I moistened my lips, the smile still remaining; I hopped happily to class.. My book in between my arm and side and the box I got from Nick, on my palm. I got to homeroom and was surprised to meet it locked, I checked the time and realized I was early and it’s not possible that I could have missed homeroom. I shrugged and walked to the class.. It was almost void of students except for a few students in different pretty outfits all for the competition.
“Jacq.. Over here” I heard Martha’s giggly voice and I traced it to her face, I walked to her and sat down beside her.
“Hey” I greeted “You look kinda different” I said, checking out her outfit and she smiled with a pose.
“It’s what our group members are putting on and you– wait what’s that?” She asked, referring to the box..
“Some moderate size super lunch box?” Lance chipped in from wherever he arrived from..
“It’s not a lunch box.. I got it from Nicholas” “Like he gave you that pretty box? Can I see it?” “Um sure” I said and she collected it from me.. “Wait.. Are you dating Nicholas?” Lance asked
“Oh Lance.. Why else will he send her a gift and a cute morning card?” Martha answered him with an eye roll and I took the box from Martha.
“We’re not dating, this is just a friendly morning bonus. Nothing as serious as you both think” I said
“So he’s still courting you?”
“Nick is courting you?!” Lance chipped in, a glimpse of unbelieve in his eyes. “Okay what is with you guys.. Can’t friends send cards anymore?”
“They can but the words are not this cute and romantic” she said and Lance nodded.
I shook my head and stood up.
“Okay.. You’re right, Nick’s courting me.. It’s not like it’s a strange thing and just so you know, I’ve not accepted yet–
“Yet.. I sense a ‘yes’ in that” Martha cut me off.
“Whatever. I’ll be outside” I grabbed the box and walked out from my annoying over sensitive friends.
I rubbed my palm together then blew a nervous raspberry out after the next group hopped down the stage, a little disappointed cos their project though pretty, failed to work and somehow with the small cheers and talks, it was obvious they weren’t among the winners. I felt a light squeeze on my shoulder, I flinched a little and turned to see Lance. I sighed.
“I’m the speaker here and you’re the one getting the sweaty palms” he said.. “I don’t know Lance.. We might get called out anytime soon. Where’s Nick?” “He’s getting some stuffs on in the changing room, I’ll go check out on him.. You try to stop being paranoid, just hope for the best” he said and dashed off. I sighed and look at the beautiful and really creative artwork before me, much more prettier than ours. I looked away; I hope we win.
After the whole thing which seem like a melodrama to me, we presented our project and while I stood, interesting the crowd with my smile, Nick and Lance discussed our project to them and showed how it worked.. I didn’t expect the huge applause that came next and trust Lance, he added some really spicy words that got the attention of everyone and after the much time it took; we rounded up. “Phew! I’ve got thunder-thighs” I sighed tiredly as we got to the stairs.
“That was a fantastic, nice job guys” Nicholas commended..
“You and Lance did most of everything, I only smiled and answered few questions but I feel like I did most of the work” I said and Lance gave me a small tap. “We all did well. I’ll go change” Nick said and walked away..
“I’ll go blow off some steam outside” I said and walked away, taking off the hairpin.
I walked into the restroom and checked my face in the mirror, hoping my smile didn’t leave etches on my cheeks that was hurting.. I touched it and strained them to flex the muscles, I took deep breaths after it. I started arranging my hair and was packing it up when my phone buzzed in my pocket.. I took it out and it was a text from Nick. A smile stayed on my lips as I checked it.
You did really good back there, I would say the audience fell for your
irresistible smile more than our work…cos I was a victim too ; don’t blame me I love cute stuffs too; good thing Lance was there to cover up. Nice job
I read the text with my lower lips sucked in, absorbing the sweet words. My cheeks were hurting from the blush..
I rested my butt on the sink front before replying..
After school, I took the road home, made Allan’s lunch and walked to Nick’s house.. He let me in after I rang the bell, with a smile and started locking the door. “Hey Jackie” I tilt my head to see Lance, relaxed on a couch.. A book laid on his lap.
“Hey” I said.
“What’re doing here?”
“Um I.. came for our project. Isn’t that why you’re here too?”
“No, we’re done with our project.. What’s left is the result and it’s tomorrow. I came to return Nick’s book that I lent and then I saw this one and decided to read it here since Nicholas says he’s not lending it to me” he said and I gave Nick a knowing look, he shrugged
“Cos it’s one of the books that I don’t give out. You should be glad, I let you read it” Nick said.
“Um okay.. I’ll just.. read a book too since there’s nothing else to do” I said and walked to Nick’s room. I left my bag on his bed and looked around for anything to do, seeing nothing, I grabbed a book and sat on his bed.. After reading almost half of the pages, I dropped it back on the shelf, hoping I’d ask Nick to lend me before I leave. I walked to the living room and Lance was still on the couch, except that he wasn’t with a book this time; he had his iPad instead.
Nick emerged from the kitchen, two cups of milkshakes in his hand.
“Here” he stretched one to me and I took it with a smile, he moved to a recliner and balanced on it while I sat on a sofa, sipping my milkshake. .
I balanced on the recliner after giving Jackie a cup of milkshake and watching her smile ignite a light within me.. I take a light sip out of my milkshake, hoping that Lance leaves soon.. His presence is somehow annoying.. I could’ve asked him to leave and it’ll look like a normal thing especially since he’s done with what he came to do but now I don’t think I can, it seem like I’ll be hurting his feelings plus Jackie’s here; I don’t want her giving me that *That was harsh* look.. And besides he’ll definitely leave, it’s not like he’ll stay until nightfall.
“Nick, come check out these amazing sneakers I found online” Lance said and I frowned, irritated.
“Not interested” I answered him dryly, not sparing him a glance.
“But you haven’t even seen them” he persisted and I gruff under my breath.
“That’s what I’m saying, I don’t want to see them” I said.
“Um okay” he said and I breathed out. I glanced at Jackie and just as I expected, she had this motherly look that tells you you’ve done something that isn’t right, I gave her a small eye roll and look away.
“Jackie, would you like to see these sneakers.. They’re fabs”
My brows furrowed as she stood up and sat beside him, after a moment, she was in all smiles.
“Wow. This is so pretty” she giggled.
“I know right.. I plan on getting this one and giving it to my mom when she returns, I think it’ll go with the dress I got her” he said and she nodded.. “She isn’t back yet?” Jackie asks.
“No but she will be by tomorrow evening, I have to get her these before then and– “Ahem,” I cleared my throat loudly, cutting Lance statement on purpose and just as I wanted, it got his attention to me. “Isn’t it time to leave?” I asked him.. “I mean you’ve been here for over an hour doing.. nothing vital” I said, trying to sound less disheartening.
“Oh.. I plan on staying until 6:00, it’s just 5:32. Why?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I want you to leave” I said before I could help it.
He was quiet for a while, then he chuckled nervously.
“Um.. Sorry I-I didn’t notice that. I’ll just pack up and leave” he said.. “Lance wait.. Nicholas can I talk to you in the kitchen?” Jacqueline asked, an unpleasant look on her face. She stood up and walked away.
“Um okay” I stood up, left my glass on a coffee table and walked to the kitchen.
Jackie was resting on the counter, her arms crossed across his chest..
I walked to her and frown at her questioning gaze on me.
“What?” I returned her gaze.
“You know what Nick.. Those weren’t nice words you used to Lance” she said and I sigh..
“But I was only being honest”
“Well your honesty just hurt someone’s feeling. You should try to be nicer to Lance”
“But I am and he didn’t look like I hurt his feelings, he also wanted to leave”
“We both know that’s not true, he chose to leave because you told him to”
“I know dudes like him Jackie, he just wants all the attention to himself.. I mean what’s so special about those shoes that he had to show you” I said. “He asked you first and you refused”
“He might’ve figured out that I would since we’re not so close. He just wants your attention like you’re his.. girlfriend or something” I said and she gave me a long stare first then breathed out.
“Geez Nick.. You’re doing this cos you’re jealous again right?” She asked.
“Well yes, I admit I’m jealous. Isn’t it how normal guys feel when their girl gets too comfy with another guy”
“Well maybe but yours way too extraordinary. And really, you should be nicer to Lance; his mom’s at the hospital cos she’s sick and what he needs now is a friend to encourage him, someone that’ll take his mind off that thought. Lance is just trying to be closer to you and just so you know; I don’t see Lance the way you think I do, we’re just friends and that’s all we’ll ever be” she said and my brows furrowed. “Really?”
“I promise. Just be nicer to him”
“Yeah, alright” I said, giving her a small smile.
She took my hand and we walked back to the living room.. Lance was no longer there when we got there and I was about letting out a sigh when I caught a glimpse of his backpack on the couch. I gave Jackie a knowing look when we heard a sound in the other room.. I walked to the direction and it led me to my gameroom, I sight Lance staring at the room in amazement. His gaze rested on me after a while and I saw him shudder a little.
“Sorry.. I know I should’ve left but I suddenly needed to use the bathroom and when I was trying to find it, I bumped into here.. I just couldn’t resist the sight. I’ll just leave now” he said and I nodded. Jackie gave me a small nudge with her elbow and I sigh.
“Wait.. You wanna play a game with me?”
“Um.. Totally” he said gleefully.
“Okay.. Just use the bathroom first and we’ll play. I’ll take you there” I said and I’m
sure he was surprised at my sudden action cos he was quiet, he gave me a small
smile and followed.. Jackie gave me a small nod and a smile, making me sigh
again. So many sighs..
Nick came down from the car and I followed after he opened the car door for me.. “Ugh.. My fingers feel completely numb from all that playing” he said, moving his fingers.
“Yeah.. It was too much fun, I almost forgot about my work” I said..
“Speaking of work, you promised to quit working at that delivery store”
“Oh right. I totally forgot”
“Just do it today”
“I don’t know why you’re so hasty about this but I’ll try”
“Try until it works” he said and I smiled.
“Okay. I’ll do that” I said and he nodded.
“So.. Bye, I guess”
“Um yeah.. Bye” I said, gripping my bag handle and he held my wrist, I looked at him.
“Listen, I know I promised to stay away and give you time and all but it’s so.. hard”
he said, sincerity in his eyes.. “They’re so many things I want to do to you but I
can’t cos I don’t know how you’ll react”
“Shh,” he shush me “I’m not complaining Jackie but I just hope you don’t send me
off after everything.. I’m going to wait for as long as it takes, I know you feel
something for me too.. Think about everything again and be positive. I don’t think
I’ll be able to survive another heartbreak from you” he said and I blinked twice.
“It’s almost past your work time. I’ll just wait here until you’re gone” he said and I
gulped before nodded. I gave him a small glance, held my bag straps and walk
✨WEIRD HEARTS ✨
(Love in circles )
BY BLESSING SILVER