Chapter 4: The Girl Next Door, Maria (Part 1)
Chapter Two: The Girl Next Door, Maria
The plan had worked ten times better than I realized. As soon as she realized who I was after I called, she was inviting me to this party at her friend’s house. I got the address seconds after we hung up. It became clear the kind of distraction my heart wanted and it killed me to realize how involved with the girl next door I had become.
It was clear that one promise will be broken the moment I step foot into this party. Doing so I will have to go back to the guy I hated being. The guy that fit in with the popular crowd. The Dave everyone loved. The one every girl wanted and every guy wanted to be. The one my dad was proud to call his Jr. The one my mom wanted to show off to every mother. The one who didn’t notice that Natalie needed help. The only one who would be able to truly help Maria find out the truth.
It would take real preparation to get back into that state of mind. For her, I’d play this part once more; but with her I’ll be the kind of guy I know I can be. One that will make my parents proud again. The list had already been building itself.
I’ll go to this party and finally become seen. I’ll make my presence known. Get in with the popular crowd so when school started back I’d already be a familiar face.
I’ll use my charms on Clarissa, even though a big part of me already believes it’s not needed. She had no issue answering my questions that day.
I’ll get the information I needed while working up the courage to introduce myself to Maria.
I had to plan the perfect introduction. Something that seems to happen by chance, but will paint me in the light of good. That would make her want to know me.
I want to befriend her. To test the limits of how far I’m willing to go to protect her. I’ll reveal as much of myself as possible to do so. I don’t want to feel like I’m replacing Natalie because no one could ever replace her, but I also don’t want to be blind if she should need me. I don’t want my personal feelings to get in the way again.
The last and final step. Give Maria a chance to be who she really is, even if that only ends up being around me. Whatever it takes to make her light shine in front of everyone else again. I just never want to hear her sad again. If she gets sad, I’d try my best to cheer her up. I’ll do it for as long as she allows me too.
With a plan in mind, it would be easier for me to stick to it. I knew my goal and the obstacles I had to overcome, but they were still a little blurry. Going to this party should help to clear up some of these things I was fuzzy one. I still couldn’t understand why people hated her. If anything she was a little too wrapped up in her own world. I’ve definitely slipped a few times where she would have noticed that she had new neighbors. Either she was a ditz, or she really just didn’t care. Whatever the reason, it was all about to change and soon.
… … … … … … … … …
The music was booming and the flash lights seemed to be flashing ever second. I cringed with the stereotypical-ness of it all. Where we in a bad teen movie? Everywhere you turned someone was drinking, grinding on each other, or smoking a joint. Hell in one corner they were doing all three. As I got closer to the kitchen, I felt her notice me. For a minute it scared me, it was like a chill had washed over my shoulder.
Well, I’ve already come this far.
“David over here!” she called her screech making me cringe. I plastered a fake smile on my face as I turned to find her waving me over to their little group. It was clear who they were before I met them. They had to be athletes. You could tell from how they were built. It was almost like they were the center of everything. Everyone gravitated towards them one way or another. Yhup, they were the popular group. Still like an idiot I walked over to them, already feeling my throat closing up. My mother’s voice was in the back of my mind placing all kind of guilt around my heart.
“Clarissa what’s up? Thanks for inviting me.” again I faked a smile as I allowed her to hug me and tried not to cringe away from her touch. Something about her gave me a horribly sickening feeling deep in my gut and I just couldn’t figure it out.
“No problem!” she giggled. “I couldn’t let you ruin yourself before you had a chance.” I place my hands in my pocket as I took a step back. I had to clench my hands in a fist as an overwhelming urge to strike her filled me. I didn’t know the full story, I didn’t want to ruin the plan and I couldn’t revert to old ways.
“Who’s this?” came a voice from on side of her as he shoulder bumped her. I already didn’t like him either. He stood there sizing me while staring me down as if that would intimidate me. He had no idea who he was messing with and this wasn’t a situation he wanted to put himself in. No, this wasn’t a situation I wanted to put myself in. If I was willing going to walk back into this world I had to keep as much negativity out of it as possible.
“John cool it, he’s new.” she rolled her eyes. “I met him a few days ago outside of my parents shop. Get this, he’s the slut new neighbor. I had to save him.”
“My hero.” he mocked her faking a bow. I almost forgot how cruel teenagers could be during my isolation. “What’s your deal new kid?” he asked making me raise my eyebrow at him. I had to clench my fist tighter and remind myself that I was doing this for her. That although I didn’t know her, hearing her cry like that broke my heart. I wanted to make things better somehow.
“Nothing, just trying to make a few friends before school start and hoping they’ll allow to participate in sports despite the move.”
“What you play?” he questioned almost looking like he was ready to give me the third degree.
“Football and basketball.” I answered easily and watched as they look he had changed. Just like that I was in.