What follows is the true diary of Melanie Jane, presumed run-away in May of 2012.
You will not believe what happened today. I was in the cafeteria and Cindy Hadlam was being herself—or should I say, she who-snubs-everyone because they’re-the-scum-on-the-bottom of her shoe. Today her three-year-old antics included throwing French fries at me. Seriously. French fries. Because she’d never eat something like that and ruin her prom-queen figure. I think deep down she’s jealous. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat pizza and marshmallows? You have to be crazy to pick salad over that.
Ignoring her (because that’s what you do with temper-tantruming toddlers), I got up to leave at the same instant a sophomore walked past my table.
Chocolate milk spewed from its smashed carton like a garden fountain, pizza crust flew through the air like a trapeze monkey, and apple slices twirled like ballerinas onto the trays and tables around me. If I wasn’t humiliated by how much of it stained my flannel button-up, I might have calculated the likelihood of making the accident happen again, but aimed at Cindy’s table.
Wanting to book it out of there, I remembered Gran’s words: “When life gives you lemons…”
I took a bow, dropped my empty tray on the table, and walked straight for the exit, chin held high. A couple kids applauded. Most laughed, but that’s not the amazing part.
He stood in the doorway, him and those dreamy green eyes. He gave me a salute as if to say, “One solider to another, way to take a blow.” The best part, he was actually looking at me.
Yes, I’m talking about untouchable Todd—the guy who could be the head of the basketball team, the quarterback, and the student body president all in one—except he sticks to his books, quiet corners, and lets the entire female populace drool.
Granted, he might have been looking at the milk dribbling down my shirt, but staying positive here…
So all in all, not a bad day. Lesson learned? Be confident—even in bad situations.
I saw Todd in the office today while bringing in a teacher’s note. He was wearing an army jacket and his khaki pants were crinkled, but he was still as hot as lava. He pounded a fist on the receptionist’s desk, dark hair hanging shaggy in his eyes and his teeth bared.
I didn’t think Todd got angry. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever seen him do more than crack a smile, but tension wafted off him like gas fumes. (Not that he could ever smell bad in any way. Gas fumes can be pleasant, you know?)
Anyhow, so he whirled around and stomped toward me. I thought about moving out of the doorway, but I didn’t. Todd stopped right in front of me. He reached around me for the door handle, then, like coming out of a trance, he blinked twice and stopped, looking right into my eyes.
I want to say my knees didn’t go shaky, but they did. He smelled like a sea breeze. I felt dazed and a little dizzy—because that’s what happens when you stare into a gorgeous guy’s eyes—and then he touched me. Physical contact.
He put his hand on my arm and gently shifted me away from the door.
I dropped my note at the desk and hurried after him. He was halfway out the front doors when I caught up and asked, “Todd, are you okay?”
“Just a really bad day.” He turned away like he was going to leave, then glanced back over his shoulder and asked, “Wanna go for a ride?”
Did I? DUH!
We hopped in his car and drove for the beach. And we talked. He said his parents wanted him to come home, permanently, and he’s not ready for that. He likes living in John’s Island. He wouldn’t say where home is or who he lives with now—some kind of relative—but he took off because his parents were putting way too much pressure on him. I told him about my cousin Lindsey whose parents expect her to be perfect, and how she ended up in therapy with a nervous twitch when she got her first B. Talk about pressure! I told him to be brave and stand up for what’s important to him. I hope he’ll get to stay. After that we talked and talked, and he even smiled a couple times. It was a good day.
Lesson learned? Take time for people. You never know how much you’re needed.
Reason to celebrate today. Todd gets to stay! His parents agreed. Isn’t that awesome? He called to thank me for encouraging him to fight. I’m so glad.
Lesson learned? Doing a good thing gets you a call back!
Things are a blur since Todd and I became friends, but I had to write today. Todd and I talk all the time. He probably knows me better than anyone, but it’s hard to get him to talk about himself. I think he’s having a hard time with anything related to home or his parents. I don’t blame him. They’re still putting pressure on him. When he needs a break from them, he calls me and we take a drive to the beach. I love the beach. The sunsets are amazing, and chatting with Todd? Well, it doesn’t get better than that. He’s like my best friend. And maybe something more.
But that’s not why I had to write! Todd asked me to Prom. Me! Can you believe that?
Lesson learned? Patience always pays out.
Prom was epic. Todd looked totally amazing in his tux, and he took me to the beach afterwards. Just the two of us.
He asked if I’d ever thought about running away from home. I told him I thought about leaving all the time, but not like abandoning my family. I’m a Junior. One more year and I’ll be out on my own, going to Berkley, rooming with a stranger, and living it up. He graduates in a month. When I asked what he’s planning, he shrugged and said he’d probably go into the family business.
And no, I don’t know what the family business is.
But that’s not the amazing part. He kissed me. K-I-S-S-E-D ME! And it was amazing—the epitome of every girl’s dream kiss. I’m pretty sure I’m in love with him.
Especially since he asked me to be his girlfriend. (Because the kiss wasn’t awesome enough.)
Oh, and he asked if I wanted to meet his parents. HIS PARENTS! I don’t know how we got so serious all of a sudden, but I told him yes (to both), and he said he’d arrange the meeting. This is crazy!
Todd Waters is my boyfriend!
Lesson learned? Anything is possible.
I’m a little angry. Okay, a lot angry. I shouldn’t even have this stupid diary right now!
Todd took me to meet his parents alright. On the beach. He had a basket full of stuff that I assumed was a picnic. Never assume things. He seemed really nervous, which completely makes sense, but I figured he was worried that I wouldn’t get along with Mommy and Daddy.
He dragged me out to this sandbar and started wading into the water.
For a minute I thought he was totally crazy. He reached for me and said, “Come on, this way.” And then he smiled a winning smile that could make any girl melt. So I took his hand.
Worst. Mistake. Ever!
He pulled me into the water and it instantly swallowed me. Like a giant mouth—but not quite as stinky, and without teeth. Oh, and I could breathe. It’s like a bubble formed around us as we sank down into the depths of the ocean until everything around us was black. Pitch black.
“Melanie,” Todd whispered, “meet my parents.”
And I did. His mom’s a freakin’ nixie! Water spirit. Yeah, and she trapped his dad under water ages ago, and the poor guy is really pale and sickly, but she doesn’t care because she got the son she wanted out of him.
So the basket Todd packed? Yeah, it had my journal, an old T-shirt I usually sleep in, and my brush—all things he STOLE out of my room. And now I’m supposed to become his wife or some junk like that. And have his baby.
Oh and FYI, there is no cell coverage at the bottom of the ocean, even though Todd is nice enough to recharge my cell once a week when he goes up for sunshine.
So this is pretty much it. My life sucks. I’m prisoner to a mythical creature. I’ll never go to college or see the sun again or tell my parents I didn’t run away (like the note Todd left suggested). I officially hate the ocean. And nixies. Why couldn't Todd have smiled at Cindy that day in the cafeteria?
Lesson learned? Never trust a cute guy. Not that I’ll get the chance ever again…unless I can figure out how to sneak out of here. Todd’s dad hasn’t figured a way out and he’s been searching for decades. Maybe we’ll succeed someday together, but if we do, I will not be taking this embarrassing monologue of gushing blather.
That’s it. All she wrote. The end.
Diary recovered on Pockoy Island beach, South Carolina, May 5th, 2015. No record of Todd Waters exists in school or county records. Due to the dubious nature of this account, it is inadmissible as evidence of abduction.
Check out her published works for more amazing reads.
Check out her published works for more amazing reads.