Jolie was sitting at a table outside in the commons at lunch, when the pass she had written her warning on, was suddenly dangling in front of her face.
“Do you want to explain this?”
She looked up. Remy Bishop was much better looking in person than he was lying on his deathbed. A rakishly mussed thick head of jet black hair framed the kind of features required of old Hollywood leading men; a strong jaw, sculpted cheekbones, and unnervingly bright eyes that looked as if they were eternally amused.
Not here, Jolie pleaded, silently. Please, not here. “You can read can’t you?” she said out loud.
“Yeah, but what does it mean?” He sat down beside her.
Jolie shrugged, trying to slow her heartbeat. “How would I know? It’s not mine.” She turned away because all she wanted to do was look at him.
“But you brought it,” Remy pointed out in a completely reasonable tone. “I saw you.” His amused eyes seemed to twinkle “I caught you,” in Morse code. Jolie bristled.
“I was in the office, and they needed someone to deliver a note. I was going that way.”
“That’s it? That’s all you know?” He wasn’t buying it.
“Look, we don’t know each other,” Jolie worded her reply carefully. “Whatever that note says, it’s for you. It’s got nothing to do with me.” She stared him down.
“I’m sorry,” he caved. “It seems like I’m making a habit of apologizing to you.”
“Maybe you should stop doing stuff that you need to apologize for.” Jolie picked up her stuff and stood to leave.
Remy stopped her. “Look, I’m sorry that I bumped into you yesterday. It was rude, and it wasn’t right that I didn’t stop to help you, but this note thing.... Well, it’s just kind of weird, you know?”
“So naturally you thought of me. Nice.” Jolie started to walk off.
“I didn’t mean it like that.” Remy caught up with her, shortening the stride of his long legs to walk beside her. He smelled like fir trees, campfires, and summer nights under the stars. It was completely distracting.
“Good. Well, I’m glad you got that off your chest.” She kept walking.
“Okay, I give up. Stupid kids.” Remy muttered wadding up the note. He tossed it in a garbage can and split, presumably toward his next class. His yellow skateboard was sticking up out of his backpack.
Shit. He thinks this was just a prank, Jolie realized. Leave it be. You’ve done what you can, the little voice inside her advised. But, she hadn’t. She had not actually said; I get visions. Usually, they come true, and Remy Bishop is going to be in a terrible accident. It has something to do with his skateboard. Whatever release from responsibility Jolie had fantasized, she would get by writing that note, had not played out per plan. This thing with Remy Bishop was not over.
No matter what went on during school, everything that happened to a high-schooler had to fit into either the three minutes between classes, the twenty minutes of lunch, or before or after school. The unnatural suspension of unresolved issues resulted in drama and emotional explosions.
Jolie’s frustration was tangible as she entered the Driver’s Ed room.
After school, Jolie lingered in the parking lot skimming the next chapter for English, while she waited for one of the Bishops to come out and start for home.
This is not stalking, she told herself, aware that it was suspiciously like it.
A string of shiny SUV’s, with soccer moms at the helm, made their way along the street in front of the school, stopping to pick up kids whose Moms didn’t work at a bar--at least not anymore. Vegas society was full of good looking mothers who had been showgirls or dancers, either exotic or “legit” before they married.
Jolie felt her neck hairs stand up and twirled into the cover of a pickup truck as Rick’s El Camino came down the street. Cruising by with his window rolled down, Jessie’s ex-leaned one arm on the car door, searching the schoolyard.
“Get away from me,” Jolie muttered, clenching her fists. “Or by God, I swear I’ll kill you.”
The El Camino rumbled down the street. If Rick was hunting them, he wasn’t trying very hard. Staying alert, Jolie resumed her “I’m waiting for someone” posture.
Madison Bishop and some friends came out of the school and turned left. Jolie mentally patted herself on the back. If Madison used these doors to go home, chances were her brother would do the same, although that was assuming that they were both headed home.
A few minutes later, her guess paid off, and Skateboard Boy-Remy ambled out, his backpack with the yellow skateboard slung over one shoulder. His thick black hair stood up stubbornly in some places and lay down in others like it had its own ideas about what it should do, but it came off as charming, not messy. There was something about this boy, Jolie thought, watching him. There were a hundred other kids milling around outside the school, but it was like her new awareness of him put a spotlight on Remy Bishop. It didn’t matter what clique he passed, the other kids turned and smiled at him.
He’s like some damn Greek God or something; Jolie mused, grudgingly.
Remy looked over, and their eyes met. She had meant to try to talk to him again, to try to nudge him toward thinking the note was not a prank, but the instant their eyes met her resolve became a puddle of goo.
He’ll think I’m completely nuts. She spun around and headed down Annie Oakley Drive.
It was Tuesday, and she was expected at Faith’s.
She hadn’t gotten off the school’s long block when Remy jogged up alongside her.
“Hey,” Jolie replied, surprised.
“What was that about?”
“What was what about?” Jolie played innocent, feeling her cheeks getting hot.
“Why’d you give me the cold shoulder just now?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she lied.
“Just now, in the parking lot, when you saw me. It looked like you had something to say to me, but then you just left.”
“I-I didn’t see you,” Jolie stammered. Where was the legendary Jolie Figg hard shell? One smile from this doomed boy and she had melted.
“You’re the strangest girl,” Remy declared, his open smile making it sound like a compliment. “You send notes that you don’t send. You wait to talk to me, then pretend not to see me and run away. I can’t figure you out, Jolie Figg. Are you a player or just confused?”
“Those are my choices?” She stopped and looked up at him. His smile was genuine, his eyes bright with good-natured humor.
“You’re not like most girls I know.”
“Do you know many girls?” Jolie retorted, trying and failing to resist his teasing.
“A few. I’ve got a sister, and she has friends. But none of them are like you.”
“I’m not surprised. I’ve seen some of your sister’s friends.” Jolie tried to frown, but she couldn’t get her mouth to go that direction. Remy Bishop just made her want to smile. “You’re not making this easy for me, you know,” she scolded him, letting the smile lurk at the corners of her lips.
“If you mean I’m not making it easy for you to brush me off, like you do everyone else, then no, I’m not. You put yourself on my radar. That wasn’t my doing. You can’t blame me if I find you fascinating.”
Was he flirting with her? Jolie bit her smile in two, trying to hide it.
“Look, I’m not trying to be fascinating or weird or anything. I just didn’t see you.”
Remy looked at her and laughed, shaking his head.
“Right. You didn’t see me like you didn’t write that note. You’re a terrible liar, Jolie Figg.”
“I’m a good liar.”
The boy leaned in and whispered, “That act might work with other people, but I see through it.”
Jolie didn’t know what to say. She didn’t consider herself a dishonest person. Her lies were matters of expediency--part of her survival kit.
If I tell him the truth, he’ll never talk to me again. What should I do? She liked talking to this boy, and he seemed to like talking to her, but if she didn’t tell him what she knew, he was going to die and then he wouldn’t be talking to anyone.
“Is it really so hard to tell me the truth?” Remy prodded.
“I could explain, but it would be awkward.” Jolie sighed. “And you wouldn’t believe me anyway, so what would be the point? Maybe you could just take the note as a friendly warning and let it go?”
“Did you just admit to writing that note?” Remy grinned. Jolie’s color rose again.
“I’m just trying to say that it’s important you take it seriously and don’t write it off as a prank.”
Remy studied her face as if reading more there than her expressions.
“Okay. I’ll accept that if you agree to meet me someplace later and explain--everything, the truth. It can be anywhere you name, any place that you feel comfortable, but if you want me to accept the warning, I need to understand what it is.” He looked at his watch. “I’ve got track practice now, but I could come by your place about six thirty? Then we’ll go wherever you say.”
Jolie’s eyes narrowed. “This isn’t like a date or anything, though, right?”
“If it makes you feel better, we’ll go Dutch.” Remy reached for Jolie’s phone, punched in his number, and pressed call. “Tell me where you live.” Jolie hesitated. “I can’t pick you up if I don’t know where to pick you up at,” he explained.
“This isn’t some bizarre “Carrie” thing, is it?” Jolie asked, completely out of her comfort zone. “Or one of those; let’s mess with the weird girl bets?”
“God, I hope not.” Remy made a face. “But since it’s not prom, I think we’re probably safe.”
Jolie spoke into the phone. “Okay. The Tropical Paradise Apartments on Mountain Vista just off Flamingo. See you at six thirty.”
“Great.” Remy flashed her a dazzling smile.
“He smiles all the time. What’s wrong with that boy? “Jolie muttered to herself. “People are going to think he’s simple or something.” You’re a damned idiot, Jolie Figg, the voice in her head chided as the lanky boy jogged down the block.
“He’s the best of us,” Madison had told her father in the vision. Jolie was beginning to believe it was true. Remy Bishop felt clean and good and honest. If anyone deserved to live, he did. Not getting involved had always been one of Jolie’s cardinal rules and she was breaking it big time.
She was walking east when she noticed an old red pickup drive out of a side street. She stepped off the curb to cross the street and it drove slowly by her. A Native man with skin textured like tree bark, nodded to her. Jolie couldn’t place him, but she felt sure she had seen him before. As the truck passed, she caught a glimpse inside the cab. There was a woman in the passenger seat who looked like the fortune teller, Yanna Maria. Jolie frowned as the truck headed east towards Boulder Highway.