Chapter 13: Feelings
Gigi1340: So how did the meeting go?
Elisabest: Not well, my mom and dad kind of freaked out about him being a vampire and us being betrothed.
Gigi1340: It’s understandable, I mean, you did the same thing so…
Elisabest: Yeah, yeah. :P
Elisabest: Daniel kissed me again too…
Gigi1340: What? Again?! You need to stop letting him do that.
Elisabest: I know, I know. I’m a mess. He’s such a good kisser though.
Gigi1340: What about Todd? You said that he’s a good kisser too. Right?
Elisabest: He is! And I still really like Todd. I just can’t deny the fact that Daniel makes my heart pound whenever he’s around. I can’t get him out of my head no matter how hard I try. I’m getting in too deep, Gigi.
Gigi1340: I can tell. I think you should take a step back from Daniel, otherwise it will only get worse.
Elisabest: Maybe you’re right…
Gigi1340: Of course I am. I’m always right. ;P
Elisabest: *rolls eyes* I’ll see you in school tomorrow, k?
Gigi1340: See ya.
That week at school Daniel still wasn’t really talking to me. He would say hi in passing or nod in my general direction, but we didn’t have any actual conversations. Except for when we were paired together in German class; which he was way better at than me by the way. Maybe this was for the best, after all, he couldn’t confuse me any further if we weren’t talking. He also continued to sit by himself at lunch, so it was just Gigi, Kevin and I now.
“Hey, Hayes,” Kevin said. “is everything okay? You’ve seemed kind of down lately.” I looked up from my lunch and nodded.
“Yeah, I’ve just been preoccupied with college applications and the SAT is coming up soon. I took it at the end of last year but I wanted to take it again to see if I could get a better score.” I said.
“What colleges are you applying to?” Gigi asked.
“University of Richmond, William and Mary and Boston University. But I’m applying for the spring semester next year so I can have some time off.” I said. Gigi’s eyes went wide when I mentioned Boston, I had a feeling I knew where this was going.
“Boston?! You can’t go to Boston! We’ll never see each other.” She pouted. “I’m going to the University of Virginia this fall, too bad you aren’t going there Kev.” Now she was pouting at him, giving him the puppy dog eyes.
“I’m sorry babe, but I got a great scholarship to Shenandoah U, I kind of have to go there.” He gave her a kiss on her nose and put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her into him. “We’ll still see each other, you know that, it’s only two hours.” I sighed to myself as they had their little moment, all of us were going to go in different directions. Todd had told me a few weeks ago that he was going to Oregon State for Bioengineering, jeez that kid’s smart.
“We’re all going to be far away from each other,” I sighed. “Todd will be in Oregon, and even if I go to school here in Virginia we’ll be an hour away from each other, Gigi.” I said. “Plus Daniel will go home to Romania,”
“Yeah, senior year is kind of nostalgic,” Kevin agreed. “I’m going to miss all of my band friends, we’ve shared a lot of good memories together.” Gigi reached across the table and patted my elbow, giving me a smile.
“We’ll be okay, Elisa, we can skype all the time, and maybe you can come stay with me one weekend. Come cheer me on at a football game, I’ll be in the bleachers with the band.” She said. “At least you’re taking some time off before going to school, I wish I had thought of that.” I nodded and smiled in response. “So when are you retaking the SAT?”
“In two weeks, Todd is going to help me study math too, since that’s my weakest subject.” I said. “He’s so much smarter than me and I hate to admit it.” I laughed.
The bell rang a few minutes later and all of us made our way to our respective classes. Daniel nodded to me as he sauntered past me down the hall towards band. We had already kissed, like, three times, you would think he could at least say hi to me. I rolled my eyes and headed into the art room back to my easel.
“Alright class, today we’re going to begin our next project which will be,” Pause for dramatic effect. “Self-portraits!” Mr. Smith exclaimed. Ah self-portraits, the unit I dreaded the most. “I’m going to give you all one week to do a portrait in any medium you desire. Charcoal, paint, photography, it’s totally up to you. You’ll be graded on quality and artistic creativity. I understand self-portraits can be intimidating and frustrating, but try and have fun with it too.” Easy for you to say, you’re the teacher, you don’t have to do it. “I’m going to give you the rest of class to begin planning, I’ll be in my office if any of you need me.” Mr. Smith walked to the back where his desk was and promptly pulled out a Neil Gaiman novel and began reading.
“I’ve been dreading this unit for the past month,” I heard a boy say from the front of the class.
“Me too!” the girl next to me, Zoey, said. “What about you Elisabeth?” She turned to me.
“Oh definitely, self-portraits suck.”
“Really? But you’re so good at portraits! The one you did on the first day of class was awesome.” She said.
“Yeah, but that was of a different person,” I said. Self-portraits always seemed to bring my insecurities to light, it was some subconscious thing I had going on.
“Well do you know what medium you’ll do? I think I’ll do pastels.” Zoey said.
“I’ll probably do watercolor, that’s my favorite.” I said. “It’s what I’m most comfortable with.” Zoey nodded and then turned to her notebook and began taking notes on what she was going to do.
Ugh, stupid self-portraits. Last time I had to do one of these things I kept making my nose too big because I had overheard some girls making fun of it. Time to find out what I was insecure with about myself this year. This semester kept getting better and better.
“Do you want to go over the quadratic formula again?” Todd asked. We had been going over Algebra for the past hour now and I was getting sick of it.
“Not really, no.” I said. Todd frowned at me and doodled in his notebook. “Don’t give me that look, I’m tired Todd.” I whined. “You’re cute and all, but even you can’t make math fun.” I joked. He rolled his eyes but closed his textbook. “Aw, don’t be mad Toddy,” I cooed and he glared at me; he disliked that nickname. I grinned devilishly and pounced on him, tackling him onto the couch. “Gotcha,” I murmured against his lips then kissed him hard.
Sure, Daniel might be better at kissing than Todd, but that didn’t mean that Todd was bad, far from it really. Todd deepened the kiss and pulled me closer to him as I knotted my fingers in his hair. He reached out and slipped one of his hands under my shirt on my back, his touch leaving trails of fire on my skin. “Todd,” I breathed out. His touch felt so good. We kissed for a few more minutes, my mouth becoming raw from the friction of our lips, until Todd pulled away and flipped me over so that I was now under him.
“Elisabeth,” He said, his breath ragged. “I love you,” My heart felt like it stopped and my eyes went a little wide. “I’ve been wanting to say it for a while but couldn’t seem to find the right moment.” Todd blushed and looked into my eyes while I looked like a deer in headlights. He waited for me to reply and when I didn’t he rolled away. “Why can’t you say it back?” He asked softly. “You don’t…don’t you love me too?”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“Sorry for what? What’s going on?” He asked.
“I’m just,” I paused to blink away a few unruly tears, of course I wanted to say it back to him, but I couldn’t bring myself to. “I’m confused,”
“Confused about what? We’ve been going out for over a month now Elisabeth.” Todd said, his voice getting louder, more hurt.
“About you and Daniel,” I confessed and sighed. “When Daniel left back in October I was already beginning to develop feelings for him, and while he was gone he left me little notes and pictures to find in his house, I never really got him totally out of my head. Or I almost did, and then he came back to the states.” Todd’s face fell into a sad expression and he looked away from me. “I’m sorry, Todd, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have feelings for you, I just need to sort through my other emotions first.” I looked away from him to the floor. “I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
“I still want to be with you, I want to be with you and not Daniel. I just need to get him out of my head,” I reached over to Todd’s hand and intertwined our fingers. “You make my heart beat fast and give me butterflies. I’m so happy with you Todd.” I said. He turned back towards me and squeezed my hand in response. “Please, Todd,”
“I think that I just need a while to think about this, Elisabeth.” He said after a brief pause. “I should probably get going anyway, it’s getting late.” Todd quickly gathered up his things and gave me a chaste kiss before practically running to his car. Great, way to go Elisabeth, you really did it now. He didn’t even say it again before he left.
I collapsed onto my bed and shoved my textbooks onto my desk. “Why does senior year have to suck?” I asked myself. But then again, if Daniel hadn’t shown up I would have never gotten in that fight with Gigi, which means Todd wouldn’t have seen me in the library. So we might not even be dating now if Daniel hadn’t come to Avery. “They say everything happens for a reason,” I muttered to myself.
I’m so stupid, why did I have to do that? Why couldn’t I have just said that I love him back? He’s probably really upset now. I thought. I pulled out my phone and sent Todd a text apologizing once more, even though he wouldn’t be home for another twenty minutes. It would be there when he got home. I groaned to myself once more and I resigned myself to my room for the rest of the night. What can I say? I have a tendency to wallow in self-pity.
The next day I got out my paints and a canvas to finally start on my self-portrait, it was due this Friday so I needed to get to work on it. I started out by sketching my face as I looked at it in the mirror, so far so good. No big noses or wild hair. Next I began painting the real deal. I started with light strokes on the outline of my face, looking into my mirror every few seconds to look at myself.
“Man this sucks,” I said under my breath. Once the outline of my face and features was done I moved onto my hair. Getting the shade of my hair was always difficult for me because it was auburn, but a dark auburn. When I finished for the day I was a faceless, featureless outline of a girl with wavy hair that reached a quarter of the way down her invisible back.
“This is good for today,” I left the canvas out to dry while I packed all of my paints and brushes up. “I’ll finish the rest of it tomorrow,” I muttered to myself.
I still hadn’t heard anything from Todd either. He texted me last night saying he had made it home, but that was it. I sighed to myself while I cleaned my brushes. Why couldn’t I have just said it back? I do love him, but I feel guilty for having these feelings for Daniel too. Daniel just had to come back didn’t he? Things would be totally fine if he had stayed home in Romania like he said he was going to.
I grabbed the photo of my parents out of my drawer and stared hard at it. They definitely looked in love. If they had an arranged marriage and could still love each other, who’s to say that Daniel and I wouldn’t love each other also? He’d already told me in his letter he was developing feelings for me. And unless a kiss in Romania is meaningless, we had already done that a few times too.
“Ugh, stop,” I need to stop thinking about this. I just need to get all of my feelings off of my chest, that was the only way this could go away. Yeah, I like Daniel, but we didn’t have a future together. Vampires? Family wars? Living in Romania? None of that sounded good to me, I just want to go to school and do something with my life, get out of Avery and go somewhere exciting. Like Chicago or San Francisco, although I still didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career.
I found myself wanting to tell Gigi what had happened with Todd last night, but I already knew what she was going to say.
“Just stop thinking about Daniel already Elisabeth!” She would scold. “You know you don’t want his vampire baggage, and I know how much you like Todd, so just stop. Daniel isn’t worth it.” Something along those lines. I could picture her so perfectly in my head too.
The rest of Sunday I spent working on homework for my German and Biology classes, then we went to an Italian restaurant in Surry for dinner. Sunday’s were always lazy days in our house.
The next morning in German class we were learning about etiquette and dating. That’s right, they teach you how to date properly in German.
“Alright class, we’re going to split into groups of two for this exercise and I want the two of you to put on two small skits. One to show good manners when going out, and one to show bad manners. Verstanden?” Mr. Nacht explained.
“Ja,” We all responded.
“Sehr gut! The pairs will be,” He grabbed his cup of popsicle sticks, all of us had our name on one. “Vera und Theo, Rebecca und Sarah, Daniel und Elisabeth…” I tuned everything out after that. Of course I was paired with Daniel, I’m cursed, yes, that must be it. Mr. Nacht finished rattling off the rest of the names and told us to meet with our partners.
“Hallo Elisabeth,” Daniel sat down next to me with a flourish, I noticed he did that a lot. It must be a combination of his princely upbringing and oversized ego.
“Guten Morgen,” I muttered in reply.
“So,” He continued in English. “What shall we do for our skit?” He asked. “I’ve never been on an American date before, I’m not sure if it would be different from in Transylvania or not.” He rambled. Was he nervous? I glanced at Daniel’s face and noticed that the tips of his ears had turned red, he was totally nervous.
“Daniel,” I stopped him. “Why are you nervous right now? This is just German class,” I said.
“Ja, ich kenne,” He said slowly. “But it is a date with you, Elisabeth.” He muttered. If you considered German class a date I guess, he was freaking out for nothing.
“Daniel, es ist Ordnung.” I assured him patting his elbow. “In America we have simple dates, dinner and a movie type deal.” I said. “Pretty easy,”
“I suppose so. Where I’m from you take them on walks through gardens or upscale restaurants in Bucharest.” Daniel said.
“Yeah, well you and your family are also super wealthy and old fashioned.” I said. “Let’s just have it so that we’re going to a movie or something. You can pick me up in dein Auto or whatever and when we’re at the movies you offer to buy tickets and I’ll buy snacks or something.” I suggested. “It’s easy enough don’t you think?” Daniel nodded in response. “You just have to be the perfect gentleman,” I teased. He rolled his eyes but still nodded. “Okay, gut.”
Mr. Nacht clapped his hands a few minutes and everyone quieted down. “Alles gut, Klasse?” He asked. We all nodded in response. “Wunderbar, lasst uns anfangen.” He said. “Vera and Theo, du bist der erste.”
Everyone had similar ideas to ours, there were a lot of movie dates and dinner dates. Although Rebecca and Sarah went to the park for theirs. Then it came time for us to go on our “date”, we did the good one first.
Daniel started off by knocking on my pretend door.
“Hallo Elisabeth, du siehst schön.“ He said. I couldn’t help it, I blushed. Daniel gestured for me to go the car where he held the door open for me and shut it behind me. Then we “drove” to the movies together. “Ich werde kaufen Die Tickets.” He said. We walked to the other side of the room where the “concession stand” was.
“Danke für Die Tickets, Ich kaufe das Essen,“ I said. I pretended to buy the snacks and stuff. After the movie he drove me home where we stood awkwardly for a few seconds, neither of us knew how to finish off our “date”.
“Uh,” I stuttered. “Heute Abend war toll,“ I paused.”Ich liebe dich.“ I said. Daniel’s breath hitched when I said ich liebe dich and his face turned pink.
“Ich liebe dich auch,” He responded after a beat and reached down to my hand, bringing it to his lips. Swoon. Mr. Nacht cleared his throat and both of us were brought back to reality, weird, it felt like we had been the only ones there. Seriously, I had totally forgotten about all of the other students and Mr. Nacht, we had only been looking at each other.
“Very good you two, now for the “bad” date,” said Mr. Nacht. For our bad date we pretty much did the same thing, except when Daniel picked me up he just honked for me to come out to the car. He didn’t open my door for me and didn’t offer to pay for anything on the date. So at the end of this one I “slammed” the car door shut and left without saying anything.
“Jeder hat gut,” Mr. Nacht said when we returned to our seats, we were the last ones to go. “I am pleased with how todays exercise went, now let’s talk about tonight’s homework,” Mr. Nacht continued to drone on but I found myself staring at Daniel, his hair was pushed behind his ears revealing the profile of his face, his angled jaw line, full lips, and crooked nose. Man he was cute. As I looked over at him Daniel’s eyes slid over in my direction, catching me in the act of ogling him. His lips quirked up into a smirk and I turned away from him quickly; I could feel all of the heat rushing to my face, it was probably beet red right now. I even heard Vera chuckling from next to me, ugh. I sank low into my seat and tried my damndest to focus on Mr. Nacht’s lecture for the homework tonight.
Class ended soon after and I high tailed it out of there to art class, I didn’t want to see that cocky look of satisfaction on Daniel’s face right now. I managed to keep ahead of him in the hallways, thank you mobs of students, I was actually the first one to art class. Today it looked like we were going over color theory, fun, fun. Students started to trickle in, I couldn’t help but over hear Zoey talking to her friend Tara about the Valentine’s Day dance coming up soon.
“I really want to ask that Daniel Florescu guy to go with me, he’s so hot, plus he’s in my math class.” Zoey said.
“Pff, yeah right, I’m pretty sure every girl in the school wants to go with him.” Tara remarked.
“Well, whatever, I’m asking him at lunch today. Haven’t you noticed him? He’s always sitting by himself in the corner, poor guy. I wonder why he never sits with anyone.” Zoey said. There was no way he would say yes to her, right? We had just said we loved each other in German class, not that that was real, but still. Ugh, stupid emotions, why did they keep doing this to me?
All I could think about was Zoey asking Daniel to the dance after that, at least until it was time for lunch. Instead of walking directly to the cafeteria I walked down the hall towards the band room to meet Daniel, Gigi and Kevin as they left the band room. “Daniel!” I called out to him. His eyes met mine immediately and lit up.
“Elisabeth, to what do I owe this pleasure?” He asked when he reached me. We walked next to each other down the hall leaving Gigi and Kevin behind us.
“Well I thought I would invite you to sit with us at lunch. You’ve been sitting by yourself for the past couple of weeks, you look lonely.” I said. Daniel thought then nodded after a moment. “Cool,” I said trying to hide my stupid smile. God, pull it together Elisabeth. I thought. We walked the rest of the way to our lunch table in silence and sat next to each other. Him with his thermos and me with my turkey and cheese sandwich; Gigi and Kevin sat down a few minutes later.
“What a surprise, what are you doing here Daniel?” Gigi asked. “You haven’t been here the past couple of weeks.”
“Elisabeth invited me to sit here with you guys,” He said. He took a sip from his thermos, his eyes lingering on mine. I spied Zoey walking through the lunch room over towards the table Daniel had been sitting at lately. She had this confused look on her face when she saw he wasn’t there she stopped in the corner and scanned the cafeteria for him, her face breaking into a smile when she found him at our table. Here goes nothing.
“Hi guys,” She said walking up to Daniel, she looked a little nervous. “Um, Daniel, could I talk to you for a second? I have a question about our math homework.” She said quietly. He looked to me and I just shrugged at him, have to play it cool. Daniel stood and they walked over towards the cafeteria doors.
“What’s up with that?” Kevin asked.
“Oh she’s going to ask him to the V-Day dance,” I said, albeit a little bitterly. I turned to watch them, Zoey’s cheeks were tinted pink and she had her hand on his shoulder. Bleh. Green wasn’t a good color on me.
“Why do you care if she asks Daniel to the dance anyway?” Gigi asked suspiciously. Here we go.
“Todd told me he loved me Saturday night,” I started.
“That’s great!” Kevin interrupted.
“But I couldn’t say it back to him.” I muttered. Kevin’s smile quickly flattened into an awkward look of confusion.
“Because of Daniel?” Gigi asked crossing her arms. I nodded, defeated. “Elisabeth,” She scolded. “You need to forget about him, Todd’s way better for you.” What did I tell you? I glanced over at Daniel and Zoey to see her walking away and him returning to the table. “Ah, there you are Daniel. So she asked you to the dance huh?” Gigi asked him. He nodded. “What did you say?”
Daniel glanced down at me, taking in my glum look before responding. “I said no,” He said. He said no! “Are you alright Elisabeth?” He directed his attention to me.
“I’m fine,” I said. Gigi rolled her eyes but thankfully let the whole thing drop. Unfortunately, Kevin, the obviously socially inept person did not.
“So is Todd mad at you? Is he upset?” Kevin asked. I was going to punch this guy.
“Why would Todd be upset with Elisabeth?” Daniel asked confused.
“It’s nothing,” I said quickly. I grabbed my lunch and stood from the table. “I just remembered I left something in the art room, I’ll see you guys later.” I dashed away from the cafeteria, leaving the ruckus behind me.