I was surprised at how much I was starting to like hanging out with Airee. She was really sweet and laid back. She didn’t hold grudges (or so she says), and she didn’t ask questions or call me out when she knows I’m lying. There’s something different about her, and even though I shouldn’t, I would be lying to myself if I said I wasn’t starting to feel things for her. Or was I? Shit, I hate being confused. Though to be fair, this whole thing is pretty unusual. I may not know how I feel but, I can tell you that.
The next couple of days, past within a blink of an eye. Before I knew it, it was Saturday and I was already headed back to the Clinic. Today was the day part one of my favor came into play. She didn’t tell me what we would be doing when I first pulled up, or during the car ride there. Obviously it wasn’t going to be something simple like changing a light she couldn’t reach, or cleaning up Counts poop again because she forgot she had to use the restroom until that very second. I smiled to myself thinking about some of the things Airee does. Everything to her is so playful and fun.
Truthfully, if it wasn’t for her scar, I wouldn’t be surprised if she would have been the most popular girl in school. People like hanging out with others who know how to have fun. Airee is fun. Laurie, well, Laurie is a whole different breed of girl. The moment we got there, Cappy, the owner, sent us immediately to the back. Somehow the systems crashed last night, so all the filing and scanning we did went to crap. I paused. Did I just say crap? I meant shit, it all went to shit! Just then, before I was about to ask myself if I was getting sick, Airee broke out laughing. I looked up.
Across the room she was sitting with her legs pulled into her chest, her hair messy in a half pony half bun thing, and she was reading something. She laughed again. This time she was smiling and covering her mouth. “What’s so funny?” I asked curious.
She looked up from her book and met my eyes. Her eyes looking almost mossy green today, as she wore an olive colored shirt. For a second I let my eyes drift over her body, when I noticed she was watching me, I forced a cough. “It’s just this chapter.” She smiled. “It has a love scene in it.” I
For another long second, I watched her try to hide the way she said love scene but, I knew what she meant. “So you like reading about kinky sex stories?” I teased her. She blushed, and went back to reading. “I’m kidding,” I added.
She didn’t say anything at first, just sat there and read further down the page. I watched her eyes move along with the words. I smiled and stood up. Walked over next to her and sat down. When I leaned closer so that I could see, our shoulders brushed. Suddenly she wasn’t reading anymore, she was looking at me. “If you wanted to read with me, all you have to do is ask.” She said. I played along and asked her if I could. She nodded smiling, and then handed me one of the edges to hold. “If you’re a fast reader, you’ll have to wait for me before you turn the page.”
The moment my eyes hit the first page, it didn’t take me long before I had found the part she was laughing at. It wasn’t about kinky sex at all, not even normal sex. It was about a girl and a guy who obviously liked each other but, who were both too afraid to admit it. As a fellow dude I have to admit, some of the signs this chick threw at him were pretty straight forward. Plus, it’s not like he was hiding how he felt either. He gave up his only leverage he had in order to keep his sister safe, and all because she decided to go where he told her not to, and the vampires got her. That was his only shot! He needed that but, because he fell in love now his sister may die.
Okay so that last bit wasn’t the funny parts. The funny parts were those moments when you know they wanted to kiss, and they were about to. Both of them would start saying little things teasing the other (kind of like how Airee teases me), and then just before they kissed something would, “Can I turn the page?” Airee’s asked. Her voice catching me off guard as I zoned out in my inner mind babbles.
“Yeah.” I shrugged trying to clear my head. “Um, I’m finished anyways.”
Airee smiled and went back to the book. What the hell was that? Why had I read for so long, and what the hell was I talking about? I shivered, thinking about what Kyle or Scott would say if they were here. Probably something like, you gay? At that moment Airee shut her book, and turned to me. “You thirsty?” she asked.
I nodded, realizing it was the truth. Why was I so thirsty all of the sudden? Airee smiled and stood up, and I followed. Turning around to walk away, neither of us saw the stack of papers sitting there until she had tripped. Instinctively I went to try and catch her when I tripped over the stupid book. The next thing I know, I was on top of her. “Shit, are you all right?” I asked.
Like before she didn’t say anything at first. Instead she just laid there, her hands pressed gently against my chest as if my added weight could crush her. She stared up at me with those damn green eyes, and her hair had come undone. Its blonde waves framing her face, and the smell of her coconut scented shampoo filled me with thoughts of summer. I shifted my weight to my arm. For a second I let my mind drift, and I wondered if I was like the guy in her book. Completely unable to admit the way this chick made me feel.
Then, the sound of Airee’s voice brought me back to reality. “So, are you ready for that favor?”
I smiled and rolled over so that she could get up. What the hell was my problem today? I must seriously be coming down with something.
We clocked out almost two hours later, and after what I had just seen, I think I would of rather spent a thousand dollars’ worth of apologetic things, then ever do that again. I shivered remembering. It was horrible; I’ll never look at that dog the same. “Sorry lil buddy.” I had told him, just before Airee made me squeeze the glands around his anus. He needed his anal glands expressed. She had said. Then, the moment the first one started oozing, I had to suppress the urge to throw up as the greasy oil-like liquid came out. It smelled like shit, and was the same color.
“I will never do that again.” I told Airee when we reached her car.
She laughed, and shoved me playfully before walking around and starting it. “It wasn’t that bad.” She had said.
“Yeah, well, for now on your getting chocolate cake whenever we fight. That was gross.” Together we laughed but, then the liquid suddenly reminded me of the color of chocolate icing.
Airee saw this, and knew what I was thinking. “Stop thinking about that.” She laughed. “They look nothing alike.”
Then we were back at Wal-Mart, and it was time for me to get out. I waited for her to say something, invite me to IHOP anything but, she didn’t. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.” She smiled.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” I said back. Opening my door, I got out. I had just made it to the truck when I heard my name. It was Airee. Quickly I got in my truck and rolled down the window.
“Hey, how are you with scary movies?” she asked. Her hand shielding the sun from her eyes. For a second I thought she was about to ask me on a date but, then (thankfully) she added, “Most of the group had plans today, so Gavin and I were going to go catch that new Evil Dead movie that’s out. Did you want to come?”
“Oh.” I smiled, and then leaned out the window. The cold afternoon breeze making my hair go wild. “So really the question you meant to ask is if I am capable of protecting you, should anything come through the screen and try to take over your soul.”
Instantly, I mind slapped myself at how stupid I had just sounded. Opening my mouth to take it back, I stopped hearing her laugh.
“Ha. Say’s the guy who is afraid of a little butt juice.”
At that I was cracking up. “Touché.” I said. “Hey I’ll take living evil over butt juice any day.”
“You’re insane.” She smiled. It was then that my phone went off. Quickly I unlocked it, and scrolled through my notifications. Laurie had been blowing me up. “So, how about it?” Airee asked.
I looked back at her, and then held up my phone. I didn’t know what else to say so instead, I went with the truth. She nodded, as if I had explained. “See you tomorrow?” she said after a minute.
“I’ll be here.”
When Airee left, I waited until she was back on the street before texting Laurie. " What’s up?"
"Finally!" She wrote back within an instant. "Where were you?"
"I was working on a project. Why, what’s up? "
"Take me shopping, please." She said. I could almost hear the whine in her voice through the text. I rolled my eyes." Please, I’ll love you FOREVA!"
We were sitting in the Food court later that night, when we heard the ambulance outside the front entrance. It had been four hours since I picked up Laurie, and since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about Airee. The way she looked lying there, her hair sprawled out around her. I could almost feel her hands pressed to my chest, when Laurie started laughing. Hysterically. I had cleared my mind, and waited for her to get off the phone before I would ask what she had been laughing about.
“Oh. That was just my dad.” She said. At the same time she put her phone away, and took another small nibble of salad.
“And?” I pressed her although I knew it was probably something stupid. Still her dad was the Chief of police, and there was an ambulance outside. Maybe something happened but, what was so damn funny?
“And,” she continued after a very dramatic swallow. It was complete with a long overdone breath afterwards and a shaky hand on the throat. I would roll my eyes but, she was just being her normal self. Besides, that was a big bite. Ha. “He was just calling me to tell me he ran into Janis up at the movie theatre. Apparently that freak Airee had like a mini heart attack thing, and ran into a door. Janis saw the whole thing.” Laurie had started laughing again. “She said it was hilarious.”
All of the sudden, an image of Airee lying on a stretcher, in pain, with EMT’s crowded around her came to mind. It came in a rush of emotions as the world seemed to stop. Before I could breathe, before I could think, I took out my phone and texted Gavin. I knew from Airee herself that he would be with her.
"What happened?" It would take a few minutes before he replied.
"We were walking into the movie when some girl from school started mooing at Ree. When she turned to see who it was, someone burst through the door and hit her right inthe chest." Of course, Janis was to blame. Though I doubt she mentioned any of that to Laurie’s father when she saw him.
" Is she okay?"
"Don’t know yet, we’re waiting on the Doctor."
“Um, hello?” Laurie sighed. “You’re ignoring me.”
Quickly I sent Gavin a final text to keep me posted. He replied pretty quickly with an easy o.k. When I glanced back at Laurie her eyebrows were furrowed, and her jaw clenched. She was giving me her typical pissed off look but, I wasn’t even in a mood to pretend to care. That night after I dropped her off, I went home and laid down. I couldn’t sleep. I even texted Gavin seeing if I should come up there but, he didn’t respond. The image of Airee on the stretcher, in pain, still tainted my thoughts, and for some reason, I couldn’t figure out why.