The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Coincidental: A Jamie Monologue.

Grace surrounds herself with people similar to her, or maybe she just gravitates towards people she sees herself in.

Meeting her best friend Ari for the first time when I was first in New York was interesting. They had met through the law firm Grace used to work at, so when I came to pick Grace up from the firm one night, Ari made it apparent that she carried strong opinions. Even though there were times Ari would say something that made Grace instantly react in a bad way, Ari would always have her back, just like a best friend would. Ari saw Grace the way I see Shawn and Kevin: they are my closest friends through thick and thin.

So, when Ari told me it was best if I let Grace go after she left New York in January, I thought that would be the worst feeling I would ever experience. I was wrong.

“What are you doing here?” Skylar quickly walked toward me and said in a hushed tone.

“I’m sorry if Shawn hurt you in any way, Skylar,” I immediately started to try to defend my friend; the one whose heart is back home in pieces because he had to break up with someone he truly loved. I understand. “It’s not his fault that things had to be this way.”

“I don’t give a shit about that,” Skylar said bluntly. It took me by surprise. “What are you even doing here?” I was confused as in why all of a sudden, Skylar was mad at me or concerned I was even there in the first place. What did Grace tell her? What happened when Grace went home the last time we spoke?

“I made a commitment to Grace,” I finally answered her question. “I told her I was going to be here for her showcase–“

“You know, you being here will just be triggering to her,” Skylar interrupted me to say. I scrunched my eyebrows together; what the hell is that suppose to mean? “And the last thing she needs is to have her night ruined because of you.”

“I don’t know what Grace told you,” I began, but I immediately stopped. What point was I trying to make this time? What could I have possibly done to make Grace tell Skylar I was the bad guy? Why do I even care; she’s not mine to care about.

“It’s not about what Grace has told me,” Skylar cut me off before I could even start up my sentence again. “It’s about everything that has happened that has affected her. She literally left New York to get away from you, yet here you are now bringing all that old energy shit back into her life.” I didn’t understand where this was coming from at this point. It was only just a month and a half ago when she called the number I left for Grace. She was dating one of my best friends. What changed? What made Skylar say these things all of a sudden?

“If you cared about her, you would let her go,” Ari told me that night in her apartment, moments after I found out that Grace left New York. When I was walking out, that’s when Ari finally spoke again. “Grace was happy with you, Jamie.”

I turned around to look at Ari one last time before I left the apartment.

“But it’s the things that make her happy that are her biggest downfall,” she continued.

“Grace was amazing,” I randomly said. Skylar didn’t say anything in response. “She was definitely born to dance.”

I walked out of the ballroom hallway and didn’t turn back. I was mentally exhausted. I was tired of thinking and worrying about Grace. I’ve done nothing but do just that for the last couple of years. Maybe Ari was right about Grace and me when Grace left New York. Maybe this thing between us; whatever this was between us, was dying out. Maybe I was holding onto something that was just hurting us even more in the end. Maybe the pressure to hold on was what was causing the pain. Maybe releasing it all, to finally let it all go, is the only way we can both heal. I have to let Grace go for good.

It scares me that this time, it doesn’t hurt when I say that. It actually feels relieving. Because it’s something coincidental; two people in Grace’s life that probably never even met each other before share the same idea about Grace and me. We are not good for each other. Maybe I should’ve listened to Ari. To Kevin. To Shawn. I shouldn’t have listened to myself.

I entered the front door of the place I was staying at. I saw luggage bags already sitting near the door; they looked like Kevin’s. I shut my eyes tight. I couldn’t believe that we were leaving to go back to Korea in less than 48 hours. Every time I had to go back, it felt like I was leaving a part of me back here. I was tired of feeling that way.

I walked up the stairs and entered my bedroom. I looked around the room that I stayed in fro the last month and a half. The room I would come in after being out at the pier with Shawn and Kevin. The room that the guys would barge in to wake me up on mornings that I left my alarm going off. The room where I would pick up Grace’s calls, and go through the closet where my clothes were trying to find something appropriate to wear. The room I fell asleep in whenever I texted Grace “good night” when she would stop responding. It felt surreal to know that all those memories will be left behind in this room.

Everything about Grace will be left behind here.

I look at my wrist and see the bracelet that Grace gifted me.

“I know I didn’t need to give you anything for Christmas, but I wanted to,” Grace said as she handed me a small, wrapped box with a bow on top. I look at Grace before accepting the gift.

“Where did you find the time to even get a present?” I asked, smiling down at the gift. “You know, you are working nonstop on a case.” Grace laughed and clapped her hands together. Her laugh was warm on this cold, winter day.

“I wanted to get you a little something because you said this was the first holiday you were away from home,” Grace explained. “So, I figured I could still bring some holiday joy and cheer to you.” I looked at Grace, being in awe. Christmas wasn’t for another two weeks, yet she felt the need to get me a present and bring some of the holiday spirit in my rented apartment, in the middle of a foreign city thousands of miles away from home. I felt warm. Cozy. Cared about; just how a home should feel like.

I opened the small box and saw what was inside. “Grace,” I began to say. I lifted the dainty, silver bracelet from the box with my hand. It was simple; nothing too flashy. It had one small charm on the end of it; a key.

I lifted the dainty, silver bracelet on my wrist. The key dangled as I lifted my wrist up in the air. I slip the bracelt off of my wrist and put it in the draw of the night stand. Out of sight. Out of mind. Out of my life.

The Teenage Monologues.

Takes One To Know One: A Milo Monologue.

Band class has really been the highlight of my school days lately. Every other class just feels like time doesn’t move, yet band always feels like there’s never enough time.

It’s probably because of these days, the only time I really get to see Sophie is in this class. My dad and Jennifer have been on my case about the whole Principal-warning-thing. I don’t understand why they care so much about my dual major status, but sometimes it feels like they care more about their son holding that title instead of acting and listening to their son and what they may need. But whatever, who cares anyway?

I sit in my assigned seat in the percussion area, taking out my notebook before the class begins. I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket, in which I immediately took it out in hopes it was Sophie telling me she’s on her way to class.

leesophie: Hey, Milo! I'm not in school today. I was sick this morning. 😦 Let me know if anything exciting happens in band, kay? (:

Well, fuck. I signed and put my phone into my book bag, disappointed that the one good thing about school isn’t even in school today. Before I sat back up, I see a pair of legs standing next to me. I rolled my eyes, knowing exactly who it is. I sit back up and see that it’s Aaron, waiting to get by me so he can get to his seat. I really dislike this guy; he never has anything nice to say and he thinks he’s better than everyone else in our classes. Like dude, you are in level 1 band for freshman and level 1 vocal for freshman; you aren’t that great.

“Where’s Sophie?” Aaron randomly asked me. I could feel my ears get hot. Why the fuck are you looking for Sophie?

“Why?” I asked, trying to make it as unbothered and neutral as possible. I don’t know if he bought it.

“Because I always have to kick her out of my seat,” he answered. “I was relieved to not have to break her heart today.” Aaron laughs and reaches into his book bag. Nothing this guy says or does is funny.

“She’s not here today,” I answered, trying to end the conversation there. I guess it walked since he didn’t have anything to say after that. Mr. Harrison walks into the class and quiets the class. He looks at us before beginning the class.

“Good almost noon, class. As you guys know, the October Fest is approaching us, and we are going to prepare something fun and festive to showcase.” Mr. Harrison flips through papers and begins to hand them out. “The seniors will also be paying tribute to one of our faculty members who is retiring, so I will also be asking a couple of you to accompany the senior band to do just that.” My eyes widen; the senior band sounds like they came straight out of a soundtrack for a motion picture. I can only hope that’s how we will sound when we get to that point.

“Mr. Harrison?” Aaron called out as he raised his hand. “Mr. Harrsion looks at him to acknowledge Aaron, as well as everyone else that turned their heads when his voice was heard.

“Yes, Aaron?”

“Is their a specific section of the orchestra you need for this senior tribute?” I scoffed under my breath in disbelief. This guy is so fucking full of himself, I swear.

“The senior band has to have a mock rehearsal before we can determine what it is that we need.” Mr. Harrison answered and continued to pass around the sheets. I couldn’t help but look over at Aaron just flipping through the sheet music. I still don’t know what’s his deal. What school did he even come from?

“I don’t roll like that homie,” Aaron said as he looked at me. “Either you need some notes or you just have a staring problem, dude.”

“I don’t need, nor want anything from you, Serrano,” I spat back. I wanted nothing more than for this day to be over; specifically this class.

“Whatever you say, Kamalani. Us dual majors gotta stick together,” Aaron said, as he began to make markings on his sheet music.

“Yeah, no thanks,” I rolled my eyes and responded. “Literally would rather work with anyone else but you–“

“Mollie, or Sophie?” Aaron interrupted me and asked. I looked at Aaron, not really understanding where he was going with this. Mollie? How does he know–

“I guess there’s more dual in your life than just your major, huh?” Aaron mocked back at me.

“Dude, you really need to shut up and just–“

“Kamalani! Serrano!” Mr. Harrison called out. We both looked up front, nervous that we were about to get in trouble. “Since you both love talking during my class, we can all have a chat after class as well.” I squeezed my eyes shut as Aaron sighed. I never hated anymore more than Aaron Serrano, and that’s saying a lot considering I hated Simon Hempstead back in middle school.

The bell rings and Mr. Harrison dismisses the rest of the class, while Aaron and I stand up front next to the teacher’s podium. I looked over at Aaron, who was typing away on his phone. He looks visibly annoyed, which I don’t get since he was part of the reason why we are both here. Once the rest of the class left the room, Mr. Harrison closed the door and had us sit in the desks in front of his.

“You both know better than to be disruptive in class,” Mr. Harrison began. This was starting to feel a lot like my last encounter in vocal with my dad; you should know better. I began to shake my leg in my seat, worried that this was the last straw and that I was going to get my dual major status revoked. I feel like a shitty President or something, one that gets into office but completely destroys everything in his sight because he doesn’t know how to be a good President. I believe Sophie told me that due to the constitutional law, it’s–

“That behavior is unacceptable for dual majors like you both, which brings me to my next point,” Mr. Harrison pulled out more papers from his desk draw and handed them over to Aaron and me. “I want you two to accompany the senior band for the tribute. Rehearsals for that begin after school on Wednesday.”

“Why do you need two people in percussion?” I asked, not really amused that I have to spend rehearsals with people I don’t know, and Aaron.

“Well, I know you two play instruments outside of percussion, so I want Milo to accompany percussion, while Aaron accompanies the bass.” I scrunched my eyebrows, a little annoyed that Aaron gets the chance to play other instruments outside of what he plays in this class. I know how to play other instruments, and probably a lot better than this douchebag. I look over at Aaron who is writing inside a notebook. Does this jerk ever give it a rest? Mr. Harrison got up from his seat, escorting us out of his class politely. “I’m not rewarding your bad behavior by giving you guys this opportunity, so by all means if it continues in class, you will be kicked out from the tribute and the showcase. I expect nothing but excellence from dual majors.”

I walked out the classroom while Aaron tried to pass me first. Aaron power-walked away from the classroom and into the hallway. I stood there, annoyed and in need to get chill until the day is over. As I walk further into the hallway to go to my next class, I take out my phone to text Mollie.

milolani: you're free at lunch 2day? 

Before I reach my next class, my phone vibrate in my hand.

mcastro: sorry dude, i gotta tutor this kid in vocal 😛

I was confused. Sure, Mollie and I haven’t hanged out in a while due to everything else happening in my life, but I didn’t know she was out here tuoring kids, yet alone in a performing arts high school.

milolani: in vocal? who? 

Before I can send the message, my teacher for my next class called out for me to get her in her class before the late bell went off. I deleted it, annoyed that this day has literally gotten me nowhere with anyone. I wish Sophie was here today.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something that Move Mountains: A Jamie Monologue.

The house has felt empty since that night Kevin told us he was going back to Korea. None of us spent time together after that. The living room was empty, the kitchen was empty, and for most of the remaining week we had left in California, none of us truly sat down to have a conversation. Kevin spent most of his time on the phone with JooAh; I feel like that was the only time I see him smile these days. It instantly fades when he hangs up the phone.

Shawn has been in his room for most of the days left here in California; heartbroken and crushed. I know that feeling all too well, and I feel so bad for Shawn. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought him with me to the Voyage that night. Maybe then he wouldn’t have met Skylar. Maybe then he wouldn’t have fallen in love with a woman that he can’t be with.

I look in the mirror and fix the collar of my button-down shirt. I brush the fabric of my slacks and look at the white sneakers I pair the outfit with. I slick my hair back, even though I want nothing more than to hide my face. I wear her bracelet even though I shouldn’t. I can’t help it; it’s truly become a part of me, just how Grace is. Was.

Kevin walks past my bedroom and stops to look inside. I turn around, not knowing what Kevin wants.

“You’re going out?” Kevin asked.

“Yeah. I made a commitment,” I answered, tidying up my room before I head out for the night. Kevin doesn’t move from the doorframe, so I stand in the middle of the room and just look at him. “Is everything fine?”

“I truly messed up, didn’t I?” Kevin confessed. I sympathized with Kevin; I know this was most likely because Kevin and Shawn were not speaking to each other. Shawn and Kevin used to be inseparable; I actually met Kevin through Shawn back in law school; I never understood how someone as introverted as Kevin became friends with someone as loud and energetic as Shawn. Their friendship worked, needless to say.

“You’re doing what’s right for you and JooAh, Kevin,” I answered. “I don’t think Shawn is mad at you for having to go back to her. He’s just–“

“He’s just in love with an American woman; I know,” Kevin finished my sentence. “But he’s acting like it’s my fault that they broke up, and it makes me feel like shit.”

“Shawn will eventually feel better; when he does, then you two need to have this conversation,” I told Kevin. It took Kevin and I months to put everything that happened in New York behind us. I know Kevin was just looking out for his friend when Grace and I weren’t on speaking terms. If he wasn’t so caught up in his own issues, he would’ve been the same way, knowing grace and I have spent time together here in California.

I pick up my crossbody bag and placed it on my shoulder. I turned around to exit the room.

“Have fun at your commitment tonight,” Kevin said. Heh, if only.

The first time I ever saw Grace was an accident. We had plans for dinner that night, and when I didn’t hear from her all day, I was worried. I watched her through the window of the studio, and if I didn’t know Grace’s presence as well as I do, I wouldn’t have thought the woman dancing was her. I still wonder what made her go into law instead of dance. Sure, she told me that she grew up watching her father working for the law and she was an amazing lawyer when she was one, but watching her dance was completely different. Grace felt like she was being her true self when she danced; the vulnerable, messy, loving woman she is. I already had fallen in love with Grace by that point, but I think I knew I loved her at that moment.

I arrived at the venue where Grace’s showcase was being held out. It was interesting to see so many important people sitting i ne room, watching young dancers showcase their talent.

“It’s in the Vermont Palace downtown,” Grace said as I wrote the address down on my phone. The sun was setting, and Grace was gathering her things to head to practice after having dinner. “It’ll be nice to have a familiar face in the audience.”

“Is Skylar not going to be there?” I asked. Grace shrugged her shoulder.

“Who knows,” she answered. “She’s busy with Shawn these days. I’m not mad at her or anything, but when she’s in this deep, she doesn’t remember anything she has to do or what others need from her.” I laughed, getting up from the table with her.

“Come on,” I looked at Grace. “I’ll drive you to your practice.”

I take a seat towards the back of the venue. The stage is lit with bright lights while the rest of the room is dark. A woman walks out and introduces herself as the co-founder of the academy, Morgan Kelly.

“Welcome to this season’s showcase, everyone. Our dancers have worked endlessly these last couple of months, and with their talents and determination, you are all are in for an amazing show. Whether you are friends or family of the dancers, or people within the business, we are happy to have you here tonight,” she greeted. Everyone clapped, and she spoke once the applause died out.

The dancers were amazing, to say the least. They all were so passionate and elegant about it. You can tell these dancers dance because this is who they are as people, just how I can tell I am a lawyer; it’s who I am. I think I always meant to be one, and I don’t regret anything that I’ve done that got me to this place.

Grace, on the other hand, was meant to do more than settle. She is a dancer.

“Our next dancer is fairly new to our academy, but her passion and talent truly speaks for itself. Originally from New York, she co-runs her family-own academy, teaching the next generation of dancers to come and change the game forever,” Morgan said. “Please give a round of applause to our next dancer, Grace Ashmore.”

Grace comes out in a flowy red dress. Red was always the best color on her. She stands in front of everyone, bows, and then looks toward the ground. The song begins to play and she immediately starts to dance. Watching Grace dance sometimes feels intrusive, like no one should be watching her be so vulnerable on stage. So expressive. So free.

I think about the stories she told me as a kid in her hometown and how she did nothing but dance. She didn’t have many friends because she was so busy being a tiny dancer. She always knew her mother was a world-renowned dancer; I wonder how hard that was for her growing up. To follow in someone’s footsteps that you never got to know until later in life, when it was too late… Grace dances for her younger self. She does it to connect with her; the one who knew nothing but dance, and that was all there was to life. When Grace’s life was simple. That’s why it feels so wrong to watch her dance, but it’s too mesmerizing to not want to watch her be… her.

The song is a simple guitar playing in the background and a man’s voice singing softly. Her body moves to every syllable of that damn song. How does she make something so simple look absolutely beautiful?

Sometimes it hurts like growing pains, at times it makes me cry like the rain, But I’d cross the ocean if I have to; I’d run through the storm to get to you right now…

It’s so natural to love you.

It’s so fucking natural to love Grace.

Grace spins and her dress moves across her body. Maybe I’m biased, but Grace has been the best dancer to perform tonight. She’s more than just this dancer that wants to dance for fun. She’s not meant to keep her talent hidden like this. She deserves the world to see her dance. Grace Ashmore deserves the fucking world, even if she doesn’t believe she does.

The song stops and Grace finishes her performance. The audience gives her a standing ovation, including me. She bows and smiles out towards us. She’s the happiest when she dances.

Shortly after, Morgan comes back onto stage and lets everyone know that there is a reception in the other room next door. As friends and family gather their things and head to the reception, I gather my things to exit the venue. I don’t want Grace to know I’m here, not after what happened at the pier last weekend. It’s best if she didn’t know. Tonight was her night, and I don’t need it to be ruined because I’m here.

As I enter the main lobby of the venue I look up from my phone and towards the front door. Even with the crowd of people standing and hanging out in the lobby, my heart nearly stops to my stomach.

I see Skylar, and Skylar sees me.

The Teenage Monologues.

Process of Elimination: A Mollie Monologue.

A month into school, I’ve already made it a habit to be late to my classes every morning.

Milo and I used to walk to school together in the mornings, but since he got that one time in detention, Jennifer takes him to school. I only know this because Milo is constantly fucking complaining about how he’s in high school, yet his step-mom takes him to school because he’s been grounded for talking back to his dad in vocal class. I mean, Milo has been dead silent in that class since, but it’s definitely weird to go to our vocal class and not get my best friend anymore. His mind has definitely been in other places, but hey; that’s what happens when he’s a dual major in this school. They’ll work you like a dog.

I ran into school Wednesday morning, hoping to slide by the front desk security guards. I’ve been getting pretty good at being undetected by them; the last thing I need in my life is for my mom to be on my case about being late to school. I can’t help that the only person to get me to school on time got himself in trouble.

While the security guards talk to each other and do not pay attention to the front door, I slide into the cracked back door, leading to the auditorium. When I get into the school, I run up the auditorium to get out of it, just in case someone catches me in there. It’s kinda sad just how good I’m getting at this.

I looked at my phone for the time while I kept walking until I bumped into someone. Fuck, I’m done for. I quickly get up from the floor, beginning to apologize, playing it off just so that the teacher doesn’t tell the main office a student is roaming the halls.

“I am so sorry, I was trying to find my class,” I said as I tried to see the person I bumped into. The person picks their things up from the ground. It was not a teacher as I thought it was; it was another student. It was Aaron. My body immediately relaxed. “Oh shit, hey! I’m sorry about that.” Aaron pulled his wavy hair away from his face and smiled at me.

“No worries, Mollie,” Aaron replied. After getting myself together, I noticed that Aaron is holding two big binders in his hand. I nodded my head towards the binders, not really thinking about the words coming out of my mouth.

“Damn, what’s with the big-ass binders?” I pointed out. Aaron laughed out loud, so loud that I thought we were going to get in trouble for being out in the hallway.

“It’s kinda my whole school life in these binders,” he answered. “One for band class; the other one vocal.”

“Sheesh,” I began to say. “What are they teaching you; the first ever instrument to make a sound or some shit?”

“Oh Nah, nothing like that,” Aaron answered. “We covered that already. That’s in the first two binders back at home.” I laughed at his response. Homie got jokes.

“Well, on the plus side; you guys will easily be the most fit people in this school but the time we’re seniors,” I said. I looked at Aaron, realizing that he was more relaxed than most freshmen in this school. He’s also really confident in class, which most of us do not have yet. “Unless you are a senior already.” I spat out, again not realizing the words coming out of my mouth.

“Are you secretly a senior?” Aaron asked. “Because your talent screams ‘experienced and too advanced for a freshman’.” My face got hot; am I fucking blushing? I tried to wipe my face hard enough to make it seem like I made my own face red. I just hope he buys it. After that, we don’t really answer each other’s questions; we just hear the bell ring, which meant I missed my first class.

“Fuck,” I said more to myself than to Aaron. “I’m totally gonna fail my algebra class.” Aaron looked down at me when I spoke and started to walk down the hallway, now becoming more crowded with other students passing by.

“Do you need help passing algebra,” Aaron confidently asked. I looked up at him, kinda confused at where he was getting at. “Maybe we can help each other out.”

“You need my help with something?” I asked, a bit surprised that anyone would ever need my help with anything.

“I actually need some help in our vocal class,” he confessed. I scoffed, not believing him one bit. Aaron Serrano, the dual major, needing help in one of his majors?

“Vocal is literally one of your majors; how do you need help in that?” Aaron stopped in the middle of the hallway, which then made me stop. Oh, fuck. Did I upset him?

“I’m… not confident in vocal a lot of the times,” Aaron began to explain. “I keep fucking up the parts in our assignments and, well, Mr. Kamalani seems to trust you to always know all of your music.” I crossed my arms, amused that Aaron was asking for my help. I guess it made me feel good about my abilities, like I actually belonged in the program I’m in.

“So, you help me in algebra, and I’ll help you in vocal,” I stated more than asking him. He gently nodded his head as looked at me. Aaron always spoke directly to me, which I never had anyone really do. It felt nice to feel like someone was actually listening to me when I spoke.

“Are you busy during lunch today?” Aaron asked.

“You want to start today?” I asked, surprised at how last minute this was.

“We have quartets today, which I am scared as fuck for,” Aaron answered. His blunt answer made me giggle; it truly felt good to feel like I was good at something. I was still unsure; Milo and I always hang out at lunch together, even if there has been days where I was blown off by him because he was so busy with his band stuff. Oh, and Sophie; he spent all of his free time with Sophie in school, which pissed me off. Milo is my best friend, but it feels like I’m being replaced by Sophie as the days pass by.

“It’s okay if you can’t today,” Aaron said. I looked at him, wondering if he saw the look on my face. Maybe he felt bad for asking me. He shouldn’t, considering he’s been the only person to actually want to hang out with me, even if it was to help him with his vocal music.

“It’s okay, I can come and help with you that,” I agreed. Aaron smiled at me, and I returned the smile back. It wasn’t until a few seconds later that I heard my name being called from down the hall. I look down the hallway, and see Milo wave his hand up in the air.

“Cool, I’ll meet you by your locker at 6th period?” Aaron asked. I looked back at him and nodded.

“Number 618,” I said. He smiled and held out his fist in front of him. I gave him a pound, wondering when and how Aaron got so comfortable with me. I barely know the guy, but he talks to me as if we’ve known each other forever now.

Aaron walks down the hallway, opposite of the direction I walk to Milo. Let’s get this day started.

The Teenage Monologues.

My Mother’s Son: A Milo Monologue.

If there was one thing my parents hated that I did, it was leaving my book bag on the floor next to the front door. Today I didn’t care. I came home that day and slammed the front door shut and dropped my bag right near it.

When I walked in, Jennifer was feeding my twin sisters at the dining room table, and my little brother was on the sofa watching TV. Jennifer immediately turned around to see what was the cause of the door being slammed shut.

“Milo?” Jennifer questioned. I didn’t want to say anything to her, but the only thing that came out was just my anger.

“Where’s my dad?” I yelled out loud. Jennifer now has her entire body facing me, and she doesn’t look happy that I yelled.

“There’s no reason for you to yell,” she sternly said. She nodded her head towards the book bag that was on the floor. “Plus, you know better than to leave your book bag on the ground.”

You know better; just what my dad told me in class after he sent me to the Principal’s office.

“I don’t give a fuck!” I yelled in response. Jennifer got out of her seat and walked toward me. She was pissed off.

“Language!” Jennifer said loudly.

“Fuck that shit!” I continued to cuss in front of Jennifer and my siblings. It wasn’t until shortly after, I heard my dad walk down the hall and into the living room where we all were. He looked just as pissed.

“What is going on here?” my dad asked as he removed the glasses off of his face. Once I saw him, I immediately turned my body to face him.

“How could you do that in front of the class?!” I asked. “Seriously you couldn’t have just told me to be quiet or something?! You had to send me to the principal’s office?!”

“You sent him to the principal’s office?” Jennifer asked my dad.

“Milo, you spoke back to me in class,” my dad explained. “Plus, you were being disruptive. I told you I wasn’t giving you any special treatment.”

“I got a warning because of you!” I yelled out. “If I get sent back to the office, I get my dual major status taken away!”

“Well you shouldn’t have been disruptive in class while another student was presenting,” my dad said without a care in the world. It bothered me a lot; his carelessness for what he caused today. He was the one that fought so hard for me to dual major at Waverly, like he did when he was a teenager. He wanted me to go for both majors and now that I got them, he’s the reason I got a warning that it could be taken away from me? I should just allow the principal to take it away; maybe then I don’t ever have to see my dad’s face for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in school.

“Well you shouldn’t have been on this power trip and show off to your class!” I spat back. He turns back around; clearly I hit some sort of nerve.

“Let me clarify for you, son,” he began. “Your behavior would be the reason you lose your dual major status, not me. You know how to act, and today you didn’t. You wouldn’t talk back to any of your other teachers, and I should not be an exemption just because I am your father.” He turns back around to go back towards his office, but stops before he does so. It’s like he wasn’t done trying to prove his point.

“Your grandmother called earlier,” he randomly said. I tried to act as clueless as i could, but I had a feeling where this conversation was going. “She said your friend was waiting for you there for a while.” Jennifer looks at both my dad and I, confused at what’s going on. My dad looked at Jennifer before looking back at me.

“I forgot to tell my friend that I couldn’t hang out today,” I responded carefully. My dad nodded his head saying nothing else.

“Today was your warning, next time I will not be so lenient,” my dad said before finally turning back around towards his office. I took a deep breath, grabbing my book bag from the floor and dragging it towards my room.

Jennifer was away for a dance competition with her dance academy when I first got caught having Sophie in the house without any parents home. I was bored; Mollie was on that dance trip with Jennifer, and my younger siblings were staying with Jennifer’s family for the day. I told Sophie that it was fine if we hanged out in the first floor where Jennifer’s home studio was; technically it wasn’t “the house”.

I brought down some snacks and drinks from the kitchen into the studio. Sophie looked nervous; I was too, but I didn’t want her to know that I was also nervous about hanging out. I didn’t know when my dad was coming home, but he came home and saw the studio door cracked open to let some air come in. It was the first time my dad caught me doing something bad, like being home alone with a girl in the house. He promised he would never mention it to Jennifer, just because Jennifer would’ve made things completely worse. She is Mollie’s oldest sister, and although Jennifer is really cool and chill, she handles situations just as bad as Mollie does; angry and explosive.

A couple of hours later, there’s a knock on my bedroom door. The door slowly opens and it’s my dad. I really didn’t want to see him or speak to him after what happened today, so I didn’t bother facing him when he entered my room.

“Bud,” my dad sat down at the edge of my bed and said. It wasn’t angry or strict like it was earlier; it was soft. It was like he wanted to have a conversation with me, which also scared me since it means it must be something serious. In this moment, I would rather him just yell at me and call it a day. “I don’t like how you put Grandma Mona in the middle of this situation with you and Sophie.”

“Sophie and I always hanged out at the treehouse,” I emphasized. My family doesn’t realize that Sophie and I been friends for over a year. They think whatever this thing between Sophie and I was new. It wasn’t, so why is everyone making this a big deal?”

“Yeah, when you were partners for your middle school project,” my dad answered. “Grandma says you two hang out at the treehouse for hours on end every Tuesday–“

“So what? Friends hang out,” I finally looked at my dad, trying to prove my point.

“Bud, I don’t think Sophie–” I cut my dad off before he continued. I already knew where this coversation was going.

“We are friends, dad,” I try to emplant that into my dad’s head.

“Then why are we hiding this Tuesday hang-out session from Jennifer if it’s harmless? Why are you afraid of telling her where you really are on Tuesdays?” he asked. He was right, I told him to please keep this a secret from Jennifer, because if she found out, she would make this a bigger deal than it really is and then word will go back to Mollie and I do not want to deal with Mollie if she thinks Sophie and I are more than just friends. We aren’t though.

“Dad,” I sighed.

“Milo, Grandma had a daughter almost the same age as you, ” my dad started.

“Yeah, I know; it was mom. She met you and got pregnant with me at 15; blah blah blah,” I stated back at my dad. I don’t know when it began to bother me whenever my dad would bring up my biological mom, but it did. It bothered me that for someone who died 14 years ago still had this huge hold on my dad that it literally dictated how he treated me.

My dad scrunched his eyebrows together, clearly upset at what I said. “Yeah, 15 years old; just a year and school grade older than you are.”

“My god, dad, Sophie and I aren’t dating, so there’s no reason to think that we would do something as stupid as what you and my mom did,” I said with honesty. I never understand why my dad and biological mom did what they did at such a young age. Maybe he regrets doing it. Maybe she wouldn’t have died if she wasn’t pregnant with me.

“Good, keep thinking that it’s stupid,” my dad responded. “But that doesn’t excuse the fact that your grandmother is worried that you and that girl are doing stupid things in that treehouse.”

“Are you kidding me?!” I spat back. This time I was loud and I didn’t care if anyone outside of my room heard me. “Grandma told you me and Sophie do things up there?!”

“She doesn’t know what you both do!” my dad said back, trying to keep the conversation inside the bedroom. “My point being is… I don’t think you should bring Sophie over there anymore.” I was so angry at my dad. He knows that Sophie and I are nothing like how he and my mom were. For starters, Sophie and I aren’t in love. We aren’t professing our love to each other in ways that we shouldn’t. We are friends that enjoy each other’s company.

I am trying to be just friends with a girl that I enjoy company with because I don’t want to ruin the friendship.

“You know what dad? Fine,” I said as I got up from my desk and walked over to my dresser. I grabbed some pajamas and walked toward the bedroom door. “Tell Grandma that I won’t visit her anymore. As a matter of fact, you can even tell her to take the fucking treehouse down! I don’t want it and I don’t want to remember mom!” I walked out and slammed my bedroom door in anger.

Misc., The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Like What We Used to Be: A Monologue.

When I first moved in with my mother my freshman year of college, I didn’t know how well we would get along. My dad was still in Virginia, and he had no idea that I wasn’t actually living in the dorms. I lied to both my parents just so I could get the opportunity to live with my mother after not knowing her for the first 17 years of my life.

It was a hot afternoon in New York, and my mom came back from the pizzeria to get us some Italian Ices. I was convinced maybe we just shared the same taste in foods, but her coming back with a Rainbow-flavored Ice shocked me. It was my absolute favorite flavor of Ice.

We sat across the small table in the living room/kitchen area of my mother’s apartment. I looked at her as she scraped the surface of her Ice, scrolling through her cell phone.

“Mollie?” I called out for my mom. I was still uncomfortable calling her mom; I was thankful she didn’t force me to call her mom right away. She looked up from her Ice at me. I didn’t know how to phrase this right, but it was something I’ve wanted to know ever since I met my mom for the first time, back in her dance class at Waverly High.

“When did you know that you were in love with dad?” I asked. It took her a while to answer. She was deep in thought like she was going through all the years over in her head that she knew my dad. My mom, no doubt was my dad’s soulmate. He never had a girlfriend while I was growing up; it’s like he couldn’t love anyone else besides her, and from the looks of my mom’s apartment, it seems like the same goes for her.

“The moment I knew I was in love with your father was the night we slept together, back in high school,” she recalled. “Not because of, you know,” She was getting flustered and even though I felt some vomit rise up behind my throat, I knew what she meant by that. “The moment I knew I loved your father was seeing how happy he was when I told him I was pregnant with you.”

“You have some nerve coming here,” I said as I watched Jamie walk towards the cafe.

“Can we talk? It’s important that I talk to you,” Jamie stated. I look at the time on my phone and sighed.

“Well, it’s bad timing. My break is ending and I get out in about an hour,” I said. Jamie nodded his head and looked at me. I felt uneasy whenever he looked directly at me; he was the only person that ever looked at me like that.

“I can wait,” he said. Jamie was always a patient man, and I never understood how or why he was with me. He has no reason to sit around and wait to talk to me, yet he does. Throughout the rest of my shift, he sits on the boardwalk bench looking out towards the water. It wasn’t long until I clocked out for the day and left the cafe.

I slowly walk towards him at the end of the pier, sitting next to him. He looks up at me and scoots over to give me some room on the bench to sit next to him.

“Well, you sure stick to your word,” I say to break the silence. I don’t look at him, but I can feel him looking at me. I always knew when he was even when I wasn’t looking at him. It’s like my body can sense it, because every time he did, my body got warm.

“I’m assuming you know about what happened between Shawn and Skylar,” he began.

“You think? You know, that was really shitty of him to just break up with her without a real reason,” I began to vent. I wasn’t angry at anyone else besides myself. I feel solely responsible for Skylar falling in love with Shawn and getting her heart broken in the process. I shouldn’t have left Jamie’s number on my nightstand; I should’ve known better and threw it out as soon as I got it that day. Maybe then she wouldn’t have called Jamie. Maybe Jamie wouldn’t have felt like he needed to bring Shawn along with him to the Voyage that night. Maybe Skylar wouldn’t have met Shawn. Maybe Skylar wouldn’t be absolutely crushed if I never moved into her condo when I got to California.

“That’s why I came here to talk to you,” he simply said. “Shawn… has his reasons in why he did that,” I couldn’t help but scoff.

“Why am I not surprised that you were taking his side? I mean, I get it; you’re his best friend. You have to,” I shook my head and looked out towards the ocean.

“Shawn is on a group visa,” Jamie said.

“What the fuck does that have to do with Shawn being an asshole to Skylar?” I kept interrupting Jamie. I just didn’t want to hear the excuses.

“Aigoo, Grace can you just let me talk?” Jamie demanded. I looked at Jamie, not saying a word. “Kevin’s girlfriend in Korea, JooAh; she’s pregnant. He has to go back to Korea to be with her. Shawn, Kevin, and I are on a group visa. If one of us leaves, we all have to go too.”

My stomach knots itself up when I hear Jamie speak. All I can remember is Skylar asking me how was I able to go through this with Jamie throughout the years I’ve known him. “Love him, and then watch him leave over and over again.” I’ve watched Jamie leave more times than anyone else in my life. The first time it nearly destroyed me; it was like I was experiencing what it must’ve felt like for my dad when my mom left him when I was a baby. It was like I was experiencing how it must’ve felt for Max when I left him with our baby. I thought I deserved it, like this was life’s way of telling me that I needed to know what it was like to have someone you love just up and leave your life out of the blue. Needless to say, the first time was the toughest. The second time stung a little. The third, time I became numb to it. The fourth time I left, hoping it was the last time I saw him.

I scrunched my eyebrows, getting angry as Jamie spoke, excusing Shawn and what he did to Skylar. She didn’t deserve that. She didn’t know the consequences that came with dating and falling in love with a man that literally could leave at any given moment. I should have warned her. I should have told her soulmates, or whatever the fuck Skylar called Shawn, weren’t real.

“Funny how it’s not the first time hearing you say this,” I spat back. Jamie looked at me, annoyed with my response.

“That was really uncalled for, Grace,” Jamie responded. “I just wanted to tell you that I was leaving to go back to Korea, and why Shawn had to do what he did.”

“Why even tell me you were leaving? You’ve done it in the past,” I began to talk just to talk. I felt like I never explained to Jamie why it was always so hard to trust him after the first time he left. He would come back, and I would fall into him deeper and deeper each time we saw each other, and then he would leave again. It was our tradition; for him to make my life feel like rainbows and butterflies, until he took that shit back with him on a 14-hour flight to South Korea.

“I can’t say the same for you,” Jamie snapped back.

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I asked viciously. This was the first time Jamie was facing me, but not looking at me. He was angry, and he had some shit to vent out before he left again for good. What the fuck was the point of him even ever agreeing to hang out with me whenever I called him? Was he just trying to see if he still had that hold on me, wrapped around his finger, just living his American dream until he left it behind to go back home for months on end? What the fuck did Jamie want from me?

“You literally left New York without telling me, Grace!” Jamie finally admitted. I still remember the day I left New York almost 7 months ago. Ari told me to tell Jamie I was leaving and to have one last conversation to end this chapter of our lives for good.

“You need to have this conversation with him, girl,” Ari said as she poured hot water into the kettle and threw a couple of tea bags into the hot water. “He deserves to know why you went and did what you did.”

“What is the point?” I said, watching Ari set the coffee table up in the living room. “He’s gonna leave New York anyway.”

“Yeah, but that was his child too,” Ari said, annoyed. “Just because you don’t live with Willow, you still are allowed to know about her whereabouts and shit because she is your child. How would you feel if Max made decisions about WIllow without consulting with you just because you don’t live with her?”

“Max and I live in the same fucking state, Ari; it’s different,” I spat back.

“Yeah well, you’re both here in New York and are eventually leaving it so, how much of a difference is it really?” Ari questioned.

“I didn’t have to tell you anything! We weren’t together!” I emphasized to Jamie.

“You had admitted just weeks prior to you leaving that you had an abortion, Grace! How the fuck was I suppose to feel not ever having that conversation with you?” Jamie raised his voice. His voice always echoed when he was angry; probably because it didn’t happen that often. But when it did, it was more than just anger. It’s bottled-up shit that he hasn’t expressed or spoken to anyone about because he always tried to deal with it on his own. I didn’t say anything back, not because I didn’t have anything to say but because I wasn’t expecting Jamie to bring this situation up. Not now, not ever.

“You left me in your apartment and had Ari get me the next morning like I was some fucking garbage that needed to be gone!” I was angry. I remember being so fucking angry and heartbroken not seeing him in his apartment the morning after I told him about the abortion. “Jamie, you are so fucking good at leaving; did it ever occur to you that maybe every single time you did that shit, it affected me?”

“So you go ahead and get rid of our baby without ever fucking telling me it existed?!” Jamie screamed as the veins on his neck began to pop out. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

I began to feel the tears run down my face. I wasn’t sad but frustrated. Defeated. Exhausted. There’s simply no more fight left in my voice, and no expression left to express on my face.

“Would it have really mattered if I did?” I said softly as my voice became hoarse from yelling before. “You were in Korea at that point. I didn’t know when you were going to be back or if you were ever coming back…”

“I would’ve come back, Grace,” Jamie said, more regretful than confident.

“Yeah, and then what? Watch you be the man I always hoped you’ll be for me and then see you leave me alone in New York again; this time with a child?” At this point, this was the most honest I’ve been with Jamie since being in New York. Maybe I should’ve reached out to have this conversation sooner; maybe then all the time we spent together here wouldn’t have felt the way that it did. Maybe our motives would’ve felt more pure and real.

“People like us are not meant to stay together. We are not meant to carry lifelong commitments and bring them into this world just because one of us wanted to. I always thought I could change that and make people want to stay with me. But in the end, I was always left fucking alone; my mom left me alone, Max left me alone, and you left me here alone. And I refuse to let a child come into this world feeling alone, Jamie. I refuse to lie to myself and say this time would be different; that I would be the mother I always wanted to be for a child. But I’m not. I left my child the same way my mom left me, and I’m still trying to make it up to Willow before she learns to resent me for not being there for her. I refuse to be like my mother. I refuse to bring a child into this world just because the person I am in love with wants me to have the baby.” At that point, I couldn’t look at Jamie, and I couldn’t feel if he was looking at me back. It’s like I pulled all the power out of us and it’s not a blackout. We are both just searching for some light in the darkness, not realizing that everything around us is also surrounded by darkness.

Jamie didn’t say anything and I didn’t expect him to. So I sighed, and shifted my body on the ground of the pier; closing off Jamie for good.

“Not that it matters but I’m also leaving California. I’m going back to New York to see my daughter,” I admitted. “Because I owe her that at least, as her biological mother.” I began to get up from the ground of the pier; Jamie still sat there. It was like he was frozen in place. I know it took a lot to take it, but I know Jamie Kim. Jamie always deserved to know the truth, because he strived in knowing the truth in everything in his life.

“Have a safe flight back to Korea, Jamie,” I said half-heartedly, not wanting to continue this conversation. I felt naked, and I felt exposed. I felt like I just confessed my biggest secret out into the world, but I still don’t feel free. I begin to walk away from the pier, fro Jamie, and from this life that I so desperately wish I could have, but know I won’t ever get.

Because people like Jamie and I don’t stay together. Soulmates aren’t fucking real because they are so impossible to obtain or grasp. It’s like a piece of fiction.

The love I have for Jamie just feels like fiction; not real.

Music Reviews

Victon’s 8th Mini Album, “Choice” Album Review! 🦠

Dear, guys – welcome to Letters From Liz!

Another day, another Victon comeback! I have to be honest, life has been so busy for me that I actually forgot to prepare this post in advance. Nevertheless, Victon made their comeback with their 8th mini album, Choice, ending their 3-part time trilogy. The trilogy started off with Chronograph earlier this year in January and continued in May with Chaos.

Victon announced their comeback back in October during their fan concert, “Chronicle”. While we were all excited to get new music from our favorite boys, it came during a time where Victon had just lost one of their members. Chan officially announced his departure from the group just a week before the comeback was announced, which left a lot of us confused and concerned thinking if this was the right time to jump right into a comeback. Atlas, Victon dropped the last part of this trilogy and they did not disappoint. Let’s just say this album is my favorite out of the trilogy!

So without further ado, here’s some of my thoughts on each track!

1.) “Virus”

Okay, so the title track for this is this masterpiece that literally didn’t even think was something that Victon would put out. This sound is very nostalgic; it’s a sound a lot of 2nd generation & 3rd generation kpop music was like for boy groups, so it was refreshing that they decided to make their comeback with a sound like this. But this electronic pop isn’t a foreign sound for Victon! They experienced with this genre in their earlier stuff, like their title track for their 2nd mini album with “EYEZ EYEZ”. The only different is that this is a sexy song. The opening has our main vocalist literally serving those 90’s R&B vocals, setting the tone for how pretty the song is, but then BAM – the beat changes and it’s dark and sexy.

I really enjoy this song as their title track! Plus, we get an insane Hanse rap that just feels out of this world because the flow of his rap and how the beat changes and is set up doesn’t align whatsoever, but our main rapper makes it work and it’s literally insane. We also get two high notes at the end! The first one is from Sejun, which was surprising to fans because he’s not one to get the high notes as a lead vocalist. If anything, I think this era is Sejun’s! Of course, we get high note Seungsik, which puts the icing on top of the title track cake. It’s definitely one of my favorites on this album, and as an overall title track for Victon.

2.) “Time Chaser”

This b-side is truly a hidden gem. It’s so beautiful, and I simply have no words for it. It’s a different sound for the boys, but they execute it so flawlessly and it’s heartbreaking but empowering. The premise of the song is that even with time passing, “I will never break”, as our leader Seungsik sings in the chorus. This would’ve been a strong title track and something tells me this was in the talks of being this mini album’s title track, because it definitely is one of the strongest b-side tracks in Victon’s discography. Yes, she sits at the same table as “Flip A Coin” from their full-length album, VOICE: The future is now. I have nothing else to say besides that this song is my favorite out of the album, and a tattoo is in the works for this because of the meaning and the message behind it. I recommended anyone wanting to listen to Victon to listen to this gem while doing your research.

3.) “Alive”

The opening of this song made me scream. The opening samples somewhat of a “R&B with some lo-fi vibes” beat and then the beat drops and it’s literally such an experience. It’s funky and it’s groovy, and it’s something that we’ve heard Victon do in the past. The chorus even changes in sound. It definitely reminds me of their b-side from their last mini-album; “Bonnie & Clyde” where the beat changes in the chorus and Sejun begins to sing. I can see myself getting pumped up at the gym listening to this song.

4.) “Better Place”

This has to be the cutest song Victon has put out, and it makes me smile the most stupid smile I ever did. This song has such a double meaning; while the song has light and symbolizes a new beginning in their trilogy, I also feel like this is Victon letting Alice know that they are in a better place. It’s been a really rough past couple of months for our boys, so it was nice to hear this song and even have the boys sing it all off-key and playful at the end of the song.

This also features my possible most favorite Hanse rap ever. Within this rap, he has all the members participating and then completely vibing out with the rest of his verse. I hollered and it was on repeat because it was possibly the cutest thing ever. Needless to say, this is also another favorite of mine!

5.) “Feels Good”

“Feels Good” feels… good! They play with a beat that feels like a younger Victon, which I always adore when we get new music from them because even though they are all older and more mature now, this young and fresh sound they started out with still fits them so well. This song easily feels like it belongs in their second mini album!

This song was written by all of the members, and the lyrics were written with the others in mind. They have described it as a love letter to each other, and I nearly cried hearing that. Victon always do this thing where they end their albums with songs that are meant to make you feel good, but almost cry happy tears. This song is bittersweet, and it makes me wonder if this was written prior to Chan’s departure or after or if the lyrics were written with their other members in mind, like Seungwoo and formerly Chan. It’s definitely a fan song, and from the looks of it, the fans are taking a huge liking of it.

And that’s the end of their trilogy! It’s been a wild ride this year with Victon and seeing how the story evolved with each music video and title track. Personally, I think this is their strongest mini album since Continuous. This album compared to the last one feels the most like Victon and this album is truly a no-skip album.

Here’s to more Victon comebacks in the future! Seungwoo discharges from the military in January 2023 and I think I speak for every Victon fan… we miss our Wooya with our boys! So, you already know I’ll be back with another review of their next comeback when he comes home! Until the next one!

The Teenage Monologues.

My Father’s Daughter: A Sophie Monologue.

I haven’t heard from Milo since 8th period, yet here I am, sitting under his treehouse waiting for him to text or call or show up like he always did. Tuesdays were the days when Milo always hung out with me after-school; he would say it’s the only day of the week when he and Mollie don’t walk home together. It took me a while to finally understand Milo and Mollie’s friendship. When I first met Milo, I thought Mollie was his girlfriend since they always spent time together and she would get upset whenever Milo would hang out with me. Milo had to explain to me how Jennifer was Mollie’s oldest sister, so technically he and Mollie were family by blood. Their friendship was interesting, to say the least.

I looked down at my phone; still no message from Milo. I sighed and looked around some more. After a while, my phone vibrated on my lap. I thought it was Milo, but it was actually my mum asking what time I was coming home. I don’t answer right away because I don’t know when or if Milo was coming. I started to get worried.

I heard the front door of the house open, which immediately made me jump and get up from the ground and turn towards the door. Milo’s nan walked out and looked at me. I bowed to greet her. Sophie, this is America.

“Hi, Mrs. Mezzrow,” I said to his nan.

“Hi, Sophie; what are you doing here?” she genuinely questioned me. It didn’t come off as rude; she looked at me very confused to see me sitting in her front yard under her grandson’s treehouse.

“I’m sorry, I was waiting for Milo,” I answered.

“Milo’s not coming today, sweetie,” she answered back. “He had to stay after school for detention.” My face turned red. I wish Milo would’ve told me sooner, but it didn’t even click that his nan said Milo has detention. School just started a couple of weeks ago; what did he do?

“Oh, okay,” I said as I got my bookbag from the ground and place it on my back. “Sorry…” I nervously said as I walked out of the front yard. I wanted nothing more than just to forget the last 30 minutes of my life.

I dropped my bookag near the front door and took off my shoes. I heard my mum in the kitchen, possibly washing dishes. I walk into the kitchen and see her standing there against the sink. She has pink rubber gloves on with her kitchen apron over her outfit. She was most likely deep cleaning the entire house today; she typically would do that on her days off from work.

“Hi, mum,” I greeted her. She turned her head and smiled at me.

“Hey, Sophie; how was school today?” she asked as she scrubbed the dishes with the sponge. I stood next to her, helping her dry the freshly cleaned dishes to place them back in the cabinets.

“It was alright. We had a pop quiz in Trigonometry today,” I explained. My mum nodded her head, even though I know she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She was never one to ask mundane questions; she kept all of her questions for things she either cared about, wanted to know, or appear present-minded. That’s where my mum and I were different.

“Did you see Milo after school today?” She asked. “You’re home earlier than usual on a Tuesday.”

“Milo had private practice,” I lied. I didn’t want to tell my mum that I waited half an hour for a boy that didn’t bother telling me he had to stay after-school for causing trouble. Of course, my mum nodded her head and didn’t question me further. She was definitely a little absent-minded today, more than she has been lately. She stopped what she was doing to look at me.

“Your father called today. He asked about you again,” she started to say. I know I should’ve told Milo I couldn’t go to Mrs. Kamalani’s studio for our band assignment last Saturday. I knew Saturday was one of the only days this month that my dad could freely use the phone for a longer period of time. All he wanted was to talk to me, but I’m simply not ready to talk to him.

“What did you say?” I asked my mum nervously. She sighed, more so annoyed than tired.

“I told him that you were in school,” she began. “He wanted to know if you’ve been keeping up with your violin lessons, which I told him that you were.” This time, I was the one nodding my head and becoming absent-minded. That’s one way my mum and I are the same.

“Sophie, I told him to call your cell phone number after 3,” my mom looked at me to say. My eyes widen and my eyebrows scrunched together shortly after.

“Why would you give him my cell number?” I asked, angry that she would do something like that without my permission. “There’s a reason why he didn’t have my cell number in the first place!”

“He’s your dad, Sophie,” my mom said, sternly. “He’s allowed to contact you when he can.”

“You gave him my cell number without my permission, mum!” I wanted her to understand that she did something wrong. She broke a boundary I set up so that I don’t let my father get close to me. She broke all the hard work I did and try to keep my distance from a person who broke my trust in almost everything and everyone.

“He hasn’t spoken to you in weeks,” my mum responded. “Every time he tries to call you, you make an excuse to not speak to him and I am not having that anymore.” I threw the dish towel on the counter and walked out of the kitchen. I can hear my mom calling out for me, but I don’t turn around.

I walk into my room and immediately start to cry. I was mad, sad, and anxious. I was mad that my mum would go out of her way and justify her actions by simply saying he was my dad and that I needed to speak to him. I was sad for being in the situation I was in with my family and felt like my father’s deportation changed our family’s lives forever. I was anxious because I didn’t know how I would react to seeing an unknown number come up on my phone and it was him on the other line. I don’t know my dad, and my dad doesn’t know who I am anymore. I miss him.

I look at my phone and immediately get nervous, thinking it was him calling. My heart felt at ease when it was Milo who popped up on the screen. I took a deep breath in and out. I closed my eyes while doing so. I answered Milo’s call with a smile on my face as if I wasn’t crying just moments ago.

“Hey, Trouble,” I teased Milo over the phone.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something For Me, Myself, & I: A Monologue.

Skylar went to the Bay Area to stay with my uncle Mason for a bit. I told her it was best to be around her family during this time, in which she reminded me that I was also family. A part of me felt really guilty though. Skylar only knew Shawn because of Jamie, and Jamie only came out that night because of me. In a way, I feel responsible for Skylar’s broken heart. I didn’t deserve to comfort her. Skylar was perfectly fine living on her own and living the life that was best for her. She had her heart guarded, and as soon as I move in and introduce her to a man affiliated with someone in my past, she got her heart broken. I broke my little cousin, and I feel absolutely shitty for it.

I left to go to the studio earlier than usual this morning. Eduardo of course mentioned it to me, and I tried my hardest to not show him that I was dealing with a lot on my plate. I guess he bought it and was able to get into the studio for the time being. It wasn’t until shortly after the studio door opened again; this time it was Morgan.

“Grace?” Morgan asked. She looked confused, looking at the schedule posted on the wall. “There’s no practice today; what are you doing here?” I turned around and stopped what I was doing. I turn the music off on my phone and take a break.

“Hey, Morgan,” I greeted.

“What are you doing here on a Sunday morning?” she asked again. I’ve known Morgan through my mother. My mom told me that she knew someone in California that ran an academy if I still wanted to dance while I was here. Once I came into the studio that first time, Morgan immediately said I was literally a copy of my mother. Sometimes that bothers me, considering sometimes I feel like the decisions I make are very similar to the ones she made when she was my age.

And this time was no different.

“I was looking for the application for that audition in New York,” I stated. Morgan cocked up her eyebrows as if she was shocked that I was asking about something I was strongly against doing about just a couple of weeks ago. “Are they still holding auditions for the team?”

“They are,” Morgan finally answered. “They start at the end of August.” She shakes her head in confusion. “Why the change of heart?”

“I’m going back to New York to see my daughter,” I began. “Might as well kill two birds with one stone and just audition for the thing.”

“You do know that even auditioning is a high commitment?” Morgan crossed her arms along her chest. “You get invited to audition because it’s most likely they can choose you.”

“And if they do, it’s still my decision whether or not I want to do it,” I answered back. Morgan looked unsure, which isn’t like Morgan at all. She was always coming back with things to say, and I can honestly say this is the first time I ever saw her speechless. I sighed to ease up the tension. “Morgan, I… I really want to try it out. I gotta do something for myself, y’know?”

“I know,” Morgan quickly answered. “But make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons; not because you’re trying to escape something you can’t currently handle.” She walks toward her office and comes back with the paperwork in her hands. She hands it up to me, which I take.

“Good luck, Grace,” Morgan simply said. I nodded as I placed the paperwork near my gym bag and continued to practice in the studio on my own.

“Yeah, mommy’s going to be in New York for a few,” I said on the phone as I sat outside of the cafe on my lunch break. The weather wasn’t too hot today; there was actually a nice breeze coming from the ocean currents that cooled things down.

“Can we go to the park and see the flower garden?” Willow asked. I couldn’t help but smile. I’m making plans to finally see my daughter after 6 months of video chats.

“Of course, we can, sweetie,” I said. “Put your papa on the phone for me. I love you,” I said to Willow.

“I love you too, mommy!” Willow happily said. It’s like a wind of warm air hit my face hearing her say it so confidently. A couple of minutes later, Max speaks on the phone.

“She’s excited you’re coming back,” Max started out. “Are you staying with your parents while you find a place to live when you get back?” The thought didn’t even cross my mind. He thinks I’m going back for good.

“I’m staying with Ari until the audition is over,” I corrected him.

“Audition?” Max seemed completely confused. This was the hardest part about going back to New York: having everyone think you’re coming back for good. I can’t go back for good.

“I’m coming back to New York for this dance audition,” I started to say. “Once that audition is over, I’m coming back to California.”

“But there’s no one in California, Grace,” Max stated.

“My cousin Skylar? Sheesh Max, where do you think I’ve been living for the last 6 months?” I was growing annoyed with him.

“Skylar is an adult, she was fine living on her own before you went there,” Max was trying to fight me on this like he always had. “You really should be here in New York for your daughter,”

“My daughter is completely fine with or without me being in New York; clearly,” I spat.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Max asked, now mad. Max always got mad at me for the littlest things. When we were together, he could never understand why I did the things I did because he couldn’t imagine himself making those decisions for himself. He quit the law firm once Willow was born; I decided to stay. He put his dreams and himself second once Willow was born; I didn’t. Despite him leaving England and staying in New York for the sake of his daughter, here I was; traveling across the country to California just because New York was too much for me.

“It means she’s doing fine with you and Miriam playing house,” I answered. I was angry at this point. I was coming to New York for this audition and to see my daughter. It shouldn’t matter to Max what the fuck I decide to do with my life; as long as I was still a mother to our daughter, that’s all he should care about.

“You’re her mother for God’s sake,” Max responded. “Do you know how heartbroken she’s going to be when you have to go back? She starts Kindergarten in September–“

“I know she is, Max!” I yelled back. “You don’t think I know that?”

“This is her first time she will be in school for a full day, Grace,” Max emphasized. “She’s going to want the comfort of her mother there when she’s crying and wanting to go home!”

“I’ll be there for when she starts school, Max. The audition doesn’t start until the end of August anyway,” I explained to Max. That was one thing I wasn’t going to allow Max to do: make me feel bad for parenting in a way I feel is best for Willow. I look at the time on my phone before pressing it against my ear again. “Look Max, I have to go; my lunch break is ending soon. I’ll talk to you later; tell Willow I love her.” I look at the boardwalk to see a familiar person walking toward the direction of the cafe. I immediately hung up the phone and kept looking at the person. They stopped once they saw me watching them walk close toward the cafe.

“You have a lot of nerve coming here, Jamie,” I said, not impressed with Jamie’s appearance here at the boardwalk. He sighed, which wasn’t uncommon for him to do, but he also didn’t look like himself. Is this what he sees whenever I’m not feeling myself? To be quite honest, it’s crazy just how much Jamie and I know each other.

“Can we talk? It’s important that I talk to you, “Jamie said.

The Teenage Monologues.

A Hype Boy: A Milo Monologue.

leesophie: After-school ritual?

I smiled at my phone reading Sophie’s text. I was exhausted from the long day I had; that’s one thing they don’t tell you as a dual major. Your days feel like full-time jobs on top of all of the other bullshit classes you have to take. Maybe that’s why the school only accepts a handful of them, but fuck, sometimes I wish I could’ve gone for just band. Maybe then I could focus all of my attention on that class and Soph–

“Yo Milo,” Mollie sat in the seat next to me. It would be the last week that we’ll get to sit with each other since we’re all getting assigned our positions in this class. “Are you free to hang out after-school?”

I looked at Mollie, not immediately giving her an answer. Mollie knew me well enough to know what I was trying to say, and she rolled her eyes as a response.

“Sorry, Mol. Aren’t Tuesdays your thera–” Before I continue, Mollie hits me on the arm to shut me up. Fuck, Mol!

“Wanna tell the whole fucking class, dude?” Mollie asked, annoyed at my carelessness. She sighed and continued talking. “I don’t have an appointment today, so it would’ve been cool to hang out with my best friend on the one day I can…”

“I have plans with Sophie,” I looked down at my phone, ready to respond back to Sophie’s text.

“Whatever, Milo; forget that I even asked,” Mollie turned away from me, looking forward toward the class. I looked at her; I feel bad for not hanging out with her after school, but Tuesday afternoons with Sophie were important to me.

“I’ll make it up to you, Mol,” I said to Mollie. She being her classic self, ignored me. I rolled my eyes and faced forward; the class was about to start.

“Good afternoon, everyone,” my dad said to the class. “We have about 5 of you left to present to the class, so who wants to kickstart it today?” The class was quiet until my dad looked toward the back of the class. “Mr. Serrano; thank you for volunteering.”

I turned from my seat and saw Aaron walking towards the front with a guitar in his hands. I can’t help but laugh to myself. Of course, typical hype boy.

“I mean, Mollie can’t be the only one in this class who’s brave to go first,” Aaron commented.

“Asshole,” I said to myself, but loud enough to let Mollie hear me. I looked at her when I didn’t hear her reaction, which was weird. Her eyebrows were cocked up, looking at the hype boy in front of the class.

“So, this is an original I wrote not too long ago; this song is called “Hard Secrets of Orpheus,” he said. What kind of stupid ass song title is that? Before I could even pay attention, he starts playing his guitar and begins to sing. He has a rasp in his voice, but it doesn’t feel like he is straining it. It’s natural, which catches me off-guard the most. It ages him like he’s been doing this his entire life. And his guitar playing; it’s not bad for someone that’s in the percussion section of band class. He has a decent voice and he plays decently on an instrument.

I look at Mollie. She looks forward to Aaron and I can see it in her face; she’s focusing so hard on his performance and analyzing it in her head. Maybe she’s also thinking the same thing I am thinking: Hype boy went first to not even set the standard high for everyone else.

I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I took my phone out of my pocket and tried to look at my notifications with it under my desk.

leesophie: Let me know before school ends so I can let my mum know!

As I’m about to text her back, I feel a voice call out my name. Fuck.

“Mr. Kamalani,” my dad said as he looks at me. I looked up quickly at him. “Sorry if your classmates’ performances are boring you, but please try to respect them as they do despite your personal opinions.” The class bickers a bit and my face instantly turns red. I’m more than angry at that point; I’m pissed. Why would my dad just out me out in front of the entire class like that? He could’ve just come to my desk and told me to put my phone away, but instead, he just has to make my life a living hell in this class.

“Well sorry if this assignment sucks,” I said without even realizing it was loud enough for him to hear. He looked back at me.

“Excuse me, Mr. Kamalani–“

“It’s Milo,” I corrected him, not caring that I was talking back. He was pissing me off, and I wasn’t going to let him treat me like this. For fuck’s sake, I’m your son.

“Mr. Kamalani,” my dad sternly said louder. “If you’re not going to respect your classmates, then you can kindly leave class and go find something else to entertain you.” I don’t move from my seat. It’s literally the first couple of weeks of school and my first incident is with my own dad? He wasn’t letting this go, and I was upset that he was doing this.

“Mr. Kamalani, that wasn’t a suggestion, that was an order,” he said as he walked towards the front door to open it. Fuck this.

I grabbed all of my things and got out of my seat, angrily walking towards the front door. As I got closer to the door, he leaned close to me to whisper something.

“You know better,” he said. I didn’t say anything back. I just walked away from the classroom, towards the principal’s office.