Chapter 2: Danny Boy
He was a god among humans, with dark hair that framed his face. His nose sat perfectly between two piercing gray eyes; like the sun smiling through the clouds after a rainstorm. I ran my fingers down his chiseled jaw, heart in a flutter as I felt him smile. He leaned in to whisper in my ear. What if I tilted my face up just a little? What if my puckered, waiting lips met his his half way? His hand made it's way from the small of my back, slowly slithering up to my shoulders–
The paper was ripped from beneath Evelyn’s frantic fingers. She looked up in horror. Melissa Savoy’s perfectly manicured fingers gripped the paper to creases. Her hands tremble as she held in her laughter:
“I ran my fingers down his chiseled jaw, heart in a flutter as I felt him smile—“
This earned a few snickered and hoots from the class.
Evelyn dropped her head into her arms.
"Are you kidding me?" Melissa laughed incredulously, "Who knew you had a kinky side" she giggled as she passed it along to Julie Chung.
She skimmed over it, glancing back at Evelyn with a quick quirk of her brow. "As if!" her eyes seemed to say. She smiled politely as she slid the paper back onto the desk. She patted it lightly with a sympathetic smile, but her eyes were still laughing. "never in this life time, Sweet Cheeks, but it was cute of you to dream." The two walked away together with something new to laugh about.
Evelyn peeked between her arms at the paper feeling disgusting. What did she know about romance if she had never been in love? It was crazy. You have to know about something in order to write about something, right? Yet she had notebooks and notebooks full of her handsome dream guy and romantically beautiful encounters with him. Strange because she hated rom-coms and sappy love stories. Her mother lived for them, curled up on the sofa watching Lifetime, but Evelyn just couldn’t bring herself to watch one. They were so cheesy and so unreal. All the women were skinny and really pretty and had everything going for them. Evelyn was a 250 pound nobody— who wants to love her? Melissa and Julie were tall and gorgeous. They had long toned legs, and the perfect skinny figure. They had long straight hair that looked so silky and manageable. They seemed like the type of girls who could get anything with a twirl of their hair and the twist of their lips. They would be perfect leads in a Lifetime movie, drama, scandal and all. Yet, Evelyn still wrote about her dream guy and him loving her the way she wanted, even though it would never happen.
She felt a presence behind her and glanced up. Danny's face was scrunched in the way it always did when he was reading. Embarrassed, Evelyn snatched the paper from under his gaze and crumpled it.
"Its horrible, I know..."
"Nah, it was pretty good," he said. His constant jovial smile spreading across his face. It took a lot for him to lose that smile.
"No, it was pathetic," Evelyn grumbled as she pushed herself out of the desk and threw the crumpled paper away.
Daniel and Evelyn had been friends literally since birth. Mrs. Tillings had helped her mother through the long, depressing months of pregnancy. The way Mrs. Tillings tells it, Lauren just looked so down on her luck, this seventeen year-old little thing staring all doe eyed out off into the distance. “If I hadn’t have gone over there to sit with her, I don’t know what she would have done!” At twenty-four, Tessa was an elementary school art teacher, a firm head on her shoulder, and a husband to help raise her child. Evelyn’s mother sort of looked up to the woman.
Lauren worked to care for herself and her baby, juggling work and a baby all on her own. Even trying to find a boyfriend willing enough to come over to the apartment was a challenge. Often her relationships were overwhelmed by the added pressure of some needy toddler crying, or watching Disney in the other room.
Tessa helped out as much as she could, of course. She watched over Evelyn in Lauren's times of frustration. The babies shared cribs and toys. For a while, Tessa became a stay-at-home mom and always welcomed little Evelyn into her home. Evelyn had little memory of her mother playing with her as a child, only the little crazy haired child and his mother. Evelyn had even less memories of her own mother's smile...they were very hard to come by.
Lauren and her daughter would be out on the streets if it wasn’t for the help of Tessa Tillings, and that was like a barb to the chest to her. Tessa never held it over Lauren’s head, not once. Not even when the two argued and stopped talking for weeks. Lauren loved Tessa, but the woman who had become like a sister to her, had became the woman Lauren resented the most.
Danny was goofy like his mother. He had this dirty blond hair that always stuck up in the front and these blue eyes that glittered. He had a snaggle tooth that made his smile make you want to smile and he was always smiling and trying to make you laugh! His father was this serious, short, balding man that didn’t seem to fit with his smiling wife and child.
Danny was always poking at her and making faces at her growing up. Evelyn remembered the time he put macaroni noodles in his hair and called himself the "Macaroniac of Cheesy Cove!" They were eleven. Evelyn still giggled at the memory of it. He was always doing something to make her laugh.
She looked at him now across the lunch table. Danny was lost in conversation with his friend, Shane. Danny hadn't changed much over the years. He still was that little boy with the messy blond hair sticking out from under his newly adopted ski cap. His dimples had gotten deeper at each end of his smile, pulling his eyes in to a squint whenever he smiled. The only thing that had changed was that he had gotten tall. A lot taller then Evelyn could have guessed. He just kept shooting up like a weed, with arms and legs like steel wires: strong and thin. Danny shrugged, “My mom’s Danish” and that was all the explanation he gave.
He was her shoulder to cry on (when she could reach it). He was her rock. But there were some things that Evelyn would not tell him... her imaginary "boyfriend" for instance. The one that only spoke to her through imagination and ink. Evelyn could not tell him how she had notebooks full of things written about a love life that never was. In her notebooks, she was thin and pretty. Her angel was handsome and someone everyone wanted but couldn’t have. It was too embarrassing!
She wouldn't tell him how much she desperately wanted to be loved, because she already knew what he might say: "But Evie, you are loved." Evelyn wrinkled her nose. He always said that but it was different. There was a difference between the kind of love he was talking about, and the kind of love she wanted. The kind of love the Tillings gave her, the love her mother gave her sometimes. Then there was the kind that Melissa and Julie had. How nice it would feel to be touched like that, and kissed in more ways then one. To be held in the arms of someone great...
Evelyn was lost in her own imagination. She had a tendency to wrinkle her nose when she day dreamed. Danny use to say she looked like a lost puppy.
"Evie, c'mon I don't smell that bad." Danny joked now, catching Evelyn's attention as h
"You do stink!" Shane, Danny's friend, moved away from him, fanning his hands as if to ward off the imaginary smell.
Danny grinned and sniffed the back of his arm, proclaiming with pride and confidence that he did not stink. Evelyn laughed despite herself. She always caught herself laughing with them.
"So, you missed first period again." Danny said when the laughter had died down, but his smile still ghosted over his face. Evelyn really didn't think he even knew how to stop. Evelyn sighed and nodded. She really did not have to say anything. He already knew.
"Whenever you need a ride, just call. You know that. Mom'll always be happy to swing by."
Evelyn really did not want to inconvenience Mrs. Tillings. She was starting to realize just how much his mother had done for her...and how much it depressed her own mother.
"It's ok. Walking does the body good." Evelyn gave a chuckle she did not feel.
"She's not wrong." Shane muttered.
"Not in the rain." Danny retorted, glaring at Shane. "Not alone." He added when he looked back at Evelyn.
Evelyn shrugged. Danny looked at her a long time before he responded.
"We'll pick you up tomorrow morning," He took a bite out of his apple. "It'll be just like old times again. Besides, all these late days are gunna turn around and bite you in the ass one day."
Evelyn smiled some as leaned across the table on his elbows, "Mom wants to see how Lauren is doing too, so don't forget to tell her she's coming."
The three finished their lunch with talk of the gophers that made themselves at home in the Tillings backyard.