Chapter 14: Dad has thumb fight with a polar bear
If you see something beautiful in someone, Speak it up. - Ruthie Lindsey
I was trying my very best to understand all the textures written on the board but the effort was futile.
Textures sucked. Expressionism sucked.
It was art history period now and almost the whole school knew that Damon gifted me a rose today and Ms.Khov got jealous. At least that’s what they were saying.
I was about to ask Juliet how to differentiate impressionism from expressionism when someone’s mobile started ringing. The whole class went silent. It was mandatory that we kept our phones switched off or else they will be confiscated. I felt sad for the person who had the bad luck of receiving a call in Ms. Ramona’s class.
My eyes widened to the size of saucers when I heard the tune of Selena Gomez’s “come and get it”
That’s my ringtone!
I lunged at my bag and pulled the mobile out ready to reject it quickly but stopped short when the caller identification showed that it was an international number. The number was from Iceland.
Iceland where dad is! I was unable to stop the grin that instantly stretched over my face.
“Ms.Winget if you would be kind enough to reject the call or should I confiscate it?” Ms.Ramona said with a cross look.
Oh no no...I was so not paying another fine (I didn’t actually pay the fine yet but who knows?). But I couldn’t ignore dad’s call. Juliet kicked me and I snapped out of my reverie.
I quickly rejected the call and then switched the mobile off then removed the protective cover, the back cover, the battery, and the sim card. The whole class looked at me weirdly but Ms.Ramona looked satisfied.
I was bored before, now I was restless.
I tapped my foot relentlessly and turned my wrist just to check my watch every minute. Why did the art history class have to be so long?!
Finally, the bell rang. I swung my bag on the desk and put all the pieces of my mobile together and dialed the number. It rang twice and someone picked up.
“Daddy?” I asked tentatively.
“Crysty!” My dad cheered from the other end. I laughed at the nickname he still used for me.
“Oh Crysty,” Dad repeated.
“Is everyone safe there?” He asked me.
“You call me after two weeks and you are asking about others?” I asked him incredulously.
“I have to Crysty. I am worried for all those people who are around you. You are dangerous.” He whispered the last part.
And immediately I had my smile back.
“Daddy!” I tried to sound hurt but I was too happy to act the part.
I heard his earth-shattering demonic laugh on the other end which made me grin. I had a vague feeling of being led out of the class and into the hallways.
” daddy I will call you back later. I am in school right now and you called me right in the middle of the class.” I explained to him.
“Oh, so that’s the reason you rejected my call and then switched your mobile off. I thought...” he let his sentence trail and I knew that he thought I was angry at him.
" I love you daddy,” I told him softly.
" I love you Crysty. ” I heard him sigh in relief.
" Okay so when are you going to call me? Because I have a fight with a polar bear in two hours.” Dad said.
" A fight with a polar bear?” I asked him in a wary tone.
“Yeah. You see I was just taking photographs and minding my own business when this huge polar bear challenges me because he thinks I was checking out his mate.”
" Are we talking about the animal polar bear?” I asked him.
“Of course, Crysty. So, he thinks I am checking out his mate, by the way, that she-polar bear was hot.” He said in a serious tone.
“Of course she was.” I laughed at my dad’s ridiculous attempt to make me laugh.
" So yeah. He challenged me to a thumb fight and I am going in two hours.”
“You do know that if you went there then the polar bear will eat you, right? Besides polar bears don’t have thumbs, daddy.” I told him.
" No, they don’t,” I told him already smiling because I knew what he was going to say.
“That means I won already. I knew that the polar bear didn’t have enough balls to face me.” Dad said proudly and I threw my head back and laughed loudly.
” I have study hour now. I will call you later.”
" Okay Crysty. And remember not to run naked on the roads. They may put you in a mental asylum” He told me seriously.
" Sure daddy. Take care of yourself. And don’t do anything stupid.”
“Sure Crysty. Take care of yourself. And don’t do anything nerdy like, I don’t know, attend your study hour class.” He said.
I just rolled my eyes and told him goodbye. Even after the call was cut I stared at the number with a smile. I had missed my crazy dad. Then I took note of my surroundings.
I was standing in the corridor leading to the library with someone’s hand at the small of my back. I looked up at the person standing beside me.
Max had an amused smile on his face and he was staring at me. He also had my bag in his hands.
“Uhmmm....” I started awkwardly, a little surprised that he carried my bag and lead me all the way to the library while I was completely unaware of it.
" Your smile is gorgeous.” He said in a low husky voice .
My heart kick-started itself and I felt tingles in all the wrong places. I could feel the blood rushing to my face. Max was staring at me so intently that his pupils were dilated. I quickly looked away to hide the blush and smile that came to my face.
" Thank you,” I told him softly while staring at his shoes.
There was just silence and I could hear my heart drumming in my ears. I looked back at him to see that he was still gazing at me.
“Did you carry my bag?” I realized that it was such an obvious question and cringed at myself.
What is wrong with me?!
" You just smiled so beautifully that I couldn’t stop looking at you. So I carried your stuff and brought you here.” He said as if it’s a normal thing.
That’s when I remembered that he must have heard every part of my cringe phone call and I scrunched my nose.
He just tapped my nose twice with two fingers then gave me a small millimeter smile, ” switch your mobile off in the library. They really do confiscate mobile if it starts ringing in the library.”
Then he backed away slowly still looking at my flushed face. I turned around to enter the library. I looked back at him to see him walking away but just before he turned to take the stairs he turned back to look at me and smiled.
And his smile was so knockout dazzling that I couldn’t stop the laugh that came out of me. He just walked away and I realized that this was the first time he gave me a real smile.
Five minutes after I had settled in my place in the library, a middle school girl walked up to me. She was clutching a cluster of pink orchids.
“Crystal?” She asked in a nervous tone
“Yes?” I smiled back at her and she managed to nervously smile back at me.
“This is for you.” She said handing me the orchids and running away before I could ask her anything else.
The note attached to the bouquet read- everything is flawed when compared to you.
I stared at the messy handwriting for a while before understanding the obvious: it was Damon’s note. With a smile, I carefully tucked the bouquet inside my bag and continued studying.
It wasn’t until dinner later that night when something interesting happened. Brad was restless about something. Therefore just as mom started drinking soup I asked him, “what’s wrong Brad?”
He looked at me alarmed, “why do you think anything is wrong?”
Mom stopped sipping her soup and looked at him with furrowed brows, “because when crystal says someone is upset then they are really upset. She is good at reading people.”
Brad looked completely pale as he stared at us.
“Brad it’s okay. Even though I look dangerous I won’t murder you. I am kind of afraid of your huge lawyer family.” I told him while wiggling my eyebrows.
“Very funny Crystal” he drawled.
Then taking a deep breath he told, “mother wants to have dinner with Crystal.”
My mom froze. She looked at him with a horrified expression.
Brad rushed to explain, “We already knew that she would want to meet Crystal as soon as she arrived. I tried delaying her but she is just not listening.”
Mom took a shaky breath, “when?”
Brad looked guiltier than ever.
He mumbled, “Tomorrow. 7 pm at Divinity.”
Mom squeaked “what?“.
Then she underwent a panic attack and Brad tried to calm her.
" Just so you people are aware, I still don’t have any idea what’s going on,” I told them.
Mom raised her head and looked at Brad.
“You want your mom to meet Crystal and her sarcasm?! Your mom hates it when I even try to suggest something! And Crystal will not listen to any of her insults. Oh my god! Either crystal will end up in jail or your mother will end up in an ER.”
“How bad can it be?” I asked them shoving some string beans inside my mouth.
“Very bad.” Mom and Brad said in unison. Mom continued to look traumatized. I had to do something...
“Mom? I don’t have any proper dinner dress.” I told her.
She abruptly stood up and ran to my room. I finished my soup slowly with a jumpy Brad. Seriously how was he a lawyer if he was so afraid of my mom? Minutes later she came running downstairs.
" We need to go to emergency shopping right now! Here are your jeans and mobile, Crystal. Let’s go.” She said, thrusting a pair of dark skinny jeans to me.
" I will be back in 3 hours dear.” She told Brad while kissing him.
“3 hours ?!” I asked incredulously while buttoning my jeans over my leggings.
“You need a full wardrobe update Crystal.” Mom said condescendingly. Brad grinned at her. She grabbed her car keys and threw my gray hoodie at me.
“If I don’t come back alive from this shopping trip, my ghost will haunt you,” I told Brad.
He looked at me baffled, “you don’t like shopping?”
“I loathe shopping” I hissed vehemently before marching towards my doom.