Daisy Chain Renegades Chapter 3

When Dr. Chbosky had invited us out to their lake house, I only thought it was weird for a moment that Mrs. Chbosky wasnt coming.

But the cold water of Lake Michigan dripped away my concern.

“Its freezing!” Anika moaned on the shore, her toes tickling the water. I didn’t own a bikini as she did, my parents would never allow it, and even if I did i would have never looked half as good as she did in it. I noticed the Dr was also looking, but when I caught his gaze he turned away.

“We should go for a ride on the boat.” Sharon proposed, leaning her practically non-existent weight onto Anika. She looked back at her father who waited for Anika to jump onto the idea.

The boat was a sleek model of speedboat that all boat junkies dreamed about. I imagined Henry when I saw it for whatever reason. His scruffy edges smoothed and his yellowed teeth polished as he drove the speed boat with me by his side, elegantly skin and bone with a martini in my hand.

My mood turned suddenly sour, as it had turned towards since Henry dipped. But it didn’t hinder the fours jolly fun. Anikas long hair waved like a flag against the wind that flew deliciously through my own short locks. I enjoyed the feeling as we took turns reaching our hands out and splashing each other with the bitter cold water.

I still dream of those days when we said nothing, the roar of the boat’s engine and wind drained everything out, the days when we were just four teenage girls giddy about being splashed with water- the days the reporters want nothing to do with.

We made frequent visits to the lake house, occasionally Mrs. Chbosky would come along but her mood was sour and she would just practice her yoga by the shore.

“I hate her.” Sharon would tell us at night as she brushed her hair by her vanity. She would turn to us and puff. “She only ever cares about herself.”

.

.

When Anika invited us to her home, since her parents were out-of-town and she was supposed to babysit her little brother Donald we all hopped on the chance. Linda brought drinks she had some slime ball buy and we all took turns sipping a bottle of liquor and pretending we liked it after Donald had gone to bed. The Sonny and Cher show played on our television and Sharon sighed.

“I hope that when I’m older my husband and I get our own variety show.” She dreamed aloud.

“You probably wont.” Anika laughed her voice a bit jolly from the alcohol.

“It’s ok to have dreams.” She said. Anika scoffed.

“We’re to old for dreams,” And when no one chimed in she added. “I”M too old for dreams. I’m only focused on what could and Is going to happen.” She took a swig from the bottle and passed it to me. “I’m going to be a model.”

“HA, and how is that anymore realistic than me having my own variety show?” Sharon demanded. Sharons faced turned sour as she glared at her.

“The only realistic part about your stupid little fantasy is you having an ugly little husband like Sonny.”

“I don’t think Rodney is ugly.”

“What about Rodney?” Anika growled.

“We’ve been on a few dates, I’m sure he’s about to ask me to be his girlfriend.” She grinned. Anika shot up.

“You little bitch!” She gasped. “You little bitch!” She repeated as if at a lost for words, her fist balled up in a tight clenched fist. I thought for a moment she was going to punch Sharon.

“You told me yourself you didn’t like him, I don’t know why you’re so worked up.” Sharon asked, her voice dripping with mock innocence. But she knew exactly why she was so worked up. Rodney was just something to take granted for, he’d always be there, Anika thought, giving her compliments and chasing after her. This attitude was unheard of from Sharon, so cruel and mean. But looking back I can hardly think of it as being mean, as Anika’s treatment to the rest of us neutralized it out. Anika relaxed suddenly, and looked around at the both of us.

“Yeah, you always told me he was annoying.” Linda chimed in. I braced myself for the snap I expected Anika to make, but instead, I could almost see her cheeks turn red in a blush.

“Because he is.” She sat back in the couch. Her eyes stared at her lap. “Just have fun with my crumbs.”

The rest of the night was awkward, and no one after that was in the mood for drinking.

I slept on the couch in the living room with Sharon, while Linda and Anika slept in her bed. I was awoken to what sounded like gagging in the bathroom. I sat up and looked over at Sharon. She was still peacefully asleep, her mouth softly ajar as she breathed delicately long breaths.

I got up and walked to the bathroom, thinking it was just a bad hangover i flung open the door. Anika was hurdled over the toilet, her fingers digging down her throat. I took a step back my mouth open in a slight gasp as Anika jumped up. She wiped the slobber on her sleep shorts and I turned and walked away before she could say anything.

I went back to the couch and laid back down, bringing the blanket right up under my chin, as I pretended to go back to sleep.

In the morning we made pancakes, as thats what Donald demanded. He was a tall lanky boy, who would one day grow to be what teenage girls dream of with broad shoulders and a nice jawline. But he sure was a menace.

“This isnt as good as mommy makes them.” Donald criticed, one his second chew of his first bite.

“Well mom isnt here.” Anika shot back. We all chewed on our pancakes before Sharon asked Anika if she was going to eat. Anika stiffened up, and looked at me. My eyes darted across the room uncomfortably, and I chose to appear as if I were admiring the mushroom ceramic that hung from their wall.

“Yeah.” She said, getting a plate and putting a pancake on it. “I just wanted to make sure everyone ate first.”

I looked back to her and her eyes met mine, she looked gratefully at me and mouthed ‘Thank you’.

.

.

 

.

.

Advertisements

Daisy Chain Renegades (Chapter 2)

When I was younger I used to think that I was strong enough to fight off a grown man trying to attack me. I don’t know where this thought came from, I was under four nine. Perhaps it was big dog syndrome- like when those little rat dogs think their as big and mean as a junk yard dog. I thought nothing in this world could ever touch me.

Most of the documentaries dont mention the bonfire, nothing important happened there. And they’re right- nothing big did happen. Except Rodney Warner met Sharon Chbosky. And a match was lit.

The night was an unexpected cold night that was typical of Michigan’s unpredictable weather. We all huddled around the fire  drinking whiskey and liquor for warmth as we told wild stories and joshed at one another. I enjoyed the bonfires, especially the ones we’d have on one of Michigan’s own natural beaches. But I was fine with this one in a backyard.

I passed the liquor bottle to Sharon who put her hand up and smiled politely as she shook her head. I pulled away and reached beyond her to pass it to Linda. She took a swig before giving it to Anika. She laughed and took a drink of it.

“Sharon,” She said, her voice peaked with amusement. “Dont be prude.”

“Im not.” She defended. “I’m just not thirsty.”

“You dont have to be thirsty.”

Anika reached over and pushed the bottle towards her lips. Sharon’s cheeks flushed up and I could feel her embarrassment radiating. All eyes were set on her as she looked at Anika with pleading eyes.

“Anika, that means theres more for us babe.” The bottle was quickly snatched and brought to the lips of a boy with deliciously groovy hair and a handsome, boy next door face.

“Rodney-” Anika growled. But he just sat beside her and pulled her into her lap. Rodney was a boy, hopelessly under Anika’s web of love. But no spider keeps one fly tangled in her web at once, and to Rodneys dismay Anika never looked to him with a serious eye.

“Who is she anyway?” Rodney’s deep brown eyes glanced towards Sharon, who’s eyes were casted down to the ground.

“Sharon Chbosky, her dad’s the new doctor in town.” Linda answered as Anika wrapped her arms around Rodney’s neck and sipped the liquor gingerly. She somehow kept her girl next door image even while playing the captain of the football team and sipping stolen alcohol.

“Loaded.” Anika said passing the bottle. “Right Sharon?”

Sharon’s eyes jerked up at Anika, and they held eye contact for a moment before looking left and right for answers.

“We get by.” She said meekly. I shared a grin with Anika and Linda as we all looked knowingly at me.

“Humble.” Rodney laughed. That ended the discussion about Sharon and the night went on.

.

.

Though this bite at the bonfire,Sharon and Anika grew close. And Sharon quickly began to eclipse Linda as her favorite. I was never her favorite as I never had too much to offer her, I sometimes felt like an accessory on the back of Anika’s jean jacket. She never paid me too much mind but wanted me around to compliment her.

Linda would sometimes call me to gossip about Sharon- mainly how she was a bitch or what not- but for the most part, it was a normal Michigan winter. Dry, boring, uneventful, dismal- a long, long draw from a slingshot that popped! when the thermometer first hit 60.

“What’re you doing inside?” Frida startled me from the magazine i was reading, as she had crept open the door just a touch to poke half of her skinny body through. I looked at my sister, who had been MIA for the whole winter. Her skin was deliciously tan and her hair hung below her waist like a fine drapes.

“What’re you doing back?” I asked. She took this as invitation to fully dive into my room. She crept in and mosied on over to my small desk with a beatup radio sitting on it. She turned down the volume to where I could only hear a faint mumble of Davey Jones proclaiming he’s a believer.

“Theres an adventure out there, Jenie.” She cooed, ignoring my question. I was quiet as I studied her long black hair, I ran a hand through my own shoulder length locks. She grinned.

“I have somewhere to take you.”

“Where?”

She laughed and got up, she motioned me to follow suit.

“C’mon.” She said. And because she was my older sister, I did. When we got to the top of the landing she suddenly stopped and looked away from me. She help up a skinny long finger to me. In a hush voice she told me, “I dont want mom or dad to know I’m here.”

I suddenly felt as if I were smuggling a stranger in my home, instead of my own sister. “They arent home.” i told her. She relaxed, and her smile returned to her face.

“Oh groovy.” She made her way then, galloping and thudding down the stairs. I heard one of the twins ask who was there, but we bolted out the door then.

We giggled as we slammed the door and ran down the sidewalk. I noticed a mustard colored  van with a bad technicolor paint job sitting in front of our driveway.

“Is that yours?” I turned to her. She laughed as though that was the craziest thing she had ever even heard. Just then the window rolled down and a shaggy haired man with scruff growing all over the bottom half of his face and neck shouted for her to hurry.

“This is my sister, Jeneane.” She put her arm on my shoulder in a sudden surprising affectionate way. The man put his hand out to me.

“Heya Jeneane, the names Garett.”

So we piled into Garett’s van that smelt like marijuana and perspiration.

“The smell of love.” He told me when I told Frida it reeked.

I watched the blur of freshly sprouting leaves peaking from the former twigs of trees. Rock ‘n roll came in and out of conscious between the constant vexatious static. We drove by Lake Michigan that glittered under the sun as if it had a bottle of glitter mixed in the waves. A song began to play, and I could almost swear I had heard it before, it began to cut in and out of the static, but it was still legible.

“Whats this song?” I asked leaning up a little bit. Garett glanced at me from the rear view mirror, but it was Frida who answered.

“San Francisco by Scott Mckenzie.”

“Its old.” Garett chimed in.

“I think I’ve heard it before.” I said the static making it too unsure for any formal recognition to be made.

“You shouldve it was all over a couple years ago.” Garett said, before Frida turned up the radio, draining out any conversation with a mix of static and Scott McKenzie.

We pulled into a road going down to the lake that was concealed in thick woods. The bumpy dirt road set my teeth chattering and my head pounding. We pulled up to a beach front, littered with makeshift shelters, tents, and a shack.

“Is it a campground?” I asked, watching as scantily clad girls giggled and waved at Garret.

“Its my home.” Frida smiled warmly at  me. Before I could tell her how mom and dad would die from a heart attack then resurrect just to kill her for even stepping foot near this place, Frida skipped out of the van and ran up to the two girls. She hugged them as if it’d been years between them.

“Sunshine, Susey-” She broke away and looked at me. “This is my blood sister, Jeneane.”

“Hey Jeneane.” A girl with matted long hair smiled a sleepy grin at me and extended her arms out as she inched towards me. She took me into a bear hug. “Im sunshine.”

The place was filled with all sort of zany characters compared to my conservative everyday life. Frida showed me how to smoke a joint, and the best way to hold in the smoke long enough to get the best high. We sang songs which reminded me of being in a summer camp and I watched in horror as they stripped of their clothes and ran butt naked into the water like joyous children. This did not remind me of summer camp.

Frida convinced me to strip to my underwear and run in. I felt horribly exposed as the spring air nipped my skin, each goose bump full of my insecurity, which no high could mask. But Frida and Sunshine grabbed me by my arms and we dashed into the water. Soon i hardly felt out of place laughing and twirling in the water with Frida and her friends.

When we got out of the water we warmed up by a fire and passed around another bowl. We listened to various storytellers as some sang and danced to the music that rang from the stereos.

“Hey there.”

I looked up from my daze and up to a towering boy. He had long hair and a big nose. He was shirtless other than a leather vest with fringe. I was too high to think about being embarrassed for still being in my underwear.

“Hi.” I said as if it were an offering. He sat beside me on the ground with out asking and studied me.

“I’ve never seen you around these parts. You look too straight.”

“huh?”

“Straight. Clean. Mod.”

“oh.” I picked at the grass which was being warmed up by the fire. He shrugged.

“We all start somewhere.”

The boys name was Henry, and he was seventeen.

“Wheres your family?” I asked. He shrugged again and looked around seemingly casual with sore undertones.

“Dont got one.” He murmured before speaking clearer. “I’m a runaway.”

“Arent your parents worried?” I asked. He scoffed.

“Who cares?” He laughed. “Stop worrying so much.”

We took a walk by the lake which was serving as a mirror to the moon and skies. I talked about school, and my friends while he told me about trying acid and shoplifting toilet paper. While he spoke I imagined me in his stories. Like some kind of Bonnie and Clyde, i was attracted to the buzz of danger his aura held. His delinquency seemed the key to unlocking the door out of this boring life.

“You’re so straight, Jeneane. Nothin’ like the other girls i’ve been meeting lately.” He said as we were heading back. My cheeks flamed with flattery.

“All the other girls that come here would’ve had their clothes off by now in the sand.”

“Oh. ”

He stopped suddenly and looked at me. I mimicked and stared at the moon illuminating his face. He leaned in and kissed me right on the lips, and the butterflies in my stomach flew away with the thought of when the last time he had brushed his teeth was.

.

.

That day was spent lounging around and singing songs and dancing. We gathered around a campfire that night again. Henry let me nuzzle into his bony shoulder as we watched the fire eat at the wood like hungry dogs.

They passed around a sheet of paper and when it came to Henry, he cooly placed a piece on his tongue. He handed it to me, but I shook my head.

“Dont be so straight Jeanine.” He scolded me. “It’ll be fun.”

“Youre safe here.” Sunshine said to me left. “I wont let anything bad happen to you honey.”

I looked uneasy at the paper before taking a piece and placing it on my tongue in similar fashion to Henry.

A little while later my world vibrated. I evaporated into a puddle of love as it felt as though the universe was prying her hands into the cavities of my brain and opening them up naked to her to view. I looked up at Henry, his rough edges smoothed out, or maybe i didnt care. I leaned up and kissed him on the lips. His hands rushed down my arms and reminded me of a roaring waterfall as he grabbed my hand. He got up and led me away from the camp. And i filled the expectation he had of women the first night we met.

.

.

Nothing important changed after losing my virginity. But i felt a bit more like a woman. Images of Henry danced in my mind and I imagined us living in a nice little cookie cutter house where we raised a boy and a girl.

I told my group about my experiences at the site- minus tripping out on acid and losing my virgninity- with a bit of superiority in my voice.

“I want to go.” Anika stated.

“Yeah me too.” Linda agreed. “You should have Frida take us too.”

“I dont know…” My mind reached for an excuse to not take them. It was my little personal bragging right. It felt like the excitement of the unfamiliarity of it all would be tainted by the familiarity of the girls.

“C’mon,” Anika pressured. “It sounds groovy.”

I relented and the next weekend the four of us were picked up by Frida who took us to the site. When we got there the three were in awe of the place and the people there. I was looking around for a familiar face and when I spotted Sunshine I ran up to her.

“Hey-”

“Oh hey hun.” She smiled and hugged me, she smelt like B.O more than i remembered when I was high. I broke away.

“Where’s Henry?”

Her eyebrows creased together. “Henry? Oh, I dont know. I havent seen him around in awhile.”

“Henry?” A girl with braids in her hair asked who was passing. She took a hit off her blunt before passing it to Sunshine, who graciously took it.

“That tall scrawny kid?” She continued. “He left with that motor cycle gang a couple days ago.”

“Who’s Henry?” Linda asked, and I jumped a little as I hadnt realized she was listening.

I shook my head. “Uh,” His face flashed through my mind. The closest thing to love I had ever licked.

“No one.”

.

.

We went to the site almost every weekend that spring. I suddenly yearned to grow my hair long and talk about love with out actually putting effort into it.

“I think Sunshine is gonna teach use how to weave those designs into those thread bracelets she makes.” I said to the other three girls.

“About that.” Anika said. “Sharon and I are going on her dads boat this weekend.”

“All weekend?” I asked feeling defeated. Anika rolled her eyes.

“We go there every weekend Jeneane.” She said. Sharon gave me an innocent smile.

“Its my dads friends up north. Its a little bit of a drive.”

“oh.”

There was a touch of awkwardness in the air. Anika slid up and turned to Sharon.

“Come with me to the bathroom.”

When they left Linda tossed her fork onto her plate. “What a load of bologna.”

“What?”

Linda rolled her eyes and waved me off. “Those two, up each others asses.”

“We can still go this weekend.” I offered. She just shook her head and went back to eating. I felt relieved, i hadn’t wanted to go without the group either. It just wouldn’t have felt the same, their memories were already woven in.

.

.

 

 

 

 

Daisy Chain Renegades (Chapter 1)

It was the autumn of 1971. Two whole years after the Manson family killed the 60s, a year after the Beatles broke up, and just months away from 4 girls’ lives being destroyed.

The cold wind rustled orange leaves outside of my window as I tried on every sweather I owned, which I modeled obsessively in the mirror. I huffed out loud as I tore off my striped long sleeved shirt for the third time that night. I was feeling defeated by the cage of my own teenage insecurities as there was a knock on my door.

“Im indecent!” I called out grabbing the failed sweather and holding it up to my chest, covering my bra. The door opened anyway to reveal my mother, who I relaxed a little with.

“It’s only me.” She assured fixing an earring into her left ear. Her brown eyes scanned my outfit and a smirk crossed her lips if she teased me by asking if that’s what I’d be arriving to the dinner party in.

“Nows not the time, mom!” I said. “I have nothing to wear.” I whined to deaf ears.

A new family had moved in right down the block, and were having a dinner party as a way to meet the neighborhood. I had heard they also had a teenage daughter- my age and everything. And the prospect of having a new student a month after school had started was exciting, especially to a small town girl. My first impression meant everything to me, and the very thought of spoiling it made me lose my appetite to go all together.

“Oh, hush.” My mother waved her hand at me. Having raised six girls before me, she knew the trials of teenage girls like the back of her hand. “Here, why don’t you wear your charming little yellow turtleneck with that orange miniskirt of yours? Throw some tights on underneath and call it good.”

“That’s too plain, I can’t have the new girl thinking I’m plain!” I ruffled up my shoulder length hair that I had set in rollers the night before to give it a cute curl and volume, which I pinned back with a beret.

“Well, you have to wear something. And we’re leaving in 5 minutes so I’d suggest that you find something quick.” She said nonchalantly perfectly timing her exit to the point of getting her message across without leaving me time to argue.

I threw on the recomended outfit and messed with it in the mirror while I looked distastefully at what I thought where broad shoulders and thick arms. But soon I was in the car on my way to meet the new girl in my families distasteful van.

Nothing could be worse, I thought, than showing up in such a plain outfit with my car load of siblings. I came from a big family, a catholic family at that too. At the time Catholics weren’t too keen on birth control, so there was 11 of us. In order it went Jennifer who was married with three kids, Marcia the actress, Vivian who had a kid and a second on the way, Frida who was what my family referred to as a hippie or commie, Angelica the model, Jean who just graduated and was at college(she’d go on to be a very successful business woman), me, Robin, Heather- and finally my father got his boy- or boys. My mother had two twin boys Simon and Dylan before telling my father “Lenord, the factories shutting down!” But my dad was content, finally after over twenty years of trying- he finally had his sons. And my father had been desperate for sons, my mother popped out baby after baby, and each time my dad would proclaim that this was finally going to be the son. But after Heather, he naturally gave up and decided to be content with his nine daughters. But then my mother got pregnant one final time, and with twin boys. Go figure.

Robin, Heather, Simon, Dylan, mom, dad and I all showed up to that dinner party. And when Mr. Chbosky, a lean man in his early forties walked up to us and proclaimed upon seeing us. “Brought the whole school huh?” I had begun to wish even harder that we left the children with Nana at home.

My dad laughed a hearty laugh and nodded. “And this isn’t even half of them!” He said pride thick in his voice for his large family.

“No kidding?” He asked amused. “Dr. Chbosky,” He introduced himself putting out his hand which my father shook. “But please, call me Dean.”

“Lenord Cline.” My father said. Before introducing his wife Patricia, my mother.

“Well, we only have one daughter. She’s starting her junior year up at the high school next Monday.” He said. My eyes beamed at the mention of a daughter, and my age, just as the rumors speculated!

“My Jeneane is a junior over there.” My father rubbed my shoulder as I smiled up shyly at Dr. Chbosky. He smiled a wide perfectly pearly white smile at me. I pulled away from, my father.

“Well, I’m sure Sharon would love to meet you, she’s in the back with the other children.” He said. Being categorized with children stung my underdeveloped ego a bit but it was quickly forgotten when I got an eyeful of Sharon.

She was a tall skinny girl, with long straight light caramel hair. Her hazel eyes glittered with a bit of innocence as she spoke and laughed with a group of eager peers, all wanting to figure out this newcomer. I was a bit envious at her dainty long fingers and chub-less arms, but I was snapped out of it when a felt a hand on my shoulder. There was one of my best friends Linda Miplin. A small girl of 16 with the body of a seventh grader. She was no more than five foot two, and was a skinny little thing. But she was stunning, with willowy sad eyes just like Twiggy. Her chopped hair added to their likeness, which though she’d never admit to, she was proud of.

Before I could greet her properly she cut me off. “Is Anika coming?” She asked. I shrugged, though I knew she’d be there to scope out the fresh meat, so to speak. And sure enough just then I saw Anika Salinger’s wavy long dirty blond hair amongst the heads of chattering guests. She was dressed fashionably in denim jeans, a t shirt and a courdoroy jacket with fur trimming the hood. She was a tall girl, with the body of a model. And everyone expected her to become the next big thing. Even my sister Angelica, the model, would give her tips whenever she came home. It was a bit insulting that she never paid me much mind in that department.

“What do you think?” She asked the minute she walked up to us, she peered at Sharon like a vulture waiting to swoop in on the dead carcass of a water buffalo.

“You think I’m gonna squirm by all that white trash for some bitch?” Linda asked. Anika just rolled her eyes and grabbed both of our arms. She jerked us both in the direction of Sharon.

“Useless.” She muttered under breath as we caught up to her pace. When we came people parted a bit to let us through, well more like Anika. Sharon looked up and I could tell by the smirk that tugged at the edge of her lips she was impressed by the dominance and superiority that radiating.

She was sitting on one of the beach chairs and Anika raised her eyebrow, like a stray dog beckoning a fight, waiting for the other to strike.

“Hey,” Sharon smiled, her teeth were big and perfectly straight like her dads. “I don’t think I saw you, did you three just get here?”

“Nah.” Linda replied for the trio. Anika nodded.

“Not much is going on so I thought we’d pop over here and see if there was a change of pace.” Anika said, offering a smirk. Sharon smiled a bit and tucked her hair behind her ear.

“Wanna sit?” She gestured towards the two beach chairs beside her. Melanie Johnson and Sandra Gray were sitting in the chairs but once we made our way to them they got up. There would’ve been no point in putting up a fight when your hostess wants to replace you.

“So how are you liking it here?” Anika asked.

“Stinks doesn’t it?” Linda asked. The three of us giggled so Sharon joined in.

“Well it’s a change.” Sharon said. Anika asked from what, and Jessie Lynn but in.

“She’s from New York.” She chimed.

“Gee Sharon,” Anika said a bit loud, letting Jessie know she wasn’t wanted. Sharon giggled a bit amused. “New York?”

“Manhattan.”

“Groovy.” Anika smiled. She went on about how she wanted to move to New York to become a model, and mid explanation Sharon cut in. We were all a bit taken back by her sudden bold move.

“My mom was a model.” She said. “Well, and a poet. And an artist. I think she’s taken up yoga now or something. I can never keep track.” She waved that off. “The real woman of interest is my Grandmother. Ambrosia Leroux. She was a French and American actor, she was a big deal way back when. But now she just sits in her little mansion out in Hollywood. We sometimes visit her during the summer.” We would soon discover that Sharon’s mother was serverly depressed and trying desperately and failing at climbing out of her mothers shadow.

“Jeneanes sister is a model. Angelica Cline.” Anika said. I felt a little proud that she would use something of mine in an attempt to one up Ambrosia Leroux.

“And her sisters Marcia Cline is an actress.” Linda added. “And Anika’s mother was almost a big model but she got knocked up with her.” This earned her a glare from Anika but Sharon was looking at me in shock.

“You’re related to Angelica and Marcia Cline?” She breathed. I shrugged humbly, despite enjoying the attention.

“It’s a big family.”

“No kidding!” She breathed. “I loved Marcia Cline in Love and Unrest, it’s my favorite. And Angelica is just gorgeous. I don’t know how I didn’t see it myself, I can really see the resemblance.”

I smiled, my chest filling with warm pride at being compared to my two prettiest sisters. “They’re coming home in a couple months for Christmas, they’ll be here for a week. You should stop by for dinner one night.” I offered. She waved it off.

“No, I wouldn’t want to intrude!” She said. “I doubt they’d want some fan gawking at them.” She smiled sheepishly.

“No it’s fine really. You’ll see they’re just like everyday people.” I assured her. She nodded.

“Well, alright.” She giggled excitedly. “Think, I’ve only been here a few days and I’m already lined up to meet two celebrities. And I’ve already practically have already met one.” She tapped Linda’s thigh making her jump a bit.

“Has anyone ever told you, you look exactly like Twiggy?” She asked. Linda smiled and shrugged.

“Yes, but I don’t see it.” She said, fishing for more.

“No really.” She said sincere thick in her voice. “I was hoping you were gonna chime in and say she’s your sister, I love Twiggy.”

Linda was eating it right up.

We chattered some more until I could tell Anika growing bored. But I didn’t mind as I found our new friend very interesting. That was until Anika said that we should take Linda’s car and go get sodas.

“I’d love to,” Sharon apalogized. “But, I have to stay at the party.”

“No worries.” I said, smiling warmly at her. “We’ll see you at school Monday, right?”

She nodded and soon we said our goodbyes and left. Linda’s house was within walking distance so we strolled to her house giggling about how that Jessie Lynn had the audacity to but into our conversation. Teenage girls really are picky and meticulous things. Insecurity pumped through our veins and pettiness kept our hearts beating.

“And did you see the look on Melanie and Sandra’s face when we took their spots? I’m surprised they didn’t die of embarrassment right then and there.” I giggled reminiscing over the intoxicating taste of power. Linda and Anika laughed along with me.

“So what do you guys think about that Sharon girl?” Linda asked.

“I like her, she’s nice.” I said. Linda nodded in agreement.

“And pretty-“

“She’s a suck up.” Anika muttered. Linda rolled her eyes and laughed.

“You’re just mad because she wasnt sucking up to you or impressed by your knocked up reject model mother.” Linda giggled.

“At least my parents are still married.” Anika shot back. “How about you send a postcard to Mathew and Betty and they’re replacement baby for me.”

Mathew was Linda’s dad and Betty was his wife. They lived all the way in California with their baby girl Magnolia, or Maggie, which at the time felt worlds away to Michigan in the 70s.

Linda held her tongue, you had to give able to take shots and give shots to tango with us. And it wasn’t as if we had much of a selection of friends in this small town, or that’s what it felt like at least. But really I loved Anika and Linda, they had been my best friends for as long as I could remember. But the prospect of adding a new girl to our trio seemed a delicious way to spice things up, and spice things up it did – in ways I could have never imagined.

“I think we should give Sharon a chance.” I said not ready to change the subject. Anika rolled her eyes.

“Why? She already gets on my nerves, she never stops talking.” Anika said. “And her nose is weird.”

It was at that moment that I got the impression that Anika was jealous or at least intimidated by Sharon. Something I thought impossible, as Anika had always been the top dog around this junk yard.

“It is not.” Linda said. “She was just nervous, I talk a lot when I’m nervous too.”

“I’ll say.” Anika mumbled.

“So I say Monday we take her with us to lunch Monday.” I pressed on. Linda looked over at Anika hopefully, and feeling our eyes glued to her Anika’s gaze shifted defeatedly to the ground.

If I could go back I would have forced myself caved into Anika and save everyone this mess. But I didn’t. And when Anika muttered “Whatever.” Under her breath, fate was already taking its course.

.

.

That Monday morning we gave Sharon an invitation to come with us to my fathers grocery store for lunch that day. She seemed happy to accept and ditch her previous plans with Jessie Lynn, Melanie Johnson and their clan.

We drove Anika’s car over, and on the way we discovered that Sharon’s family moved here because they were tired of the city life.

“How could you ever get tired of the city?” I asked, pictures of bright flashing lights, fashionable men and women in bell bottoms and turtlenecks strolling the streets as an endless array of boutiques welcomed them in danced across my eyes.

She shrugged sheepishly, and looked as if she wanted to say more, but decided against it. “We needed a change, that’s all.”

“Well, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.” Anika said from the drivers seat, glancing at Sharon and I through the rear view mirror. “Its boring as hell around here.”

Sharon was quiet and took to looking at the window. She looked as though hurt by Anika’s remark that I found decently innocent enough. Especially compared to her past bites I had fallen victim too, this was a gentle nuzzle.

“Sharon,” I asked. “Did you want to move here?”

She looked over at me with big brown eyes, a bit glazed with tears. She smiled through it though, and shook her head.

.

.

Sharon invited us all to her house for dinner after school had ended.

“I’ll have to run home and check to make sure it’s alright with my mom first.” Linda said as they waited for me to pack my bag.

“You can use our telephone if you want.” She offered. I smiled at her and asked if I could use it too, she nodded and asked Anika if she needed to use it too. Anika laughed and shook her head.

“No, my parents don’t care.” She said. Anika’s lack of parental guidance was the envy to all us girls. While we were stuck with lying and sneaking, Anika could just walce into or out of her home at 3 in the morning no questions asked. But the older I get the more I’m thankful that my mother wanted me home by 11 o clock.

So we all went over to Sharon’s home, which was even nicer on the inside than it was on the outside. It looked straight from the magazines my mother bought and drooled over fantasizing for when us kids were out of the house so she throw out our old fashioned ‘safety’ couch. It was clean and calming, no fights for the tv remote being held by the tv, no loud stereo blasting your old Beatles records- the home of an only child.

The mouthwatering aroma of meatloaf hit us the minute we got in, as Sharon’s mother called out to her from the kitchen.

“Sharon is that you?” She asked. Her mother was a beautiful woman, tall and lean with blond hair and red lipstick that looked as if it were manufactured just for her. Her voice was warm and inviting and reminded us of our own mothers- or what we wished she sounded like.

“Yeah,” Sharon said. “I brought some friends over for dinner.”

Her mother looked a bit puzzled at us, her brow furrowing, and suddenly the power trio felt not good enough in their own territory. “I thought you were bringing along those girls from the part-” with a glare from Sharon she stopped before resuming her warm smile. She asked for introductions which we gave eagerly to.

“Well, Dr. Chbosky should be home shortly and we’ll be having dinner by then. Do you girls need to phone home?” She asked. Linda and I nodded and after we called our parents (my mother was eager to have one less mouth to feed, and Linda’s was eager to have a nice super with her boyfriend.) we went back to the front door only to discover that Sharon and Anika were gone.

“Oh they’re probably up in Sharon’s room.” Mrs. Chbosky said as Linda and I both shot each other a nervous look. “Up the stairs, second room on the right.”

We went and when we opened the door, Anika was laying on Sharon’s bed giggling with her as she sat on a chair by her desk. I smiled, happy to see Anika finally warming up to her.

We talked about Sharon’s first day of school, and how she liked it. Anika listened with a forced politeness, her almond shaped eyes squinting a bit as she studied some piece of lint on the floor to pass the time. When she decided she heard enough she looked up at all of us.

“Did you get invited to Chase Onstead’s bonfire?” She asked. Linda and I nodded, he asked us both in English. Anika grinned and moved to her belly on Sharon’s bed, already marking her territory.

“I say we spend he night at my house and go.” She proposed. Sharon laughed lightly with a hint of embarrassment evident in her sweet giggle.

“My parents would never let me go.” She said. “Some parents had warned him about the Onsteads at the party.”

We laughed at her innocence. “Neither would mine.” I said. Linda nodded in agreement.

“That’s why you don’t tell them.” Anika grinned a devilish grin, like a shark smelling the smell of blood- she thirsted for the spill of innocence. “Just say youre coming over to my house and leave it at that.”

Before Sharon could muster an argument from her unsure lips, her mother was already calling us down for dinner. We all hopped up, just now feeling the grumble in our stomachs for food.

“Just say you’re coming over for a sleepover and leave it at that.” Anika coached in a hushed voice to Sharon as we shuffled out of her room.

The table in their dining room was fixed up like they were expecting the queen to come over for a bite of meatloaf. Mrs. Chbosky was finishing up fixing everyone’s plates while inquiring Dr. Chbosky about his day.

I felt a bit pushed to be on my absolute best behavior, but the normal respect and fear of someone’s parents was heightened with the doctors status.

But Dr. Chbosky was an easy going man, who inquired each of us about ourselves- which coming from an older attractive man was flattering to 3 hormonal teenage girls. He was charming, and playful, and by the end of dinner he had us all belly laughing. And thus the awkwardness melted away and we all felt at ease.

“Oh Darling,” The doctor said, making our focus go to his sullen looking wife who picks mindlessly at a bit of meat. It was then that I realized that we were the only ones under his charismatic charm, and I suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable. “Do cheer up, we have guests.”

She laughed a bit as she touched her cheek lightly with her hand. “Im sorry dear,” She said. “I was just lost in thought a bit.”

Dr. Chbosky was quiet for a moment, he took a sip of his wine and forked up a piece of meatloaf. “It must be all that yoga-hoo-ha you’ve been doing,” he chuckled. “It’s making you drowsy.” He glances over to us to see if his joke stuck.

We giggled a little, yoga seemed so exotic; something misplaced in the predictable organized life of a housewife. The thought of my own mother practicing it seemed ridiculous. But a part of me felt envious for a mother who did something

After dinner I rode home with Anika and Linda. The whole way there we chattered about how much we like Sharon, and her dad.

“He’s gorgeous.” Anika said. We gasped and I slapped her shoulder.

“Anika, you can’t think Sharon’s dads hot!” I said, mortified at the thought. Even for Anika this was pushing it.

“Why not? He is.” She laughed, and Linda giggled along too. “He’s loaded too, did you guys see how nice that house is?”

“You have a nice house too.” I said.

“Not as nice as that.” Anika said, and picking apart my sensitivity cooed. “Imagine- Anika Chbosky-“

“Can it!” I punched her shoulder laughing. The three of us giggled as Anika reached back as swung her palm at me.

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch, I’m just kidding, man.” She giggled that cute adorable coo that made boys ears perk up.  It was the opposite of my howl that made even the dogs whimper.

When I got home I opened the door only to be snapped to the reality of my home. The stained reliable couch sat in its mismatched glory to the rest of the living room, as Dylan and Simon raced about the house playing Cowboys and Indians pretending to shoot guns and bow n arrows at each other. My old Beatles records were blasting upstairs in Robin and Heather’s room. My dad was sitting on the couch watching the News on his worn out lazy boy. A stark contrast to Sharon’s picture perfect living room with breakables like glass and chine for decoration instead of stepped on comic books and nail polishes without their caps.

Like I said we werent poor, but we were smart enough not to have nice things that are just going to end up broke or stained.

“Honey, was that Jeneane that just came in?” My mother called from the kitchen. My dad turned to face the kitchen as he squinted his eyes.

“Huh?” He called as Simon and Dylan continued going ‘Bang, Bang!’ and crashing against walls.

“I said, was that Je-“

“Yes, im home!” I groaned going into the kitchen. My mother had elbow length yellow gloves on as she scrubbed dishes with an old sponge. She smiled when she saw me and turned down the radio that had previously been playing Elvis.

“So,” She grinned. “Was it a dream inside, or what?” My mother like me dreamed of a nice house once, but she grew more practical with age.

“It was wonderful,” I sighed reminiscing over her house. “It looks like a magazine cover in there, so clean, so quiet-“

“The opposite of here, huh?” My mother laughed.

“You’re telling me.” I said. She just smiled and shook her head.

“You’ll grow to miss it one day, you know Jean’s already phoning and saying that exact thing.” She said. Of course I couldn’t see it then, but those years spent in that house were going to be the best of my life.

Daisy Chain Renegades (Introduction) 

The three things I’m most thankful for in life are sunsets, peach tea and plea bargains.
One saved my life. Or at least the direction it was headed in. A cold small cramped room is no place to watch a decent sunset in, and I’ve never heard stories of Charles Manson sipping peach tea in confinement. 

I think these type of things while I rock away on my old rocking chair, it’s a heirloom from my grandmother.  It’s cracking mint colored paint goes well with the homely looking hut I call home. But I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else, no one recognizes me here in the upper peninsula. And if they do, they don’t say a word. People don’t come to northern Michigan to relive old memories. And everyone seems to have a mutual respect of that.

It’s summer time, and though the mountainous amounts of snow that was belched from the heavens has now come and gone, in its place are the wretched mosquitos and little black flies. Bug spray keeps them away mostly, but on this particular evening they seem to be especially persistent. I wear a headnet that I lift ever so often to bring my cup of tea up to my lips, which I gingerly sip. 

The bright oranges, yellows and purples paint across the calm waters of Lake Superior, looking exactly like a work of art created by the master painter. Sometimes I get out my easel and water colors, and set to work trying to mimic the bright and intoxicating colors- but tonight I’m content with watching. As I seem to have always been.

The sun dips softly into the water which ripples sadly to see its departure. But even once the skies colors have long gone, I sit and listen to the waves crashing against the shore. It brings me back, to better times, and to worse times. I’ve spent my life in Michigan, and much to the discontent of her citizens it’s my home. I’ve lost myself in the colorful sunsets, the snow banks upon snow banks, the frigid cold waters of the Great Lakes- the girl that the reporters so desperately picked apart was lost in it too. She was shed long ago, like how a snake sheds its skin or a bird mulches. But time does that to the best of us, and I know that the rare occurrence that the reporters are able to sniff out my little slice of heaven, they still expect that 17 year old girl from 1972 to open up. Just as doe eyed and rosy cheeked as the day she sat on that witness stand. But no one ever thinks that people like that can change.

They like to pin our disturbances on everything from rock music, to television, to catholic nuns- but their favorite is our homes. That’s where they say the beginning of our disturbed minds is- our troubled home lives. 
But really the beginning was at Mr. Chbosky’s dinner party, October 1971.