After we finished up at the clinic, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be (Actually I had had fun), Airee drove us back to Wal-Mart. My white F150 truck with the lift I had done a while back, sat perfectly parked right where I left it. Damn, for being half asleep when I drove here, I did a hell of a job parking. After she parked, I didnt know whether to say thanks, or that I had fun. So instead I just opened the door and kept my mouth shut.
“A bunch of the volunteers and I are going to IHOP if you want to come. It’s kind of a tradition we started doing a couple years ago.”
“Seriously?” I asked confused. Why they would choose IHOP, I’ll never understand. “I can’t.” I finally said, and got out.
Sure I hadn’t actually had a horrible time hanging out with everyone. Gavin was actually really cool, and even a couple of the girls that volunteered there were pretty cute, but how could she seriously think I would agree to do it outside of school work? If one of my friends caught me with them, I’d be shunned. No way I’d let that happen. I had worked too hard to get where I am now. I wouldn’t let some girl and her friends screw it up.
“Alright.” Airee smiled from her window. “Then I’ll meet you here tomorrow I guess.”
I paused before opening my door. “What? I have plans, that’s all.” I offered her though she hadn’t seemed upset when I denied her offer.
“Okay.” She said. She was smiling but, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for some reason.
“Plans with my dad, you know, I don’t just party.” I felt the need to add. Inside my head I was kicking myself for how stupid I was sounding.
“Hayden, that’s fine.” Airee waved. “Tell them I said hi, and I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” she smiled. Though the "okay" part hadn’t been a question at all. As soon as she said it, she rolled up her window and drove off. I watched after her as she pulled out onto the street. Why had she made me feel so guilty for lying? It’s not as if she had asked me what I’d be doing but, it was as if I had to tell or she would think I was blowing her off. Uh, I sighed, and shrugged off my thoughts. Truth is I was probably over thinking the whole thing, as usual. She probably just invited me to be nice, which is why she didn’t care whether I said no, or yes. I just needed to go home, and shower, and forget about it. I had bigger fish to fry.
Almost an hour later I honked my horn outside of Laurie’s house. My not so ex, ex, who I still hang out with on occasion. Mostly when I’m bored, or just want to make out. Laurie was a pretty damn good kisser. A few minutes had passed and then finally the dramatic Queen B she was, strolled un-phased out the door and got into the truck. Her raspberry red hair slowly blowing in the wind as if rehearsed. I rolled my eyes annoyed.
“Ew, I thought you were bringing your bike?” she sighed in disgust. “Oh well, at least my hair won’t be messed up when we get there.”
“Hi Laurie, nice to see you too.” I said and forced a smile though Laurie either didn’t see how fake it was or just didn’t care. “Where is it we’re going again?”
I only asked because when she told me, I had been busy wrestling a cat from trying to escape its bath. There was water everywhere and Airee was yelling at me to stop hurting the cat’s feelings but, as I told her, I hadn’t been hurting the cat’s feelings. That was impossible. She then just told me to move, and she finished the task. When she finished we were both soaked, and I was covered in scratches. Needless to say I will not be bathing a cat any time in the near future.
Laurie took in a deep breath and sighed dramatically. “if you didn’t want to go, that’s all you had to say.”
I stared at her dubiously, and then rolled my eyes at her. For the second time, and she’s only be here for five minutes. “That’s not the- Just tell me again.” I repeated.
“To IHOP, of course.”
After everything today, I honestly can’t say I was surprised when she had picked the one place I couldn’t go. Yet, no matter how much I insisted otherwise. There I was parking and getting out. Once inside I tried to scope out the place to see if I saw them but, so far it looked clear. “Two please.” Laurie smiled. Her hand coming and grabbing ahold of mine as the girl at the host stand threw her eyes to the ceiling, and looked at the floor chart. Trust me I knew how she was feeling. Laurie just gave off that kind of vibe. The kind that makes you want to slit your wrists and bleed out before letting old age take you when it’s your turn.
I still haven’t figured out why I put up with it but, my friend, Scott, seems to think it’s because deep down I let her get too close. Really, I don’t even know. “This way.” The girl said, and walked us over to a booth towards the back. Just between the party room, which was shut, and the bathrooms.
“I guess this will have to do.” Laurie scowled at the table, checked for sticky spots, and then sat down.
Just then the door to the party room opened, and the room inside became visible. I could hear her laugh before I could see her. The blonde whirlwind of a girl I barely knew, smiling and laughing at something as she came out, and walked to the bathroom. She was still wearing the navy blue shirt from earlier (though it was pulled tight with a pony tail) but, she had switched the bottoms she was wearing. Instead of the capree’s she had on light washed jean shorts. The ends were made to look like they had frayed, and the back pocket had a distinct rip. I had only barely noticed it as she turned, and walked into the women’s room. The slight, tanned skin, of her butt; small enough to where you couldn’t really see anything but, big enough to make you curious to see what else those shorts covered.
“HELLO?” Laurie practically yelled from her seat.
“Shit, sorry.” I said almost instantly. I hadn’t realized how hard I had zoned out until then. I sat down.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.” She smiled
I had just enough time to open my napkin, when Airee came out of the women’s room. Laughing slightly, she was just about to turn around when she looked up and saw Laurie and I. Damn it, I said aloud. Then I waited for her to frown or roll her eyes, anything that told me she was mad I had lied to her. But she did nothing of the sort. Instead she smiled, and waved hello before turning around and walking off. It wasn’t until the door completely shut before Laurie said something.
“That girl is such a freak.” She sounded nasally. Then flipped her hair. “It’s sad really; she would have been descent looking if it wasn’t for that scar. I would want to die before being seen with it.”
I hadn’t said anything, just nodded my head. It still didn’t make sense to me that Airee didn’t seem to care that I had lied to her. Is she psychic? Did she know that I was lying? In all honesty, I liked that she didn’t get upset. It was different than what I was used to. It was a relief. Were it Laurie, she would have flipped out. She’d probably thrown something at me, or the other girl.
“What can I get you to drink?” Our server asked. She was a middle-aged woman, probably my mom’s age. She had smoker’s lips, and greasy hair. Her breath smelled of cigarettes, and her nails were chewed to the cuticles. An uneasy feeling washed over me, and for the first time today, I wasn’t sure what had been the cause of it. Guilt, or the fact that this lady would be handling my food.
Later that night after shopping, and a movie, and dessert; I had spent enough money I could probably adopt a few of the clinic pets myself. I had dropped Laurie off around eleven, and then drove home. For a while I laid in bed, my brain stuck on trying to understand this new type of girl. I had never met someone like her before. In fact, when morning came I had still hardly slept. When my alarm went off, I had missed it. So I was late showing up again. Although this time, I hadn’t been too late. Only three or four minutes different.
“I hope this isn’t going to become a habit.” Airee smiled at me. Her eyes even more green today against the dark purple shirt she wore. Again she held out two different types of coffee, and told me to choose. I did, and when I took a sip, I was surprised to find I like this one too. It had a peppermint flavor that swirled with a rich chocolate mocha. It reminded me of Christmas. “Here,” She laughed, kicking off of her car, and then tossed a larger shirt like hers at me. “Go ahead and change, I’ll start the car.”
I waited until she started the car to set my coffee down on the hood. She drove a yellow VW beetle, which actually fit her perfectly. Anyways, I waited because I didn’t want it to spill. These cars are small so any movement can shake the car. With my luck, the transition turning over would have sent the cup freefalling, and today I needed the extra boost of caffeine.