Story: Closed Curtains (all chapters)

Authors: keilanch

Back to chapter list

Chapter 1

Title: Chapter 1: One More Night

[Author's notes:

Chapter One:

One More Night

Leila can barely remember a time when she actually felt good. Maybe she felt good once, a long time ago when she was too young to know better and too naïve to know worse, but she didn’t know how that felt now.

She knew her mother loved her in a way only her mother knew how. In the way her mother would leave notes stuck on the fridge telling her to “just call for pizza” or that her mother would “be late, another home service”. And then when Leila left home to move in with her boyfriend, her mother called every other day to make sure Leila was okay and still eating. Half of the time, Leila rejected the calls, especially when she was getting high and in the middle of something she couldn’t really be bothered to stop.

Leila couldn’t really blame her mother for the way she turned out but her mother wasn’t exactly blameless either. The biggest blame Leila ever placed on her mother was getting pregnant at the age of eighteen with an almost non-existent father who she once thought didn’t really give a damn.

Emphasis on almost.

Because almost seventeen years with only the occasional rare calls and no concrete image of the sperm donor in her head, Leila’s father showed up outside the door of her boyfriend’s rundown apartment that reeked of pot and burning acid and sex – lots and lots of sex. Then she was being dragged, Leila with her dark brown hair in tangles and bags under her eyes and the ends of her fingernails yellow and brittle. Her father – she had no idea who he was at the time – dragged her into the interiors of a sleek black Jaguar where – lo and behold! – she found her mother inside, eyes red and puffy, nose sniffling. Everything was happening too fast and her mother had arms around her waist, and then Leila finally realized that something was wrong. Something was happening. The car was moving and she was inside…and she was so fucking high.

That was how Leila’s father basically entered her life.

Months of rehabilitation followed – of withdrawals and cursing and screaming and then a low, deep calm. Leila kept talking to her mother; their conversations that was once full of tears and blow-ups eventually turning into one of laughter. She finally met her father, a man she hated and blamed and wanted to forget ever existed, but eventually started tolerating. It was her father’s initiative, Leila’s mother had said one time, that Leila get help because she was too young to die and too young that she still had a whole life ahead of her.

Peter was a man of few words. He was a Catholic man who once made a mistake and ran away from it. But even when he never visited them, never got to see his own daughter for fear of the situation and then for fear of being rejected himself, he never wavered in child support – that, Leila’s mother could attest to. He had a family back in a country miles away from where Leila and her mom lived. He had a wife and two children, both older than Leila. Apparently, Leila was not his only child, but she was his only mistake.

Leila had been kicked out of school thrice, the third time only two days before rehab and her father. After her second expulsion, her mother had started becoming desperate, had started losing hope. When Leila moved out – and in with her cokehead boyfriend – her mother had been frantic. That was when Peter had called – miraculous timing considering he only called maybe once in a year or less – and Leila’s mother had no other choice.

The first month of rehab was hell. The second was hell. The third was even more so, especially when she was finally advised to be a part of group therapy and “talk about her feelings”. The hell did she want to talk to a bunch of freaks and cokeheads about her “feelings”.

But after being one of those “problem child” people, she started talking. Or maybe she just needed to vent after her father’s visit that afternoon. And then talking about her “feelings” didn’t feel as painful as she thought it would be.

So she talked. She kept on talking. And when there was no one to talk to, she started writing on a journal that she presented to therapy sessions the day after.

And before she knew it, she was out of rehab and in her father’s expensive car once again.

“I want you to come with me,” he said, his voice soft but raspy and rough, which was also how the stubble on his chin looked like to Leila.

“You want me to come with you,” she only repeated, not really able to grasp the significance of that statement at all.

“I want you to consider coming home with me. To my home, I mean,” there was a brief pause. A bump on the road. “I’m leaving the day after tomorrow and I would appreciate it if you would come with me, Leila.”

Eyes straight ahead, not at her father, but outside the window, at the people on the streets. “Why would you want me to do that?”

“I talked to your mother. She doesn’t think it would be good for you to be around the same influences that you had before,” another pause. Leila’s father was good at those pauses; she wondered if he gave out speeches for a living. “I don’t either.”

“So, why can’t I just move away? Another state, maybe. Not,” and then her voice lowered, her eyes closed, “another country.”

“Leila, don’t think I’m imposing this on you. It’s a choice. But back where I live, it’s different. And maybe that’s what you need.”

Leila’s eyes were still closed. She breathed in – deep breath, air full of meaning, full of questions. Then she opened her eyes to look out the car window again. The sky was a clear blue.

“I’ll think about it.”

And that’s what led her to where she was. In a white button-down polo shirt tucked into a dark blue skirt.

Leila did think about it. And this certainly was different.

She just didn’t think it would be this different.

But maybe, just maybe, it would be good.

St. Francis of Assisi Exclusive Catholic School for Women did sound like all forms of good.

Maybe just not the kind she had any idea about.




(Consider this a kind of Christmas gift, if you will.)




[End notes:

Chapter Notes: Title of Chapter is from Stars’s One More Night.

Author’s Notes: Here it is: first chapter of the promised alter-fic to OTABH. From this first chapter, it’s already quite obvious that Closed Curtains will be very different…but as it goes on, it won’t feel too different anymore. More than anything, the characters in this story are essentially still the same as the ones we know from OTABH, but they’re different in such a way that the people we will meet here have been brought up under different circumstances and will also face situations that are (as obvious as the sun in the sky on a bright sunny day) different.

Concrete example: Leila’s drug abuse and her past with a boyfriend. Although in OTABH, she’s very straightforwardly, pardon the pun, not-so-straight, we are also aware that Lei has had experiences with various people, both guys and girls, before she ended up sticking to one person in a serious and committed relationship. And although it wasn’t explicitly mentioned that Lei took drugs and the like in OTABH, it was also implied that she did a lot of things and eventually got over these practices, which we can only assume included the use of recreational drugs. This time around, we get a look at a Lei whose emotional development is on a level that we were never really introduced to in OTABH, but think of it this way: before the Lei that we met in OTABH, there was this Leila first.

The same logic goes for a lot of the other (same) characters that we will eventually meet in Closed Curtains. In a way, I think this is what makes this story more interesting and certainly more promising.

The fact that this is set in an all-girls Catholic school is, already, promising in and of itself.

(By the way, I studied in an all-girls Catholic school before, so trust me when I tell you that I KNOW what I’m talking about.)

ALSO, I'm very much interested in having a beta reader for this story because I know that no matter how much I try to proofread and stuff, I always miss some things out and it's better with another person's opinion. If you're interested in being my beta reader, you can contact me at vacantluminaire(at)yahoo(dot)com. We can arrange the details when we get to talk.


Chapter 2

Title: Chapter 2: Wings on Flames and Kings With No Names

Chapter Two:

Wings on Flames and Kings With No Names


Diane had been in Catholic school since she was six.

That didn’t mean she considered herself to be a Catholic anyway. To be perfectly honest, Diane didn’t see the whole point of religion at all. She found it stupid that people killed each other for religion’s sake, or that nations conquered people who only wanted to live in relative peace and used crosses and the Bible as fronts, when these nations stole land and raped women when the backs were turned.

She found it hypocritical how men fucked their whores on the side, only to confess their sins just in time for Sunday mass with their families and communion. Also hypocritical how women went to mass on Sundays and then gossip about other women for the rest of the week.

It also didn’t mean she wasn’t stupid nor hypocritical. But at least, she acknowledged it.

Diane’s relatives were Roman Catholics, dispersed along different parts of the Catholic spectrum, as she would like to see it. There was her devout Catholic aunt with her Sunday Catholic children, Diane’s cousins who did not believe in abortion but were too weak – and horny, really – to go against premarital sex. Then of course, both her sets of grandparents served their respective churches; her grandfather from the father’s side used to be in the seminary but then he met her grandmother and the rest was history.

Diane’s parents were probably on the loose, more liberal end of the spectrum. They didn’t always go to mass on Sundays, and if Diane’s school didn’t require her to go to Sunday mass, her parents wouldn’t even make her go. The biggest reason her parents made her go to St. Francis wasn’t because they wanted Diane to have a good Catholic education. St. Francis was one of the best schools in the country and a private school at that. If Diane didn’t graduate from her school a Catholic, her parents could care less. As long as Diane graduated smart enough and with good grades that would get her to any university in and outside the country, then she could do anything she wanted.

And for the most part, she did. Not that her parents were around to witness most of what she did anyway.

Diane wasn’t one of the smarter kids in school. She was really bad at any science-related subject and she hated math to boot. But she liked music and she liked acting, and she was fairly popular because of that. It also helped that her best friend was a genius who always made sure she passed her exams, so Diane did. She didn’t really have trouble with school at all, even if all she really wanted was to get out of it and finally be a theatre major in college.

She only had a year to go.

A lot can happen in a year.

“Good morning, Mrs. Manalac,” Diane greeted with a smile as she passed by her Chemistry teacher from the year before.

“Good morning, Diane. How was your vacation?”

“Relaxing. We went to the beach.”

“With your family?”

“Family, at first. And then I was mostly with friends for the rest of the time,” A friend, actually. But she didn’t have to tell the elderly woman that.

“Oh well, that’s good then.”

“It was,” Diane had had enough of her own hypocrisy. If she had to go through the rest of the day, she might as well have some saved up in her hypocrisy reserve. “I’m going to head to class now…”

“Well, off you go then and enjoy the rest of the day.”

“I’m sure I will,” she said, her back already turned to the Chem teacher and her feet on their way to her first class for the day.

There were only two other people inside the classroom as she got in. Diane smiled as she saw the familiar smile of her best friend. And then she turned to look at the other person that her best friend was talking to.

The girl wasn’t anyone she recognized. Diane wasn’t exactly friends with everyone in her batch but she had been in the school long enough to recognize the student from her batch from the others. And this person, the person Kristen openly talked to, wasn’t anyone she could place anywhere – not in her whole stay at St. Francis anyway.

“Hey Kristen,” she called out as she approached the pair, and Kristen, her best friend since they were assigned partners for a Christmas presentation when they were seven, turned to face her with a huge, wide-eyed grin.


“Diane!” Kristen held her in a tight embrace that Diane returned, and then they both let go. “I missed you!”

“We talked on the phone last night,” Diane said with a matching grin of her own.

“That was last night. And it was on the phone. How was the summer escapade?” Kristen asked with waggling eyebrows.

Diane only laughed. “Great.” A pointed look from her friend. A half-smile, and then Diane squealed, “Fantastic! Amazing! Everything!”

“Met anyone new then?” Kristen teased with another pointed look.

Diane shook her head. Kristen had no idea. “Nope.”


“No.” No one new, anyway.

“I don’t believe you, Diane.”

“Then don’t,” and before Kristen could continue, “Who’s your friend, Kris?”

Kristen only gave her another look, but this time it was the best friend look, the one which meant, we’ll talk later and don’t you dare leave stuff out from me.

The other girl looked out of place, like she didn’t want to be in the middle of the friendly reunion that was unfolding right in front of her. Diane noticed that the other girl’s hair was a darker shade of brown, which was actually a whole lot lighter than the shades of most of the students and teachers and everyone else at St. Francis, which were mostly black, like her own.

“Leila, this is Diane,” Kristen said, “and Diane, Leila. She just transferred.”

That was new. St. Francis had very strict rules when it came to transferring and students mostly transferred at the start of high school, not at the end of it.

Interesting was turning out to be intriguing.

“That’s pretty weird, for you to transfer at the last year of high school. Of course, I’m assuming you’re a senior considering you’re in this classroom.”

The other girl, Leila, looked like she didn’t know what to say, or that if she had to say anything at all to what Diane just stated. At that moment, Kristen spoke up.

“Diane, don’t be rude.”

“I was just wondering. Don’t tell me you didn’t wonder yourself.”

“It’s okay,” Leila spoke up and Diane couldn’t help but look at the other girl. Even the other girl’s accent was different. “I am. A senior, I mean. My father got me transferred here.”

“Your father must be some kind of guy to get you transferred to St. Francis on your senior year.”

“You could say that.”

Kristen was already looking at her with narrowed eyes and Leila’s eyes were fixed to the floor. Diane finally decided to stop with the inquisition.

“So, welcome to St. Francis then, I guess.”

“Yeah, you’ll like it here. Everyone’s really nice and we can use cellphones outside of class,” Kristen said, a smile on her face again, as Leila looked up.

“That’s good,” there was a timid smile on the new girl’s face. Timid, but present.

“Better than a lot of private schools around,” Diane said. “Most private schools don’t even allow cellphones on campus, but here, you can use your cellphone in the hallways. Just keep it in silent mode during class or you won’t see your phone for a month at the very least.”

“Speaking from experience, Diane?” Kristen smirked.

You should know.”

Diane dared a brief look at the new girl and even though Leila wasn’t openly smiling, there was a slight crinkle at the side of her eyes that showed her amusement. Diane was about to ask her something when a loud thump came from somewhere near. She turned to look and there was a body half-sitting, half-sprawled on top of a desk. Then the presence of another girl who placed her bag on the seat beside the one Diane had been looking at (and consequently, the person on that seat).

Kristen looked at Diane, “Looks like Sven’s actually up for class.”

“I heard that,” it was a grumble, but a discernable one nonetheless. Then fingers were on Sven’s hair, head buried on arms on top of the desk.

“Hangover. I had to drag her out of bed this morning,” Julia said to Kristen. Julia, who was to Sven what Kristen was to Diane. Julia, who was also Kristen’s friend but not really Diane’s. Julia, whose fingers were now tangled in Sven’s chin-length hair to smoothen them out, and then scratch at the scalp.

Julia, who Diane realized a few months ago she kind of hated.

“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here,” and then there was Sven, who looked up, suddenly. Sven, who looked at Diane with bleary eyes and all, and then looked away.

Sven, who Diane realized a few months ago she kind of loved.

Maybe that was also part of the reason why Diane didn’t consider herself a Catholic.




(A two-part gift, yeah? Merry Xmas!)

[End notes:

Chapter Notes: Title of Chapter is part of the lyrics to Modest Mouse’s Black Cadillacs.

Author's Notes: As usual, concrit is greatly appreciated. And a beta is still needed. Merry Xmas, and tell me what you peeps think?


Chapter 3

Title: Chapter 3: Hanging From That Very Ledge

[Author's notes:

Chapter Three:

Hanging From That Very Ledge


Audrey always got what she wanted, and she knew it. It was arrogant of her to know such a thing, but all her life, it was just as real as the reality of the sun setting and rising, of time passing, of the transition from day to night and night to day. Audrey always got what she wanted.

It wasn’t some delusional belief that she had. Actually, it was fairly simple. Audrey did not make outrageous demands, nor did she set goals that she knew she had to fight tooth and nail over just to attain. Audrey was as realistic as they came; she had a fairly accurate knowledge of what she can and cannot have, and so the things she did want, she knew she could get. The things she found out early on she could not have, she did not bother herself with wanting. She did not waste time or effort wanting things she was not sure she could get, and so Audrey was rarely disappointed – others barely did and she never disappointed herself.

Of course, considering the kind of family Audrey had, it was not difficult for her to want a lot of things. Audrey’s family was wealthy. Her father was a known businessman and her mother came from a long line of affluent land owners. Audrey had known early on that she came from ‘old money’, so to speak, and it was only fair assumption that whichever path she decided to take in the future, as long as the path she chose didn’t bring unnecessary attention (see: shame) to the family, she already had her life cut out for her.

Of course, it also helped a great deal that Audrey was a smart girl. And she didn’t just have her school grades as proof of her wits (although her straight A’s certainly said much). Any person with half a brain would find out straight away, after having even the briefest of conversations with her, that Audrey was an intelligent girl. It was as if she had an air about her that she carried with recognition, and her witty responses and sense of humor were only part of the surface – the part that she allowed others to see. Audrey always had something smart to say, laughed at the right places, never stuttered.

Yes, Audrey knew when to keep calm and when to voice out her thoughts. She had been taught early on the difference between being intelligent through keeping her silence, and being an idiot through opening her mouth. She wasn’t perfect – no one was, of course – but she could easily brush off her mistakes to not make them look like mistakes.

Audrey was the kind of girl everyone thought would go somewhere some day. And given all the advantages that Audrey had been gifted with, it was only reasonable to think so.

But there was that significant something that Audrey didn’t have that put a serious hamper on her future if she wanted to go somewhere.

Audrey had never been passionate about anything in her entire life.

Pulling up in front of the gated walls of St. Francis, Audrey stepped out of the backseat of a black Ford, barely looking as the car moved once more, this time away from school premises, driven by one of the chauffeurs under her father’s payroll. This was the third driver in just over a month that her father had hired for the family, and hopefully, this one would last. Her father wasn’t choosy about a lot of things, but hiring people to work for personal family needs was another issue altogether. When it came to anything concerning the family – especially their safety – her father certainly did not put caution to the wind.

Audrey saw her friends waiting for her just inside the gates of the school, as expected, and she approached them with her usual smile, the kind that wasn’t too giddy but also didn’t look forced. Her smile was like everything else in her life – nothing too extreme.

Middle ground. Safe. Secure.

It had been a week since the start of the school year, and it was definitely a busy first week. Being student council president did that.

“So last night, we were thinking about a theme, right?”

It was Denise, one of her closest friends and secretary of the student council, who got to Audrey first before any of the others. Denise was one of those people who had the tendency to be too intense (and most of the time, she really was) but all in all, was dedicated enough that being a part of the council worked out to everyone’s benefit. Certainly, it worked out to Audrey’s advantage, which was why she had no hesitations asking Denise to be part of Audrey’s party when the time to elect student council officers came the year before. In fact, when results of the election were finally released, it wasn’t such a surprise that her party – along with almost all those she chose to be part of her party – won by landslide.

“So after we talked,” Denise continued as they walked alongside each other towards their respective first classes for the day, “I turned on the tv…and guess what was showing? The Twilight Zone!”

“No, we are not going to have a sci-fi or horror theme.”

“Why not? Remember when they did it back in our first year –”

“That’s exactly why we’re not going to do it, Denise. We can’t do a theme that’s already been done,” a look at the other girl, a small smile, “or at least something that people can still remember being done.”

“How about a color scheme first then? Dark? Vintage? Retro punk 70’s?”

Audrey stopped her brisk walk to the inside of the nearest school building, a figure standing awkwardly at the side catching the student council leader’s attention. She wondered where she’s seen the other girl before, and if she has had the opportunity to interact with said girl.

It seemed kind of unusual, this strange fixation. Because that was what it was for Audrey, she realized, as she just stood there looking at the figure of a girl more or less her age several steps away from her, looking anywhere really, not quite fitting in. But it was only natural, wasn’t it? To wonder about someone. To wonder who and why and how. But these were only the beginning of questions, not full-pledge ones, just the start. Audrey cannot bring herself to finish those questions she wanted to ask, nor voice them out. So she wondered.

And it was alright to wonder, wasn’t it? She was council president after all.

“Audrey, are you listening?” and then there was Denise again, in front of Audrey, blocking the view, offering more concrete practical questions.

“Color scheme, right?” and then Audrey was smiling, the perfect, charming council executive. That smile. That smile could break hearts everywhere…and possibly already did.

But not Denise. “And other stuff. Honestly, Audrey! What’s got you so distracted anyway?” A look to the back, and when Denise looked back, there was an uncanny grin on the girl’s face; Audrey could only guess what Denise was thinking. “She’s the transferee, Ms. President. Why? You interested?”

“Transferred this year?” Audrey ignored the other comment.

“Oh yeah. And guess what?” nod, then pause. Audrey rolled her eyes at the other girl; if Denise held back a breath for effect, all she ever really achieved was amuse Audrey. “Heard she’s like, the long lost daughter of Senator Valera.”

Now that got Audrey’s attention. Senator Valera was a close family friend and Audrey knew personally both of the senator’s sons, one of which was her own elder brother’s closest buddy. She’d never heard of a daughter in all the years she’s known the man, a constant guest in public (and private, family-sponsored) gatherings her father made sure she attended, and if there really were a daughter, it would only have been expected that Audrey knew, considering the fact that apparently, they were of the same age.

So, if this awkward-looking mestiza girl, with headphones hanging on her neck, just happened to actually be the senator’s daughter…well. This did not just spell intriguing; it was positively scandalous.

“Senator’s daughter, you say?” There was that smile again, and this time, Audrey smiled not because she was asked to, or trained to, or because there was no other choice but to smile. No, Audrey smiled because she wanted to, because she knew that she could smile to break hearts and get what she wanted. “I don’t know about that, Denise, but what I do know is that it’s only polite to introduce ourselves, right? We are members of the student council, after all, and going to a new school can be overwhelming.”

Audrey always got what she wanted, but she had never been passionate about anything she ever wanted and never about anything she got. If wanting only accounted for passion, circumstances would have been different and maybe, just maybe, choices would change as do the actions that accompanied them.

But just as it was, Audrey had never known passion first-hand. Had never felt it, touched it, experienced it. Was as distanced from it as she was with the idea of never being born in the family she was in, with a father who changed chauffeurs with the snap of a finger.

This time, as she walked and the new girl finally noticed figures approaching with a purpose, Audrey wondered what it would be like to want with passion.

Or to passionately not want at all.


[End notes:

Chapter Notes: Title of chapter is part of the lyrics to Missy Higgin’s Nightminds.

Author's Notes: Along with the arrival of the New also this latest update of Closed Curtains. It's obvious that I'm still pretty much setting up the whole thing, but it's important that I am able to show the characters who will most definitely play important roles in the events that will happen in this fic.

So, remember that Audrey from OTABH? Yes, THAT Audrey...Lei's ex, the one she was still madly in love with? Seems like you peeps will be seeing a lot more of her in the coming chapters, huh? XD

Tell me again what you guys think, alright?


Back to chapter list