Author's Note- This was popular back when I first wrote it. I've been asked by several people to write a sequel, but I could never do it. I was close to writing a story about Nora Percy before Lois, but that never really happened. Anyway, an editor has found BB Mabayu and asked to publish it on her new ebook publishing website, I have since made up this second draft for her, and I thought before anything was signed, I'd give people the opportunity to read it. I have made several improvements. I hope you like them.
I learned long ago that people didn't like me. Somehow, I was different from the rest of the kids at school. There wasn't much of an understanding between us besides I was somehow unworthy of their attention. I was the target of unrelenting torment and humiliation. After several pains, I gave up trying to make friends. I fell silent and disappeared against the far wall. For years, I remained there alone, never bothering anybody and never being bothered. It wasn't a completely unhappy place to be, though it was lonely.
The only place in school that I actually enjoyed was the art room. I took all the art classes I could and went there during study halls and lunch too. I have never really been good at drawing, but I liked the other kids in the class. We shared something in common, all being slightly different from the norm. It was a light hearted, fun atmosphere where I felt comfortable.
Besides the art room, I was also very happy at home. I loved my family very much, and my little brother, Zach, and I got along well. We made up songs together about each other, our parents, and about people at school. The tunes were simple and repetitive, but it was a lot of fun making up hysterical rhymes.
Alone in my room, with my mom's old guitar, I made up my own songs. They were more personal and had more complicated rhythms. I never shared them with anybody, not even Zach.
That was until Nora Ramsey arrived at my school in sophomore year last September. She walked into my art class, and we immediately clicked. Nora was a short girl with chin length dark brown hair in tiny ringlet curls. She's very cute and almost always has a smile on her face. She and I hung out every day, talking for hours about everything. We laughed constantly. In our attempts to describe our lives to each other, we'd loose the language and a completely fake word would escape our lips. Sometimes, I think of the jibbberish as being the silliest, most childish thing I could ever love, and sometimes, I really do believe in it.
Nora's an incredible artist. She draws and animates her own videos. Music is her main inspiration, and she pulled my songs out of me as if it was the most natural thing for me to share such personal things with a complete stranger. I surrendered my eleven thick, spiral bound notebooks of poems and lyrics and gave Nora a solo act of my songs. While she listened, she absentmindedly doodled on the pages of one of my notebooks. Nora was so sorry and upset for messing up my book, but I actually liked it. Her doodles were cool, and I wasn't mad.
Actually, we began to collaborate more and more. I'd write my lyrics, and she'd decorate the pages. We started a large collection and put them into a binder. Nora designed the book with a collage of colorful paint, pictures, dried leaves and flowers. It was great.
And that was when BB Mabayu came into existence. It was another fake word we used to name the collection, something I will never loose faith in. BB Mabayu was the biggest, baddest effort either Nora or I ever tried.
But you're going to kill me. Well, no, scratch that. Nora is the one who's going to kill me. Because I, Lois Pickins, the girl telling you this story, lost BB Mabayu.
Of all things to misplace, it had to be my sacred bible. I even know exactly where I left it too: on one of the tables in the library during lunch when I went there to study for my chemistry test. And, of course, it's not there any more. I asked the librarian, but she told me no one had checked it into the lost and found.
So someone out there... one among the wretched population of the kids at my school has claimed it as their own. Reading my diary. My poems. Looking at Nora's art. Flipping through the pages, one by one, to giggle at the overabundance of analytical soul searching that seeped out each page.
I walked through the crowded hallways of my school on my way to the art room where I'd have to tell Nora what I had done. The people bumped me around like I was a pin ball. Typical, of course. I couldn't expect anything more from this mob of gossip queens and kings who thought the world of themselves and gum on their shoe of me.
I am always blending in with the background at school. I am one of those faceless outlines you see as part of the crowd circling around those beautiful people who seem to shine just a little brighter (I'm guessing because of tanning salons, but you know, I could be wrong).
I finally found the place where I shined, but that didn't mean any of these people who have walked all over me their whole lives would see it too and catch the difference in me. I was still treated as a nothing.
My eyes caught sight of the familiar furry bindings. The colorful fabric torn on the edges with the words "BB Mabayu" bulging boldly from the cover in bright pink glue. Then I caught a hint of Nora's art on a the page that was laying open. BB Mabayu was open! Someone was carrying it, and they were walking in the wrong direction!
The flow of the crowd kept wanting to push me past the tall boy that held my bible, but I dared to shove the bodies away, stuck an accusing, rigid finger straight at that kid, and called loudly enough to catch his attention (along with the large group around us.)
"That's MY book!"
I watched the boy turn, and I felt myself straighten up immediately and my eyes widen. Damn, it was Justin Wakefield! Now, I can say with all confidence in the world that, yes, Justin happened to be the hottest kid in my school, possibly the world.
He was tall, had dark brown hair, and light blue eyes. Oh, yes, those eyes! They were staring straight at me. I smiled, amused with myself for stopping the traffic dead in its tracks for this instant. Everyone was looking at me look at Justin, and he was looking from me to the open page of my book and back at me again.
"Your book?" Justin asked me. There was a mocking tone in his voice and a cruel glimmer in his eyes. It was like he was accusing me of something, or searching for some sort of ? Was that the word?
Fine, I confess. That IS my book. Those are my thoughts, my deepest, darkest secrets that no one in this school ever cared to know about me. And he was reading it.
Justin didn't seem to mind the crowd that had begun to gather around us. I didn't mind them either. Lots of eyes were on me, though.
Then Justin smiled at me. He swung the open page around for me to see what it was, and I recognized it immediately and raised my eyebrows with interest. So he read that one, huh?
"This poem is about me, isn't it?" he then asked, loud enough for the crowd to hear every pronounced syllable.
Bravo, I thought. Kudos to the boy for being able to decipher the jumbled mess of words on the page. The poem was subtle enough to be about anyone, but specific enough to be about no one else. I just had to hide my smile, though, for I could tell that Justin was actually thinking that this confrontation in front of the crowd was making me uncomfortable. He thought I'd be frightened to show the world those words.
"Uh, yes, it is about you," I said then. Rumors confirmed at this point, I could hear the murmur rush down the hall. "It was written almost ten months ago."
He raised his eyebrows, flipped the book back around to glance at the poem again. "It's been a while, then. Do you still feel this way about me?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I haven't thought about it."
"So you don't think I'm too good for you? And I don't make you forget your point anymore?"
He had stepped closer to me, trying to physically intimidate me, or something like that, but I merely took advantage of the shortened distance to reach out and snap my beloved BB Mabayu back. It seemed to answer his question.
"Justin," I smiled confidently, "Thank you for my book. I'm sorry to disappoint you or bruise your ego, but, I don't feel that way about you anymore."
"You don't think I'm out of your league?" he asked.
I chuckled heartily. "Oh, you and I are in totally different leagues now," I answered. I shrugged my shoulders, hugging BB Mabayu protectively to my chest, turned, and walked through the crowd that now parted a path for me. I headed toward the Art Room to meet up with Nora when I heard footsteps running up from behind me.
"Hey, Lois!" I heard a guy's voice. I turned and found Wilson and Sean, two of Justin's friends, jogging up to me. Justin lagged behind them. His hands were stuffed deep into his pockets, and I saw in his eyes a hint of disappointment. I was a little sad to see Justin's beauty tainted by this sour expression. He was one of those guys who was so precious and worthy of preserving as a beautiful human being. Things like sadness and pain just didn't suit him. Had I insulted him? Had I really hurt his feelings so easily?
Wilson and Sean smiled cheeky grins at me, and I faked a smile back at them. I didn't even know they knew my name. "Yes?" I asked.
They stopped in front of me, right outside the art room door. The bell had rung, and the hallway had thinned considerably. None of the boys seemed to mind running late for their class, and Chris, my art teacher, was always lenient about lateness with his favorite students.
"So that book is about Justin?" Sean asked. Sean and Wilson, like Justin, were popular pretty boys in school. I didn't like them all that much because the two of them were often very obnoxious. Sean and Wilson liked to humiliate people, and I didn't like that at all. They tried to use their charm, wit, and good looks to force naive and, ahem, innocent girls, like myself, to do whatever they wanted. Maybe my collected behavior thus far was unsatisfactory to them? They wanted me to feel exposed, threatened, and insecure.
But alas! This was BB Mabayu they were trying to control, and puny little high school boys could not reach the level of which my bible was on! I sighed. Perhaps an explanation was in order. Maybe then, they'd see that they couldn't come close to touching me.
"It's not about Justin at all," I told them, checking around their bodies to see if I could read Justin's reaction. He kept himself very controlled, though, so I couldn't read him too well. But there was interest in his eyes. There was a longing to know more. I smiled. How cute! My high school prince was actually giving me, Lois Pickins, some attention.
"Bull shit," Wilson said. "That poem was about him."
"Kind of, yeah," I nodded. "But the whole book isn't just about him."
"So is there anything in there about other people?" Sean asked. I could see in his eyes and hear in his voice that the cocky bastard was trying to refer to himself.
"Why don't you ask Justin?" I asked him. "He read it."
Finally, my lucky break came when the Art Room door swung open, and I found Nora suddenly standing by my side. She was carrying three enormous black trash bags in her arms, and I saw her roll her eyes with exasperation.
"My Hero!" I squealed, and Nora gave me a funny, confused look with angled eyebrows. Then her eyes fell upon my company.
"Odd company you keep today," Nora said, looking over each of the boys' faces. "What's going on?"
"Um, well, actually, I accidentally lost BB Mabayu at lunch in the library. Then I caught Justin with it in the halls and he was reading my 'You Can't Sing' poem, and low and behold, everyone thinks I'm a stalker now."
Nora put the trash bags down. "You Lost BB Mabayu?" she began to yell. "That's a sin, Lois. Don't ever do that again." Nora tried to fight it at first, but she eventually fell into a fit of giggles. She laughed and laughed, turned to the guys, placed a supporting hand on Wilson's arm, laughed some more, then stopped suddenly and popped her head up. "I'm done laughing," she announced.
Everyone, including me, tipped their heads to one side at this strange, strange girl. "So," I said, breaking the awkward silence that followed. "Nora, will you be my hero and get me out of this situation, please?"
"Well, actually," Nora turned to the guys. "You boys are exactly who I'm looking for. I need big strong men to carry these awfully heavy bags to the dumpster." Nora batted her eye lashes at them, swaying to and fro with ultra feminine charm.
Realizing they were trapped, Sean and Wilson rolled they eyes as they each picked up a bag. Justin grabbed the third and left with nothing more than a polite farewell nod.
Throughout the rest of the day, I was approached by a number of people about BB Mabayu and my suspected stalker-ism. Apparently the entire world within the walls of my school thought they could trample over me, say rude things to me, take advantage of my reputation for being the quiet, shy, weak type.
Everyone was quite surprised to find that I had a back bone. They weren't going to read my book, nor were they going to make me feel like some sort of fool because of BB Mabayu. Those damn idiots. Superficial nonsense like the social order in high school just wasn't strong enough to break my faith.
I was hoping that a good night's rest for the student body would prove that I was finally old news by the next day, but I was wrong. Apparently, Wilson and Sean weren't done trying to humiliate me to the fullest.
Zach, my little brother, is fifteen and a freshman this year, and I drive him to school every morning. I had just parked and was walking to the school building with him when I felt my bag being yanking from my shoulder.
A flurry of footsteps later, and Wilson and Sean were running full speed away. Wilson turned back for one last glance before the two of them disappeared around a corner, but I wasn't chasing them. Zach and I just stood there, staring in bewilderment.
"Did they just steal your bag?" Zach finally asked.
"In broad daylight? In front of ten witnesses?" Zach gestured toward the other students walking from their cars, all equally perplexed with what they just saw.
"I don't... Oh, shit." I could feel my stomach get heavy.
"What?" Zach asked.
"BB Mabayu was in my bag. They're after my book."
Zach bit his lip. I started feeling nauseous. BB Mabayu was irreplaceable. If Sean and Wilson destroyed it, everything would be lost. I can remember the words to my poems easily enough, but Nora's art was one of a kind.
Zach, still astonished, chuckled to himself. "Oh, man," he said. "Nora's going to kick their asses."
I couldn't help but laugh. He was right.
Zach and I departed down different halls as he headed for the freshman wing. I made it to homeroom where I found Nora waving me over to her desk.
"Where's your bag?" Nora asked me.
"Stolen," I confessed and plopped down in a chair.
"Are you serious? By who? When?"
"Just now. Sean and Wilson. They're after BB Mabayu."
"Lois!" Nora yelled and slammed her fist down on her desk.
"I know. I know," I whined. "I'm sorry. It's the second day in a row that I've lost it. I can never be trusted again." I sunk down until my head thumped onto the desk. My two red braids fell to each side, hiding my face.
I sat like that all throughout homeroom. I was so sure BB Mabayu had been destroyed, lost without any hope of getting it back. Before our first period, Nora dragged me to the main office to tell them what happened. If the established system proved unsatisfactory in their results, Nora was prepared to spare no one her wrath. I drug my feet through the hallways.
There was an administrative assistant behind the counter wearing a lime green headband with black shimmering fluff balls swinging on the ends of wires protruding from it. Nora was so amused, she almost forgot why we were there.
"Are you Lois Pickins?" the assistant asked me.
"Yes," I replied.
"Your book bag was turned in just a few minutes ago," said the girl.
"Oh?" Nora and I asked in unison before exchanging confused looks.
The girl produced my bag from behind the counter and pushed it over to me. I unzipped the pocket and peered inside. There it was, BB Mabayu, without a scratch or a wrinkle. I picked it up and flipped through the pages. No pages were ripped out, and there was no defacing. Nora and I were both suspicious of how normal everything seemed.
"You guys better get to class," said the girl. "You're late."
I nodded. "Thanks."
I headed for the door, but Nora turned back around to the girl. "I like your headband," she said.
"Oh, do you? Thanks." The girl smiled. "I have another pair if you'd like to wear them."
"Yes!" Nora clapped her hands enthusiastically.
The assistant gave her a yellow headband with eyeballs at the ends. Nora fell deeply in love.
"You should take this," I told her while we were walking to class. I handed over BB Mabayu. "It's no longer safe with me."
I spent the majority of my english class wondering what Sean and Wilson were planning? What had they done to my bag? Was Justin in on it? I hadn't seen him, but that didn't mean he wasn't somewhere behind the scenes.
By the time my english class was over, all mysteries were solved. Flyers had been posted. Lining the hallways, with less than three feet in between each one, were copies of my poem about Justin taped up.
You Can't Sing
by Lois Pickins
You're so sexy in dark colors
That match your dark hair
And all I can see are
Your bright blue eyes
You smell like old paper
Ancient and wise
You can't sing
But you don't care
You try real hard
And I love it when
You laugh at yourself
When no one else would dare
You give her a chance
But she doesn't even try to take it
She pretends she does
But you know the difference
You know that game
You invented it
Move her to the side please
Because she's blocking my view
My royal blue
I'm pale pink
Until our eyes meet
And I turn bright red
My hands shake
I forget the point in my head
I don't remember how to speak
You've caught me
Staring, searching, seeing
You're out of my league
You're too good for me
You look down through transparent me
Then walk on
And I'm not worth a second glance
Oh, come on, give me a chance