French Kissing

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29. Tea & sympathy

"You’ll have to confront him at school next week. Given he’s still in a mood about it I wouldn’t bother calling him this weekend, unless he calls you of course. Let him stew and get over it. It will all have blown over by Monday."

Revel had been right about her grandmother’s raspberry wine knocking off the edge of Marcy’s misery. But Marcy wasn’t so sure she was correct about Gray. She couldn’t get his face out of her mind: the white anger, and then the way that he had treated her like a total stranger.

"It’s not just anger," Revel said. "It’s also fear. He’s realising what you mean to him, and the risks he’s taken. The risks that you’re both taking."

"Do you think it’s too dangerous?" Marcy asked.

"No way. Life is about risk. You have to fight for what you want."

Marcy found herself wondering what battles Revel had had to fight for herself. She wasn’t quite sure if Revel’s grandmother knew about all the different activities she did: singing in a bar, the modelling. Rowena seemed both old-fashioned as well as laid back. She acted towards Revel as though she were an adult, not a child.

Sure, they were all pretty much reaching adulthood now, but Marcy sensed it might always have been this way between Revel and her grandmother. It would explain why Revel always seemed so much older.

Revel poured Marcy some more wine. "We should probably put a lid on it soon, it hits you like a lead weight the next morning."

"Your grandmother doesn’t mind you drinking?"

"Not that she’s ever said. Neither of us drink that much. This moonshine is supposed to be a tonic," Revel said.

It was a tonic. A beautiful, numbing tonic. But Marcy was just getting to the head-swimming stage. She would feel bad enough waking up without Gray next morning, let alone hungover. So she took Revel’s advice and decided she’d had enough.

But emboldened by the wine she had drunk, Marcy felt able to ask Revel about her own situation. "So how are things with you? You mentioned that you and Nick are kind of on-off."

"Yes, from time to time. It’s a convenience thing really. Truthfully there’s another guy that I would be more into, but it’s had to stay casual as he’s in LA," Revel told her. "He’s a musician."

Revel fished out a photo from her purse. It showed her and a guy with longish blond hair in a photo booth. He looked nice, like a surfer. Maybe about nineteen or twenty. "His name’s Jeff. We try to catch up when we can, but a full-on long distance is too hard right now."

"How did you meet?" Marcy hoped Revel didn’t mind her asking.

"At a festival. Jeff was playing there with his band. They’re planning to tour this winter."

"Will you be able to go and see him?"

"Depending on the venues. Hopefully."

Even though she now knew more about Revel’s love life, Marcy still didn’t feel that she knew Revel any better. Revel was really nice but something about her remained enigmatic. All in all she felt hugely thankful to have her as a friend. Addy being in New York was just too far away for moments of crisis like these.

The next couple of days were as awful as could be imagined. Marcy waited and waited and hoped for her phone to ring, but Gray remained silent.

She tried to distract herself with doing homework. In the end she decided to turn her phone off and not let herself look at it until Monday morning. At least then she wouldn’t face more stress or disappointment beforehand.

Marcy was half way through some French homework of all things - it totally reminded her of Gray but it absolutely had to be done - when her mother called her. "Addy’s on the house phone. Is your mobile off?"

Grateful and relieved for the interruption, Marcy went to take the call. There was an extension in her parents’ room so she used that as at least it was more private.

"So what’s happening?" Addy was all eager to hear about everything going on in Marcy’s life, and it was quite painful to have to tell her what had happened.

Addy was furious on Marcy’s behalf. "I can’t believe Josh would do that! It’s like assault, you should report him. And no offence but Mr Grayson not giving you a chance to explain, that doesn’t make him look very good, does it?"

It didn’t, and that was something that Marcy was struggling to get her head around. But she remembered what Revel had said about fear.

"It may be more than that. He may have decided the whole thing is too risky and we should cool it." Just saying the words made her heart sink because it did sound very possible.

"Don’t lose hope. Maybe he’s just brooding."

"Maybe." Gray hadn’t seemed the brooding type though, at least not the type to sulk or anything like that.

They changed the subject to Addy’s life, where there was heaps to talk about. Addy seemed to be surrounded by cute available guys, she had also spotted - or thought she had spotted - celebrities on trips to places like Fifth Avenue, and the whole New York thing just sounded amazing.

Marcy just wished she could skip high school. That it could be over already: Brittanny and her stupid gang, the whole drama with Gray, the whole last year of studying and then exams and having to put on a brave face. If only she could be in New York right this moment, hanging out with Addy, millions of miles away from her current reality.

"So is school in New York harder?" she asked.

"Yes and no," Addy said. "It’s pretty much the same. It’s weird being the new girl in the last year, but there were a couple of other new people as well. We also have the hottest science teacher, enough to tempt me into following in your footsteps, except it turns out he’s gay."

Marcy laughed. "It would be a lot easier if Mr Grayson was gay. Or a monk or something."

"You could always become a nun. You’d never have a bad hair day, wearing a wimple."

This was true. Somehow Marcy didn’t think it would be quite her style though. Though she was quite prepared at that moment to swear off men forever.

For now, she had to pluck up her courage. She was going to face Gray and confront him, and she was going to do it tomorrow.

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