The next day was like a blur to me. I was numb from the news, but I was conscious enough to be apprehensive, even nervous about seeing Isobel, Elijah, Chrissy and probably Tom that evening. Part of me wondered if it was all some sort of nasty joke, but the look in Isobel's eyes had rather made me trust her intentions.
She told me in Psychology that if I would wait for her in the parking lot, she would drive me to her house. Overhearing this, Chrissy looked skeptical, even disgusted at the idea of spending time with me. Well you know what? Fuck her. Isobel had seen the real me, and apparently she thought it was worth seeing again. Chrissy didn't know me at all, and based on that reaction I wasn't sure I wanted her to.
Since Tom was taking some time off and he was the only person I normally spoke to, and Chrissy and Isobel were working with each other, I had no one to work with on the project the teacher assigned. Perfect. I had to do the whole project by myself.
"Hey, uhhh... Ree, right?" A voice from my right ventured. It sounded so familiar, but until I turned my head I couldn't place it.
Joey, the gorgeously hot almost-stranger I'd pretended was my boyfriend when we ran into Tom and Chrissy at the movies. Oh Christ, here we go.
"Joey! Ummm... do you have a partner for this project?"
"No. I was about to ask you the same thing."
As we started discussing the project, I had to stare at his nose to keep myself from getting distracted looking at those beautiful shy blue eyes. And I couldn't say it wasn't a nice nose either! I seemed to be making sense with whatever the hell I was saying, since we seemed to be making conversation normally. I couldn't think straight between the haze the news had left me in and the shock of talking to such a beautiful boy.
But I guess I was acting cute, since Joey was laughing and blushing a little. He had a nice laugh, quiet and not sarcastic like some I knew. Hopefully I just wasn't making an idiot out of myself as my mouth went on autopilot.
I left the class feeling almost okay between my depression about the news and my giddiness from talking to Joey. The giddiness wore off as the classes dragged on, though, and by the time I was waiting for Isobel in the parking lot I just felt numb again. After a few minutes, she appeared out of the crowd with Elijah and took me to her car. She informed me we'd be meeting Tom and Chrissy at hers and we took to the road.
The car ride was relaxed but a little bit awkward as I didn't know Isobel well and had only seen Elijah. But again I put my mouth on autopilot, making small talk, and hoped whatever came out wouldn't scare them too much. If it did, I could probably just laugh and pretend it was a joke. Since Elijah was shy, I didn't feel too much like a third wheel in the backseat behind them.
Pulling into Isobel's drive, I saw that she lived in just another middle class house with an unkempt yard. But somehow, I felt invited and not out of place as I had the few times I'd gone to nicer homes than mine. Perhaps this evening wouldn't be so bad after all!