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HP stories following Canon including OotP >> The Time of Your Life by JessPotter

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.
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Darren looked at his guitar with admiration. He had bought it for $600, and it was the most beautiful guitar in the world. It was a Les Paul, with shiny gold around it, blazed in red at the edges. He loved to play it, to feel the strings on his callous fingers, to play his favorite songs.
Earlier that summer, Darren's parents had died in a car-crash. Darren had been at home when he got a call from the local police. His life had changed radically; he went to live with his godparents. They had custody of him now. Now, school was about to start. Now, he had a good friend named Peter. Now, his life would have to take a turn.
Someone knocked on his door. Peter came in. Darren and Peter shared rooms, while Paul, Peter's older brother, lived next to them. Peter had a twin named Clarissa. "Hey, Darren," said Peter. I am going to the lake, do you want to come? We won't have many more summer days...August 17th is coming fast."
"Sure," said Darren.
Peter and Darren drove to the lake, which was about a half-an-hour away. In Minnesota, where they lived, there were many, many lakes, and you didn't have to drive far to get to one. After swimming, they went to Mass. Mass was a grand part of Darren's life. Granted, it was not always easy for him to pray, not after....his parent's dying. But, he went anyway, at least two or three times a week.
There is a song by Greenday called "The time of your life" which described Darren's life completely.
Another turning point;a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist; directs you where to go.
Time had definitely grabbed Darren by the wrist, quite violently. He had been directed down a path, with no parents to comfort him. His godparents were great, but....there was an empty space in his heart. "Perhaps," he thought as he was looking at the Eucharist...."Perhaps God is doing this to me. No, no. That is not it. Use common sense, man! God never does evil. He did not create evil."
So make the best of this test and don't ask why.
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time.
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
"Yes," thought Darren. "I had the time of my life. Now, I feel blah. Just blah."
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial.
For what it's worth, it was worth all the while.
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right. I hope you had the time of your life.
Darren heaved a sigh as he and Peter left church. His hair was still a little wet from swimming. Peter, however, had a buzzed head, so the little hair he had was dry. Darren drove him and Peter home in the pickup that the Harmons owned.
Darren had is own car, a stationwagon. His parents had the 5-seater that was now totaled. It was a Dodge Stratus. Even though the Dodge was nice, Darren had liked his better. He liked that it was his car. He could roll down the mainstreet of town with his music on as loud as he wanted and no one would tell him to turn it down.
Peter and Darren got out of the pickup, slamming the doors. They heard Mr. Harmon--Peter's dad--trying to start the lawn-mower. His back popped very loud, and his hand flew to it. He winced. "Are you okay. Mr. Harmon?" asked Darren. "Nope." came the answer.
"Let me start it." Peter came over and pulled the line. With a couple of tries, it went. Peter's dad then walked away, leaving him to mow the lawn. "Brilliant," Pete muttered.
After the lawn was mowed, Clarissa came home from her job at the Waffle House. Darren, Peter, Paul and Clarissa watched the movie Stick it, and then went to bed. The crickets chirped constantly outside.
Guitar Hero was one of Clarissa's passions, though Darren never played it. He liked Rock Band better. He also loved to skateboard, play football, and guitar. Peter was a more bookish guy; reading was his passion. He also planned to be on the Chess club and the Debate team. Unlike his sister, he hated jazz band.
Paul, who was in his last year of college, basically obssessed over girls and beer. He had a drinking problem, and a kid on the way. His family was frightened for him, and he was too, which caused him to drink more and more. His parents, however, came up with a solution. He would join the Marines.
In the Marines, one must learn discipline. One must learn endurance. One must be able to take what life throws at him or her. One must abstain from creature comforts for days at a time. An environment like that would be perfect for Paul.
Paul didn't think so, however. He was unwilling to see that he had already made so many mistakes with his life and he didn't want to take responsibility for them. But the more he said he didn't want to join, the more his parents pushed their decision. This triggered Paul to go to bars almost every night.
Clarissa liked skateboarding. She was a real daredevil at it, and could pull some pretty cool stunts. She could ollie, kickflip and straightboard with extreme accuracy. She made it look easy. Darren, in contrast, was just a beginner. Clarissa took it upon herself to teach him.
"All right, Darren. Get on your board.....Hurry up, just put two feet on it. Seriously, it is not like it's going to run away from you...there you go. So, to ollie, you slide your back foot up while jumping with your front one. Ready? Go. Okay, try again. One more time....There!" Darren benefited greatly from this instruction.
In the week before school, the three highschool juniors in the Harmon household were nervous. I mean, sweaty-handed, neck-tingling nervous. They were trying to make every moment in the summer count; it was like trying to hold water with two cupped hands. They had lots of fun together, and even went to some baseball games. They played Halo, pillow hockey, and went boating. Boating costed money if you had no boat, and sad to say, the Harmons were one of those people. Fortunately, they had rented one that summer. Everyone crammed into it and went on Lake Connor, a big lake about an hour away from their house. It was not very comfortable in the little boat, but still peaceful.
The first day of school came, much to quickly. Darren, Peter and Clarissa said good-bye to Paul that morning, which ticked him off because he was still sleeping. They went to school in Darren's stationwagon, and all three were too anxious to speak. The first class they had separated them; the only hours when all three of them were together were the 5th and 7th.. Clarissa and Darren had the 1st and 3rd together. During homeroom, Darren was quakily looking for a book on the birth of George Washington. When was he born? Who cared, anyway?
He finally found, in the encyclopedia, the name Washington, and, taking that back to his table, wrote it on his notes.
"Mind if I copy that real quick?"
Darren looked up. The speaker was a boy who Darren had seen earlier that summer on the baseball field in Annandale. "No, I don't mind," he said. "Here. I've seen you play baseball. What's your name?"
"Caiden. Thanks for the notes."
In Darren's 4th hour, the teacher, his name being Mr. Pneumann, went over the syllabus and talked about the earliest hominids, and how they developed into what humans were today. He said that early man actually had dogs carry stuff around, and so, they didn't hunt all the time. They would hunt, and until their supply of food got low, they would just hang around. They couldn't follow the herds of animals because they couldn't carry it well. By the end of the 4th hour, Darren decided that Pneumann was a demanding teacher. He expected students to stay on the ball.
After school, Peter and Darren were waiting for Clarissa to show up at the front doors. Darren was about to go home without her when he saw her with two other girls, one being red-haired and the other brown. Clarissa ran up to the boys. "Bridget has invited me to a sleep-over; it'll be at her house." With that, she whisked away. Darren and Peter shrugged their shoulders and walked to the car. Before getting in his stationwagon, Darren queried "Who was that other girl?"
Peter thought for a second. "You mean the red-haired girl? She's Faith Burkes."
Back at the Harmon's house, the boys made sure to finish their homework. Then, Peter invited over some of his friends. They all played rock band in the basement, which was kind of chilly, even though it was only the second week of August. They were in the middle of "Dead or alive" when they heard Mr. and Mrs. Harmon yelling at each other through the ceiling. Peter told his friends to ignore it. Then a voice called "Peter! Come up here, now!" Guessing that he was in trouble, he slowly put down the microphone he had been singing in, and clambered up the stairs. Ollie, Darren and Caiden, the baseball player, waited. And waited. And waited. After ten minutes, they heard Peter's footsteps on the stairs again.
He started crying. Darren gaped. Why in the heck was Peter, a half-grown man, balling? They all pressed him, and he spoke. "Paul wants to abort his baby. The girl wants it too. They say that they still have their whole lives ahead of them, blah, blah, blah. They won't own up to their responsibility, and because of that, an innocent baby is going to die. I was going to be an uncle, too." The listeners did not know what to say. They all felt a little wierd....nothing like that had ever happened to their families.
"Maybe we could pray for them." Darren sounded hopeful, more hopeful than he really was. After a little hesitation, they all agreed, and joined hands. Making the sign of the cross, Darren began "Lord, please help Paul and whats-her-name to make the right choices from here on out. Amen."
"Amen," everyone said in chorus.
Ollie then asked "Pete, who were your parents yelling at? Each other?"
"No," Peter answered. "They were yelling at Paul."
The next week was full of tension. Paul refused to go to the Marines, and he was planning on taking the pregnant girl, Gabriella, to an abortion clinic. Everyone in the Harmon household prayed for Paul to change his mind, or for something to happen that would enable the baby to live. A miracle indeed happened.
At the abortion clinic, the doctors showed Gabriella to a room and shut the door. Paul stayed outside. The fetus was ex-rayed. One of the doctors did a double-take, which Gabriella noticed. "What's wrong?" she sounded scared, which she was. "We can not abort this fetus," said the head doctor. "Partial birth abortion is illegal."
"What are you--ohhh!" Gabriella moaned in pain. She ran out of the room. She was having a contraction.
At 12:31 am the next morning, August 29, Christina Paula Harmon was born at St. Clement's Hospital. She was horribly small, but Dr. Harris informed them that she would live if given plenty of breast-fed milk and nutritious food. Clarissa cried, she was so happy. Darren made fun of her. She slapped him for that, and it smarted for a week.
Back at school, Darren decided to try out for football. Peter had made Chess club, but on debate team he got nervous and tongue-tied, so someone else took his position. Clarissa played in the jazz band.
Darren made the football team and started working out three times a week. He still hung out with Peter, and he still loved to skateboard. Clarissa had taught him well. He could ollie, kick flip, and drop in, plus straight board. However, he was sensible enough to not try jumping off the ramps. He would say "I used to think ramps and rail stuff was fun and cool, until I saw Ryan Sheckler take a nasty fall on youtube." Clarissa, in contrast, was as courageous as King Richard the Lionhearted when it came to ramps and rails.
Faith Burkes, Bridget, and Jenna were some of Clarissa's good friends. She had quite a few. Usually, they would ogle over Christine, who was getting chubbier and cuter. Watching movies was another thing they loved to do, as well as going to the mall and just talking. Jenna was Mexican, while Faith was Irish. She had beautiful green eyes and red hair, cut shoulder length. Jenna had wonderful brown eyes and brown hair. Bridget had brown hair as well, but blue eyes.
Gossip came around that a pool party would be held at Victor Crombie's house on the 30th of August. Indeed, the rumor was true. Victor Crombie was the assigned quarterback of the football team, and he was really hot--and muscular, which basically makes for a popular person. The pressure was on to see who he would invite. Every teacher could feel, in their classrooms, a certain tension.
Crombie inivited the football team, the cheerleading squad, and the jazz band. That was about 100 people, all together. Since Clarissa was in jazz band and Darren in football, they were able to go. They made sure, however, that their homework was done. Darren had been especially struggling in History, which was Mr. Pneumann's class. He found out that he had looked up George Washington Carver instead of the president on his first day. At that time, he had been too nervous to take note.
On August 30th, Darren and Clarissa piled in the blue pick-up truck and went to Victor's house. Clarissa drove. It was a good 30-minute drive, and there was awkward silence for most of it. "Anything wrong, Clarissa?" Darren looked at her.
"Yeah. I haven't been keeping up with jazz band. My clarinet needs a new reed. So, I'm just going to stop real quick at The Music Beat."
They got to the party at half past 5. Darren and Clarissa looked at the mob and grinned. They were sure they would have lots of fun. Victor was in the pool, and most of the guys were near the grill. Victor's dad was watching the burgers slowly brown, and there was Beach boys music playing. Darren's eyes watered. That was the first time he had ever been truly happy since his parents had died. It had taken about 3 months.....he was now sobbing.
Then he felt a push. He stumbled helplessly toward the pool, and fell in. He swam to the surface to find people laughing. He practically leapt out, and yelled, "Who did that?"
He searched the crowd for a guilty face. Gabe, one of Darren's teammates, pointed to Clarissa. She was standing near the edge of the pool with her arms crossed, looking amused.
"Clarissa!!! Did you push me in?" Darren's anger was boiling like steaming water. She walked over to him, so her face was about 3 inches away from his. "Yes." Immediately Darren tried to push her into the pool, but she acted faster. Down again went Darren, into the eight-foot deep pool. His shoes were sopping as he came out, and he was catching cold. Victor, seeing a teammate in need, offered to let Darren borrow a set of clothing. He gladly accepted, sneezing as he followed Vic up to his bedroom in the spacious house. "Why did she do that to you, man, is what I want to know." Victor mused.
"Yeah, I'd like to know as well. Why does she have to embarrass me in public?"
"She's probably mad at you for something....did you ever do anything mean to her? Ever?"
"Well, yeah, of course I have....Once I put a beetle in her hair at a baseball game. She didn't realize it until the thing came to her ear. Then she gave an earsplitting scream. Once at school I opened her locker and sprayed silly string in it. She saw me and started pummeling me with her back pack. Those were good times." Darren laughed. "Oh, and this one time, I made fun of her crying--" Darren stopped short. Clarissa had gotten back at him. She saw him crying, and must have thought it would be funny to embarrass him because of it.
"What, Darren?" Victor looked thoughtfully at him.
"Nothing, man, I don't want to talk about it...it's really embarrassing. If you are a friend to me, you'll keep your mouth shut. Please....keep it shut."
Victor Crombie was a loyal guy. Smiling, he nodded.
Darren went back outside and partied. He danced, drank pop, and ate the delicious burgers Mr. Crombie made. By the end of the party, he was hyper and full. He danced to "Peanut-Butter-Jelly-Time" and made everyone laugh, except Clarissa.
Back home, Darren tried to go to sleep, but could not. Too much pop, he guessed. So, he listened to his ipod the whole night, and got out of bed on Sunday morning to go to church. He hadn't slept a wink.

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