preferred to wear jeans and a t-shirt, but it wasn’t often since every time she did, her mom seemed to appear out of nowhere to correct her fashion “blunder”. Since she was in college now, her mom had become a little more relaxed about her style, just as long as she didn’t look sloppy, she didn’t care…much.
Her parents had always had money and threw it around as much as possible. They had always acted haughty as long as Natasha could remember, and that’s what she disliked the most. She realized they worked hard for their money, and were proud of them in that aspect, but she wasn’t proud of their actions away from work. In high school, when people started realizing she had money, they had acted like she was stuck-up and ignored her. When they realized she wasn’t the stereotypical rich kid, didn’t flaunt her money, they warmed up and soon Natasha became popular because of her actions and not by class. She was always kind, never a bitch (unless needed), did her homework, studied hard and got the grades she deserved. She’d even taken her softball and swimming teams to state, which elevated her popularity. No one considered her a snob, and she did everything in her power to keep that adjective away from her name. She put others before her (although she did make sure she took care of herself) and people loved her for it.
Now, rising from her chair, she smoothed out her shirt making sure there were no wrinkles out of habit. She fell in line between Ben and Callie and headed downstairs for dinner.
♠ ♠ ♠i sprained my ankle so i'm on strict couch-potato arrest by my mom & step-dad which just means more chapters! yay!
it's long, but absolutely necessary, i promise (:
things are a bit slow in the first chapters.. but keep your eyes peeled! small things you don't think are important end up being majorly big!
subscribe & comment please (:
definitely go read Through Torrid Days by Vintage Arsenic !!
this story's really got my attention!