A/N Okay apparently I'm on a ROLL today, heh... third episode I've put up today O.o
Anyway I hope this didn't turn out too bad or anything... it might be a bit sloppy or rushed in a way, but I sorta wanted to summerize what happened over a specific period of time.
Anyway, thanks again, Daysfan, for your ideas and for helping!
A week had passed, and Melissa was rapidly getting used to a new daily routine, where she would receive an assignment, then go and gather whatever interviews or information she needed, then she would write the report and hand it in to Ms. Chiara. And everyone was overall pleased with her work, and Kitty was indeed a very helpful person... in more ways than one.
Kitty often helped Melissa to improve her spelling and grammer, even going to great lengths to proof-read each sentence, and tell her how she could organze the wording better so that readers would not get confused, and Melissa also better learned how to maintain the readers interest by carefully choosing how she stated things, and in what order she stated them.
But Melissa found herself valuing her friendship with Kitty in another way as well. All her life, Melissa had not had many friends... in fact, she had always been a loner, but she had never really been good at making, or keeping, friends. But with Kitty, things were different. She found herself being open and honest to Kitty like she hadn't anyone else... at least, not anyone outside her own family, or perhaps church. They had practically echanged their lifestories. And Melissa found this friendship to be soothing in a way... and she somehow found herself thinking less and less about her father's death.
Then came the day when Kitty invited her to the Lewis Mansion, to meet some of her friends, and show her what she called a "Special Secret", also known as the "SS". Kitty showed her the room upstairs in the mansion, where the Lewis sisters, as well as their friends, hung out.
Needless to say, Melissa felt honored and truly flattered--she had NEVER been treated this way before, especially people who seemed so... well, cool, and sophisticated. Somehow, these seemed to be the type of people her parents tended to avoid, and wanted her to avoid as well, but... now that she was among them, she could not imagine why anyone would not want to be one of them. They had everything. They had a nice room full of the very best things--almost every luxery imaginable. They had music of all kinds, games, movies, DVDs... almost anything you wanted to do or see, they either had it, or they could easily get it very quickly.
Not only that, but Melissa found them to be excellent company. She found that they, like Kitty, would listen to her as she talked about herself, some of the rough spells in her life that she realized she hadn't fully gotten over... and soon enough, she found herself pouring out her heart to them more and more, even going so far as to tell them secrets, things she had done as a child that not even her parents knew about, things that she had never told anyone else. Somehow... it just seemed so right to confide in these people, that they were okay to talk to, and sometimes, they even confided in her.
However, Melissa noticed that things seemed to be... changing, somehow. She knew that her perspective on things had certainly changed. She was still pretty much a Christian, but she felt like God really didn't have a place in her life anymore. After all, why did she need a deity, anyway? She now had the best friends in the world, and they didn't seem to need God. In fact... they were so successful in nearly everything they did, they were cool, they were popular, that it seemed like God was just an obstacle, something that just got in the way of everything that made one successful or popular. As far as Melissa was concerned, God either had to do things HER way, or... maybe He wasn't worth following at all.
Though other things seemed to change... like, for one thing, she seemed to grow distant from her mother. Her mom was doing better these days, although for some reason, Melissa found herself frequently annoyed and frustrated by her, to the point where she practically stamped out of the room if her mother said something she didn't like. And it seemed like the smallest little things could make her angry with her mother... deep down, she wondered what the problem was. Her mother didn't seem to have changed at all... she was the exact same, hard-working person she had always been. But Melissa... well, she knew she had changed, but it seemed like all the changes were good for her, and for the best. So... what was the problem?
However she found that she didn't need to think about it all that much, because she could just retreat to the Lewis Mansion, go to the SS, complain about her irks and dislikes about her mother and family in general, and it seemed like her friends were always good listeners. However as the weeks rolled by, she found that sometimes Daphne would give her a *look* when she started complaining too much, and would sometimes, rather vocally, change the subject, or put on a movie and insist everyone stay quiet and watch it.
Vivian would sometimes listen to Melissa when she wanted to vent, but would often gently steer the conversation in another direction, or would sometimes snap at Melissa and tell her to stop going on and on about things. Melissa would then apologize profusely, and practically grovel, at which Vivian would preen and tell her it was alright.
However, Melissa never could take the hint that she was really starting to get on their nerves with her constant complaining about... everything, really. Somehow, Melissa found it rather... comforting, to rant about the same things over and over again, as though it would make things better for her, or change the things she disliked so much about her life or her past, or whatever. However, her friends made the habit of either changing the subject, or getting occupied by putting on a movie or turning up the music LOUD, (until Mr. Lewis ordered them to turn it down) or, in the case of Justin, just leaving the room. They never bothered to tell her directly that how she acted sometimes bothered them so much, so she always assumed that they were always ready and willing to listen to her vent.
Melissa didn't even realize how bad her attitude was becoming, although her mother noticed... however, from Melissa's perspective, her attitude wasn't the problem, it was how her mother was. It had almost gotten to the point where Melissa didn't even speak to her mother anymore, and her mom endured her daughter's cold shoulder, and newfound snobbery, by focusing on her daily chores around the house, and her job.
Then one day, after Melissa had been hanging out at the SS for about four months... out of the blue, she got a new offer, something she never thought she would recieve.
It happened when she was on her way home from work one day, having completed an article about how the general population in the town seemed to enjoy growing chrysamthemums in their flower gardens this year, more than any other. It had actually been a rather exhausting article to write, because it had required gathering a lot of information, and interviewing several of the local townsfolk who had some of the more impressive gardens. She was fully prepared to go the Lewis Mansion, where she could spill her guys about how hard her day was and hopefully get some sympathy... something which she was rather used to getting from them. (Little did she know that sometimes they were just giving it to her in order to shut her up.)
However, on this brisk, early-April morning, she encountered someone on the sidewalk, someone who introduced himself as Adam Carak.
"Hey there, Melissa," he greeted her, starting their conversation, raising his hand to "tip" his imaginary hat. "It is Melissa, isn't it?"
"Yes," Melissa said, looking at him with puzzlement. "Who're you?"
"I'm Adam Carak, and I own the Jekk Dinner Theatre in the middle of town. I assume you've seen it?"
"Yeah... I think I have," Melissa said, furrowing her brow. "Why?"
"Because I would like to offer you a part in one of my plays," he said. "I've seen you around, and I think you would be perfect for it."
"You want me to star in a play?" Melissa echoed, blinking. She wasn't sure how to feel about the offer, although she felt somewhere between puzzled and flattered. "What kind of play?"
"Oh it's set during World War 2, only with a few creative twists," he said. "Listen, if you're interested, contact me" he added, and handed her a slip of people with a cell phone number on it. "Now I have other potential actors to talk too, so I need to scurry along. T-T-F-N!" With that, he seemed to "tip" his imaginary hat again, and then he was off.
Melissa stared after him for a moment, then turned and hurried toward the Lewis Mansion.
"...So I think I might do it!" Melissa said excitedly, looking around at her friends in the SS. Her friends, for once, seemed to be more attentive toward what she was saying, unlike she was when she was venting on and on and needed their sympathy. However, she was delighted to have their full attention, and that she seemed to have their interest.
"Wow," Daphne said, and chuckled softly. "I've performed at that theatre myself, you know," she said, and her eyes seemed to glaze over slightly, as though she were traveling back in time. "Vivian and I--heck, all of us--used to perform in a series of plays. I remember Chiara used to enjoy those plays... hell that's kind of how Kitty got her job as an assistent editor, because she helped write at least one of the scripts for the play. And it was a packed house that evening, and everyone loved it!"
"That's our Kitty!" Vivian beamed. "Melissa, I think you should take the job. You'd be great at it."
"I think I will, too!" Melissa exclaimed. "I've always wanted to be up on stage."
They chit-chatted for a little while about the Jekk Dinner Theatre, and compared stories about various plays and acts they had done on the stage. Then eventually, the subject of conversation moved on to other things.
"So I had sort of a rough day today," Daphne said. "The wheel on my motercycle had a flat. Good thing I noticed, too, because I could have gotten into an accident if I hadn't."
"Oh, I had a rough day, too," Melissa said, predictably pouncing on the first chance to rant about how awful her day was as well. During the next twenty minutes, the conversation in the room became a contest over who got more attention--Melissa with her story about how hard it was to write an article about flowers, or Daphne's story about "narrowly escaping death" by having discovered, "just in time", that the tire on her moterbike was flat. After the conversation was well-engaged, and everyone was either pre-occupied with music or the current movie that was playing, or at least offering false sympathy, Justin got up and left the room.
"Where're you going?" Kitty called out, speaking for the first time in minutes, but Justin slammed the door shut without even looking back.
"He's been like that, lately," Sebby shrugged, as though it didn't matter much.
"Yeah, he'll be back," Daphne said.
"Alright, dearies, can we please keep it down?" Vivian cut in in a sweet tone of voice, pointing at the TV screen. "I mean, this is my favorite part!"
Daphne, as well as the others, fell silent, although Melissa tried to continue her general "venting", but was immediately shushed, so she fell silent as well.
For the rest of the evening, they pretty much stayed quiet, except for some general chatter here and there. But after the movie was finished, Melissa bid her friends a fond farewell, then departed for home. On the way home, she took out her cell phone and called up Adam Carak, to let him know she accepted the job offer.
"Wonderful!" came his cheerful reply. "Be at the Theatre around 9:00 AM tomorrow morning, and we'll discuss your role in the play. Oh and it'll give you a chance to meet the other actors as well."
"Alrighty," Melissa answered. "See you then."