18 | Giving Them A Show
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”
“—and he was the absolute funniest. Nobody can compare to him.” I claim to the Athena, Ares, and Hannah the next day at lunch.
Hannah’s brown eyes brighten and she opens her mouth in disbelief. After listening to my talk about one of the greatest directors ever, she seems completely hypnotized by him. I revealed to them a story about when I was on set with him, one that they now find hilarious and fascinating.
Dreamily, Hannah sighs and stares off into the distance. “I wish I could have met him.”
A bright idea suddenly comes into my head and I’m quick to announce it to the group. “Maybe you could. I have an audition in a couple of months and it’s for a film he is directing. Perhaps you could tag along.”
Hannah vigorously nods her head and squeals. She pulls me in for a bone-crushing hug and profoundly mumbles ‘thank you’. I chuckle at her cuteness.
“Oh wow, this is amazing. I have to ask him for his autograph! Should I bring a pen and some paper or would he provide some? Would he even mind? Oh god, what if I say something embarrassing?! I don’t want to humiliate you, Whitney.” Hannah begins to ramble, too quickly for any of us to comprehend. It's honestly adorable.
“Hannah!” I call her name, raising my voice. When she doesn’t acknowledge me, I repeat her name but even louder. “Hannah! Listen.” Hearing the tone of my voice, Hannah obeys my command and snaps her jaw shut, placing her full attention on me. I sigh in relief and comb a hand through my wavy blond locks. “He won’t mind at all. You are overthinking again.”
Sheepishly, Hannah smiles and apologizes. “Right yeah, I’m sorry. Once I start, I just get so lost that I’m not even aware I’m doing it.”
“Don’t worry about it.” I give her a reassuring smile.
Hannah nods her head and picks up a chip from her plate. Ares and Athena who are sitting opposite me are arguing again. I guess some things never change. For once though, I'm glad they didn't change.
From my peripheral vision, I spot two tall figures making their way over to our table. My back straightens; I gloss my lips whilst trying to reign any doubtful thoughts left in my head. I can’t go back now, it’s too late.
“Whitney, Callum, and Brock are coming over to us. Do you want to do something?” Ares asks me, glancing between them and me. Beside me, Hannah’s eyebrows knit together in confusion. She darts her eyes between her boyfriend and me, trying to piece the puzzle together.
“Why would Whitney need to do t—” She’s cut off by the two boys stopping at the table. All eyes focus on them, whilst they solely focus on me.
Wordlessly, I nod my head, giving them permission to sit down. Callum slips in the seat next to Ares, whilst Brock bravely sits next to me.
I drag my eyes down to my food and try to ignore the awkward atmosphere surrounding us. Alan would also be sat with us right now if he didn’t have to deal with a sophomore student who was caught trying to take a picture of him. Clearly, someone didn’t listen to the rules.
I try to rack my brain for something to say. Uncomfortable silence has never been something I’ve enjoyed at all. The silence has to be filled.
Luckily, Ares decides to open his mouth and talk. “Well, isn’t it nice to have the whole gang back?”
My fork clatters on the plate after I dropped it. My blue eyes narrow on Ares; I give him a pointed look. Hannah still has no idea about us—I don’t want her to find out yet.
Hannah jumps in, voicing her thoughts. “What do you mean by that?” She quizzes, resting her elbows on her table. “Whitney is new here, this is the first time she’s been here. So it’s not like the old gang is back.”
Thump. Thump. Thump. That’s all I can hear. It's like I can feel the blood pumping through my veins. I’m so worried about Hannah finding out and judging me, that I am making myself feel anxious.
“Oh, Ares meant that we are all back, forgetting that Whitney hasn’t been here before.” Athena nervously laughs, attempting to play it off. “You know what he’s like, always making tiny mistakes.”
For a few moments, everyone is frozen as they wait for Hannah’s response. I don’t think I have ever prayed so much than right now, as I pray that Hannah believes Athena’s answer. One day I will tell Hannah but I just don’t feel ready. Like I told the boys yesterday, I’m sick of talking. I need to settle first. Find my ground again.
Hannah clucks her tongue and twirls a strand of her red hair around her finger. Anxiously, practically on the edge of my seat, I await her answer. If she chooses to further question Athena’s suspicious response, I will have to tell her the truth.
“Oh right,” Hannah replies, smiling. “Ares is a buffoon isn’t he?”
Mentally, I sigh in relief.
“Yeah, he is.” Athena answers. Ares punches his sister in the arm in irritation. Athena yelps in shock and begins shouting profanities at him.
“So, how were lessons, honey?” Hannah asks Brock, leaning over the table to talk to him. I’m now beginning to regret sitting in between the couple.
Brock gives Hannah a thinned smile, his blue eyes catching mine for a moment. He appears a bit better—healthier—today. His dark blonde hair is gelled at the front, giving him a more formal appearance yet handsome at the same time.
“They were okay, Miss Hallow was on my case again.”
Hannah hums softly. “Maybe you should get your parents to talk to her again. I’m sure they will scare her off.”
A lump forms in my throat at my parents. After seeing them yesterday and realizing life is too short, I think I should go and visit them soon. News has probably travelled around the town of my arrival. Paying them a visit is fair since I allowed everyone else to talk. Martin deserves to give some sort of explanation.
And there goes the whole not wanting to go through the apology speech.” My conscience bitterly says.
“What’s going on with Miss Hallow?” I ask Brock, sticking my nose into his business. I have always been a nosy person, much to my older brothers displeasure.
Brock’s eyes widen, surprised by my question. Perhaps he didn’t get the memo that the deal was a two-way street. He gets to be part of my new life and I get to find out some stuff about him.
“Well,” Brock utters, shifting in his seat. “She has been bugging me about my homework, claiming I haven’t been getting good enough grades. She has threatened to kick me off the team if I don’t get above a B in my next test.”
Miss Hallow is a new teacher here, she started teaching here last year. Therefore, I have no idea what she’s like since I don’t take Economics. Hearing Brock’s limited explanation, tells me enough about the woman though. Teacher’s who do this are assholes. That’s the only way I can think of describing them.
“You should inform your parents. They might be able to...have a word with her.” I advise, keeping eye contact with him so he can see that I believe it would be the best solution. Our parents are brilliant lawyers, they can fight their way through anything. It's a shame they suck as parents.
Brock scratches the back of his neck. “Thanks, I will.”
Satisfied, I nod my head and pick up my fork to resume eating my salad.
“So Whitney, do you have any upcoming films?” A voice asks me. Dragging my eyes up, I make eye contact with Callum, the person who asked the question. Shock overwashes me, probably showing in my face that he initiated the conversation.
“Oh,” I reply, simply. “Um, not right now, obviously.” I chuckle and everyone else joins in, including Callum, out of politeness. “But after this school year ends, I have a few auditions. One for the famous director, Marcus Gregory and one for an action film.”
Callum’s green eyes remain on me, assessing me. A glint flashes in his eyes, I’d like to say it was pride but I’m not too sure. Recently, reading Callum’s emotions has become harder. He was an open book once but now he is closed off, sealed shut. His body language is more neutral whilst his face is expressionless. However, his eyes will give him away sometimes. After all, they say the eyes are the windows to the soul - its harder to hide that.
“Interesting.” He muses and rests both of his elbows on the table, leaning closer. “Do you enjoy acting, Whitney?”
His tone is accusing. Why? I am not sure. Does he believe I don’t enjoy my new life and want to leave? Does he want to catch me out of something? Or am I doing something Hannah would do - overthinking?
“Of course,” I say, firmly and truthfully. Acting is my life, I can’t see myself in any other field. Whilst I hate the publicity, I enjoy the whole prospect. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. “What do you want to do Callum?”
The corners of his lips quirk upwards, noticing how I subtly move the conversation to him. The rest of the group watch our exchange with hidden curiosity. They want to see how this plays out.
“I’m not sure yet, I’m still figuring myself out.” Callum confidently replies, with a smirk.
“Interesting.” I mimic his earlier reply.
“Quite,” Callum remarks.
Before I can retort something, the bell goes off. We all stagger upwards, gathering our rubbish. As I exit the hall, Athena gives me a mischevious look and wiggles her eyebrows.
I flip her off.
“—you are dismissed.” My teacher announces and I gladly pack all of my items up and leave. Tonight, I have a bit of homework to do for maths and I need to discuss visiting my parents with Casey. I can’t wait to talk to her about that.
Quickly, I collect the folders I need from my locker and head out of the building. Alan should be getting the car from the back of the parking lot and bringing it around so I decided to go and talk to the gang. I must admit, being on my familiar terms with my brother and Callum has made my life one hundred times better. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to approach them or what they think about me.
As I stroll down the steps, Nicole gives me the stink eye. Grinning at the fact that I got to her, she scowls and whips her head back to the jock to continue flirting. He obviously, seems wrapped in her devious spell. Honestly, I pity the poor guy who is going to get his heartbroken.
I spot the gang huddled around Athena and Ares’s car which is conveniently parked next to Brock’s. They all greet me when I see them, Callum and Brock smiling widely when I say hello to them. I’m going to take all of this slow, I’m going to gradually allow them back into my life.
“How was Maths?” Hannah asks, her voice teasing. She knows I despise the subject with a passion. My nose wrinkles at the sound of the horrible word and I blatantly show her my displeasure with her question.
“Not good I presume?” Brock asks, from behind her as he holds her. Hannah snuggles into his back, squeezing his arms that are wrapped around her.
“Pretty much,” I comment. “I don’t think I will ever have a good lesson on that subject.”
Eventually, I spot Alan’s car drive over to us. Most of the student population here knows that the black BMW is mine so they tend to part when it comes. Perks of being a celebrity I suppose.
Alan parks the car in an empty spot next to Athena that opened up literally a few seconds ago and steps out. Smiling, I take a step towards the car when another door opens. I frown, confused. Only Alan and I drive back, we never have anyone else.
The other person slams the door shut and looks up to me. When I see who it is, I gasp and freeze.
The cute, brown-haired, blue-eyed boy grins when he sees my reaction. His eyes sparkle in satisfaction.
Holy shit. Jason, my film star friend is here. Now.
When the realization comes to me, I speed walk the remaining steps to him and lunge at him for a hug. He encases his arms around mine tightly, chuckling at my behaviour.
“Hello to you too.” He whispers into my ear.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” I query. “Like right now? I thought you were coming later.”
Jason pulls back slightly, so his face is inches from mine. Any person watching would think we were having an intimate moment - which we are but, it’s not romantically. Just friendly.
“Well, Casey told me everything.” He admitted, his tone shameful. “And well, after hearing everything, I knew I had to come and see you immediately. So yeah, I’m here and well...judging by your reaction, I’m going to presume you are happy.”
Furiously, I nod my head and smile brightly at him.
Jason moves his head to the side so his mouth is close to my ear. “Do you want to give them a show?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, they are all staring at you and well, since I heard about Callum and all, I thought we could try and make him jealous,” Jason suggests, schemingly.
I arch an eyebrow, liking where he’s going with this offer.
“Let’s give the press and your friends something to talk about,” Jason mumbles, lowering his eyes to my lips. A smile tugs at the ends of my lips when I catch onto what he’s saying. I do want to know how Callum feels about me now...and what better way to test it out then do this?
Plus, who doesn’t love leaving their audience in suspense? The millions of eyes on us, with bated breaths, are all anxious to know what we do next. The tabloids have left open questions about Jason and I being a couple for months...we could totally cause a spur.
“Let’s do it.”
And with that, Jason crashes his lips to mine, pulling me closer to him so I’m pressed against his chest.
Thank you for reading this chapter! I hope you enjoyed it!