Cassie’s Story: Nice Girls

Thursday, January 21st

“There we go,” Forge said removing the needle from my vein and wrapping his hand around the new full vial of blood.

I sat on a rather lumpy uncomfortable bed in the medical room of the warehouse; my right sleeve lifted all the way up and my arm extended towards Forge as he began to place a thin white bandage over where the needle had previously been.

“So what are you going to do with that?” I asked eyeing the vial.

“Hopefully find a cure for your current predicament,” he gave me a kind, hopeful smile which was supposed to make me feel better but didn’t.

“It’s been a month,” I slid of the bed and onto my feet, “I think it’s elevated past predicament status.”

“Yes well hopefully a month will be all it will be,” he said as he lifted my blood up close to his eyes.

I stared at him feeling a bit put off by both his interest in my blood and his constant optimism, “So explain to me what Dr. McTaggert is trying to accomplish?”

“Well,” He moved over to a circular glass table and placed the vial in a holder which already contained three samples, “For the next twenty four hours we will be exposing your blood to doses of radiation to see whether it will eventually succumb to the radiation and mutate. When that happens we are hoping that the blood’s, or well technically your DNA’s, x-factor will remerge.”

I folded my arms unconvinced, “You think that will work?”

“It might,” Forge gave me that hopefully smile again but I also noticed a fair amount of uncertainty behind those brown, chestnut eyes.

“So if it works would you radiate us,” I felt this sounded absurd and I wanted Forge to know how I felt. I was tired of getting my hopes up. I wanted to move on already but it didn’t seem like Forge or Moira would let me.

“It would have to work on your blood first,” Forge replied, “Dc. McTaggert and I both fully believe that if the gene does kick in you’d be able to withstand the radiation due to your powers and the fact that all mutants have advance healing, especially if we begin treating you right away.”

“You mean after my hair falls out?” I said as I wrapped a single stand of my long black hair around my finger and plucked it.

Forge laughed, “Hopefully the gene will kick in before then.”

“Are you doing this with the others’ blood too?” I eyed the other vials.

“Yes,” he nodded, “I already got their samples.”

“Okay,” I nodded shifting in place slightly and looking away from Forge. For some reason I was feeling a tinge of hope about this even though moments ago I wasn’t telling myself not to feel any what so ever. It’s how I always felt when Moira or Forge would come up with a new plan. There was the stress test were we put through where we stayed in immensely hot room and had massive amounts of pressure put on us, then the psychological test with those thousands of disturbing, horrific images and than the physical test which just had us working out for hours. And Moira had done tons of others on her own. Each time I would get my hopes, despite the fact that my ever present logical side of my brain kept telling me not too.

“So you think it will work?”

“I do,” his smile was confident but I knew it was mostly just for show.

I sighed, “Alright well I’ll come back tomorrow then,” I moved a piece of my hair behind my ear and looked up at Forge, “Thank you for all this.”

“Of course.” He nodded and I saw his smile fall a bit and his eyes grow sad.

I tried to pretend I hadn’t seen it and stayed quiet in the car ride back to my house. Forge was taking me home as he did every time I would come to the warehouse. Tucker and the others had gone back to school in California just a few days ago. Now our protection was a rotation of Logan, Forge, Ororo and some members of the California’s school staff like Dani Moonstar. Unlike Tucker and the others they didn’t stay by our side constantly . They watched from afar, trailing us basically wherever we would go. I didn’t feel all that safe with the new(or well old) system but I guess it was what I would have to live with for now.

I did miss Tucker, which surprised me. We had talked online a few times and over the phone but it isn’t the same as having him around. With him I actually had a friend to hang out and now that he’s gone I back to being by my lonesome, which I hated. That also surprised me. I had always thought I could live life without anyone, that being alone and completely independent was not only manageable but preferable. Not true.

Being alone like I am makes you feel disconnected from everything in your life. Everyday I feel like I’m just drifting in and out, watching people live their lives with their friends and loved ones. I feel like I’m in slow motion at times while everyone else has been sped up. It’s like I’m constantly watching some stage show were the cast members are on a massive amount of speed and I’m just the lone sober girl in the audience. And if people aren’t collapsing and having seizures there is just no fun in that.

The last two weeks with Tucker made things more tolerable but it still wasn’t the same as it was before when I had the others in my life. There was just something that worked and clicked with them. We connected in more than just a telepathic link.

Plus with Tucker it was always like he was waiting for me to suddenly mount him. Ever since I kissed him it seemed to me like he was always waiting for me to do it again. It wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the kiss we had because I really did and I liked him too but realistically Tucker and I wouldn’t work out because he lives in California and I live here in New York. Long distance relationships never work and I wasn’t going to be one of those people who believe they did. I knew Tucker probably was one of those people, like Lily, who believed in crap like ‘the power of love’ making anything work but I was a realist. I knew that if we continued hooking up it would only send him mixed signals and didn’t want him to get hurt in the end. So I didn’t make another move and he of course was too timid to make move himself so we just ended up parting as good friends.

When I arrived home I immediately went up to my room as I had no one at home to greet as my parents were still at work. I closed the bedroom door and touched the side of my head rubbing it slightly. I didn’t have a headache or any sort of pain there; I sort of wish I did. I just felt nothing in there, emptiness. That empty feeling has not left me once since losing my powers. Today was actually the one month anniversary since it happened and nearly two months since I last had a real conversation with any of my friends. I didn’t know which I missed most. Okay actually I did….

I was unfulfilled and sort of lonely. I constantly felt like some shell of a human being. I was trying to get on with my life but really what exactly was I doing to accomplish that? Besides losing my powers and my friends, had I really changed that much as a person? If I wanted to move on, to start over I needed to make another change, a voluntary one. A New Year’s promise I had yet to fulfilled. I would have to change who I was, change how I act.

I Cassandra Annabel Eaton would have to be nice. God save us all.

The Next Day
Friday, January 22nd

1st Period – AP Calculus

I was ready to be nice the minute I entered class. I had my special smile on and was wearing a nice white blouse with a long, white skirt and even white sneakers. I was going for a psychological approach to this. People see white and did think purity and kindness. I also had my hair in a ponytail which was being held up by a white scrunchie which would bounce a bit when I walked because something about that seemed just so wholesome. That was me today: wholesome, pure and kind. Yup me in three words.

I went and sat down in my usual seat in the front of the class and took out my books as I normally would but this time I tried to do it with a smile so I could look more accessible to people Accessibility is key in showing people how open and warm you are. I believe this was one of many social problems. I walked through the halls of this school with an invisible wall in front of me. Hell I walked through life with it. There was a reason I only had three friends my whole life. I never let anyone else get close. I would just insult them as soon as I possible could which in turn would make them run. To be fair I enjoyed the running. I especially enjoyed it when I made them run away crying.

A nostalgic smile crossed my face as I remember one of the first people I made cry. A boy who would had stolen Lily’s plastic carrot in the little toy kitchen that we in kindergarten. That little bastard actually peed his pants.

To be fair some of them didn’t deserve the harshness I gave to them and really I never understood why I enjoyed torturing people and making them cry. Maybe it was because I felt I was more mature than all of these high school students who worry about such trivial things. I always felt more adult, better than everyone. And being cruel allowed me to remind them of that.

I still do feel that I’m better than these people but not because I’m smarter or richer or more adult but because but because I’ve been through more; I’ve seen more, and I want more. So that does make me better in that way. But in other ways I am now able to admit they are better than me, or at least more adequate. Most people are nicer than me, more modest, and more loving. They are more carefree, youthful, and optimistic. They’ll probably live longer, live more boring but overall happier lives.

So really in the end they are luckier than me that was for sure but they were not better than me because again I’ve experienced more, I’ve seen more, I’ve felt more. I was a hero, I fought evil, I did things for the better of people. At first it was forced on me but eventually it was choice for me, one I gladly accepted. And I know most people my age would run away from that choice and from the fight, just like they would run away from me.

The fact was though I wasn’t the girl anymore, either girl actually. I didn’t enjoy just being incredibly cruel for cruelty’s sake(Well okay I enjoyed still sometimes…) and I also wasn’t the girl who could save lives and fight evil(though hopefully in a decade or so I would be saving lives as doctor and the only evil I would be fighting is malpractice lawyers). I was a new girl now and I wasn’t exactly sure who or what kind of girl that I was. All I knew was that I was alone and that I was empty. I needed to fix that.

I opened my notebook and went to the page with homework that I had due. I skimmed over the answers just to check if they were right and of course it being done by me, they were! I sighed as I placed my elbow on my desk then my head in my hand.

“Tired,” Betsy Braddock snickered as she took a seat next to me, her usual smirk on her stupid little face. Her purple hair was also tied into a ponytail though it was lower then move and did not bounce because she was not wholesome! She just looked really colorful today with a bright red sweater, brown skirt and boots.

“I’m not tired,” I straightened up getting on the defense

“You just look well haggard,” she shook her in disapproval.

“Maybe I do,” I responded trying my best not to stoop to her low. I would not retaliate nor would I strangle her. Nor would I grab my pen and stick it in her eye, repeatedly.

“Damn it,” I heard someone from behind me mutter. I turned slightly to see a boy from my class, tall and lanky staring down at his unfinished homework with frustration.

I sighed and grabbed my notebook and turned to face the boy, “Here.” I nudged the notebook at him

He looked up at me surprised, “Uh what?”

“Get the answers then give it back,” I again nudged the notebook more.

“Really?”

“Yup,” I replied and forced a pleasant smile, “Take it.”

“Thanks,” he smiled up at me.

“Yup,” I replied again turning around trying not to look at Betsy who was staring at me almost insulted and totally horrified.

“Why did you give that yokel your homework?”

I shrugged, “He needed it.”

“You know,” the boy leaned towards Betsy, “I can hear you,”

Betsy gave him a cold, stony look, “And you think I care why?” She waved a hand at him and looked back to me, “What’s wrong with you today? Since when do you help the needy?”

“He’s in an AP class. He can’t be too stupid,” I reminded her.

“How hard do you think it is to get into an AP class in this school,” Betsy gave a haughty little laugh, “If someone was to cut out about three-fourths of my brain I would still graduate top five in our class.”

“While that might be true,” I responded calmly, “Doesn’t mean he’s an idiot.”

Betsy shook her head, seemingly in utter disbelief just as our teacher walked in, “Who the hell are you?”

I shrugged without turning to her and tried to keep my calm face on, “I’m not exactly sure.”

Our teacher made his way towards us carrying stakes of papers. He came up to me and handed me the paper on top, “Your tests.” He looked to the class.

I took my test and my eyes feel immediately to the large red mark which read, “B+,” I muttered out loud as I began to feel very sick, “A B+.”

“Ouch,” Betsy mocked as she gave me a cocky, unsympathetic smile, “That hurts.”

“I’ve never gotten anything below an A in my entire life,” I said breathlessly staring at the paper wide eyed and vacant. Moaning I put my paper down and put my head on the desk.

I felt something poked me from behind, “Uh Cassie.” I put my head up to see the boy handing me back my notebook. “Thanks.”

I gave him a weak smile as I took the notebook back. The teacher made his way up to Betsy and then handed her paper back. Giving me a cheeky smile she very confidently looked down at her paper. I saw her smile fall immediately which in turn made my face brighten. Lunging forward I quickly looked and saw a red mark on Betsy’s paper that read ‘C’.

Betsy was pale and her mouth was hanging open in almost ghastly manner. She actually seemed to be in pain. It was glorious! I was biting my lip, trying to remind myself that was I nice now. Nice people don’t take pleasure in people’s pain not outwardly at least. I looked at Betsy’s paper again and then at Betsy who seemed to be in a state of shock. I just couldn’t resist anymore.

“Ouch,” I put my hands on her desk and leaned towards her pouting, “That’s just so, so sad. Aww..” I increased my pout, “So I guess we better leave your brain as is then huh.” I wagged a finger as Betsy’s head turned to me the iciest of stares, “Gosh I mean to fail utterly with a brain as whole as yours. That’s just….” I shook my head and sighed, “well it’s embarrassing,” A smile appeared on my face, “but very deserving.”

With a satisfied smile and Betsy’s icy glare still staring me down I straightened back up in me seat deciding to start over. For now it’s nothing but nice!

After 2nd Period

I made my way to my locker to gather the books I did not with me. I had seven minutes to my next class due to the period between 2nd and 3rd period existing to let us collect our things at our locker for the next three classes. My second period AP English class was a success niceness wise even though Betsy was in it. I just sat as far away from her as possible. I did correct a girl about her stance on The Sound and the Fury but that’s only because she wrong and needed to be reminded of so. It was my duty as her fellow student.

Sighing I raised my head and opened my locker putting back the books I wouldn’t need while taking out the ones I would like my AP Chemistry book and my rather massive history book for AP World History. I took every AP course available, I had to so I could get into a top Ivy League school with a full scholarship. I was wealthy so it wasn’t like I needed a scholarship but I just thought it would be a nice accomplishment to have and honestly, to brag about. Classes like AP World History were a joke though. What’s the need for advance placement in history? The facts don’t change. All classes in high school really were a joke to me. I wish they weren’t. I want to be challenge in school and I’ve never been during my time here so I have no clue why I got a ‘B+’ on a test. No matter what was happening in my life, even when I took a college level course last semester and still had my powers and friends, I never got that grade. Part of me began to worry that it might be that now that I am powerless maybe I might be losing my intelligence. To make sure I tested myself and could still name every single part in the human body and I am every part, inside and out and its function and I can still do heavy, complex math in my head so I’m still a genius. So why was I getting a ‘B+’? Was it the stress, the emptiness or the loneliness? Were they all the result of the same thing?

I slammed my locker shut. I had to just get through this day as a nice person and I’d be fixed. I knew that. I just needed to find someone new to be nice too. A smile appeared on my face as my eyes fell on that lucky person.

Five lockers to the left a boy was sitting on the floor surrounded by books and massive amounts of paper. His name was George Sheppard and his locker has been by my mine since freshmen year. He was of medium high and slightly bulky build with hazel eyes and black hair. His nose was sort of too round and his cheeks a bit sullen but other than that he wasn’t a bad looking kid. He was messy, that was for sure. He had always been messy, hopeless little bastard.

I shook my head as I watched him as he tried to shove his things in the already stuffed locker filled which was filled two large jackets, more papers, and a large backpack.

I leaned against my locker, “Do you need help?”

He looked up at me. He seemed nervous and twitchy, “I’m cleaning it up!”

“What?” I looked at him confused and stood up straight

“I’m cleaning it up alright,” he lowered his voice but seemed to be on the defensive, “Just don’t touch anything again.”

“Again?” I walked to him, “I didn’t touch anything yet.”

“I’m talking about last year,” he nodded his head and made a motion with his hand like I should be catching on, “When you ‘helped’ me out.”

“Did I?” I asked scrunching up my face in confusion.

“Yup,” he said sounding not pleased as he rummaged through his paper.

I smiled, “I helped you?”

“Yeah,” I could tell he was a bit put off but I didn’t know why. I thought he would be more grateful. “You ripped up my four page essay.” That was why! I stared at him for a moment frozen. My mouth was hanging open, my eyes slightly wide, and my head titled slightly, “Yeah,” he nodded, “Thanks.”

Shaking my head and regaining my composure I gave an innocent weak smile and bit the top of my finger slightly and swayed in place a bit, “I don’t remember that.” I widen my smile to illustrate my innocence some more.

He just shook his head, “I failed that paper because the teacher wouldn’t accept it late and didn’t believe me when I told him you ripped it up”

“Yikes,” I cringed as I scratched the side of my head nervously.

“Yup,” he replied in a nasty tone.

“You know I’m a little angry too,” I sighed very annoyed, “You work so hard to build a reputation and then a teacher doesn’t believe your capable of something mean and horrible and it’s like ugh!!” I shook my head and rolled my eyes, “Thanks for noticing!” I forced myself to laugh a very fake sounding laugh but George just stared at me stone faced.

The tension in the air was palpable but I moved closer towards him and gave him a genuine smile, “Listen I’ll help now and I mean really help and not destroy your hard work.”

“Really?” his eyes narrowed in suspicion.

“Yes,” I smiled with a nod, “If only to help make the real estate around my locker look more presentable.”

“Okay,” he nodded while standing up with a large math textbook in his hands, “Thanks.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “No prob-” I stopped as he handed me his textbook.

“Okay I’m out,” he began looking back at his mess, “It’s going to take a while for you to clean this all up all by yourself. You’ll probably be late for class. Sorry,” he looked back to me not appearing sorry at all. I just stared at him shocked, “I can’t be late. I have study hall with Rebecca McCarthy and I told we’d do our Biology worksheet together and well I’m trying to hook up with her you know,” he smirked and winked at me and my eyes narrowed as my look of shock turned to disgust and hate, “So yeah good luck.” He patted me on the shoulder and then turned and walked away.

For a moment I just a stared at him as he moved on without even giving a second glance back. I looked down back at his mess on the floor then at his locker and then at him as he turned at corner and out of my view.

An evil smile crept over my face as I glance at the book in my hand. I shot a devious gaze to his locker and moved towards it stepping on George’s papers as I did so. I put my free hand around both of his coats and tugged hard ripping them from their hook and throwing them onto the floor. The movement caused the books and the papers in the locker to topple over as I gracefully stepped out of their way. I moved away from his locker, leaving it wide open and ready for theft. Continuing to walk I passed a trash can and held the over very expensive book over it. Without even a second thought dropped it and grinned as a heard a loud thud.

6th Period- Lunch

My next few classes went off without a hitch. No one really gave me reason to insult them or through their book away. In fact I even had a nice conversation with some girl in my chemistry class. I mean I stopped listening after five minutes when she started to talk about her dog Thumbelina so I don’t remember what it was about but I was pleasant and that’s all that matters.

I had lunch next and I assumed that would most likely be successful too. I entered the cafeteria and paused at the door as I looked around the room. It was complete sterile looking with its dirty wooden panel brown floor and blacken white walls. There were tons of tables scattered about. Along the sides were the long rectangular tables. Other small rectangle tables were also in the middle mixed with small circular ones. Most of the seats were already full of students eating and talking, hanging out with friends, and what not.

I usually sat outside away from everyone while I eat. Before the others and I started fighting I would have sat with them but now that is over I just listen to my Ipod while I eat by myself. It’s actually peaceful and not as emo as it sounds. Seriously it’s no fun watching high school girls eat. All the calorie counting mixed with the massive insecurity can make a girl lose her lunch, which plenty end up doing before the bell rings anyway. But alas there would be no going outside for me today as just as I had paid for my lunch of a pretty crappy looking turkey sandwich it began to rain.

Part of me wanted to get on the cell and call Ororo to clear it up but I knew that was unlikely to happen so I sighed and took a seat at a small round table in the corner hoping no one else would come over. I wasn’t ready to be nice while eating; too much multi-tasking.

I looked around the lunchroom at all the people sitting at their usual tables, laughing and enjoying themselves. I knew the others were in here too as they all had 6th period lunch this semester but I purposely tried to avoid looking for them. Whenever I risked seeing one of them I knew I would quickly look the other way. I didn’t need to see them having a good time.

My eyes fell on another circular table not far from mine. The table sat about four but as of now only one girl sat there. She had short dyed bright red hair, was pale, about fifty pounds overweight and was wearing a cheap looking sweater and blue jeans. I had seen her eating outside before but I never talked to her before. I bit my lip as I tried to decide if I should walk over to her. She didn’t look like the most interesting person in the world in here or out there. Out there she would just chain smoke while she would draw on her hand like some hair eating ADHD case. But still I just couldn’t help feel sorry for her. She was so pitiable.

Putting down on my sandwich I reached for my bag just as I noticed four girls walking over to the table. All four had bright, bottle blonde hair and nice, expensive looking casual dresses with flowers on them. My eyes fell on the one walking slightly ahead of the others. Her name was Elisa Kimmel and she was the prettiest of them all. She had bright blue eyes, a pleasant smile, a perfect man-made nose, large breasts, a flat stomach and the most expensive, nicest of clothes. She was a vile human being and I hated her. The other three girls behind her were her clones. They were faceless and nameless to me. I knew who they were but I didn’t really care about them because they were a non-entity without Elisa. All four girls had seen Mean Girls one too many times and believed that it was a way of life. Reinga George was who they inspired to be but really they’d just turn into a bunch of dirty Lindsey Lohans by college.

They stopped as the reached the table and Elise began talking to overweight girl. She motioned towards her friends and then the table and then made a shooing motion towards the girl. The girl got up immediately and quickly walked off. I only caught a glimpse of her very red face and I could tell she was on the verge of tears.

The four girls at the table took their seats and I saw them begin to laugh, one of the clones eyeing the girl gleefully. Shaking my head I quickly got up and walked over to their table.

“Hey hoe,” I said merrily as I stood staring down at Elisa.

“Excuse me?” Elisa asked insulted

“Hey hoe,” I replied giving her a slightly confused look, “You know, “It’s off to work you go,” I replied. They all stared at me blankly clearly nto getting it, “To the brothel,” I motioned my hand, “Cause you’re a whore.”

“Do you need something?” Elisa asked, “Besides friends, a life, a makeover and a personality implant.” Her friends giggled.

“Zing,” I winked at her.

“Can you move away,” she leaned forward slightly, “There are much more interesting, better looking people I would rather look at like that lunch lady with facial hair.” Her gaggle giggled again.

“I just want to make a suggestion to you. It’s something I’ve been meaning to say for a while and I think it’s pretty valid one if you really think about it. I mean I fully believe in it and I think you should do what I suggest but you can take it or leave it,” I put a hand to my chest and gave her an earnest smile. “I so hope you take it.” I brushed back my hair, “Here we go,” I took in a deep breathe, “First you need to drop out of school so you could stop wasting everyone’s time because we all know the only thing you’d be doing at college is spreading your legs. Second get your tubes tie so we don’t have to worry about your future little welfare which will result in your tryst with Paco the janitor who sells you pot. And last and you can just do this right now if you, go gain thirty pounds so you’ll be forced to kill yourself.” I said this last bit in the cheeriest manner possible. Elisa and her friends all gasped and shook their heads appearing both horrified and shocked but I just shrugged, ‘Hey you’re little bulimia club made up the rules not me.”

“You know what,” Elisa’s eyes glared angrily at me and she was shaking slightly, “You’re horrible friendless bitch who no one will ever love.”

I nodded in agreement and sighed, “Yet I’m still better than you.” I titled my head and cringed, “Yikes.”

With that I walked away from the table, a satisfied smile on my face.

A Few Minutes Later

I bent over the bathroom sink and ran cold water over my face. Today wasn’t exactly going splendidly. The only time I was successfully at being a nice person was when I had limited interactions with people which only proved I could be nice in small doses. Give me any real interactions, any real challenges and I fail miserably. I hate failing especially when I do try. I mean I always try, I never half ass anything but today people are just proving to be extra difficult. Why is it the day I try to be nice the people who deserve my verbal abuse the most just pop out of the woodwork.

I looked up at myself in the mirror the water making my face glisten slightly. With my hair up as it was and in the outfit that I was in I liked look I was just about to go play tennis with Bunny at the country club. I shook my head in disgust and ripped out the white scrunchie causing my hair to hang over my left shoulder tangled up. I know looked like a complete mess and the bags under my eyes didn’t help.

Sniffles came from a stall behind me and ooking at the closed door I wondered if it was that girl who was outcasted from Elisa’s table. I watched as the door opened revealing not the outcast but a pretty petite blonde girl with blue, puffy red eyes. I think her name was Hannah Bell. She was a girl in my grade, a friend of Megan’s. I had a class with her in 7th grade and she fit the cheerleader cliché perfectly. Vapid, shallow, unable to wrap her head around math equation’s that didn’t involve pluses and minuses. If I was being mean, which I wasn’t, I would have made some comment about her coming out of the bathroom in the way she did. Either something eating disorder, maybe a cocaine addiction and even though insult after insult ran through my mind as the girl made her way over to the sink next to mine I held them back and asked;

“Are you okay?”

Her head turned to me and her puffy red eyes were somewhat wide in surprise, “What?”

“Are you okay?” I repeated as sincerely as possible.

“Why?” She asked suspiciously backing away a couple of steps.

“Well you’re crying,” I pointed towards her face.

She continued to cast me looks of doubt, “I mean why are you asking me?”

I tried to stay in supportive mode, “Well again it’s the crying.”

“Why do you care?” she said as a tear escape down her cheek.

“Because,” I replied my cool wavering a bit, “I’m …” I paused as I began to tap my lip with my finger. I searched for the words of what exactly I was. A nice person was a definite no nor was I someone who really cared about whatever probably insignificant drama this girl was crying about. I frowned as the words just didn’t seem to come. Sighing I gave up and said, “I’m here.”

She sniffled and turned to face herself in the mirror. She gave a tiny sob, “God I’m a mess.”

I frowned, “Oh,” I sighed and gave a knowing nod, “Image issues?”

“What?” she looked at me confused.

“You’re crying because you think you’re ugly,” I told her bluntly, “Don’t worry,” I forced another sincere smile, “You’re….” I looked up her up and down taking in her small petite body with her large boobs, skinny waist and tight clothing, “Well you’re a cheerleader and not the obligatory fat one so,” I rose two fist over my head shook them in mock excitement and deadpanned, “Yay.”

She shook her head looking down right lost, “I’m not ugly. I know I’m usually very hot. I’m one of the hottest girls in school.”

“And modest,” replied flatly

The confusion did not fade from her face, “Does modest have something to do with my body?”

I nodded, “Sure go through life thinking that.”

She smiled at me as another tear streamed down her cheek, “Thank you.”

“Right,” I muttered shaking my head.

She moved a little closer to me, “If I tell you something will you promise not to tell anyone.”

I looked at her a bit taken aback that she would trust me so quickly but nodded, “Yeah.”

She smiled and gave a small laugh, “Not like you have friends any friends who’ll listen.”

“Ignoring that,” I sighed.

Tears began to fall from her eyes again, “My mom’s a lesbian.”

My jaw dropped as I let out a burst of laughter. I couldn’t help it. It was so unexpected and far out.

“Seriously?” For second I thought Hannah was going to break down sobbing so I quickly tried to look serious and concerned, “Seriously?”

Hannah nodded as sniffled again, “Yes…and she’s leaving my dad for another woman.”

“Wow,” I shook my head a bit shell shocked, “You’re living in your own little 90210, One Tree Hill hell aren’t you?” I cringed, “A nightmare if I ever had one.”

“It’s just so horrible,” Hannah turned her back to the sink and leaned against it, “It’s like she didn’t even think of me.”

“Yeah,” I gave her an empathic look, “So she is just leaving you? Going off some place?”

“I wish,” Hannah sobbed, “She wants to stay in town so she could be close to me. If she loved me she would just leave!”

“Oh yeah she’s a cold hearted bitch.”

“It’s just,” she wiped a tear from her eye, “People are going to talk about me. I’ll be a total outcast. None of my friends will ever talk to me again.”

“Because your mom is gay?” I asked skeptically unable to believe what this girl was saying.

“It’s just so embarrassing,” she whined, “They’ll think I’m some sort of freak from some broken home! I’m supposed to be the one with the perfect family, with my perfect looks and perfect everything. You know people see me and think ‘Oh look she’s so perfect with her perfectness,” I tried not to stare at her in disbelief as she seemed to really believe everything she said. She looked to me and then said matter of factly, “You wouldn’t know how that is.” I nodded in agreement pushing back my urge to punch her in the face, “It’s just, now when people will look at me all their see is my lesbian mom and my broken home and I’ll never be prom queen that way.”

“Oh my God,” I snapped unable to contain myself any longer. “You’re the most vapid and shallow person I’ve ever met and I knew Emma freakin’ Frost!”

“Who?”

“First off,” I began angrily, “Who cares your mom’s a lesbian? She wants to be near you and that’s all that matters right? So suck it up. Second hate to use the oldest cliché in the book but if they are really your friends, they’d be your friends no matter what. They clearly are still with you despite the fact that you’re completely empty of any real human emotions so really why would they care that you’re mom plays on Team Ellen. You realize that you’re parents marriage fell apart and all you can think about is your friends? That’s pathetic. You’re pathetic.”

She looked at me like I had just slapped her in fear. Tears were welling up in her eyes, “I’m not.”

I continued to stare at her as anger coursing through my body. Why was someone like her popular? Why did she have friends who stuck by her despite the horrible human being she was? Why did they stick by her when mine couldn’t stick by me? Was it because I was even more horrible than her?

I looked at Hannah. Tears were still streaming down her face but she looked pale now too. Guilt made my stomach twist as I sighed and shook my head.

“I’m sorry” I said softly, “But I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not going to fake being nice anymore because it’s not me and I’m not helping anyone with it. I’m just going to be me and tell you’re childish and immature and yes, shallow and a bit sad but I don’t think you’re pathetic.” I sighed and shifty in place as I still felt guilty, “You’re just sixteen and hopefully you’ll grow up because if you don’t God help the poor guy who marries you,” I gave her a small smile, “But I think you need to reprioritize. Despite what they show on television and contrary to some of the people I saw today, kids in high school aren’t that bad. And I know at least one of yours friend and I know she’d stick by you no matter how gay your mom is. And most importantly your mom is sticking with you. You’re lucky. Families apart and some parents leave. You’re not getting that.”

She sniffled, “You think I’m lucky?”

“I do,” I smiled, “Even if you don’t 100% deserve all your luck but really I don’t either so,” I shrugged and than put a hand on her shoulder, “So just suck it up and don’t count your friends out. You’ll need them because you’re home life will suck for a bit and when things are going to crap it’s good to have friends.” I felt the corner of my eyes begin to burn and took a deep breath, “Trust me. You don’t want to deal with the hard stuff alone.”

“Thank you,” she smiled as a tear rolled down her cheek.

I shrugged, “No problem.”

“You know,” she said timidly, “I egret spreading those rumors about you worshipping Satin.”

“That’s actually okay,” I assured her with a small smile, “I actually tried to perpetuate those rumors. People fear me more because of it.”

“I’ll try and spread it some more then,” She laughed.

I laughed too, “I would appreciate that.”

After Hannah calmed down some more the two of us left the bathroom together but after went our separate ways. I wouldn’t say Hannah and I were friends but I at least felt good about how things end with her. I decided that I wouldn’t really try to be nice anymore. I mean if I’m nice, I’m nice and if I’m a bitch, which is always more fun, I’ll be a bitch. And hell if people deserve it, I’ll make them cry. But only if they deserve it! I was going to try and at least be friendlier and I felt that I could be that without being that much nicer. I’d just be how I was too Hannah at the end. Honest. I wasn’t going to try and be someone I was not. The truth was I didn’t need new friends, I don’t need a new me. I just need things to go back to the way they were.

Later That Day
Back At The Warehouse

I went to the warehouse immediately after school. I couldn’t wait any longer. I knew that if I wanted things to go back to the way they were. if I wanted to feel full again, I would need my powers back. It was as simple as that. It wasn’t just the fact that having my powers made me feel normal and right; it was the fact that if my powers come back, my friends would too. Even though our friendship deteriorated before our power loss it was still the thing which put us to death. It fractured us beyond repair and set us on paths separate from each other. Our powers, our destiny, unite us. It doesn’t matter if want them too or not. Eventually through all our fights with each other and with evil, our friendship would mend because it would have too if we wanted to survive. Getting my powers back gives me the life I want back and nothing else could do the same. I realized that today. Today I wasn’t me and I wasn’t happy and in fact these past two months I haven’t been me. Without my friends, without my powers I’m not me. I’m just some poor imitation who is trying to get by.

Entering the warehouse I made my way immediately into the med-lab, my heart racing with excitement. I knew this latest experiment would work. I don’t know how but I did. And I knew that it wasn’t exactly the best way for us to get our powers back. Radiation poisoning isn’t exactly fun for anyone and it would be painful for the four of us but it would work and that’s all that mattered. And maybe as a shared, painful incredibly harmful, poison experience it would unite us. I just hoped I wouldn’t lose my hair. I like my hair.

Forge was standing next to a strange looking microscope as I walked in. His back was turned to me so I stood there for a while staring at him with hesitation and fear. I could feel my heart pound against my chest. This had to work.

“Hey,” I said garnering his attention.

“Hello Cassie,” he said his voice low and his eyes avoiding mine.

My heart was beating faster now and I could almost hear a slight ringing in my ears. My throat felt tight and looking at Forge’s face, seeing the bag under his blood shot eyes, the disappointment on his face deep down I knew the answer to what I was about to ask but I still would not accept it. I ignored the fact that my heart had just dropped and continued on.

“So do you have the results,” I said as casually as possible.

“I’m sorry Cassie,” Forge sighed, “While mutations did occur in your DNA it did not result in an x-Gene.”

“So in other words this was a failure,” I answered with a nod trying not to cry, “So what’s the next step?”

“We start from scratch again,” he replied, “Find another way of possibly triggering the gene.”

“I think we should stick with the radiation plan,” I said as I tried to remain confident and self-assured, “I think you’ve been going at this the wrong way, testing our blood and not our actually selves. You aren’t accounting for the variables.”

“Variables?”

“Yes,” I nodded, “Us, our bodies, our minds, the way we work. I think you should give me the radiation treatment and see what the results will be.”

Forge’s eyes widen as he stared at me in disbelief, “Never.”

“Why not?” I asked my voice raising, “You and Moira are not taking into account a lot of things that occur when the x-gene is trigger. Isn’t stress a major factor? And I know we had that stress thing but I mean real stress, like ‘oh my God my life is ending’ stress. Mutation is a something we do to survive. There’s puberty too but I can’t and won’t go through that again but I will put myself in a situation where my survival is necessary. The radiation should put massive amounts of stress on my body and put basically all my vital organs in danger. To survive my x-gene will activate. I will evolve when I need to evolve.”

“That isn’t how it works Cassie,” Forge told me cautiously like I was something fragile that was about to break, “Many times the x-gene is triggered by situations like you say but you have to remember you do not have an x-gene meaning you have nothing to trigger. Giving you radiation poisoning will just needlessly threaten your life.”

“No!” I screamed hardly caring how desperate I was beginning to sound, “It won’t! My gene will come back, I just know it. It’s worth the risk.”

“It’s not,” Forge replied sternly, “You’ll die.”

“Maybe,” I shrugged, “But we can’t know for sure and if you would just drop that moral code for a bit, you’d realize that.”

“Ororo would never allow this,” Forge continued as he walked towards me, looking down at me with pity. He put his cold, robotic hand on my arm, “It’s just too dangerous Cassie.”

“I don’t care!” I cried ripping my arm from his grip.

“Well we do,” Forge retorted sternly, “And I would think someone with a future as bright as yours wouldn’t want t go and get herself killed.”

“I don’t want to kill myself,” I said softly, “I just…I need this…I know this will work, it has too.”

“It won’t,” Forge replied softly, “I’m sorry.”

“Please,” I pleaded. Normally I would never do such a thing and I knew shame was sure to come later, “I need this Forge. I can’t be this way anymore.”

“There is nothing wrong with being human,” he said gently, “You are a girl with a brilliant mind. The world is at your finger tips no matter what you are.”

“It’s not that,” I said as I felt the burning in my eyes again. I folded my armsand hugged myself slightly as I looked away from Forge to the floor, “I just…I don’t want to live like I am now. I’m alone, empty and miserable. I.” I shook my head and looked at the ceiling as a tear escaped my eye, “I miss it…My former life. Having my friends, my powers,” I looked back to Forge.

“I’ve always gone through life feeling like I was this perfect person that no one could touch me. I felt that being a cold hearted bitch was right for me because I thought I was so superior to everyone else,” I gave a quiet hallow laugh at my own stupidity, “When my powers first emerged I think it only made it worse. I was now a snobby, rich genius with amazing super powers so who cares how I treat others, who cares if I just bottled everything inside and isolate myself from the world, from the people who try to get close.” My throat was getting tight and I cleared it as I felt another tear go down my cheek.

“And then my powers started going out of control. I was feeling all these emotions and these thoughts which weren’t mine and I couldn’t isolate myself even if I wanted too. I had visions nightly of horrible things and there was nothing I could do about it. I was a mess. Until the very day I lost my powers, there would be times when my powers controlled me as I much as I controlled it. I mean Emma Frost helped me learn how to control my powers better. She helped me learn that I needed someone to open up too so and helped me to realize that I wasn’t who I thought was, that I wasn’t this perfect little ice queen. I mean she would never admit that because she of course put on the façade that ‘bitch was the way’ but deep down she knew that was a lie and I think she wanted me to see that.” I sighed, “Or maybe was that just the imaginary Emma who taught me all. Either way I guess.”

I held back tears as Forge looked at me with such a massive amount of pity that I wanted to just turn away. I shifted uncomfortably as I hugged myself tighter and rubbed my arm. I felt so uncomfortable that I sharing so much with someone I had hardly talked to the past three years but I had to talk to get this out and Ororo wasn’t around.

“Despite how horrible I was to the others they stuck with me. I think they saw through the horrible person I to maybe who I could be, who I should be. They cared about me. I would pretend that I didn’t need them but that I wasn’t the case.” I bit my lip and blinked quickly as my eyes teared up more, “They were the only people who could make me feel like a teenager and made me not mind that I felt that way. They made me laugh at the stupidest things and they made me worry about the most inconsequential things. I mean they annoyed the hell out of me plenty, Lily with her bright and happiness, Josh with his sullen moodiness and Cory with his…Coryiness,” I gave a sad smile, “But deep down I liked it, I loved it and I love them despite all their crap, their imperfections because they loved me despite all of mine.”

I looked straight at Forge as a tear streamed down my cheek, “The only way to be with them is for my powers to come back.” I shook my head, “I loved my powers too. I loved what they made me. My powers made me feel imperfect and my friends made me realize that was okay.”

I wiped a tear from my eye and shook my head, “I can’t move on Forge. I should move on, I should just accept it because that’s what I told myself what I’d do but I can’t and I won’t,” I took in a deep breath and held my tears as my stomach burnt with a sense of resolve, “You only move on when you are willing to accept something, when you’re ready to let go. And I’m not letting go, I’m not giving. I don’t give up. I’m getting get powers back and I’m going to get my friends back. It’s going to happen. I don’t stop until I get what I want and I always get what I want.”

I smiled a deviously little smile, “Emma Frost taught me that.”

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