Four minutes. That’s all he had. Four minutes, to convince this beautiful, stubborn, rather fickle girl … of what? Jared wasn’t quite sure of his purpose; all he’d been worried about at the time was … getting her to listen. He didn’t want her to write him off, which he knew was exactly what she was doing at the time. Which he also knew was exactly what she was doing at that moment. She was grouping him. Assuming that he was some brand of terrible guy, and he didn’t like that. Didn’t want her to think of him that way, because he wasn’t … and she had nothing to be afraid of. He wanted her to trust him.
He didn’t want her to go sprinting off into the woods, every time they came across each other … because she was afraid. He knew that’s what it was, what it had to be. Fear. But what had made her so afraid, he wondered. First things first though … what to say? At that moment she was eyeing him as if she only trusted him as far as she could throw him, which probably wasn’t far, if at all. Did he even have a chance?
“You know, you’re wasting time standing there just staring at me. If you have something to say … get on with it.” She said, shifting on her feet. He could tell she was prepping to run again and the thing was … she was fast. He had no doubt that he could catch her if she chose to run, but that didn’t go without saying that he’d have a hard time doing it. He realized that he was stalling what he should truly be thinking of, time was running out.
Jake, the traitor, trotted from his side, to stand by Ally, as if in support of her. The dog stared up at him, quizzically, as if to say, “What in the world are you waiting for, stupid?”
“One minute, Jared.” She said, crossing her arms and tilting her head to the side. The curls of her ponytail falling lightly over her shoulder.
“Be my friend.” He blurted, cringing at the words and wishing them back the second they came out of his mouth. But of course, there was no button to push, to put this moment on reverse. So the words floated out into the space between them. She stared at him blankly, and he couldn’t help but think, that this blankness ... was worse than if she had screamed at him. He had no idea what she was thinking.
“Your friend?” She asked quietly, and he swore that some of the ice in her eyes, melted.
“Yeah … we could … get to know each other better that way …” He said, unsure.
The ice came back, full force, chilly and glacial. What had he said now? “We all know that all ‘getting to know you better’ means and I’m not going there. Sorry, Jared. But your time is up.” She turned and started to walk away, and that traitorous dog got up and started walking with her.
“Why can’t you even give me the benefit of the doubt, luv?” He called out to her retreating form. “Why can’t you trust … that I have no ulterior motives?”
She swung back around and glared at him, “And why should I believe anything you say? I don’t know you Jared! How the hell am I supposed to know if you’re telling the truth or not? Trust is dangerous, and I’m not willing to risk giving it to you!”
“You sound as if you’ve been through it all, Ally! Feel free to enlighten me!” He yelled right back. If she thought he was going to back down, because of an escalation in the volume of their conversation, she was wrong.
She swallowed hard, and her face became so utterly, heartbreakingly sad, at that moment, "You don’t know the half of it Jared and I don’t need to hear you make fun of me.”
He closed the distance between them, before she could skip away again, and gripped her shoulders, lightly, “I’m in no way making fun of you, luv. I want you to let me in. I want to know you.”
She stared at him, intently. As if she was trying to figure him out and once again, she visibly melted. The ice receded along with the suspicion and for a moment …
She shook his hands off and held her hands up in front of her, “Stay away from me, Jared. I mean it.”
He sighed, stubborn … so stubborn. “Why? What’s so bad about me?” He held his arms out, for further indication of himself, and she frowned.
“Jared … it doesn’t matter.” She said backing away.
“So when you see me again, what then?”
“We stay away from each other, simple.” She replied.
“And you’d never change your mind … about being friends?”
Still walking away, she turned back around, and smiled mischievously, making his heart trip, surprisingly. “I never exactly said the words, ‘we’ll never be friends’. But I did tell you to stay away, quite frankly, I have no control over if you choose to listen to me or not. Your choice really, as much as I hate to admit it." When she said this, there was a certain gleam in her eyes, making him question her meaning, making him wonder ... if she meant what she had said, the way it had sounded. "See you at school, Jared.”
With that, she walked out of his life again. Leaving him, luckily with his dog, more confused, and set on his mission than before. If she thought that he was going to stay away, she surely had another thing coming.