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Chapter 2         The End Of The World

         After school, Nadia, Liam and Jacqueline went to their own houses.  No soda and pool.  Even Mike minded his own business.  Who knows where he was.  Nadia fiddled with her computer.  Jacqueline messed with her guitar.  Liam went to the mall and ate dinner at the food court, then he went to the newsstand in search of intellectual reading matter.  He found an issue of Rolling Stone, intellectual enough.  He flipped through it impatiently, not actually reading, just staring vacantly.  Then he wandered over somewhere else.  Nothing interesting.  He walked around in a daze.  Walking from place to place, but not finding anything interesting enough to be distracting.  He walked over and sat on a bench near a large flower pot.  His eyes were glazed.
         Someone walked up and sat on the bench next to Liam, she casually looked over at him, "Hey, dude!  I've seen you.  You're Paul's little brother, aren't you?  Hello?  Are you allright?"
         "Hm? Oh. Hi."
         "Hi.  I'm Rose." she was wearing a huge pair of Jnco's and a buzz cut that made her look like Dolores O'Riordan.  "I know your brother."
         "Oh.  Yeah, you do look familiar."
         "You're Liam, right?
         "Yup, that's me."
         "So, What's up? Anything?"
         "Nope, nothing happening in my life."
         "Yeah, same here."
         Liam noticed that Rose had a bit of and English accent.  "So, where're you from?"
         "I was born in Berlin, and when I was about two, we moved to Southampton.  Then we moved here when I was about ten."
         "Berlin, wow--hey Nadia! What's up!" He flawlessly changed the subject all in one sentence.
         "Hi!  For some reason I didn't expect to see you here."
         "Well.  This is Rose, Rose, this is my girlfriend Nadia."
         "Hey" Nadia suggested, "why don't we all go over to my place?"
         "Hey" Liam added, "Why don't we invite everybody over to your place and have one of those 'parties', hmm?"
         "Yeah sure.  Now let's just hope my mother agrees."
         "So, like, what do you all do?"
         "We just hang out and eat stuff and watch TV." Liam answered.
         "Super." Rose said enthusiastically.
         "I'll call Jacqueline." Nadia got out her cel-phone and called her mom first.  Her mom didn't quite understand what she was saying so she switched to Russian.  She usually spoke Russian around her mom anyway.
         A few people nearby stared at her, Nadia stared back, mocking them.  Rose was surprised, "You speak Russian?"
         "My mom is from St. Petersburg, it's kinda hard not to."
         They all walked from the mall to Nadia's house.  On the way, Nadia called Jacqueline.  They would meet at Nadia's house.
         A little while later, they met Jacqueline.  And another little while later, they met Mike.
         "Hey, what's up?"
         "Mm, nothing."
         "You seem kinda depressed, what's wrong?"
         "Oh, nothing." his voice quavered a little bit, "Just... nothing." he stared off into the distance.
         "Come on, I know you're hiding something, " Nadia grinned, "please tell us?"
         "You know that whole war thing?  It's gonna happen."
         "How do you know?" her face was serious now.
         "I knew who you were before you told me your name, I knew about that buggered up little teleport thing, I know about this."
         "Ummm, OK.  Later" they all walked off.
         "I wonder what's up with him." Jacqueline said, "Do you know, Nadia?"
         "Nope, I haven't the foggiest idea."
         The foursome went to Nadia's house where they were greeted by her angry mother.
         "Nadia Anastasia Litvak!" her mother roared.
         "Yes, mother." she cowered.
         "Look at you, child.  You disappoint me. You are so lazy and selfish.  Have you no pride? In yourself? In the motherland? Whatever happened to my little Oktoberist?"
         "Mother, please, enough with Soviet pride.  My motherland is Texas, not Russia."
         "Nevermind." Nadia's mother figured there was no hope for her daughter.
         "I'm sorry mother, but can they stay?" Nadia smiled, trying to look as angelic, and innocent as possible.
         "Fine.  But if you make one more mess of the basement..." Nadia cringed under the evil eye of her mother.
         "Yes, ma'am."
         Nadia went downstairs, followed by all of her friends.  Her and Liam played a game of pool.  Liam was currently the undefeated champion.  Untill the end of the game.
         "Wahoo!  I finally beat you!" Nadia exclaimed.
         "Yeah." Liam said nonchalantly.
         While Rose chunked darts at the dart board, Jacqueline slipped outside for some fresh air.  (There was a door in the basement that went directly outside)  She looked down the street.  She saw Mike sitting on a bench.  She walked down the street to where he was.
         "Hey man, you look like shit.  How come you're still here?"
         "Cause my apartment sucks.  The stupid Mexicans next door are having a family reunion.  And the AC is broken and the bitch landlady won't fix it." Mike replied.
         "Well, Nadia's AC isn't broken and there's no family reunions going on anywhere and I'm sure her mother isn't nearly as obnoxious as your landlady.  Come on."
         Jacqueline and Mike walked in and barely avoided a very high speed very sharp very airborne dart.
        "Rose! Watch it!" Jacqueline loudly bitched.
         Mike winced.
         "Sorry." Rose said, almost cowering.
         Everyone soon got mildly bored so they went upstairs for ice cream.  There were three half-gallons in the freezer.  The freezer had gone insane again so the ice cream was hard as rock.  Two spoons were bent before Nadia had the bright idea to get the stainless steel ice cream scoop.  It made things much easier.  Nadia finished off her dessert and went outside, just to be alone and think.
         Liam would go outside too, as soon as he noticed she was outside.

         So, Nadia thought to herself, this is it.  This is my last night.  The end of the world as we know it and the beginning of something else.  Something totally new and different. She paused for a moment, Wow, this sucks.  She faced the street, she could see the downtown skyline.  She took it in.  She smiled, I love this place she thought.  Nadia was slightly startled to hear the door open and shut, Liam came out and walked up to her.
         "Nice night." he commented.  The orange lights illuminated the street, a fog was forming, but the sky was clear, there was a full moon.
         "Yeah." Nadia mumbled.  He put his hand on her shoulder.  She turned to look at him, he was close, unusually close.  His hand slowly crept up to her neck.  She was caught completely off guard.  He brought her lips to his and, he kissed her.  She closed her eyes and savored the moment for as long as it lasted.  It   was   sweet.  It was also very short-lived, at least, it seemed that way.  Is that all? she wanted to say.
        In the garden I was playing the tart.  I kissed your lips and broke your heart.  You, you were acting like it was the end of the world.
         She glanced away, then back at Liam.  She finally realized why he was always so depressed.  And knew now why he seemed very happy tonight.
         "I love you." He said.
         "I love you too." I'm sorry.  She looked calm, but inside, she was freaking out.  She felt so guilty, so selfish, so cruel, to have denied him.
         Waves of regret and waves of joy.  I reached out for the one I tried to destroy.  You, you said you'd wait, till the end of the world.

© 1999 Laura Hutchinson