Previously: Dear Diary
Nancy did not look good.
Strapped into her wheelchair, she sat in the common room, staring emptily at her fellow patients. She was paler than normal, and smelled like she hadn't been bathed in a while. She was even thinner than usual, barefoot, the last of the black nail polish chipping from her fingers and toes.
But she was finally lucid, and Rochelle's heart swelled to see her.
Rochelle had brought a dozen cookies from Nancy's favorite upscale bakery, a place she couldn't normally afford before. The Downs family was pretty much back to being poor; Nancy's mom had blown through her dead boyfriend's life insurance policy and left her daughter to rot in an understaffed, underfunded, poorly lit facility where every orderly looked like a felon.
"Hey, Nance," Rochelle greeted cheerfully, honeyed curls bouncy, her face aglow. Dressed in a long dark dress with a lace duster and a bunch of charms at her throat, she stood out awkwardly in a room full of faded scrubs and soiled hospital gowns.
Nancy looked up at her, seemingly confused at first, then almost incredulous, then possibly suspicious.
"Shouldn't you be in school?" Nancy asked her, looking over her.
"It's Saturday, Nance."
"Oh." Nancy blinked before turning away to stare back into space. The silence stretched between them for several seconds before Rochelle broke it again.
"How have you been?"
Nancy mutely shrugged, not looking at her.
Rochelle tried to remain patient. Clearing her throat, she lied, "You look good,"
Nancy didn't look at her, but Rochelle recognized that subtle look of irritation.
"I brought you cookies," Rochelle tried again. "They're your favorite."
Nancy said nothing, still staring at nothing, but Rochelle could see her jaw clenching.
"Sarah's gone, Nancy," she said finally.
That caught Nancy's attention. Her head finally swiveled back to Rochelle.
"Miss Goody Two-Shoes talked her daddy into sending her to some school in France or something," Rochelle rolled her eyes. She added gently. "If you want, you, me, and Bonnie can go back to the way things were before."
Nancy's eyes lowered as though she were deep in thought. "Where is Bonnie?"
"Probably hung over," Rochelle snickered. "She's become a huge slut since you left." She laughed a bit more now. "She's started fucking all these different guys with cars, and who can get us into all sorts of clubs. If you get out by summer, we can all just go back to the way things were before."
"Wow," Nancy murmured. "You must be really desperate."
Rochelle blinked, caught off guard, knowing she'd heard correctly but hoping she hadn't. "What?" she asked, then regretted it. She didn't need to hear it again.
"You know a minute ago," Nancy said lowly, "when you said Sarah was gone, I thought it was because you and Bonnie had fucked her up. Slit her throat. Pushed her off a bridge. Beat the ever living shit out of her and dumped her in a ditch, but instead...you let her get away."
"Now you're here babbling on about going back to our lives before--I mean, seriously, Rochelle? Do you remember our lives from before?"
Rochelle gawked at Nancy, whose voice had risen along with those piercingly cold blue eyes.
"Bonnie has reinvented herself as an actual attention whore, so let me guess...poor, pathetic Rochelle is back to being lonely and needing a friend." She scoffed, "If Bonnie's hung over somewhere, why are you here, all sober and dressed up with nowhere to go? Did you have another productive night at home...alone?"
Rochelle lowered her voice, trying to regain control of the situation, as well as her dignity. "Nancy, our coven--"
"The coven is done," Nancy sneered. "What more do you need to understand that? I'm in here, and magic is the last thing on my mind right now. Bonnie may still be the same insecure girl she's always been, but at least she has a life. Everyone has moved on except for poor, little Rochelle, the eternal victim. What, is Laura Lizzie fucking with you again? Is that why you're here, you need a mental patient to fight your battles for you?"
Rochelle suddenly rose to her feet, staring down at Nancy. Whatever shock she'd been feeling finally gave way to anger.
Nancy was amused by her facial expression. "And take your fucking cookies," she chuckled, her whole face now bright with glee. "I don't need your charity."
"Oh, please, Nancy," Rochelle fired back, in a voice she didn't recognize. "You always needed charity."
She left the former witch and the cookies, not waiting for another comeback. She left the clinic and despite herself, went straight home, not knowing where else to go and not feeling comfortable being out with neither friends nor powers.
As she lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling, she started remembering all those months from her life before, when it was just her, Nancy, and Bonnie. A barrage of repressed memories flooded her mind, filling her with rage as she recalled every rolled eye, dismissive comment or even command from the girls she'd called her friends. She thought of every time she'd suppressed her feelings if hurt and betrayal for fear of losing her friends.
Except they weren't my friends, she admitted to herself. Misfits thrown together can never really be friends. If Nancy's family hadn't been poor and Bonnie's body had never been burned, they would've ignored me at school just like everybody else.
Rochelle suddenly cringed at how she could have ever longed to go back to the times before Sarah came into their lives.
Everyone's got a new life, on a new path, even Nancy, she realized. I just need a new one too.