7. Some bad news
As soon as they had parted Marcy decided that a week would seem like forever. But it also took her thoughts away from school, which if she was going to admit it, was a big shadow of dread hanging over her.
She was staying over at Addy’s that night, for real this time. Her parents weren’t too surprised as they knew it was their last week before Addy moved to New York.
"I expect Addy’s house must be nearly packed up, are you sure they can host you?" Marcy’s mother asked her.
"I’m taking a sleeping bag and a pillow." It was going to be like camping. They even planned to toast marshmallows over a candle.
Marcy’s mother put an arm around her. "I know you’ll miss her, dear, I am very sorry she’s moving so far away."
"Me too." She tried not to look as miserable as she felt about it.
"Your father and I were talking about taking a trip around the end of the year. How about Christmas shopping in New York and catching a show on Broadway?" Marcy’s mother knew her passion for theatre.
Marcy was overwhelmed. "That would be amazing. I can’t wait to tell Addy." Having something to look forward to would keep her going throughout the long semester ahead. Even it was months and months away.
Her mother looked searchingly at her. "I trust it the date went well last night."
Marcy glowed. "It was perfect. He’s lovely, you would like him."
"Better than Josh?"
"Infinitely," Marcy said.
"I figured, given how quickly you got over that heartbreak." Her mother smiled and offered her a plate of cookies and Marcy took two and went upstairs.
She went to stuff her night things in a bag and take a rolled up sleeping bag from the closet where they were kept. She also grabbed a bag of marshmallows from the kitchen. So weird to think that she wouldn’t be able to just pop over to Addy’s like this anymore. They had been best friends for so many years. Addy featured in more of the photos on Marcy’s corkboard than any of the rest of her friends.
From the photos you could see just how much everyone had changed since high school started. I wonder what we’ll look like now, to our future selves, Marcy thought. They’d find out at a high school reunion one day when people got the yearbooks out, she supposed.
At Addy’s house she prepared herself for a grilling about Gray. They always shared the gory details - up to a point - though Marcy wasn’t sure if her friend would be shocked at her behaviour. Not that she was the judgmental type, but what Marcy had done was kind of out of character for her.
When Gray had driven her back home Marcy had momentarily worried that a big "V" with a red line through it must be hovering above her head, but her mother didn’t seem to have noticed anything. She might feel a sophisticated and scarlet woman inside, but outside she was just regular old Marcy.
"So?" If speech came with punctuation marks, Addy’s question would have had about six question marks and eight exclamation works.
"So it’s a lovely evening, isn’t it?" Marcy replied, deliberately teasing her friend.
"You know that’s not what I meant. Spill. Every last detail. Where did you go for dinner? How did he seem? Did he kiss you again? Has he asked you out again? When are you seeing him again?"
"Too many questions!" Marcy said, pushing past her friend towards the kitchen. Addy’s mother was out that night at a business event so they had the place to themselves.
Addy chased after her. "No juice: no microwave brownies." Marcy could tell that Addy had been baking again from the warm aroma of chocolate in the air. And the chocolate smeared all over Addy herself. "And no marshmallows."
Marcy waved her own bag. "I came prepared."
Addy sat down on one of the stools. "Seriously. There’s obviously something or you wouldn’t be drawing it out like this. And it’s obviously good, or you wouldn’t be grinning all over your face. And blushing. And… oh my God, Marcy, you didn’t, did you?"
"You know what I mean! I thought you always wanted to wait for some reason. Not that it’s not totally cool that you didn’t. Assuming you didn’t screw up and I have to start babysitting for you in nine months," Addy said, getting ahead of herself.
"Woah woah woah! I haven’t confirmed or denied anything. And you know I’m not an idiot," Marcy said.
Addy grinned. "I can read you like a book. You’ve joined the club, haven’t you? The Pink Ladies."
"Is that what it’s called? If you must know, yes, I went a little further than I expected to. But Addy he’s so wonderful! It just felt right. And he says he wants to see me again." Then her face fell.
"What’s wrong?" Addy asked.
"He’s away for the next week. So I can’t see him for another seven days, until after school starts."
At the mention of school a flicker of concern went over Addy’s face, but she tamped it down. "So was it good?"
"More than good. It was amazing! Why didn’t you let me in on the secret? Though I’m glad I didn’t give it up for Josh, thinking about it." Yes, that would have been terrible, Marcy thought. Given how she now felt as though she was falling for Gray, particularly after being so intimate with him, to have done that with Josh and then suffered his betrayal would have been unbearable.
At least she had gone into things with Gray with no expectations. With an official boyfriend, you felt entitled to some proper commitment afterwards.
Just then her phone buzzed.
Hope you’re well. See you in a week, don’t crash any more cars
Marcy liked the fact that he texted with proper language. It looked sophisticated and elegant. She’d have to reply the same way, none of the usual abbreviations and codes she used with Addy and others.
"Well, I’m now totally jealous. Even though I still don’t know what he looks like," Addy said.
Marcy promised to send her a photo as soon as tactfully possible. "I don’t want him to think I’m one of those girls that snaps photos of all her beaus like big game hunting trophies."
Addy burst out laughing. "Who on earth does that?"
"Brittanny Bitchy Paige, for starters."
The mention of Brittanny brought the cloud back to Addy’s face. This time Marcy saw it.
"What’s wrong?" Marcy asked.
"I found out something. If you thought the thing about Josh dating Brittanny’s cousin was bad, then this is worse. Very much worse." Addy looked grave.
"What could be worse? They’re getting married and I have to be maid of honour?"
"No, it’s even worse than that. Apparently she - the cousin - has transferred. Her family moved over here or something. She’s going to be starting at Springdale in the fall."
Suddenly the world went darker. It was going to take all of Marcy’s courage to face the first day.