Ally is a rebel, with parents who are figures in the political world. They clash frequently, and she has very few people to love, apart from her little brother, Abel, and her one best friend. Her parents hardly ever show any love for her, and when they finally do, it's with a bodyguard after she's attacked and nearly abducted while walking home from school. The thing is, this mysterious bodyguard, Jack, doesn't seem to give a s h it about her. Who would, when she's so clearly unlovable?
She hated her name, Alondra. Why supposedly important people had to give their children such weird names was beyond her. Her seven-year-old little brother, sitting in the chair next to her spooning Cheerios into his mouth, they had named Abel. At least that was biblical.
To everyone she could get to see this, she was Ally. Normal almost to the point of cliche, which satisfied her, even if she sometimes contemplated that it was too normal.
She was forced to wear her school uniform, which consisted of a white blouse, a blue blazer and a plaid skirt. But she'd nearly sued to get her right to wear her own footwear, and her parents had finally surrendered, so she wore combat boots whenever she had to wear the heinous uniform.
"Ally," her mother said sharply. "Sit up. Shoulders back."
Ally gave her mother a look, then scooted up a little, but refused to throw her shoulders back with a challenging look. This kitchen especially irritated her. It was large and impersonal, with stainless steel appliances even though no one cooked or baked in the family. They had 'hired help', which was a maid and a butler, as well as a personal chef. Her mother was a co-owner of a fancy nail salon, and her husband was an important politician. The help was paid well, but Ally didn't like it anyway. It was superfluous and she knew they didn't deserve it.
Mother pressed her lips together in distaste, but didn't argue.
"When does the bus come again?" her father asked, finishing his eggs.
"Eight o'clock," Abel piped up.
"Good job, honey," Mom said fondly. "Now what colour is the bus?"
"He's not four, Mom," Ally said, rolling her eyes. "He knows what colour a school bus is."
"Don't speak for him, maybe he forgot."
Ally sighed, looking at the clock. Seven fifty five.
"I'm going to wait outside," she said, rising and taking up her backpack. "Nice day. Fresh air."
"Wait for me," Abel whined, scooping the cereal out of the milk and shoving it in his mouth.
"The bus isn't going to leave without you, Abe," she said, smiling. Her brother looked up to her, and around him she tried to be a good example. At least he was worth it.
"But I want to wait with you," he said.
"Okay," Ally said, sitting down again with an exaggerated sigh. "I guess I could wait up for you."
"Thanks," he said, grinning. One of his front teeth was missing, and dimples showed up when he smiled. He was adorable, even though he was only seven.
When he finished he dropped his bowl in the sink and ran to get his backpack, then followed Ally out the door.
They sat on the curb, looking down the road while the sun warmed their blonde hair, cut boyishly short on both of them. They laid back, letting the sun wash across their faces and clothes.
They didn't look alike, beyond the colour of their hair and eyes and pale skin. Abel was young and still retained baby fat cushioning his arms and legs and face and belly, with freckles and long eyelashes, while Ally was bony and thin, with sharp cheek bones and an angular jaw, with a proud but unremarkable face, other than abnormally large blue-gray eyes. She didn't wear makeup, not even mascara to lengthen her pitiful eyelashes.
"Have you ever been punched?" Abel asked suddenly.
Ally looked at her brother. "Why, have you?"
He looked back at her. "No, but some of the kids in my grade have been. It looks like it hurts."
"It does," she told him, looking back at the sky. "That's why you will never give anyone a reason to punch you, and avoid people who would do it for no good reason, okay?"
"Okay. But if they do, you'll beat them up, right?"
Ally smiled. "Well duh. I'm not going to sit around while someone wails on my little brother. I'm your big sister. Naturally, your protector."
"I thought that was big brothers and bodyguards," he said as they heard the bus roll onto their street and they sat up.
"Well since you don't have either, the job goes to me," she said. "You let me know if anyone is mean to you, okay? I'll teach them a lesson."
Abel giggled. "Okay, Ally."
She reached over and mussed his hair as the yellow bus rolled to the front of their driveway and stopped. The neighbor kids who had been waiting inside their own front doors came out and got on the bus before them. Conveniently, they were the last stop, and hardly any of the seats were open. Fortunately they found one by the emergency exit while everyone else went to sit by their friends.
When they got to school, they filed off of the bus and inside the main entrance, walking side by side until they reached the T section in the hallways where they had to separate to go to the different ends of their school, elementary and senior high.
Abel turned to his sister and gave her a hug around the knees before she bent down and hugged him before he ran off to join his friends.
Feeling a little sad, she braced herself and turned to her own end of the school.
Someone came up behind her, and she looked when the person fell into synchronization step beside her. Ally looked and saw her best and only friend, Brigette.
"Your little brother is so cute I want to kidnap him and bring him home and throw him a homecoming teaparty with my stuffed animals," she said.
Ally smiled. "Well he's mine, but you can come over for a tea party with your stuffed animals any time you want."
Brigette looked at her funny. "And be seen smuggling stuffed animals in grocery bags? People would think I'm nuts."
Ally tried not to smirk, for so clearly that's exactly what she was. "Tell people you're going to a birthday party for a very spoiled little girl."
"Nah. No one would give me a chance to explain. They'd give me a weird look and judge me without asking."
Ally nodded, fixing her eyes on the barricade of girls walking side by side ahead of them, and very slowly.
Brigette sighed and kept walking at the pace they had been before, fully intending on barreling through them like she did with any obstacle. When they came to directly behind them and couldn't find a way through, considering they were walking elbow-to-elbow and covering the entire width of the hallway.
"Hey, Human Centipede," Brigette said to the girl directly in front of her. "We need to get to class?"
She looked back with a look of curious contempt, like 'who's that loser talking to me?'. She looked at at Brigette and to Ally.
"You can go around?" She said sarcastically, like 'are you that stupid, or too young to understand this?'.
"Um, no we can't," Ally said, mimicking her tone. "You're blocking off the entire hall."
"Well YOU at least can slip through us, can't you?" she asked sweetly. "Anorexic little sInt."
Something flared up inside Ally then, and she slapped the ho across the face, leaving broken skin.
The effect was really pretty amazing. She actually did a 360 with her highlighted blonde hair fanning out before falling into her girlfriend line and causing a domino effect.
Ally and Brigette just stood there staring at the pile of girls on the floor, trying to untangle themselves and get up, their rage gone in that moment of comic overreaction.
"That was a bit exaggerated," Brigette said. "Either that or you are the Terminator and never told me."
Ally snorted, incredulous. "Wow. Think it might be a bit of both?"
"That would be awesome," Brigette said, just as their principal came around the corner and saw them snickering over a pile of angry preps.
"Aw s h!+," Brigette said as the bald guy looked at them and started spluttering.
"I'm going with you, kay? You slapped I pushed."
"Okay," Ally said. "My parents are going to love this."
"Don't worry, you're the Terminator."
"I can't use that against my PARENTS, though, dip."
"Good luck, then," Brigette said, and they followed the principal's wordless pointing finger to his office.
After an hour of detention after school, Brigette had to stay at school for speech while Ally walked home, both her parents being at work.
She walked down the sidewalk, feeling the sun on her hair again, taking her time. She was actually on her way to her mother's salon, Rhine, where Abel had been brought once Ally called her mother and defiantly told her that she had detention after school. Mom had been angry, unsurprisingly. Ally was grounded, just as unsurprisingly. But she was going to pick up Abel and take him home where she was going to stay until Monday, when she would go to school and come right home afterwards. And so on.
She passed a movie theater and took a shortcut through one of her town's many alleyways, a network which she was familiar with, being out so much with Brigette causing unheard of mischief. Even if the only illegal thing they did was being out past curfew.
The buildings lining the alleys were tall, and the sun was beginning to set, therefore they were dark. A lot of rustling was going on, with all the vagrants that littered the city. Ally knew a lot of them, because they were nice, interesting people, with a lot to talk about and a lot of stories to tell. She had, on quite a few occasions, bought a meal for two and sat down with them and eaten while they taught her about life and mistakes. Only one she had met was creepy at all. But she knew how to disappear when she saw him coming. He was so drunk all the time there was no way he could navigate these streets like she could.
But now there was hardly a homeless person in sight. So where was all that noise coming from?
Out of nowhere a real Terminator looking guy jumped out at her and encircled his arms around her, while another came out and stuffed a gag in her mouth and ducttaped it there lightning-quick. They picked her up and tried to carry her toward the street, where she heard the quiet purr of a vehicle.
These guys were trying to kidnap her.
She twisted hard out of their grasp and landed on the ground, bruising her left side pretty badly, and scrambled up and ran like the wind in the direction of Rhine. But as good a runner as she was, the thugs behind her were muscled like an irritated Bruce Banner and that gave them the ability to sprint like Seabiscut. or Secretariat, whichever movie you like more. They closed their hands around her shoulders and yanked her back onto the ground, where she cracked her head on the concrete.
She went limp and they picked her up again and threw her in the car, went around to the drivers seats, and started driving.
Ally opened her eyes and looked out the windows, waiting for the car to get to the edge of town before she scrambled up and unlocked the door manually and opened it, jumped, tucked, and rolled, and started off running again. All she'd needed was a head start and a place to hide.
She dove to the ditch on the side of the road and slipped into the abandoned badger hole that she'd found with Brigette about a year ago. Thank god she still fit.
Her heart pounding, she pulled the long grass in front of the hole to disguise the opening, and scrunched as far back as she could.
She sat there shaking, her whole body aching and who-knows-what-that-was repeatedly brushing her leg, listening to them swear and yell at each other as they looked for her. Finally she heard the car doors slam and heard the car drive off, but still she waited, thinking that one might have remained to wait for her to come out of her hiding place.
It might have been hours later when she finally calmed down enough to scoot up and out of the hole, tensed and ready to run. She stood up and brushed herself off, but she knew her mom would freak out nevertheless. She looked like he ll, as she'd been crying despite her efforts to keep from doing so. Her face still felt warm and her eyes were sore, and the damp soil clung to her uniform and her knee was bloody as well as her face. When she felt the back of her head, she found a large lump beneath her hair and the pain of brushing it with her fingers nearly made her fall over again. But she didn't feel like she had a concussion.
She started out of the ditch and went back on her way to her mother's workplace.
She thought about Abel, and quickened her pace.