The next day went very well. Lily introduced me to her high school friends, who also were in town for the holidays. Most of the time I was with her, Kate joined us in the evening. Tim apologized before her and assured that he didn’t cheat on her that night at Drew’s house. She was happy with him, and I started to look at them in the other light. Maybe, she acted differently because she just was in love this time?
Lily’s parents spent with us some time too in the evening after they returned from their friends. Mrs. Jones insisted on Logan’s presence, and of course, it meant that Melanie was there also. She still didn’t like me and acted bitchy toward me, even if I was keeping my distance from Logan. It was easier and easier, though. Yes, I felt an attraction toward him, and sometimes I stared too much, but that’s all. I guess it was better because he distanced himself from me also. So at this point, I could say that the winter break was going smoothly except for Drew.
I refused to stay for dinner the night before Christmas when I found out that he was going to be there with Phoebe. The other day I easily avoided seeing him, because I heard something about him being very drunk at his party and that he had a huge hangover after. I couldn’t ask Lily to come with me, because her parents prepared this dinner and it was they who invited Drew. They were used to him, being at their house. Kate wanted to be with me, but I shrugged her off. It was wrong for both of us to not to be there, so I declined her offer and decided finally to visit this public pool, I had read about with Nina. I apologized before Mrs. and Mr. Jones and drove off an hour before the dinner. I was planning to come back closer to 11. I was hoping that by this time, everyone would leave already.
The pool was vast, but still very comfortable and cozy. I enjoyed my time there, doing lap after lap. I finished only when my muscles started to ache. But this pain was pleasant, and it also helped me to clear my thoughts. I walked out of the pool, while my hair was still a little wet and curly from the water. I have dressed in my jeans shorts, a green t-shirt, and a blue hoodie. My phone buzzed, it was my mom. I stopped near my car, leaned my back on it, and answered.
“Hey, mom! It’s so nice to hear from you! Where are you now?”
“Hey, honey! We are still in Paris, and it’s a magnificent city with a unique style, but...”
“I miss you. And dad too. I even started to think that it was a terrible idea to leave you alone for your first Christmas at the college.”
“Mom, stop! You deserved this vacation. I want you to enjoy your time there. We’ll see each other as soon as you are back. I will come to visit you before the next term starts.”
We talked with her for some more time, and then I decided that it’s time to go back. It was late. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard. It was half-past twelve. The ride to Lil’s house will be about 10 minutes. Okay, if they still will be there, I will sneak to the house. At least I will try.
I parked my car, took my bag from the backseat, and walked to the house. As I opened the door, I heard laughter and voices from the living room. Shit! It was the night before Christmas, they were celebrating, and there was I. With my hair still wet and my everyday clothes.
“Becca, is that you?” I heard Mrs. Jones’s voice. Just awesome. My heart started to beat wildly. I didn’t want to come to this room. I didn’t want to see anyone right now, and I especially didn’t want to see Drew with his girlfriend. There was nothing I could do about my hair or my makeup-free face, or even about my clothes. So I just straightened my shoulders and walked to the room with a plastered smile on my face. Perhaps, I could say that I was too tired after swimming and that I want to go to bed?
They all were there. It was exactly as I pictured myself, nothing fancy, but all of them were dressed well. Girls were in dresses, while guys were in white shirts and trousers. Way to feel out of place! I noticed Drew. He was sitting on the couch, Phoebe plastered to his side, with one leg over his knees. I averted my eyes and looked for Mrs. and Mr. Jones. They were sitting at the table; Logan and Melanie were with them. Lily and Kate were nowhere to be seen.
“Yeah... Sorry for the intrusion, Mrs. Jones.”
“It’s okay, honey. How are you feeling?”
“Refreshed and tired at the same time.” I smiled at her.
“Though we were a little surprised that you went to the pool instead of the dinner, but if that’s what makes you feel better than it’s wonderful. I hope you didn’t wear yourself out at this pool?”
“I still think it was a really rude thing to do. She’s your guest and should respect you.” Melanie told, not even looking at me.
“That’s enough, Melanie.” Mrs. Jones’s tone of voice was sharp, cutting Melanie off with ease. “Honey, are you okay?” She was concerned about me. Well, it was not surprising. While Kate was all smiling and happy, I was moody and unsociable. It was so not me, but I couldn’t make myself to act differently.
“Everything is fine, and I am just tired. I am sorry, but where are Lily and Kate?”
“They went to the kitchen.” It was Drew, who answered. I didn’t turn my head to look at him.
“I will go then. I am sorry again for my decision to miss out on this dinner and for the intrusion. It was wrong of me...”
“Don’t be, Rebecca. We all have our good and bad days. I hope you will feel better in the morning and will finally be able to enjoy your stay here. Goodnight!” Mr. Jones said to me with a kind smile. His wife also nodded in my direction, smiling. I shifted my gaze to Logan and Melanie. Melanie’s eyes were glued to her phone, while there was a frown on her face. Logan looked at me like he was studying my face. I managed to smile at him, his eyes quickly softened. I saw his lips moving, and he was silently saying, “Night” to me.
I left the living room, and on the halfway to the kitchen, I bumped into Kate. She was walking out of the kitchen door.
“Good Lord, Becca! You scared me! I texted you that they are still there, so we weren’t expecting you at this time.”
“Oh? I didn’t see it, because if I did, I would never come home that early. Look, Kate...”
Just then, the door opened again, and Lily came to the view.
“Becca? I was sure that I heard your voice, but Kate said that you wouldn’t show up until the dinner will be finished.”
“I didn’t see the message... Listen, I am exhausted. Every muscle in my shoulders is aching right now. Is it okay for me to go to bed? I could stay and help you if you need me.”
“Nah, go. We will be okay. You should rest. We will be there for two days, then bitches will leave, and we will go to the lake house... It’s a gorgeous place! I am sure you will like it.”
“Well, I have my doubts, but in any case, thank you... For looking out for me! Night!”
I waved at them, climbed the stairs to the second floor, and went to my room. As I was there, I closed my door and leaned my back on it. I stood there, and thoughts were circling in my head. How am I going to survive this trip to the lake house? I could barely look at Drew, and there I won’t be able to avoid him. I sighed and walked to my bed. I took off my hoodie and tossed it to the bed. I really should go to bed. Sleep will do me good. I went to the bathroom and washed my face, combed my hair a little, as they still weren’t completely dry. When I walked back to my room, I almost jumped in surprise. Drew was sitting on my bed.
“What are you doing here? You almost gave me the heart attack!”
“We need to talk, Rebecca. It’s starting to be ridiculous.”
“You shouldn’t be there.”
“Tell me that you missed the dinner not because of me, and I will leave.”
“Answer me, Rebecca. Am I the reason? Or Phoebe?”
I frowned. There was no way that I could admit it, but also there was no way that he will believe me if I would lie to him. I sighed. I guess it was the time for cards to be open. I walked to my bed and sat near him. Maybe saying everything out loud will help me?