ST. PETERSBURG — Charlene Murray was a reserved little girl who blossomed into a social butterfly. She always smiled, even with braces on her teeth.
She was a daddy's girl, best friends with her father, Matthew. Her mother, Kathleen, taught her how to listen and give advice to others.
She was extremely close to her sister, Morgan, 21. On Halloween, they dressed like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. They would borrow each other's shirts without asking, then yell and scream about it. Moments later, they'd say, "I love you," like nothing ever happened.
She was quick-witted and sarcastic with an expressive, rubber face. She had a mature sense of humor, but loved to act young and foolish with her friends.
She posted funny quotes and lines from TV shows on the Facebook page of her best friend, Kerstin Tenny: "Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates." And, "She's my best friend. Break her heart, and I break your face."
She ate like a horse, but she was tiny. Her favorite food was chicken. She loved McDonald's, Carmelita's Mexican restaurant, the Melting Pot and Olive Garden.
She regularly ate a bowl of cereal and a turkey sandwich for breakfast, and always did the dishes before she left for school. She couldn't stand a mess.
She changed her hair constantly — long and brown, short and bleach blond. When she was young, she dreamed of becoming a hairdresser.
She had a huge collection of oversized sunglasses.
She loved Entourage, Dawson's Creek. Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl. Her favorite movie was St. Elmo's Fire, but she loved classic and foreign films, too.
She lived in Tierra Verde and spent free time at the beach. If it was too cold outside, she went to tanning salons .
She listened to Bright Eyes, Cat Power and other music artists. She traveled to New Orleans with her sister to watch Tegan and Sara, a band made up of twin sisters. She drove to Atlanta to see her favorite band, Rilo Kiley.
She loved posing for photos and manipulating them to look black and white on her computer. She did some modeling, once posing in a Sex Pistols T-shirt with her hair spiked.
She read books. Her favorites were The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She kept a list of books she wanted to read one day, like Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
She was studying psychology at Florida State University. She took a semester to come home and take classes at St. Petersburg College, but she planned to return to FSU this summer.
She dreamed of getting married and starting her own family.
She knew designer labels and had a young, upscale sense of style. She sometimes visited Los Angeles to shop with her cousin Ashley Reynolds. She posed for a newspaper photo in November, surrounded by her Christmas purchases from Yankee Candle, Victoria's Secret, Nordstrom.
She loved shopping at International Plaza. Her favorite store, in Centro Ybor, was Urban Outfitters.
She was on her way there to shop Wednesday afternoon. She was riding in a car driven by her boyfriend, Aaron Lorenz, whom she met in high school. His sister, Janet Lorenz, was in the back seat. The car collided with a school bus in Tampa, and Charlene died.
She was 19.
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8857.