Date MeJillian Dodd
Monday, September 26th
You have a wild side.
I float my way to French class on cloud nine.
When I take my seat, Aiden says flatly, “Well, that was something. ”
I turn around. I’m beaming. I think my smile will be on perma-blast all day long. “Wasn’t it outrageous? The way he asked. I loved it!”
“You like stuff like that? Being the center of attention. ” He rolls his eyes toward the ceiling and laughs in a deep, sexy way. “Never mind. Don’t answer that. Of course, you do. You seemed to be enjoying yourself. So, how come you never danced like that when we danced? It was pretty sexy. ”
“Oh gosh, did I look stupid?”
“No, everyone loved how you played along. You looked shocked. Were you?”
“I had no clue. I thought I was in trouble. Even when the dean started dancing, I thought it was some new girl hazing or something. ”
“You have a wild side. ”
“Everyone does. Do you?”
“You have a boyfriend now. You probably won't be finding out. ”
“If I was wild, that wouldn't stop me,” I fire back.
He gazes at me for a beat. “No, I guess it wouldn’t,” he finally mutters.
“You’re right though,” I say. I’m practically bouncing in my seat. “I would never cheat, but he only asked me to Homecoming. Not to be his girlfriend. ”
Annie sits down and grabs my arm. “That was so adorable! I can't believe you danced with Jake like that! Whitney was seething! It was awesome!”
“Just before it all started, Whitney was telling me that Dawson was going to ask her to Homecoming. Telling me how they bonded in the limo. How they will be king and queen. ”
Annie sighs. “Don’t do anything to make her mad at you, Keatyn. She’s not a nice person. ”
I nod. Because I think I know that.
What did I say about Vanessa? Been there. Seen it. Burned the T-shirt.
I turn back around to face Aiden. “You know, it’s because of you that Dawson and I are still together. I haven’t thanked you properly, but what you did—how you told Riley. Seriously, thank you. ”
The look that crosses his face is indecipherable. He nods his head, agreeing with me and giving me a little smile, but he’s grinding his pencil into his notebook. Like it’s a horcrux and he’s trying to kill it with a basilisk fang. He leans closer to me and says quietly, “I told you in the chapel that I’m done pretend punching your head. ”
I smile. “I’m glad, Aiden. I don’t like when we fight. ”
He gives me the sweetest smile, but then says flatly, “I’m done fighting. ”
I turn around and try to focus on class.
But I can’t.
He’s completely given up on us. Hasn’t he?
That’s why he told Riley about what Whitney did.
After my breakdown in the chapel, he knew it for sure.
No way a lunatic like me could be his true love.
Life twists and turns.
After soccer practice, I run up to Aiden, who is practicing kicking a football through the goal.
“Hey, would it be okay if we did tutoring in your room tonight? Everyone is talking about lunch, about how Dawson asked me to Homecoming, and I know if we go to the library we won’t get anything done because people will come up to gush about it. ”
“Uh,” he says, hesitating, “I’m sure the library will be fine. ”
I look at him funny. He’s acting quite strange today. Maybe I should let him go to the library to get his aura recharged or something. But I don’t want to. He’s easier to deal with when his powers are weak.
“Please,” I say with a pout.
He sighs. “Oh, fine. ”
After dance, I knock on his door.
He doesn’t answer.
I check my phone to see if he’s running late.
There’s nothing from him.
I knock again, wondering if maybe I caught him in the bathroom or something. He still doesn’t answer, so I slide down the hallway wall and sit on the floor. Sitting here reminds me of one of my first nights here. I close my eyes and remember the party. The night Dawson gave me the worst kiss ever and how I ran out to this very spot and slid down the wall. I remember Aiden sliding down next to me. Me fighting back tears and telling him how Dawson ruined my lips. How Aiden kissed them and made them better.
How perfect it felt.
It’s funny to me now. Life twists and turns in ways you never expect it to. I could practically see my future with Aiden. I thought he spoke to my soul, for god’s sake!
I’m suddenly aware of a body sliding down the wall next to me. I open my eyes and see him. He looks out of breath. Like he ran all the way here.
I fight the urge to reach out and put my hand on his chest. To feel his heartbeat.
“Sorry, I’m late. ”
I nod. “It’s okay. I haven’t been waiting that long. ”
He takes a deep breath and gives me one of those smiles that almost blinds me. The kind of smile that makes me want to drag him to a little chapel in the woods, say I do, and make him the last boy I ever kiss.
“This is familiar. ”
“What is?” I say, pretending not to know exactly what he’s talking about.
“Don’t you remember the party? When I kissed you right here?” He reaches up and gently touches my lips with his finger. “Fixed your lips. ”
“Yeah, I remember, Aiden,” I say. What I don’t say is, And it makes me sad. Sad to know that you knew so quickly that I wasn’t the one.
I start to get up.
He grabs my arm. “Why don’t we just sit out here and study? Um, my room’s a mess. ”
“You’re such a liar. Your room is always perfect. ” I almost say, I love that about you, but I don’t.
He rolls his eyes at me again, then says firmly, “I think out here would be better. ”
“Aiden, what is in your room?”
“I just . . . there’s something I don’t want you to see, okay?”
I grin, wondering what he’s hiding from me and now totally curious.
I get up and open his door. Look around. “It looks normal. ”
He looks around his room, like whatever used to be there is gone, maybe?
“Okay, well, let’s get to it. ” He sets his backpack on the ground and pulls his French workbook out.
I grab mine too and set it on his desk. “It’s been an exhausting, crazy day,” I say, and then flop down on his bed.
He gets all nervous-looking again.
He’s acting very strange. I’m half expecting a naked girl, or a blow-up doll, or something embarrassing to appear. I look around his room again. All is completely in order, so I close my eyes. “Okay, so I worked on the first page of our homework during drama today. Do you want to copy it and just go over it? It’s mostly review. ”
“Uh, sure,” he says. “Give me a minute. ”
I hear him turning pages and then writing.
I open my eyes and look up at his ceiling.
“You don’t have the twinkle lights on,” I say. “It looks weird. ”
He looks up from his workbook and makes a sort of coughing sound. I glance at him, but he appears to be fine. My eyes go back up to the twinkle lights. Then I notice there’s something new on his ceiling. Stars.
“Aiden! Oh my gosh! You put up stars. Are they the glow-in-the-dark kind? I love those! My little sisters had them all over the ceilings of their bedrooms. ” I study them more and realize they aren’t just randomly scattered. They are in some kind of pattern. It’s hard to tell since they are sor
t of blending into the ceiling right now.
“Yeah, they’re in a pattern. ” He taps his pencil on his workbook and says in an irritated tone, “You were the one who wanted to come here so we wouldn’t get distracted. Let’s focus on French. We have a lot to do. ”
“No. I want to see them lit up first. I’m gonna turn your lights off for a minute. ” I start to hop up but, in a flash, Aiden is sitting on the edge of the bed, blocking me.
His eyes bore into mine. The gold surrounding them seems to be brightening, speaking to me. His eyes are trying to tell me something.
Something I can’t translate.
Finally, I say, “What?”
“I didn’t want you to see this, but I know you won’t stop bugging me. ”
I smirk at him. I love getting my way. “That is true. Can I turn off the lights now?”
“No. We’re gonna do this my way. Scoot over to the edge of the bed and then close your eyes. ”
I don’t really like to be told what to do, but fine. I do it.
“You promise to keep them closed until I tell you to open them?”
“Okay,” he says. He gets off the bed, walks over to his door, and then flips off the light. Then he walks back toward me and pulls down his window blind.
Obviously getting it dark enough for the stars to glow.
He lies back down next to me.
I swallow, suddenly realizing I am lying on a bed next to the God of all Hotties. His shoulder and arm touch mine, causing my whole body to feel like it just got plugged into an outlet and its current is running through me. I wonder if this is how my cell phone feels when I recharge it? Like it’s alive.
His pinkie reaches out and grabs ahold of mine, like we’re pinkie swearing.
He whispers, “Open your eyes now. ”
I look up at his ceiling and see that the glowing stars are definitely in a pattern. They spell out Homecoming?
My first reaction is, That’s so adorably romantic.
But then, I feel a little sick.
Like I could throw up.
That’s why he didn’t want me to come here.
He didn’t want me to see this.
He didn’t want me to know he’s going to lie next to some other girl. That he’s going to touch her pinkie. That she’s going to say yes and kiss him.
I launch myself off his bed, grab my workbook and backpack, and bound toward his door.
In my haste, my foot catches under his desk chair.
The chair and I do a sort of slow-motion dance before it darts out from underneath me and sends me crashing to the ground.
I pick myself and my bag up quickly. “I’m fine,” I say to Aiden. He’s getting off the bed to come help me. “I’m not feeling well all of a sudden. I’m sorry. I, uh, I have to go. Call Annie if you need help. ”
I rush out of his door and shut it quickly behind me.
I run down the hall to the stairs. When I get there, I realize I’m not lying. I don’t feel very good. I look down at my knee. It’s gushing blood and turning my white knee-high sock all red.
I limp down the staircase then collapse three steps from the bottom to inspect the damage.
I hurt a lot.
And at this point, I can’t determine which hurts more. My knee or the pain in my heart when I think of Aiden with another girl.
I know it's not a rational thought, but it's there.
I start to get hot and feel like I'm going to pass out.
I examine my knee closer.
Just below my kneecap is a large gaping cut that is bleeding heavily.
Something tells me I should probably try to stop the bleeding. I pull my other shoe and sock off, thinking I’ll wrap my sock around the wound.
A shadow passes over me, causing me to look up.
Jake bends down in front of me and looks at my knee. “Damn, that’s really bleeding. Like. A lot. ”
“You gonna pass out at the sight of blood?”
“Nope, but you need to see the nurse. What'd you do?”
“I tried dancing with a chair. It wasn’t a very good partner,” I sort of chuckle.
“Nice,” he says, as he wraps his arm around me, picks me up, carries me to his room, and sets me on his bed.
“I was going to wrap my other sock around it,” I say, holding up my sock.
“Don’t do that, Monroe. Your sock is furry and the fibers will get in the cut. Which will then have to be cleaned out before you get stitches. ” He walks over to his perfectly organized closet and grabs a washcloth.
“You’re so neat,” I say, taking in his room.
“I’m not sure how I managed to room with Dawson all these years. He never makes his bed. ” He cuts into their shared bath, bangs a couple of cabinet doors, runs the water, and then walks out and sits next to me. He has a bottle of vodka in one hand and a damp washcloth in the other.
He takes a drink of the vodka and hands me the bottle. “Take a big drink. This is gonna hurt. ”
I take a little drink. “How much worse can it get? It’s already throbbing like crazy. ”
He takes off my sock and shoe then puts the wet washcloth across my knee.
“Jake!” I yell and take a big swig of the vodka. “That hurts!”
We hear Dawson's door open and shut.
“Hey, Dawes!” Jake yells. “C’mere. ”
I take another swig of vodka, bracing myself for how my heart will feel when it sees Dawson. I’m afraid that, after what just happened, I won’t be happy to see him.
But I am.
When Dawson sees me sitting on Jake's bed, vodka bottle in hand, he gets a big grin on his face. “You two better not be partying without me. ”
Jake holds up my bloody white sock, which looks a bit like an oversized used tampon.
“Oh my god. Gross. What is that?” Dawson asks.
Jake points down and takes the white—well, now pinkish red—washcloth off my knee.
“Keatie!” Dawson rushes over to the bed and gently sits down next to me, quickly wrapping an arm around me. “What’d you do?”