Saturday, 9 July 2011
11:56:34 AM (GMT)
Jaycee let her smirk grow wider. Ophelia dropped her hand and smiled, then said,
"It’s very nice to meet you, as well."
Jaycee mumbled something inaudible and turned away to go in the other room. I
flashed Ophelia an apologetic look, and all she could say was "What's wrong?" how did
she not realize what was wrong? Or, if she did, how could she ignore it?
Either way, I smiled and said nothing, that it didn't matter. Mother suggested that
we head to my room, and I took her up on that offer. If Ophelia was already thinking
our family was weird, the worst thing I could do was keep her around them. I wasn't
going to stay around the rest of my family with Ophelia, so she followed me upstairs.
I tried to calm my mind, but I didn't have any idea what this evening was going to
When we were in my room, I couldn't help but blurt the first thing that came to my
mind. "I'm sorry about Jaycee; she isn't always like that", which, of course, was an
absolute lie. Well, at least the second part was. For a moment she stared at me,
cocked her head as if she couldn't register what I was saying, or didn't catch the
"What do you mean? She seemed okay to me."
Confusion fogged my brain as I tried to figure out what Ophelia meant by this. Both
Jaycee and my mother had seemed cold to her, in my opinion. Or maybe that's how I've
always perceived them.
There was an awkward pause, in which neither of us where sure what to say. She
pulled hair from her eyes and laughed softly at the silence, and in turn, I laughed
too. Then, unsure of what else to say, I asked what her new foster parents were like.
She gave me a blank stare, furrowing her eyebrows. "Foster parents?" she repeated,
as if the words were foreign to her tongue. "Oh, you mean the people I'm living
with." She paused again, and I suppose she was thinking over the words foster
parents. "They're keeping me safe. You know, from Hook. I stole his treasure when we
were back home, and ever since he's been looking for me. Peter said I had to stay
here, so here I am. They're nice enough, but nothing like my friends in Neverland.
People here are pretty boring." There was that word again. I'm boring, average. "Not
you though," she continued "you're honestly the first person who has tried to talk to
me. Well, aside from Brooke." About halfway through her speech I wanted to stop her
and tell her she needed to stop pretending, but I didn't. Something inside me wanted
to, but the majority of me didn't. So instead I asked her why she and Brooke didn't
get along, if there was something I was missing.
"No, not really. She's just like everyone else; unsure of anything that strays from
ordinary. I'm something new to this town, and she doesn't know how to deal with that.
She takes that as a bad thing, but I don't want to waste my time trying to understand
girls like her." Girls like her. She admitted that she wasn't the same as other
people. I almost started to believe she was from Neverland, because that was the only
thing that would make sense; why else would she be so weird I sat on the carpet, and
she sat across from me, her back to the wall. "So is it my turn to ask the questions
now?" She asked, giggling.
"Uh, sure. Go for it."
"Okay," she said, thinking. She put a finger to her chin and tapped it
rhythmically. "Okay, I have one. Why do you keep biting on your lower lip when I talk
"I... uh." I hadn't been conscious of doing that; maybe my old habit had started up
again. I wonder what she thought of that. "Why?"
"Shush," she said, holding up a finger and frowning. "You said it was my turn to
ask random questions." I laughed.
My questions weren't random."
“Yes they were," she said in a matter-of-fact voice. Before I respond, she asked
if I liked orange juice.
"Yeah, it's okay. I prefer it to apple juice." If this was the type of thing she
was going to ask, I might as well give her an honest answer.
"Does Jaycee like orange juice?" She asked, and I felt my eyebrows furrow.
"I think so," I answered honestly. "Does it matter?"
"It does. Stop asking stupid questions," she joked in a serious tone. I could
see the corners of her mouth in a slight smile.
I started smiling too, involuntarily. "Do YOU like orange juice?" I asked her,
Hey! My turn, remember?" I guess she was right. I agreed to let her continue her
senseless survey. "Do you like someone?" This one caught me off guard.
"Oh, that kind of like. Well, I don't know."
"You're very indecisive."
"Never said it was a bad thing." Wow, this girl is confusing. "I like someone," she
said, nodding. "Mhm. I do."
"Who would that be?"
"I'm not telling you. And it's still my turn." She said, giggling. I laughed.
"Have you ever been to Neverland?"
"No, I haven't. Plane tickets are so expensive."
"You don't need a plane, silly. You just do it."
"... On your own?" Disbelief coated my tongue.
I chewed my lower lip.
"Don't look at me like that," she said, and I realized I was staring at her. "Peter
said I'm not allowed to fly until Hook gets off my case; he can be so mean. He calls
me a child. AND he's the same age as me. I mean, seriously. Who does he think he
"Ophelia, stay on topic please."
“Okay, sorry. Well I'm not allowed to fly because of Hook. Now, I bet you could
defeat him. Peter won't; he says I got myself in this much trouble and that I
shouldn't have stole from Hook in the first place. I mean, how do you NOT steal from
a pirate? It's so... customary. It's almost contradictory to say that we shouldn't
steal from pirates. They dedicate their lives to being thieves."
"Yeah, I hate when that happens," I guess this bothered her. I can see why.
"But Wendy's been here for longer than I have, and she says she forgets about
flying. But I don't think she does, not really. Tinkerbell won't send me any
fairydust, either; she's in cahoots with Peter. I mean, he's such a child. First he
sends me here because of Hook, which is a punishment in itself, but then he won't
even let me fly!"
This is definitely not your typical teenage issue. I tried to be understanding
towards Ophelia, but I couldn't understand much at that point. I came in with a few
"Yeah"s or "Oh wow, that sucks", but I honestly wasn't sure where this was going.
She crossed her arms. "But I'm sure if someone wasn't so mean, you'd have lots of
fun flying. I could teach you. You'd love it."
I have to agree with that. It does sound pretty fun. Jumping off your bed and
landing in a bunch of pillows isn't the same effect, is it? That’s the closest I've
She frowned. "No, it isn't." She stood up. "You put your arms out, like this." She
put her arms out in demonstration. "And then, you... fall. Only you don't fall, you
fly. But don't try it now!" she said seriously. "You need Tinkerbell's fairydust."
"Well. Can I ask a favor of you?"
"Of course," she answered
"If you ever get any of her special dust, let me know so I can fly with you."
"I will!" she said enthusiastically.
She sat back down, and then, in a mock-child voice, I asked if it was my turn to
ask questions yet. She said it was.
"Who do you like?" I asked, remembering how she'd said she'd liked someone
"No fair. I want a different question." She said, frowning.
"Okay, okay, fine. Um... have you always lived in Neverland? Before you came here, I
She looked at me like she couldn't believe I was asking that question, like it was
obvious. "Well of course I have."
I was tempted to ask her about her biological parents, but I didn't want to upset
"You ask boring questions," she said, crossing her legs. "Ask me something
interesting." Interesting, I thought, dumbfounded. She'd said I was the only person
she'd met that wasn't boring, and then she says I have boring questions. I was at a
I asked her the only thing I could think of. "Why do you say I'm not boring?"
"Becauseee." She said. "Look at Brooke. Brooke is boring. And you are not. Because
you just aren't. It's like asking me to define the word, um. Well, a word that can't
We both laughed a little there. "I guess you have a point." The conversation was
beginning to get a little more natural, which I was thankful for.
She asked me why I stopped biting my lip. "Are you taking notes or something?" I
asked, trying to sound neutral but actually found it pretty funny.
"Noo. But what else am I supposed to stare at?"
I found it kind of odd that she had been staring at my lips. "Uh... I don't know."
wow, I guess I do say that a lot.
"Well," she said, pondering out loud. "I could stare at the ceiling."
She looked up at the ceiling to demonstrate. "Better?" She asked.
"No, I can't see you now." She lowered her head again, and we both laughed. "How
about some eye contact?"
"Okay." She met my eyes. Her eyes were a soft blue color, more of a pale grey than
most of the other blue eyes I'd seen. She didn't have any makeup on her eyelashes or
around her eyes, as far as I could tell.
"By the way, yes... I do like orange juice. Peter and I used to drink that a lot."
She was getting back on topic by getting off topic from her tangent. I think.
"Oh, that's cool. I don't see how anyone couldn't like orange juice, anyway."
She smiled, breaking our eye contact. Again. I wondered if she never got used to
people, or what. She obviously wasn't comfortable looking me in the eye. Then she
pursed her lips, and then asked, "How do you NOT know if you like someone?" She
asked, remembering what I'd said earlier. "I mean, Peter likes Wendy, and he can
admit it. He says it all the time. Okay, maybe not all the time, but when he does, he
blabs away as if there's no tomorrow. Well, I mean, of course there will be, and of
course he's aware, but-- oh, you know what I mean."
"Well... I think I like someone, but I'm not sure." This was difficult.
"How can you not be sure if you like someone or not? Either you do or you don't.
It's not something you can decide, either. It happens and I don't think we have power
over that. At this point, she giggled. "And it's really, really easy for it to
happen. Like, out of nowhere. Trust me, it's happened before. For example, you'll be
feeling terrible, and then," she paused, her eyes sparkling madly. "It’s amazing.
It's as though everything has stopped, just for you and that person. And no matter
how bad you felt, you don't feel that way anymore. I've never tried drugs, but I bet
it's a million times better than THAT. It's amazing."
"I guess that makes sense. What if... I'm still unsure?"
"You are so uncertain! You need to take risks if you want to get anywhere."
"Risks," I repeated, raising an eyebrow. "So you're saying if I go skydive
tonight, I'll get an A+ on my next math test?"
She frowned. "Why would you skydive when you could fly?"
I laughed. “Not my point."
"You need to take risks, and THEN you get places. Sorry, but your math test is out
of the picture at the moment."
"I guess you're right. What would be an appropriate risk in this situation?"
"First, decide if you like this person or not. No, scratch that. You'll know. When
you know if you like them or not, tell them! Nothing will happen if you don't."
"And if I do tell them?" I asked. "Then what'll happen?"
"What do you think? Either they'll say they like you too, or not. Or maybe they
won't. Anything, really. But if you don't take the risk, you'll never know."
"How encouraging," I said jokingly. She rolled her eyes.
"You're almost as bad as Peter. Minus the annoying blabs."
"Oh, thanks. I've always wanted to be compared to Peter Pan."
"Yeah?" Was she being sarcastic? I kind of hoped not.
At this point, she reached into the pocket of her sweater and fished out
something. She held it out.
"This," she said, in a matter-of-fact tone, "is what I stole from Hook." In her
palm lay a golden key. I wasn't sure how to react. "In case you were wondering. He
overreacts a lot, see, and it's not like this key led to anything special anyway. But
Peter made a big fuss of it, saying that stealing was wrong no matter how small the
token, bla bla bla. It was ridiculous. I mean, I could have stole something even MORE
expensive but I didn't, and he should have praised me for that. But noooo, he gets
all upset with me because I stole period." She puffed out her cheeks. I nodded in
agreement but honestly wasn't sure what I was agreeing on; either way, she seemed
satisfied when I did so.
"Do you know what it is for?" I asked her, curiousity in my voice, though genuine
or not I wouldn't have been able to tell you.
"Nope! I just have an attraction to shiny objects" we both laughed sincerely at
that remark. "Really though, I don't. My ony reason for it was because It was
exciting. But Peter says that's bad, that I thought it was. It's not anything
I was getting interested now. "What if it is?"
"Well, then it sucks to be Hook! He's the bad guy, we shouldn't care."
"What if it's a family heirloom or something?" I asked, frowning. She smirked.
"Hook played that card on Jane once." I didn't stop to remember Jane was Wendy's
daughter in the storybooks. "I don't think he has any family, actually, but I don't
think he cares. Aren't you glad you don't have a son like Hook? Personally, I think
it would suck." She looked at me in question. Unsure of what to say, I said, "Uh,
yeah. It would suck..."
"It would. I mean I guess you'd have to be a pretty twisted father for your son to
end up like that, but..."
Picking up where she had trailed off, I added "Yeah, my friend's dad was similar.
Kind of abusive. I mean, he's no Hook but he's not exactly the most stable person in
She cringed at the word 'abuse', and for a split second, I remembered she was
human. That she probably had a family before they died. Or maybe she wasn't an
orphan. Maybe she was a runaway. A castaway? I almost hit myself for thinking that.
Of course she wasn't. She has family that loved her, I told myself. Those rumors were
just that - rumors.
"Oh," She said, and suddenly everything poured back into color. She seemed to have
pushed the thought out of her mind. "Do you like the smell of nail polish?"
I gave her a confused look.
"It's still my turn for asking questions.”
"Wow, that was a long tangent." I had forgotten about our questions. "No, I
don't. Jaycee uses it a lot and it gives me headaches. Do you?"
"No, but I like the colors."
"Oh. Yeah, colors are good."
"I love colors. Do you want to hear all of my favorite colors?" She caught herself
at the question and talked again quickly so that I wouldn't be able to answer. "I
like pink and blue and gold and white and orange and red and green and blue and gold
and yellow and rainbow." She said, counting on her fingers. "Gee, that's a lot. How
many favorite colors do YOU like, Lucas?"
"I... I like blue. And green. And red, and gold. Green is my favorite though." She
began counting mine on her fingers, and frowned a little when she couldn't even fill
"What about all the others?"
"I like them too, but they can't ALL be my favorite. That’s the point."
"Why not?" She asked, frowning. "Can't you like all of them?"
"You can, but then you wouldn't have a favorite."
"Who says you can only have a few?"
"Uh, the definition of the word."
"Lame. Next question. How many stuffed animals do you own?"
This was getting weird. "Um... I don't. I mean, I had a bear when I was little but
I'm not sure where that went. I may still have it. Why?"
She looked at me funny. Then, she asked if I liked yellow rain jackets. I asked her
why she was so curious. She told me to be quiet, that it was HER turn to ask
questions, and I laughed.
"You are the weirdest girl I've ever met."
She puffed out her chest. "Why thank you, kind sir. And you are the least boring."
She paused. "Not including my friends in Neverland, of course."
"Well thank you, m'lady." I bowed a little bit, trying to play along with the
moment. She giggled softly, which made me smile too. Maybe she was right, about the
knowing when you liked someone thing.
But that was before everything, and as she pretended to curtsy, I was sort of
telling myself that this was what I'd see later, tomorrow, a month, a year from now.
I guess I thought she'd never leave, that her personality was that way and it was
going to stay such. That nobody, nobody at all could bring her down, or hurt her, or
make her change.
I was so extremely wrong.
That Monday, I was really looking forward to seeing Ophelia at school. When I
stepped into Math and realized she wasn't there, I was instantly curious. I guess she
could have been sick like any other normal person, but she had seemed fine at my
house. My worries were confirmed when she wasn't at lunch either. Where was she?
I asked someone in my seventh hour American History class if they knew where she
was. Whoever he was answered halfheartedly, "don't know, man. Sorry." When our
teacher called attendance, I noticed Brooke wasn't in our class either, and that's
when I seriously started freaking out.
So what. So what if they're both gone? Coincidence. Totally a coincidence. Though my
gut was telling me otherwise, I forced myself to lean back and listen for the rest of
the school hour.
I couldn't pay attention to the lesson; I was way too worried about Ophelia and
Brooke mysteriously both being out. What if they... what if something happened to
her? I didn't have her phone number, so I didn't know if there was a way to find out
if she was okay. I would have to wait until tomorrow.
I didn't see her much the next day. Sometimes she'd arrive in the middle of our
classes, carrying a slip, and the teacher would nod, give her a sympathetic look, and
she'd sit down. Other than that, she was practically invisible.
I sat with her on the bus again, though this time she seemed more withdrawn. When I
asked if she wanted to talk about Neverland, she frowned, laughed halfheartedly, and
said maybe later. She wore long sleeves though it was the middle of summer, and I
wondered what was up.
I began to worry about her a lot. School was almost out, and I hadn't seen her in
class or at lunch much since that first day she had been absent. I wanted to get her
phone number, email, something, anything, so I could keep in touch with her. I wanted
to help her, to fix whatever was hurting her. When I asked her, she scribbled down an
e-mail address and phone number. She gave it to me without the smile I'd come to
Things went on around me away from her, in my family and at school. I had to remind
myself she wasn't my life, that I had one away from her and worrying wouldn't get me
anywhere. Still, things around me weren't as bad as they could be, so I decided to
When she answered the phone, she gave me a flat hello, though it was still pitched
highly as her normal voice naturally was.
“How are you feeling?" This was the only thing I could think to ask her.
"Okay." She didn't even have a rediculous question to ask me, or a story of her
adventures in Neverland. None of her normal, bubbly personality could be found in her
"Well... would you mind if I came over to see you som