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Charlotte's Story [CHANGE UPDATED 2]


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27 November 2010, 04:49 PM   #1
The Founder
Joined: 2 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Last edited by ‹RushingStars★›, 27 November 2010
I'm completely starting over. Well, not completely, but it's gonna be pretty
different from my first draft of Change. Enjoy! 


Chapter 1
I sat in my bedroom, looking at a small, brown book. It was early, so early that not even
the sun was awake yet. But I couldn't sleep. Today was my interview with Mr. Ron Becker, a
TV host well-known for his show 'Celebrity Sun'. He interviewed famous figures every week,
and this week, it was me.

I looked over at my boyfriend, sleeping on the other side of our bed. He looked so
innocent, which reminded me of the days when we were young. I sat against the headboard
and closed my eyes, remembering all the games we played and the trouble we got into. Then
I looked down at the book, the one that was filled with stories and dreams. I flipped to
the first page and saw the rough draft of a story I had written in high school; a story
that took up the entire book. My life story. The words were covered with scratches and
cross-outs, arrows and notes in the margin. It didn't matter. The story was embedded in my
mind; a burning memory branded into my brain. 

On the inside cover of the book, written in shaky lettering on the page, it said
"Charlie's booke. Do not opin. Or be forevver cursd." The misspellings put a smile on my
face; I had this book since before the accident, though I didn't start using it until many
years later. I had been so young, so eager when I opened the gift bag on my birthday and
saw the little brown book inside. That was back when everyone still called me Charlie. My
eyes moved across the inside cover, to the first page, and up to the title. I had thought
long and hard about what to call this story. I had changed the title so many times,
starting at "Charlie's Book" and finally deciding on "Charlotte's Story: Life Seen Through
a Burnt Ballerina's Eyes".

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+    
Charlotte's Story: Life Seen Through a Burnt Ballerina's Eyes
Chapter 1 

When I was young, I grew up in a small town in Michigan called Red Bay. It was my favorite
place in the world, and perfect for a kid like me: a tomboy. I loved diving into the pool
in the summer, crashing through red-gold leaves in the fall, knocking over snowmen heads
in the winter, and jumping in the mud in the spring. From these things, anyone could
conclude that I was also a little bit of a troublemaker; it was true. On warm days, I wore
no shoes. My casual clothes consisted of shorts and plain T-shirts. 
My short red hair was almost never brushed. But my green eyes were always sparkling with
the joy of being a kid. Whenever I met somebody new, they would immediately see me as a
girl who loved to get dirty. That person was always surprised to learn that I loved
dancing.

Yes, I loved to dance; ballet, really. My mother used to be a famous ballerina, though she
stopped when she had me. I started taking lessons from my mother when I was three. We
didn't have much money, because the money stopped coming when my mom stopped dancing. So
we couldn't afford real ballet lessons, or a real ballet uniform. I always wanted a shiny,
black leotard; stretchy, pink tights; soft, purple leg warmers; and real satin, baby's
breath pink shoes. But I tried to put that dream aside, and spent my days playing in the
neighborhood.

I never played alone. My days were spent with Zack, my very best friend, who lived down
the street from me. He had spiky blue-black hair, and serious gray eyes. He took karate
lessons, and was a good fighter. He reminded me of a spy, or a ninja, because of the
quiet, sneaky way he would move around. Despite his seriousness, Zack was very fun to play
with. In fact, the older I got, the more I felt like I never had any fun unless I was with
him.

Then came Penny. She and her mom moved into the house next door to Zack. It was obvious
she was rich. Her clothes always had a neat, expensive look about them. Penny was very
pretty. Her honey-blonde hair was dyed with pink streaks, and her sweet, chocolate brown
eyes were big and adorable. She loved the color pink and wore it often, much to my
dismay-I detested the girlish color. The first impression Penny gave to everyone was
sweet, funny, and cute. I soon learned that there was nothing funny or sweet about her.

It happened in early summer, when I was seven and Penny had only been around for a few
weeks. Penny, Zack, and I were all in Zack's backyard. Zack and I were playing tag. Penny
was sitting on a lawn chair. She was always so neat, and didn't like running around or
getting dirty. She always sat out the games we played. I was fine with that, and Zack
never said anything about it either. But it was clear that Penny didn't like being left
out. She would sit with a grim look on her fave, moving only her eyes as she watched Zack
and I run around the yard. Finally, on that particular day, she stood up and wailed,
"Zaaaaack! You never play with me! I wanna do something else! Let's go inside." To my
surprise, Zack abandoned our game of tag and followed Penny inside. I simply stood there,
dumbfounded. Had that really just happened?

After that day, it seemed as if Penny had Zack under a spell. He did everything she asked
him. He would play with me, but would usually talk about what he did with Penny. And as
soon as Penny wanted to do something else, he would go with her. It made me mad that he
was spending more time with Penny than me. All my attempts of trying to get Zack's
attention failed.

The final straw came when Penny told me, right to my face to stay away from Zack. Penny
had just asked Zack to get her a drink of water. While he was inside, I ran to the picket
fence surrounding his yard to look at a stray cat I spotted out of the corner of my eye. I
never made it to the fence, though. Penny ran behind me and shoved me, knocking me to the
ground. 

I blinked up at her in surprise, then asked, "What was that for?"

"Shut up," snapped Penny. I was surprised more by the actual words than her harsh tone. I
was not allowed to say ''shut up".

"Why do still play with Zack? It's obvious he likes me more. I'm more so-phis-ti-ca-ted
than you, and way prettier. You should just stay away from him forever."

I was so shocked that I couldn't say anything. I knew Penny didn't like me playing with
her and Zack, but I never really thought she disliked me so much. Well, I could be mean,
too! I vowed on that day that no matter what, I would do everything I could to tear Penny
and Zack apart.

In my eighth year of life, I did possibly the stupidest thing an eight-year old could do.
I tried to win Zack over.....with fire.

I walked over to Zack's house in a good mood, feeling as if I was seeing everything for
the first time. I was so sure that after today, Zack would forget Penny forever. I just
knew that everything would go perfectly; I had practiced for so long.

I walked over to Zack and Penny, saying "Hey, Zack, I wanna show you something!

"OK," he replied. Zack was always a boy of few words.

I reached into my pocket. My fingers closed around a small, square box. I pulled it out,
revealing a box of matches. I gathered up some leaves and put them in a pile, then
smoothed them out so that no grass could be seen. I picked up a long, skinny stick, lit a
match, and set one end of the stick on fire. Penny and Zack gasped as I waved the stick
around, and drew swirls and circles in the air. Noting the awe in Zack's eyes and the
jealousy in Penny's, I walked over to the leaves. I used the stick as a writing utensil,
and made a giant, flaming heart in the leaves, writing a "C" on one side and a "Z" on the
other.

I blew out the stick and stood with my back to the fire. "It'll go out in a second,"  I
explained. "Zack, then you can see what I wrote better!" I started backing up, thinking
that the fire would be out by the time I got to the leaves, where I could then whirl
around and display my beautiful design. "Did you like it, Penny?" And the next things that
happened felt like it took a million years, but in reality, it was only a few seconds.

I have found that I am very good at seeing emotions in people's eyes, which is how I saw
the fear in Zack's. He started screaming at me to stop, and ran towards me. 

Penny ran towards me as well, and to anyone else, it would have looked like she was going
to help me. But I knew. It just clicked. I felt the heat of the rising flames behind me,
and that told me what Penny was planning to do. I knew what she was doing, but I couldn't
stop it, couldn't stop her, because in the next instant, Penny pretended to trip over a
stick and put her hands on my shoulders as if to keep herself upright.

But really, she pushed me into the fire.

A few moments late, Zack turned the hose on, and doused the flames. Though it had only
been in the fire for about six seconds, my entire right leg was covered with fire. I only
landed partly on the fire, but most of my right side was burnt. For a moment it was
silent, except for the water dripping from the hose and the sizzle of the smoke on the
leaves.  Penny looked a little sick, and Zack looked as if he was about to faint. That's
when I started screaming.

After that, I was rushed to the hospital. I never saw it, but heard that my leg was all
black; it was badly burnt. It had to be amputated. I was only eight, and I only had one
leg. Doctors said I was lucky, that if I'd been in the fire for even a few more seconds, I
might not have made it. They say exactly what that meant, but i figured it out. I could
have died. 

All the visitors were "So sorry for the little girl who went though such a tragedy!". Zack
came a few times, but he didn't say much. I wouldn't look as him, and when he started
apologizing, I just started crying. That made him leave very quickly. No boy ever wants to
be around a crying girl. So finally he just stopped coming.

Penny and her mom came by once. Her mom was smiling, but her eyes were dead, and you could
tell Penny didn't want to be there. She just stared at the floor and mumbled the usual:
"I'm sorry, I hope you get better, blah blah blah." They didn't stay long. But right
before they left, Penny looked at me and hissed, "Maybe now you'll stay away from him."

I thought to myself, OK Penny, you win.

I was broken.
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27 November 2010, 05:46 PM   #2
The Founder
Joined: 2 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Chapter 2
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm. I quickly opened my eyes to see my boyfriend sitting
up, looking at me with a smile. 

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah. I'm fine. Just thinking about the past."

"Nervous about today?"

I swallowed. "Yeah."

He scooted closer to me and said, "Don't worry. I'll be there, and your friends, too."
Then, after a moment: "Come on, let's get ready."


Two hours later, we were in the car on on the way to the studio. it was still early; 7:30
AM. I felt it was crazy that the show didn't even start until 10:00. Since I knew it would
take awhile to arrive, I got comfortable in my seat, opened my book, and began reading.

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Charlotte's Story: Life Seen Through a Burnt Ballerina's Eyes
Chapter 2

When I was finally admitted out of the hospital, I was depressed. I wouldn't go outside
and would barely eat anything. I felt as if my life was ruined, because I lost my best
friend and couldn't dance anymore. I would simply stare out the window. My favorite days
were when it was raining, because I felt like the earth was crying with me.

When summer ended, I refused to go to school. My mother decided to homeschool me. I read
tons of books, and was soon way past my reading level. I read books for junior high
students, and because of this, I became very mature. I hardly talked, but when I did, my
parents would stare at me as if I announced I would hitchhike to China in a pink bathing
suit. 
When the year ended, my parents decided that the best thing to do would be to move away
from our little town. We quickly sold our house and bought another one in Los Angelos, a
big move for us, considering we didn't have
much money. I didn't miss Red Bay at all.

Our new house was very big. The light blue paint gave off a cheery feeling, and I knew I
would spend many days sitting on the porch swing. The garden was filled with beautiful,
exotic-looking flowers, but that was where the beauty ended. My parents could not convince
me to smile. The house was better than our old one, but i was still sad.

My mom thought I needed a fresh start, so she decided to give me a makeover. She took me
to a beauty salon, were they dyed my hair blonde and gave it layers. Gone were my
ketchup-red tresses and split ends. We next
bought me color contacts, were my green eyes changed to coral blue. My ears were pierced
with tiny diamonds. We bought new clothes. My shorts, plain T-shirts, and sandals
were given away to charity. I was now in possession of brown and white skirts,
flip-flops, shirts that had Hello Kitty graphics,
tank tops, and long-sleeves that had empowering messages such as "You go, girl!" and
"Dream On". I was transformed into an entire new person.

Next, I went through all my things. I threw away beat up stuffed animals that nobody
could possibly want, tore up pictures I scribbled years ago, and got rid of anything else
that reminded me of my old home and friends. Soon, all I had left were the new things I
had bought. But as I was fluffing up my pillow, I noticed something fall out and float to
the carpeted floor. It was a picture of Zack and I. I recognized it immediately; it was
when our families went to an apple orchard, right before Halloween. I was looking up at
the tree, grinning, and Zack was above me, throwing down apples. I turned the picture
over and saw what I had written in my terrible six-year-old printing: "Zack, Charlie. 6
Appl
Orcherd"  

I couldn't bring myself to tear the photo up, so I stuck it back in my pillow case. 

I still didn't feel much different; something was missing. So I asked my parents to call
me
Charlotte from now on. And whenever someone asked me what happened to my leg, I told them
it was a fire accident and didn't go into details. Pretty soon, I even believed that
myself.


Now, I had to choose a new school to go to. My mother had found two, and was letting me
pick
the one I liked best. The first was a public school, called Whittington Board School, and
the second was a private school, called St. John's. We visited the public school first,
and I ended up choosing that one. I didn't like St. John's. It was too small, and the
hallways seemed bland. Everything look too new, as if it was just built. the paint looked
too fresh, the classrooms too bright. I felt as if they had tried to hard to make it look
inviting. it was ugly. 

Whittington Board, however, was very large, with a friendly atmosphere. It was two
separate
buildings; the smaller one was for grades first through fourth, and the second one was
for grades fifth through eighth. There were big, inviting classrooms, and I especially
liked the library; it seemed comfy and cozy. 

I thought I would feel less insecure at the public school because I would be in the first
building, since I was in second grade. I would not have to worry about passing the older
children
in the hallway or parking lot and have them tease me. I was wrong. For the first few
weeks, I felt more alone that I ever did in my whole life. But then, on an
early October day, when a group of third grade boys were laughing and making rude
comments
about my leg, it happened. it was lunchtime, and the boys accidentally ran into me. They
started joking about hurting me, pushing me down for being in their way. I was scared; I
knew they were just kidding, but I was still terrified. If I fell down, I might not be
able to get back up. Then I would have a serious injury.

Suddenly, a girl who I recognized as someone from my class, came up to me. She put her
arm around me and faced the boys, saying, "You guys are MEAN! You're just BULLIES!" She
then pushed through them and guided me to her table, filled with her friends.

The girl told me her name was Abby. She was very outgoing, and born to be a leader. The
was also beautiful, and you could tell even more so when she flipped and long blonde hair.
She introduced me to her three best friends, Sammy, Channel, and Syles.  After that day, I
was always included in their friendship circle. We became extremely close, thought Abby
was the one who became my best friend.

As the years progressed, Abby, Sammy, Channel, Syles, and I became inseparable. We went
everywhere together and cheered each other on. We screamed for Abby at her volleyball
games, gave encouragement to a shaky Sammy and poetry readings, congratulated Channel
when her soccer team won the championships, and clapped as loud as we could at Syles's
violin concerts. We were the kind of friends that were always seen together.
Teachers and parents knew were best friends, and coaches expected us at games and
recitals. 

My friends were always there to rescue me if someone was being mean. I soon learned to
just ignore those people, though I never forgot about my leg. Everyday I thought about
what my life would be like if I hadn't tried to prove my friendship to Zack. If I hadn't
had my leg amputated, hadn't moved or met my friends. I could never bring myself to think
about never meeting Abby or the others, but I knew that if I still had two legs, I'd be
dancing. The thought never crossed my mind to get a fake leg in order to do so; my family
was almost broke, even if we didn't look it. Abby's parents and mine became extremely
close, and because
Abby's father was in the movie industry, they had money to spare. We often got that spare
money, but I knew my parents didn't like taking it. Getting a fake leg would mean taking
money from Abby's family again, and I couldn't ask them to do that. So I simply pushed
down the feeling of longing, tried to forget I would never dance again, and went on with
my life in a body that wasn't mine with a fake smile plastered to my face.
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27 November 2010, 06:32 PM   #3
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
Posts: 669
I like it a lot more. Its more interesting and flows better.

One mistake I caught:

We became extremely close, thought [though?]
Abby was the one who became my best friend.

Also, maybe you could include that she was a dancer before she lost her leg and she
realized that she can't dance any more?

Just a suggest, because it felt to me like you just threw that in to make a story.

If that makes sense.

Good luck!

27 November 2010, 06:59 PM   #4
The Founder
Joined: 2 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Thanks! And yeah, I guess I kinda forgot about that part... 
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27 November 2010, 07:46 PM   #5
The Founder
Joined: 2 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
I know I keep posting, but I'm only doing this for me. To be fair, I don't really care if
anyone reads it.

Chapter 3
We finally arrived at the studio. A policeman waved us inside the private parking, then we
got out and stretched our legs. My book fell to the grimy asphalt, and I quickly rescued
it from chewed gum and dirt. I felt the arm of my boyfriend around my shoulders as he led
me through the parking lot to the deserted-looking building we were supposedly shooting
the show in. My heart was beating fifty times it's normal pace. I had been to several
other interviews about how I became famous, as everyone seems to think my life story is
amazing, a miracle, a work of God, blah blah blah. I clutched my book tightly, willing
myself to forget this disgusting looking place. But instead of happy thoughts, the next
chapter in my story came to life in my mind. 

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Charlotte's Story: Life Seen Through a Burnt Ballerina's Eyes
Chapter 3

On a warm, lazy Friday in mid-October, four twelve year old girls sat in my backyard.
Sammy, Channel, Syles and I were waiting for Abby to arrive so we could hang out. We were
talking about nothing in particular when suddenly, we head the banging of my fence door
open and saw Abby come running up the stone walk to the place where we were all sitting.
Her backpack and volleyball bag were banging against her legs, her hair flew back behind
her head, and she was clutching some papers in her hand.

"It's here! It's here, guys! Oh my God it's HERE!" she yelled. She dumped all her bags on
the ground and threw the papers at us while she explained. "I found out at school today
that the cheerleading tryouts are here! We're finally old enough! Oh my God, I'm so
excited!" They all squealed and jumped up and down, examining the papers, which turned out
to be sign up sheets. Everyone was beside themselves with joy, and they immediately
started talking about what routines to do and what songs to dance to.

Everyone was happy and overjoyed, except me. Abby noticed me just standing there. "What's
wrong?" she asked, but no sooner had the words left her mouth than she realized why I was
so mad. "Oh, I'm sorry Charlotte, I didn't...."

"Whatever," I cut her off. I couldn't believe this. How could Abby be so heartless,
bringing those cheerleading sign up sheets to my house, talking about dancing around,
jumping and leaping, when she knew that I couldn't? I turned around and went inside.
Behind me, my friends fell silent. 

I sat in my kitchen staring out the window, watching them talk, heads bent. They were
probably talking about me. Suddenly, they stopped talking and ran inside, where they found
my idly examining the tablecloth, acting as if nothing was wrong. Even thought it was. 

Abby was the first to step forward. She cleared her throat, as if she were about to give a
speech. "Charlotte, um, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings or anything. I know....how you
want to, uh, be a dancer and stuff, but when I saw the sign up sheets, i just got so
excited! I just forgot about you. And.....I'm really, really sorry." She looked at me with
a hopeful smile.

I sighed. "It's OK. I know you didn't mean to hurt me." Abby's smile faltered; she had
hoped for something more. "And, um, we won't try out if you don't want us to!" This, they
must not have talked about, because the other girls seemed surprised. 

"No, no, I don't want to stop you guys! That would be incredibly stupid. Go, and try out,
and i bet you'll all make the team and stuff. Ill come and watch you, 'kay?" Abby and the
others looked at each other and smiled. 

"You know," Abby said casually, pulling a chair up to the table, "you could always try out
with us, just for the fun of it. It would be a good laugh!" She grinned at me.

I stood abruptly and grabbed my crutches, my anger returning. "You had a lot of nerve
saying that, you know." 

When I returned to the kitchen an hour later, they were all gone.
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21 December 2010, 11:58 PM    #6
The Founder
Joined: 2 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Chapter 4

I was immediately greeted by a small woman carrying a clipboard and talking into a
headset. She gave me hurried, fake smile and introduced herself as Mary Dewoy. Her eyes
showed me she hated her job. She led my boyfriend and I to a little waiting room, a very
cozy looking place with a little couch and a quaint coffee table. There was also a TV that
showed everything that was happening on the stage. Right now, it was off.

 "I'll come get you when it's time to go on. Just relax, and if you need anything, come
find me." She rushed out of the room.

My boyfriend looked at me. "I'm not getting a good vibe here," he said, always the
exaggerator. I managed a small smile. "Everyone's different," I replied. 

I sat on the couch and closed my eyes, trying to calm my thoughts. Suddenly, the door
burst open, and in ran Savannah, one of my closest friends. Although we'd only known each
other for a couple of years-we met in college-Savannah and I felt as if we had been
friends forever.

"So, how's the star doin'? You nervous?" she asked with a wide grin. I merely shrugged.
"Well, look what I have for you!" She pulled an energy drink out from her
unnecessarily-large brown purse and handed it to me. "Ta-da! Look at me, always thinkin'!
Oooh, what's this?" She pulled my book from my lap. 

"Oh, um, it's nothing, just..." but Savannah had already opened it and started reading. I
sighed. As wonderful as she could be, she was always a little too energetic, pushy,
loud....

"Oh, hey, this is your book! No way! this is the original rough draft, right? Girl, why
have you never shown me this before?" She gave me a friendly shove as she laughed
good-naturally. "Were you reading it? Show me what part you're at." I reluctantly turned
the worn down pages. When I came to the right spot, Savannah took the book and began to
read out loud.

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Charlotte's Story: Life Seen Through a Burnt Ballerina's Eyes
Chapter 4

The next Monday at school, I was worried that my friends would be mad at me for being such
a grouch on Friday. I decided to just avoid them, but it didn't work. Abby was in my
homeroom class, and practically jumped on top of me when I entered the room. 

"Charlotte! I'm soooo sorry about Friday! I was totally a jerk. Please forgive me! Please
please please please PLEASE!" She gave me puppy dog eyes. I sighed.

"I'm not mad, Abby." She smiled and took that as an acceptance to her apology. "Yay! Good!
because I really am sorry, and so is everyone else. We tried calling you and stuff but you
never answered. We want you to come to the tryouts, just to watch us. Actually, that was
Sammy's idea. She told me," here Abby's face grew a little dark with jealousy, "that she's
terrified of trying out because she's not exactly, well, the skinniest person ever.....and
she said that you are the only person who can 'give her the comfort she needs'. God, she's
such a drama queen." Abby rolled her eyes.

I pretended to think for a moment. "I guess I'll come-"

"YAY! Thank you so much! It really means a lot to us!" While Abby went on and on about how
excited she was and how the tryouts would go, I acted like I was excited with her, when
really, I was trying hard not to cry at the fact that my best friends were able to dance
and walk and jump around, and I wasn't.



The whistle blew, sounding loud and fierce in the gym. I sat on the bleachers with Abby,
Sammy, Channel, Syles, and the rest of the girls who were trying out. in the middle of the
floor stood the cheer captain, who introduced herself as Mickie Roe. 

"When I call your number, come on up! Cheer loud, smile big, and do your best. Good luck
everyone!" We all clapped as she consulted her clipboard. "Number one!"


Will continue later.
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