Chapter Sixteen - “If You’re Trying To Snap Your Neck, Then Yes.”
“First, you need to be confident--”
I furrow my eyebrows, “Are you trying to say that I’m not confident?” I ask, crossing my arms over my chest. Tyler smiles weakly, nodding.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Tyler says, motioning for me to stand up. Wow, so blunt, I think to myself as I do exactly what Tyler says. When I stand up, my arms still crossed over my chest, Tyler walks closer to me.
“Don’t hide yourself behind these arms.” Tyler says, grabbing my arms gently and dropping them to my side. “If you want to be confident, or at least show it, you can’t cover yourself up. So, no hiding your face in your hands, or hiding your hands behind your back. Just be comfortable.” Tyler says, stepping back to look me over.
Under his gaze, I begin to feel uneasy and my right leg crosses behind my left leg as I bite my bottom lip between my teeth. Tyler shakes his head. “No doing that either.”
“But you’re making me feel uncomfortable.” I complain, hiding my hands behind my back; doing exactly what Tyler told me not to do just a second ago. Tyler runs his index finger under his eye.
“A lot of people are going to make you feel uncomfortable. But what I’m trying to teach you is that someone staring at you shouldn’t be something that gets you uncomfortable. That’s unless it’s a sketchy man who has that glint in his eye.” Tyler explains and I raise my eyebrow at him, my hands going back to my side, but not my legs.
“And what is ‘that glint’?” I ask and Tyler chuckles.
“I don’t look at people like that, Tipsy.” Tyler grins, crossing him arms over his chest. “But you’ll know when someone gives you a look like that.”
I roll my eyes, my smile growing on my face. “Whatever. What else?”
“Keep your head up a little. Don’t ever lower it unless you’re talking to someone smaller than you.” Tyler explains and I raise my chin up, doing what he says.
“Like this?” I ask and Tyler laughs, shaking his head. He walks closer to me before grabbing both of my cheeks with his large hands.
“If you’re trying to snap your neck, then yes.” Tyler says and I can’t help but laugh. When he lowers my face a little, just enough to meet Tyler’s intense gaze, I find myself gulping.
I feel Tyler’s fingers brush against my skin, making me feel a little sleepy. I close my eyes, enjoying the feeling of Tyler’s fingers running across my skin. My breathing begins to go a little uneven when I feel my body stepping closer to Tyler, wanting to just be held in his arms. But Tyler quickly steps away, his hands leaving my skin.
“Like that.” Tyler says and my eyes open, my heart hurting a little by Tyler’s sudden movement. Wait, why would I be affected by Tyler moving away? It’s not like I like him... I’m only helping him, I think to myself as I nod slowly.
“U-Uh... anything else?” I ask, my stomach beginning to feel a little weird, like dragons are flying around and making my stomach churn. Tyler’s eyes drop down slowly, looking me over as he tries to figure out anything else that we need to work on for tomorrow night.
“Have you ever had a make-over?” Tyler asks, a grin falling onto his face. I guess he’s back to being his usual grinning self, I think to myself as I furrow my eyebrows.
“Why? Am I getting one?” I ask, my voice coming out raspy. The only time I had a make-over was the day before Mom died and ever since then, I haven’t changed the way Mom cut my hair, or the way Mom told me to dress. And even if I had to get a new haircut to save my life, I still wouldn’t be able to bring myself to do it.
“Maybe. I’m still deciding--”
“Can I just leave myself like this?” I beg, my eyes beginning to get watery. I think Tyler notices this because the grin on his face slowly begins to fade as his eyebrows furrow together.
“What’s wrong, Tipsy?” Tyler asks, taking a step closer to me. I shake my head, holding my head up to my face to cover it; again - doing what Tyler told me not to do. I fall onto my bed behind me, keeping my head low as I try to hide myself from Tyler’s gaze. I can’t let him see me cry.
“N-Nothing...” I mumble, feeling the tears begin to fall. I feel the bed dip a little to the left, which tells me that Tyler is now next to me. I feel his arm go around my shoulders, pulling me closer to him.
“Tell me.” He says softly, but there is no demand in his tone. I gulp, beginning to wipe the tears away from my face as I lean on Tyler.
“I... I just don’t want to g-get a make-over.” I mumble, licking my lips.
Tyler looks at my face, studying me before saying, “If you don’t want to, we won’t do it. I just thought that if you saw how gorgeous you would look with a few touches, you’d be confident in yourself. I mean, you’re already gorgeous but... yeah.” Tyler says, a small smile on his face. I don’t know if he is tying to make me feel better by complimenting me but somehow, I feel it working.
I let out a weak laugh, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. But can I know why you reacted like that?” Tyler asks and I look up at him, the last tear about to fall. Before it does though, Tyler runs his thumb under my eye, stopping it before going down my face like the rest of the tears.
“It just reminded me of my mother, that’s all.” I explain and Tyler furrows his eyebrows at me.
“No, not ‘that’s all’. If you are upset, I’ve obviously hit a nerve.” Tyler says and I shrug.
“It’s okay.” I say, running a hand through my hair. “You didn’t mean to.”
“Are you sure?” Tyler asks and I nod, spreading a smile onto my face. “How about we get back to the improvements?” I suggest and Tyler nods slowly, letting go of me. But as he makes his way to the other side of the room though, I can tell in his eyes that he still wants to know more, but that’s another story for later.
Besides, he still has to tell me the thing that happened in the car.
“You don’t really have to do this, you know?” Tyler asks and I shrug, handing him the plate with the ham sandwich.
“It’s my way to repay you. I’ve learnt a lot today because of you.” I say, sitting down at the table with my own plate in my hand, except my sandwich is cheese and tomato. Tyler takes a bite of the sandwich, his head shaking. When he swallows the bite, he leans back in the chair.
“All I did was help you build your confidence, not help you win the Olympics.” Tyler says, making me laugh as I take a bite of my sandwich.
“Still counts as helping me.” I say and Tyler shrugs. When we both finish eating our sandwiches, I grab his plate and stand from my chair, walking over to the sink before dropping it in. I sit back down in my seat, watching as Tyler looks around the kitchen.
Hating the silence, I choose to speak. “Tyler,” I say, grabbing his attention. “Are you going to tell me about what we were talking about in the car?” I ask and Tyler sighs, obviously not wanting to explain himself, which makes me frown gently. “I care about you.”
“I know but... it’s a sensitive topic for me.” Tyler says and before I can say anything, his phone beeps. When he grabs it out and looks at the message, I feel my frown deepen when he stands. “I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?” Tyler says and I stand to my feet, wanting to protest.
“You’ll tell me soon though, yes?” I ask and Tyler nods, a small smile on his face.
“Definitely.” Tyler says and as he walks to the front door, he stops and looks over his shoulder. “Do you have my number?” Tyler asks and I can’t help but laugh.
“Trying that trick, are you?” I ask and Tyler rolls his eyes.
“No, I don’t.” I say, folding my arms over my chest. “Why?”
Tyler pauses, trying to think of something to say. When he does, he grins at me. “For educational purposes, Miss. Parkers.” Tyler says and I laugh, knowing where he going with this.
“Oh really?” I ask and Tyler nods, chuckling. I roll my eyes and walk closer to Tyler. “Give me your phone.”
Tyler shakes his head, “Ah, you’re suppose to give me your phone.”
“Me.” Tyler says and I shake my head.
“My phone is upstairs anyway.” I protest and Tyler crossing his arms over his chest, his smirk growing.
“Then go and get it.” Tyler says and I groan, turning around and exiting the kitchen. As I run upstairs to get my phone, I can’t help but smile. I have no idea why I’m smiling but no matter how much I try to hide it, it never goes away.
After grabbing my phone, I walk down the stairs and enter the kitchen to see Tyler staring at a photo on the counter. Gulping, realising what photo he is staring at, I clear my throat to grab his attention. When he turns around, I hold my phone out towards him.
“Here,” I say, watching as he grabs my phone from my hand. As he begins to put his number into my phone, I glance behind him to look at the photo he was just staring at.
It’s the photo of Mom, Dad and me. I was only five years old at the time - two years before Mom had died - and you could definitely see the resemblance between Mom and me. With her brown hair that I inherited from her, and her nose, even a stranger could tell we were related in some way. I had only inherited Dad’s eye colour - brown - but wish that I had Mom’s dark green eyes. Brown eyes are just way too plain.
“Tipsy.” Tyler says, bringing me out of my thoughts. I look at Tyler to see him holding my phone out for me to grab. When I do, I look down at the contact name and laugh.
“I’m guessing you like it.” Tyler says and I nod, shutting off my phone. He nods and stands awkwardly in front of me, not knowing how to say goodbye. “Uh...” He hesitates but holds out his hand, a small, awkward grin on his face. “I’ll talk to you later then.”
I smile, grabbing his hand and shaking it. “Okay.”
When we let go of each other’s hand, he sends me one last smile before walking towards the front door. And when he leaves, I feel my face heat up immediately. I place a hand on my cheeks, feeling how hot my cheek has gone as soon as Tyler left.
Okay, maybe I do like him.