I cannot believe what I’m witnessing. Krista stands there, in a beautiful floral dress, with a random handsome guy. Where did she find him? How did a guy like him exist in our town? Did she stumble across an alien while I was occupied by Panty Dropper?
“Who’s this?” I ask.
Krista rests her head against his arm. “Jessica, my dear-” I think I just died. “This is my boyfriend, Francis Weber. Francis Weber is an attractive 17 years old senior from the prestigious private school named Westview Academy. Francis Weber is the captain of the prestigious private school football team and the captain of their debate team. He’s 5′11 and enjoys spending time with the less fortunate.”
I felt like I was listening to a job application.
Where did Krista find him?
I wonder if she will pin me to the location.
“Hi,” Francis said. “You must be Jessica Thompson. Jessica Thompson, 5′5 with an older brother named Todd Thompson. Jessica Thompson has been Krista Johnson’s best friend since childhood. You enjoy sleeping in and watching romantic comedies.”
Did Krista give him my profile?
Before I can talk, Krista out of this ridiculous plan. Her end goal appeared.
“Hey, Krista,” Brody said. His eyes skew toward the person beside her. “You’re here.” He’s avoiding the stranger beside her. It seems better for him not to acknowledge the stranger.
“Yes, Jessica invited me.”
Brody looked at me, and I looked away. “I thought you wanted to stay inside your room tonight,” he said.
“Yeah, but you’re forcing me to watch the movie with your friends. So, I thought, why not invite one of my friends so I won’t be lonely.” I’m the best liar in the world. I deserve an award.
“I hope I’m not intruding,” Krista said.
Brody shook his head, “Of course not. You’re like family.” Ouch. That got to hurt. Telling Krista, she’s like family is transcribed into - I only see you as my younger sister.
Krista forced a smile. “Thanks, Brody. Oh-” she turns her head. “This is my boyfriend, Francis Weber. Francis, baby, this is Jessica’s older brother.”
They shook hands.
After the awkward - for me, at least - exchange, we head into the living room. In the living room was Todd, Megan, Victoria, Shawn, and Lorena.
After the popcorn was done and soda was filled, everyone got into a comfortable position.
Todd had his arm over Megan on one end of the couch.
Beside them was the second couple, Brody and his girlfriend, Victoria.
Then, it was Krista and Francis.
Next, it was Shawn and Lorena. Shawn is a close friend of Brody and Todd, and Lorena is his girlfriend.
The next couple is me — party of one. I held the popcorn bowl in my hands. While staring at the four couples, I realized that I am very lonely.
There was a part of me that wanted to run upstairs and desperately cry for Jax. Then, if he happens to appear, drag him downstairs and force him to watch the movie with me. I’ll deal with the aftermath later.
I just don’t want to feel so lonely.
Even a car only needs four wheels.
“Why are you standing there?” Brody asks.
I fought back the tears and sat down on the single chair. Yes, single. Because I’m single. Single like a pringle.
The movie starts, and I was utterly disinterested.
It was a dull movie.
Then, it starts.
What I had dreaded.
When I heard smooching sounds, my eyes skew over.
Shawn and Lorena were the first to kiss.
Then, Krista and Francis. It’s odd. Krista told me she was going to find someone gay. He seems really into it for someone who is gay.
Next, it was Brody and Victoria. It’s disgusting. Watching my older brother making out. I held in the urge to vomit.
My eyes skewed over, and it met Todd. It was much more awkward than I could ever imagine. Todd shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His eyes went towards the screen, and he ignored everything around him. Then, it happened. Megan looks up at him with those large nice eyes. She moves closer towards his lap and rests a hand against his chest.
Their usual signal.
It wasn’t the first time I watched a movie with everyone.
I didn’t understand it.
Why he would continuously look at me every time before he makes out with Megan.
I grabbed all the candies on the table and along with a few cans of sodas and left the room without a word.
Brody left the living room and blocked me from the stairs. “Where are you going? The movie isn’t over,” Brody said.
“Bro. Look around you. I’m the fifth wheel, and I have better things to do than to watch four couples exchange spits all night.”
“Oh, sorry. We’ll watch the movie.”
“Okay. I’m going to get this straight. It’s not you all. It’s the movie. I’m dying inside watching this.” This is partially the truth.
“We can play a game,” Brody suggests.
I exhale, “I know you and mom are concerned about my lack of friends, but I’m fine where I am. I don’t need you to set up friendship play dates.” Notably, not with couples.
“That’s not it. I mean, Krista is here, and she’s your friend.”
“Come on, Brody. We both know that you know the real reason she is here and why she is eating Francis Weber, a prestigious male from Westview Academy, who is the captain of the football team and debate team. A guy I wished I met before she claimed him.”
“Wow. Good background. Is he gay?”
“Does it matter?” I duck and pass him. Despite my name being called, I didn’t look back. I was nice enough to come down here so he can report back to mom that he tried to set me up on friendship play dates.
I went into my bedroom and locked the door. “I hope you all drown in each other’s spit.” Am I bitter? Hell, yeah. Being surrounded by couples does make a single pringle become a bitter melon.
“The name Grinch really does fit you.”
I turned around and saw Jax on my bed with a book. “You didn’t lea-” before I could finish my sentence, I noticed what he was reading. I snatched it from his hands. “Are you reading my diaries?”
“No,” he responds. “I’m reviewing all of them.”
I looked down and noticed how he got all of my books since I was five out in the open. I snatched all of them and threw it inside the drawer. Then, it appeared, the glare. “How dare you read my diaries?”
“Well, I grab a random book from your bookshelf, and it happened to be your diary from age 5-7. I assumed that was the first volume.”
My glares deepen. I have half a mind to kick him out of the window and not give him a refund.
“If it makes you feel any better. I didn’t read the second volume, age 8-10. I also didn’t read the third or fourth or-”
I grab him by the shirt and pull him closer. “You better not touch my diaries.”
“If you didn’t want anyone to know your deepest darkest secrets, you shouldn’t have written them d-” he stops talking. Steadily, his eyes skew away. “I was wrong for invading your privacy. I apologize, and to express my sincerity, please take another twenty.” He grabs his wallet and stares at me.
Am I really going to do it?
Am I really going to forgive him for invading my privacy for a mere twenty dollar bill?
Does my pride only extend that far?
The answer is: Yes.
I grabbed the twenty from his hand and made my way towards the piggy bank. He only read volume one anyways. There’s no real dark secret from my childhood.
Except maybe about the information that I had a crush on Todd, but it’s normal for a young girl to like one of their older brother’s friends.
“So, Todd Barrett, huh,” Jax said.
“Yeah,” I responded. I sat on the bed with a bowl of popcorn and candies.
“Wait. That’s it?” He reaches for the candy inside the bowl.
I smack his hand before I grab my laptop for a movie. I need to put on something exciting, and hopefully, it’ll make me fall asleep. Once this night is over, Jax and I will no longer have to interact. I’m not into the thrill of troubles. “Yeah. What else do you expect? I was like five, and he was the nicest guy out of all Brody’s friends. Plus, he didn’t hurt the eye.”
Jax climbed into my bed and sat beside me.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“We’re watching a movie, right?” He grins, “Unless you’re going downstairs to resume your role as the spare wheel.”
I gasp, “You saw?”
“Yeah. At one point, I thought everyone was going to eat each other. I cannot believe you stayed until the movie was nearly over. I would’ve bailed the moment I walk into the room.”
“Well-” I shrugged, moving the mouse around. “My mom is concerned that I have no friend. With this, she’ll get off of my back for a good month.”
“Friendship play date.”
My eyes narrow, “You heard.”
“The whole house heard.”
I’m grateful that my parents had left the house for a date night. I don’t want my mom to hear our siblings bickering again.
“And now, I’m a lonely loser.”
“Not really,” Jax said. He grins, “You have me.”
“You sure have a really sweet mouth.”
“You wouldn’t know unless you taste it.”
I roll my eyes and press play. “Turn off the lights.”
Jax didn’t make a smartass remark and went to turn off the light. I plug in the headphones and offer him one. I did not expect my night to end this way. In bed, with a guy, I barely know. Surprisingly, it was better to be here with him then downstairs.
The knock on the door disturbed the movie.
“Jess?” It’s Krista. She probably heard what happened and felt bad.
I got off the bed and glanced at Jax. He pulls the cover over his head.
I opened the door and stepped into the hallway. “What’s up?”
Krista fidgets with her fingers. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I should’ve sat with you instead of doing that stupid plan.”
“It’s fine,” I said. “It would’ve happened whether or not you’re here.” It happened before.
“Come back downstairs, and we’ll hang out together? Just us.”
“What about Francis?”
“He said he’d be our gopher and do whatever we want.”
I wrap the sweater around my body. “How did you two meet again?”
“Oh, we met at the mall. I was window shopping - you know, my usual need for serotonin. Some guys want to pick a fight with him, and I publicly humiliated the guys in front of everyone. Then, I asked if he wants to be my fake boyfriend.”
“And he’s gay?”
“Yeah,” Krista responds casually. “I mean, have you seen the way he dressed and acted? He’s definitely gay.”
It doesn’t look like he’s gay with the way he shoved his tongue down your throat. I wanted to say that out loud, but there’s a part of me that believes Jax is listening through the door.
Krista held my hands, “Please? I feel terrible, and I know it’s selfish but allow me to get rid of this bad feeling by doing anything you want tonight and tomorrow.”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it because you’re uncomfortable with the couples downstairs? You think I’m going to make another scene about Brody?” It isn’t that, but I am afraid that she may do that again. Pick a fight with Brody’s girlfriend. “How about I ask Francis to go home, and we spend time in your room?”
“No,” I quickly declined it. I cannot allow anyone to go inside the room. God knows what will happen if Krista finds out about Jax. “I’ll be downstairs, and in the meantime, you can make me a sundae to apologize. Okay?”
“You don’t have ice cream tho-” she stops talking when I cast a disappointed gaze at the wall. “I’ll go purchase all the flavors right now.”
When Krista disappeared, I went back into the room. I poke the large bundle on my bed. Jax moves his head out, and I admit, he does look kind of cute with a messy bed head. I could get used to this...but I won’t.
“No movie night with me?”
“Aw shucks.” He snaps his fingers. “There goes our first date. Ruin by the best friend. How typical.”
I covered his face. “Don’t leave this room.” I head towards the door.
“I’ll keep the bed warm for you,” he muffles.
I didn’t respond. Instead, I left the bedroom. To secure it, I locked the door.
“Why are you locking the door?”