"...I'm really sorry, babe. But the guys will have my head if I don't show," I could hear the disappointment in Jayden's voice and I sighed. I didn't want to be selfish, but I was annoyed all the same.
"So, I'm supposed to walk home?" I didn't intend my tone to be snappy, but it was and I bit my tongue afterwards, releasing yet another sigh in a bid to ease the annoyance off my bones. "You know what, its fine. Just call me when you get home."
"Are you sure?" He asked and I sighed again.
"Yeah, its fine really."
"Okay then, I'm really sorry. Bye!" And he hung up. Guess someone's excited to hang out with his friends...
A pang of jealousy hit me, and even though I knew it wasn't right, I just couldn't help it. I had thought Jayden would come pick me up after school and then we would hangout for the rest of the day, but his friends had plans. Actually, I knew they would have plans but I forgot.
First day of resumption at Westbrom usually ended with all the kids and their friends at Applebee's--at least the ones who could afford it or the ones who'd pick pocketed their way into affording it. It was a ritual. I should be with my friends, but I didn't have any. Well, Kayla and the girls made that clear three weeks ago.
The idea of me changing schools was something they had hated immediately it was out in the air and nothing I said could change their minds. They had the same thoughts as Jayden and they hated it even more so because it was an all-white school. They didn't understand the fact that I had no choice in the matter or that if it was one of them who'd been given such an opportunity, I would gladly cheer them on. They knew Westbrom isn't an actual school, but they liked it either ways and I didn't. I want to study and make something good out of my life and I know I could never get that by remaining there.
"You're coming with us or not?" A voice invaded my disappointed thoughts and I turned to see Olivia. Her long blonde hair looked stiff as it cascaded down her back and her makeup still remained flawless, blue eyes similar to her mother's giving me an impatient stare.
I looked away from her to my phone, waiting, hoping, praying for something to happen that would make me have an excuse, but nothing did. And I made my decision with a sigh.
"Where's Lola parked?" My voice sure carried a heavy bout of disappointment and Olivia turned and started walking away without replying my question. I took that as a cue to follow her.
Soon, the silver Toyota that used to incite curiosity and excitement in me, a rough one year ago came into view and I shuddered at how the same car now incited trepidation in me.
Dad never looked at any other woman since mom's death. Instead, he channeled all his energy into helping me grow up and becoming the best person I could be. But teenage-hood is demanding; both financially and emotionally, which was something he didn't have enough of--at least that's what he said. I was perfectly fine with the love I got from him--maybe we really did lack on the financial part, but what I knew for sure was that I got all the love I needed from him and I was okay with that. Sure, I missed her a great deal--my mom--but dad tried so hard to fill that space for both of us and he did a great job. But apparently, it wasn't enough for him and he thought I needed a motherly figure in my life for everything to be okay again. And that's when Lola came in.
She was a single mother, financially okay, beautiful and ready to mingle and dad thought, why not? So the dating began and then the vows were said and I got a sister my age and a mother who did nothing to fulfill her role. Who was I to complain though? I mean, the woman helped my dad with a job, took us into her home, provided all the necessary materialistic things we needed and basically gave me a chance at a better future. All I could do was thank God.
"Hi honey, how was school?" Lola's smile was radiant as we settled in the car, me in the back seat and Olivia in the front with her.
"Annoying as usual," Olivia grunted in response as she struggled with the seatbelt for a while before finally getting it right.
"What about you, Kheeana?" My head snapped up, surprised that I was being involved in their conversation.
"Uh...it was fine," I replied, trying to determine if the smile on Lola's face was taut or friendly.
"Did you make any new friends?" She continued, pulling out of the parking lot and unto the road in a smooth swerve.
"Yeah, the girls were nice."
"Trust me, Lin and Maisie are anything but nice," Olivia snorted, butting into the conversation with an eye roll. "They might fool you now, but they'll show their true colors later on--if Lin hasn't already." She added the last part like a silent after thought and I frowned, remaining silent through the rest of the ride.
Lola and Olivia chatted away as we passed through the streets and I listened with a half ear, a part of my chest aching in profound jealousy and longing. I missed mom. I missed her so much and it hurt so much that I could have saved her, but I didn't. I could have not thought her scream was a result of fish biting her toes. I could have read more into the look of horror on her face as she went under. I shouldn't have played with the other kids. I should have...
"Earth to Kheeana!" A shout and a snap of fingers in front of my face brought me out of my feelings and I blinked, travelling back to reality as I found myself staring into Olivia's stark blue eyes. "Why are you crying? Thinking bout your dead momma again?" She snorted, pushing herself up and out of my face. I blinked again, and then realized tears were slipping through my eyes, fast and uncontrollably.
"Don't you dare speak about her." I raised my eyes to meet hers, a wave of anger hitting me as her words registered. She was standing on the sidewalk and the car door was open, the logo of Applebee's visible through the windscreen.
"What will you do? Call your gangster boyfriend to beat me up?" She snorted again and I heard the restaurant bell go off, a wisp of Lola's blond hair sifting through my vision as she disappeared behind the door to the restaurant.
"Jayden isn't a gangster and shut the fuck up already!" I wiped furiously at the wetness on my cheeks and then got up and out of the car, grabbing my bag in the process.
"We're in front of a restaurant filled with people and there's a cop across the street, so don't even think of trying anything funny," her voice shook as I adjusted my hoodie sleeves and then slammed the car door shut. Anything funny?
A small smile of amusement lifted my lips slightly at her thoughts of me hitting her and I quickly turned it down into a frown again.
"I would never go as low as hitting people, but you really need to watch it." I said seriously, fixing her with a glare that I hoped emphasized my seriousness. I watched fear slide over her calm features before she quickly masked it with a scoff, then flipped her hair in a don't care gesture and walked off towards the restaurant.
I sighed, watching her pull the door open and then I decided to walk the rest of the way home. The least Lola could have done was tell me they would be stopping by at Applebee's, and I wouldn't have agreed to ride with them at all.
Wait, Applebee's?...the kids from Westbrom would be here. Maybe even Kayla and the girls.
"Oh look who it is! Kheeana Johnson! The black bitch with a white adoptive momma!" The shout came from my left and I snapped my gaze over, surprise surely taking over my features.
Speak of the devil.
Or better yet, think of the devil...