Chapter 18: Fear and Jealousy (Part 4)
It didn’t really take any time for him to leave out and notice me. He began strolling over to me as if I couldn’t snap his neck, but I had to be rational about it all. I had no proof that he’d done anything, or even knew whatever it was that Clarissa was up to. Still, something felt off about the whole thing.
“You know Davie boy, I have to give it to you. That Maria is something else. She’s intelligent and easy to talk to. Hearing those rumors is one thing, but actually talking to her is another. It’s almost like they’re about two totally different people.”
“Maybe because they are.” I snapped. “Ain’t no way in hell she’s the person they claim her to be.”
“Or she’s just really good at hiding it.” he smiled. “Either way, she piqued my curiosity.” I didn’t know if it was his words or the sickening look in his eyes that made me lose it for a second, but when I realized what I was doing he was already pinned against the car my fist seconds away from connecting to his jaw.
“I fucking swear John, if this is some sick twisted game you’re playing-” I had to paused for a second to calm myself down and allow myself to step away from him. I wouldn’t give him nor anyone else the satisfaction of knowing I really was a monster. “If you hurt her, there’s nothing you can do to keep me from coming at you with everything I have.” I threatened.
“The goodie-good Mr. Sensitive is threatening me?” he laughed. Or more like scoffed. “Oh come on, we both know you’re too kind hearted to lay a hand on anyone. Or maybe I was right when we first met and there’s more to you than the eye can see. Maybe our little Maria isn’t the only one holding on to major secrets hoping they won’t get out.” I ignored him. He was just trying to rile me up.
“You’ve been warned John. I won’t warn you again.” I spat before turning my back on his and walking away. If he hadn’t felt disrespected at first, he definitely did now. However, a fight with him was not worth the amount of time with Maria I would lose out on. For now, I’d walk away and accept the loss, but that didn’t mean I had to be happy about it. I tried to school my mind to focus solely on her, but by the time I slid into the booth/table combo, it was proving to be far more difficult than I thought.
“Everything okay?” she asked, her mouth full of food and bringing a small smile to my face.
“Yeah. Just a bit frustrating constantly having to repeat yourself over little things.” I forced out trying to downplay it all. The more I thought about it the angrier I was getting. I didn’t want to be upset, I just wanted to enjoy my time with her.
“What happened?” he asked. I always forget how inquisitive she is and with how this night was shaping up I didn’t blame her. First I disappeared and didn’t utter a single word to her. Then, I show up to her house spilling my guts out to her father. Next, I’m driving her for tacos and my phone is blowing up. Admittedly, I probably acted way more suspicious than needed to be. From there it only got worse and my jealousy definitely wouldn’t make anything better. Lying to her always made me feel bad, but adding on to them made me feel like I would vomit. Still, I couldn’t tell her anything without proof.
“Just my mom nagging about me not washing the two dishes I used. Like a bowl and spoon is really so much.” I rolled my eyes and dug into my food trying to give my mouth something else to do besides digging myself into a deeper hole. I knew she didn’t believe me, but I also knew she wouldn’t push it. “So what have you been up to, MInnie?” I asked, smiling again.
“Well…” she grinned.
… … … … … … … …
“Give me a kiss!” We sang at the top of our lungs while laughing. I even turned to her doing a kissy face part of me wishing I could kiss her forreal. We’d talk for hours and the drive home was definitely going a hell of a lot better than the ride there. Just being silly and laughing with her was something I’d miss. It was also good timing, seeing as these were one of these weeks where we would’ve been lonely without each other. Yhup, severe late night work sessions for the parents.
It helped having someone else there to help be a somewhat normal teenager.
“Movie night?” I asked after turning the radio down. I wasn’t ready for the night to end. I wasn’t ready to be away from her.
“Yes, yes. Fuck yes! We haven’t had one in forever!” she exclaimed, making me throw my head back in laughter. It was such a beautiful, unexpected moment that I found myself locking our fingers together and holding them there. I fully expected her to pull away, but was glad when she didn’t.
“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you this past week Minnie.” I blurted out no idea what had compelled me to confess it.
“I think I have somewhat of an idea.” she whispered blushing. I admit I got excited over what it could mean, but I was happy that she missed me too. I kept looking back and forth between her and the road. I didn’t want to crash, but I also didn’t want to miss that beautiful blush on her cheeks. I don’t know why I was doing any of it and by the time I pulled into my driveway all I wanted was to kiss her once more. Just one more, the right way, to satisfy me.
“I don’t know what’s going on with us lately Minnie, but…” she shied away from me looking down and for some reason that irritated the hell out of me. I grabbed her chin basically forcing her to look at me again. I loved those big pools of hazel gooeyness. “But I do know that I don’t like it. I don’t want to fight with you anymore or at all. I ever want to fight and argue with you.”
Before I could even detect it, her lips were on mine. Instantly I began kissing her back. Her lips were so soft and were perfectly molded against my own. I couldn’t believe this was happening again. She might have just been caught up in the intensity of the moment, but nothing could ruin this moment for me. My body was reacting faster than I could keep up with as she wrapped her arms around my neck pulling me closer and my fingers found themselves lost in her hair.
Just as quick as it had started, it stopped. We jumped apart almost as if we had been electrocuted both wide-eyed and breathing hard. I had no idea who and initiated the kiss, but I couldn’t stop touching my own lips in disbelief.
“So...um...movies. Mines or yours?” she asked, bringing us back from the shock of what just happened.
“Yours.” was all I could bring myself to say as she just nodded and ran inside. Even through all the absurdity, her reaction still made me laugh.
… … … … … … …
So many things were eating away at me. Common sense was so close to being thrown out the window. How could she kiss me like that and invite me over just to spend the entire time texting? It couldn’t have been anyone but John. I was her only friend and I liked it that way.
I liked the way that she talked to and confided in me and no one else. Something was bothering her and if I was smarter, or knew how to read minds, I could figure it out. Hell if only I had been paying attention to the right things, the nonsexual things, I could probably figure it out. There was something she wasn’t telling me and it was killing me not knowing. As hypocritical as it sounded, I didn’t like her keeping secrets from me... I never would.
Groaning I turned on my side and tried to ignore the glare of the light coming from her room. Her and John were probably still texting. Or maybe they’d moved on already to having legit phone calls. I could hear her raspy voice as she tried not to laugh at whatever stupid joke he’d made. Her tired giggle as she called him silly. She wouldn’t even know how good of a flirt she was because she was too clueless to realize it.
It made me physically sick just thinking about it. It wasn’t fair. She was mine and it already felt like I was losing her. I didn’t want to lose her. I was ignoring my feelings for the sake of keeping her to myself without the complications. I never expected John, although I should have. He used to ask about her a lot, and then he just stopped. Not able to take it anymore I grabbed my phone and like the desperate jealous person I was, I texted her.
Dave: Hey Minnie, are you up? I pressed send and it felt like an eternity before she finally responded back.
Maria: Yeah I am.
Dave: Can’t sleep either huh?
Maria: You have no idea Mickey.
Dave: Want to talk about it?
Maria: Not really.
I can see her shrugging. She wouldn’t dare try to look me in the eye when she said that. Something really was bothering her and I was scared that she was going to try and push me out. I’ve seen it for the first time what she gets like when she pushes me away and I don’t want her to ever feel like she can’t come to me. I want her to know that I’m here even if it means just sitting in silence.
Dave: Do you want to go out and watch the stars? We can just sit in silence. Won’t have to utter a word.
Maria: That sounds perfect Mickey.
Dave: Meet you outback in fifteen? Wear your swimsuit?
I smiled to myself as I jumped up to put my swim trunks on. I caught a glimpse of her running around her room and laughed to myself.
Maria was beautiful. She was still the quiet girl that I was lucky to meet by chance that first day here, but she was so much more now. Okay so maybe fate had some help in our meeting, but that was a story for another time. Still, I couldn’t get over who she was then versus now. Clarrissa’s words no longer affected her. The little rumors about her didn’t bother her anymore. She didn’t run from me when she was sad anymore. She didn’t try to hide her feelings. She was open and honest. She had grown into her confidence. She defended herself now. The person she was becoming was far more than I ever thought I’d get to see. Far more than I ever thought I would deserve to see. Maria saved me more than she would ever know and I was hoping that I could save her even if it was only a little bit.
I was in a bad place when we came here. I had no intentions of making friends with anyone. I was going to continue on lifeless and friendless for as long as possible. Be that silent dude in the back of the class that everyone wondered about. Then I met her. She needed someone as much as I did. We connected in a way that I hadn’t expected. We grew close and then like an idiot I caught feelings. I saw the beauty in her eyes even if they were glossed over with tears. I saw the pain in her heart even when it was pouring out nothing but love.
...I saw her.
I saw her clearly and that was why I began to fall for her. Her seeing me for me was what solidified my feelings for her. She was everything I ever wanted in a girl, but I couldn’t allow myself to go there again. It never ended well and it never will. As much as I loved her, I was only allowed to love her as a friend. It was the promise I made to myself and I wasn’t going to change that. No matter how many beats she made my heart skip just from hearing her voice alone.
It took everything I had in me to ignore what was going on in my mind. It was an unexpected confession for me, but now that I had admitted it to myself, it was like I no longer could ignore it.
“About time Mickey. I’ve been waiting out here for over ten minutes.” She spoke, bringing my attention to her. I paused in my movements. The moon glowed off of her skin like diamonds. It’s light reflecting from the water droplets dripping down her body. Her wet hair hung down her back in beautiful curly locs. She must’ve gone for a swim while waiting for me. Her caramel skin looked even more clear than I’d ever noticed. Her plump lips stretched into a smile as she threw her head back trying to wring out some of the water.
She was a goddess.
She was beautiful.
I didn’t deserve to be in her company. I didn’t deserve her and I was foolish to ever think that I did.
“So are you going to join me or not Mickey?” She smirked before jumping back into the water. The little vixen would never understand just how much of a flirt she really was. Just how much being around her and smelling her sweet scent truly teased me.
She was beautiful.
She was a goddess, my goddess.
Dave had been acting weird all night and I couldn’t pinpoint why. At first I thought it may have been because of the kiss, but then he showed up for movie night. Still he left in the middle of the second one. That was when I thought I may have been texting too much. Or maybe it was who I was texting over me actually texting, but there was no way he could have known. Still something had to be said. It was like we were walking on eggshells around each other and I hated it.
“Mickey?” I spoke barely over a whisper as we just waded on floaties in the water. The sky was beautiful. Unfortunately it wasn’t the clear sky we’d been hoping for, but there were still patches of stars to look at through the clouds. The moon was full and gloriously huge. It was a perfect night for floating on floaties in a pool with your best-friend whom you had feelings for.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Well, I think John asked me out on a date. I don’t really know anything about him though outside of the rumors and gossip at school. However, I was thinking that you might know more since you’re on the same teams. Maybe you can help me see the difference between fact and opinion. I know I can trust you. Do you think I should accept his invitation to hangout?” I hesitated as I waited for him to respond. I didn’t know if this was stepping over the invisible line that had recently been drawn, but it was bothering me not knowing.
I felt like my feelings were one sided here. I was confused and I wanted answers. If he pushed me to go out with John I’d know for sure that my feelings were just my burden to bear. If he fought it, there was at least some kind of hope of him feeling for me what I felt for him.
“I think you should go but tread lightly. Don’t call it a date if he’s saying you’re only hanging out. Don’t jump ahead of yourself without confirmation on anything.” He spoke. I sighed as I rolled off of the floatie and back into the water. At least this way if I started crying from my heartache he wouldn’t know.
A late night swim had been both a good and bad idea, but tomorrow was the first day of school. Something told me that it would be the beginning of the end of everything. I didn’t want to lose Dave, but I didn’t want to have to always ignore my feelings for him either. It was like we were headed towards losing each other anyways. Maybe friendships didn’t always last forever. People grow apart. They create more relationships...deeper kinds of relationships and the past just becomes the past.
At some point I would learn to branch out and Dave will eventually just become my past.
It felt like I got no sleep at all and definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to be for the first day of school.
On one hand I was still excited. I couldn’t wait for cheerleading to start back with the vigorous regime we were used to at this point. It would allow me to finally ignore all the thoughts running through my head.
On the other hand, I was tired and drained from last night. Things had grown awkward and we just spent hours swimming and watching the stars. It was peaceful and calming, but the little voice in my head just wouldn’t shut up.
Still this was senior year, our final year and I was intent on making the most of it. I was excited about the senior activities that would come up and hoped I would have a date to enjoy them with. I was intent on not being just another outsider trying to look in this year. I was going to participate for once.
I knew Clarissa was going to try to make my life hell, but I felt prepared for her for once. It was clear that she wasn’t a fighter and if it came to it, I knew I could handle myself. Unlike her I wasn’t going to hold a grudge. If she wanted Dave, she could have him. He made it clear he only saw me as a friend.
Despite it all, this was going to be the best year. I smiled to myself as I gave myself a final once over in the mirror.
“You can do this Maria. You aren’t the same shy and quiet girl you were. You’ve grown.” I blew the sleeping pups a kiss before grabbing my things and heading downstairs to pack both Dave and I’s lunch. I might be hurt, but I was still a good friend and I was okay with sticking to our agreement for the week. As I worked I thought back on the summer. So much had happened in such a short amount of time. He had finally seen me in my worse and instead of running like I expected him too, he stayed and helped.
He was there for me like no one else had been before. He was the best friend a girl could ask for and that should have been enough, but it wasn’t. I wanted more, but I wasn’t going to push it. In the midst of my thoughts there was a knock on the door. I quickly scrambled around trying to finish up before packing it in two seperate brown bags and grabbing my things to go. The minute I opened the door, I was breathless.
As usual we were dressed alike, but he looked godlike in what he was wearing. I had on a yellow pleated skater dress that hung off the shoulders with a thick black belt that clasped around the middle of my torso. I paired it with a simple pair of black wedges, a pair of black hoop earrings and a black necklace. My bangles and bracelets varied between yellow and black and to complete the look I had on a gold watch with black straps. I thought I was cute, but damn...Dave was something else. He wore a simple pair of black jeans, an all black wife beater and a bright yellow button up that shone against his brown skin. On top of his head was a yellow and black fedora that covered his loose hair. It wasn’t until now that I really noticed how long his hair had gotten. To complete the look he had on a pair of the lastest black and yellow sneakers.
“You need a haircut.” I laughed as he rolled his eyes. “Besides this is happening too much to still be a coincidence. I’m starting to think that you really have found a way to watch me through my window. Or maybe you have a hidden camera I don’t know about, but will eventually find.”
“Well, you never know.” He teased grabbing my gym bag and his lunch from me as I adjusted my backpack on my back before locking the door as we headed to his car. On the drive to school we compared schedules and made plans to share lockers since they were side by side. We would use one for books and things and the other for our gym bags and coats. We had a few classes together including six period lunch and the last two classes of the day. This was definitely going to be an interesting year, and an extremely complicated one if I couldn’t find out what this weird thing between Dave and I was.