Molly’s Story, a Short Story by Alexandra Adornetto
September 14, 2012 | Comments: 5 Comments
Going through Halo Trilogy withdrawal since the release of Heaven this summer? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Introducing Molly’s story, a short story from Halo Trilogy author Alexandra Adornetto, told from the POV of one of the trilogy’s supporting characters.
It’s not easy being popular. In fact, it’s really hard. It involves constant effort, working out which parties to be seen at and which circles to travel in. You can’t have chipped nail polish or wear last season’s shoes.
I have to be aware of all these things. It’s also my job to keep the whole crew in line. What’s that saying? One rotten apple spoils the . . . box of apples? I don’t know. I don’t pay attention in class. Besides, it’s not like knowing weird sayings about apples is going to get you a boyfriend, right?
But that’s not the point. The point is that it took me a long time to claw my way to the top of the Bryce Hamilton food chain. And once I got there, I didn’t think anything could knock me off my pedestal. I was the queen bee; I ran that school and everyone in it. Nothing and no one could push me off my throne. Then HE turned up and ruined everything.
He was amazing. His name was Gabriel, and he made me literally want to melt. The first time I saw him, I thought he’d stepped out of the pages of a glossy magazine. It wasn’t just me. Other people noticed him too; they couldn’t exactly not notice. He was too perfect to be real. It almost gave me a headache to look at him. He had these pale, rain-grey eyes that gave nothing away and sand-colored hair that he wore pulled back in a ponytail. I’ve always had a thing for boys with long hair. My friend Taylah used to say I had lesbian tendencies because I liked boys that looked like girls. But this one didn’t look like a girl . . . or a boy, really. He looked like something that wasn’t even human, something that was crafted from particles of the sun. Okay, I know that wasn’t super poetic, but I’m trying my best to describe him here. And um, did I mention his body? It was ridiculous. How does anyone even get that buff? And not gross-bodybuilder buff either, but just the right amount. He wore these silver rings too and ugh, I’m a sucker for man-jewelry. So all things considered, I didn’t stand a chance. I fell for him the minute I laid eyes on him.
The funny thing was, I’ve always been pretty confident around guys, but this one had me stumped. I didn’t know what to do about it. I remember the night he broke up a fight outside a bar. It was like watching an action hero come to life. He was so . . . commanding, no one would dare argue with him. It was seriously hot.
I couldn’t stop thinking about him after that night even though it wasn’t the smartest move. Not only was he my best friend’s brother, but he was also a teacher at our school. He was off limits before I even knew the truth. But was I going to let that stop me? Not a chance.
But there was one problem: Gabriel was perfect in every imaginable way, except for the fact that I seemed to have no effect on him. I’m not trying to boast, but I have a pretty good body. Plus, I’m pretty persuasive, so no guy has ever turned me down before. Let’s just say I was confused when I couldn’t seem to get his attention. And believe me, I tried. Luckily, I was best friends with his sister, Beth. It meant I got to hang out at their cool beachside pad and watch Gabriel play guitar, cook, or come back shirtless from a run. His body would be rippling and glistening like a Greek god. . . . Sorry, I’m getting off track.
It was hard pining after Gabriel while, in the meantime, Beth’s love life was right on track. She managed to make Bryce’s most eligible bachelor fall in love with her without doing anything, so life was going pretty well in Beth-world. They were one of those annoyingly perfect couples that make everybody else hate their lives and want to go eat a bucket of ice cream. But that’s beside the point. Beth told me her brother was like, into philanthropy and stuff like that. So, first I had to Google what philanthropy actually meant, and then try and work out how to put it into practice. Turns out, it just meant being nice to people, which is actually way harder than it sounds.
But I gave it my best shot. I volunteered along with Beth and Xavier [her man] to help out in a smelly old people’s home, I made an effort to smile at everyone (even the losers) in between classes, and I shared my talents with the less fortunate. When I saw someone wearing an ugly outfit, I gave them helpful suggestions on what to throw in the trash, so that they might improve their situations in life. You can’t get much more selfless than that. But it still didn’t work.
I remember Beth trying to give me advice about it in the cafeteria. Xavier had gone off to football practice, but I could see her scoping the field through the window, trying to catch a glimpse of him. It was like they couldn’t be apart for two seconds! Xavier was a bit suspicious of me. I think he saw me as having a bad influence on Beth, and I saw what an effort it was for him to not roll his eyes at half the things I said.
“Gabriel’s not like other guys. You’ll only end up getting hurt,” Beth told me.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“He’s different; trust me.”
“I know that. That’s why I need your help. I want to make him respect me, so I thought I should do some charity work.”
Beth sighed. “Molly, you can’t use do charity as a strategy. You have to want to do it.”
“Who says I don’t?”
Beth finally caught sight of Xavier and her eyes misted over a little bit. Okay, so he was like the all-American high school stud that every girl wanted with a 4.0 GPA and a strong sense of social justice, blah blah blah. She had her perfect man and it was only fair she should help me get mine. Beth refocused her attention on me and tucked her chestnut hair behind her ears. I could see she really wanted to help; Xavier just easily distracted her. But then, he distracted everyone.
“Okay,” she said, nodding her head and trying to be business-like. “If you really want Gabriel’s respect, you have to do it for the right reasons. He’ll know if you’re not.”
“What exactly are the right reasons?” I asked suspiciously.
“Not because he’s hot,” Beth said sternly. Sometimes, she could sound like such a little nun.
When lunch hour was over, I watched her skip towards Xavier when he came back, tucking herself under his arm. His free hand absently caught in her hair as she pressed her cheek against his blazer. They were both so blissfully happy; they seemed oblivious to everything going on around them. That all I wanted, to be as happy and carefree as they were.
It would be much later that I’d learn Bethany and Xavier were anything but carefree. Their journey was not going to be an easy one. They would face more sorrow and destruction in a few short months than most people would see in twenty lifetimes. But I didn’t know any of that yet, and I was foolish enough to be jealous of them. I too, would play a part in their story, and a series of events would throw me together with Gabriel, only it wouldn’t be in the way I imagined.