I know it was a bad idea to follow Lynette out, but ever since we sat down to have dinner I've been having this nagging feeling in my stomach. It was tying knots inside of me, relentlessly. The feeling did not cease with every sip of water I took or every bite of the steak they prepared for the main course, but instead it increased and continued to bother me.
For most of the meal, I kept my eyes on my plate, but once in a while I'd glance up. Either to respond to a question or statement that was directed at me; to smile curtly at my father and Mr. Brooks when they offered a compliment; to scowl at Riley when a comment slipped from his mouth with a hidden meaning; or to watch Lynette poke at her food and spin the wine in her glass by the motion of her wrist. She, like me, stayed quiet, only speaking when spoken to. It was bad enough that we weren't on friendly terms, but the fact that I was in her house, conversing with her family, and being as calm as ever irritated her greatly. I could see it in her face when she stiffly smiled at my father or hers.
I admit I gained some level of pleasure from her difficultly to stay as impassive as me, but don't get me wrong, I felt terrible from the moment we arrived at the Brooks estate. It wasn't as if I wanted to be here, causing her even more displeasure from my presence. If anything, I wouldn't have come if it weren't for my demanding father and his high expectations. I would have handled this differently if I had the choice.
Then again, I did have a choice, but it was waiting to reveal itself.
"Hey dad, did you know that the tutor that's helping Lynette's grades sky rocket is Ethan?" Lynette's sister, Alexis, said out of the blue.
The color washed away from my face as I tried to look at Lynette. I think she choked on something.
Her father asked her for how long. "Just a few days," was her reply after a pause to dab her mouth. I held back any foul mouth comments I had. Just a few days? Please, I feel like I've been schooling her on every subject since school began.
I silently thanked and cursed Riley for his reply, "By a few days you mean about four months right? Ethan told me he was tutoring some chick but I didn't think she'd be you!" I thanked him because what he said was indeed correct, but I cursed him for blurting it out just like that. Sometimes, I wished my cousin would just stick to flirting and lay down on conversations where I (and Lyn, in this case) were the topic of discussion.
Her father seemed happy to hear this, and mine was mildly pleased (and surprised, since he never knew this part of my after school schedule), but Lynette wasn't.
When the maids came to take away the plates, she practically bolted from the table without excusing herself. No one seemed to mind though as they got caught up in the refilling of their glasses and the new topic of their conversation.
I stood up and dully smiled at Mr. Brooks. "I just need to get some air," I said, turning as soon as he bided my off with a nod of his glass.
I followed her to the kitchen, dodging the moving servants who were cleaning up and making the final perfections on dessert. When I stepped outside along with Lynette, a gust of wind welcomed me and fanned my face with cool air. It felt nice. The wind sort of eased my anxiety.
Then I spoke, "We need to talk."
That part was very much obvious at this point, but I really didn't know what to say.
Lynette turned to look at me. She was scowling as she spoke, "No, we don't." Tugging her dress up a little, she ran down the steps to the garden that was hidden under the cowl of darkness. She wasn't quick enough to lose me as I ran after her, unsure of where exactly I was heading.
Their garden was basically a plane of cut, green grass that seemed to stretch on for a mile until it reached the line of the thick forest. From there, I did not know how far the forest went, but I was about to find out.
Lynette was surprisingly fast in her gown, but remember, she was the type of girl that preferred pants and sneakers over skirts and heels so she had little experience with running while her clothes were sweeping and tangling with her nibble legs. She didn't seem to mind it very much, though.
"Lynette!" I screamed. She whipped around her head, letting her hair loose from its hold and sending the chopsticks flying. Lynette just yelled at me, and by the sound of her voice she sounded tired or she was crying. I hoped it was the former. "There's nothing to talk about Ethan! Go away!"
I didn't. I needed to talk to her.
We reached the forest, and she disappeared behind trees as I followed. Twigs and sticks cut at my clothes, but no damage was done. Although I wish I could say the same for Lynette, but her dress looked terrible now. She didn't care though. She just kept running.
Away from me...
My lungs began to burn, ordering my legs to stop. I wanted to, I really wanted to, but I couldn't. She fell then, tripping over a root of some great oak that dawned over us and everything else like a giant.
Lynette tried to get up, but her pervious injury from earlier today was acting up thanks to that long run. Realizing this, she curled herself up into a ball, her knees to her chest and her back to the trunk of the tree.
"Lyn...ette..." I breathed out heavily, as I crouched down to her and attempted to put my hand on her shoulder. She snapped it away and was on the verge of tears. "Please go away, Ethan..." Her voice was pleading; it almost broke me like a twig.
Why? Why was she crying?
"Shut up," I muttered through my teeth, my words barely a whisper. What I said hurt her, but her wanted to react with anger. Not tears. Never with sorrow...
"What?!" Lynette cried and pushed herself up to hit me. Her arms just flopped around, hardly slapping or hurting me. I grabbed them gently and lowered myself to her with only the floor of the forest of fallen leaves and moss beneath me.
"Shut up," I said again, not meaning my words truly. Her cries ceased eventually as I held her there, unmoving while Lynette only tried to punch, slap, and hurt me with weak limbs. When she did stop, she looked up at me. Her expression was so innocent with her big round eyes and glossy lips. Her makeup was running, I noted. But it didn't matter. I just saw her and her dark green dress.
"You look amazing, Lyn." I said tenderly. I let her arms go then, as I softly brushed her hair away from her face. Lynette just hiccupped and stared at me. "You look amazing in that dress," I repeated, smiling as sweetly as I could.
"What?" She sounded baffled and confused. I didn't say anything; I just slouched against the tree and laughed. My lungs began burning again, so I stopped.
Silence played in after no one dared to speak. But I decided to break it, as comforting as the atmosphere of no words was, "So...do you want to talk now?"