Chapter XIII: Just Talk
Slowly, the week went by, as I read my grandma's journal when out of school, the thick volumes written by hand were a rather lengthy investment which kept me occupied as my days of being grounded approached their end. Finally, on friday I worked up the guts to speak with Jer.
He was there, speaking with Sean and that other girl, Gwen in the cafeteria in the last break of the day, leaning against one of the columns with the other two surrounding him. I walked a bit closer and cleared my throat and the feel silent, looking at me.
"Jeremy, could I ask you something quickly?"
The two other gave him a quiet nod and there was eye contact between Sean and him. "Sure." he said, walking closer to me and following in my stead when I walked a bit further. "So, what can I help you with?" He asked.
"My mum is letting me loose tonight, do you mind if we speak after school?"
"Eh, sure." He then looked slightly away, a head patting the back of his head. "I just though you were angry with me or something, you kind of avoided me all week..."
"Oh... Sorry, I just wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone."
"Well, if you want to see me, how about at six? I can pick you up." He offered.
"That'll work." I said.
It would give me time to change out of my school uniform and into something more comfortable.
"I'll see you then." He said with a quick smile as the bell calling the last period of the day rang.
When I got home, I quickly went into my room, my dad giving me a curiosity filled look as I almost ran past him in the upstairs hallway and closed the door noisily behind me. I started changing as my head swarmed with thoughts.
Now I had asked Jer to speak, I hadn't been able to focus for the remainder of the day, making me absent minded during the french class. I put on a pair of jeans but stopped dressing up after that, walking closer to the mirror, looking myself up.
"Could Jer really see something in me?" I wondered, whispering to the wind that wandered in through the open window.
I wasn't exactly pretty; freckles everywhere, bushy eyebrow, very thick carrot colored hair, sickly looking pasty skin, tall and a bit too slim and all I had was an A cup...
I checked myself out for a moment, just despairing the more I actually thought about it. Despite what my mum kept trying to tell me, I really wasn't cute... My gaze wandered over and to the small black and red checkered satchel that sat on the edge of the dresser. I took it and spilled the content; the little make-up I'd been given, I never bought any myself...
I rummaged through it, looking at the stuff; eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, nail polish, eye shadow... I hated all of this stuff, but now... I took one of the pen, opened it and glared at it before wielding it more or less correctly from lack of practice.
My fist clenched on it.
"No..." I murmured to myself, looking at the liquid eyeliner felt in my hand, which stained the side of my clenched hand. "I'm not doing this." I angrily told myself.
I took it and the rest of the things that belonged in the satchel, putting it back in it before walking toward the window and throwing it as far as I could, reaching the edge of the woods.
A mixture of emotions washed over me; disgust, anger and sadness. I felt like I had been about to betray myself just to please someone else, it wasn't that I hated the girls who were femmine, it just wasn't me.
I lied down on the bed, holding my head and waiting for my feelings to cool off, eyes closed and desperately trying to think of anything but make up or Jeremy who would be there in less than an hour. I felt hot in places and tight in others, I wanted things to be over with or at least bury myself in the earth.
Then, I felt licking. Raspy, surprising and shiver inducing licks on my hand. I jumped sitting on the bed, letting a scream out and saw the now very familiar bobcat that was just sitting next to me, having sneaked inside of my room and into my bed without me ever noticing.
"Are you okay, Phia?" C.J. asked, having heard me scream in surprise.
"Don't come in, I'm changing!" I said, quickly. For one, it was true and second, if he saw Spike our parents would be assured to know and I would be as good as dead. "I'm fine, I just saw a spider next to me." I lied, feeling a bit guilty for doing so.
"Okay. Want me to get Lewy to help you?"
"No, I'm alright, I'll deal with it."
I lied back down, my heart racing to calm down from the surprise. I ran a hand on Spike's fur, which felt silky even though he seemed to spend so much time wandering from here to the woods and probably that bookstore. "Am I ever going to know how you keep coming in here, am I?" I asked him in a whisper and he licked my fingers while purring lowly.
"And am I ever going to stop projecting onto a cat?" I said, a bit amused by my actions. I ran a hand on his back, from neck to tail, before scratching his ear as I got back up. "I just feel like you want to protect me, I'm not crazy, am I?"
In answer, he rolled onto his back and showed my his belly, which I knew was a sign of trust or something.
I walked back to the dresser and got a long sleeved red plaid shirt, putting it and tying my hair back. I then threw another dirty look at the reflection in the mirror and smiled somewhat satisfied. I didn't look cute, but I looked like myself, which I thought counted for something...
There was only a few minutes left before Jer was to pick me up and he my phone rang from a text. It was him, just asking if I was still up for seeing him and if I had eaten something. I answered that I was and that I hadn't.
My stomach was still going on the food from lunch, but I was starting to feel a little hungry with the mention of food. I went downstairs and put on my shoes, looking at the clock, he said he would be there in five minutes, the smell of dinner cooking in the oven, dinner on weekend was always later on at our house.
"Are you going somewhere?" My mum asked.
"Meeting with a friend, just going to hang out." I answered her, looking over my shoulder.
"And who is it?"
"Jeremy." I admitted, looking back down at my laces, focusing on them religiously as to not give anything away.
"When are you coming back?"
"Before midnight this time, I swear." I said, making a small cross over my heart. "I learned my lesson from this week."
There was a knock at the door and I opened it. It was Jer, standing there. He smiled at me from under the hood of his coat, protecting him from the rather light rain of the early evening.
"Hi. As promised, I'm there."
"You must be Jeremy." My mum said, extending a hand. "I'm Rosalie, It's good to meet one of Sophia's friends." There was a slight bit of hesitation on the world friend, making me a bit suspicious.
"Jeremy Ford." He said, shaking the hand that she extended toward her. "Sophia and I are in the same class."
"Oh my god! Who's that?" Came a new voice from a bit beyond the shadow of my mum. "I like your scarf... Can I have it?" C.J. asked, not exactly timid about his behavior.
Jeremy lowered himself, going at C.J's level. "Sorry, but I need it. But maybe I'll trade it later for your skirt another time. Purple's one of my favorite colors." He smiled at him and C.J. looked happy as he probably considered the exchange seriously.
"Are you coming, Sophia?" He said, turning back at me.
I nodded. "I'm going, bye mum, bye C.J!"When the door closed, I looked at Jer. "I should have told you about Carl, he tends to startle and confuse the visit..." I said, looking away feeling a bit weird.
"It's alright, he's adorable. Beside, I used to play dolls with my cousins when I was a kid. So I'm not one in a place to judge." He said, smiling at me, looking almost nostalgic. "So, did you just want to talk or you also want to hang out a bit?"
"I guess we could do both..." I said, burying myself into my coat. "That would be nice I think..."