24- Asking for Trouble
A few wasted hours in the morning and I looked over at the time to see that I needed to get ready for my lunch with Cole. I simply refused to call any of the... rendezvous a date, because I was no longer forcing myself to accept the fate of receiving the end product in the Games: a boyfriend.
“Thera?” A knock came from my door. At least he remembered to not barge in this time, I thought.
“One sec, dad.” As quickly as I could I changed out of my raggedy clothes into something public presentable, but still comfy.
“You rang?” I said as I swung open my door.
“I just wanted to remind you of something,” he said. I hadn’t a clue what he meant.
“Remind me of what?” Apparently, I had forgotten.
“What happens when you side with my sister!” It was like his war cry as he charged forward and tackled me onto the bed.
“Dad you’re crushing me!” I said, hoping he would get off and leave me alone.
“Lies! I am not that fat!” Oh no, he saw through my plan. I need him off of me though, so what can I say? Aha!
“I really have to pee and I’m gonna go if you don’t get off me!”
My dad shrieked (as best as a man can make that noise) and backed out of my room. “Until next time, traitor.”
I laughed as he retreated. I went to pick up my phone and noticed I had a text.
~Complications arose. I can’t pick you up from your house, but I can still meet you for lunch if you want? -Cole
Typing my reply, I made my way down the stairs.
•Yeah, that’s fine. I’ll meet you there
When I made it to the restaurant we had decided on, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in yet or not. I didn’t like waiting on people and it would look weird if I went in alone. Maybe I should just wait. Stop being such a baby, I chided myself. Okay, okay, so I put on my big girl pants and walked to the front of the little building. I was almost to the door when someone burst out of it and rushed past me, nearly knocking me to my butt on the ground. Though their hair was a shocking white, the boy looked to be fairly young and around my age.
“You in a rush or something? Watch where you’re walking!” I yelled.
The boy turned around and his green eyes seemed to glow.
“Holy moonbeams girl, calm down. Don’t you know that time is just an idea?” The boy pulled something circular from his pocket and started to flip it as he walked away.
“The weirdos in this town,” I thought out loud.
“Nice day today isn’t it?” someone asked walking up behind me. I smirked.
“You would not want my reply to that,” I told him. He walked around into my view and held out his arm in invitation.
“Well, would you like to actually enter the restaurant?”
I slip my hand through his offering. “I’d be delighted, Cole.”
Later into the conversation, Cole suggested going somewhere together after lunch. “Sorry, but I don’t really want to since I have the thing tonight.”
He handed me a peach that he brought with him. ”Yes, thank you!” I threw my arms around him in a hug, then went right away to eating it.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what are your plans? To make small talk,” he explained.
“Oh,” I wasn’t thinking when I replied, “I have another date with someone from the Games tonight.” Cole took a breath in.
“Two dates in the same day? Excuse me for saying, but that’s asking for trouble to come along.”
I couldn’t see any issues if I didn’t really treat them like the other participants. “How so?”
“Some people get jealous.”
His shoulders had become tenser than they normally are, and his face that was normally so full of life and joy was slowly becoming a mask devoid of emotion. It was kind of scary.
“There’s no need for that,” I said with an awkward chuckle. The rest of lunch wasn’t as enjoyable as the first half and Cole seemed to be completely distracted. We finally bid each other ado, I was actually relieved to be able to go home.
I rang the doorbell. A girl with similar features to Rye opened the door.
“Can I help you?” she asked, but it wasn’t a harsh tone. She actually seemed quite nice.
“Um, yeah? I’m here to see Rye, he invited me for dinner.”
Her eyes lit up in a smile. “Oh yeah, he mentioned something about a girl coming. What’s your name, kiddo?”
“Thera,” I told her. Her eyes looked up as she squinted for a moment.
“There we go,” she whispered excitedly before looking back to me. “Untamed.”
“That’s what your name means. It’s of Greek origins. Oh, I guess I should let you inside.” She opened the door wider and I stepped through the threshold. It wasn’t a mansion (which I was thankful for, they make me uncomfortable), but the house was beautiful on the inside.
“Who’s that?” I heard a voice call.
“It’s the girl Thera, mom,” she told the voice. “Oh by the way, I’m Rye’s sister, Reagan.”
“Pleasure,” I stuck my hand out and she shook it.
“Celtic origins, my name means regal, though I don’t feel that I am.”
“You seem to know a lot about names.” She smiled.
“They’re one of my favorite things to study. I’ll let you in on a little secret, Rye’s name? It’s English and Irish meaning island meadow.”
I burst out laughing, picturing Rye with a bunch of flowers in his hair and a grass skirt over his shorts. Reagan shushed me, laughing as well.
Rye appeared in the hallway. “I see you’ve met my sister? I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that you’re laughing together.”
“Don’t worry, it’s at your expense,” I told him.
“Oh joy,” he said, though it sounded anything but. “I love it when she tells stories. Which one was it this time, sis?”
“Nothing, little bro,” Reagan said in an almost convincing manner.
I smiled condescendingly. “Yeah it was nothing, Mr. Meadow.”
“Thera, don’t rat me out!” Reagan exclaimed.
Rye slapped his sister on the arm playfully before grabbing my hand and running back where he came from. “That’s enough bonding time for now,” he grumbled. “And don’t ever, call me that again.”
“What’ll happen if I do?” I challenged.
“I’m afraid it’s not legal to say,” he taunted. I scoffed and smacked him in the arm. He took me into a room, which I assumed was his own. The walls were dark blue and there was a Marvel poster hanging above a bed.
We sat down, him on his bed and me on a blanket on the floor. He offered a spot next to him, but I declined. Rye and I started talking as we waited for his mom to finish cooking the food. After a few minutes I got up and sat on the bed however, just because it was more comfortable.
Somehow we found ourselves on the subject of the Games, and I started telling him my plan to pair up the couples and see to it that everyone got someone and left me out.
“Oh yeah?” he asked, leaning closer. One corner of his mouth lifted up a little as he whispered. “And who have you paired me with, lioness?”
“Rye! Thera! Time for dinner!” Rye’s mom called from the kitchen.
“Guess you’ll never find out, meadow.” He groaned.
“I told you not to call me that!”
We can’t always get what we want, I wanted to say, but instead I just gave a little, “Race ya,” before taking off towards the smell of food. Rye and I laughed the whole way.