I wake up the next morning feeling groggy, like having the worst hangover ever. It might have been because of the repeated dreams of Pam stealing my stuff. I woke up in the middle of night multiple times, just to stare blankly at the ceiling.
Still, I dressed myself well as I get ready for school. For the first time in a long time, I chose to wear a skirt to school. From my hidden collection, I picked my favorite, which was a simple lavender skirt with flowy fabric that fluttered with the least bit of wind. On top, I wear a normal white cami and a light green cardigan over it.
I look like an easter egg, but at least I’m pretty one.
My mom noted the skirt today, and there was a proud smile on her face as she watched me walk off in something she made.
As I drop off my books at my locker, I sense someone standing behind me. Closing my locker after I finish, I turn around to see Pamela in a low-cut, off-the-shoulder red dress, short enough that if she bent down, I would no doubt see her undies. If she wears undies. God, I hope she does.
Go away, gross thought.
“Listen, I’m just going to say this once and I expect you to let it sink in,” she starts with an obnoxious tone, “Silas and I are made for each other. I’ve known him forever and I know more about him than you ever will. I was practically made for him and his parents love me. We’re equally rich, but look at you. The moment his parents see you, they’ll label you a stupid gold digger.”
I don’t respond. I can’t believe half the things she’s saying just came out of her lips. Every word coming out of her mouth is like a papercut: sharp, shocking, and surprisingly painful.
“Look, I’m just helping you out here. I just think that it would save you a lot of pain if you let go of him now before things get ugly with his parents. They’re great people and all, but that’s just to me, because I fit into their family like a missing piece of puzzle.” She flashes me a smug smile and then turns on her heel to walk to class.
As I sit in Francis’s class, I don’t say a word, or even look to Silas. Pam’s words cloud my thoughts and I find myself shaking my leg under the table. As a teenager, I shouldn’t be thinking about the future of my relationships. It’s amazing when I think about it through the present, but the second I consider our future together, it’s like a dark cloud has found its way in and rained all over it.
That cloud is Pam. The rain is the truth.
Because the truth hurts, I guess. It pains me to know that I won’t fit into his family like she would, that I’m not good enough because of my background or my ethnicity or my class.
He throws me a note and I open it to see a cartoon recreation of me in my outfit today, but with angel wings. “You look absolutely amazing today, Lane. Like a beautiful angel.”
I blush and smile at the drawing. He even drew a little swirly line to show wind that blows my skirt to the side so it would show how flowy it is.
So what if she fits in with his family? I fit in with him and that’s all that matters. I shouldn’t let doubt take over my feelings for him. He’s perfect and he’s mine.
After school, Silas took me home and offers to give me a ride to his party tonight. I told him that I had to tutor Damon and he already offered me a ride, which I had accepted. I know how much effort it takes to set up for a party so I didn’t want to bother Silas. Plus, due to the events that happened with Jeff and his boys, my mom has been a little more persistent about my curfew. I’d need Damon to take me home, too.
“So,” Damon begins as we finish up our study session, “Natasha’s back. Is she giving you any trouble?”
I smile at his protective tone. “No, I already talked to her and straightened things out. She won’t be bothering me anymore.”
“What did you say to her? Why didn’t you do that before?” His curiosity burns in his words.
I purse my lips, uncomfortable with the pressure on telling the truth. He senses this and gives me an apologetic smile.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to press. I just didn’t like to see her torture you like that.”
We were quiet as he packed his things and I put mine away. I hold up two dresses and wait for him to see my questioning look.
“Why can’t you wear what you’re wearing now?” He raises his eyebrow in amusement.
“I don’t know…” I look down at my day outfit. “It makes me look-”
“Like a heavenly angel, sent from the Great Divine?” He chuckles as he gets up, takes both my dresses and hang them back up in my closet. “You look lovely.”
“I look like an easter egg in this.”
“A darn pretty one,” he responds almost immediately, making me laugh.
As I am about to climb onto his high truck, I see him offer me a hand to boost me up. I take his hand and jump up into the passenger’s seat without flipping my skirt or anything. He closes the door after me, and I realize, he’s always been this polite with me. He’s always treated me like a princess in his carriage and always made me feel good about myself. I wish I could conk myself in the head for letting this one go, but Silas was… Silas. He was different and I can’t deny what I feel for him, no matter how much I feel for Damon.
“So that’s why you were tired yesterday, right?” Damon doesn’t look away from the road, “Your talk with Natasha?”
I nod, then realizing that he couldn’t see me do so, I sigh, “Yeah. It was a very draining conversation. She cried, I cried, the grass around us probably cried too.”
They water the grass after school on Thursdays.
“Well, I’m glad she won’t be messing with you anymore. I can’t let Silas do illegal things to frame her all the time, you know.”
I blink at him with wide eyes in surprise as he carries a knowing smile. “How did you know about that?”
“Seriously, it was so obvious. You were mad at him for something he did for you. And then Natasha gets suspended for drug possession? Come on, I’d like to think my detective skills go far above that.”
“You won’t tell anyone?” My tone is hopeful, but also concerned. Damon is a good guy who always does what’s right. So what happens when he’s reached gray areas?
“No, of course not. Natasha got what she deserved and Silas had to go through intense planning to get it done right. I’d gladly lose you to him if he cares so much to break the law for you.”
I wince at his statement and I repeat it in my head.
“I’d gladly lose you to him…”
He still sees me that way. He still thinks of me in the romantic way that he had that night in the beach house garden gazebo. I start to recall all the twinkle lights that illuminate the red and pink roses that covered my vision. I remember the song and our dance. He was wonderful that day, and I start to wonder why I had forgotten that.
Sensing that he had caused a silence, he clears his throat and says, “Of course, I’m still glad to have you as my friend. You’re fun to be around. A little weird, but aren’t we all?”
I laugh and look to him to study his profile. He had let his blond hair grow out a bit longer than I was used to and his eyes stay light under the shadows of the evening. Even from the side, I can spot the green in them and I gasp quietly as he turns and his eyes focus on me.
I look toward the windshield to see that we are at a stoplight. When I look back at him, he had that look again. The one he had that day at the gazebo, the soft gaze that melted my heart. I turn away with a shameful blush and he does the same to drive past the light, which turned green.
When we get to the party, everyone was being their wild self under the crazy influence of alcohol. I snake through the house, looking for Silas, but I don’t see him. Finally, as I bump into Kent - the guy whose name is actually Kent, not Silas - I manage to ask, “Hey, do you know where Silas is?”
He slurs, “I don’t know I saw him going upstairs I think.”
Of course. The first time I met him and spoke to him was on his balcony. Sweet and embarrassing memories hit me as I climb the stairs to his room. The same make out train persists along the steps as I pass each couple. I grimace at the appearance of Karen and Gwen, who each have their own boytoy to kiss.
I head down the hall toward Silas’s door, and run into Damon, who had just gotten out of the bathroom.
“Hey,” he mumbles, probably still awkward from our shared silence earlier, “What are you doing up here?”
“I’m looking for Silas.” I try not to meet his eyes for too long. They make me weak, that sea of green.
“He’s not downstairs? That’s where all the drinks are,” he asks confusedly. I smile and shake my head knowingly, because he wouldn’t know Silas the way I would.
As I push open the door to Silas’s room, I find a girl, in her bra and panties, climbing over a guy who’s shirtless, but still in his jeans. She was trying to unbuckle him as they heavily kiss. Her curly red hair curtains over their faces, so I couldn’t see who it was. I gasp and she turns around.
Under her is Silas, whose eyes are wide open as they see me. He looks back to Pam in befuddlement and slowly blinks several times. I don’t say anything, knowing that if I do, I wouldn’t have the energy to walk out. I feel Damon rush by me as he runs into the room, pull Silas off the bed, and start punching him in his face.
I don’t try to stop him, and I just stare out the glass doors that lead to the balcony, remembering the night we first met. I wish I had never met him. I want to take it all back.
I ignore the smug look on Pam’s face as I turn around and run down the stairs and out the front door. I hear Damon calling after me, but I everything sounds too loud, the music, the chatter, the laughter. I can’t take it anymore. I cover my ears and rest my back against his truck. I don’t want to be here.
I feel the truck shake and I open my eyes to see Damon, standing there with his passenger’s door open. “Come on, I’ll take you home.”
I shake my head, “I don’t want to go home.”
“Then where do you want to go?” He raises a concerned eyebrow.
“I don’t know. Anywhere to drown out the noise.” I gesture toward the house with its loud guests and the pumping music.
“Okay, and Tammy?” He tries to catch my gaze.
“Yeah?” I meet his gaze, and suddenly, all is well in the world. His eyes are softer than I’ve ever seen them, and yet there was a spark of fury in them that somehow gave me comfort, like knowing that there was at least someone on my side.
“I’m sorry this happened. He should have treated you better,” he sighs as he rests his hand on my shoulder. I fall into his arms as tears escape my eyes.
“Take me away from here,” I whisper.