Loch Ness Monster
I believe that every teenage girl feels like a freak at some point on the road to adulthood. I, however, am a real freak. Nessie's story.
5. Of A Monstrous Freak
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 2721 Review this Chapter
“What we call monsters are not so by God, who sees in the immen…immentity—“
“Immensity,” I demanded. My voice resonated louder than I’d meant it to, and a few students in class turned to look at me. Alyssa Cerio, the girl who was reading, did not react at all.
“…Of his work,” she continued, ignorant of her mispronunciation. “The infinity of forms that he has comprised in it.” She had made comprised rhyme with breezed, but I had held my tongue. She babbled on, reading from as essay by Montaigne about a child with a deformity. A child like me, I thought darkly, instantly grateful that Dad no longer went to school with me.
I was having a bad day.
The weekend had been fine after my hunt with Jacob. Everyone was sympathetic, and no one brought up Nahuel or our moment of romance—my first kiss—my hope to fall in love with him. It was a subject everyone respected as unmentionable.
School was a different story. I hadn’t even sat down in homeroom before my friend Margaret asked about Nahuel and my weekend. Luckily, I was able to dodge her question with the excuse that I needed to finish reading before class started, but I promised to tell her later. Then, in my first period class, the boy who sat next to me asked harmlessly about my weekend. I had just shrugged and asked about his. Lunch was terrible. Justin was all questions, and the rest of my friends were eager to hear what had happened. The whole time, I was cursing my juvenile excitement. Had I really needed to tell all those people about him? Could I really not have shown any type of restraint?
“I don’t get it, Loch Ness. I thought you’d be bursting to tell us,” Justin smiled kindly, nudging me in the shoulder.
“I just…” I looked down at the table in front of me. “It wasn’t all that I’d thought it would be, that’s all.”
Emily, a girl I knew from my art class, sighed, “I told you your expectations were too high. No guy is that amazing.”
“I’m that amazing,” Scott, a friend I’d met through Justin smiling arrogantly, trying to lighten the mood. I had been carrying a storm cloud above my head all day; the attempt was appreciated.
“I don’t think she needs an, ‘I told you so’ right now, you cynical bitch, you,” Emily’s best friend, Melanie, said somewhat jokingly.
“Just tell us what happened,” Justin shrugged. “We won’t judge you. We’re your friends. Maybe it’ll even help.”
My cheeks were hot from the combined embarrassment and frustration. “I…” I sighed. “The guy…Nahuel…he wasn’t as available as I’d thought he was.” The words were barely out of my mouth when I picked up my thermos (which I claimed to be filled with soup) and took a long, full drink, then I placed it down with too much force, making a loud thump as it hit the table. “So, there ya go. That’s what happened. You’re right, Emily, no guy is that amazing.”
“Hey,” Scott pretended to be insulted. “On behalf of my gender, I am offended.”
“So sorry,” I rolled my eyes.
“Sorry, Loch Ness,” Justin shook his head. “That sucks.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“But you know, not all guys are like that. I mean, we’re not all South American gods, either, but…most of us…we’re good people,” he nodded.
I let out a little, gentle laugh, “Let’s hope so.”
Now, I was in my English class, which I had been dreading all day. It was true, I had Justin with me, but there was also Hillary, the sickeningly sweet gossip of the school, who demanded she know everything about everyone. She kept sending me notes, asking me what had happened, and I kept crumbling them up and throwing them on the floor. It was getting unbelievably frustrating. I thought about getting up to slap her, but I honestly did not believe that that would stop her.
“Let this universal and natural reason drive out of us the error and astonishment that novelty brings us,” Alyssa finally finished, thankfully without another mangling of the English language, and I was crumbling the forth note from Hilary. This one had read, Seriously, I won’t tell anyone. I’m just curious. What’s up? Justin had leaned over and smiled, shaking his head. At least someone was enjoying himself.
“All right,” Mr. Klier nodded as Alyssa concluded. “Very nice, Alyssa.” I rolled my eyes. “So, what can we take away from what Montaigne? What do you think he’s trying to tell us?”
The room was silent. Years of academia had drawn any creative juices out of us. We responded best to yes or no questions. We liked to fill in tiny bubbles.
“Nothing?” he sighed, helpless. I felt bad for him and thought about raising my hand to comment until Justin delivered another folded piece of paper from Hillary. I angrily opened it. All right, fine then. I guess he just dumped u. Prob b/c u don’t have n e idea how 2 interact wit other people. Freak.
Tears sprang to my eyes without warning. I was too angry to let them fall, but I acknowledged their presence. “Geez,” Justin shook his head, reading over my shoulder. “What the hell’s up her ass?”
Freak. Freak, freak, freak. It was my word. I used it with pride. I was a freak; I knew that. But, somehow, in this context, it was so extremely hurtful. I stared at the essay in front of me. “Of A Monstrous Child,” was the title. I stared at it for a long time, thinking of what it would look like if I were to cross out “Child” and replace it with “Freak.” It would loose some irony, I supposed. People expected freaks to be monstrous. It was a bit stranger with ‘Child.’
“You okay, Loch Ness?” Justin whispered when I hadn’t moved in a few minutes.
“Nessie,” I said a bit wistfully, too low for him to hear. “Monster.”
“You should say something back to her,” he told me. “I mean, not telling her what happened, but…you know, tell her that’s not cool.”
“Yeah?” I sneered, staring at the note. “Can I use your pen?”
“Sure,” he happily handed it over.
I tore the corner of my notebook out and scribbled a note to Hillary on it. It was cruel and, in many ways, below me. I wasn’t exactly proud of it, but it felt good to fold over and hand it to Justin, who smugly handed it to Hillary.
“Miss Cullen,” Mr. Klier was still desperate for an intellectual discussion of the reading. “You must have some kind of opinion of Montaigne’s work. What do you think?”
“Well, he makes an interesting point. If God accepts ‘monsters’ with physical deformities, does He then also accept those with mental deformities? Rapists? Murderers? Sadists? It would seem like he’s saying God made them that way. I’m not sure if that idea is as accepted by society as a man having sympathy for Siamese twins,” I said, confidently. Mr. Klier smiled; I was rather dependable in the classroom.
“Oh, my God!” came the startled shriek from the other side of the room.
“Yes, it’s an interesting point,” Mr. Klier turned toward the sound, excited by another student’s apparent reaction.
Justin and I turned too, only we were not so excited. The scream had come from Jillian Greenburg, the girl who sat next to Hillary. “Ugh,” I groaned.
Justin was smiling, “What did you write?”
I just shrugged as I watched the two girls fussing over the note. “Mr. Klier, you need to see this,” Hillary shook her dainty blonde curls. They were pinned up in a high ponytail and made her look like a doll. “It’s heinous.”
“What is?” Mr. Klier moved over to Hillary’s desk, and she extended the note to him. I cringed, waiting for the backlash. “Well,” he sighed, unhappily. “Renesmee, you will see me after class.”
I felt horrible. I liked Mr. Klier; he was open-minded and unafraid to challenge and be challenged in the classroom. He treated me like an adult, and I had proved myself to be a child. “Okay,” I barely whispered.
Justin shook his head, “But, Mr. Klier, you don’t—“
“Would you like to stay too, Mr. Taylor?” he asked, now angry.
“Don’t be a hero, Justin. It’s okay,” I whispered.
“No, sorry,” he shrugged, clearly not sorry at all.
“Right,” Mr. Klier shook his head. “Well, I guess it wouldn’t do much good to discuss this stuff. I guess you’d rather just call each other names, so…” He sighed heavily. I felt like a bug. “Keep reading Persepolis tonight. Test is next week. You’ve got ten minutes. Entertain yourselves.”
I stayed silent out of shame. Justin glared at Hillary, who, the second Mr. Klier had sat down at his desk, defeated, had attracted half the class to swarm around her desk to find out what horrible thing I had written.
I tried to think of what I would say to him. I hoped he would ask what had happened and give me a chance to explain. I did have some motive to do it; perhaps that would win me back some small semblance of respect.
The bell rang, and I noticed my heart was beating faster than usual. I didn’t move from my seat as my classmates left the room in a hurry, eager to get home. Justin turned to me before he left, “I’ll wait for you, Loch Ness.”
“Thanks, Justin,” I whispered.
A few minutes passed with both Mr. Klier and I sitting in silence. He had his head bowed in a book; I was too ashamed to speak. Eventually, he looked up with an unimpressed expression. “Well,” he sighed. “Do I need to tell you not to do it again?”
“No,” I shook my head. “It was immature. I—I’m sorry I did it.”
“Really?” he gave a little smile. “I mean, you’re right. It was immature, but I wouldn’t be sorry about it. I’m sure you had your reasons.”
“I-I did,” I nodded. “Hillary—“
“I don’t want to know what they are,” I held a hand up. “It doesn’t matter. You should know better. You shouldn’t have done it, but I understand why you would want to.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Okay, so, you can go. Do me a favor?” he smirked. “Tell them I really let you have it; I don’t want to ruin my rep.”
I gave a little laugh and pulled my things together. He gave me a little wave as I left. With a little smile of relief, I started heading to the parking lot, ready to get home to my parents and my books and my Jacob.
“Loch Ness!” Justin popped out from around a corner a few feet away from our English class. “Was it bad?”
I smirked, “Horrible.”
“Yeah,” he shook his head. “I’ve heard that guy can be an asshole. Sorry about that. I shouldn’t have told you to write back to her.”
I shrugged, “I probably would have done it anyway.”
“Yeah,” he smiled. “So, what’s you write? I’m kind of dying to know.”
I laughed, “Oh, nothing. I’m sure she’s heard worse. I just told her that she shouldn’t be talking about ‘freaks’ when ninety percent of her body is plastic.”
He chuckled, “Ha, that’s a good one. Good for you, Loch Ness.”
“Thanks,” I smiled. “Were you, uh, heading out?” I pointed toward the door.
“Nah, I thought I’d set up a sleeping bag and pillow and crash in the hallway tonight,” he smirked.
“Oh, you’re so funny,” I rolled my eyes as we both started walking towards the parking lot.
A few moments of silence passed, and I noted two girls hanging up flyers for Junior Prom tickets. I inwardly groaned. “So, uh, I really am sorry about that Nahuel guy. I know you were really excited about that.”
“I guess,” I shrugged, hating myself again for talking about it so much.
“But, I mean, it does kind of leave you…you know, open,” he said.
“Open?” I repeated.
“You know, like, available. You can look for someone else now—move on,” he shrugged.
“Oh,” I considered. “Yeah, I guess I can.” Open mind, I could hear my father reminding me.
“Yeah…” he nodded. He seemed to be shifting uneasily.
“You okay, Justin?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Who me? Yeah! Yeah, no, I’m great; why?” he got very jumpy.
“I don’t know. You just seem a little…excited?” I smirked.
“Oh, okay. Well, yeah, actually,” he took a deep breath. “There was kind of something I wanted to ask you.” We had gotten to the door leading to the parking lot, where he reached out at the same time I did and pushed the door open for me.
“Thanks,” I smiled at that unexpected act of chivalry and stepped through.
“Uh, I mean, it’s not really a big deal, I just, kind of…I wanted to know if you would, uh, hypothetically do something,” he rambled as we walked towards our cars.
“Ooh, sounds intriguing. Ask away,” I smiled.
“Kay,” he nodded. “Well, I’m not really sure how to ask this…but…uh, would you…would you possibly want to--?”
“Just spit it out, Justin,” I laughed. “The suspense is killing me.”
“Want to go to prom with me?” he asked proudly, thrilled that he was able to get the words out.
I just stared, unable to move, unable to speak.
“I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I just thought I’d ask, you know? Cause, I mean, how would I know if I never asked, right? And, oh! We don’t have to go as, like, a couple. We could totally do the just friends thing, if you wanted. Or, I mean, if you wanted to…we could do it the other way, too. I mean, it’s totally up to you. And, uh, if you need time or space or, uh, both, I guess…I can give you that. No problem. It’s…it wouldn’t be…a problem…”
I continued to stare.
“So…” he grimaced. “Is that a no?”
“No,” I spoke without thinking.
“No,” he sucked in a breath. “Okay. No, that’s cool. I—I get it.”
“No, Justin. No, as in, that’s not a ‘no’. Like, double negative. It—it makes a positive,” I tried to explain.
“Positive?” he shook his head, confused.
“Yes,” I sighed, smiling. “Yes, Justin. I will go to prom with you. I,” I bit my lip, “I would be happy to.”
“Oh!” his face beamed. “Oh! I—thanks, Loch Ness!” He cringed, “Er, Renesmee?”
I laughed, “Keep it Loch Ness. It’s got a certain elegance.”
He smiled, “Sure. Okay, whatever you say, Loch Ness. So, I’ll uh, I’ll buy the tickets, then.”
“Oh, I can pay for—“ I offered.
“No! No, no. I mean I know you’re rich and all, but…I don’t know. This is just…it’s something I want to do.”
“Okay,” I shrugged. Dad would respect that.
“Okay, then,” he smiled. “I guess I’ll, uh, see you tomorrow, then?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “See you tomorrow.”
I watched as he walked towards his Dodge Stratus on the other end of the parking lot. My BMW was a few feet in front of me, totally out of his way. I smiled to myself; he had walked me to my car.
I bit my lip, strangely touched and excited by this boy who had apparently seen something special in me—at least enough to want to dress up in a suit to take over-posed pictures, holding me around the waist. I almost giggled. I was giddy.
My bad day had turned around considerably.
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