LXV. Someone Died
It was stupid of me.
Then again, when had I ever made a good decision?
I stood there and stared at Josh, embracing a beautiful female. I don’t know if she is good-looking, but she has a lovely curvy body. Just looking at her side view made me insecure.
“Josh?” I took several steps closer to ensure it’s really him and not my lousy eyesight playing tricks on me. It’s him.
He turned his head to the side, and his eyes parted slightly. “Why are you here?” I didn’t expect a grand party when I came here, but I didn’t expect such a moody atmosphere either.
The girl turns her head, and my eyes widen at her appearance. There were bruises and bandages all over her face. Immediately, she turns it and steps behind Josh.
I chuckle slightly despite the heavy pressure inside my chest. It hurts. “Did I interrupt something?” I question in a joking manner. This time, I didn’t run away. I learned my lesson and waited for Josh to respond.
Instead, he stood there like a lover being caught in an affair.
“Hailey?” Mrs.Greyson’s voice drifts in the air. I turn towards the mansion to see both Jada helping Mrs.Greyson down the steps. “Hailey!” She squeals. “What are you doing here, sweetheart?” She embraces me tightly.
I accepted her embracement. “I-I-” What can I say? I used the money my parents sent me to purchase a flight to New York and then the rest for a cab to apologize to my best friend. The money that’s supposed to be for a ticket back to California for the holidays. I’m so dead. “I miss you.”
Mrs.Greyson’s head sways towards Josh’s direction before it went back towards me. “Oh, you miss me?” Somehow, there was a slight sound of tease in her voice.
I nodded, “Yes.”
Mrs.Greyson laughed, “Come on in. There are brownies on the inside.”
Joel took my bags.
“Put the bags in the room across from Josh,” Mrs.Greyson said. “Sorry, but Juliette is staying in your usual room.”
Who is Juliette, and why is she staying in my usual room? Well, it’s not my usual room since I only stayed there once.
Mrs.Greyson smiles softly in Josh’s direction.
She must be Juliette.
Aw shucks, she has a nice name.
“Juliette, come and meet Hailey.”
Juliette walks towards Mrs.Greyson with her head hung low. She glances upward and smiles slightly. Even I can feel the pain on her face. “Hello, I’m Juliette.”
I smile, “I’m Hailey.”
“Sorry about occupying your room.”
I shook my head. “It’s not really my room.”
After the awkward meeting, Mrs.Greyson took us all into the living room. I can’t even make eye contact with Josh, and it seems like it’s the same to him.
“How long are you going to stay here, Hailey?” Mrs.Greyson asks.
“Till Sunday. I have to go back to school.” And somehow make enough money within the week to purchase a plane ticket back home.
“That’s short! It’s Saturday today,” she responds.
I smile slightly, “Yeah.” I cannot believe I made such a hasty decision. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!
I spent most of the day with Mrs.Greyson, Juliette, and Lola.
Then, night time arrives.
The phone rang.
I’m certain Mrs.Greyson called mom.
“Young lady, you better have a good explanation on why and how you’re in New York.” Then, the lecture began.
“I promise-” I said. “I’ll work this winter break and repay the money. I’m so sorry!” I repeatedly apologized to my parents.
After two more hours of scorning, they let me go. They told me my trip to New York is my Christmas gift, and I can’t make a rebuttal. This is a light punishment.
I twist and turn in bed. I know I can’t sleep tonight. There are too many things in my mind. But, the thought that bothers me the most would be Juliette. Is it a thing with Josh to have attractive females around him?
Someone knocks on the door. I wrap myself up on the blanket and grab my glasses. Steadily, the door creaks open. “Hey,” I said.
Josh smiles, “Hey.”
“What’s up?” Why are you here? At 2 am?
Josh scratches his head. “Mind if I come in?”
I took two steps back. “Sure.”
Josh made his way across the room and settled on my bed. I closed the door and followed him, then stood there. He pats at the space. I wasn’t sure what to do, but my body consciously settled down.
“How are you?” he asks.
“Good.” I nod. “Good.”
The awkward silence.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Josh said.
I smile, “Really?”
He nods, “Yeah.” Josh fidgets slightly in his seat. “Over the phone-” he said. “You mention wanting to tell me something?”
Then, there it is—the moment I dread. When I packed up my bags and flew here, I was determined to tell Josh about my feelings. That is until I saw Juliette. Then, negative thoughts emerge. I hate this side of me.
“Yes,” I said slowly. “I did.”
Josh stares at me. Neither of us blinks. “And what is it that you want to tell me?”
My heart pounded irregularly against my breasts, and I can’t help but swallow the saliva that continuously forms. Should I tell him? “I wanted to apologize.” Better be safe than sorry.
I nod, “About what I did when we went on the field trip.” Yes, that sounds like a good reason why I flew to another state. “I shouldn’t have behaved that way. You can kiss anyone you like without my approval. I shouldn’t have been upset.”
Josh stared at me, and I swore one of his eyes twitched. He turns his body forward, away from me, and stares at the carpet. “And you flew over here to...apologize?”
I nod, “Yeah.”
He eyed me, “That’s all?”
I chuckle, “What else can it be? I mean, it was irrational on my part. Throwing tantrums because my friend kisses a girl.” I laugh, “I mean, how weird is that?” Less weird than how I’m behaving. “I mean, if I kissed a guy, you’re going to be okay with it.” My laughter disappeared. “Right?”
Please say I’m wrong. Not right. Not right!
“Right,” Josh said slowly. “I would be okay with it.” He stares at me. “I should be okay with it...right?”
“I mean if I’m okay with it. You should be okay with it...right?”
We laugh together.
“This is ridiculous. I mean, why are we even talking about this. We’re friends, not a couple...right?” I question again.
“Y-Yeah. We’re not, boyfriend or girlfriend or anything.” He accepts my statements. “So, we can kiss other people. And you’re okay with it...right?”
“Yeah,” I responded.
Josh stood up, “Great.”
“Great!” I repeat after him.
He nods, “I’m glad we clear this up.”
I nod along, “Yup.”
“Alright.” He smacks his hands together. “I’m going to bed, and you have a good night’s sleep.” He quickly heads towards the door.
Immediately, he turns around. “Yeah?”
“Juliette-” I said. “I’ve never met her.”
“Oh, Juliette.” He hums slightly, “She’s dad’s guest.” Oddly, he said that. Mr.Greyson barely looked at her during dinner. It was almost as if he was avoiding eye contact on purpose.
“Yeah. I guess.”
“You guys are pretty close.”
“Oh-” he laughs, “You have no idea. She’s practically a family member.”
I played with my hair. “Oh, that’s nice.” I look at the split ends. “Please, close the door on your way out.”
I spent the night twisting and turning in bed. I cannot believe Josh called her a family member. What does that even mean? They were hugging out and about. So, does that mean they’re together? She’s older too!
Least to say, I look like a panda in the morning. I fell asleep on the pancakes during breakfast. One of the boys drew on my face.
Josh told me since the holidays are arriving, he’s going to stay with his family. He already requests early leave, so I’m going to go back to Pandora Academy alone.
I spent the week moping inside the bedroom or classroom.
“Hey there, bionda,” Ricardo said. He’s been talking more since Josh left.
I grunt from beneath the blanket.
Yes, my heart. I took off the covers. “Asking for a friend.” He chuckled slowly but didn’t respond. “When you go visit a friend, you happen to see that friend hugging a pretty girl. It means nothing, right?”
“Responding to the friend,” he said. “It meant something.”
I grunted and threw myself on the wrinkled sheets.
“Advice to the friend.”
I sat up, “What?”
“Go take a shower. She stinks.”
I frown, “I’m not talking about me.”
“I’m not talking about you either. It’s advice from your friend.”
“You’re mean,” I said. I cover myself up in the blanket again. “I wish you weren’t my roommate.”
“Let me guess; your friend wishes her other roommate was here.”
“May I have my list back?” I don’t know when, but Ricardo discovers my list of how to not fall in love with Josh. He took it and refused to give it back. It’s his method of blackmailing me so that I won’t snitch on him about cheating.
He leans against the window, “No.”
I sat upward and pushed my glasses up. “Do you think Josh likes me?”
“Are you asking for a friend?”
I puff my cheeks. “I hate you.”
“I know,” he responds. “You’ve been saying that for nearly two weeks.” He folded his arms. “May I remind you. I’m not the one who broke your heart by embracing and potentially fucking another girl.”
I covered myself with the blanket and cried again. “You’re right. You’re innocent except when you tried to cheat and blackmail me.” My body shakes. “At least you’re here before the holidays, not with some pretty older female.”
“Your depressing behavior is making me sad.”
“Good!” It’s some form of revenge.
My bed creaks, and I assume Ricardo is sitting on it. “How about a plan?”
I sneak my head out of the blanket. “What?”
“I can pretend to be your boyfriend and make Josh jealous.”