Chp. 12: "There you are!!!"
There’s a long pause as Dad stares Travis down. Travis simply stares back, clearly tense. I awkwardly watch as they continue to stare at one another.
Dad’s home earlier than usual. I didn’t think I’d be here having to explain who this “strange man” is beside me.
“Dad!” I reply awkwardly, “Hey! You’re home early!!!”
“I got off earlier because I was tired...” He says, still staring at Travis.
He always does this if I bring home a guy. And I’ve only ever done that once or twice. Of course, those guys were taking me out on a date. But it’s not like that with Travis!
This is going to be awkward....
“Who are you??” Dad asks Travis, and Travis looks to me nervously. “Dad! This is Travis!” I explain, quickly, “A friend from school.”
“A friend, huh?” Dad repeats, still staring down Travis, “Tell me, Friend from School, where did you and my daughter go, and why are you two soaking wet??”
I groan, pushing up my glasses, “Dad-” “I’m just asking questions, Anni. That’s all I’m doing.” Dad interrupts, sizing Travis up, “Well??”
“I...um,” Travis stammers, his cheeks a bright shade of pink, “We were hanging out with some friends at a lake, we kind of accidentally fell in...”
I shoot him a look.
Accidental my ass...
He neglected to mention he was the one who threw me in the lake in the first place...
Staring at him suspiciously, Dad asks, “That’s all you guys did??”
“Yes, Dad, that’s all we did,” I reply, quickly, “We’re just friends.” Dad looks between Travis and me repeatedly, and I simply wait for his answer in awkward silence.
“Okay...” Dad mumbles, eyes still pinned on Travis, “well...nice to meet you friend from school.”
“Dad, his name is Travis,” I chime in, gesturing to Travis, “And I promise, we’re just friends.”
He looks Travis up and down one more time, and then finally walks inside the house. I let out a quiet sigh of relief, as Travis doing the same.
“Shit, your dad is scary as fuck...” Travis mumbles, swallowing hard, shoulders relaxing. I look over at him, and laugh, “He’s not that bad, just really protective over me.”
“I can see that,” Travis laughs, shaking his head. He looks over at me and chuckles again. I smile up at him, as I walk into my house.
I peek around the door to look at him, “Goodnight, Travis.”
" ’Night, Anni.” He replies, smirking, as he turns and walks off the porch. I glare at him, “You don’t have permission to call me that!!!”
“But I like it! It suits you!” He retorts, looking over his shoulder at me.
I groan annoyed but find myself smiling. I roll my eyes, closing the door. I continue to smile like an idiot.
I can’t help it...
Travis always seems to make me smile like this...
I turn around, and find Dad staring at me, curiously. I stare back, the smile on my face instantly gone. I awkwardly looking around the room, and rock a little on my heels.
“You’ve been going out a lot lately, more than usual...so I’ve heard Daniel say...” Dad says, brown eyes narrowed.
“Yeah...I have...” I reply, kinda confused, “Is that...bad??”
“Never!!” He sings, wrapping his arms around, “Finally my daughter’s getting out more!! I’m so happy for you!!”
I pat his back, awkwardly as he holds me in his embrace. A moment or two goes by, as I whisper, “You sure you want to hug me-”
“I don’t care if you were dry, wet, dirty, smelly, or anything else...” He then grabs my shoulders staring down into my eyes, a soft smile on his face, “I’d still hug you every time.”
I smile, pushing up my glasses, “Thanks, Dad...I love you.”
“I love you more, “He replies, still smiling, “Now get in the shower. You smell like fish.”
The Next Day.....
Luka and I walk down the school hall, talking. “No, no, no, no,” I state, laughing.
“I mean it!” Luka laughs, “You are talented. Don’t be so modest.” I smile over at him, “Thanks Luka, but honestly, I don’t someone would want a non-professional catering for them. I’m still in high school, and I don’t think they’d want that.”
It’s the next day, and I’m currently at school talking with Luka. We just got to school a few minutes ago, and everyone’s gone to class already, and Luka wanted to ask me something.
As for last night, thank God Daniel wasn’t there. He would’ve flipped seeing Travis in front of our house half-naked.
Honestly, it would kind of be funny...
And as for my hair, super shrinky looking today, so I just wore in a ponytail.
“I know, I know. Age is a problem but hear me out. My Mom is throwing a baby shower for a friend from work Friday afternoon, and they wanted a caterer for it.”
We stop at my locker, and I just stare at him confused. He stares at me back for a long moment. I raise a brow, “Am I missing something here?”
He chuckles, shaking his head. His ocean blue eyes stare into mine as he says, “I recommended you, Tiffany.”
“Yeah! You’re a really good baker, Tiffany, and your skills can take you places if you let them. My Mom said she’d be more than happy to have you cater for the baby shower if you want to do it. It’s from 5:00-6:30. Oh, and just know that I won’t be there. My Dad wants me working at the shop again, so maybe Daniel could give you a ride.”
I pause for a moment, imagining all of the things that could happen if I were to take this job.
If I do well, she could recommend me to her friends, and I could really get a business going! This could potentially be the start of my baking career!
Plus, I can start saving up more money for my Culinary School! With the pay, I get from my job, plus the pay from this potential catering business, I’ll have enough to pay for college!
I smile, feeling ecstatic. I look up at Luka and wrap my arm around him laughing joyously. I lay my head on his chest and he hugs me back, as I say excitedly, “OMG!!! OMG!!! Luka! This could be the start of-of everything!!!”
I look up at him, smiling wide, “You have no idea how much this means to me! Thank you!!!!” He blushes, smiling too, “You’re welcome, Tiffany. I’m happy I could help you get the ball rolling on your dream.”
Unwrapping my arms from around him, I stand on my tippy toes and plant a kiss on Luka’s cheek. I stand back on my feet, opening my locker, and grabbing my stuff. I close it and hug him one last time before turning and walking away, “Thank you so much, Luka! You’re the best!”
She just kissed me...
Oh wow! She kissed me!
“Of-of course, Tiffany! Anything for you!!” I shout as she disappears into the crowd, waving at me. I sigh, feeling flushed still, my heart rushing, palms sweaty. I take my hand and bring it to my cheek.
She just keeps stealing my heart...
Her beautiful honey brown eyes, and soft brown skin. As well as her curly hair that frames her face just right. Her smile, and laugh...
Just...everything about her...
Suddenly someone barrels into me, and I yelp with surprise. I whip my head around only to see Sebastian and let out a stressed sigh.
Way to scare me...
“I found Simon and Daniel! They’re flirting with the dance team again.” He states, shaking his head, his long dreads hanging over his face, “I swear, those guys don’t know how to keep it in their pants for longer than a week.”
I nod with agreement, still feeling flustered, “Yeah! I agree 100%!” Sebastian stares at me for a long moment, and I start to sweat nervously.
He leans in close, eyes narrowed, and I step back, feeling awkward. After what feels like forever, he suddenly says, “When are you going to tell her?”
I sigh, rolling my eyes, “We’re not talking about this right now.”
“C’mon Luke! You can’t avoid it forever! You’re going to have to tell her at some point how you feel.”
I shake my head, “Well, I hate to break it to you, but that’ll never happen. Look...” I begin walking, and Sebastian joins me, “I don’t think I can tell her mainly because I haven’t told her brother yet, and you know how Daniel is about Tiffany. He’s super protective of her. I, being his best friend, will have to tell him ‘Hey! I’m in love with your little sister and think she’s the best thing since sliced bread. I would like your blessing to date, and possibly spend the rest of my life with her.’ That’s not easy to bring up in conversation.”
“Well, when you put it like that...” Sebastian mumbles, awkwardly. He pauses for a moment, and asks, ” ‘The best thing since sliced bread’?”
“I was feeling poetic.”
He laughs, pulling his hair back into a ponytail, “Look, man, you can’t keep hiding it forever. One of these days, she’s going to get herself a man, you’re going to be upset because you decided to not shot your shot. And when that happens, don’t whine like a little bitch about it like you usually do.”
“Hey!” I retort, offended, brows furrowed. Patting my shoulder, Sebastian shrugs nonchalantly, “I’m just being honest, my G. You might want to reconsider not telling her before it’s too late.”
With that, Sebastian walks away, people immediately following close behind, calling his name.
I sigh, realizing he’s right.
I can’t expect to be angry with her if she does get herself a boyfriend...
Which means...I’m going to have to tell her soon...
First period is finally done!!!
I carefully make my way out of my classroom since people have no courtesy for the short people. I hurriedly walk down the halls, slipping my way past people. I make my way to my locker and push up my glasses. I pull open my locker and replace my AP History Textbooks with my Math Books.
Have I mentioned that I hate Math class?
I’m horrible at Math! I can’t do it to save my life!!!
And to make it worse, it feels like I’m the teachers’ favorite person to call on for answering questions...
Suddenly, someone slams my locker shut, nearly smashing my fingers. I yelp, stumbling backward, now noticing the red stiletto nails. I sigh, annoyed.
“Hey, Fatty!” She spits, the fakest smile playing on her lips. Pearl then appears next to her, texting away on her phone, “What up, fatso.”
It’s Tiffany. Not Fatty.
But no, Tiffany, we will not engage!
“Hey, Jennifer, and Pearl. What do you want?” I ask, trying to reframe myself from being a complete bitch.
You know, do what Selena Gomez said.
’Kill ‘em with kindness.’
“You know what I want,” Jennifer states, crossing her arms; those icy blue eyes peering into what feels like my soul, “Your dumb brother still isn’t talking to me. Why’s that? Didn’t I tell you to tell him to call me? And let’s not forget what you said to me at the party. Don’t think you’re going to get away with that.”
“I can’t believe you’re still on that! Let it go! Truth hurts, babe. You’re indeed a basic bitch.” I reply looking her up and down, “And excuse the fuck out of me that your,” I using air-quotes, ” ‘requests’ didn’t go through. I’m not your errand boy.”
Suddenly, Jennifer laughs, and Pearl joins her. I watch as they look from me to each other still laughing. Flipping her hair, Jennifer finds her composure, turning to face me, “You might as well be an errand boy if you really think that your brother and me? Are done.”
“I don’t just think, I know that you and my brother are done. Take the hint,” I state, glaring at her, “He. Don’t. Want. You.”
Suddenly, she pushes me, and I stumble backward as she says threateningly, “Watch your tone with me, little girl. Last I checked, you’re nothing but a fucking nobody. Remember your place, fatty, or else.”
I frown, my brows furrowing. My jaw clenches, as I stare her dead in the eyes. She grins evilly, and Pearl chimes in, “What are you going to say now, fatty?”
I’m about ready to rip these girls’ heads off!!
I take a deep breath, trying to remain as calm as possible. “Aww. Is the little nobody sad?” Jennifer says, ‘pouting’, “You know, this would’ve never happened if you had just done what I asked.”
I smile angrily at her, and she does the same. I laugh, bitterly, “Listen, Jennifer...I don’t know who the hell you think you’re talking to, but I know damn well it can’t be me.”
Her face becomes serious as I continue, taking a step forward, “I don’t do shit for people like you, so you can take your little ‘requests’ and shove them right up your ass!!!”
I shove her as hard as I can, and she yelps, stumbling back into nearly falling. Pearl falls onto her butt, dropping her phone, “OH EM FUCKING GEE!!!!”
I simply stare at them, shocked, and unafraid. I stand more confidently and state, “And don’t be putting your hands on me neither.
I just pushed Jennifer Redwood.
And liked it.
Everyone in the hallway gasps, and I tense up, my confidence wavering. I break out into a cold sweat, and my anxiety spikes. I glance around the hall noticing all eyes on me.
I swallow hard, my heart pounding against my chest. I suddenly begin to hyperventilate feeling super small under all of these peoples gazes.
Yeah, I no longer feel confident anymore…
“YOU LITTLE BITCH!!!”
I, jump, looking back at Jennifer her now dark blue eyes screaming rage as he stare daggers at me. I ball my hands up into fists as she shrieks, “YOU DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME, EVER!!! NOBODY EVER TELL ME NO!!!! NOW I’M GOING TO RIP YOUR WEAVE OUT OF YOUR HEAD, YOU BOGUS BITCH!!!”
My hair is real…
“AGHHHHH!!!” Jennifer roars, hands outreaches to grab my neck. I step back, nervously, and into something hard.
“There you are!”
Before I can finish, hands grab my shoulders, pulling me back. I gasp surprised, and notice Jennifer’s facial expression change from pissed off to tense and flushed. I whip my head around and look over my shoulder only to find Travis standing behind me.
He smiles down at me, “I’ve been looking all over for you.”