The little girl lay on her bed. Her huge pillows and comforter made her seem even smaller, almost like a doll. Her grandmother sat on a rocking chair nearby, watching the white flakes fall softly outside the window.
"Why is it snowing, Grandma?" The little girl asked curiously, "Where does it come from?"
"Oh, that's a long story, sweetheart," Her grandmother replied, trying to dismiss the subject.
"I wanna hear!" The girl said excitedly. She loved stories.
"Well…" The older lady thought aloud, "…alright. I guess it would have to start with scissors."
Victoria looked out the window of her bedroom. Snowflakes were falling outside, dancing on the still night air. The girl should have been asleep, but she loved the snow. It was beautiful, mesmerizing. She couldn't take her eyes off it. Her crystal blue eyes followed a flake's graceful flight to the ground, brushing a lock of her dark mahogany hair out of her face.
After fifteen years, snow never ceased to enthrall her.
But all too soon, it was over. The flakes slowly ceased, and Victoria let out a sigh. She glanced at the clock. A bright neon 3:30 blinked back at her. She laid her head back on her pillow and closed her eyes unwillingly. She had school in the morning, after all. Ugh. School.
Victoria remembered seeing an animal documentary about a snake trying to swallow a crocodile, and exploding in the process.
That was how school made her feel.
"…and so, you first begin by multiplying the exponents. Twelve. Now, you divide by the three…"
Her algebra teacher scrawled more and more numbers onto the board. Some of his students were watching. Others were doodling. Most were texting their friends under their desks. Victoria was copying down everything on the board as rapidly as she could. Victoria hated math.
In the girl had her way, whatever sadist that had come up with algebra would have been shot. In fact, whoever who had come up with long division, multiplication, and fractions would have also been shot.
The rulers of the free world could thank their lucky stars that Victoria Swan could not have her way.
So she scribbled down notes furious, sweating, and trying her darndest to comprehend what in the name of Abraham Lincoln he was babbling about. It didn't help much.
Finally, the bell rang, signaling the end of her torture. Victoria swiped all her stuff into her backpack and bolted out the door and down the hall. It was over. Another week in Hell was over.
All the other kids were laughing and chatting with their friends about their plans for the week-long break. Since Victoria had no plans, and no friends with which to discuss them, she sprinted for the door.
Except he was there.
"Hey, mousey! What's your hurry?" A tall, tan blond grinned, blocking her way.
Victoria tried to avoid eye contact.
"I'm just…I have to get home…"
"Why? You gonna miss your soap opera?" He laughed. His dimwitted, mountainous friends chuckled stupidly.
Her cheeks reddened, which made the blond, Carter, chuckle. Having had his fun, he moved his arm, and allowed the girl to escape. Once outside, Victoria breathed in deeply. The air was cold – very cold – and it felt soothing on her skin. The bright yellow buses were lined up in a row right outside the high school's main entrance, but Victoria opted to walk home today. It was only a few blocks, after all.
The trek home was nearly silent. The chill of the air slowly started to nip at her skin. She pulled up the hood of her sweatshirt. Mousey. That had been Carter's nickname for her, ever since they had it as a vocabulary word in fifth grade. And even though she had pleaded with him to stop, he never stopped. Recently, even the oafs that passed as his friends had started calling her it. Victoria didn't think of herself as mousey. It wasn't as if she wore coke-bottle glasses or baggy, old lady clothes. The girl wasn't exceptionally shy, or socially awkward. She just naturally didn't fit in.
The other girls were makeup-caked, athletic, and boy-crazed. Victoria did not care much for makeup, did not care much for the boys at her school, and, to put it mildly, was not athletic. And these few traits were enough to make the girls gently shun her.
Victoria didn't mind that terribly much. She was used to being alone.
She finally arrived at her house. It was the exact same house as the others, except that hers was painted sunshine yellow. Victoria had always wanted to paint it a slightly less neon color, but her mother wouldn't hear of it.
"We would stand out like a sour thumb!" She had said.
She was right. All the other houses were bright, cotton-candy shades, just like theirs. And her mother was never one to make waves.
Victoria fumbled through her pockets for the house keys. Finding them, she unlocked the door and went inside.
Their house had been made for four people, and since it only housed two, it felt large. The walls and shelves were only decorated with a few pictures and knickknacks, as if they had just moved there. In truth, they had been living here since Victoria had been born. The girl walked into the kitchen and found a note on the table.
Went out with friends tonight!
Got you the ingredients you asked for!
See you later, Pumpkin!
Victoria groaned and tossed the note into the trash. She should have known. It was Friday, and that was when Mom went out clubbing.
Most mothers didn't go clubbing. But Victoria's mother was not your typical mother. At least, not since Dad had left.
So the girl pulled out a few pans and retrieved some tomato sauce and parmesan cheese from the fridge. And a half an hour later, Victoria sat down to enjoy her spaghetti. Once finished, she retreated to her room. It was the only place in the entire house that looked as if someone actually lived there. Clothes were strewn over the floor. Posters of her favorite bands and movies lined her walls. Victoria popped her mp3 player into the speaker and went over to her list.
Victoria's mother had promised that she and Victoria would spend this entire weekend together, just them. No annoying friends, no boyfriends. Just her and her mom. So, for a month, Victoria had been planning all the possible things to do. Then, she narrowed it down to three that they would do. First, they'd go shopping downtown, and catch the late matinee movie. Then, they'd go out to eat at Victoria's favorite restaurant.
The girl checked and re-checked her list. Everything was ready. She'd packed her purse, pre-bought tickets to the movie, and even laid out her favorite outfit. Smiling happily to herself, she lay down on her bed and yawned. The snow flurry last night had kept her from getting her normal amount of sleep. But she hadn't realized how tired she really was. And now, weariness overpowered her, and Victoria fell asleep.