Chapter FourMature

So now you know why I am out of sorts, taking refuge by sitting on a toilet in a stall in the womens restroom. Hung up over a guy that is practically perfect in every way, especially now that he's of age. This is ruling out the obvious fact that he's taken. No, not taken. He is engaged to a woman I don't know at all minus her name. Sure, even I can tell that I'm pathetic.

Yet nothing is going to get me out of the slumps anytime soon. That is until a pungent smell came wafting in the air up in my nostrils. It was one of those smells. That smell. A kind of smelly smell. The smelly smell that smells... Smelly. Then a sudden plop, as if something fell into water, filled my ears. I could bare things like this. Worse has come from my father. That's what I am telling myself anyways.

Grace, my girl, you aren't fooling anyone with those tears streaming down your face. And it isn't from sadness.

The real kicker was when the person's hand appeared underneath the stall. In a low, grumbled possibly strenuous voice spoke, "Please, I ran into this stall without thinking. I need help. Could you be a dear and hand me some toilet paper?" The urgency in the lady's voice reminded me of a woman in labor asking to hold my hand while delivering. Not trying to make a bowel movement.

In that moment, I knew I needed to leave. Well, after I helped her out first. I looked behind to see a roll of paper. Thanking my lucky stars that the janitorial service left a spare, I picked it up and placed it in her hand. She sighed in relief or was that ecstasy? Maybe both. It wasn't until I heard her grunt loudly that I quickly left the foul-odored sanctuary to be brought back to my senses. In perhaps, more than one way.

I surveyed the almost empty halls. Except for a few students making their way to one of the many study halls it looked nearly deserted. I reached in my back pocket to pull out my phone and peered down at the time. "Hmmm" I murmured to myself. "That settles that."

With nothing else better to do and more or less an hour to kill before my next class started, I figured it was time I shifted my perspective or go to another place that could soothe my mood. So I briskly walked back over to the Art class. Which, I thought if I were lucky at all I could go bug Janice, a part-timer teach I see on campus every now and then. She's helped me out with my art projects on many occasions, when she's got time to spare, of course.

While being in her mid-twenties, it is very easy to relate to her. She's like my second best friend whom I've come to realize as the bigger sister I've never had. She is always telling me stories when she was a teen. Especially when she was working at a fast food restaurant or that time she got locked out of house or the time when the electricity went out and she stayed outside in the blistering heat of the summer sun. She's even told me I am a lot like her without the excessive amount of cussing she used.

I find that hard to believe since she seems so nice but she said that's what happens after you find real love. It softens you up to the point that you turn into a saint. I am only a few years younger than her and find that to be bullshit. When I told her she just laughed it off. She then admitted she went to anger management then it was my turn to laugh. If she was serious or not I still don't know to this day.

In all seriousness though, Janice happens to take her job very seriously. But by the rest of her fellow faculty members, they may have a different definition. They find her to be eccentric and that's just a nice term I'm using.

My heels made a clacking noise as I approached one of the art classrooms. I had my hand reach up to rest on the doorway as I peered inside and smirked. It was fairly easy to spot Janice with her loose dirty blonde hair tied in a messy bun, half her body covered in oil paint, her apron tied to her waist filled with paintbrushes of different sizes, and her tongue sticking out as she made another long and narrow brush stroke.

Her easel was normally off-centered in the middle of the room and she liked to sit with one leg propped up, allowing her foot to rest on her knee. She never committed acting like a woman yet she never committed of stooping to the level of a child either. It was one of the quirks of Janice.

She leaned down some to dip her brush in the water to wiggle it free from some of the marvelously beautiful aquamarine color then she let out a mixture of a groan and a sigh. It had the same feeling a child would if it didn't get the kind of candy it wanted. She gave way of the grip she had on the brush and stared at the canvas in front of her.

Folding her arms, she exhaled loudly from her nostrils and pushed her glasses further away from the tip of her nose to see better at the painting before her. I could tell from her posture that she wasn't pleased and I almost had half a mind to leave. I didn't want to disturb her if she was in this mood.

As I thought this, I already had the lower part of my body turned to exit when I heard her voice echo throughout the classroom. I stopped to look over back at her. She wasn't facing my way so I shrugged and attempted to walk out again until she spoke up a second time, "You don't have to leave Grace. Come over here. You normally don't stop by here unless there is something bothering you."

Just as I turned to face her, so did she the same, her pale grey eyes blinked at me with her arms laid down over the back of the chair. "Come grab a chair and drag it over next to me." A smile curved her bright crimson red lipstick covered mouth and she motioned for me to join her with a head bobble.

I mumbled under my breath something that was even incoherent to myself, and looked around to find a sturdy chair from the many desks then, as instructed, dragged it all the way to where she was at. It made an annoying squeaky sound across the ceramic tile floor and I winced a few times as it pierced my ears but the chairs were heavy so I had to endure it. She patted me on the back and told me good job before I swung the chair around in the same direction hers was.

I nervously smiled back at her then we sat in silence.

We both were staring at the canvas, with the exception of me stealing a few glances here and there at her. I kept holding my breath, willing myself to say something about Terri. I hadn't told her about his engagement nor do I think he has stopped by to tell her himself. At least, from the way she was acting I couldn't be sure either way. Terrence always liked to keep tabs on me whenever he could. I bit my lower lip and the swelling pain in my chest began again as I thought I was a fool for not accepting my own feelings sooner.

"I'm such a freaking pansy." I uttered low under my breath.

"You sure are." Janice shook her head in agreement.

I shot her a look of confusion and aggravation. She slid her glasses off from her nose and let go to fall on her chest. She had those old-fashion straps attached to keep track of them since she was one to lose her head if that wasn't attached as well. She gave me a sheepish grin filled with a hint of guilt.

"He came by here a while ago. Actually," She paused for a moment to stare down at her wristwatch. "It was no longer than twenty minutes ago. Right before his acting class started."

"So you know." I said more as a statement rather than a question. My brow quirked, I was hiding the scowl trying to form on my face. Dammit. I cursed inwardly.

"Yeah..." She nodded then returned her gaze at her painting.

The tip of her tongue was sticking out from the side of her mouth. She must have found a solution that needed fixing, since she fumbled to find the plastic cup filled with water, grabbed for the brush and this is all without even looking down once, and flicked the brush away to somewhat dry out the bristles. She then stuck the end of it in her mouth, eyed which tubes of paint she wanted to use and when she was satisfied with her options she selected, she retrieved the it from her mouth and mixed some colors onto her slate.

Janice was always one to look like she was in her own little world but she could multitask like nobodies business. Her mouth opened slightly and she softly said, "What are you going to do Grace? I can tell now that you must have come to face the terms you are in love with him but how are you dealing when it's not you he's in love with?" I cringed in my seat. Those words hit me hard; it's the same effect if someone bitched slapped the crap out of me. Her eyes locked onto me, her brush was just a mere two inches away from touching the canvas.

A frown enveloped her features, she eased her paintbrush from the canvas and turned her body some to get a real good look at me. "You should know better than anyone that he still cares for you."

"It isn't enough!" I found myself saying without thinking. I gasped, my hands reached up to cover my mouth. I stared at the ground hard. Everything is just too surreal. Even my actions were becoming irrational around others. Not a second more could I say anything else when, all of the sudden, a familiar ringtone chimed in my pocket. I sat up straight, pulling my cell out. I looked at the caller ID long and hard wondering if I was imagining things.

I flipped it open and held it to my ear.

"Hello?" I said hesitantly.

"Hey! Grace! You've got some time before your next class, right?"

Just the sound of his voice now was giving me the flutters. I made note to silently exhale since I was acting like a little teenager who'd sit by the phone waiting for a guy to call. Not that I was waiting for his call. I'm not that desperate. It's normal to check your cell for any missed calls or texts regularly, right? Yeah, that isn't even convincing when I tell myself.

"Yeah, wait, let me see." I peered at my cell's time then placed it against my ear once again. "Yeah, I do. I've got some time. Why?"

I caught Janice staring at me with a small smile playing upon her lips. I felt my face turn red and uneasily cleared my throat before turning sideways. I crossed my legs; glad my hair fell onto my face like a curtain.

"I thought maybe you wanted to talk for a bit. It's been a while since we hung out."

My shoulders eased a bit as I heard the familiar sound of brush stroking. Even if she was listening onto the conversation, it was easier than having her ask me any unnecessary questions while I was on the phone.

"That's true. The last time we really spoke to one another was before you left for Mexico." That's right that should make you feel guilty!

He answered back, sounding very apologetic. "Yeah, I know. Sorry! Sorry! So are you up for it?"

I gave it a moments thought. "Sure."

"Great! I'll catch you on the flip side!"

I could practically see him smiling ear to ear. He reminded me of a little dog wagging his tail. I rolled my eyes and caught myself smiling at the thought. "Don't reference from the Boondock Saints."

"Why not?" He asked with feign innocence.

"You know why." I huffed.

"Is it because of the cat?"

"Yes, it is because of the cat." I shook my head, exhaling through my nose. "Now, where are we meeting?"

"Um, well, I hadn't thought that far."

My hand made a good slapping noise as it met my face. Dork

"How about the Cafeteria, want to meet there?" He offered.

"Alright, that sounds good." He continued to speak, telling me it would be a little while before he met up with me. I managed to squeeze in a question as to why he wasn't in class. He replied with that it had been canceled, rather or not I believed that story is different. I wouldn't imply he was a frequent offender in cutting class but if he had a urge to do so, he did it. "Yeah. Uh-huh. I'll see you there."

I closed my cell shut and felt a familiar pair of eyes staring at me.

"What?" I asked as I turned my head at Janice.

"I'm assuming that was Terrence?" She asked, turning her head back to the canvas. Her eyes briefly flickered my way before making another brush stroke.

"Yep." I tried to keep my face neutral while telling myself inwardly not to blush.

"Oh. Okay. Well, good luck." She said as if she lacked any interest on the subject.

"Eh? What's that suppose to mean?" I asked with my hands on my hips after I stood up from my seat.

She smiled at me like she knew something I didn't. She very well could but that's not the point. "You're clueless."

I rolled my eyes again.

"Want me to put this back?" I pointed to the chair.

"Nah! I can use it to prop my legs on." Janice laughed.

I shrugged. "Suit yourself."

I turned around, belongings in hands, and began walking toward the Cafeteria.

The End

0 comments about this story Feed