12. So close and yet so far
After I’d signaled her with two honks, I came out of my car and stood to lean on the side of it. The curtain of her window opened and I smiled up at her. Though it was pretty far from where I’d parked my car, her expression didn’t seem like she’d seen The Exorcist, which was a pretty good sign.
As I waited for her, I saw the front door open and her dad peeked out. I suddenly felt my body jerk up to straighten my posture.
If Scott had seen me like this, he’d surely roast me.
Just after that, David ran out of the house, all smiles and shouting my name.
“Hey!” I smiled back. “How are you doing?”
“Good.” We greeted each other with bro-fists.
“Okay. What happened to your face? Did you fall?”
I turned back and took a quick look of my face in the window glass. There were some bruises here and there from the fight. Not much.
I shrugged and answered, “Been fighting some bad guys? Does it look bad?” I asked, leaning back on the car.
“It’s . . . Okay. Alana told me that girls don’t like guys like you. Is it true?” He asked curiously, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
“She did NOT say that.”
“She did. Is it true?”
“Hell NO,” I answered, “That’s not even possible. In fact, there are tons of girls in school who like me.” I flicked my eyebrows at him.
“Umm . . .”
Well, that’s a really difficult question.
“I guess it’s because I know how to play the guitar?”
“Woah! You know how to play the guitar?” His eyes went wide as if it was a really big thing.
“Yep.” I looked up the driveway.
Alana appeared at the door too and I watched her talk with her dad. I took the opportunity of that moment to send a prayer to any God available so that the badass doctor wouldn’t say anything like ′I don’t wanna see that good-looking hunk in my driveway again’.
Since I was getting pretty nervous and anxious as I waited for her, I didn’t really hear what David was gibbering about now. He was talking about his friend called Harry and that this Harry has a brother who knows how to play the guitar as well but well, most of it didn’t reach my ear.
Alana and her dad hugged each other and then she came out.
“Kay, David. We’re going,” she said as she reached us.
“Bye,” he turned to me.
“See you around,” I replied and gave him another fist-bump.
After that, he ran back inside the house.
Alana raised her eyebrows at my face. I simply shrugged it off and opened the door for her, saying, “Your carriage awaits, ma’am.”
She rolled her eyes. “I thought you wouldn’t get out of prison for at least a week.”
“Mongrel, you never learn, do you?” I smirked at her, relaxing.
She raised her eyebrows yet again.
“You see, it’s the bad ticket for the daughters when their cop fathers hold up this dude for too long. You know what I mean?” I grinned at her with a flirty wink.
She rolled her eyes in return and got inside the car.
Settling in, I asked, “So the puppet drove you back that night?”
“Hey, stop calling him a puppet,” she returned.
“Why not?” I straight off countered back with my eyes sternly fixed on hers.
I really didn’t like the way she was defending him. I actually despised it with a passion. It got me fucking jealous.
“Because he’s my friend.” She blinked back pretty nervous.
“Is that all?” I peered into her eyes.
“Yes. That’s all,” she answered and looked away, blinking rapidly and blushing a little.
That was an excellent answer but it didn’t convince me. First - She looked nervous. Second - she blushed. Three - she still looked nervous and she wouldn’t stop blushing.
But I wanted to believe her so I tried to believe her despite the doubts.
I looked back to front. “Good,” I mumbled under my breath and started the car.
An odd silence fell between us along the way and it was making me uneasy. We were never really quiet whenever we were together. We’d bicker all the way so this silence was strange and I hated it.
“How long have you known that puppet?” I asked.
“I told you not to call him with that name.”
“If you don’t remember, I didn’t say I care,” I replied bitterly, starting to get irritated.
My grip on the steering wheel tightened all at once and I frowned ahead at the road, suddenly anxious and disappointed. Hell, it was not because she called me a moron (I’ve been called worse than that). It was because I didn’t want to believe in what I thought could be right.
But I wanted to know, make sure of it. So, I said, “You have a crush on him.”
She stared at me wide-eyed and in shock, flushing, and reddening like a ripened tomato.
“What? You think I wouldn’t know?” I asked calmly, though inside I was a puddle of unhealthy feelings.
My stomach felt funny and sour. Everything felt like a fucked up piece of shit. I thought I should just kick my door open to vent out some feelings but then, I realized she didn’t deserve to see me behave like that just because she liked that fucker of a nerd, Garfield. It was not like she knew I liked her like crazy or she cheated me. She was just having a crush on an idiot. So I decided to keep my emotions to myself.
“So answer. Since when have you been knowing him?” I asked again, taking deep breaths and trying to relax.
“And you’ve liked him since?”
She nodded absentmindedly and then shook her head.
I scoffed and let out a humorless chuckle.
Enough, Alana. I know it.
My grip on the steering wheel kept tightening. I felt horrible. I liked her a lot and I’d never really thought she might like somebody else so, finding out that she did like somebody else was hard to believe and kinda painful to accept.
I really like her. And I honestly wanted her to be mine.
“How did you know each other?” She asked.
“Wake up, Mongrel. We’ve been living in the same town for years and who the fuck doesn’t know that doll face, Jacob Garfield. Half of the girls in town wants to sleep with him or maybe he has.”
Out of jealousy, I said the worst anybody could ever say for Garfield. I mean, most people thought he was a nice guy and he actually was. He wasn’t even a man-whore. I never really had anything against him either. I’ve just recently started disliking him for being my Mongrel’s crush. He could’ve been anything else but that.
That was supposed to be me.
But then I said it and my Mongrel looked pretty disappointed and sad so I added, “I’m just saying.”
More than I hated Jacob, I hated seeing her sad.
She squirmed in her seat uneasily and pursed her lips sulkily. “Why do you hate him so much, calling him with all those names?”
“I call him with whatever damned names I want. I don’t give a fuck,” I muttered back, sulking as well.
“He’s one year ahead of us, Arquette. Pay some respect.”
Having had enough of it, I shouted with my hands slamming the steering wheel, “God! Jesus! Have mercy!”
Feeling the need to pull over for a moment, I took a sudden swerve around the bent of the road and pulled over, tires screeching in protest.
“What the heck is wrong with you!” She shouted in fear, panting, as the car came to a stop.
“You expect me to pay that nerdy fucker respect! All I see in him is that fat pussy, Garfield that lives on lasagna!!!” I shouted back angrily.
She stared back at me as if I’d lost my mind.
“What is seriously wrong with you?” Still panting in fear, she asked in a lower tone.
I felt a bit guilty there. I shouldn’t have acted so impulsively and scared the life out of her.
I inhaled deeply and then exhaled, squeezing my eyes shut.
How do I even let you know, Alana?
Clutching the steering wheel tighter, I fell back on my seat and hit my head several times on it. Exhaling again, I dropped my gaze to my shoes and stole a glance at her.
I couldn’t look at her for long. I couldn’t even bring myself to say how much I liked her. I wanted her to know. I wanted her to give me a chance but I had no idea or courage how to even say it to her.
This was my first time caught in a situation like this and I was really bad at handling this one.
I chewed on my lip for a while and not exactly knowing how to say it any other way or beat around the bush, I plucked up my courage and directly told her the truth. “I like you, Alana. And I’m so fucking jealous of that puppet, that’s why.
I felt her eyes zeroing in on me; stunned and in disbelief, her face and ears all red, redder than before.
“I got so fucking jealous that you went out with him and not with me. And I ended up beating Damien to pulp worst than I usually do and . . . you know what happened after that.”
She let out a heavy heave of breath and by the next second, once she’d digest my words, she started choking.
I couldn’t help but crack a smile at how she reacted in response to my confession.
This is my Mongrel.
Clueless and adorable as fuck.
So close and yet so far.
I turned back and reached out for the packaged water bottle which was lying on the backseat next to my backpack, and from which I’d drank before, and handed it to her.
“Thanks,” she managed through her choking as she took it.
Looking back to the front, I pressed a fist over my mouth so I wouldn’t burst out laughing. Then grinning and shaking my head, I started the engine.
Dammit, if she isn’t getting cuter by each second.