I walked with my headset on my neck, enjoying the morning rays. The air smelled nice and made me sniff. Mom's burnt bread drifted into my nose, knocking out the smell. It made me cringe, and at the same time made me stand. Mary called to me from the fence, and I turned. She waved and smiled, as I walked toward her. Her hair was tied in a bun, showing her oval face well. It twitched as her brows moved.
"Helloooo-" she said. She was our new neighbour and had packed in the previous day.
I returned her greetings with a smile and asked her if she was doing well.
She replied with a nod. "Yes. How about you?" she asked.
I nodded my head to show I was doing alright, complimenting with a smile.
"Are you always smiling even when no one is?" she asked.
I took her question as one so rude, then scoffed and walked away.
Dad asked me who made me angry when I came in. I mumbled a 'nobody' and went upstairs.
Oh no. What did I do? I thought, frightened, regretting what I had said. I mounted the swing, not at ease, gently holding the ropes. Mom appeared from the house, holding a tray, the things on it placed.
"Thought I should bring your favourite chocolate," she said.
"Mom, you shouldn't have," I frowned.
She dropped the tray on the grass and sat down beside it.
"I see you're loving this place, huh?"
"Hm. Not really," I shook my head.
She took a sip and handed the mug over to me. "Here,"
"Mom, you really shouldn't have worried," I felt reluctant to take it as she urged me.
"I just felt you wanted choco..."
"Or you only wanted to check on me," I shrugged. "I'm okay, as you can see, but not loving the neighbourhood." I looked away.
"What about the neighbours? Do you hate them too?"
"Yes!" I quickly regretted affirming that. "The new neighbours," I started. "...haven't met them yet," I lied. The three I had seen the night before, and one... just today. She seemed very nice at first but had given me the wrong impression when she walked out on me.
"No, I don't hate them," I said with my head bowed. "It's just that, how am I going to fit in?" I felt sad. Mom's job was demanding, so it had us move. From Texas to California, and from California to LA. Her job didn't give us much choice but to go to several places.
"You will fit in just right, honey," Mom said. "You just have to make new friends. Martha's nice, by the way. I met her yesterday."
"Mom, not her," I whined. "She doesn't seem very nice, so I don't think we can be friends."
"You just have to start somewhere, honey. And, then get to know her-"
A knock on the door alerted us. It came from the front. "I wonder who's knocking," Mom said. She got up from the ground and went inside.
I rose from the swing, anxious to know who was at the door. I met the rude girl talking with Mom.
"Oh, dearie. We appreciate this. The apple pie smells nice..."
I scoffed. Apple pie—a nice gesture, so fake! I walked to the couch and lay on it.
"Jane. Just call me Jane," I overheard Mom.
"Yes, Jane," The girl said. "You don't have to worry," she declined Mom's offer to come in. "I only came to drop the pie. My Mom will be waiting for me."
Mom said an 'oh' and let her be, then she bid her goodbye and shut the door. "She seems very nice,"
"Because she made you an apple pie?"
"You know I love apple pies. Such a coincidence she made me one-"
I made Mary an apple pie, to be frank, but her Mom opened the door. I realized that how I acted wasn't nice, I wanted to do something good.
"Guess I'll be seeing her soon," I said to myself. Beverly High was what lingered in my mind.
Hazel was sitting on our porch when I approached. Her rosy cheeks glistened in the sun. "How long have you been here?" I asked.
"A couple of minutes ago," she said.
A tingling sensation in my tummy made me cough. My voice cracked as I said, "You're doing well,"
Her eyes glistened. "And you're not doing badly yourself," she smiled.
There was a brief silence after that. It was broken by a cough-Dad's very own. "Hazel,"
"Oh, Mr. Hale, a wonderful noon to you," Hazel greeted.
Dad had known what transpired between us, causing the awkward situation. Hazel and I had broken up, despite our promises to each other. Dad had witnessed the scene that very day when Hazel slammed the door in my face. It was one dreadful day, to be honest, and one I had gotten off my mind.
"Dad, can you please excuse Hazel and me for some minutes," I needed to talk to her alone.
"Yes. Yes, I can." Dad left.
It felt awkward being with her after she walked away.
"I see you've come back to your senses," I said, faking a smile.
"Yes. Look, I don't know how many times I have to apologize so you can have me back, but I'm not backing down,"
"But you left. You left without blinking, Hazel, so why are you saying 'sorry'?"
"Cause I know I made a mistake. A very big one, Mart. I miss you-"
I could see she did. Or was she lying?
"You think sorry is going to melt my heart? I've long forgiven you, Haze, but I've moved on. I am not taking you back, so you can keep your sorry ass to yourself! Do you understand?" I remembered everything... how she walked away.
She rose to her feet and looked down at me, then she sniffed, and looked away. "I made a terrible mistake coming here..."
"Yes, you did!"
She looked back at me and gritted, picked up her purse from the ground, and bid me goodbye.
"So Hazel-" I scoffed.
I didn't see Hazel after that day, and it marked a new beginning. Mary and I met in school, and we became friends after I apologized.
"So, we cool?"
"Yes! Totes cool."
"You can hang out at my place sometimes, and maybe..."
She seemed like the kind who didn't love visiting. "Yes. Any prob?"
"Not really," she shrugged.
"It's a yes!" she exclaimed.
Mary and I met up after school and I introduced her to Dad. Dad was suspicious at first but didn't make his reasons known until after she had left. His first words were, "Well, she's nice... " Then, "Who is she?"
Pleased to know he thought of her as my girlfriend, I told him she was a friend and I was yet to reel her in.
I could make her a lesbian, don't you think? A naughty thought crowded my mind. "No, that won't be nice-" I said aloud.
Dad was staring the whole time, smiling at me. He knew I had some naughty shits going on in my mind, and the said-out thought proved him right.
"That's the face..."
"What face?" I looked up.
"The face you make when you've got something going on in there," he made a silly face.
"Ew. Dad, that's gross," I said. "Aren't you hanging out with Steve today?" I made to change the subject.
Dad went out with Steve, and I went to Mary's house. We were talking about school, and how the school bullies were growing by the day. Mary brought up the principal's daughter and how she was one of them. Cindy, if I wasn't mistaken. Given the privilege to be the daughter of the second-in-command, the owner of the school's niece, and head cheerleader.
"Cindy's proud, I must say," I said and grouched.
"Yes, she is," Mary laughed. "Um, I've been meaning to tell you something," she stared deeply into my eyes.
The air around us grew hot despite the fan being on.
"It might seem awkward. I don't know," she shrugged her shoulders and shifted.
"It's okay. You can tell me," I placed my hand on hers.
"I can't," she quickly withdrew.
"Cause I-I-" her words got hooked.
I understood why she was finding it hard to say-could tell she was scared I wasn't gay.
"Mary? Mary..." Mrs. John's voice came in.
"Mom's coming," We said, alarmed. "You can tell me whatever you have in mind later, okay?" I said and smiled.
Mrs. John came in and I greeted her. I excused myself and told Mary that I was going to check on her when I was home.
That day I couldn't stop thinking about her. I thought about her all night too and made up my mind to tell her about how I felt.
That same night I had a dream. I saw myself walking down the aisle, covered in a bloody veil.
The voice I heard that night was Mary's voice. She was slowly calling to me and sobbing, her weeping voice almost cracked.
"Rise and shine, sleepy head!" A jolting, ringing voice woke me up. "Isn't today a special day?"
I opened my eyes to see Mom drawing the curtains.
"Hi, sweet pea. How are you doing?"
She was there.
Mom had left when I was three but had come back when I was 10. Back then she and my Dad argued all the time. They would fight and be at each other's throats until they finally divorced.
"Mom, what are you doing here?"
"What are you talking about, baby? Aren't you happy to see me?"
"I am, but-" I stopped.
"You're afraid your Dad will see me, aren't you?"
"Well, how's Lance?" I smiled. A fake one.
"Lance is okay,"
"Oh? Did Dad tell you he's got a new man?"
She frowned. "What's my business with your Dad? He and I are LONG OVER!" she emphasized. Mom and Dad were cat and mouse. Of course, they never saw each other eye to eye. "So, any boys?"
"Boys where?" I hurriedly asked. I was sure she knew I was gay.
"Don't tell me my baby's still single," she eyed me.
"Well, your girl's not a baby anymore so you had better stop." I shrugged.
The memory of last night came back, and I remembered the veil and the voice that struck me.
Mom was worriedly calling me, but I wasn't listening. She dragged me out of my rambled thought and asked me to sit up.
"Baby, what's wrong?"
I twisted my lips. I didn't want to tell her about my dream but found myself doing that.
"That was how it all went," I said with my arms spread.
She asked me one at a time who Mary was and asked me why I was covered in a bloody veil.
"Martha?" Mary's voice came in.
"Honey, someone's here-" Dad hollered from the stairs.
Mary came in and found Mom and me talking. She smiled warmly at us, and then came to sit beside me.
"Mary, meet my Mom. Mom, Mary." I introduced.
Mom said hello and gave me a lifted brow. I could tell what she had in mind.
"It's nice to see you, Mrs. Hale..."
I quickly cut in. "Just Mom."
Mom chuckled and got up from the bed. "So I'll leave you two to talk," she threw me a wink as she neared the door.
Mary and I got talking. We chatted about a lot of things.
"So, tell me, who do you have a crush on in our class?"
"Well, go on," she lifted her brows and waited for me to speak. I was having a hard time doing so, as a result of my throat being clogged. Wetting my lips, eyes dancing on her, I got ready to speak, took the duvet off me, and began. "Um..."
"Yes?" she grew anxious to hear.
I wet my lips again and scratched my hair, this time saying something else. "I think it's Luke,"
She froze. "Luke? You have got to be kidding me!"
Mary was shocked hearing me say Luke's name. Of all people, I believed she thought, it was Luke.
Luke was a tall, handsome guy who everyone loved. Being the head of the football team, and the most handsome in our class, all the girls wanted to be around him, apart from Mary, who didn't fancy him much.
"Luke's your dream guy?"
I looked away and said, "I didn't say dream." I looked back at her.
"Crush. Any." She frowned. She got up from the bed and sat on the chair, as it squeaked. Her face relaxed and she heaved a sigh. "So, where were we?"
It was unbelievable hearing her call Luke's name. Of all people? I hated him so much, even though I didn't know him.
"We were talking about me crushing on Luke,"
I drew my breath. "I like you, Martha-" I waited for some time. "I just couldn't tell you," I continued.
Martha was silent, and it got me wondering. I got up from the chair, making the first move. "Can I?" I leant in and took control of her lips before she could say yes.
Her lips tasted like strawberry, and they had me 'Mm'. I slipped my hand into her dress, carefully locating her bra cups. Her breasts were perfectly enclosed. They had me drooling.
I felt something in between my legs, urging me on. The feeling was a nice one, and the signal it gave me made me not want to stop.
"Please don't stop," Martha pleaded.
I reached for a nipple and tugged lightly at it, as she moaned and I did. I pulled away and peered into her eyes. They shone brightly, turning me on.
"You're beautiful," I said.
"You think so?" she pulled away and looked at me.
I nodded and leant in to kiss her again, as the sound of the door came into my ears.
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