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22 May 2011 @ 01:54 am
Wish  
TITLE/PROMPT - Wish {Table 1, #90}
AUTHOR - lucida
WORD COUNT - 929
RATING - K
UNIVERSE - Post-canon
SUMMARY - No one understands Natalie.
LINK TO TABLE - here
AUTHOR'S NOTE - Natalie's storyline in Claudia and Crazy Peaches really just broke my heart. :( Even though she eventually ended up making friends with Becca and Char in the book, I couldn't help but wonder how long that friendship would actually last since they're older than her, go to different schools, etc. So, this is just one of many possibilities!



“This is our last recess ever,” Karen sighs dramatically as their fifth grade class files out of Stoneybrook Academy. “Isn’t it awful?”

“I’ll still get to accidentally hit you in the face with the dodgeball during PE,” Ricky supplies, shoving Karen out of the way as he passes her with Bobby.

Karen glowers and chases Ricky to the field.

“Get a life, Goldilocks!” Ricky calls over his shoulder.

A few moments later, Karen catches up with Ricky and attempts to tackle him.

Don’t. Call. Me. Goldilocks.

Ricky rolls his eyes and peels Karen off of him.

“Whatever, Goldilocks. Get lost.”

---


Hannie and Nancy are sitting near the playground, aimlessly running their fingers through the mulch.

“Are you still coming over later?” Hannie asks. “My mom is going to order pizzas.”

“Yup!” Nancy replies. She pauses and hesitantly nods toward Karen. “You don’t think she’s still mad, do you?”

“Because we’re having the sleepover at my house instead? I don’t think so. She told me she’s bringing her Cassandra Clue tapes for us to watch.”

At first, Nancy doesn’t appear to have heard Hannie. She’s silent for several moments, and then looks up at Hannie as if she’s annoyed. “I don’t get why she was ever mad, anyway. We’re always at her house. What’s the big deal?”

Hannie shrugs.

---


“Ew, look at her!” Leslie laughs, pointing at Karen. “She’s such a loser.”

“Poor Ricky,” Jannie agrees, wrinkling her nose in distaste at Karen’s antics. “She never leaves him alone.”

“She still hasn’t gotten over the divorce,” Pamela remarks with a snort, referring to the time Karen and Ricky got married on the playground in third grade.

Jannie and Leslie laugh.

“But Ricky is cute,” Jannie blushes.

“Totally,” Pamela agrees, with the air of someone who has complete confidence and thinks she is much older and more important than she actually is. “And smart.”

Pamela raises an eyebrow at Jannie. She doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t need to because the message is clear: He’s mine.

---


Natalie lingers to the side of the kickball field as her classmates scatter in various directions. She looks up at the clouds and tries to find something interesting about them. Sometimes in the movies, characters talk about how clouds look like cats, elephants, or dogs. They lie on the ground with their friends and giggle, making up stories about the different shapes. Natalie doesn’t see anything but big, white blobs. Boring, like her.

She checks the time on her watch: 2:01. One minute of torture down, fifty-nine to go. Fifty-nine long, lonely, agonizing minutes.

She sees Ricky pushing Karen away, Hannie grinning at Nancy, and Pamela gossiping with Jannie and Leslie. Bobby, Scott, and some of the other kids are playing kickball. They yell for Ricky to join them, but he’s still trying to get rid of Karen.

Everyone has a place.

Everyone but her.

For a moment, she considers joining Nancy and Hannie. Sometimes she sits with Nancy, Hannie, and Karen at lunch, and they’re not mean to her. They don’t make fun of her lisp like Leslie does or snicker at her outfits like Pamela does. They never yank on her braids or call her "pimple face" like the boys do, either. At the same time, though, Natalie knows they’re closer to each other than they are to her. They talk about things they did when they were younger, and Natalie doesn’t have anything to add. They call themselves the Three Musketeers, and Natalie feels left out.

Even though they’re nice to her, she knows they probably don’t want her around.

She doesn’t join Nancy and Hannie at the playground.

It feels like twenty minutes have passed. Natalie checks the time - 2:05 - and stares at the ground solemnly. She wishes she had friends. She wishes she could be as happy as everyone else.

At least she has Charlotte and Becca, but they go to Stoneybrook Middle School, so Natalie hardly ever gets to see them. She begged her parents to let her go there for middle school instead, but they don't understand why she can't make friends with her classmates. "Ask them if they want to come over and play, or if they want to go to the movies," her mom always tells her exasperatedly. "It’s not hard.”

But it is. Her lisp is slowly getting better, but she's still scared. She knows she'll never be as popular as Pamela, as smart as Karen, or as friendly as Hannie. Even if she does manage to make friends here, there will still be some people who will only remember her as the girl with the droopy socks who has pimples all over her face. Her parents don't know that sometimes she cries herself to sleep at night and hopes that she'll be sick in the morning so she won't have to go to school. They just don't understand; no one does.

It's 2:10. Natalie closes her eyes and imagines what it would be like to be Karen Brewer instead. She smiles. She would give anything to be Karen.

"Hey, pimple face!" Bobby yells, jerking her out of her thoughts. "Move! You're in our way!"

Natalie knows Karen wouldn't let Bobby say mean things to her or be bossy, but Natalie isn't Karen. She swallows and turns around, then slowly begins to walk away. She stands under a tree on the other side of the playground and positions herself so that Bobby and his friends can't see her.

She blinks.

She’s really not going to miss recess.

 
 
Current Mood: awake
 
 
 
-: Stock - blueberriesisabelquinn on May 23rd, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Oh, poor Natalie :(

Even though they’re nice to her, she knows they probably don’t want her around.

This is pretty much exactly how I understand the dymanic between Natalie and the others. The nicer ones tolerated her, but they weren't actually her friends.

I love the little glimpses into the other kids as well. Everyone seems so in-character, just older :D nice work!
lucida: readinglucida on May 23rd, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
I feel bad for Natalie. :( I had fun with her, though! I may have to revisit her in the future.

Everyone seems so in-character, just older :D

Aww, thank you! I know how much you love all the LS characters, so it means a lot to hear that from you. ♥ Glad you liked it! :)
LuxKen27: BSC - solidarityluxken27 on May 27th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Oh, this is absolutely heartbreaking! *sniff* Poor Natalie - I really feel for her. I was painfully shy as a kid, so I definitely understand the aversion to the others, especially with her bad experiences with them anyway. And it feels even more cruel that her parents don't understand or seem to empathize with her problems with her classmates. Shit like that doesn't get better, especially in a small school with a small class of people that you always see.

I just want to give her a hug!
lucida: however far awaylucida on May 27th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
Shit like that doesn't get better, especially in a small school with a small class of people that you always see.

Exactly! Maybe I'm a pessimist, but when I read the books that featured Natalie, I just really couldn't see her situation (at that school) getting much better. She'd already been around those kids for years, so why would anything suddenly change? I didn't even necessarily see Natalie as an extremely shy person in the series, but she always seem so very out of place/awkward and desperate to fit in (yet didn't seem to have the confidence to go out and make that happen). Combine that with the fact that her classmates were just constantly making fun of her. :( I think it would be easy for her to just become sort of... broken.

I'm definitely making plans to visit teenage!Natalie sometime in the future -- maybe it'll be something a bit lighter. :P Thanks for reading and commenting! :D

Edited at 2011-05-27 03:34 am (UTC)
LuxKen27: Heroes - Peter contemplationluxken27 on May 27th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
Well, I've not read a lot of the BSLS books, but even just rereading the subplot to #78 reminded of just how empathetic I felt towards Natalie. I don't think she was shy so much as just...awkward, but being introverted and shy myself, I could definitely relate to those feelings of loneliness and isolation. Worse, I think, is that Nathalie doesn't seem to have much of an inner life, other than desolation. And my heart just breaks for her.

I'd love to see where you take her character, especially since she had that little spark of life at the end, though it was quickly snuffed out. Beautiful work!
meroure: miniature tempestmeroure on May 30th, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
Natalie!!!! This is lovely. I like how you didn't introduce Natalie until the last paragraph. It emphasizes the fact that although the story is from her observations, she is also an afterthought in her own life. And those last two lines: She blinks. // She’s really not going to miss recess. absolutely killed me.

also: the Nancy, Hannie and Karen dynamic here is perfect, it seems like a scene pulled straight from canon. If you ever decide to write more post-canon!LS, I would love to see more of their interactions!
lucida: it's like dandelion dustlucida on May 30th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
I like how you didn't introduce Natalie until the last paragraph. It emphasizes the fact that although the story is from her observations, she is also an afterthought in her own life.

Oh, I'm glad you liked that! That's really what I was trying to show by writing the story that way. Poor Natalie :( but I enjoyed writing her!

I have about 1500 words of another post-canon!LS story written (tentatively titled "Fame") that has a lot of Karen/Hannie/Nancy... so hopefully I'll eventually get around to finishing that. (Way, way too many WIPs.)

Thank you! ♥
Lisaozqueen on May 30th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
Omg this is heartbreaking and perfect. I don't know the LS universe very well, but this was still so real and so touching. Poor Natalie. :(

Beautiful work. ♥
lucida: red leggings / gazinglucida on May 30th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks!! :D I was never a huge LS fan either, but I've found that I enjoy writing about them for whatever reason. :P
gloriafan on July 21st, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
*sniff sniff* Beautiful! I don't know where the hate for LS comes from, because I think it has a load of amazing characters begging to be explored.

Poor Natalie. I very nearly cried towards the end (I know, I know, guys shouldn't cry to BSC fanfics, but I did cry in E.T. after all), heartbreaking.

Can't wait to read more from you!
lucida: hunger games: stay alivelucida on July 21st, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks for the comment! :D I feel so sorry for Natalie. :( (I used to hate LS until very recently, actually, but all the characters have been growing on me lately---especially Hannie Papadakis and Natalie Springer.)
gloriafan on July 21st, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Hannie is SO amazing. I think right next to Andrew (and dear Natalie) she has to be my favorite LS character.
lucida: willalucida on July 21st, 2011 01:51 am (UTC)
I love Hannie. ♥ I have a WIP with her as the main character... we'll see if I ever finish that. loll
Mistraliwith_rainfall on January 20th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is so sad. I confess I've forgotten the subplot to C&CP and also hardly read any LS, but this makes me feel for Natalie.