I remember sitting down with a phycologist after the incident. The woman was older with about three PHD’s hanging on her walls. She told me she dealt with “this sort of thing” all the time. I always wondered what she meant when she said that. Had she talked with other seventeen-year-old girls thrown into witness protection because their parents were murdered? She went on to tell me that everyone processed trauma differently. I remember her saying “paranoia and hallucinations”. She said that your mind could trick you into believing somethings there and it’s not.
That’s what was happening to me right now. My mind was breaking with stress and trauma. It was playing tricks on me. It was making me see someone when they weren’t really there at all. I sit with my eyes closed and my heart beating out of control in my ears.
“Greer, what is it?” Bash reaches forward and squeezes my hand in his.
I shake my head and finally open my eyes to look at him, “Nothing, I’m fine.”
“You sure? You sort of freaked out for a moment there.” He stated.
I nod quickly, “Yeah, sorry.”
“Okay.” He nods. “I’m sorry for snapping at you like that.”
“It’s okay, I understand.” But I really didn’t. I knew I saw a different Kaleb Nixon than everyone else did. To everyone else, Kaleb really was a punk, but not with me. With me he was different. I just wished everyone could see the Kaleb that I saw.
We sit there in silence for a while, neither of us making eye contact with each other. The bell over the door chimes and I turn around to look. To my relief, it’s Adam. He spots me as well and lifts his hand to wave at us. I hear Bash sigh, but I ignore him. Adam makes his way towards us and stops in front of our booth.
“I knew that was your car, Greer.” He smiles, then he turns to Bash. “You’re Bash, right? I’m Adam.”
“Hey, man.” Bash nods his head at my friend.
“Are you guys in the middle of something important?” Adam inquires.
“No.” I say a little too quickly. I gulp when I notice the hurt look that crosses Bash’s face.
“I was actually just about to leave.” Bash slides out of the booth and digs in his wallet. He places a twenty-dollar bill on the table, way too much for only the two drinks we ordered. “It was good to meet you, Adam.” He nods to my friend and then gives me a sad look. “I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Sure.” I nod after him and watch him leave. He gets into his car and speeds away.
Adam slides into the booth where Bash had been sitting. “Okay, is it just me or was that awkward?”
“It wasn’t just you.” I sigh. “It was definitely awkward.”
“So, I take it you guys didn’t make up?”
I laugh dryly, “No. It’s confusing.”
“He still thinks you have feelings for Kale? That’s funny.” Adam laughs, but then stops when he sees the look on my face. “Greer Evans, no way! Please tell me you actually don’t have feelings for the meanest kid in school.”
I open my mouth and then close it for a moment. When I open it again, I speak slowly, “It’s confusing, Adam. I don’t really know how I feel.”
“Do you know what Stockholm Syndrome is? Brainwashing?”
“Okay, one: Kaleb isn’t holding me hostage so it isn’t Stockholm Syndrome. And it’s not brainwashing either. I just know a different side of Kaleb than everyone else does.” I try to explain.
“You’re insane, Greer, and you definitely have a death wish.” He shakes his head. “What do you see in him, anyway?”
“I don’t know.” I sigh. “He’s frustrating and rude. He drives me absolutely insane and most of the time I can’t stand him. He acts like a four-year-old and has the emotional capacity of one as well.”
“Dang, you have it bad don’t you.” Adam shakes his head and smiles.
I sigh, “I don’t know what to do, Adam. Tell me what to do.”
He shrugs, “If it was me, I’d run, like far away. But I’m not you, Greer, and I can’t tell you what to do. Only you know that.”
I groan, “Bash is a good guy. It would be easy to just choose him. But he doesn’t make me feel the way Kaleb does. Kaleb makes me angrier than I’ve ever felt in my whole life. Bash makes me calm and happy. I don’t know what to do.”
“I wish I could give you the answer you want, Greer.” Adam gives me a simple smile. “Maybe make a pros and cons list, weight it out.”
“That’s horrible advice, because Kaleb would have way more cons than he would pros.” I sigh. “Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I doubt Kaleb feels the same way. I mean, why would he? He’s made it clear he doesn’t like me.”
Adam laughs, “Are you blind?”
“What?” I balk.
“Of course, Kaleb likes you. I mean, it’s pretty obvious if you ask me.”
“Are you joking? Kaleb hates me.” I laugh.
“Wow, you really are blind.” His eyes widen.
“How can you think he likes me?”
“I’m a guy. I know when other guys like a girl. I mean, the way he looks at you alone. Plus, he’s supper possessive of you. He might not act like it, but it’s written all over his face. I know you’re both trying to hate each other, but hate and love are a lot alike.”
I couldn’t answer, didn’t know how to. Leo had said the same thing, that Kaleb didn’t hate me like I thought he did. My mind didn’t know how to process the information. One part of me wanted to giggle and smile like a school girl finding out her crush liked her. The other part wanted to shy away from the feeling, run away like I was used to. This was too much for me to handle. Specially right now, especially with a boy like Kaleb Nixon. He already knew too much about me. I had told myself I would put myself far away from him, but it was becoming clear that it was impossible to do that. My heart wanted one thing, but the rational part of my brain wanted another.
Leo had told me I could still have a life, even though I wasn’t Greer Thomas anymore. But how was I supposed to have a life with Kaleb Nixon? He said himself that he was going to figure me out, and he’d proven that on many occasions.
“Maybe you should talk to him, Greer.” Adam says finally. “It would make things easier.”
Would it? Would it really make things easier? Every time I talked to Kaleb, it ended in a fight.