"What is this for Lauren? Why are we in a bookstore?" Dinah asks as Ally tries to search for books she would want to read in the upcoming vacation.
"Because we're gonna buy some condoms." I reply.
She laughs so much that some people almost looked and glared at our place. I try to search for the book Camila wants me to read. I check my phone once again for its cover and the title and my eyes finally get to see it. It is placed near the children books and I quickly grabbed it.
"What's this book for? A-all The B-bright Places? Really Lauren?"
I grab the book from hers and smile. "This is the book your best friend wants me to read and to be honest, I'm quite curious about it, actually."
"You must really like her that much you even take her recommendations too seriously." Dinah laughs and I laugh back to make her think that it's not a serious thing. "You know what I think that's why every guy I recommend to her never had a chance." Dinah continues.
"Why?" I ask although the answer is too obvious.
"Because she's into girls! Jesus I didn't even know her hormones would crave for the same ones!" I cover Dinah's mouth as she begins laughing once again because we're in a public place and people will look at us once again especially the ones at the counter. She removes my hand and stops laughing. "Seriously though, just take care of her. Are you okay with that?"
Now it's my turn to laugh. Dinah looks confused. "I don't even know what you're talking about. I bought this book because it's needed for our English homework next week."
"You're not serious. So this thing going around you guys is just a school or some business thing? Not like you're making out and eating yourselves?"
I try to cover her mouth once again because we're already in the line so I'll be able to pay for the book I'll be purchasing. I see Ally walking her way near us. "Dinah, what you think is not something we do. I don't even know if we are friends."
Ally's cheerful smile appears in front of us. "What's going on? What are you people talking about?"
"Lauren here is..." I glare at Dinah and she's trying to hold back her laugh. "She is well. She found the book she's looking for. How about you Ally?" Ally seems to believe it as she nods.
"Actually I did. I found Me Before You and Every Day. Have you heard of these books Dinah? I just heard that they're all sooo good I can't wait to flip those pages and there are life lessons too." Ally hands the books to me. "Oh and Lauren. I think I forgot my wallet at my house. Can you pay those for me?"
"Why do you even read books Ally? You don't even have enough time for party and school yet you want me to pay for these books I know you wouldn't even read in the near future?" I tell her and she taps my shoulder and Dinah just laughs. "I'm saying the truth! You haven't even read half of the books that were given to you."
"Well I read some! Also I'll make sure I have time these days, Lauren. You are such a savage!" I didn't even notice we are already next to pay for the books. "Next!"
The girl in the cashier not looking old like the other ones she's with in the cashier stars checking on the books. "24.00$ in total purchase." She looks at me as I open my wallet and pay her the exact amount. "I receive exact amount of 24.00$." She smiles as she puts the books in a plastic and we head outside.
"So tell me Ally what's good in this party?"
"The newcomers Lauren! Guys for us and girls for you!" Dinah agrees. "Remember that I wasn't the one who's thrown this party and I wasn't the one who organized it. We're going to crash a party!" Dinah and Ally high-five!
"Wait hold up! Are you really like lesbian-lesbian?" Dinah interrupts us. I furrow my eyebrows at her. "Don't feel offended. What I mean is do you only go for girls? Like you don't entertain guys ever?"
"Well I had a relationship with a guy once. It didn't work out because we were more of close friends than you know boyfriend-girlfriend. That kind of sucks but true. After that relationship, I've always been with girls, no guys." I explain and she nods as if things get clearer to her now.
Ally checks her phone and texts one of her friends. "I heard the place was nice!" You can feel the excitement in her voice although I do want to go with them, I feel guilty for leaving Camila behind instead of us working on the homework together. Well, she didn't mind anyways.
"You know well enough that I don't just go to a party." I emphasize the 'just' in my sentence. "Anyway, where is Normani? I haven't heard of her since the last party at your house. Don't tell me she's gonna miss this one out."
"I just texted her and she said she'll come though she'll be a little late because she's with her boyfriend at the moment." Ally clarifies.
Dinah checks her phone too, maybe to text Camila. "And she can't go with her boyfriend? I mean it would be more awesome right?" Dinah says while typing on her phone.
"I don't know 'bout her but maybe she's prohibited to parties lately and she's just gonna sneak out. We may never know. Let's just wait for her and ask her ourselves at the party."
We check our phones as we wait for a cab to approach us. I didn't even get Camila's number. As much as I want to get it from Dinah, I can't. She may think I'm interested in Camila. I mean yes there is enough reason like working on our project but she'll ask why I didn't ask Camila for that myself. Dinah notices that I'm looking at her and I smile and look away. I receive a new text. It is from my mom.
"Lauren. You haven't texted me in a while. I'd just like to know how my daughter is feeling. Reply if you can. I must tell you too that your father has visited us today. We all miss you and I hope you visit us anytime soon."
"I'm doing okay. I hope so too. I miss the old days." I decide to reply sarcastically.
"I am glad you're okay. Please visit us anytime soon. How are your studies?"
"It's all good. You've got nothing to worry about like before."
"Of course I'm worried. I didn't hear from you for weeks. What do you think I would feel about that?"
"Maybe if you never stopped caring, you wouldn't have been worried because maybe I shouldn't have really left." That may be harsh but she deserves it. She deserves it since the day she stopped being a mother. She deserves it since the day she walked out of the house leaving me with my father. She deserves it since the day I was left alone in the house and I've got no one to talk too because my father also left me for work and for other women. She deserves it. She doesn't deserve any kindness and love from me. They don't.
"I can see you still haven't forgiven me. I have no say about that but Lauren I have regretted all those days and things I did in the past. You have to move on and we all have to move on. You have to be happy."
"Didn't I tell you to never play in the playground by yourself? Look, your knees got hurt." My mother Clara scolded me as she put a bandage on my knees. It stung and it still hurt as the blood poured out. "Next time, you ask me before going to the playground okay? Let me finish with your arms." She continued on putting bandages on my arms.
"Mama why do we get wounds if we play?" I asked her as I looked at her.
"What do you feel when you're playing?" She asked me.
"That is life." She simply answered to my question.
"What do you mean mama?" I asked puzzled to what she said.
"Whenever you feel content, carefree and happy, there will always be things that will come to your way to stop you from being happy." She stopped on putting bandages and looked at me straight into my eyes. "There will be times that you'll be happy and there will be times that you'll get hurt. What matters is you stand up and smile at the world once again." I didn't know what was behind those words but it made me smile. I smiled at her. "You still have so many things to learn as you grow up, Lauren. What you have to always keep in mind is to never give up and lose hope. Even though how many times you fall and get hurt, you will be happy." She was almost done on putting bandages on my wounds as I stopped her by hugging her.
"I love you Mama." I smiled in between words. "I love you so much Mama."
"I love you too Lauren."
We walked then on our way home. I held her hand tightly as I could and she held mine tightly too. We walked on our way home with smiles on our faces but even before we opened the door of our home, my mom stopped from her tracks. I was confused then, I didn't know what was happening. Maybe she remembered something or her foot ached. I thought of asking why we stopped from walking and I couldn't find my voice as I looked onto where she was looking at. It was my father with a girl he just kissed on the lips. They even hugged as if the girl's life depended on him. They didn't notice us at first. I could feel my mother's hands trembling inside of mine. I held her hand tighter as I could and my father looked at us and pushed the girl away. My mother's hands stopped trembling and that's when I knew we had to continue walking on our way home.
Home. That was the last day I felt home our home.
"You lied to me!" My mother was screaming now. "You lied to me not just once! You told me you'll stop seeing this girl. For God's sake she was what? 22? What's gotten into your mind!" I listened through the door from my room.
"I didn't..." My father didn't know even know the words to say. He was caught and he even did this before. I didn't even know this was happening. I thought our family was okay. "Clara, you have to understand..."
"You liar bastard! I can't even look at you right now! You are lying sh---!" I could see that my mother just slapped my father and kept on punching him and tweaked my father's hair sharply. They didn't even notice my presence as I watched them interact.
"You wanna know why I did it? Because this is all messed up and this isn't even a family anymore. I've gotten tired of all your nagging and working every night. This family is broken, Clara. You have to accept the truth! We don't love each other anymore! We stopped being a family a long time ago. You know that! You fucking know that!" My father countered back and it sure left my mother speechless and also me. Before my mother started to speak up, my father noticed my presence. My mother was crying and so I was too. There were tears streaming down my face I couldn't even wipe them because my mother was the one wiping my tears.
"Lauren honey!" My father was the one to start a conversation.
"Why are you fighting? Can you stop fighting p-please?" I begged and even cried more. My mother came onto me and already was on her knees trying to calm me. "Mama why are you fighting?"
"Remember I told you that you still have a lot to learn in life? That life isn't always about happiness and that there is also pain that will form you as a person completely?" She tried smiling even though there were tears in her eyes. "I love you Lauren. One day, you will grow up and you will never have to ask why." She hugged me. I looked at my father who couldn't look at me.
"Mama please stop crying. Please stop fighting." I pleaded.
"Darling just look at the stars and you'll never feel alone. Okay?" My mom told me. She has always told me that when they fought but this time it felt like it couldn't help. That stars couldn't accompany me tonight because I knew after tonight it would all change, that nothing was ever gonna be the same.
"Dad please I love you both."
"Sweetie..." It was my father. "I love you too. You are important to me. Your mom is right. There are things you still need to learn and it happens as you grow up. You don't have to witness all of this." My mother let go of me and it was my dad who was on his knees staring into my eyes. "Your mother and I, I swear we loved each other. But... there are times that... couples really fall out of love."
"You don't love her anymore?" I asked shocked.
"I love her but it isn't the same love I had before. Sweetie... I promise you that things like this normally happen."
And just like that I ran to my room and locked it. I couldn't look and listen to them anymore. I was a kid and I didn't know what they really were trying to say but somehow it was breaking my heart and it was tearing it into pieces. What stuck in my mind was that they didn't love each other anymore and home wasn't home after that. I woke up to a morning filled with sadness inside me. It was all silence when I attempted to walk out of my room and the next thing I knew my mother left the house without a letter, without anything. My father left too but he said he'll come back.
They just left and I wondered if stars could accompany me tonight.
"Lauren! Lauren! Lauren!" Reality hits me as I see Dinah and Ally's face beside me. "What's happened to you? We've never even gotten into the party yet!" Dinah almost yelled.
"Where are we already?"
"For about 5 minutes we're going to be there." Ally clarifies. "Do you have a problem? I thought we lost you there."
"Don't worry about me. Worry about yourselves gettin' wasted for a night once again!" They laugh. "Anyway Dinah did Camila text you?" I turn and ask Dinah.
"Nothing really just wondering if she asked about our homework." I tell her.
"Homework really Lauren? When did you start getting interested into completing homework lately?" Ally laughs. "Oh tell me. Do you like Camila?" I almost choked at her question. I don't how to react to that and so I laugh.
"You know me Ally. You know me more than any other person in the world." I smile at her mischievously and she seems convinced at my answer.
Our cab approached our destination and Ally is right when she said that it's one hell of a party. There are lights and there are tons of people in various ages than can be seen outside. We walked our ways near the party and Dinah and Ally seem to be more giddy and excited than I am until I bumped into a person.
"Oh my God is that you Lauren?!" I furrow my eyebrows. Before I even had the chance to speak, Ally exclaims.