Addison 3

Addy prepped. This was all she did now, prepping and waiting. Her friends had long since left her, and here she was alone. In her room. But it was OK this way, or Addy tried to tell herself it was. Genius is never recognized in its own time, and Addy wouldn’t be either. Meg didn’t talk to her anymore since she punched KC over a sandwich. Trent avoided eye contact, and KC… KC didn’t do much of anything anymore. He just sat around. He didn’t talk to Addy anymore, but then again he didn’t talk to anyone else.

Addy’s grades had gone down. She stopped brushing her hair weeks ago, her teeth soon followed, she barely showered or even slept or ate. Everything took too much time away from what she was doing. She was becoming a superhero, and she had made herself an arsenal. She had a suit–leather with a silk cape and high boots. It was uncomfortable, but she looked good. No, not good, she looked powerful and capable of making a change. Of course people were worried about her, but they didn’t have to know she was stockpiling machine guns and grenades. They didn’t have to know that she always carried knives now, that she was finally practicing again after having earned her black belt three years ago. They didn’t have to know how many people she planned to kill, all they needed to know was that after she was done, the world would change. Addy had a plan. And it was a good plan, a great plan to save the world. A plan that could save the world, at least, if everything worked out. Addy was confident in most of the stuff she was working on, but there were a few loose ends to tie up. She could save the world from people with evil intentions, who killed without sight or purpose. Like the people who had killed her dad long ago–a teacher, murdered in a school shooting. Addy could take those people out of the world and discourage new ones from popping up and if she could do that wasn’t it a crime to not do it? To not take this chance to change the world?

Addy went to school the next day a little confused–kind of smelly, wrinkled and looking sickly. She sat at her desk, which now was on the opposite side of the room as KC, Trent and Meg, and sat down, rifling through her books. She didn’t need those people any more. She looked up at the person who was sitting next to her. He was new, she’d never met him before, but he was definitely cute and for the first time in months, Addy forgot about her plan. “Hey,” the guy said, holding out his hand, “I’m Max.”

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Addison 2

Addy’s long fingernails clicked against the wooden table at the diner where she, Meg, Trent and KC sat. The three others were caught in a conversation, but Addison was watching something else. The news castor was talking about school shootings–statistics, data, what we could see when. Addy’s heart broke watching this. She was nineteen and she didn’t have the courage or the ability to do anything about this problem, and that bothered her. It was like one of those algebra problems with no solution, or where you get an answer like 7=6.
“Addy, come back to the real world.” Meg asked.
A long pause followed. Addy didn’t want to come back to the real world. She wanted to be a superhero–someone who could fly and go away and save all of those people. The starving kids in Africa. The many who had been terrorized by shootings. Car accidents, plane crashes–all Addison could think about in that moment was what she could do about these things.
“I was just… watching the news,” Addy stated, truthfully.
“Awful, isn’t it?” Trent asked. “I mean… wow. I don’t understand how someone could hurt their friends like that.”
KC elbowed him in the ribs with a smile on his face. “They don’t know the bro code.”
“What?” Meg asked.
“The bro code. I’m sure there’s something in the bro code about not shooting your bros in the face,” KC said, smiling. Why was he smiling? Addison was terrified, shocked, confused. What was happening in this world?
“You don’t even know what the bro code is,” said Trent.
“This is true,” KC admitted, “but I can assume.”
KC was pretty attractive. Black hair, dark eyes, and that always-mischeviously-smiling face. Addy had had a crush on him since second grade, but she was an outcast–a weirdo, with no friends, who thought a lot more about death than she did about life. She wasn’t odd on the outside, but on the inside she was something else: not a KC, not a Trent, not a Meg. She was a deeper being. She thought not just about things she couldn’t do and could do, but things she could have done. She thought about trying new things. She furthered herself every single day, and her thoughts and actions and deeds had reflected that in every way. Addy was something else. That’s why KC would never like her, and Addy told herself that that was OK. She had Meg and that was all that she needed.
“Ad, I think we’re going to have to go home early,” Meg said, pointing up above at the darkening sky, “looks like a big storm is coming.”
“Hey, Addison, can I talk to you really quick?” KC asked. What did he want?
“Sure,” Addy answered, and he led her outside.
As soon as they got outside KC blew up at her. “What are you doing?” He asked, teeth bared like an animal. “You used to be so fun. So nice and kind. And now here you are, ruining our day out. You know those annoying friends who never say anything and only think about themselves? Well you’re one of them, Addy! What is happening to you?”
“Nothing,” she practically shouted, she hadn’t realized what she was doing, that it was bothering them. She hadn’t noticed the lull in their conversation.”I’m just… I’m trying to become a better person, and I am. I am a better person.”
A long silence followed, but it wasn’t really silence. KC stared at Addy and shook his head disapprovingly. And that’s when Addy had her revelation. She knew what she had to do. She had to drop them. These people were holding her back, trying to bind her where she was. It had been so long that Addy had thought about doing something to change the world but she couldn’t because of her friends. Her friends that actually hated her.Her friends that had lied blatantly to her face for hours, if not days, if not weeks, if not months, if not years if not their lifetimes.¬†They wanted to hold her back and Addy couldn’t let that happen. She had to get away from them so that she could get out there and change the entire world. She understood, now, why bros would shoot other bros in the face. Because other bros are not actually your bros. They are backstabbing, horrible people who are twisted and want to help no one. They want to hold you back to their standards and forget about the things in you that they don’t like and Addy was sick of that, Addy was done with it.
“I’m better than all of you,” she said, and with that she turned on her heel and marched off without waiting for Meg.

Addison

Addison had never liked her name. It didn’t reflect who she was or why she was there, sitting in that classroom, staring at that dumb community college math chalkboard for the four hundredth time this week. She pushed her blonde hair away from her green eyes and tried to focus.¬†So the square root of fifteen times twelve to the second power plus…her mind trailed off. It was too much information for her brain to process at this point. “I already took algebra in high school,” she whispered to Meg, the girl sitting next to her. “is there a reason for me to take it again?” Meg frowned at her notebook and displayed the notes she had been taking for Addy to see–it was a simple portrait of the teacher, but in Meg’s hands it had taken the persona of their grumpy, dumpy, frumpy middle-aged teacher with her winged glasses and vivid lipstick. Addy laughed, happy that someone was as fed-up with the class as she was. She popped her lips together and hunched over again, starting to scrawl notes out about the Pythagorean theorem or whatever they were learning about. Her tiny hands and long nails made quick, neat strokes across the page. As she was writing, her hair fell onto her paper again. Annoyed, she pushed it back and kept scrawling, thinking about what she would do after class rather than what she was doing now.
Only an hour later but after what felt like a lifetime, Addy had finally escaped from class. She stood outside, alone, wind brushing at her rosy cheeks, books hugged to her chest. She took long, slow breaths of the fresh, crisp air. The parking lot of the college stretched in front of her, pretty far away, and Addy stood alone in the freezing cold–no one would have accompanied her on a day like this, and she didn’t mind. Another student raced past, trying to escape the cold, windy air outside. From behind Addy, a high-pitched voice rang.
“You’re one crazy girl, you know that?” Meg asked, walking briskly towards Addy. Nine inches shorter than the blonde girl and with insanely curly red hair, Meg looked downright frozen. Meg was flanked by two tall, black-haired boys who Addy knew very well.
“I think she does,” said Trent, a tall boy with black hair whom Meg had become extraordinarily good friends with. “She’s just rubbing it in our faces that we’re wimps that can’t stand the cold weather.”
“It’s ’cause you are,” Addy said, with a grin.
“I’m not a wimp,” blurted KC, Trent’s best friend.
“Oh yeah?” Addy asked, turning around to face them with her arms outstretched, nearly dropping her books in the process, “I’m not the one who ran screaming across a football field being chased by a two year old with a plastic bat.”
“It sounds worse when you say it like that,” KC whined.
“It sounds worse when you say it at all,” Trent countered. “C’mon. Are we all ready to get something to eat? Something about math just makes me hungry.”
“Where’s Jess?” Meg asked the group. “I haven’t seen her all day.”
“Neither have I,” Addy mentioned. “I’ll call her.”
She called Jess’s cell phone, but no one picked up. Addy resigned to calling her sick for today, and guessed she wasn’t going to meet us at the usual place for dinner.
“I can’t get through to her,” Addy told Meg and the others, who were now in a heated debate about the importance of the Hoverboard.
“It’s a freaking skateboard,” KC practically yelled. “It’s like a recipe for breaking an arm.”
“It’s a segway without a handle, KC. Relax a–what, Addy?”
“Jess isn’t picking up. I figure we can just go without her. I don’t think she’ll mind, she’s not like that.”
So they all went out to get something to eat. This was how every day went–routine, classes, food. Friends. Addy longed for a change, but she wasn’t sure what that change was yet. But she could still make it happen.