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Pen Your Pride

New beginnings

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Amalie sighed, lanky figure awkward in the back seat of her family's small blue car, crammed in among suitcases and boxes. She wore a simple black hoodie and jeans, along with a pair of combat boots. She leaned forward and clicked on the radio, only to have it turned to a station playing country music by her father. Her step mother looked back at her. "Hungry sweetie?" "No Catherine, I'm fine." She plugged in her black headphones and started a play list, drowning out any response the woman could've given. She observed her father, stressed and sleep deprived from late nights of waiting for Catherine to get home. She sighed, starting to look through pictures on her phone. She stopped at one. It was her mother, a young woman with red hair and her mismatched eyes and her cousin, a girl of about six with black hair wild and messy around her shoulders next to Amalie. Her dark brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her eyes glinted in the sunlight, almost identical to her mother's. One eye was a bright green and the other a deep shade of blue. Amalie smiled in the picture, the last time she'd been genuinely happy. Before her father decided to cut off visitation and married Catherine. That was two years ago, before he'd brought in the therapists and doctors to try to figure out why the teenage girl no longer smiled or cried, why she was empty and devoid of emotion, and why she would randomly become very ill with no apparent cause. The only thing they could figure was to medicate her and watch her closely. Of course, her father only did one of the two. Medicate her. She took several pills, and as long as she did he payed no attention to the sixteen year old. She pondered this as they pulled up to their house. It was plain looking, with two floors and an attic. She noticed next door a boy looked through the the open curtains at them on the second story. He had shaggy brown hair, brown eyes, and skin as pale as hers. She noticed, shocked, that his window was open, despite the cold winter temperatures. He wore only a red tee shirt, yet he didn't seem at all cold. She sighed, looking back at her house. Her black scarf fluttered gently in the wind as she stepped out of the car and picked up a box, carrying it inside and looking for a room. No rooms caught her eye, until she opened a dark door at the end of the upstairs hallway. She walked up to find the dimly lit attic, with only three windows it was one enormous empty room with dark blue walls, several shelves, and a black dresser. She set down her box. "Dad, Catherine, I found my room," she announced, "I'm taking the attic!" "Okay sweetheart! You can carry your boxes up!" She walked back to the car and carried her boxes up, her parents moving their things in as well from the moving van that had arrived several minutes before them. She glanced out her window after every trip, seeing the boy from before looking out his window. After a while, with a start, she realized he had disappeared. She saw him walking down the street wearing a hood, which hid his face. A girl with blond hair pulled into a pony tail walked next to him, wearing a blue button down shirt and a silver jacket, along with blue jeans. She walked outside, pinning a note to the door. 'Going for a walk. See you eventually-Amalie.' She walked after the two, several yards behind them. The girl seemed cheerful, laughing a lot and teasing the boy. Eventually they stopped at an abandoned playground, though it was around twelve degrees out, and sat, casually talking. Amalie sat on a swing, curious as to why the duo had come here. "Hey, are you our new neighbor?" The girl asked. "Yes." "I'm Lyra Rogers, and this is my little brother-" "Toby. My name is Toby Rogers." "I'm Amalie Thallassa. Nice to meet you." She said, frowning slightly as usual. "Nice to meet you too Amalie," said Toby. "So what middle school are you going to?" She cast a glare at Lyra. "I'm sixteen, I don't go to middle school anymore. I'm going to Lyons Creek High School." "That's where I go." "Where do you go Toby?" "I..." his entire body twitched. "I'm home schooled." "Oh. I used to be before we moved. The school said my seizures disrupted the learning environment. They just wanted me out of the because I'm ADHD," she said, forcing a laugh. "Oh. I have Tourette's Syndrome. I had to leave because I was-" he twitched, "bullied by my-" twitch, "classmates for it." He smiled awkwardly. "Hey, we should meet up here sometime. You two seem a lot alike." Toby glared at Lyra, seeming embarrassed. Amalie pulled down her hood so they could see her eyes and long brown locks. "If you guys want to it's okay I guess." She noticed the two looking at her mismatched eyes with a sigh. Lyra spoke first, looking away from her eyes. Toby kept looking, pretty much staring, at her eyes. "We'd love to, right Toby?" "Um, yeah. That sounds great." "If you guys are gonna say something about my eyes, then just say it. I don't like it when people act awkward because of them." "They're fine! It's just you don't see eyes like your's every day," said Lyra. "They look cool," said Toby, now staring at the ground. Amalie, always perceptive, started picking up things about Toby. She noticed that he and his sister had a rough home life, that they were inseparable, and that Toby had never had a girlfriend within seconds. "Thanks I guess. Anyways, you guys can come by my place any time." She pulled a pen and a piece of paper from her pocket and scrawled her cell phone number. "Or you can call me. This is my cell. I always answer." Toby took the slip of paper. "Th-thanks Amalie. I'll text you later. I don't have m-my phone right now but I'll text you." She nodded. "I should go. I still need to unpack my stuff. Bye guys." "Bye Amalie," said Lyra. "Bye..." She left, cursing under her breath as she realized she'd forgotten to find out why the siblings had come out to the park. She walked into her room to see her bed  and the remaining boxes brought up. She opened all the boxes and began putting the sheets and pillows on her bed. Her phone beeped. A message popped up on her screen. 'Hey Ammalie. It's Toby. The boy from the park' she looked at the screen, sighing as she saw her misspelled name, but deciding to address it later. 'Hey Toby. What's up?' She finished her bed. 'Not much. You?' 'Just unpacking right now' Amalie opened a box and started placing photos and small objects on the dresser and shelves, finally pulling out the photo she'd been looking at earlier on her phone. 'Cool. My mom is over the moon right now because Lyra told her I finally made a friend. Lol she wants to meet you.' 'Lol nice. My dad and Catherine would've done the same thing' 'Is Catherine your sister?' She paused before typing a reply. 'My step-mother' The two texted for a few hours as Amalie unpacked. At around ten, she heard a noise and looked out her window, seeing Toby had climbed onto his roof. She opened her window  with a smile. I'm smiling. Why am I smiling? She thought. Amalie hadn't smiled in two years. No she felt an odd happiness. Toby beckoned for her to come over. She popped out her screen and pulled it inside, climbing onto her roof. From there she jumped into a tree and then climbed from that to Toby's roof. The sun was down, the silver moon lighting the scene so it almost seemed surreal. The stars shimmered brightly in the clear sky. "Hey Amalie." "Hey Toby." He smiled awkwardly. Amalie had already changed for bed. She wore a silver tee shirt and sweat pants, having forgotten to put on her jacket. She shivered slightly. She guessed it to be about five degrees, and her brown hair was swept to the side by the cold wind. "You were pretty impressive getting over here." "It was nothing, really." Toby looked at her shivering. "Ammie are you okay?" "Ammie? Did you just call me Ammie?" "Yes." She laughed. It wasn't forced this time. She playfully punched him. "Don't call me Ammie." "Okay Ammie." She rolled her eyes, her legs dangling off the edge of her roof. "So what're you doing out here Toby?" "There's gonna be a meteor shower in a bit. I wanted to watch." "Oh. Mind if I stay to watch with you?" "Sure." "Thanks."

Toby's PoV
Amalie sat next to me. Her eyes seemed to almost glow in the dim light. "Oh. Mind if I stay to watch with you?" I tried not to seem excited. She was only the most beautiful girl that I'd even seen. Okay, that thought did not help. "Sure." "Thanks." "Its no problem. I mean, we are friends, right?" "Of course we are." I smiled. She shivered. "Are you cold?" I tilted my head. "I'm fine. Don't worry about it." "I have to worry about it. We're friends now." She laughed and shoved me. "Yes, Rogers, I'm cold. Don't worry about me though. I'll be fine." I sighed and took off my hoodie, handing it to her. "Here. I can't feel the cold anyways." "Toby I don't need this." I looked at her. She was frowning again. Her eyes were devoid of emotion. "I insist. It's probably really cold." She looked at me, tilting her head. She put it on without another word. One thing I liked about her. She didn't ask me too many questions about me. Even if we'd only just met today, she seemed like the kind of girl I could talk to about anything. I wish I knew her better. "So why did you move here?" "My dad thought moving somewhere quiet and familiar would be good for me." "You used to live here?" "Right down the street." "Wait... did you know the Maddison twins?" She tensed and I knew I'd said something wrong. "There is only one twin now. Grace is gone. She has been for eight years." "What about the other twin? I forget her name. It's been like ten years since they moved." "Eleven and three months. Her name is Amalie, and she's still alive. She just got a new last name." "You were Amalie Maddison? The little blonde girl down the street? But... huh?" I knew I seemed like an idiot, but I was really confused right now. "I was Amalie Maddison. That was back when I still had Grace. I've changed. I get it.  I lost my sister and I haven't seen my mom in two years. That kind of thing changes people." Her eyes if anything seemed emptier. "God Amalie I'm so sorry. I didn't-" "It's fine Toby. I don't want sympathy. I have enough pity." "Alright. Sorry." She sat up straighter, no longer calm. "Please just don't mention Gracie. Or my mother. Ever." I nodded and she sighed, relaxing again. "Thanks Toby." "Hey look! The meteor shower is starting!" The first streak of light shot across the sky, and I could see Amalie get slightly excited. Her brown curls were still blowing in the wind and her eyes were fixated on the sky. The slightest smile graced her face. She quickly started frowning again, eyes loosing the faint glimmer of happiness. She did seem fascinated by it though, as the second streak crossed the sky. She layed down on my roof and I layed next to her, waiting for the next meteor. "Isn't this neat?" "Yeah," I replied. She wasn't smiling, but she frowning either, so I considered it a good thing. Her hair was splayed out in a halo around her head. Her pale skin was almost the same shade as the snow surrounding us, and it almost shone in the dim light, similar to the snow we layed on. "How long is the shower?" "It goes until two in the morning." "Oh. Are you staying out for the entire thing?" "Yeah." "I guess I might as well stay with you." "Okay."

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