(From Ella's Perspective)
I could not believe how unfair my life was. I had prayed thirty thousand times in my life that my life would be more fun and that I would not have to live this boring life. But no, there was no change. Like every single day, I had to get up in the morning and get ready to go to the boring school.
"Ella, hurry up! You're going to be late again!" Mom's thunderous voice came echoing in the room from downstairs.
I quickly put my hair in a super messy loose ponytail and grabbed my backpack. Zoe, my friend, who I managed to find somehow, told me to bring some extra clothes with me. I was going to stay at her place for the next seven days as Mom was going on a vacation trip with her boyfriend Owen Wyatt. They did not want me to be a disturbance on their lovely trip.
I had never seen my Dad in my 17 years of life. Mom claimed he had abandoned her while she was pregnant. Perhaps that was the reason I never got the love of my Mom as well. There were many times when she would be angry at me and talk to me as if she was trying to suppress her anger. I had a feeling that she did not want to behave like that with me, but she had no control over it.
She was like that to me only. My stepsister did not have to see that part of my Mom. Linda was a favorite of both my Mom and Owen. She was two years younger than me, but she was perfect, everything parents would want and a boy would desire.
Linda would always dress like a pretty little perfect girl. She would wear matching ribbons with her dresses whereas I wore whatever caught my eye first.
I took one last look into the mirror to make sure that at least, I looked like a human. Then I ran downstairs. The school was not far from here. Zoe's house was near as well. We went to school together riding our bicycles.
"Really? You were wasting all this time to look like that?" Linda said disgustedly looking at my oversized shirt. Owen chuckled, his misplaced nose wrinkling, and Mom gave me an annoyed look.
"At least, I'm not going to kiss that douche bag in school," I snapped at her.
"Ella!" Owen snapped.
"What? I'm just telling the truth. Ask her. She has been sleeping with him for the whole month. Everyone knows. They literally have their tongues into each other's mouth the whole time," I sneered.
"Ella, you will mind your tongue in front of Owen. He is going to be your Dad," Mom said.
"Stepdad," I clarified before leaving, giving everyone the ugliest glare I could muster.
I had never known what it was like to be loved by a family since I was born. They were always mocking me, making sure that I felt myself lower than them. Mom acted as if it was my fault that she became pregnant with me and that Dad left her.
Every day, Owen would drive Linda to school, but not me. According to him, I needed to behave myself first to be worthy of riding his car.
"I would rather suffocate on-air than make myself worthy of riding that dirty car of yours!" I had snapped at him.
I never liked behaving that way with people. But sometimes I could not help it. It was as if they were obliged to ruin my mood and make me yell at them.
As I paddled, the wind landed on my face like a fresh wave of chill. The town Brigade was not full of people. It was a peaceful city, only if the people here would behave themselves and stopped being annoying, at least my family.
As soon as I graduated, I planned to leave this town and my family. It was becoming unbearable for me to put up with their arrogant attitudes on a daily basis. It was true that I got used to it and I now knew how to ignore them and mind my business only. But still, I did not want my life to be like this. I wanted adventures, fun, happiness, laughter.
The street of the 16th block was empty. Not a single soul could be seen. It usually took five minutes to reach Zoe's house from my house if I kept going at my usual speed.
It was a windy day. I wondered if I did the right thing by wearing the baggy shirt, or perhaps I should have worn something tight. Zoe was surely going to wear something form-fitting.
Unlike me, Zoe had a perfect family. Even after all these years of marriage, her parents were still madly in love with each other. They had to try again and again to get pregnant. After seventeen years of patience and trying, Zoe's mother got pregnant with her. That's why Zoe was loved a lot by both of her parents. She was very lucky.
We were not best friends, but we used to get along pretty perfectly. Zoe did not have any other friends, neither did I. But we had completely different reasons for that.
Zoe did not have any friends because she almost always used to stay at home, would not go to any party. She had a passion for singing. She would practice with her guitar the whole day if she could.
I had never been to a party either. It was not like I did not get any invitation. But because I did not want to. I did not like crowded places. I would rather sit on the wall behind our house and think about how different my life could be if Dad had not left us.
Because of my imaginative and odd nature, I did not have any friends. Almost all the girls in my school hated me for some reason. But the boys used to talk to me, at least tried to. I was sure that they were talking to me only because they wanted to use me. I was not going to fall for that. Besides, I was not in desperate need to have a boy in my life. I was fine with being single, even though a lot person mocked me for that. I did not care what others said or thought about me. It was my choice and I was happy with it.
Every day, Zoe would wait for me in front of her house. She was being bullied in school almost every day, mostly because she had a lot of pimples on her face. She never stood up for herself. Every time this happened, I had to go to stand up for her. It was hard to see someone being treated in such a way for no apparent reason.
I was never bullied in school. It seemed as if no one wanted to bully me. Mostly because they knew I would not flinch from hitting someone hard if needed. Once a girl, almost twice as tall as I was, had called me a virgin in front of the whole school. It was not a problem. I did not care at all. But when she tried to dump all of my books on the ground, she made a grave mistake. I smacked her across the face, standing on my tiptoes, breaking her nose, and leaving a massive bruise on her upper lip.
The principal called Mom for that and she had to meet him. I had been grounded for five weeks. But it did not matter. No one else ever dared to bully me again in school.
Mom and Owen did not give me any money except to pay for the school. They would not buy me any clothes as well but expected me to wear good clothes. I worked in a nearby coffee shop and occasionally as a babysitter for a neighboring house.
As I reached Zoe's house, I saw that she was not there. I thought that probably she was still sleeping. It happened mostly to me that I kept sleeping in the morning when Mom had to hammer on my door to wake me up. But Zoe was an early bird. She loved mornings. I had a feeling that she had a morning lover poetry vibe. She used to talk oddly as well, as if she was not living in the modern age, but in the ancient time.
I knocked on their door, a bit impatiently as it was already late. We were going to get scolded by Mr. Luke for sure.
"Mrs. Gary, is Zoe still sleeping?" I said as her mother opened the door.
"Oh, Ella. She is sick. She has a fever, early this morning. I forgot to call you. I'm so sorry," she said, her brown eyes apologetic.
"It's alright. Hope she gets better soon. I'll bring her the homework," I said.
"That's good. So, when are your parents leaving?" she asked. "I mean, your mom and Owen."
"Tonight. Linda is staying at her friend's house. Mom said that they will come back in a week," I replied.
"All right, then. You'd better come straight back from school. We are having a family gathering. You should be there," she said, smiling, not realizing how much it wounded my heart on the inside. How much I wished to have a perfect family like Zoe!