The first half of Friday was positively miserable. The only thing I could think about was the way Sam and I had kissed last night. I honestly tried to focus on my class work, but nothing I did helped. When I came across something I didn't know, I kept thinking, "Sam could explain this to me." And then one thought would lead to another, and boom, I was thinking about our kiss again.
When lunch time came around, I was a little worried about going to the choir room again. That man had said that if I continued with skipping lunch, he'd have to report me. Fortunately, my concerns were nullified. Amber was very surprised and a little impressed with the way I'd apologized to her yesterday, and she came and invited me to sit with her. I thanked her and accepted, still only thinking about Sam.
How could I have been so stupid, I scolded myself. Things are probably never going to be the same between us again, and it's all my fault! What if he's mad at me? But if he was upset, then why did he kiss me back? Was I just imagining that he kissed me back? My mind was like a plane racing along through the clouds at thousands of miles per minute.
I did my best to interact with Amber and her friends. Most of them moved here over the summer, so it was a good thing they didn't know me, or they would never have let Amber invite me over.
Amber turned to me, with an inquisitive look in her eyes. "So, what's going on between you and Sam. He talks about you all the time. Are you two dating?" She was grinning, waiting for me to answer. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to answer that anymore, but I went with the usual answer.
"Haha, no. We're just really good friends. He's my neighbor, so we see each other a lot..." I answered. I was going to say more, but Amber interrupted me before I could.
"So, do you like him? Because when we talk about him, you get this look in your eyes. I know I don't know you very well, but I'm pretty good at reading people," she said. Her friends giggled, and someone said for her to come off it, but I ignored them.
I thought about my answer until Amber looked ready to change the subject. "Maybe just a smidgen." I mumbled. She squealed with delight and yelled, I knew it!
Yeah, half the school knows it too, now, I thought. "You're blushing," she murmured, beaming.
I couldn't wait for this day to be over!
Later when I got home from school, I checked my phone. Sam hadn't called me yet. Should I call him? What if he's with his mom, I don't want to interrupt. Do I even want him to call me? What if he says that last night was a mistake and that we can't be friends anymore. I mean, I knew it was a mistake, but would it cost us our friendship?
I was entirely unable eat, or drink, or nap, I wasn't able to do anything except pace around my room feeling nauseous. I kept checking my phone every few minutes.
At one point, I even threw my phone at the wall next to my bed, only to retrieve it seconds after. I was thankful that I hadn't broken it, but his waiting was positively excruciating.
After waiting for several hours, each second feeling like I might throw up, my phone rang. The first ring never even finished before I picked up.
"Hello?" I breathed.
"Hey." It was Sam, and I wanted to smile and cry simultaneously.
"How are you doing?" I asked, afraid to bring up last night.
"I'm doing alright? And yourself?" Was it just my imagination or did he sound as nervous as I felt?
"Who are you talking to?" I heard a woman say in the background.
"Mom, please. I'm on the phone," Sam whined.
"Well, I see that. Who is it? Is it that girl you were telling me about. Isn't her name Nikki?" his mom inquired. I laughed.
"Yeah, mom," Sam sighed. "It's Nikki. Can you give me a minute mom?"
"So, you're mom sounds like she's doing well," I commented.
"Yeah, she's not bad, right now," he murmured. "So, listen, I--"
"Sam, could you be a darling and hold this for me? I need to use the bathroom," His mom asked. I heard some movement and rustling.
"So, how's 'Just Around'?" I wanted to know.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, that first night, I asked where you were from, and you told me you were from 'Just Around'. So? How is it? Is it nice there in Just Around?"
"Yeah, Nikki, it's beautiful here. How's Manhattan?"
"It's kind of quiet. Lucy's quit harassing me for now, and Amber invited me to sit at lunch with them." I was glad he couldn't see me blush as I thought about our conversation.
"That's great. I'm staying with my aunt in the guest house. My mom isn't in the hospital, and they've estimated that if she keeps doing as well as she's been doing, she may go into remission. But I'm probably not going to stay any more than a month at the most," he told me. I nodded, wondering why, since he couldn't see me.
"You're still on the phone? How sweet," his mother exclaimed from the background.
"Nikki, I'll call you right back, alright? My aunt just got home, and I have to help her put away groceries," Sam said.
"Wait. Can I speak to her?" His mom asked.
"Mom," Sam groaned.
"Nah, Sam, that's alright. I'd love to speak with her."
"Okay. If you're ear falls off, don't say I didn't warn you," he tried. It sounded like someone smacked him, and he yelled "Ow! Mom!" I sat down on my bed, laughing.
"Hi, Nikki. I'm Sam's mom, Eleanor. It's good to finally meet you, sort of. Sam has told me so much about you this morning. It's funny, the way he talks about ya, you'd think the boy liked you." I could tell she was smiling. I didn't know how, but Eleanor just had that voice that's really easy to read.
"Uhm, I wouldn't know. We're just good friends," I told her, but there was doubt in my voice and she could hear it.
"Good friends my patooty! He tells me you're a painter."
"Yeah, I paint a lot."
"So, tell me, has Sam been being good? His dad told me he got in a fight with this young man who was yelling at a girl."
"Oh, yeah, that young girl was actually me. Uhm, my ex boyfriend wouldn't stop harassing me and of all the people standing around and gawking at us, Sam was the only one who stood up and set him straight," I explained to her.
"Oh, dear heavens, Nikki. I'm so sorry. But I'm glad Sammy was there to help you. He hates seeing people being mistreated.
"So, tell me about yourself, Nikki," Eleanor changed the subject, and I was grateful for that.
"Uhm, well, from the sounds of it, you already know all the details about me."
"No, actually I don't. Sammy just says you're the best painter he's ever laid eyes upon; he says you're cute too." I blushed from my hairline clear to my toes.
"Mhm. He says you have extremely long brown hair, almost to your waist. He says you have eyes like an ocean, in relation to depth. He just thinks the world of you. But he won't tell me one thing, and I'm hoping you can fill me in," she paused, coughing for a moment, and cleared her throat. I waited patiently for her to continue. "Can you answer this riddle for me?"
"Er, I'll do my best," I told her.
"Are you dating my son?" Her tone was very serious, and I started coughing myself. "Please, don't be shy. He needs a good young woman, and I'd be honored if it were you. You sound like such a wonderful young lady."
"Actually, I'm not sure where we stand. Sam is my best friend, and I don't really want to lose that. But--"
"Now, Nikki, what's life without a little risk? I can tell something's going on between you two, and I'll be damned if I die without knowing," Eleanor announced firmly.
"Well, I really do like him. I kind of screwed up last night, though. I don't know where to go from here," I told her.
"No mistake is too large to fix at your age, Nikki. What was it? You can trust me, I give you my word that I won't tell Sam anything, if you don't want him to hear it from me."
"Well," and before I knew it, I was telling her the events leading up to last night.
"Oh, Nikki, that's just a little mole hill," Eleanor announced.
"I don't know what that is," I told her honestly.
"How doesn't anyone know what a mole hill is? Heaven's sake, they're all over the place out this way."
"I'm from Manhattan. The only wild animals I've ever seen are birds, squirrels, and the occasional rabbit in some of the parks," I explained.
"That's right. You're a city girl. Silly me, I seem to be forgetting everything these days." She tried to sound up beat about it, trying to play the hand with a light heart, but I could hear the despair and the fear underneath it all.
"Yep, I'm a city girl," I agreed.