Christine Barker
Melody Simmons

Hard Line


Mackenzie: Written by Christine E. Barker

Hard LineTabitha: Written by Melody J. Simmons


Hard Line is a story based on some real events that teens go through everyday. Finding yourself, friendship, making friends, and keeping them, love and crushes, and a lot more. In this book, the main characters, Tabitha and Mackenzie, written separately by the two authors, tell about their lives and what it's like living in posh New York City. They show that money doesn't always mean anything, and how people who are mean, are already like that, regardless of their financial or social standing. They are seniors in high school, Village High, which is located in Greenwich Village. Mackenzie is a writer, who teams up with Luke, another friend to write a song. She also is into painting. Tabitha shows what it's like to have feelings for someone, but the other person doesn't know exactly how to show theirs. Also, how Nina, the Goth, is not really a 'Goth', she pretends to be one, mainly for people to accept her.



Meet the Characters



Mackenzie Anne Lunden: Mac, the shy, but sometimes outspoken good-hearted girl. Lives in Soho, in New York City.

Tabitha Jane Doss: Tab, nice girl . . . that sometimes doesn't know when to shut up. Enjoys painting. Parents aren't home until late; both work long hours so she does not have a strong sense of family. Upper middle class, lives in Brooklyn Heights.


Valley Girls:

Brenda Mildred Somers: Buffy, the wannabe valley girl, who thinks she's all that. Bleached blond. Lives in Fort Green Projects.

Cynthia Tyrell Lopez: Cindy, lives in Brenda's shadow. Basically does everything her friend does or tells her to do. No personality of her own. Also lives in Fort green projects.



Nina Rose McCarty: 'Mistress nine', The Goth with a great life, and parents who love her. She has a lot of money, yet she hates her life and hangs around 'dark' friends. Park Avenue apartment, very rich.



Connor Perry Shaneson: A moody poet with depth, but has a sweet soul. He hates his parents because they had never taken any interest in him, until his teen years. Lives in Brooklyn Heights. Upper middle class.

Evan N. Kline: The all American all 'A' student who is the star basketball player of Village High. He often feels pressured by his father. To escape that, he drinks, but it is his secret. Not many know about it.

Lucas Peter DeLonge: A music writer and guitarist that turns to music because he feels that it is there for him.

Jordan Scott Rider: Mild-mannered. Easy to get along with, even though he has problems at home.

Carter Randall Hudson: A class fool that makes fun of his friends. Easy to get along with.

Darren Shawn Barker: A talented sculptor. Friends with everyone.




Mackenzie Anne Lunden

Chapter One: 

 Tabitha, my best friend, and I walked to school together, but were then stopped on the way by her crush, Connor. We spotted him coming on the way to school and she went with him. [I saw Luke, my other best friend, and we headed to the park].  When she saw him and smiled this warm smile that she does every time she sees him, talks to him, or hears him, she's not obsessed with him . . . just infatuated. [I'm kidding. I'm kidding].

 Both Tabby and I are friends with him, but somehow, we just don't click as well as she and he do.

"I'm telling you, there's got to be some sort of intelligent life

on other planets," Carter was telling Darren, mimicking one

of the science teachers in our school, Mr. Daniels.

"Carter . . . Shut up," Darren said laughing and pretending to be pushing him away.

They waved and Luke and I began walking up to the bench where they were sitting.

Since our school's in Manhattan, we've got benches all over the place, and we have a park across the street that we go to in the morning and for lunch sometimes. Actually, public parks and benches are all over New York City.

Anyway, there's a park across the street from school, and sometimes we picnic there. Sometimes we'll bring a picnic blanket and sit on the ground.

I like it here because it's really peaceful, and a great place to talk and just hang out.

As I sat here on this May day, the sun shone and a cool wind brushed our faces.

 "How are you guys doing on this lovely morning?" Carter asked.

"Fine," We said at once.

"We heard your impression of Mr. Daniels, you sounded just like him," I told Carter, laughing.

"Really?" he asked, and snickered.

"Yeah, pretty much," Luke said.

 The bell rang and we got up to go inside.

As we all began to leave, "Can you guys wait a second until I get my bags?" Darren said as he scooped up his messenger bag and art portfolio.  

As we crossed the street to the school, a girl we know, Nina, who calls herself 'Mistress 9', came up to us.

"Hey guys. How are you?" She asked catching her breath.

"Fine," we all answered.

I looked at her shirt. "Positive message," I thought. It said, 'I'm a disposable teen'. "Really, that's good," she said as she put a piece of her vampire black hair behind her ears with her painted black finger nails, "Well, I'll see you guys later," she said and ran to to meet her friend Silence, and yes, that's her real name.

  We walked to our lockers, and said we'd meet at the park for lunch.

As I walked to my locker, through the crowd of Village High students, Luke and I met up again and he walked with me to my locker.

"How's the song coming?" I asked as I got my books out of my locker.

"Actually, it's coming out okay," he said as he moved to the other side of me as the girl whose locker is next to mine got her stuff.

"That's great," I said.

He nodded as he began playing with the binding on the side of his music book.

It was a really good song. He let me see it before, when he had just started it.

"Yeah. I'm done writing the lyrics, now I'm almost done with the music part " he said as we left my locker and went to homeroom.

I thought about Luke's song, he really is good at it. I've written several and I'd probably never write music for them or anything. So I think it's a great accomplishment. I'd definitely show him my poetry, which is something I'm proud of. Maybe I'll show it to him at lunch. I probably will.

Science 4th period:

"An exergonic reaction gives off energy, so an endergonic reaction needs . . . Mackenzie?"

 I looked up, "Uh, needs energy."

"Yes, correct," Mr. Daniels answered, and I began copying the notes from the board again.

 Every time I begin to do something other than listening, I know when a teacher is going to call on me. I knew Daniels was going to call on me. All I have to do is look up, and then, like clockwork, they call on me.

 Tabitha and I met at her fifth period class so we could meet the others at the park for lunch.

"Hi. How are you?" she asked.

"Good. How's your day going?"

"Fine," she said as we walked out of the school. "Mr. Foster gave us a pop quiz, but I knew the material."

"Guys," Connor yelled, "Wait up."

He caught up to us and we all crossed the street.

"Hey," he said.

"Hi," Tabitha said as I watched her face brighten up, again. She looks like a glowworm when she sees him.

Everyone but Luke was at the park when we got there, so we sat and waited.

As he came, we got up. "Hi, sorry for being late, Mr. Cunningham had to speak with me," he told us as we began walking to get lunch. We got lunch from a little Szechwan restaurant down the street and walked back to the park.

Some of us sat on the benches and some, since Nina brought a blanket, sat on the grass. I took my notebook out of my bag and showed it to Luke, it was on a poem called: At night. I watched him read it to see his expressions.

He looked at me when he was done, "This is really good," he said.

I raised an eyebrow and said, "Really?"

He shook his head and laughed. "You sound so shocked," he said and put on a surprised face. "And, yes it's really good. You know . . . maybe we could work on a song together, we're both good, I've been told," referring to the complements each of us gave each other.

"That's a great idea," I said.

"If we had any writer's blocks, we could think of something together, and writing the music together would be fun," he said.

"We could work on it at lunch, or, if you want, you can come to my apartment and we can work on it there," he offered.

"Sure, when do you want to start?"

"Well . . . what are you doing later on?"

 "Nothing. I don't think so, anyway," I said, trying to remember if I had anything to do.

"Okay, so tonight? After school." he asked as he lifted his forkful of rice and took a bite

"Sounds fine."

"Great," he said and smiled.

"Hey guys, does anyone want some of these brownies I baked? They're really good," Mistress 9 asked.


  When we finished lunch, we picked up all our stuff and threw all our garbage away and then began walking back to school.

"Do you think we can meet here after school?" Luke asked in front of the park.


I walked to my locker once again with Luke.

I closed my locker and we went to class.

"Here's my class," I said. He looked over to the classroom I was pointing to.


"I'll see you later," I said.

I watched him start to walk down the hall and then looked back and smiled this intentional really weird smile at me. I laughed and went into English.

"Class, I want you to read pages 423-492, what you don't finish will be your weekend homework," Mr. Sylvan said.

When I opened my literature book and began reading, I tried to concentrate but I was so psyched about writing the song.

"Mackenzie, you have to read now," I thought to myself. I really do. I don't want to have to read all of this later on when he's giving us time to read it now.

Later on in trig, which is one of the only classes I have with Tabitha, well, this and lunch, we wrote notes to each other.

1.) We copied the notes down.

2.) Learned, (didn't you like the way I said that we just 'learned', so nonchalantly?).

3.) Listened to our teacher. And then,

4.) Wrote each other.


Me: Hey, Tab.

Tabitha: Hey. Remember that sculpting class my Mom looked into? Well, I'm going to it today, I'm so excited; Connor is taking a class there too! What are you doing after school?

Me: Nothing. I'm going to Luke's house tomorrow though. We're planning on working on a song together.

Tabitha: Really? Cool.

Me: Yeah.

I scribbled down my last thought as I glanced at the clock. One minute left. The bell rang and we gathered our books and went to our lockers.

"I'll call you later on, Tab," I told her.

"Okay, Mac," she said and we laughed at our nicknames and ourselves.

"Bye," I said and went to my locker.

 I got my bag and jacket from my locker and went to the park. As I left school, I saw Evan "Nelly" Klein, the star basketball player of Village High.

"Hey, Evan, I haven't seen you in a while, how are you?"

"Okay. We've been playing at other high schools, but today I had to come back and get something out of my locker."

  Oh, I thought, liquor. He's been drinking for the past year. He used to be part of our, I guess you could say, 'clique', but then, kind of just drifted away.

"Oh. Well, I'll see you soon."

"Yeah, later," he said.

I saw Luke at the park and ran across the street.

"Hi Mackenzie," Luke said.


He picked up his portfolio and backpack and we walked to his apartment.

When we got there, and were settled down in his kitchen, he asked me if I wanted anything to drink.

"No thank you."

He opened his refrigerator and took out a bottle of bottled water for himself.

He leaned against the counter top.

"You know which artists I think are really great, and I look up to as an artist?"

"Who?" I asked.

"Savage Garden. Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones are so talented. Darren writes the words, and Daniel writes the music."

"Really? I love their music."

"Really? Do you want to hear Affirmation?"


  He went into the living room and put it on.

"I don't know what you'll say, but I was wondering if you'd let me see your songs and poetry." He asked from the living room.

"Of course you can," I said and got my book out of my bag. "I really liked that one poem, At Night, it's really sincere."

 If he only knew how sincere it really is. (It was about him).

I got up and handed him the book.

"Thanks," he said.

 I sat down on the sofa and looked through some of my papers that had fallen out of my notebook. I had written some of my songs on stuff like construction paper, the same sheet, like a million times over. Then, when I finally perfected the song or poem, I wrote it in my notebook.


 After being there and brainstorming for a few hours, I said, "Well, I've got to go now." It was six o'clock already.

"Okay," he said

"Thank you for inviting me," I said as I walked to the door.

"No problem," he said as he came out from the living room to let me out.

We wrote almost half a song, it was hard, but we came up with something. It's called 'I Feel'. It's actually really good. Next time we'll probably write the rest and add the music to it.

"Bye," I said.

"Bye," he said as he opened the door for me.


 I went to the elevator and pressed the button. I watched him go back into the apartment, and he saw that it was raining outside and grabbed an umbrella.

"Mackenzie, wait," he called, running down the foyer.

I turned around and saw Luke coming toward me with an umbrella.

"It's raining out, and I was wondering if you would like me to walk you home," he asked.

"Oh, no, but thanks anyway,"

He paused and thought a moment. "No, please, I want to," he said.

"Are you sure?" I asked him.

"Yeah," he said; so I agreed.

When we got to the lobby's entrance, he opened the umbrella.

 We walked out onto the busy streets, among the other New Yorkers, going places. The city is weird when it is rainy out. It wasn't like in other towns; when people see rain, they go inside their homes and enjoy the sound of a thunderstorm. Nope. New Yorkers go on. Same amount of drivers, and people, and homeless people outside still begging. Life never slowed down. I've always observed that.

"Mackenzie?" he asked after we had walked a few minutes.

I looked over, "Yes?"

"I had a really good time writing the song . . . And I hope we can meet again and finish the rest soon."

"I did too."

As it rained harder, and got more smoggy, I stopped walking, turned to him and said, "How about you only walk me to where the train station is, then I'll walk the rest of the way."


As we approached the train station, he put the umbrella over me while he got soaked. We laughed at his usually neat black hair that was now soaked. He smiled.

He put his hand out under the umbrella and got a handful of water.

"Would you like to take the umbrella with you?"

I shook my head, "I'm fine, thanks"

"No, here," he said and gave me the umbrella. "I don't want you to get wet or anything."

"And what about you? I don't want you to catch a cold," I said.

He laughed, "I'll be fine. You take it."

"Thank you," I said and took it reluctantly. Reaching my hand out.

"I'll see you later, then," he said.

"Bye," I said.

As I began walking, I looked behind me. Luke was standing there. His clothes and jacket were wet. He had one hand in his pocket, and smiled. He turned around and started to walk home. As he did, I watched his gray-clothed silhouette vanish into the crowds of people.



Chapter 3

 As I reached my building, I closed the wooden handled umbrella, and the doorman opened the door for me. "Thank you." I said.

"You're welcome," he replied.

 I smoothed back my black hair as I walked into the lobby.

When I got into the elevator, I pressed the button for the thirtieth floor where my apartment is.

As I rang the door, my Mom opened the door.

"Hi honey," she said and let me in.

"Hi Mom."

"Do you want something hot to drink?"

"Oh, no thank you. So, how was your day off?"

She had been home today. She works at her own law firm. Michela A. Lunden, attorney at law. It was funny how such a softie could be an attorney. I love her so much. She is the sweetest person you could ever meet. She loves to cook, and sew, and all that kind of stuff. At a very young age she was taught that by her mother, my Grandma Capelli, in Italy.

One really ironic, but a nice thing in my family, is that my Mom married and African~ American man, my father, Don Lunden.

So I came out with looking mostly like my Mom, hazel eyes, and black hair. But I came out with my Daddy's slightly curly hair.

"How was your day?" she asked.

"Good. I went to Luke's house afterwards."

"Really? Did you have a good time?"


"That's good," she said, mixing her tea.

"I'm going to change out of these clothes," I said getting up.

"Okay," she said.

I went to my bedroom and pulled out my flannel pyjamas. They were blue with white snowflakes on them.

I l got on my bed, grabbed my phone and dialed Tab's number.

"Hi Mac," she said as soon as I said who I was.

"Hi. How was your sculpting class?"

"It was okay. The instructor was very good at it, but not as good as Darren."

"Why don't you ask him to teach you? It's his craft, well, that and painting. He'd probably say yes."

"You think so?"

"Yeah. That's how Darren is. He'd probably like teaching you."

"Yeah, maybe I will call him." She said. There was a brief pause. "So, how was the song writing session with Luke?"

"Good. We were able to get the song started and half way finished."


"Yeah. I had a good time."

"So, anything new?"


"Well. Connor was in the sculpting class."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about him."

"Well, he was there, so I sat next to him."


After talking for a few minutes more, we hung up.


Chapter Four


After School:

Tab invited me to come and sleep over at her house, so I had an extra bag today.

"Thanks for inviting me," I told her.

"No problem," Tabitha replied.

When we began walking to the subway, she said, "I'm really upset now."


"Well . . . you know Cynthia, right?"

I thought for a moment and said, "Is she the one that always hangs out with Brenda?"


"Then I know who she is," I said as we got onto the train.

"Well. I was in the bathroom at school yesterday and heard her telling Brenda how she and Connor are working on a project together. For the past few days he's been going to her home, and doing more than studying. She said he stays longer than he needs to with her."

I opened my mouth in bewilderment.

"Are you serious?" I asked.

"Yeah . . . Cynthia also said that she was going to get him to like her more than he likes me because she despises me," she said.

"Well . . . maybe she was lying and Connor was really only there to work on their project," I said.

"That's a possibility, but I still am kind of upset about it," she said.

"Yeah. I always thought he had better taste," I said jokingly.

Tab laughed, "Yeah, so did I. I thought he'd like someone like me."

"Really, Tabitha," I said as we went down the steps into the subway. "I doubt that it's anything more than he and she working on a project," I said.

"Even so. Now he's no longer my crush or prospective boyfriend, his new name is, well, I don't know . . .he's a nothing!" she said yelling.

I looked up surprised and started laughing. So did most of the rest of the people in the subway car. In our eleven years of knowing each other, (we're seventeen now), I've never heard her say anything about Connor, or anyone seriously. "Tabitha," I said still laughing.

She looked at me, her face was totally serious, and then she started laughing, realizing she called her long time crush, and prospective boyfriend such a nothing, and woke up other passengers. As we got off at her stop, she laughed. "Do you think anyone really cared?"

I shook my head.

"Good," she said. "Well . . . he is no longer 'Connor', so if you use that name, I won't know whom you're talking about," she said as we got to her building.

"Okay," I said.

I never knew I'd see her talk about Connor. Not badly anyway.

 As we went upstairs on the elevator in her building, I thought about Connor's nameless self.

When we got off, we went to her apartment and her maid answered the door. "It's me, Miriam," Tabitha said.

She opened the door and let us in.

We hung up our jackets and sat in the dining room. "What would you girls like to eat?" Miriam asked.

As soon as she asked, Mr. Doss came from his bedroom down the foyer.

"Hello, Sweetheart," he said in his British accent. "Hello Mackenzie."

"Hello Mr. Doss," I said as Tabitha stood up and hugged her dad.

"How were your days, girls?" he asked us.

"Fine," we said.

"Well, I have got to be getting down to the office. Goodbye Tabitha, it was a pleasure seeing you again Mackenzie."

"It was nice seeing you as well, Mr. Doss," I said.

"Goodbye Miriam," he said.

"Goodbye Mr. Doss."

"What do you want to eat?" Tabitha asked.

I shrugged my shoulders. Miriam offered us fruit and potato chips or cheese doodles, sandwiches, etc., etc.

"May we please have sandwiches?"

"Of course," Miriam said.

She handed us sandwiches, water, and a bowl of chips, for afterwards.

"Thank you," we said.

Miriam said we were welcome and left, and we started talking about Connor, I mean, well, you know who, and Cynthia again.

"The thing about this whole situation is that he's not my boyfriend or anything, so I can't really confront him without looking nosy, do you know what I mean?"

"Yeah. Why don't you tell him you like him and you might find something out?"

"That's true. But I'm not sure if I want to. The thing I hate about this is that every time I like a guy, I find out either he's got a girlfriend or a crush already, and then I have no other choice than to forget about him, or, some guy likes me and I don't like him, it always happens that way."

"Well you'll never know if you don't ask him, on a friend to friend basis, or tell him that you like him."

"Actually, I think that he already knows that I like him, and he does too. So, I'll be reasonable . . . I'll just forget about him for a while, and I won't speak to him either."

"That's an idea. But Tab, do you really think that's reasonable?" I asked, smiling.

"Yeah," she said, and upon realizing what she had said, she started laughing. Tab's really funny because she says thing and then thinks about what she says afterwards. So she's ALWAYS surprising herself.

"I guess it's not that reasonable."

We laughed.

"Do you want to put your things in my room?"


We got up and I put my things in her closet.


"You're welcome."

"I'm going to call my Mom really quickly, okay?" I said.


 I took my cell phone out of my bag and called my Mom to let her know that I was at Tab's house.

"Hi Mom, how was your day?"

"It was fine. How was yours?

"It was good. Thanks for letting me go to Tabby's house."

"Your welcome, have fun. Oh, your Father said 'Goodnight' and that he loves you."

"Tell him I love him too."

"Okay, Mackenzie, I will."

"I love you too."

"Me too. Tell Tabitha I said 'Hello'. Oh, one more thing, Mackenzie, Luke called you, he asked if you could call him back."

"Okay, I will. Thank you."

"Tab," I said turning to her, "Mom says hi."

"Hi, Mrs. Lunden."

"Goodnight," I said to her.

"Bye. Goodnight," I said and blew her a kiss.

Tabitha got up went to her bathroom, so I took my phone out again and called Luke.

"Hey, Mackenzie," he said.


"Thanks for returning my phone call. I wanted to say hi to you. I've got the flu and I am totally out of it."

"Oh. I was going to call and see how you were doing since you weren't at school. Do you think you'll be going to school tomorrow?" I asked.

"I don't think so. But I'll probably go back on Friday."

"Do you think I can drop by tomorrow? I'm vaccinated . . . I'm not sure that'll help . . .if you want company?"

"Of course I want you to come, but if you do, you could catch it. It's not that I don't want you to come though."

"No. I'll be fine, I'll only come over for a few minutes, and I don't even have to come in. I just want to leave you something."


"Thanks. I hope you feel better though, okay? I've got to go now, but I'll see to you tomorrow, I'll come by at about five o' clock."

"Okay, bye. Thanks for calling."

"Bye. Feel better."

"Thanks," he said and hung up.

As I put my phone in my bag, Tab came back in.

 We watched a couple of rerun episodes of the Facts of Life, and then the Wonder Years in Tab's room. We love to watch shows like that on Nick at Nite and TV Land.


Chapter 5

"Bye Tabitha. Thanks again for letting me spend the night. Next time, you can come to my house," I said to Tab after school.

"Okay," Tabitha said.


"Bye," she said.

When I had spoken to Luke yesterday, I got the idea to make him chicken noodle soup.

I went home and got out some of our cookbooks. I found a recipe for chicken noodle soup and got out all of the ingredients.

I was done in almost two hours and put it into a container.

I put it in a bag, left to Luke's house, and on my way, went to the flower shop.

I bought a dozen whites roses. Of course you know, it means friendship, and bought him a 'get well' card.

The florist gave me my change and I walked to Luke's house.

"Who is it?" he asked, after I rang his doorbell.

"It's me, Mackenzie."

He unlocked the door. "Hey," he said smiling.

"Hi. Do you want me to come in or give you what I have here at the door?"

"You can come in . . . if you want to," he said smoothing out his hair.

"How are you feeling?" I asked as I walked into the apartment.

"Actually, I'm feeling a little better."

"Well, I hope I can help you feel a lot better. I bought you these." I said as I gave him the flowers.

He took them and thanked me.

"You're welcome. And I made you chicken noodle soup. If you want, I can heat it up for you, I just made it, so it should be slightly warm."

"Thank you so much," he said, surprised.

"No problem," I said.

He put his arms out to hug me, but then pulled away because he remembered he was sick.

So, I went over to him and hugged him. "If I get sick, it'll be okay," I said.

I told him to sit back down on the couch and relax.

"Do you want me to heat it up for you?"

I asked him.

"No, I'll do it, thanks anyway," he said getting up.

"I'll do it. Now lay down," I said joking.

I smiled and asked him where I could get a pot, a bowl, and a spoon. I put the flowers in a vase he told me that I could put them in and put them on one of the tables in the living room. He leaned forwards and smelled them.

"These smell good!" He said to me.

I looked at him from the kitchen, "Really?"


I brought the soup over to him on a tray.

"Thank you," he said.

"You're welcome."

I sat in the armchair beside the couch he was laying on.

"This is great," he said.

"Thanks. I didn't know how it would turn out since I've never made it before."

"I know how that can be. I once tried making cookies and . . . well, they were disgusting. But your soup is really good."

"Thank you."

When he was finished, I took back his tray for him.

"So how was your day?"

"Good. I watched television and just kind of stayed in the living room. How was your day?"

"It was pretty good. I had slept at Tabitha's, so we went over to school on the train together, and otherwise, school was pretty much the same."

"So, what time do you have to be home?" he asked. "Anytime, really. Just as long as it's the same day," I said. "Really, uh, on a school night, ten's the latest."


"Yeah, that's pretty good, actually, weekends it's midnight, as long as my parents know where I am, and whom I'm with."

"Yeah, that's my curfew for the weekend too. Unless it's something that I tell my parents that I'll be home later."

"Thanks again for everything. There was no way I would have been able to make that, and the flowers and card are really nice," he said and looked into his lap.

"I think it was totally worth it."

"I'm glad I'm worth it . . . to you," he said, looking up now.

I smiled as I got up. "Well . . . I've got to go now. If you're not in school tomorrow . . . if you want, I'll visit you."

"Yeah, sure."

"Oh, yeah. Do you think I could bring Tabitha? She's been a little upset for these past few days?"

"Sure. I'd love for you to do that."

"Okay. Then I will."


"Bye, feel better," I said as we walked to the door.




Chapter Six

When I left the building, I walked home quickly. I was glad I could do something for someone.

Then I was reminded of the Connor and Tabitha situation.

When I got home, I wanted to ask her if she wouldn't mind if I interfered a little.

When I got home, my Mom and Dad were home.

"Hi Mom, hi Daddy," I said as I locked the door and then went to kiss them both.

"Hello. How was your day?" Dad asked.

"It was great. Of course, I went to school, uh, I came home, made chicken noodle soup for Luke, who has the flu . . ."

My father interrupted, "He has the flu?"

I nodded my head.

"Then why'd you hug us?" He asked jokingly, fanning himself pretending to be ridding himself of the germs.

"Dad!" I said laughing.

I laughed and so did my Mom.

The oven timer went off so she got up.  The maid that comes once a week to help my Mom with housework and cooking was in the kitchen was helping my Mom.

"Anyway, Dad, then I brought it over to his house, stayed for about a half hour, and came home, and here I am."

"Sounds like you had fun," He said.

"Don, Mackenzie. It's time for dinner," Mom said as she motioned toward the dining room.

I washed my hands and went into the dining room.

After dinner, I told my parents that I'd clear the table and load the dishwasher. Doing that, I thought about Tabitha and her situation with Connor.

I went to my room and called Tabitha, I asked her if I could call Connor, and she said I could.

"Hi, Connor," I said as soon as he picked up.

"Hi Mackenzie, what's new?"

"Nothing really," I said, thinking of what I should say.

"Mackenzie. I have to ask you something, but you have to promise to keep it a secret . . ."


"Well, I have a question about Tabitha."

"Okay . . ."

"Does she like someone else? I mean, does she hate me?"

"No. Why would she?"

"Well. . ."

"Where would you get, and pardon my saying this, but such a stupid idea?"

"Well . . ."

"Was it . . . Cynthia Lopez?"

"Well . . ."

"Seriously, who said that about Tabitha?"

"It was . . . who you guessed it was."

"Oh it was. Well, I'll have you know that Tabitha does not hate you, but I don't know how she would feel now. I can't believe you would believe Cynthia!"

"Well . . ."

"I thought you knew Tabitha much better than that. But I guess I was wrong!"

"Mackenzie . . ."


"Cynthia told me a lot of other things, and some of them did sound kind of outrageous, a lot of them were a little out of character, but they could have been true."

"Like what?"

"That Tabitha was going out with some guy, and that she hates me."

He was really immature.

"Well, none of it is true, and I think you need to call Tabitha."

"Okay, I will. But I don't know what I should say."

"Connor, the best thing you can do now is try speaking from your heart, that's your best bet."

After he said he would, we hung up, and maybe, she would forgive him.

I walked to my painting, it was called 'This Night', I wrote a poem and then got the idea for it.

I took my paints off the shelf.

I squeezed out some blue and painted with my finger on the canvas. I then put yellow in. As I did, the phone rang.

I wiped my hands on the hand towel and picked up the phone.


"Mackenzie, it's me, Tabitha"

"Oh, hi"

"Hi. Connor called. We just hung up."


"I don't know if I'll still feel the same way about him as I did."

"Yeah . . . well, he did believe her, that doesn't really make him look good, at all actually."

"I know. I think it would be better if we were just friends, forever, not anything more, and not anything less. He's a good guy."

"I know he is, and I think what you're saying is all right."



We hung up then and I began painting again.

I began working with the yellow paint again and this time using a paintbrush to get smooth lines in the painting.

After a while, I went to my bathroom and washed my hands. I took my smock off and hung it on the side of the easel.

I somehow had gotten paint on my arms too, so I got my towel and took a shower.




Chapter Seven

Friday night:

"No," I said talking to Carter on the phone, "that would be fun. So, your cousin is driving?" I asked Carter.

"Yeah. He can only have five passengers, but I spoke to Tabitha, and she is willing to drive, and I think Luke is too."

I told him I would go, and hung up.

"Okay, I'll call you in a few minutes to tell you who's driving," He said.

We were planning to go to an amusement park in Rye, New York.

My phone rang.

"Hey, Carter," I said assuming it was Carter on the line.

"No, it's me, Luke."

"Oh. Hey Luke."

"Are you going to Playland tomorrow?"

"Yeah, are you?"

"I think so. Carter just called and I said I'd be one of the drivers."


"Yeah. I was wondering if you'd like to come in my car. It seems like almost everyone's going with Carter's cousin, Jay, or Tabitha. Since she lives in Brooklyn, and we live a few minutes away from each other."

I said okay.

"Okay. I'll pick you up at nine thirty tomorrow," he said.


"Okay. Bye."


My phone rang again.


"Hey, it's me, Carter."


"I spoke to everyone. Who are you riding with?"

"Luke just called and asked if I'd go with him, so, I've got a ride."






Chapter Eight

When Jay's car pulled up, Luke and I went and said 'hi' to them. It was a black Mustang, with a white stripe going down the middle.

"Hey guys," They said.

"Hi," we said.

"This is Mackenzie, and that's Luke," Carter said telling his cousin Jay.

Jay waved. "Nice to meet you," he said, "Oh yeah, I'm gonna get some gas on the way . . . on 84, okay."

"Sure," Luke said and we got into his car.

Luke started his car, and we followed Jay.

Luke turned and looked at me. I felt a little uneasy, but I turned to him. I gave him a questionable look.


"Nothing. You just look really pretty."

"Really? Thanks," I said and looked at him. He had never said that before.

He shook his head and smiled as he merged into the next lane behind Jay.

"I wonder how Tab's doing. You know, driving for the first few times," I said out loud.

"She's probably doing well, her parents obviously trust her, they wouldn't have gotten that car for her."


"I remember how when I was younger, I wanted to grow up, and know what I was going to be, and know, here I am, a senior in high school. I wanted to become what I was going to be, and now, I'm waiting for college acceptance letters. It's kind of weird."

"Yeah. But, like for instance, right now, we just get to go to school and hang out, soon, we'll be in college, and getting a job, a career, it is weird. That in itself makes me want to stay young. Once you work, life can get kind of repetitive. And I know that a lot of adults wish that they could just hang out on weekends sometimes and do what they want. I'm actually looking forward to it."

He nods his head. "You're totally right."

"I know. I've spoken to adults and they wish that they could even be twenty-five. Do we really want to just have a job asking, 'would you like fries with that?' when we're in our thirties, or, do something more fulfilling?"

"I know what you mean. I don't intend on letting my parents support and pamper me my whole life. Yeah, they're 'financially loaded', it doesn't mean I can't do anything myself."

"I think so too."

"I actually want to write songs, even if I'm not the one singing them. I want to share it with the world. It's my way of expressing myself."

"Then you know what? If that's what you want to do, go for it. I've applied to so many colleges, some for art, some for law. I love both, so whichever school is better, I'll be going to."

We pulled into the gas station following Jay.

The gas attendant began pumping gas and Jay paid him.

"I might as well get the car gassed up too," Luke said pulling up to the pump.

"Twenty dollars' Super," he said, and rolled up the window.

We pulled into the parking spaces and waited for Tabitha. We had said we'd meet her here.

A little while later, she pulled up in her Beetle with Nina and Connor inside. She rolled down her window, "We actually got here in forty five minutes. We had to read the map the whole way. We'll follow you guys now."

"Okay," Luke and Jay said.

We got back on the highway.

"I heard that they put in new rides," Luke said. I turned away from the window and looked towards him.

"Yeah, I heard that too."

 A few minutes later, we got to the park and were on line to pay for parking, Jay had paid and we watched to see where he parked, we paid and parked next to him, Tab followed.

We had packed things so we could have a barbeque. We were going to do that right near the beach. It was actually the ocean, the Long Island Sound. I've always liked watching the Sound either from the beach on the sand, or from the boardwalk.

We all took everything that we needed out of the trunk and walked through the picnic area to find a spot. Even though it was early, it was crowded. We finally saw a spot on the beach, so we took it.

 We put the two picnic tables together and put the tablecloth on them. We put everything on the tables and the boys said they would start the barbeque.

 Tab, Nina, and I went to the beach and sat down on the sand. I sifted it though my hands, "I love the beach, it's so beautiful."

"Me too," Tab said.

"I want to live on the ocean. Maybe Maine, or Nova Scotia," I said looking at the ocean and seeing some little kids throwing rocks into the water to see who could throw the farthest.

After a few seconds I asked her how she and Connor were doing.

"Well, we spoke. Of course, he did come in my car."

"Yeah . . . well, give each other some time. I'm sure you'll both warm up."


After we heard the guys laughing, we looked back.

Jay had been pouring on the fire starter, and it blew up in his face. When the others saw his face, they began laughing.

I smiled at Tab. She laughed.

I got up to join the guys. Luke was sitting down and I then sat down. Jay had gone over to see Tabitha.

Carter was watching the barbeque with Jordan and Darren.

Luke and I got up to go to the rocks. It was the part of the beach that people basically only went to fish or go crabbing. It was a nice spot and you could get farther into the Sound than on the beach, but there were these annoying animals that spit water at your legs, I have yet to see what they are.


Chapter Nine

 When we got around the bend from where our picnic area was being covered by trees, he and I sat down.

The sand on this end of the beach was hot.

As we sat there, we sifted our hands through the sand, taking little seashells out as we did. With some fishing line we found, we tied some of the seashells we found with holes in them and made necklaces.

Luke handed me mine, a piece of Mother of Pearl hanging on the string. "It's so pretty," I said, putting my hand out.

I turned around and he tied it on me.

I made his with three shells, two big, and one in the middle that was small.

"You know what would be cool? If we sent messages in bottles, this ocean can go as far as Florida," Luke said.


We got up and found a pen; it was a little weathered, but still worked, and a few beer bottles. We found some cork that we could plug the bottle with.

We wrote:

Dear whoever gets this,

We're in Rye, NY, at Play Land.

It would be awesome if this got

farther than New York, so,

E-mail us, so we can know how

far this letter got. and

P.S. Thanks


Mackenzie and Luke


We put the letter in the bottle and tossed it as far as I could. Which was not far enough, the waves washed it back to shore. Luke picked it up and tossed it. We watched it as it floated away.

When I was little, my parents and I would come to the beach and we would all try to send a letter or message in a bottle. My Father always told me that a fairy or something would get it one day, and then give me a wish. I laughed at the thought of it. I had actually believed him.

Luke asked what I was laughing about and when I told him he was laughing just as hard.

"I would've believed that too. My parents always told me these outlandish stories and I would always hope they came true," he said, as we walked back to the picnic.

Darren was at the table when we got back.

"Hey," we said, and sat down across from him.

"Hi," he said.

"What's new?"

"Nothing," he said getting up and putting some seasoning on the meat, "Where have you guys been?"

"At the rocks."

"And we made these," I said lifting my necklace.

"They're awesome," he said.

A few minutes later, I got up and went to the beach.

Jay was walking up the sand as I came.

I went and sat down beside Tab.

She smiled, "I like him."

I laughed, "So, now you'll give Connor a break?"

"Yeah . . . I guess so."

We laughed.

"Nice necklace."

"Oh," I said, "you like it?"

She nodded and looked up the beach as the others came.

Jay, Tab, Connor, Darren, Nina, Luke, Jordan and Carter.

Soon we all got up and helped serve the lunch.

All nine of us sat down at the two wooden picnic tables. Tabitha, Jay, Connor, Carter, Darren, Nina, Jordan, Luke and I got up and brought the serving bowls to the table as the others did the same.

We all sat down, it was actually a really nice barbeque. The guys cooked really well.

"This is really good Carter," Tabitha said about the chicken he'd made.

"Thank you very much," he said and gave himself a pat on the back. "I know."

We laughed and Darren said, "Sit down Connor!" Jokingly.

I'm sure it was good, I'd never liked meat, and now I'm a vegetarian, so I refuse to touch it.

I was able to have potato salad, though.

"It's such a beautiful day today," I said. It was eighty-five degrees.

"Yeah, it hasn't been this nice all year," Tabitha said.

At three o'clock, we packed everything up and went to the cars.

When we got to Luke's car, we opened the trunk and put everything inside.

"Do you guys want to go to the park now?" Carter asked.

"Yeah," we all said at once and began walking into the park.

We wanted to walk around first and buy our tickets. We walked around the crowded park, full of music, and balloons, and cotton candy, and artists, and one of my favorites, funnel cake.

We came to the arcade and had to go in, so we did.

Connor, Nina and Darren played a game in which you had to keep hitting beavers or moles for tickets.

Luke, Connor, Jordan, Tabitha, Jay, and I played basketball for tickets.

Jay was up first, he had sixty seconds to get in as many baskets as he could.

"Come on Jay," Tab yelled.

We all cheered him on.

He pulled his tickets out and then the rest of us went.

"I'm good, aren't I?" Jay said joking around.

There was a fortune telling machine that was broken, and Jay had put in his money a few times.

"This machine is screwed up, don't bother using it," he

said to the people waiting to use it next.

We left the arcade because there were still the booths that we could go to.

I went to the coin machine and got change in quarters for a five.

Next to the arcade was a game that you got a rifle (a fake one, of course) and shot the target, and whatever the animatronic was, it did what it was supposed to. Say the old lady, if you hit her target, her rocking chair rocked back and forth, the piano man would begin playing, and so on.

After playing that a few rounds, we went to the booths.

Luke and I went to the one where you took the water gun and squirted it into the clown's mouth until the balloon on the top of its head popped.

When Luke went, I clapped as his got bigger than all the rest.

He laughed while pulling the trigger harder.

The booth person said, when his balloon popped, "We have a winner, player number three."

"You have a choice, you can have any of these medium sized stuffed animals," he said and pointed to all of them.

Luke chose an adorable little teddy bear and gave it to me.

"Oh . . . thank you," I said. I leaned forwards and hugged him. He looked at the man that run the booth and pointed to me and winked.

"Luke!" I said.

He tickled me, and then ran, over to where Connor was. I caught up to him but when I saw Connor's face, I stopped.

Connor was sitting on a bench, not looking too elated.

"What's up Connor?" Luke asked.

I turned away so they could talk privately. I hoped he was okay; it must have had something to do with Jay.

I went to a booth that had face painting and temps. I watched someone get a flower done on their back. It was really pretty, it was pink and it had this long stem, the guy she was with was getting a snake done on his arm.

I've never been too thrilled about tattoos, because to me, they look, I don't know, like, a little dirty. Of course not everybody thinks so, I have a friend that is a tattoo artist, but I totally respect him as an artist. He doesn't have not one tattoo though, and people that come into his parlor sometimes find that strange, not that they know if he has one in someplace they can't see, but I'm not going to get into that, because he doesn't [I think].

I looked over for a second and saw Tab and Jay; they looked like they were having a good time with each other, even though they were in a group with Darren, Carter, Jordan, and Nina.

I really think that was what was wrong with Connor, and I bet he felt really stupid for believing what's her face . . . Cynthia. :(

In a way, I felt bad for him, but in a way I don't, Tab's feelings were hurt too, so she just forgot him, as anything more or less than a friend. And she's keeping to her word.

My thoughts were interrupted when Luke came up to me and said he was finished talking to Connor.

"Is he okay?" I asked.

"Yeah. He said that you probably already know why though, he told me he's spoken to you about it before."

"Oh. Tab again?"

"Yeah," he said and sighed.

"Oh . . . "

We walked to where the rest of them were, and we motioned Connor to come over, and he did.

"We've got you covered," Luke said and smiled.

Tabitha tried throwing the dart once more at the balloon but missed, so Jay took her hand and helped, and they won something, but to top it all off for Connor, she gave him [Jay] the prize.

 I looked over at Connor; he didn't look like he'd make it through the night without vomiting.

As I watched him, he mouthed an obscenity to Jay.

A little while later, Tab asked Nina and I to go with her to the Ladies' Room so we did.

When we were in front of the mirror, I took out my sunscreen and put some more on since a lot had come off throughout the day.

Nina decided to use the bathroom, and Tab turned to me as she put on some mascara.

"About Jay . . . I like him," she said, whispering and partially mouthing the words, "But I really don't like him . . . I just want Connor to feel a little jealous."

"Well . . . I think it's working Tab."

"Really?" she said, and put a face to end the conversation on, as Nina came to the sink and then put on some more of that black eye liner she uses.

When we were done, we asked each other how our make up looked, and then went back to the rest of the guys. We decided to buy the tickets later on, toward the fireworks show, so we'd have something to do beforehand.




Chapter Eleven

 I looked at my watch, it was five o'clock. When we told them the time, we decided to buy our tickets, so we went to the ticket booth and stood in line.

 I was in front of Luke, and without really thinking too much about it, I bought him his tickets. Simultaneously was the only way I could do stuff like that. If I think too much, which is not necessarily good all the time, I chicken out.

"Here you go," I said, and handed him the tickets.

 "Oh, thanks Mac," he said.

"You're welcome."

We stood on the side of the line and waited for the rest of our friends.

They bought theirs and walked up to us.

 A few of us wanted to go on the old wooden roller coaster, so we all decided to ride it and got in line. The person that took the tickets took ours and unlocked the gate so we could get on the wooden platform and get on. "Take whatever seats are available," he said and we sat down.

 Luke and I sat next to each other and locked the hand bar. Tab and Jay were in front of us, then Nina and Jordan, Carter and Darren and then Connor and some guy. We sat in the last seat, Luke's choice.

The man came around to see that everyone's bar was put down correctly and then the ride started.

It began slowly and gained speed.

 Through all of the drops we laughed and screamed. "This is so much fun," I said to Luke when we were on the bottom level going up. "I know!"

 We went down on the biggest drop and everyone screamed.

 Connor walked next to Luke and I as we walked through the park to pick another ride.

"That one looks fun," Darren said, pointing to a roller coaster called the Hurricane.

 We all walked over to it and everyone that was going to get on got in line.

"Are you getting on this one, Mackenzie?" Luke asked, his blue eyes shining brightly in the sun.

"I don't think I'll go on this one," I said. I'd never liked that one; it was small, but really loopy.

"Are you sure?" He asked me.

"Yeah . . . for this one, we'll get on the next one together."

"Okay . . ." he said and got in line.

Jordan and I stayed behind, sitting on a bench in front of it.

I smiled at Luke as he gave his tickets and was going to get on.

As the ride started, it went really high, and I remembered when I went on, it looked like it was off the rail, I would've gone on, but I didn't want to today.

"Have you ever been on this roller coaster?" I asked Jordan turning to him.

"No. I've never liked these types of roller coasters."


"I hate the way it drops."

I laughed.

Everyone got off the roller coaster and we began walking again.

"How was it?" I asked Luke.

"It was okay, I liked the other one better."


As we continued walking, we saw one of the newer rides, the log flume, and nearby, a ride that looked like a UFO, that you stood up in.

 "Which one do you want to go on?" Luke asked me.

"The Log Flume, how about you?"

"The same. Let's go."

We all split up onto either ride.

 He got into the 'log' and I sat down behind him.

It went around the shallow water first, then to where it would drop, as it went up, Luke turned around, "We're going to get soaked."

"I know. It's going to be fun!" I said as it stopped. It then went down.

 We lifted our arms. As we got to the bottom, the water splashed and wet us almost entirely. We laughed as the 'log' floated back to the platform and we got out. We waited outside of the other ride for everybody else.

 When we all were together, some of us wanted to go on the Pirate's ship, so we walked to that ride.

Connor, Luke, and I went to the boardwalk that was right near the ride.

 We all sat on a bench that the setting sun was hitting. Connor looked at the ground.

"Connor, the best thing you can do today is just try and have a good time," I said.

"I know, but it's kind of annoying with that Jay character. I mean, he's a nice guy, but . . . he's not helping with the Tabitha situation, he's just getting on my nerves."

"I figured that," Luke said, "By the way you were swearing under your breath,"

Connor smiled, "I didn't think anyone would notice. Do you think anyone else did?"

"I don't know . . ."

"Well . . . I saw it too," I said grinning.

They laughed.

"I can't wait for the fireworks show, I know I'll enjoy that," Connor said.

"Me neither," Luke said looking at his watch, "It's seven o'clock."

"That was so much fun, I've never been on that before," we heard Tabitha say as she and the others walked to where we were sitting.

"Hi guys," Tabitha said.

"Hi," we said.

Luke touched his shirt, "I'm soaked, how about you?"

"Yeah," I said.

The sun was setting and I was getting cold as it cooled off.

"We're going to get some dry clothes from my car, then," he told the others.

"Okay, we'll meet you at the Go-Karts."

"Do you want to come with us?" Luke asked Connor.

"I think I'll go with them, I want to watch that guy," he said.

"Okay," Luke said and we started to leave the park.

"I'm getting cold in these clothes," Luke said.

"Me too," I said.

 When we got to the parking lot, and to his car he unlocked the door.

In his trunk, I had a sweater to put on.

 I held it until I could get to a bathroom. Luke lifted off his shirt and put on a long sleeved shirt. "Ready?"

He asked.

"Yeah," I said and began walking.

 I looked at the amusement park; the lights were on, even though it hadn't gotten dark yet.

We stopped into the girls' bathroom, or should I say I did, on the way.

I went into a stall and threw on my shirt.

 I came back out and we went to find the others at the Go Karts. Connor was leaning on the fence watching everyone else.


Chapter Twelve  

"Hey, Connor!" Luke said.

He turned around.

He waved, "Hey guys."

 I looked at the go-karts. I saw Tab and waved, she waved back.

"I'm sick of that guy! I swear, if he doesn't just back up . . ."

"Connor, don't think about Jay," Luke said.

 Connor stopped talking and walked over to where the people getting out of the ride were coming out. He tapped Jay's shoulder when he spotted him, and he turned around. Connor lifted his fist and punched Jay in the mouth. As his hand moved away, blood poured down.

Jay lifted his hand to his face and touched it. "What the hell, Connor?" Connor answered him like this; he lifted his leg and kicked him in the groin. Connor kicked him again, but this time, Jay fought back. He took Connor's leg and twisted it. He fell to the ground and stepped on his face. His face started bleeding also. He got up and they started punching each other. He looked at Connor with rage, and hurled him to the ground.

 With everyone watching them, Luke joined in. He tried pulling them apart, but they continued fighting. Connor missed a punch to Jay and hit Luke on the cheek. Luke punched him in the face and got out of it.

"Connor, stop it!" He said.

 Connor punched Jay again. Tabitha got into it. She pulled Jay with her, Connor pulled him by the shoulder and punched him in the nose and he fell to the ground. "Connor. I hate you!" She said and helped Jay up.

"I'm never speaking to you again, ever!" She said and took Jay with her.

Connor stared at the ground and walked away.

I went up to Luke. "Are you okay?"

"I guess so," he said touching his cheek.

"Let's go to the first aid station," I said and took his hand.

 Tabitha took Jay over earlier and the others went also.

At the first aid station, we got an ice pack and we sat down on another bench.

"Connor can punch really well," Luke said and laughed

"Really?" I said and laughed also.

He nodded his head.

We saw Connor walking toward us.

We looked at him.

"Uh . . . Luke, I want to tell you how extremely sorry I am. Obviously you know I was aiming for Jay, he just got lucky that time," he said.

"I accept your apology, and I'm sorry I punched you, but, well you know, it's a guy thing. I get hit so I punch you. Get it?"

"Yeah. Well, I'm really sorry. My fighting Jay was to no avail, Tabitha still went to him."

"Yeah, well, you're lucky you didn't get arrested, and that would have been both of you."

"Yeah, that's good."

"Yeah, it is. You would be in some deep trouble if you would've been arrested."

He agreed.

"Well, I'm gonna go. I need to just think for awhile," he said and turned to leave.

I followed him. "Connor, wait!"

He turned around. Continued walking, and then stopped and turned to me.


"Wait for me."

"Okay, I am."

"I don't agree with the fight, but I do understand why it started. But . . . you don't own Tabitha. You aren't owned, and neither is she. She actually liked you. A lot. You mean a lot. You blew it when you believed Cindy."

"So, is she just not going to talk to me," he asked.

I looked at him. After a moment I had an answer.

"I don't know," I said and left.


Chapter Thirteen

I walked back to where Luke was sitting with the ice pack

on his cheek.

"How is it feeling?"


It was darker now, and all of the amusement park's lights

were on.

I looked around, everything was beautiful.

We saw the others and called them over.

"Tabitha!" I called, and she turned to me.

She and the others came.

"So, are you still looking forward to the fireworks?"


I looked at my watch again.

"It's almost time for the fireworks," I said.


"Luke, Jay, what do you think, do you want to stay for the

fireworks, or what?"

Jay shrugged, "I'm okay with it, if you are, Luke."

"Sure then."

Tab sat down on the bench. "It's been a long night, huh?"

"Yep," and I leaned my head back on the bench.

Nina was standing there picking her nail polish.

"It's been fun, though, despite everything else," she said.

I looked up. She hadn't spoken much at all today.

"Yeah, you're right," I said.

"It was nice being with you guys, all of you. Thank you for inviting me . . ." She said, and partially smiled. She, I think she did, let us in. After all this time. She smiled. Then we're off to a good start. Deep down there's got to be something else. Something more to the girl we know as Mistress 9. And I hope we get to see it.

I smiled back at her. "You're welcome. You're going to have to come to a lot more group things we do!"

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah," I said. I looked at Tab who winked at me. Kind of telling me, 'Good'.

The others agreed. And she smiled again. "Okay then," Nina said.

She looked at her watch. "Isn't it time for the fireworks any minute now?" she asked.

"Yeah," Tab said, "It is, let's go."

 As she said that, Connor came to the benches we were sitting at. He walked up to Tabitha and took her hand to talk to her.

"May I speak to you, Tabitha?"

 She looked over; I nodded to reassure her, so she went.

 We watched them go a few feet away, and Connor say something to her.

 Luke whispered to me, "It's good if they'll finally make up, and be friends again already."

"Yeah," I agreed. "That would be good."

 We watched and then turned away. They hugged and I knew that they finally did. Luke gave Connor a thumbs up. "Well, ready for the show?" Connor said walking up to us with Tab.

"Yeah," Carter said. We all got up and walked to the boardwalk.

 I held the teddy bear Luke had given me, and followed the others to the boardwalk.

 We looked up at the sky and watched the fireworks explode from our seats. With our heads cocked, I looked over at Tab. She winked at me, and I smiled at her.

 The show was beautiful. We sat there like that for about an hour. We had a blanket, and covered our legs. The ocean was silent as the small waves hit the boardwalk.

I leaned against my hand and looked up. Listening.






Chapter Fourteen

 Luke and I really didn't think Connor could handle going home in Tab's car, but he said it was okay.

"Goodnight guys," he said and shut the trunk door in the parking lot.


We got back on the highway to Manhattan.

 When we got to my building he opened my door and let me out.

"Goodnight Mackenzie," he said and hugged me gently.

"Well, goodnight," he said as he let go.

"Yeah . .. goodnight."

He got back into the car, and I walked to my building.

When I got upstairs, I headed straight to my bedroom and went to my bathroom.

 I lit candles and everything. The orange glow and the smell of the vanilla scented candles filled the bathroom. I laid back and thought. Other than the fight, the day was good. And seeing friends be friends again was a great moment.

Mackenzie xoxo



Tabitha Jane Doss


Chapter Fifteen

 Hey Diary,

 Today was like all other days Mac and I walked to school (before that I met her at the bus stop). I try to stay with my friends, as much as I can, especially at school, it seems like just about everyone has some problem. Take Nina for instance, while Mac and I were on our way drinking hot chocolate, Nina a.k.a. 'Mistress 9', as she wants to be called. Wearing a black 'Disposable teen' tee shirt with a very long black skirt, the type she wears all the time; it's always something black.

 Anyway, Mac was talking about something while I was daydreaming. As we said 'see you later', I saw Connor (the best looking guy with a brain). Coming up the hall, somehow, I said 'hi' so high pitched a pack of dogs came after me (not really). Somehow he heard me and somehow said 'hi'. And I followed him to homeroom, (some guys have it and some guys don't). I know he sees me like a little sister.

 Anyway, Cindy was saying bye to her Mommy (Buffy). Buffy is like a mother to her telling her what to do. And went to do it. It's like she's a different person when Buffy is not around, she's a lot nicer. This is why I say my homeroom is out there, we have Nina, but her master changed it, and Evan who smells like a subway, and seems to be a little sluggish. I don't know why he smells that way, you'll never now what will happen, and I might ask him why.  For language arts, we had to write some poems. Connor did such a good one, it was called 'Day'. And it went something like this,

'Days on end I see your faces

But then I see nothing but coldness, darkness and sadness

Smile, smile, smile,

So all those tears in your heart

But do not front

Do not enter'.

 I have no idea what he's been smoking, but I love him anyway. My poem was a little more up beat. So I cheated, it was from my notepad.

'The mind has a thousand eyes

But the heart just one.'

 I felt a little bad for cheating but I have a busy life. I don't have time to do some mushy stuff on paper. I have a life, not like there are a lot of people or things in it. I know that Mac is there for me, but a lot of times I feel like that it's no mom or dad, just Mac. Anyway, Nina wrote one of her usual dark, sad, dry poems.

 All the time it's the same thing, she called it 'Sin'. The same thing that brings down the whole class. It makes me think, 'What's wrong with her?' Mrs. Steinberg just went over the piece of Life sucks why are teachers so vicious.

 Don't they have a human bone in their body? This is not a sudden hate for teachers; I have all my life. Okay, I don't really hate those evil people that much, but to a certain extent.

Chapter Sixteen 

 This is what really happened: I was in lab class hoping to be Connor's partner for the exam that's worth 30% of our final report card grade. Anyway, Ms. Lee picked out the partners. So she just had to make me work with Nina. You know, little-miss-mad-at-everybody. Mistress 9.

 Anyway, then Cindy got Connor. That really sucks. I mean, she's after him like no tomorrow. It's sick, stupid, and makes me want to vomit. She was like, "Oh, I hope you can help me with all this hard stuff, he, he, he . . ." Soooo phony. She's only like that cause Buffy was there. So she was doing that dyed-blonde act, it's so lame. After being pissed off by that stupid teacher, I stroamed into study hall to do some research. And this is how you find me a little upset at Ms. Lee. But she will have her day when she will fry . . . That's not me writing, it's the anger. That will pass when I have my cocoa mocha and a Hershey bar, and I'll feel better later.



Chapter Seventeen

At home, Mom was here about a half hour, ran right out, kissed me, and told me dinner was in the oven. So I did my homework, ate some food, and I'm going to tell you about the rest of my day.

 Well, after my little tiff, I got my cocoa mocha and Hershey bar, and I felt much better. Then I met Mac for lunch, had a salad with chicken, and sat with her as she told me about her day. I saw Connor sitting with Cindy and Buffy. He didn't seem too happy, but it still bothered me so much that Mac stopped talking.

"What's the matter?" She asked.

"It's just sickening to see such a fake, phony person get her way."

 Mackenzie gave me this look like I was speaking a different language. Then I explained about Ms. Lee and the assignment.

"She's just such a fake, phony, unreal, no good, and just plain stinky."

 Then we spoke until the others came; Jordan, Luke, Evan, and Carter. This is why we need some normal girls in our school, we're outnumbered.

So as Carter made fun of my hair, I made a crack about his mother. How fat, ugly, and stupid she is. And now he's not speaking to me. I don't care, he said that yesterday. But he still spoke to me today, and joked as usual.

 Anyway, I began telling about the evil Ms. Lee. This is why I say we need more girls. Guys just don't understand.

"Don't you think you're being a little silly? I mean, he's just a guy. It's not like you're going to be his wife. He's not even that great looking. Not that I know what good looking is in a guy."

 Then I said to Jordan who just had to make such a big statement about my situation. So I just blew him off.

"You know nothing about a good looking person, look at the last girl you dated! Can you say dog?"

The whole table went up in an uproar. Jordan just blushed.

I made Mac continue. I didn't say a thing about the assignment with Mistress 9. I didn't want to depress anyone.

AHHHHH! She is so freaky! Man, next time I'll report Lee to the highest court. As I finished the rest of my homework, I called Nina.

This is how it went:

Me: "Hello? Is Nina there?"

Other line: "Ugh?" (In a deep accent)

Me: "Is Nina there?" I said louder

Other line: "Oh, I Nina's house keeper. She right here."

It was about a minute until I heard Nina.

Nina: "Who dares to enter the demeanor of Mistress 9?"

Me: "First of all, I'm not in your house. Yet I'm just calling to tell you I'll be there in about half an hour. So can you give me your address?"

Nina: The lair where my soul . . ."

Me: "Would you just cut the crap and tell me where you live?"

Nina: Park Avenue. East 86th street, building 132, apartment 80. The one with the black door."

Me: "Thank you. I'll be there in about half an hour."

After that I changed my shirt, watched some TV, and was out the door.

I had to take a cab; it was so out of the way. I got there around five fifteen, and then rang the doorbell.

A chubby, friendly looking woman answered the door, "Welcome, you Nina's friend?"

It was the same woman I had spoken to on the phone.

"Yes, I'm her partner for school. Is she in?"

"Yes. Come in. You sit in family room." She took my coat. It took about five minutes for Nina to come in, or I thought it was Nina. It was her mother. She had dark black hair, with gray eyes.

"Hello. You must be Tabitha. How are you? I'm Nina's mother. She'll be in soon. Would you like some tea?"

I couldn't believe how friendly she was, and warm.

Nina is nothing like her. Especially since she was wearing color. A pair of jeans, and a pink shirt.

"Yes, thank you."

"What kind do you want?"

"Peppermint, if you have some."

She went to the kitchen.

"Nina, come out here!" Nina's mother said.

Just then, Nina came out in the same thing: black. "Come to the place where the resting of my soul takes place."

I gave a sigh. It was irritating and draining to hear the same sad song over and over and over again. As you may expect, Nina's room is black with very dim lights, skeletons, unhappy paintings, etc. Everything you might expect.

"Nina. I'm pleading with you to forget the Goth stuff, just for tonight, so we can do this properly." A long silence before she answered. I sat down on her chair.

"Alright. Who told you I'm not really like this? I'm trying to be different. It's hard. I don't even like Marilyn Manson. I love *N Sync. And black isn't my favorite color, pink is. This room isn't even mine!"

I just looked at her like she was sick.


Then she led me to her real room. It's so much brighter. With pink, blue, yellow, green, and purple, inflatable chairs, Hello Kitty stuff, Power Puff Girls, Sailor Moon posters, and *N Sync posters. I stood there in shock. I couldn't believe one of the darkest (there are lot of people like her, or so I thought).

"I just want to be different. It's so hard to be cool. And new. These stupid poems, or so-called poems; I just make them up."

"Okay. I don't care. What you do in your personal life. I just want to finish the assignment and get it over with. Forgive me if I sound cold, but I just don't get it. You have friends. Why did you confide in me?"

"Because you're the first that asked and it's not like I act like this to get friends. It's kind of cool to get attention. To be noticed. I have seven brothers and sisters, and the kid somewhere in the middle."

I felt so sorry for Nina. I can understand wanting to be different. I'm biracial. Sometimes it's hard to stay true to what you are. Sometimes I wish I could be one thing or one race at a time. But you just gotta deal.

"If you ever tell anyone about me, it would be the end of me. It would be the end of you. I'll get some dirt on you, that would kill you."

"I'm not going to tell."

"You can't even tell your friend Mackenzie."

"I won't. I promise. Now can we just get the project over with? And if you don't mind, can we just stay in this room. I like it better."

 Then Nina's mother came in with the tea and baked goods and we did our project.

 Of course I told Mac. I mean, who else can I gossip to? She's my best friend.



Chapter Eighteen

I called Mac right when I got home to nobody. The maid left dinner on the counter. Meatballs and rice with a salad.

Anyway, I found this note:

Tabtiha, I found out I'm going to be late. I won't be home until Thursday. I left fifty dollars for take out. The maid is off this week, so keep the apartment tidy. See you Wednesday.



 Another letter from Mommy dearest who's never there. I checked the answering machine, it was Nina who called to tell me I'd better not tell about her secret, and another message from Dad saying he was going to be late.

 I just got a chance to sit down to tell you about my day. Maybe I'll have a couple of people to go to Rye Playland or something. Spring Break is coming up, and besides, I've got to find a way to get Connor back from the evil force of the Muffy's, (Buffy and Cindy). Kind of like how Sailor Moon had to save Tuxedo mask form Queen Barel, only thing is that I don't have a locket, we don't even have a special thing. I just act like an idiot when he's near. If only he would've given me a locket a thousand years ago on the Moon Kingdom. Then when he's about to go fight the Nagavirce, I'd give him the locket back to remember me by. And when he came back for one last dance, he'd give back the locket, and I'd keep it close to my heart.

 Either I watch WAY too many cartoons, or I don't have a life. Most likely both. But most likely I'll have some sort of get together. I'll see about that some time during school vacation.

 Well, I've got to get myself to bed. See you tomorrow. Night :)



Chapter Nineteen

 Okay, what part of life sucks don't I get? Why did I bother to get up today? Will I ever figure it out?

 It all began when a pack of dogs started to bark for some stupid reason. I called management and they got on the case. So maybe I thought I'd get an early start on the day. So I dragged my half asleep carcass to the bathroom. It was about six o'clock then.

 So around 6:30, I decide to wear black leather hip boots, a leather mini skirt, leather halter, and to top it off, a trench coat. I looked so hot.

 I let my brown locks down all over the place, put on some deep plum lipstick, purple eye shadow. I looked so hot.

But the only problem was that I could barely walk. So I called Mac to tell her I wasn't able to meet her.

I thought to myself, and asked, "Who are you trying to get? Connor's gonna think you are a hoe. He's going to care for you much less," But then I thought, " No, it's not that outfit that's going to get him, it's the attitude. . . .What? "

"I think the clothes are so tight that it's cutting off your brain circulation. Oh, stop thinking so much!

"Listen, just know I don't care if he likes the outfit or not. So showing that I don't care what he thinks would attract him. Get it?"

"Yeah, I guess. Well, it's your body, so I'll go for it. I'll see you at school. Bye."


 I knew she would understand. The look was almost complete. I just had to have one more thing. Shades. I found the perfect ones. The aviator style. Dark on the top part of the lenses, light on the bottom part.

 I looked so fab. It took me about hours until I was finished. To remember the moment, I took a pic of myself, and then I was off.

 The skirt was so tight I couldn't eat. So I got a cocoa mocha, hailed a taxi, and went to school.

 It's funny. Yesterday, when I was wearing a tee and flared jeans, nobody knew I existed. But today, a bunch of guys were whistling, turning heads, some guy even got smacked by a locker.

 It kind of felt good to be noticed. But if I have to wear this every time I go to school. There's no way. It's too much work to to get up early and get ready for two hours. Being sexy is hard work!

 I finally met Mac at her locker when I got to school. (It felt like forever, walking in these shoes).

"What are you doing here? We don't have a dance until June, and how did they get Britney Spears to perform?"

"I don't look like any pop singer . . . Do I? Is it over the top?"

"Well, let's just say that if you dyed your hair blonde, I would think you were Buffy's cousin."

"I said before, it's not the outfit, it's the attitude. You know, I don't have time for your bad karma, so I don't have time to talk to you, okay!"

After I started off, I felt awful for talking to her like that. So I ran back and apologized.

 I was off to homeroom when I pushed the door. All eyes were on me. Connor was actually sitting next to Cindy. I felt a little queezy. But I still prevailed. Anyway, I sat next to Connor, flashing some leg. His eyes were all on me. Cindy turned red. I proved you can be sexy and smart by answering as many questions our teacher asked as I could.  After class, he left Cindy's side and forgot to carry her books. Steam was coming out her ears.

"You look different today. I like it."

I was beaming until he said, "You remind me of my grandmother when she went to a costume party."

I felt my soul fall down. Then Cindy came up tp my ear and said, "Better luck next time."

I wanted to go home, run under my bed and eat brownie mix. But I couldn't. School had to be over.

 Connor turned around and said, "I'm looking forward to going to the amusement park with you guys."

I have to go this weekend.

All of a sudden I had an idea. "Carter is your cousin coming?"


The rest of the school day went by really fast, maybe cause I was in a daze.

Today we ate in the park. I was really mad at Mac for not even telling me she invited Connor.

"You don't even remember we made a deal? You get Luke to come, I get Connor to come. Did you even invite Luke?"

"Yeah, yeah, I did. He said he'll go. Sorry."

I hate asking for forgiveness, even if it is one of my own friends. That's just one of my vices.

The rest f the guys came, once again Mac was gazing into Evan's eyes. I swear everybody knows that she's in love with Evan, except for him; which makes him look stupid. Jordan was talking about his mother. He's always hating her. He doesn't even call her mom.

"Dawn is getting to me. I have to move out. She's always calling this poor woman to annoy her all the time. I can't stand it."

We never really asked him about his family. But he gave off negative vibes about his personal life.

The evil Ms. Lee was absent today, so we had a free period. The Cindy and Buffy hoes got sent home for indecent exposure.

 I spent time with Connor. It seems like all of a sudden he started getting really P.O.'d. Maybe he had some kind of confrontation with his folks or something. Anyway, it started to rain.

"It's beginning to rain, I wish I had an umbrella."

"Well I can see that, and you don't, so just shut up about it!" Connor said.

I couldn't believe that he said that to me. I know we're not all buddy-buddy, we just hang out with the same group. But I thought he would at least have enough respect for me not to disrespect me.

 After being in the rain for awhile, I started to look like Latoya Jackson with Scary Spice's hair. When we finally got to school, I knew I looked bad, but he didn't have to rub it in.

" You know what you look like?!? My mother, that washed-up hoe when I had to bail her out."

Mortified, just mortified. How could he say that to me? Well, I couldn't just sit there and get disrespected in front of people. "Who do you think you are?!? You're not that important that you can just come here and disrespect me like that!!! Why don't you take it out on your hoe, oh, I mean your girlfriend just because you and your family suck! Keep

it at home! Don't you come to me and treat me like crap, bastard!" He was so red, I stormed up the stairs. I was SO pissed. I had to have some green tea. It helped. After I told Mac the whole thing, she was like, "Whoa!" That was the same way I felt.

 When I got home and took a long bath. It took about an hour to wash off all that junk. I called Mac to tell her why I left early.

"What are you going to do tomorrow? Do you want me to un-invite Connor? If it's not too much for you."

That was real nice of her to ask, but I know how much she would hate that.

"No, it's okay, he's coming, and so is Carter's cousin Jay."

I planned on making Connor jealous of Jay. I don't think Mac knew I had it in me to do such a thing. I couldn't believe it myself, and I hope something would happen!



Chapter Twenty 

My goodness, what a day. Let me begin: Hey, diary, today we went to Rye Playland. We had an early start, about 9 a.m. Let's see, there was Jay, Carter, Nina, Darren, Mac, Jordan, Luke and Evan. I was driving my car, the bug, probably the only thing that I love that my parents have given me. Jay is so different from Connor. It's kind of hard to say. I think 'cause he's clingy. He's more clingy but friendly. I could tell Connor was jealous.

 When we finally got there, we met up with the others. Jay is so different from Connor. It's kind of hard to say. I think 'cause he's clingy. He's more clingy but friendly. I could tell Connor was jealous. I had no idea why he had to be so clingy. It's like, give me some space, but at least it gave Connor the "green eye". It was funny seeing Connor mumbling under his breath. He looked kind of cute.

 Jay is really nice. I felt a little bad but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. That sounds like a dumb blonde but he had it coming. I was using Jay, I should let him down easy.

 As the day went on, I noticed that Luke and Mac were getting closer. They made each other sea shell necklaces, it was so sweet. Mac doesn't know it, but I really think he likes her. She would never give in to the fact that someone is into her.

 After lunch, we went to the parking lot and dumped the leftover stuff into the trunks. Then we were off to the park. So much fun! All the cool stuff I forgot. I haven't been here for such a long time. The last time I was here I was just 10 years old. Back then; I was the center of my parent's attention. We would go all the time, every week, almost.  Suddenly, a fight broke out between Connor and Jay. I have no idea what started it. Well, maybe I do. I tried making Connor jealous, and I now see it worked. All I know is that there was blood. I had to do something. I said things I shouldn't have. Saying that I hated Connor was stupid and wrong.

 Later on though, a few seconds before going to the firesworks show, Connor came up to me and apologized. He came up and took my hand, and said sorry, and then hugged me. I was so happy. Now we're finally friends again. Forever. And ever.





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