Sunset was always Jane Seymour’s favorite part of the day. Looking out her bedroom window, she saw the sky turn from a brilliant blue to a collage of oranges and pinks, and eventually, fade into a sparkly night sky. That was one thing she could always count on- the rising and setting of the sun. In a world where almost everything is a variable and nobody knows anything for absolute certain, she found comfort in the fact that every night, her sunset will be waiting for her.
Tonight’s sunset was no different. The sky was painted a brilliant scarlet as music blared from Jane’s portable speaker. She rested her elbows on the windowsill and stared out at the street from her bedroom. She saw her front walkway, littered with hydrangeas, roses, and the occasional weed that her mother had forgotten to pluck from between the bricks. At the end of the brick path stood four cars, each belonging to her five friends that had decided to spend the night. Jane smiled to herself. Who would have guessed that these six girls would all be in one place a few years ago? Certainly not her.
Jane’s friend group all went to West End High School, a public school just down the street from Jane’s house. Every morning, the girls met at the end of Jane’s street and walked to school together and later, walked home at the end of the day. Like the rising and setting of the sun, it was another constant in Jane’s life that she was endlessly thankful for.
Jane was snapped from her thoughts by a shrill voice coming from downstairs. “Jane! Do you want a pizza roll? They’re a little burnt, but I know you don’t mind them well done!”
As she descended the stairs with her portable speaker, she found each of her pajama-clad friends sitting around her kitchen table. Catherine Aragon, the head cheerleader and co-chair of the student committee, was drinking a soda and taking a picture of Anne Boleyn, who sat beside her. Anne was best known at school for two things: being the lead in almost every theatre production and having a bad social reputation.
On the other side of the table sat Anna Cleves, who propped her feet on the table and rested her arms behind her head. Anna was the school’s athletic poster girl, and usually didn’t speak unless spoken to- unless she was with her friends, that is. Once Anna opened up, she was the life of the party and a brilliant friend.
Sitting in Anna’s lap was Katherine Howard, the youngest of the six. Although she was only in 8th Grade, she was extremely mature for her age, and enjoyed having the older girls around not only to keep her company, but for a bit of protection as well. Katherine had a tough life, but all of that faded away when she was hanging out with her friends.
Finally, sitting next to Anna and Katherine was Cathy Parr. Studious and headstrong, Cathy had been on the honor roll since she knew what an honor roll was. Instead of on the sidelines at a game or on the basketball court, Cathy found her power in academics. Academics, and of course, her friends.
Jane took her seat next to Anne and Anna and popped a pizza roll into her mouth.
Anne exclaimed, “You were up there for-EVER, Jane! What were you even doing- I mean, besides changing into your pajamas?” She pointed at the flannel pants that Jane was wearing.
“Oh, you know, just looking out the window. I like to watch the sun set. “
“Yeah, yeah, you and your sunsets. I forgot! I’m more of a sunrise person myself. I remember one show I was in, we had to recreate a sunrise, and the tech people had NO idea what to do! Luckily, I was there to help them.”
“I remember that show! Didn’t the sun fall midway through the last performance?” Catherine interjected as she playfully elbowed Anne.
Anne puffed up her cheeks and pouted. “Don’t remind me.”
After erupting with laughter, Jane regained her composure and stated, “I’m so glad I met you guys.”
“Yeah, what are the odds we all date the same terrible boy?”
Murmurs of agreement came from each of the girls, except for Katherine, who exclaimed, “Yeah! SCREW that guy!”
Each of the girls had dated Henry Tudor at one point or another during their high-school years. Henry Tudor was the quarterback of the West End Wallabies football team. He was tall, dark, and…not that handsome, but not that it mattered. Henry Tudor had done unthinkable things to the girls, and still he was revered at West End High for his sports prowess and skill in the bedroom (although many girls might dispute the last one).
Over the years, Henry had worked his way through all five of Jane’s friends, including Jane herself. As Henry lost more and more lovers, the closer all of his exes got as friends, until they were practically inseparable. They took back their power by banding together and supporting each other as each of the six girls dealt with the aftermath of Henry Tudor.
The table fell quiet as Cathy spoke up for the first time that evening. “Catherine, what did Henry do to you?”
Catherine tried to smile, but it came out looking more like a pained grimace. “I don’t really want to talk about it, given…um, the company.”
Anne smiled. “Aragon, it’s okay. I don’t mind.” She wrapped an arm around Catherine’s shoulders.
Meanwhile, Jane fiddled with the portable speaker she brought downstairs from her room and put on their favorite album- Electra Heart by Marina and the Diamonds. Each of them had one, if not multiple songs that spoke to them on a personal level, and aside from the album being a fantastic listen, it felt good to have their feelings validated that way.
As Catherine Aragon’s favorite song began to play, she took a deep breath and began to recount the events that had led to her relationship with the despicable Henry Tudor.