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Samson [userpic]

the foodening (freaks & geeks)

December 5th, 2006 (10:24 am)
stressed

in my heart: : stressed
in my head: : kidney thieves: placebo


Kennedy High's Cafeteria was nicer than most, but still at its core, it was a cafeteria. Tables were scattered throughout the large room and windows lined several of the walls.

Along one side was the kitchen, serving all kind of unrecognizable foods. Mac and . . . cheese? Beef Suprise. The kinds of food that made you wonder just how much the school was paying the health department to keep them away.

Balancing her tray, Cat walked through the cafeteria trying to locate anyone she knew. After bio, she had been separated from the others. So far, it looked like that would be the only class she would have with her sister. Still, she wouldn't know for sure until this afternoon and so was keeping up hope that the scheduling gods didn't isolate her completely.

So far, no luck. Only . . . there . . . out of the corner of her eye she spotted Bianca. Her shoulders sagged the tiniest bit as she saw them all sitting there together. No. That was a door that was closed.

"Can you believe that?" Lily demanded, slamming her tray down on a table hard enough to bounce her Jello a good half an inch, "That stupid Miss Glass, asking us to desecrate the corpses of innocent, noble amphibians murdered in the prime of life so that high school students don't have to study charts or diagrams . . ."

"Whoa, Lil, calm down. I'm sure you can figure out a way out of the whole dissection thing." Carmen said, taking the seat diagonally across from her.
"But it's not right!" Lily insisted. "No one should have to do it, not just me!"

"I'm not disagreeing. Maybe you can get Sam to write an article or something. She has a way of stirring people up. Or maybe you could start a protest or something," Carmen suggested, hoping she was being helpful. She noticed Cat standing with her tray looking around. Standing up, she yelled, "Cat! Over here!" and motioned the girl over to their table.

Hearing her name, Cat looked around and spotted Carmen. With a nod, she headed over and slid into the seat next to Lily. "Hey. I was beginning to think I had this alone, too. What are we talking about?"

Lily stabbed sullenly at her salad.

"The injustices inherent in the system," she said gloomily.

"I agree," Sam said numbly, sinking into the seat next to Cat. "The system . . . bad."

She sighed. "Do you think it would be bad for my GPA if I skipped every biology class for the rest of the semester?"

Cat nodded. "Yeah. Can I just mention that Ms. Glass is a certifiable freak." She popped the top on her soda. "So . . . what are you going to do about it, Lil?"

Lily stabbed an intricate pattern into her innocent Jello.

"I don't know; I haven't had time to come up with a plan. Protest, maybe . . . I could send letters to the superintendent and the PTA . . . obviously, I'll be silent protesting: I will not be participating in this gruesome experiment. Sammy, Carm was thinking you could write an editorial about how evil this is?"

"Of course," Sam said, forcing a smile. She felt numb, burnt through by the Brooke McQueen's backdraft. "You know I'm always good to back up your causes, Lil. Count me in."

Cat smiled at her sister . . . well smirked, really, reaching to steal her cookie. "And I'll proofread it."

Lily smiled. She was feeling better already; nothing bolstered her spirits like the prospects of a fight underway.

"Thanks, guys. You're the best."

"So um . . . guys, did you hear that the Glamazons were having tryouts today after school?" Carmen asked nervously.
"Carmen, you're going to be great!" Lily said excitedly. "You're the best dancer at this school!"

"You really think so? I was so sure I was ready to try out when I got here today. But then I saw Nicole and Brooke . . . is it just me or are they even skinnier this year?" Carmen asked, taking a bite of her apple.

"Who cares how skinny they are?" Lily demanded. "Skinny is not talent!"

She giggled. "Carmen Ferrara is talent."

"Lily's right," Sam reasoned. "You're really talented; if you don't get chosen, it's only because those superficial, stuck-up blonde bitches are being . . . superficial and stuck up . . . not because you don't absolutely deserve to be on that squad."

"They're right, Carm," Cat agreed. "You do kind of rock."

"Thanks . . . you guys are right. I'm going to go in there and give it my all. They'll see that I'm a good dancer," Carmen said with more confidence than she felt.

Cat nodded. "They will. They'll have to. Carmen Ferrera will not be ignored."

"Here! here!" Carmen agreed. She really loved her friends. "So Sam, how goes things at the Zapruder?"

"Oh! Um, well, you know they just named me editor, so . . . you know, exciting, but hectic and scary."

"Editor? Sammy, that's awesome!!!" Cat hugged her sister. "Mom's gonna flip when you tell her. You have to call her tonight. And we need to celebrate. I say this weekend we party -- we can celebrate you being editor and Carm being made a Glamazon."

"Well I won't actually know if I'm a Glamazon until Wednesday, but Sam's becoming editor is certainly celebration-worthy. Count me in!"

Sam blushed a little. "It's really not that big a deal . . . not that many people even work at the paper. But thanks. And it's really a threefold party: my thing, Carmen becoming a cheerbot, and Cat coming home. Best semester ever!"

"It is, too, a big thing," Lily begged to differ, "and count me in, too!"

"Yay!" Cat was more than a bit excited. "So I'm thinking a blow out worthy of an 80's teen movie. What do you all think?"

"Do you think that's a good idea?" Sam asked seriously. "I have no idea where we'll get Anthony Michael Hall at such short notice."

"True. He is kind of booked these days . . . but I think we can soldier on without him."

"Seriously, Cat," Lily said. "Aren't you afraid a huge party will, you know, make your mother go a little ballistic? I mean, I don't want to be the bad guy, but you just got home and done being in trouble . . . maybe you should wait a little while before you start with the button-pushing."

Cat frowned. That was certainly a buzzkill. She had been all prepared for Sam to say something like that -- she had tons of comebacks, and the information that their mother was out of the country. But Lily. Coming from Lily it seemed different. "Yeah . . ."

She pulled her sleeves down over her hands and began twisting them -- an old habit. And one that usually meant she was uncomfortable or nervous.
Carmen felt bad. No one liked to be reminded of their faults. "So it doesn't have to be a major blow out, but I think a small get together will be great. . . . Besides I'm sure that Cat didn't mean that she wanted it to be that kind of party . . . right, Cat?" Carmen asked, praying she was right.

"What? Oh . . . well . . . I guess not." She pushed a piece of hair behind her ears, not really looking up. "I mean . . . a small get together. . . . That's it."

Lily smiled. "That's the spirit, Cat. I mean, it doesn't have to be, like a quilting bee or anything, we just shouldn't have the whole school trashing the place, right?"

"Right. 'Cause who wants to clean that up." Lily did have a point. A big blow out sounded like fun . . . but the aftermath would be murder. The trash pickup alone. "So us and Harrison it is, then . . ."
"That's smart," Lily agreed. "And it'll be like old times, a girl's night." She frowned. "You know what I mean."

Sam giggled. "That afterwards, we'll be taking Harrison to therapy?"

Noticing Lily's frown, Cat paused to think. "You guys think Harrison ever gets tired of hanging with us? You know . . . like he wishes he had some male friends?"

Sam sobered. "Come on, I was joking. Harrison loves us!"

"I don't think I've ever really thought about it. I mean he's always just hung out with us," Carmen replied. "I mean, it can't be easy when we start talking about 'girl' stuff can it?"

"I know he loves us. He wouldn't still be here if he didn't. I just sometimes wonder if he doesn't want . . . guy time."

Sam frowned. What the hell was this? Harrison was her best friend; what was the sudden interest in whether he needed a different kind of friend?

"What?" she asked caustically, easily injured after the morning she'd had. Apparently she wasn't good enough for anyone. "Are you going to set him up on a play date?"

"No! I was just asking. Like Carm said, it can't be easy for him when the subject of bras and cycles come up. I'm not like pimping him out to the highest bidder!" She probably sounded a bit more defensive than she meant to. But Sam had snapped at her. And for no reason.

Sam nodded absently. Right. Whatever.

"You know what?" she said tightly, collecting her things. "I don't need this today. I'll see you guys later."

Sam left in a hurry, hands white-knuckled around her lunch tray.

Samson [userpic]

first day of school (freaks&geeks & popular hags)

December 2nd, 2006 (09:56 pm)
pessimistic

in my heart: : pessimistic
in my head: : pink: long way to happy


Five minutes after the first wave of students arrived Monday morning, it was if they had never left. Posters appeared up on the wall, papers littered the ground, and the sound of teenagers screaming down the hall to one another was deafening.

This was the scene that greeted our heroes (and antiheroes) as they arrived . . .

Brooke rushed through the halls on her way to her first class. She held her schedule tightly in her hand, trying to figure out which way to go. The new wing they'd built onto Kennedy was so confusing. The last thing she wanted to do was be late for class. She envied Nicole, who was still in the Novak, for her complete lack of concern for warning bells.

As she rounded the corner she ran smack into someone.

"I'm sorry . . ." she mumbled, until she looked up and saw who it was. "You again? Don't you ever look where you're going?"

Cat was surprised to say the least as she looked up to see the blonde. Again? She had never seen this girl before. Okay. So that wasn't entirely true. She had seen her before, sure. Everyone saw Brooke McQueen. But she had never interacted with her. And certainly never run into her.

"Excuse me? I'm not the one who came barreling around the corner like a Mac truck. Maybe you should look where you're going."

Brooke eyed the brunette critically. What was her problem? She'd almost been knocked down by the sheer force of the collision and now she was getting attitude?

"I was paying attention. I'm trying to find my class. Judging from your lovely ensemble, I'd say that you're probably off to skip yours," Brooke said in a haughty tone. Then the late bell rang and she let out a silent curse to the heavens. "I'm late now. Thanks . . ."

Caitlin couldn't help but laugh. Did she really think that outfit comment fazed her at all? "No. See, you couldn't be paying attention and trying to find your class. You're either paying attention . . ." She mimed looking around. "Or looking for your class." She mimed looking at a paper. "I'm gonna guess you were looking for your class."

Caitlin straightened and brushed herself off. "Don't worry . . . I hear walking and chewing gum at the same time is hard for your type, too."

"And just what is that supposed to mean?" Brooke asked, offended. This . . . girl (for lack of a better term) had the nerve to insult her intelligence?

Sam rounded the corner and was met with the heartwarming scene of her darling little sister snarling at a resplendent, growling Brooke McQueen. Ah, the first day of school; it brought out the best in everyone.

Sam smiled pleasantly and walked up to the cheerful duo.

"Do you two need counseling?" she asked sweetly.

"Why don't you stay out of it?" Brooke growled at the intruder, before taking a good look at who was standing there. "Ohmygod, there's two of you!" She felt like she was in a episode of The Twilight Zone.

Cat nodded. "Afraid so. I'm going to guess you two," she motioned to Sam and Brooke, "ran into each other earlier?"

"More like she almost plowed me over. I didn't realize this sort of thing could be hereditary," Brooke spat out the last word like it left a nasty taste in her mouth.

"I plowed you over, Blondezilla?" Sam repeated. "You're, like, twelve feet tall! And it is not my fault if you were too busy talking trash with Queen of the Damned, Nicole Julian, to see the peons in Downtown Tokyo—”

"Blondezilla?! I wouldn't go calling anyone names, when it's obvious that a comb and a brush is a foreign concept for you," Brooke shot back. "What's your problem? I've never done anything to you."

"Like said 'hello,' or learned my name, despite the fact that we've been in school together since we were learning the alphabet?"

Sam had a point. Brooke hadn't even registered there were two of them. The girl was obviously not good with the visual skills.

A little smirk danced on Brooke's lips. "Is that what this is all about? That I haven't taken time out of my busy schedule to say 'hi' to someone that I clearly have nothing in common with? I've never seen you go out of your way to say anything to me," Brooke countered.

Sam shook her head.

"Clearly the conversation would have gone marvelously. Like in seventh grade when you and blonde Satan got me detention for 'sexually harassing you' in gym class when I tried to say hi. Or another half-dozen choice examples of my idiocy on display re: trying to be pleasant to Brooke McQueen, all of which I'm sure have been completely erased from your gray matter, and replaced with lip-gloss application how-to's and cheerleading routines. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for class."

She shouldered her way out of the knot of animosity and walked, faster than necessary, head down, down the hall to her classroom. She disappeared inside.

"Sam! Sammy, wait up!" Caitlin took off after her sister. Where had she learned to walk that fast? "Sa-a-mmy...."

Sam sat in the back of the class and pushed a chair out for Caitlin.

"I'm sorry for bailing on you," she said sotto voce. "She just makes me feel small."

Plopping down into the seat, she nodded. "I know. It was just like . . . whoa . . . where did Sammy go? So this is our first class, huh? Any idea what?"

Sam gave her schedule a cursory glance.

"Biology." She shrugged. "That would explain the decor."

Cat looked around, taking in the decor that Sam had mentioned. There were quite a few "slice and dice" dissection posters decorating the wall. Ick. She shuddered.

"What a great way to start the morning."

"I think it's barbaric," Lily announced from the next bench. "It's like being in a fifteenth century dungeon." She brightened. "Hi, Caitlin! How are you?"

"I'm good. You know . . . besides the near death experience in the hallway where a cheerleader ran me over." She smirked, giving Brooke a sideways glance. "What about you? Sammy says you spent a night in jail!"

Lily puffed up a bit.

"Well, you know," she said modestly. "It's all part of being a champion for social change . . ."

Caitlin nodded. She knew Lily was dying to tell the tail and truth be told she was dying to hear it. "You so should have gotten the media involved? Or did you. I don't remember . . ."

Lily grinned. "Three news stations! Three! Plus the paper! We rallied so much support that the circus left town a week early. I'd like to think that exposure — popularity — doesn't matter, but sometimes it really can affect change . . ."

"That it can." She smiled at Lily, trying not to let her eyes drift back to the boy near the door. Evan. This time last year, the two were inseparable.

"So . . . what great social change was brought about by your time in the slammer?"

Lily bounced a little. "I thought Sam told you! We were protesting the despicable things that the circus does to animals . . . and, okay, we didn't get them to, like, let the animals go free or anything, but we made enough noise and so many people boycotted that they left town early, so that's a win, right?"

Lily caught the flicker of Caitlin's drifting eyes and frowned.

"Isn't that your old boyfriend?" she whispered. "I thought he got expelled . . . ?"

"A huge win!" She grinned. "I'm sorry I missed it. Count me in for the next one."

She caught Lily looking. "Evan? My . . . we weren't . . . I mean . . . I don't know."

"Definitely! Although maybe you should wait a little while before getting arrested, you know, so your mom doesn't ban me from your house for life . . ." Lily frowned. "Oh. One of those."

"I think Mom will be understanding as long as I keep repeating 'but Lily's with me' over and over again." She smiled, nodding. As for Lily's question . . . well she wasn't sure quite how to explain it. "Yeah. Kind of."

Lily feigned a look of complete disinterest.

"That's all right. You don't have to talk about it. It's not like I'm your friend who'd get arrested with you or anything; I don't care about your personal life and boy troubles . . ."

Oh, now that wasn't fair. Cat wanted to talk to Lily, she did. But there was the small problem of the person beside her. She motioned her head towards Sam subtly. "I promise to tell you everything later?"

Lily nodded, Emma Peel style. "Absolutely."

Cat grinned and opened her mouth to say something when a sound from the back of the room distracted her.

Letting out a long, low whistle, Bobbi Glass waited to speak until all eyes were on her. She was not about to be ignored.

"Let's keep it down to a dull roar, people. This semester I've decided to introduce a, well a game of social Russian Roulette. I call it Alphabetical Lab Partners. Pair up when I call your name!"

Looking down at her clipboard she began reading off the names: "SD Bernadino/Mary Cherry . . . Emory Dick/Lily Esposito . . . Carmen Ferrara/Josh Ford . . . Poppy Fresh/Freddie Gong . . . Nicole Julian/Harrison John . . . Evan Loundon/Caitlin McPherson . . . Samantha McPherson/Brooke McQueen . . . Jordan Murphy . . . "

She continued reading until the entire class was paired up.

***

Excuse me? Nicole was nothing short of terrified. Ms. Glass wanted to pair her up with who? No no no. That would not happen. Not in a million years.

***

Brooke wondered if something was wrong with her hearing. Surely the unthinkable hadn't happened. But judging from the utterly look of shock and disgust on Sam's face that she was sure was mirrored on her own, she knew her worst nightmares had come true. Standing she moved over to the now empty seat beside her newly acquired enemy like she was taking her last walk on death row.

Okay, Sam thought. This could be okay. She could do this. She could. She just needed to be strong, and dignified, and prove herself the bigger person. She needed to look that blonde, holier-than-everyone bitch in the eyes when she and her Prada backpack made their way over.

Yeah, that didn't work. Sam found herself grimacing like she was going to be ill, and then dropping her eyes to the scarred lab bench in front of her.

Could be worse. At least more word vomit wasn't exploding from her mouth. Stupid.

"This can not be happening . . ." Brooke muttered under her breath as she chanced a glance at her new seatmate. The day just kept going from bad to worse.

Sam took a deep breath and focused on the bench in front of her. She could do this. She could be the bigger person.

Apparently Brooke had no inner-monologue, but she was bigger than that. Bigger person. Zen bio meditation thing. Breathe in, breathe out. In with the good air, out with the bad . . . Brooke.

There were stress marks and scratches in the heavy, dark surface of the bench, and Sam wondered how many came from wear and tear, and how many were from not-quite-accidents.

BIGGER PERSON.

The loud breaths coming from the other girl grated on Brooke's nerves like nails on a chalkboard. "Do you think you could, oh I don't know, breathe a little quieter?" She growled.

Sam's Zen broke.

She turned slowly to face Brooke.

"Now you want me to stop breathing?" she asked, her voice a stealthy asp, quiet and deadly.

"Hey, breathe . . . don't breathe . . . I don't really care how you do it as long as you do it quietly." Some people were just not considerate at all.

Sam was struck speechless. Wow. Some people were absolutely without consideration for others.

Brooke was like a science project.

Guess they were in the right class for that.

Brooke glanced at the clock and sighed. She wished the bell would ring and put her out of her misery. She pulled out a piece of paper and, sparing a glance at her new lab partner, she scribbled a note to Nicole and passed it back.

This can not be happening. Tell me this is not happening.

Fraid so. You with Spam. Me with Harrison. It's almost like being in Hell. But don't let it worry you -- you'll get wrinkles. Just concentrate on the party.

Brooke took Nicole's note and nodded as she read it. Come on bell . . . ring, she thought.

***

Evan picked up his head and looked towards the chair that was empty next to his old friend. There was no way he was sitting in the front of the class. That wasn't him. How was he supposed to sleep? When Cat showed no signs of moving, he accepted his fate. He picked up his bag and moved towards the table she now occupied.

This was more than a little awkward. Cat hadn't spoken to Evan since that last party in May -- the night she had Sam come pick her up. And now, thanks to Ms. Glass' sadistic nature, they were going to be lab partners.

"So . . . long time, no see." This was ridiculous. Could she actually do this? Sit next to him everyday? He was . . . well . . . he was everything she was trying not to be.

"Yeah . . . so I see the rumors are true. Cat McPherson is back on the scene," Evan said as he looked over at his friend. They hadn't talked in like forever and he was glad he'd been paired with her instead of anyone else in their class. It could be like old times.

"I think that may depend on your definition of back . . ." She was definitely grateful to be paired with him over Nicole or any of the blondes. But this was going to be hard.

"Oh?" Evan asked surprised. Something in the girl's tone told him maybe things wouldn't be going to back to the way they were. "And what's your definition?"

"I'm back in the 'I'm sitting here next to you' way, but I'm not . . . I don't . . . I can't go back to the scene." She stared at the desktop. Why was this so hard? Why did she suddenly feel ashamed of being clean?

Just as he'd suspected, she'd come back like they all did. "Hey, that's cool. I respect that. We could still hang sometimes." Even as he said it, he knew it wasn't true. Sometimes people came back to the 'scene' as she'd put it. He wondered if Cat would be one of them. A part of him was a little sad that his friend was actually back, but they're be time to 'forget' about that later.

"Maybe." Cat was pretty sure Sam would murder her in her sleep if she set foot anywhere with Evan.

***

Carmen tried to ignore the butterflies in her stomach as Josh Ford slid into the seat next to her. She wasn't sure why, but the thought of sitting next to Josh both excited and frightened her. Maybe this year really would be her year. Maybe she could get Josh to put in a good word for her. Or even Sam now that she was Brooke's lab partner. One look back at the scowling brunette let her know that now was not the time to ask.

***

Mary Cherry smiled brightly. Her and Sugar Daddy Bernadino. Was there a better combination? Not in her mind.

***

Lily decided that she was completely in favor of the teacher's seating arrangement. It was completely unbiased in respect to race, socio-economic status, intelligence . . . any of the things that usually fettered people in today's world. It was blind to anything but an arbitrary arrangement of letters, and chance . . . okay, there was an argument that the so-called "traditional" way of viewing the alphabet was archaic and perhaps detrimental to anyone who wasn't an "A" or "B," but mostly, it was a just system. Lily approved, and moved to sit beside Emory.

Carmen watched as the teacher growled at some poor, helpless, blue-haired boy when he came in late. She tried to get Lily's attention to see what the smaller girl thought, but was interrupted when the teacher began to speak.

***

Jordan walked up the stairs to the front door of the large school. He took a deep breath as he looked at his schedule, which read Biology with Ms. Glass. He opened the door and walked up to the teacher and said, “Excuse me, are you Ms. Glass? I’m Jordan. I’m new here.”

"Correction. What you are is late." Glass really hated stragglers. And was tempted to kick the boy out. But there would be plenty of time to do that later. "Now find your seat."

Jordan sat down and got ready to hear what the chubby teacher had to say.

"All right, class. Now that you're all here and ready to learn, it is my perverse pleasure to tell you we'll be starting the semester with dissection. Frogs to be exact. Normally we would work up to frogs, but I find the basics to be a waste of my precious time." She walked up and down the aisle as she spoke. "Now . . . while I'd love to introduce you to the third members of your little group today, we're just about out of time. So come tomorrow prepared to slice and dice. No exceptions!"

Lily's jaw dropped. That was inexcusable. She stood up.

"No! That is inhumane, and I refuse! Animal dissection is cruel and unnecessary; there are plenty of ways to teach anatomy without resorting to outdated, barbaric means! A society is judged by how it treats its animals, and this is wrong!"

"Miss . . . Esposito . . . is it?" Glass checked her roster. "As I have just stated and most undoubtedly will state again, the dissection policy is without exception. So you will either slice and dice or you will get an F." She smiled as the bell rang. "Dismissed."

Samson [userpic]

sam&jane @ the mcpherson house

November 15th, 2006 (11:40 pm)
anxious
Tags: ,

in my heart: : anxious


Jane sighed as she sat down on the couch. She took a moment to look around. There were pictures of Joe and the girls littering the walls and a few on the shelves. It reminded her of happier times. She was determined to get those times back as best she could. That, of course, depended on the cooperation of her two lovely daughters. One of which had been too silent all summer.

Sam had seemed to shut herself off from the world. Jane was afraid she would lose Sam too if she didn't do something soon. First thing she needed to do was try to help mend things between her and Cat. Taking a deep breath she took the first step.

"Sam, would you come here for a moment? I want to talk to you about something."

Fun time, Sam thought. She could hear the foreboding looming in the air, in the words unsaid.

"Sure thing, Mom," she said brightly, and presented herself.
"Here honey, take a seat," Jane said patting the couch. She could see the hesitance in Sam's big brown eyes.

Sam felt herself being caged, and the false wind went out of her sails. She sank obediently, heavily, to the sofa, and studied her fingers, the complete lack of manicure ending her long, thin fingers. She wanted to say something light, funny, to take some of the pressure off her mother and to belie the way she felt, but nothing could rise beyond the heavy feeling in her chest, so she stayed silent.

Waited.

"As you know, Catie, I mean Cat, is coming home on Friday," Jane started slowly. She looked over at her despondent daughter for some sort of reaction. When she received none she continued. "I would like you to come with me when I pick her up."

You can go to rehab, too.

"Are you sure she'll want me there? I mean, maybe she won't want to see us both all at once; it'd be like we're ganging up on her . . ."

"I'm sure she won't think that. Look I know that she said some . . . unpleasant things before she left. That was the drugs talking. I think this will be good for the the both of you. I think she's really missed you this summer."
Sam studied her hands. The length of the fingers, the color of the skin.

The same as her sister's.

She remembered tiny fingers, the same length, the same color, lacing through one another to run too fast across the street for the ice cream man, remembered tiny hands exactly the same size getting sticky with popsicles.

She imagined the long car ride to pick up someone she wasn't sure she'd recognize, and felt ill.

"Okay," Sam said quietly, nausea roiling through her stomach. "I'll go."

Jane looked over at her eldest daughter with a frown. Sam was so...quiet. She was a far cry from the little tomboy that was curious about everything, always asking questions.

"Sammy, are you okay?"

Sam felt something inside her crumble. This was her stuff. With everything that her mom had to deal with -- her father, Caitlin -- she didn't need the added stress of Samangst. She needed to pull it together. She was better than this.

Sam plastered on a smile.

"I'm fine, Mom. It'll be great. McPherson women roadtrip. What could be better?"

Jane smiled back relieved. They were going to be okay.

"That's great, honey. Thank you so much," Jane said cheerfully. She reached over and pulled Sam into a big hug. "I have to go call Cat and let her know that we'll be there bright and early Friday morning." She released Sam and stood up. Smiling at her daughter one last time, she walked into the kitchen to use the phone.

Samson [userpic]

once upon a time

November 15th, 2006 (12:36 am)
gloomy
Tags:

in my heart: : gloomy
in my head: : tori amos: suede


Once upon a time, there was a princess. And the princess lived in a kingdom far, far away, where everything fit together in an unquestioned symbiosis.

But in the real world, one day your whole life becomes fragmenting. One day your dad dies and then there’s no king anymore, and there isn’t anyone to fight dragons. Dragons just pile up all over the kingdom; fire scorches your hair, and the sky clouds with smoke.

And then your mom cries all the time, mermaid songs.

And then your sister – in fairytales, the princess never has a twin sister who people look of instead of at her, but this is the real world – gets swept away by fairy dust, and then you just fade away. If anyone could have looked at you before, after your dad died – looked at you through the shadow he left behind, through your poor grieving mother – then that’s gone now.

You can’t even see yourself, and you don’t want to. Even in the mirror, all you see is her, falling beyond your fingertips.

I could have done something, Caitlin. We used to tell each other everything, and you couldn’t even tell me that you were drowning.

And now I have no voice, because you chose to hold yours.

Maybe we are twins.

Mom and I are going to pick Cat up tomorrow. I’ll see her for the first time in weeks.

When I see my mirror image, will the face be the same as mine? Will I get my voice back?

Will our kingdom be restored?

Samson [userpic]

sam, cat, & jane @ the mcpherson house (past)

May 20th, 2006 (11:46 pm)
sad
Tags: ,

in my heart: : sad
in my head: : rufus wainwright: the maker makes


Her high was wearing off. She was first aware of this fact during the long car ride home from the party -- the silence drumming in her ears. She was able to confirm it once they arrived home and she stumbled out of the car into the night. Caitlin noticed that stepping onto the grass in her barefeet was not nearly as exciting as it had been when Sam picked her up. No longer was it the most sensational experience she had ever undergone. Now it was just cold and wet. Very cold. And very wet.

With a frown, she followed her twin towards the front door. As Sam moved to unlock the door, she began searching the pockets of her hoodie for another tablet . . . another hit to bring that feeling back.

Sam didn't even need to control her tone. In the beginning, watching Caitlin dig through her pockets for more drugs would have brewed up a whirlwind of emotions in her: fear, dread . . . anger. Bitter, unstoppable anger.

But now she was so used to it that she was just tired, and her tone was the same as always. Flat and dead.

"You have got to be kidding me. We're home now; you don't need to . . ."

Caitlin just shook her head. Once upon a time, she might have worried that Sam was judging her. That her mirror image disapproved of her activities. But the time for that had long since passed . . .

"Don't need to what? You thought I was going to . . . no . . . just looking for some asprin to deal with my headache . . ." It was a lie. A boldface lie. And not even a good one.
The lie hurt, stuck in her gut like a knife. Sam jerked the keys out of the door too hard, and the knob hit the wall with a hollow bang. She felt the noise echo through her thin, empty body but didn't flinch.

I'm made of glass, she thought delusionally. I feel everything echo through me. Everything she does, it just echoes through me like a tuning fork, like when those stupid performers who can't make it in opera play the water glasses . . .

"Don't lie to me," she said finally, and she couldn't even make her tone harsh for that. "Not to me. I mean, it's not enough that you steal from me, that you've bankrupted me with your habit, I -- I don't even care about that. But stop lying to me! We share the same blood. Don't lie to me. It's like lying to yourself."

Sam stopped talking. She was talking in circles.

She felt eerily calm. She felt like she should be mad.
"Sammy . . . come on . . . lighten up . . . you're getting paranoid in your old age." Caitlin showed her sister the Excedrin bottle she had pulled from her sweatshirt. "See. Painkillers. Nothing more. I can't believe you thought I would lie to you . . ."

Yeah, right. And if Sam believed that, there was a bridge in Brooklyn that was for sale. But on the outside it all looked perfectly normal. It even looked normal on the inside too. Until one realized some of the tablets were larger than others.

Sam regarded her sister for a long moment.

"Right," she said softly. "I need to pick you up at one in the morning because you have a headache. You need to go through my drawers looking for spare cash because you've got a Tylenol habit you can't fix."

Her jaw steeled.

"I love you more than anyone. And I've proved it; for months I've done nothing but put up with you and put up for you." She smiled ruefully. "Do you love me at all? Is this how you treat someone you love?"

"That's not fair! Of course I love you . . . but . . . there's more to it than that, Sammy. A lot more. You . . . it's hard to explain." And it wasn't fair. She did love her sister. More than anything. Sam was her best friend. But it . . . it was just so hard.

"Yeah, well, you've been spending tons of time trying to explain," Sam said quietly, and started into the house and away from this treading water conversation.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" Caitlin's tone turned harsh -- almost snappish.

"Can you not understand sarcasm when you're in this condition?" Sam asked numbly.

As the words started pass her lips, Sam knew that, objectively, they were harsh. Mean, even. But they didn't feel mean. They didn't feel -- she didn't feel -- anything at all.

More than once, she'd wondered if it was part of that "twin phenomenon" where when Caitlin did something, she felt it . . . if the drugs affected her directly, psychically.

But she didn't believe in that. That was not it.

This was something different.
"I understand sarcasm, perfectly. It's the only thing I hear coming from your mouth these days." Did that even make sense? To Caitlin it did. She looked at her sister -- her mirror image -- and wondered if what she said had even fazed Sam. Probably not. Nothing phased Sam these days. Nothing fazed Sam ever.

Sam's brow rose. "You hear? Gee, I didn't know anything could get past the perpetual haze. I'm blessed."

That was more sarcasm. She should probably care, be bigger than that, but she wasn't. Right now, for the past several months, she wasn't. It was the kind of thing that came of repeatedly beating your head against a brick wall.

"See . . . there you go again . . . one smartass comment after another. You're like a robot. How do you do it? How do you manage not to feel anything close to a human emotion?"

Caitlin had moved past sarcasm, past harsh, and right on to nasty. And she knew it. She wanted Sam to hurt . . . to feel . . .

Sam looked at her sister, at the fire that had burst past the mask of drugs. Her twin's whole body was alive with feeling, but she just felt . . . empty. Wasted. A shell. Look what you've done to me . . .

"If I let myself feel everything," Sam said quietly, "I would be in such exquisite pain all the time. At first, I wasted so much time agonizing over you, and now . . . ? It's easier to just not. To just shut it off. Maybe you don't understand, because you have the luxury of turning it on and off whenever you want, but some of us don't. Some of us have to live in the real world all the time, Caitlin."

"What do you know of the real world?" Caitlin knew where this was going and she regretted it, but it was too late. Her train of thought had already started and there was no turning back now.

"You don't live in the real world. You live in your little ivory tower with your typwriter, passing judgement on everyone and 'remaining objective'. You're not objective, you're just scared. Scared to get involved. Scared to feel anything. Or maybe you're incapable of it. Who knows? But that's not the real world, Sammy."

Sam didn't even feel the laughter. She could hear it, and, after a minute, she realized that it was coming from her, bubbling manically from her like water.

"And you -- you know the real world? Your fake chemicals making pictures in your head, changing your perceptions, that's the real world?"

The laughter kept coming, made her weak, so weak that the room swam a little before her, and she had to jut one hand out to the wall to support herself. She couldn't feel it, couldn't feel the origination of the laughter within the vault of her chest. Maybe she should be worried about that.
"Fuck you!" Sam's words had put her back on the defensive. And so her answer was short and to the point.

"You don't get it . . . you just don't . . . you have no idea what it's like! Things happen and you just sit there . . . you're perfectly calm . . . unmoving while I . . . I feel like my bodies being ripped apart. I had to turn it off. I had to find a way to make it stop. No. The drugs aren't real. But at least I know enough of the real world to know I had to get out." Her voice was wavering now. All this talking . . . it was hurting her head . . . making her dizzy.

She looked at Sam and it pained her. To think that she could be the cause of it. She hated that. And it made her hate her sister. Not for real, but in that moment. She hated how Sam had always been so calm, so strong and she was an emotional wreck. She felt everything in threefold . . . or so it seemed.

She had to make it stop. She looked at the Excedrin bottle in her hand . . .

"Right! I have no idea what it's like! My dad didn't die! My family didn't get torn apart! My life didn't change forever! You were the only one this happened to. No. It was worse, because it happened to us all, but then you went away, and I was all alone."

Sam saw Caitlin's hand curl around her pill bottle, and finally emotion flared within her. Her body set on fire, like it used to in the old days, the first days of Caitlin's problem.

"If you think I am going to sit here and just watch you pop pills, you have another thing coming," Sam growled, and lunged forward to take the bottle from her sister.

What the . . . ? That was highly unexpected and in a backwards way, kind of rewarding. But like many things in Caitlin's mind these days, that had already passed. No longer did she want a reaction from Sam. Now she just wanted to go back to where she had been an hour ago. Happy. Ignorant. Detached from anything and everything.

Stepping (or more like diving) off to the side, she managed to avoid Sam. "Are you mental? You're going to wake Mom!"

Odd the things she still cared about. She didn't care about verbally ripping her sister to shreads, she didn't care about popping pills right in front of people. But she cared if someone woke up her mother.

Odd. Very very odd.

Sam blinked. "Don't wake Mom?" She raised her voice. "I'm talking about your life here, braintrust! Grow up!"
"You grow up!" Aaah yes. Sibling rivalry. Destined to bring out the seven-year-old in everyone. "It's my life! Mine! So back off, Bossy the cow..."

The sound of yelling woke Jane from an already fitful sleep. She looked over at her clock and it read 1:45am. Why were the girls fighting at almost two in the morning? She got up and walked into the hall, flipping on the lights as she made her way down the stairs. "What the hell is going on down here? Catie? Sam?"

Sam smiled pleasantly at her sister as she heard their mother approaching.

"Well, it's your life. Why don't you explain what the hell is going on down here, sis?"

Jane turned and looked at Cat expectantly. The girl's hair was rumpled and her eyes were bloodshot. Jane waited rather impatiently for her youngest daughter to answer.

Cat looked from Sam to the doorway to the pill bottle and then back to the doorway, stuffing the bottle into her hoodie. "Nothing, Mom! Just fighting over the last bit of ice cream . . ."

She forced a smile onto her face, hoping she didn't look as bad as she imagined she did.
"Let me get this straight. You expect me to believe that at 2 in the morning you and Sam are fighting about ice cream?! Don't lie to me Caitlin! I want to know what's going on and why the two of you are just getting in." Jane looked at the girl and saw her, really saw her for the first time in a very long time. She noticed Cat's jittery movements and the way that she kept looking at the door.
"We're not. I mean . . . we're not just getting in. We were fighting over ice cream, but . . . it's rocky road. Who wouldn't fight over that? We're sorry . . . we'll keep it down . . ." She bit her bottom lip, hoping her mother would fall for it.

Jane turned expectantly to Sam. "What about you? Is that your story too?" Jane asked, knowing it wasn't likely that she'd get a truthful answer from Cat.

Sam opened her mouth, and for a moment no sound would come out. Then she moved her eyes from her angry, wounded mother to her desperate baby sister. Caitlin just needed her help.

Caitlin always needed her help.

"I just . . . I need to stop letting her have what she wants all the time," Sam said finally. "It's not good for her, you know? For her too just always have what she wants all the time, without any thought for other people, or the consequences. She needed to hear my side."

"Uh huh, I see. So if I asked either of you what Catie stuffed in her pocket when she thought I wasn't paying attention then you would say it was what? A spoon?" Jane asked praying that it was just a spoon, but afraid that it was so much more.

"Aspirin. Sam's kind of loud when preaching."

"Oh, aspirin . . . well seeing as how this whole conversation has given me the biggest migraine of my life, you won't mind if I take a couple right?" Jane asked. She was still praying to any god that heard her that it was just asprin. Or better yet that this was all some sort of a horrible nightmare.

"You don't want aspirin for a migraine, Mom," Sam said hurriedly. "Why don't you go back to bed and lie down, and I'll make you some tea."

Cat nodded, "What Sam said. We have tea with lemon . . ."
"I'm quite capable of taking care of my own migraine, thank you. Now I want some asprin. Some of Caitlin's aspirin . . . hand it over," Jane said with a calm she didn't feel at all. She felt sick. She looked over at Cat and held out her hand.
This was it. They were trapped. Caitlin could see the facade she had spent the last several months building beginning to crumble. Her mother knew. She only just wanted them to confirm it. Unless . . .

Taking the bottle, she shook it gently so only the smaller tablet (the actual apsrin) came out. Then she handed them to her mother. "Here you go . . ."
"I want the bottle, Cat," Jane said firmly.

"Mom . . ." Caitlin took a step back. A step (suprisingly) closer to Sam. "Please . . ."

She couldn't do it.
Sam slipped her hand around Caitlin's, squeezed it gently. It'll be okay.

"Caitlin . . ."Jane said, shoving her outstretched hand out even further, "Please . . ."
While the hand within Sam's was surprisingly steady, the hand that placed the bottle in her mother's was shaking.

Silent tears glistened behind her eyes as she saw the end drawing near. Everything she thought she had had control over was now breaking down -- washing away with the tide.

The tears moved from her eyes, making trails down each of her cheeks. It was over. There was no more hiding . . .

Silently, Jane took the bottle looking at her daughters. She walked out of the room into the kitchen. She pulled a glass from the cabinet and filled it with water. A single tear crept down her cheek as she looked at the bottle in her hand. Brushing the tear away quickly, she opened the bottle. She dumped a couple in her hand, looking down at the various sizes.

Looking over at Sam, Cat didn't dare say anything. She just waited. Waited for her sister to say something, waited for her mother to start yelling, waited . . .

Jane walked back in the room moments later. She didn't know what to feel inside. She was hurt and angry and disappointed and just really sad. But all of that was changing. Everything inside was turning numb. She regared the two girls for a moment. Then she calmly asked, "do either of you want to tell me what I just took?"

Sam's hand jerked hard around Caitlin's.

"Catie, we have to -- we can't just . . . do something," she said stupidly, late, her voice raw. She'd been unable to choose between saving her mother or protecting her sister, and now she was unable to do either.
Fuck . . . fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

"Mom! You didn't . . . you couldn't . . . Christ, Mom! That was ecstacy! We have to get you to the hospital." There. She admitted it. Caitlin hadn't been doing just any drugs. She hadn't been abusing painkillers or diet pills. No. She'd been doing E.

Something her mother was so not prepared to experience.

"Christ! Ecstacy?! There was ecstacy in that bottle?!" Jane shouted. "Well I guess it's a good thing I dumped the whole bottle down the sink!" Jane was furious.

"You . . . you what?" Cat was shell shocked for lack of a better word. She wasn't sure if she should be relieved or terrified. Her mother looked pissed . . . but at least her mother hadn't taken E.

"I said I dumped them, Caitlin. I just wanted to hear you say it," Jane said in a flat, but cold tone. She'd just had her worst fears confirmed and for just a split second she wished she had taken the pills. But she wouldn't do that to her girls, orphan them for her own selfishness. Besides wasn't that just running away from your problems?

"How long?"

"Not that long . . . really . . . "

"This is that last time I'm going to repeat myself, Caitlin Rose McPherson! How long has this been going on?!" Jane fumed. It was bad enough that Cat was doing the stuff, but what really angered Jane was the fact that the girl refused to look her in the eye.

"Since right before Dad died . . ." The floor was utterly fascinating.

That was over two years ago. Jane felt like she couldn't breathe. In fact there was a distinct possibility that she would pass out right where she stood. She looked over at Cat, took in her scruffy appearance. All the pieces of the puzzle of began to fall into place. The money missing from her purse, the smell of Cat's clothes, the fact that Cat's bed hardly looked like it was ever slept in. Nausea swept over her. She took a moment to steady herself. "All this time . . . the money . . . the missed dinners . . . all of it?" She was so hurt she felt it everywhere in her being. She turned to the other silent girl, unshed tears in her eyes. "Have you known this whole time?" She whispered, her voice raw from grief.

Sam felt the breath leave her breast.

How long had she known? Maybe from the very beginning, maybe . . . maybe she'd been stupid and it had taken far, far too long.

It felt like she'd been living with this secret her whole life. She thought she'd been doing the right thing for everyone in covering it up -- she had to protect Caitlin, and it would only hurt her mother to know -- but seeing the pain in this room, the pain that was threatening to break down the walls now, she now felt with crushing certainty that she had been very, very wrong about that.

"I don't . . . I don't know how long," Sam said honestly, her voice a ghost. "I've just . . . I've just known."

Jane looked at Sam. She wondered for a moment if this was the cause of Sam's aloofness too. No, she knew Sam hadn't done drugs, but she might as well have. She'd been walking around like a ghost for a while now.

Her world was spiraling out of control. She didn't want to deal with this. She just wanted to get in her car and drive. Drive anywhere, just far away from here. But this wasn't about her. Her daughter needed help. Her daughters needed help. She needed help...

"Come on," she said suddenly. Walking over to the closet. She threw the door open, and grab her a pair of shoes and a jacket.

Without thinking, Sam moved between her mother and sister.

"What? Where are we -- you didn't take anything, we don't have to go anywhere. Everything's fine. Don't . . ."

She felt stupid saying it, but it was more a mantra than actual reasoning. Everything's going to be okay, everything's going to be okay, everything's going to be okay . . .

Cat was with Sam. She didn't really want to go anywhere. Especially since she was pretty sure her mother wasn't going to react to the news that she had been doing drugs for the past two years by taking them all out for ice cream.

"I said come on!" Jane replied firmly. She stepped into her shoes as she slipped her coat on.

"Not until you tell us where we're going!" Caitlin was soooo not getting in the car. She was not going to be trapped in a car with her mother and sister . . . not until she at least got a time estimate on how long.
"Excuse me!" Jane said, taken aback. "I don't think that you are in any position to be demanding anything!" Jane yelled. "For two years you've lied to me. You've had your sister lying for you. You stole from me and now you think you have the right to question me?!" Jane felt incredulous laughter bubble up inside of her.

Cat wasn't sure what to say. Was there even an answer to that? Everything her mother had said was true, Cat wouldn't deny it. But still . . . to declare they were going somewhere at 2am. She felt she had a little bit of a right to know.

Looking to Sam, she silently asked her twin for help.

Sam shrank beneath her sister's gaze. She couldn't help. She wasn't strong; if she'd been strong, she would have been able to stop this a long time ago.

"I," she said, but then she couldn't think of I what, and shut her mouth, dropping her eyes to the floor.

Jane turned towards Sam. She saw that the girl was struggling, and her anger dissipated. She didn't blame Sam. She didn't even blame Cat. She blamed herself. Blamed herself for not seeing. Or for denying what she'd been seeing, and now the reality of it all was hitting her. It was hitting her hard. Tears began to roll down her cheeks and she couldn't stop them. She didn't want to cry, but they just wouldn't stop.

"I'm sorry . . ." Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat. "I'm sorry. I . . ." What was she supposed to say now? She had no idea what to do. Where had she been planning on going? She didn't even know. She dropped her jacket on the floor.

Jane looked over at the girls again. Her daughters. The daughters she'd somehow failed. And she didn't know how to fix it. Any of it. She tried desperately to think of what Joe would do. How would he handle all of this? He would sit down and talk to them. They would come up with a way together. That's what she had to do, she knew that now. But she couldn't right now. She needed time to think. She needed time to get a hold on her emotions.

"I . . . we're not going anywhere," she started again. "At least not tonight. I just . . . I can't talk about this right now. I need some time to think. So I'm going to go lay down. I hope I can at least trust that you'll both still be here in the morning," She stated flatly.

"It'll be okay," Sam said weakly. To her mother, crying -- which was insane, to see her mother crying, when she'd been a rock through their father's death -- to frightened Caitlin -- insane again, when Caitlin was always fearless, reckless fearless.

"You'll see," she said, her voice cracking with desperation. "In the morning, everything'll be better. It has to."

Jane just nodded, wiping the tears away quickly before turning and heading back upstairs to her room. She hoped Sam was right. For everyone's sake, she prayed Sam was right.

Caitlin watched her mother go before sinking to the floor, her head buried in her hands. "I can't do this, Sammy. I can't . . ."

Sam sank beside her sister, wrapped her arms around her. Womb.

She started to say, "It's going to be okay," again, but those were words for her mother, who hadn't seen the past endless days of pain and tears and blackouts, who couldn't weigh the sheer hopelessness against what the future held.

(And the Devourer of Souls weighs your heart against a feather, and if your heart tips the scales, the Devourer of Souls eats your soul . . .)

Unlike Caitlin, she'd never been able to lie to her twin.

Instead, she said, "I don't think we have a choice."

She held her sister tight and added, "But I'll be there. We'll do it together. Whatever happens."

With Sam's arms encompassing her, Caitlin finally broke. She stopped trying to hold back the emotions she had been hiding from and began to sob openly, burying her head in her sister's chest.

She didn't know what she would do without Sam. Sam was her rock. Her cornerstone. The one person she could count on to always be there. And she was Sam's. Or at least she had been. She had let her sister down. She couldn't do that anymore.

"I . . . I need help, Sam. I can't . . . it's not . . ." Her words were a bit broken as they came through her tears, but it wasn't hard to figure out what she was talking about. She needed more than Sam and Jane could provide -- two years was a hard habit to kick. She needed profession help.

And professional help she would get. Come morning, Caitlin McPherson would be on her way to the best Rehab Clinic in Santa Monica where she would spend the next three months trying to kick her habit of the past two years.

Samson [userpic]

post, the first

September 17th, 2005 (12:59 am)
silly

in my heart: : silly
in my head: : bif naked: life with me


The meaningful testing post.

Testing.

Testing.




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