The Devil and The Dying Girl (Ice X Little Fox)

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Harry McKenna sat in his room contemplating his recent actions. It was the first day of school as a senior and Harry had got into a fight with three other guys. Of course, Harry was not fully at fault. The seniors had bumped into him making Harry drop his stuff in which Harry promptly demanded an apology. Once again, Harry's mouth got him in trouble. The three guys then started to harass Harry by pushing him against a locker trying to threaten him.

These three were part of a 'gang.' They all dressed the same, had similar hairstyles, and vandalized things; but, they never did anything that was a first degree felinely like drug dealing. Although, these gang members thought they were tough they felt like they should 'teach' Harry a lesson. One of the guys pushed Harry against a locker and automatically he felt like he was in middle school again. Those were the times he did not want to relive them, so his instincts took over. Harry threw a punch, with full force, and it made contact with a Gang member's temple. He was out cold. Immediately the other two started to punch Harry. Enduring the hits, Harry elbowed one on the top of his head, which made him crumple to the ground, while the last gang member pulled a knife. Harry had never feared for his life, but when he saw the knife, the little boy inside him screamed. Thankfully, the principal broke them up before it escalated even more.

Nobody believed Harry when he told his side of the story. They never did. The way he dressed, looked, and the aura he gave off all meant bad news. "This is why I don't have friends..." Harry lamented. Harry had refused to go to school for the fear that he would be hated and others would be even more afraid of him. He sighed and opened the window to let the night air into his room. Looking outside and beneath Harry on the porch was his Aunt, Ashley, his caretaker. Ashley was reading a book enjoying the evening air.

"Hey..." Ashley said. "Going to school tomorrow? Your suspension has been over for a week." She asked raising her voice a little in volume so Harry could hear.

"..." Harry did not reply and simply closed the window. He decided he needed to get out as well, so Harry grabbed his wallet and exited the house. There was a small coffee shop near Ashely's house which Harry liked. The shop played live music every evening. Harry made his way to the coffee shop and entered.

Once inside he heard a woman singing a Nora Jones song while playing the guitar. Harry ordered a black coffee and sat down at a table, alone. The coffee shop was crowded. There were no tables left and Harry assumed it was for the woman playing guitar and singing.
Charli was perched on the edge of a small booth that flanked the left side of the small stage that was tucked into the back of the cramped coffee shop. Which was becoming smaller by the minute as a slow stream of patrons started to filter in as the sun slowly set in the small town just north of Dallas. Soon all the booths had bee n filled and there were only a few tables at the back still empty, but for Charli and her nerves it didn't matter if it was five people or five thousand people. Her heart was in her throat, had been since she walked through the door of the. Hell since she had left her house that night.

The clock struck eight and the first performer of the night took the stage, a younger boy she had seen around school. Not that she made note of many of the students at her school, especially freshmen, but this kid was kind of hard to miss with his vivid green hair. Watching him open his guitar case she nervously fiddled with her own, casting nervous glances back to the clock before back to the boy on stage. Marie her only friend was late as usual which normally didn't bother Charli too much, she believed everyone had their own quirks including herself. Though when the boy started his second song and Maria still hadn't showed up she revealed her nervous habit of pulling slightly on her right ear. He had one song left and then she was going up, but if Maria didn't show up she didn't know if she could find the courage to go up for her one song.

One song, that was all she had to do and she could cross number 15 off her list. One song and she would be halfway done with it which was exciting and also a slightly morbid ways to count down the months remaining. The melodic scream coming from the stage brought Charli back to the reality of the coffee shop with a start.

It can't be his third song already … There is still enough time for me to slip out and go back home. Where the hell is she…

Charli thought to herself casting a final glance at the clock she set her resolve, and pulled the old acoustic guitar lovingly from its nest of crushed orange velvet. If she didn't go now she wouldn't have to courage to do this again she feared. Also the constant pestering she would receive from Marie and her Mother was enough of a deterrent from heading home. The boy was finishing up as she rose to her feet, taking a moment to fix her iconic skirt and cardigan and run a nervous hand over her long chestnut brown braid that fell over one shoulder. Picking up her sheet music and the guitar once more she made her way gracefully to the front of the stage. The small click of her heels being drowned out by the sound of her own heartbeat pounding in her ears.

A small hum of whispers arose from the crowed as the students from her school started to slowly recognize who she was. Taking her seat quietly she heard one loud gasp from the back of the crowd 'Oh god! is that The Librarian? This isn't story time honey' causing shattered giggles and snickers to roll through the coffee house. This sent a cringe down deep into the pit of her stomach and she willed her face not to change, not wanting her brave smile to falter. With one last deep breath she dove in.

"So apparently I don't need any introduction … Guess I'm a bit more popular then I thought ... though I prefer Charli, anyways here it goes."

She started playing the guitar, adept fingers masterfully plucking away at the strings producing a cheery yet melancholy tune. At first she kept her eyes glued to the font of the stage but as she let her smoke and honey voice rise and fall with the melody she lost herself to the music. Halfway through the song her eyes had finally risen enough to be eye level with the crowd a few of them watching her with wide eyes or opened mouths. For many of her peers this was the first time in four years hearing her utter a singer word let alone sing a whole song flawlessly.

If it were any other day,
This wouldn't get the best of me.

But today I'm not so strong,
So lay me down with a sad song,
And when it stops then you know I've been,
Gone too long.

The lone boy entering the coffee shop caught her attention and she watched him as he made his way from the counter to the only free table in the back. She was curious why she hadn't seen him before, the town wasn't that big that handsome strange boys wander in and out on a daily basis.

But don't shake me awake,
Don't bend me or I will break,
Come find me somewhere between my dreams,
With the sun on my face.

I will still feel it later on,
But for now I'd rather be asleep.

She finished softly and without waiting for the crowd to react she dipped her head in a mock bow and exited the stage. She had done what she came for, that was all the validation I needed. Though before she could tuck herself back in the booth scattered clapping started that quickly grew into a steady pause when they finally realized that she was done. She could feel the heat rise in her cheeks but she pulled a soft smile across her pink lips and tossed the crowed a smile and a timid wave.

Even though the next artist had started his set she could still feel staring eyes drilling into the side of her head as she stared down at the wrinkled piece of paper she had spread across the table. In one hand she gripped a tea cup and in the other a pencil though she made no motion to use either one. She just sat and stared as the reality of what she had just done rolled over her.
Harry looked up from his coffee cup as soon as Charli started to sing. "Jesus Christ...." Harry muttered under his breath. He found her voice soothing even though she missed some of the notes in the song. Not everyone had the talent for singing; however, Charli did. With a little training she could have a wonderful voice. Harry eyed Charli curiously as she sat down. His eyes drilled into the back of her skull. Harry had never been good with women, especially women he found attractive. Yet, something drove him to stand up and talk to Charli after her song. Harry's Aunt had always talked about the abstract concept of love. Harry had only experienced it with his Aunt. Harry remembered when he was younger he told his Aunt that he loved her. "That may be true Harry, but there is a different kind of love you will feel when you meet the right person. It's euphoric feeling you only feel once." Euphoria. That is what Harry felt when the soft and sweet voice of Charlianna Sawyer. There was something about her that simply did it for Harry. Harry's imagination started to run scenarios where he made Charli fall deeply in love with him; but, no. Not now. Now, Harry had to muster up the courage to talk to her.

Shaking a little bit in fear, Harry strolled over to where Charli was sitting with a friend. He sat down across from Charli and looked at her dead in the eyes. "You sang beautifully. It reminded me of April. [BCOLOR=transparent]They say April showers bring May flowers, at least that's what my grandfather used to tell me. Then again, he died in April and on the day of his funeral it rained for the entire service. Ironically, his grave was still distinctly lacking flowers by the time May rolled around so I do doubt his intelligence sometimes. His grave was covered in baseballs, mitts, and photos of a younger version of himself and the soil was covered in the tears of widows who hand't been laid since the mid-60's, back when my grandfather was even relevant. [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]He was a big shot back them, by baseball standards. Number 67 in the league for runs batted in isn't a bad record to hold. That was one he was quick to remind me of as I got older. He livied with my aunt and I at the time and when my Aunt asked me to take out the trash I refused. My Grandfather replied, '[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]You won't even take out the fuckin' trash, by the time I was your age I had 142 RBIs in a single season.' [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Though, to be fair, taking out the trash was a chore at the time, as I had broken my legs escalator-hopping at Walmart on Black Friday in order to get half off a 40 inch plasma screen. It was my birthday that day too. No cake, no ice cream, No TV, just broken bones. Happy Birthday."[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Harry finished his story realizing that he had been awkwardly rambling for awhile. "That story had a point but I was so caught up in trying to make you laugh I kind of forgot the point of the story. It was probably, Spring is a let down and Black Friday leaves you more broke than you thought was possible, literally." Harry smiled falshing his brilliant teeth at the two laddies at the table. "I'm Harry McKenna. We go, or should I say went to school together. You were in my AP Lit class before I stopped showing up to that living Hell they call a school. Pleasure to formally meet you Ms. Sawyer."[/BCOLOR]
Charli was still absentmindedly staring at the old paper laying across the table when a shadow suddenly cast across it. Looking up with a start she met the eyes of the boy who had walking in halfway through her song. She gave him a small smile as she quickly shuffled the paper back into a small square before shoving it into the pocket of her cream cardigan. Nervously fiddling with the end of her long braid she took in his shaggy black hair and strong build that she could see even under his jacket, the way it hung from his shoulders hinted at strongly coiled muscles beneath its surface.

She opened her mouth to say hello but before she could get out a single syllable the boy spoke, the compliment causing a blush to rise into her face for, for the second time that night. She was starting to worry it was going to become a habit, but the boy didn't seem to notice and continued right along with a story that started with something about flowers and his grandfather, lost her in the middle, and ended with a story of how he broke his leg on his birthday. With her head still spinning from the abrupt turns in his story she noticed Marie walking into the coffee shop towards her table a funny expression crossing her face when she saw the boy standing in front of Charli.

As Marie quietly slid into the other side of the booth behind the boy he seemed to realize his story had gone on longer then intended. He smiled widely, showing off a dazzling smile as he looked at the two sitting at the booth.

"I'm Harry McKenna. We go, or should I say went to school together. You were in my AP Lit class before I stopped showing up to that living Hell they call a school. Pleasure to formally meet you Ms. Sawyer."

"The pleasure is all mine Mr. McKenna, but please call me Charli. I'm sorry but you have seemed to have escaped my memory, but would you care to join us so we could all get acquainted again?"

She nervously fittled with her fingers now clasp in her lap, surprised that Harry had once gone to school with her and she couldn't seem to remember anything about him. Realizing he had no where to actually join them she quickly scooted deeper into the booth offering a seat next to her with a warm smile.
"The pleasure is all mine Mr. McKenna, but please call me Charli. I'm sorry but you have seemed to have escaped my memory, but would you care to join us so we could all get acquainted again?"

"I'd be delighted." Harry flashed his brilliant smile once again. Sliding down next to Charli, Harry looked at her with a curious and analytical gaze. "I'm surprised you don't know who I am. I was, or so I heard, the talk of the school for awhile. After that incident in the hallway with those faux greaser kids."

Next to Charli, Marie let out a squeak, but quickly stifled herself. She leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Charli, this guy is bad news. Let's go before something bad happens." Marie had recognized Harry when she walked in, but couldn't quite place how she knew him; however, once the 'incident in the hall' was mentioned she knew right away Harry was bad news.

Harry eyed Marie curiously. He raised an eyebrow as if he was inviting her to speak. When Marie said nothing, Harry continued. "You always have intrigued me. I read your final paper on Hamlet for the peer editing. Your feminist interpretation of Ophelia was very interesting. I enjoyed reading it. Since then, I wanted to get to know you. All I have heard is your the infamous 'Librarian.' How did that name stick?" Harry asked sincerely. He tended to avoid the social gossip at school, but some things just impossible to not hear.
"I'd be delighted." Harry flashed his brilliant smile once again. Sliding down next to Charli, Harry looked at her with a curious and analytical gaze. "I'm surprised you don't know who I am. I was, or so I heard, the talk of the school for awhile. After that incident in the hallway with those faux greaser kids."

Charli raised an eyebrow quizzically at Marie when she let out a small squeak when Harry made mention of an altercation that had occurred between himself and a group of Rockabilly kids who were known for starting trouble and trying to make themselves the 'official gang' of their small sleepy town. Though they didn't do much more then start fights and smoke joints behind the gym during lunch. Though this still didn't ring any bells for Charli is had apparently startled Marie. Enough so that she leaned over and whispered, quite loudly, in her ear pleading with her to leave.

'So that's why Marie had been giving Harry such a weird look.'Charli thought to herself.

It appeared that she was fully aware of the incident, and not to shy about letting Harry know exactly how she felt about him. But Charli wasn't the type to believe the rumors and half stories that circulated around the halls. She was 'the librarian' for for pete's sake, she had earned one of the biggest stigmas at the school since 'Sam the Sad Clown' a goth senior who had graduated her freshman year. Which Charli believes is partially responsible why she had earned so much attention, they had to turn to someone else to gossip over, and her being the quiet loner who dressed like an old lady was a perfect target.

With a sharp glare at Marie she made it perfectly clear that she was annoyed at her rude behavior, although Charli was shy she was not rude especially when someone was being as polite as Harry was. When she looked back at Harry she smiled slightly at the look he was giving Marie, it was as if she could hear him say 'please continue to talk about me as if I'm not not here.' Without wasting another moment on Marie's antics he turned his attention back to Charli.

"You always have intrigued me. I read your final paper on Hamlet for the peer editing. Your feminist interpretation of Ophelia was very interesting. I enjoyed reading it. Since then, I wanted to get to know you. All I have heard is your the infamous 'Librarian.' How did that name stick?"

At his mention of his interest in her paper on Ophelia she could feel a deep blush rising to her cheeks and for moment busied herself smoothing the non-existent winkles in her skirt.

"Oh well thank you, I didn't know it was you who had read it ... the notes you put into it were great." She felt the blush in her cheeks deepen and cursed her Irish roots. "Infamous, ha, well I guess I'm more the type of book people judge by its cover."

"Or the fact you always have your nose between a cover." Marie let out a hushed jab, annoyed that Charli hadn't followed her lead like usual.
Harry laughed at the reaction Charli had when he complimented her paper. "Am I making you blush? All I did was compliment your intelligence. I am glad my comments were insightful. I am brutally honest with everyone's work, but I found it hard to critique yours." Harry turned his attention to Marie and scowled a little. "I know nothing about you." Then it hit Harry. "Wait! You were the girl in Middle School who was obsessed with that British Boy band, One Direction." He started to laugh. "Your antics made me laugh and I kind of enjoyed school to see how you would bring Harry Styles into the conversations we were having in class." Harry took a sip of his coffee and asked in a teasing, "I am assuming that whole fad is over, correct?"

Marie hung her head in embarrassment. "I thought people forgot about that." She muttered. Marie then leaned over to Charli and begged "Listen, I know you think he's a good guy, but he's trouble. Please can we go?"

Harry smiled and brushed off Marie's hushed whisperings in Charli's ear. He was enjoying the teasing a little too much, something he hadn't done since his Cousin had passed away. Therefore, Harry had no intention of letting go of the fact that Marie once enjoyed One Direction "Let me preface this story with the fact that it's an awful one, morally that is. But it's also a joke, so don't take it seriously. But, my life changed September 11th.[BCOLOR=transparent] You know, the date One Direction released "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" and preteen girl's hormones were awakened, my cousin's included. She decided that it would be a good idea to buy all the One Direction merchandise: t-shirts, posters, even life size cardboard cutout of Harry Styles. I was subjected to a full year of One Direction starting on September the eleventh, which is why the release of the dumb song was the second worst thing to ever happen in the history of September 11th." Harry smirked. "The First...Rather not talk about that one." Harry muttered, his expression turning somber.[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]"That's awful." Marie said trying to hold back her laughter; however, fighting her laughter was a loosing battle, so she let out a snort.[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]"My Aunt told me that one." Harry said casually whose mood seemed to lighten at the sound of others laughing. Harry directed his attention at Charli once more. She was interesting to him. Marie was clearly scared of the presence of Harry, but Charli on the other hand was not. He felt very relaxed in her company. "Charli Sawyer... You had the guts to talk to me. You weren't afraid, Your friend wants nothing to do with me, but you let me stay and talk with you. I like you. No better yet, I love you" Harry said very directly. His social skills had never been well-developed, so he saw no problem with what he said. After all, what would one expect from someone who spoke his mind freely. Harry grinned.[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Marie's mouth dropped wide open unable to believe what she had just heard come from Harry's mouth.[/BCOLOR]