The rest of the week was like a living hell. Nere wouldn’t rest unless I was miserable and she had somehow figured out that if she bullied Cai too then I would feel terrible. She began to write on his locker and desk with mine. Cai was thrown into a wall during PE. Somehow they put that off as an accident in the game. I was pushed into lockers. The poured paint down my back. They broke Cai’s windshield and slashed his seats. I told Cai that I would split the bill with him because it was my fault. He didn’t see it that way but would allow me to give him the money on Monday to help him out, because he was going to have to pay to fix it himself.
On Saturday afternoon, I got a call from Cai. “Hey, Ay!”
It was noon, but I hadn’t gotten up yet. He actually woke me up. “What’s up Cai?”
“I know this week must have been hell and you probably just want to stay inside, but let’s do something fun to keep our minds off things.”
“What do you have in mind?” I questioned him.
“What kind of movie?”
“Does it matter?”
“These are important questions Cai. I would prefer to know if I am getting myself into an action movie or a comedy movie.”
“Why don’t you pick?”
I teased him. “I don’t feel like it. You pick for me.”
“Okay, fine, I will but it’s going to be a surprise.”
I groaned, “I don’t like surprises.”
He laughed, “All the better. How long will it be until you’re ready?”
“I don’t know… an hour?”
“I love your confidence. I’ll pick you up then.”
I said good bye and went to get ready. I felt bad thinking like this, but it was only Cai so I didn’t get dressed up or anything, just a tank top, jeans, and flip flops. I braided my hair to the side because I didn’t want to deal with it. By the time I put on a little make up, ate some breakfast, and brushed my teeth, it had been exactly one hour.
Cai pulled up in a little silver car that I was assuming was his dad’s a minute later and honked. I told my mother I was leaving. I jumped into the car and teased, “You’re late.”
“I just had a feeling that I would be waiting on you if I arrived here exactly when I said I was; therefore I decided to leave a minute later to give you the extra time you obviously needed.”
“Personally, I know how to manage time wisely. It’s okay Cai. You can admit to me that you were running a little late. I won’t mind.”
He threatened, “You better not mind, or I’ll drop you off here and go see a movie all by myself.”
“Don’t you think that is just a bit pathetic?” I accused.
“Maybe, but who ever said I wasn’t?”
I replied, “Very good point there, Cai.”
“You aren’t supposed to agree with me.” He said, a bit upset.
“Lying isn’t a hobby of mine, sorry to disappoint you.” I informed.
“What a shame, it’s quite fun.”
I brought up, “You know what a shame is also? Not knowing what movie we are going to see.”
“Not going to tell you.”
“Only all the time.”
I folded my arms and stared at the window.
“That’s not going to make me tell you. Actually, it makes me want to tell you less.” He stated.
I stuck my bottom lip out and looked at him.
“Not going to work.”
My lip quivered slightly.
“I’m not that easily tricked, Aylin.”
I raised an eyebrow at him as to say, “Really?”
“I mean it.”
“Pwease?” I whined.
He finally broke, “Fine, I’ll tell you.” At least, I thought he did. “Or not.”
“Bubble has been popped.” I informed.
“Glad to hear it.” He replied.
I laughed. “You’re one of the nicest people I know, have I told you that?”
“No, but I was assuming I wasthenicest, notoneof the nicest.” He corrected.
“I am sure I know someone nicer than you.”
He questioned, “Josh?”
“Can we not talk about this?” I pleaded.
“Because… Because I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Maybe I want to talk about it though.”
“It would be kind of hard to have a one way conversation though, wouldn’t it?”
“I think it should be a two way conversation. Why won’t you talk about it?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”
“You know you can tell me anything, right Aylin?”
I told him, “It’s nothing to do with you. I just don’t want to talk about it.”
“Are you embarrassed?”
“Fine, since you’re obviously not going to let this go! This kid is my only good memory of fourth grade, right? For years I’ve wondered what it we be like to meet him again, right? I finally do and everything is great, until the next day when some bitch decides that I’m some sort of threat. I feel if he’s so popular and if this girl likes him so much then all he should have to do is tell her to knock it off and the problem would be solved, but I doubt he has even said anything to her. It didn’t work out how I always imagined it would, okay?”
“Okay. How did you imagine it would work out though?”
“I’m a teenage girl. Is it really so hard to figure out how myimaginationplayed this out in my head? Honestly Cai, you need me to tell you?”
I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not. “It would be helpful.”
“It was stupid.”
“You thought you were going to meet and fall in love just like that? With no hardships? I didn’t think you were one to give up so easily.” He looked a bit sad towards the end of his response.
“What’s wrong, Cai?”
“Really? I have to tell you my personal things but you don’t have to tell me?”
He replied, “Sounds about right.”
“I repeat: you’re a jerk.”
He bit his lip. “It’s not that I don’t want to tell you; it’s that I can’t.”
“What is so terrible that you can’t tell me?”
He remained silent.
I repeated what he said to me back to him, “I think this should be a two way conversation. You can tell me anything. Maybe I want to talk about it though.”
He looked at me, obviously mad at me.
I continued, “Are you embarrassed?”
“You can stop now.”
“Hypocrite.” I replied.
“Yup, always have been, always will be.”
“You can’t expect me to be okay with the fact that you want me to tell you everything and you won’t tell me anything.”
“No, but that doesn’t mean I have to fix it to where both of have to share.”
I replied, “That’s what friends do Cai. They talk about things. They trust one another with their secrets. I don’t feel comfortable being the only one with that trust.”
“It will never happen, okay? That’s why I won’t tell you. This time my imagination was a bit out of control. Teenage girls aren’t the only ones who have imaginations, you know?”
“It looks like we’re here.” I stated.
He repeated, “Looks like.”
He parked in the closest spot he could find to the doors, we walked in and stood in line for a while, he purchased two tickets for Apollo 18. “I would have bought my own.” I told him.
“My treat.” He responded.
Even though I offered to buy the snacks, he refused and bought two sodas and a medium popcorn. We walked down a hallway towards the end of the theater. The movie had been out a while so it only made sense that it was farther away. We sat in the middle of an almost empty room. There was a small group of who looked like middle school kids in the very back and a couple who appeared to be in their twenties in the front, probably trying to get away from the kids.
I really thought about taking a nap about half way through. I liked the previews better. It was eighty minutes of awfulness. The parts that were supposed to be scary: weren’t. I would feel bad for the astronauts, but there was nothing in the movie for us to get to know them.
After the movie, I had to share my opinions with Cai. “Terrible.”
“I agree. I had heard it was scary. Pity.”
“A pity indeed. I’m sorry you wasted your money on tickets for that.”
“It wasn’t all bad. Have you thought about Nere at all since we have been out?”
I realized, “No I haven’t.”
“My original goal was to keep your mind off things, was it not?”
“I suppose it was.”
“Mission accomplished.” He said excitedly.
“Was that why you wouldn’t talk to me in the car?” I asked. “Wanted my mind to be on that and not Nere?”
“Possibly.” He said as we waited in line for refills on drinks and popcorn.
“I still think you should tell me, Cai.”
“Maybe I will if you stop prying and begging me to.”
I replied, “Well, I am so sorry. You won’t hear another word out of me.”
“Way to mock, Aylin.”
“It’s what I do.”
By this time we had made it through the line and back to the car. We both hopped in and the car murmured when he turned it on, nothing like the roaring his truck did. He popped the CD out, bored with the background music we had last time, and put in the newest, not necessarily new, 30 Seconds to Mars CD. It was on really low so it was just background music.
“I…” He muttered, it sounded like he was finally going to tell me, but instead he mumbled along with the song, “I will never forget. No, no. I will never regret. No, no. I will live my life.”
We were over half way home before we finally spoke again. I had taken to eating some of the popcorn because I had nothing better to do. “I’m going to tell you something, it might make things a bit awkward between us.”
“Okay?” I said, encouraging him to continue.
“I really like you.”
It was silent in the car for a long time. He was right; it did make things weird.
He blushed slightly. “I know that you like Josh. I know that you probably haven’t ever even thought about me like that. I mean, honestly you’ve only been here a week. I’m amazed that I feel this way in a week. I’m not one to fall that easily, usually. But there’s something about you that just seems right. Everything you have said to me makes me like you more. You are one of the only people that have ever been able to joke with me like you do. There I said it. We never have to bring it up ever again.”
It remained quiet for a while before I finally said, “I’ve known.”
“What do you mean you’ve known?”
“You and Josh should be more careful about what you talk about in the hallway. I heard you’re whole scoring match.”
He blushed harder now than before. “Oh… That’s embarrassing.”
“I bet it is. Both of you of you had really good points though.”
“History always wins.” He muttered.
“What do you mean?”
He sighed, “In my experience, the one who has more history with the girl always wins. I just had to be up against Josh.”
“I said both of you. That means you had some pretty good points too, especially the one about all of this being his fault. I wouldn’t necessarily call it his ‘fault’, but he is definitely the reason why, if that makes any sense to you.”
“I think I understand it.” He eventually replied.
“I don’t know what to think Cai, that’s why I didn’t really want to talk about it.”
“I had promised myself I would tell you today. I didn’t feel right keeping it from you. I didn’t want to build a friendship with you to only be turned down and discarded later.”
My eyes widened. “I don’t want to ‘discard’ you. I just don’t know what to do. We are stuck in a triangle that the two of us can’t get out of.”
“I suppose you’re right, but you don’t think it will be weird between the two of us?”
“I know it will be, but I don’t want our friendship to die.”
He laughed, “You talk like it’s a person or something.”
“You were the one talking about discarding like you were some lost puppy dropped at the pound!”
“I’m a lost puppy?”
“It was the first thing that came to mind, yes.”
He continued to laugh at me. “You’re so odd, Aylin.”
“Then you have an odd taste in women, no?”
“I guess I do.” Then he asked, “It really won’t bother you? Remaining friends, that is?”
“It won’t bother me in the slightest.”
Shortly after, he pulled into my drive way and let me out. He backed right across into his own drive way, as usual. I yelled across the street when he got out of the car, “You’re going to get hit one of these times Cai.”
“I’m going to blame you for it.”
“I’m not going to pay for it.”
“Don’t bet on it.”
I waved at him and started towards my house. I said a brief greeting to my mother and headed straight towards my room. I did, as most teenagers do when they first get home from somewhere whether it is a trip, school, or a date, checked my Facebook page.
I had a message from Josh. He was wondering if I wanted to go to the mall with him on Sunday. I couldn’t say no. I obviously sent him back a very enthusiastic yes.
I finished unpacking all of my clothes that night while I was looking for something to wear. Towards the bottom, I found a dress that Kali had given me for my birthday the year before. It was a low cut, light blue dress with ruffles on the bodice and one of those scrunchy empire waistbands. I found my white sandals with braided straps and set them out under the chair I had draped the dress over.
I called Kali to witness her have her spaz attack. Then, she realized what I had said when I first called her, “You mean to tell me that you went on a date with one guy today and are going on a date with a different one tomorrow?”
“Today wasn’t a date. It was just two friends going to a movie.”
“Aylin.” She stared at me accusingly.
I sighed, “I didn’t know he was going to tell me that he liked me.”
“So it was a date.”
“It wasn’t a date.”
“Denial.” She sang.
I sighed. “You know, I never resolve anything when I talk to you.”
“It’s because I point out the things you don’t want to see and/or deal with, so then you actually have to go and ponder them, making it seem like I am actually hindering the process when in fact I am making it much easier to deal with these things later on.”
“I’m glad you think so highly of your presence.”
“You know that is exactly what you do when I talk to you.”
“I won’t deny.”
“Especially when I talk to you about Jaron, you actually make me angry sometimes with all the things you’ll point out that I then have to go think about.”
“How are things with you and him?”
“Good, same as always.”
“Don’t lie to me, Kal.”
“Is it really so hard to put an ‘e’ sound at the end of my name?”
“Yes, it is. Now don’t change the subject.”
“We had a little fight. It’s nothing. We’re already fixing it.”
“I would much prefer to sit here and call you a hoe.”
“Of course with love.” Then it hit her, “Oh, sorry. I forgot that Nere girl has been calling you that lately. Did you tell me she poured paint down your back one day?”
I held up an older t-shirt, from German club at my old school and flipped it to the back. “Why yes, she did. I haven’t told mom yet, I can’t think of a good excuse to why there’s paint on the back of one of my shirts. I’m thinking of just hiding it in the garbage the next time I take it out.”
“Aylin, you have to tell her.”
“I have to nothing. She and I are perfectly content in this state of oblivion. She likes that she doesn’t have to care, and I like that I don’t have to go to a shrink. Everyone is happy.”
“No one is happy, that is the problem. Your mom doesn’t like seeing you get hurt at school, and you, obviously, don’t like it.”
This time it was my parents that called me. “Aylin, supper.”
“I got to go eat, Kal. Talk to you tomorrow?”
“Oh, we will be talking tomorrow.”
“Glad to hear it.”
I exited out of the video chat and was about to sign out of Facebook when I got a message from Josh saying he would pick me up at eleven. I set my alarm before leaving my room to go answer the standard questions my parents thought fit to ask.
Afterward, I took a shower and watched TV for a while before going off to bed. These people and their getting up early, it was going to be the death of me.