posted by HecateA
I’ve been overshadowed my whole life.
It doesn’t matter where or by whom, I just have been.
New York is a big city; there are a lot of people in it. A lot of variety of people that like a lot of things do many things and are good at them. I’m not really good at anything. I don’t have the “wow” factor going for me like my sister.
My name is Abby Beauregard, and you probably know my sister.
I think Christmas dinner 2008 ruined it for me.
I sat besides her. She sat up straight and let her hair fall on her shoulders, left bare by her fuchsia dress. She sat straight and looked Great Aunt Tess in the eyes.
-We’ve been stating to wonder whether you were still alive after you missed Thanksgiving! She said, cutting through a piece of turkey.
-Oh no, I’m doing fine in that domain Aunt Tess. She smiled politely, lifting a spoon of soup to her pursed lips. I rolled my eyes.
No she wasn’t the other day she’d nearly been killed by a hellhound or whatever when she was picking me up from school. But of course Tess had no idea of the irony of that joke. If she had she’d still have looked at me strictly, scolding me for the eyes. I couldn’t help it, my eyes are overly expressive!
-Well, I’m glad you could join us. Tess said. She reminded me of an eagle, with her hooked nose, beady black eyes so close together and white head.
-To this family meal, and all in the future! Mom toasted. We toasted the meal and drank.
-Silena, do you have your driver’s licence yet? Aunt Judy asked, one hand holding her son Fred down to his chair.
-Yes, since January. Silena said.
-Well if we’d have known! Do you mind doing me a favour on New Year’s then? Dropping Dan off to a party. She said. Dan, her son with apple green eyes and blond static hair, suddenly looked hopeful.
-No, I’ll be out that night anyways. Silena said.
-With a boy? Tess inquired. Silena blushed and smiled and looked at her knees.
-Oohh, that’s a yes! Judy teased.
-What’s his name? Aunt Rebecca, who’s pretty cool, said. Silena looked up.
-Charles Beckendorf. Goes to my school. Silena said her cheeks pink and a smile to her lips like every time her boyfriend gets brought up in a conversation.
-Oh, will we get to meet him at your father’s apartment on New Year’s then? Aunt Rebecca asked.
-Possibly. She said with a smile.
-Oh you lucky ducks, and I’m stuck at my place for the night- Frederic calm down! Judy said.
-You know Judy, you could come to our place for New Years. Rebecca and Aunt Tess are coming.
-Well, I just might take you up on that offer! Judy said as Fred smashed his fork on his potatoes repeatedly. She pulled it from his hand and shot him a look. He crossed his arms and pouted for what would probably be the rest of the meal.
-So we’ll give you a ride to the Snowball on New Year’s, I think that’s where Charlie was planning on going anyways, and Abs has to go to.
-You’re all so busy this New Years, back in my days we stayed home! Tess said.
-It’s called a social life. I muttered.
-Abigail! Mom scolded.
-So Abby, you going to this Snowball too? Rebecca asked before Tess could say anything.
-Yeah, with a bunch of friends.
-You have a special someone too? Judy asked teasingly.
I could’ve mentioned Morgan. If I would’ve been completely out of it, actually! Silena may be ready to announce to 2 curious aunts and cousins, her dad, step-mom and great-aunt that she was lip-locking with somebody, but I wasn’t even going to pull a name out, no matter how gorgeous his eyes were!
-No, just with friends. Kit, Hattie, Calli and Sukie. The family bought it, but Silena looked at me like her brown eyes saw right through my lie, and I was scared they did.
-Oh, you children give yourself ridiculous nicknames! Hatti, Sukie and Calli… How are you at all expecting to get respected in this world? Tess bawled.
-I know quite a few people named Calli. Most of them are held in high honour. Silena said.
-Yes, definitely. It’s a variance of Calypso or Callise; two important woman in mythology.
-Your school specialises in mythology? Judy interrogated.
-Yeah. She said, a smile touching her lips. I rolled my eyes.
-Abigail Beauregard, you really must learn to control your expressions, honestly that’s the second time I’ve seen you be so rude with your sister this evening! Tess scolded.
-Well maybe I don’t venerate her! I said.
-Abby… Dad started. I sunk back in my seat and turned by head away from Silena. Nobody knew what to say except for Tess, who started numbering off the punishments she would’ve gotten for such an attitude. I didn’t really pay attention or touch my food. When we left an hour and a half-later, it was quiet for the whole subway ride. Silena tried to make conversation, and when we caught the second subway she succeeded, but I didn’t pay attention.
Silena, Silena, Silena. She was beautiful like nobody else I’d ever seen. Back when I didn’t find her too bad, last year, I had a family picture in my agenda, she was 15, I was 12, and the guys in my class took one look and then Dick Robinson said;
-Holly Abby, your sister’s hot!
So then I wasn’t the girl in black, I was the kid with the hot sister.
She was pretty, people’s first impression about her was good, she was charming and nice. Of course she could soften up Tess. Of course people were excited to see what kind of a jock was her boyfriend, even if I knew Beckendorf as he’d requested me calling him was the opposite. I was overshadowed by my sister, even if she wasn’t there. Even if the guys in my year didn’t know her name. Even if they didn’t know the single most important detail about her.
Christmas 2008. It’s that that ruined it for me.
And New Years 2008 fixed it for me.
I was getting ready for the Snowball. It was a fancy event, at least semi-formal. My friend Kit, who has the fashion sense of a Hollywood dresser, self-declared herself as our dress buyer. It was a pretty dress, I’m not complaining. The dress was pretty. Simple black, with spaghetti straps and a loose, elegant bow around the waist. On me it was at knee-length, which meant that only my knee-below would freeze. I had strict orders not to stain it or damage it any way I could think of. With the flats Kit was going to kill me if I didn’t wear, it was pretty good. I was heading for the bathroom to start a war against the brush, but Silena was there.
She looked amazing, more then usual.
Her dress went just above her knee. The fabric was flowing and a bold blue color. It gathered up for a bit at the top, before smoothing out into one strap covering her shoulder. She was pinning up her hair and she had the perfect touch of make-up, so little that you could barely see it, but she definitely had gold around her eyes. Black flats made her look even more petite. She must’ve seen my reflexion in the mirror, because she turned.
-Oh my gods, Abs, you’re so pretty! She said. I didn’t say anything. She was the pretty one, as always.
-Come in, there are two mirrors. She said. My feet moved forwards and I picked up a brush as Silena finished.
-Need help? She asked. I was about to say no and kick her out, but I nodded. She picked up a brush and started passing it through my hair, doing her best not to pull.
-Up or down? She asked.
-I’m going to leave it down. I said. There was a moment of silence.
-So who is he? She asked.
-The guy you’re meeting there. I know there’s a guy, Abs, I saw your face. I know these things deep down.
-Morgan. Morgan Pruitt. I said.
-He goes to your school? She asked.
-Yeah. He’s been in my class for 3 years in a row. Sukie swears we’re soul mates.
-Good luck tonight then. She said putting the brush down.
And then I realised, oh damn. Yeah, I’ll have to make my move tonight. And that idea terrified me to infinity and beyond!
-Nervous? She asked.
-Si, I have no idea what to do. I spilled.
-Abs, when I see you with your friends, you make them smile. You shine like a star, Abs, be yourself and it will work out.
-No, you’re a star. You always shine. I said.
-You know the story of Calliste? She asked.
-It’s an epiphet, a name for the goddess of the hunt and the night, Artemis. At night, the stars all come out, and constellations show. Not all the stars in a constellation shine really bright, but they’re always there, and they look great in the sky. Give yourself room to shine, Abby; and you will. She said.
-I wish it were easier. I said quietly.
-Nothing comes easy. Not all problems are solved by being pretty. Silena said. And then she looked worried.
The doorbell rang and she jumped.
-Oh my gods… She said.
-Si, you’re fine.
-How do I look?
-Great. Thanks. She gave me a hug.
-I’m sorry I didn’t give you a chance. I said.
-I’m sorry I never gave you a chance to shine until now.
-Silena! Mom yelled.
We both went down. Beckendorf was waiting at the door. I felt sorry for him, the aunts were pestering him with questions. He turned from them when he heard heals stepping on the floor and his jaw dropped when he saw Silena and she smiled brighter then ever.
-Wow, Silena, you look… amazing. He said.
-Thanks. She said. She stepped up to him and nestled herself in his arms after a peck on the cheek.
-You too Abby, you’ve got style. He said.
-Back by 12:30. If you’re out later I’ll call the cops. Dad joked.
-Dad. Silena said teasingly putting her long coat on.
When we got to the dance after picking up Dan, the community center was entirely decorated with icicle lights and fake snow, it looked great.
-Abs, if you need to call home my emergency-cell’s in my coat pocket. She said as we dropped our coats off.
It didn’t take long for Hattie and her satiny red dress and black curls to find me, and soon we were on the dance floor. Kit, Calli and Suki found their ways to us as well.
-There he is. Suki whispered in my ear. I turned and my chest tightened, because she was right, there was Morgan. He was standing near the wall with his friend Tom who was trying to talk him into something using his hands as he spoke.
-Now or never. Calli said, stomping her foot.
-I pick nover. It’s a mix, not now, but not never.
-Oh, for crying out loud Abby! Sukie moaned. She grabbed me by the arm and dragged me towards the wall where Morgan and Tom were waiting out the dance.
-Hey Tom, want to dance? She asked.
-Oh yeah. He said. And pretty soon Sukie was dancing with Tom, the flowing fabric of her lilac dress swaying.
-Hi Morgan. I said.
-Hey Abby. You, err, having fun?
-Pretty good. You?
-Waiting out the party and staying away from the punch, it’s tap water with food coloring by the way. He said.
-Okay, I’ll trust you on that. I smiled. Then the DJ put a slow on and I wanted to go over there and punch him.
-Umm, do you want to… dance? He asked.
-Yes. I said trying not to yell. So he took my hand and walked me to the dance floor. I put two arms around his shoulders and he put his hands on my waist. My stomach felt like a million butterflies were flying everywhere. He really did look good, his shaggy hair framing his face, and of course those sapphire blue eyes that I thought I could fall into…
But then about half-way through the song something shot down the butterflies.
-You’re a good dancer. He said softly.
-Only when I have a great partner. I said.
Ooh, better than the expected “yeahwellthanksandyeah”.
-I can’t dance. He confided, smiling his cute awkward smile.
-Yes you can. I said. And then the song ended and the DJ put something Lady Gaga or other. And this time I wanted to go over there and punch him for not putting in another one.
-Thanks, that was nice. Morgan said.
-It was. He bit his lip.
-I’ll see you around. He said.
-Yeah. And he turned and walked back over to tom who was already throwing jokes at him. He got there and after a while he turned to glance at me before turning back and arguing with Tom. I realised I must’ve looked pretty sad just standing there, so I turned back to where I saw Sukie and Hattie.
-And? Did it kill you? Will you love me forever for this?
-Yeah. I think I’ll love a lot of people forever after tonight.
It was getting really hot, and I can’t take heat, so I told them to wait for me when I went to get some air. I walked over to the door and pushed it open; I leaned against the door frame and took a deep breath of cold winter air and New York fumes. And just as I was about to close the door and go find my friends before they assumed I was dead (which they would), Morgan said:
-Hey Abbey, hold the door for me, please. I held the door and he came to take a deep breath as well. I stayed.
-It’s too crowded over there, and the DJ just put on ‘Dynamite’ or something and everyone’s there.
-Oh yeah. And then he looked up and froze. I looked up to.
And I asked who was the idiot who’d decided, 6 days after Christmas to put mistletoe in the doorframe.
Because I had to send him a Thank you card.
After Morgan kissed me, and I started breathing again, he smiled, and for once, I thought he was falling in my eyes, instead of me in his. And he kissed me again.
-I like you Abbey. Always have but never had the guts to tell you. I think you’re the reason why I even showed up here.
-I like you too Morgan.
-Hey Abbey! Someone said. It was Hattie. Sweet, innocent, clueless Hattie. She froze in her steps and traced them back.
-I better go. I said, pointing my thumb to Hattie.
-Yeah, Tom’ll think I ditched him. I’ll see you around? He asked.
-Definitely. I said. So he smiled and walked away. I felt like screaming and running around in circles laughing. Instead I went to join my friends smiling, bracing myself for questions, feeling like wings had grown out of my back and I was actually floating.
Silena helped me suck it up and have the courage to actually say something intelligent to Morgan, even if Sukie did the dragging. She helped me so much by that. She wasn’t my dad’s first daughter anymore, she was my sister.
August 17th 2008, she died.
August 17th 2008, in New York City, days after Charles Beckendorf.
And even if she was a spy against her will, she was still my hero, and that’s all I’ll ever remember her by. Not the spy- because I had made Percy Jackson tell me the entire, pure truth-, not the girl who overshadowed me. The girl who pushed me in the spotlight and the girl who risked it all for love.
The girl who was my sister.