“You know, I should have known from the start I couldn’t trust him,” Lydia Michaels said to her best friend, Joel Anderson.
“Why’s that?” Joel asked, only half listening, since he was sketching in his book.
“Because. You probably shouldn’t go out with someone when they use the pickup line, “You know what letters I would put together? U and I.”
A smile crossed over Joel’s face. “Well, I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen to me. It’s your own fault,” He said, soft but stern, as he turned back to his drawing.
“Mom and Dad are fighting again,” Lydia added as she stared up at the ceiling of Joel’s bedroom as she lied on his bed. “I swear, it’s like verbal Vietnam in the house.”
“How’s Ad doing with that?” He asked, referring to Lydia’s brother Aden.
“Better than me,” Lydia muttered. “He’s still in a hurry to leave, though. He won’t take me with him. Bastard.” She added with fake resentment. She loved her older brother, she really did, but yet he was going to leave her all alone with their parents for a whole entire year since he was going off to college all the way in Arizona, miles and miles away from Springfield, Illinois. That’s for sure.
“Sometimes, I just want to run away,” Lydia admitted, her eyes leaving Joel’s and drifting towards the wall. “Just run away from it all, no matter how stereotypical that sounds of me.” She added.
Joel smiled up at her, trying to cheer her up. “Hey, think about it; the two week summer break’s in two days. At least we’ll be free from school.”
Lydia shrugged. “I guess. But I still have to deal with my parents. You still have to deal with your mom.”
Joel’s expression turned grim. Yes, he did still have to deal with his mom, the alcoholic. And where was his dad? Nowhere to be found since Joel was three years old. Lydia and Joel both had family problems, and it always felt good to vent to each other about their families. Another reason why they had been best friends for so long.
Suddenly, an idea popped into Joel’s mind. His eyes widened in excitement, and Lydia knew that was his thinking light bulb face. “What’s your idea?” She asked.
“My grandpa’s cabin,” Joel said, his voice full of awe. “Over spring break, we can go to my grandpa’s cabin in the woods. It’s not too far away from her, just a few towns over.”
Lydia propped herself on the bed using her elbow. She raised her platinum blonde colored eyebrow up at Joel, completely skeptical. “Yeah, just a few towns over. My dad totally won’t mind me going away for days with a guy.” She said sarcastically.
Even though Joel and Lydia didn’t having feelings for each other, Mr. Michaels thought that Lydia and Joel were having sex with each other at any chance they could, which was a lie. Well, it had only happened once but they were just curious. And it was only once, not chronically like Mr. Michaels thought.
“Tell him you’re going over to Loren’s,” Joel suggested, talking about their other friend Loren. Lydia was closer with Joel than she was to Loren, but they didn’t talk together as much because Loren had a slight crush on Joel, and he was definitely not into her.
“Yeah, but still…” Lydia protested. Joel could tell that she was starting to warm up to the idea, she just wasn’t all the way there. “I mean, what are we going to do when we get there?”
“Anything we want!” Joel said, excited now. He jumped off the bed, listing off his endless possibilities. “We could go swimming, fishing, hiking, you know, all that outdoors-y stuff!”
Lydia sat up all the way, her legs dangling over the edge of the bed as she listened to Joel reluctantly. She wanted to go, but so many other things could go wrong. Her parents might find out she wasn’t at Loren’s, Miss Anderson might come out of her drunken state and wonder where Joel was, too many possibilities of something going wrong.
“Come on Lydia, what do you say?” Joel said, his green eyes wide. “Come with me. Please?”
Lydia chewed on her bottom lip, thinking about it. “Well…” She looked back up to Joel, his face excited like a little puppy dog’s. “Alright.” She finally agreed.
“Yes!” Joel cheered. He grabbed Lydia in a tight bear hug, lifting her off the bed. “This is going to be so much fun!”
Oh, what they didn’t know.
The Following Day...
“Really? You’re going on a camping trip with Joel? That’s provocative,” Lydia’s friend Elody said with a sly smirk on her face. “Looks like you and Joel are ready for round two.” She teased.
Lydia rolled her eyes, ignoring her most perverted friend, Elody Leion. “It’s not like that. You know and Joel and I are just friends. I wouldn’t change that for the world.” She said truthfully.
“Yeah right, that’s baloney,” Elody said. “Ever since that day you and Joel got a little “curious”,” She did air quotes around the word curious, “you haven’t been able to stop thinking about him, and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about you. Admit it.”
Lydia’s eyebrows furrowed together. In a way, Elody was telling the truth. Ever since her…experience with Joel, Lydia had felt a few new feelings for him. It wasn’t like she was attracted to him and had this major crush or anything, and it wasn’t like she was in love with him either, there were just some feelings there now that weren’t there before. That was the only way she could explain it. The feelings didn’t complicate things between them, they just crossed her mind while she was with him, and it made her question herself about how she felt about Joel.
“I don’t think about it non-stop,” Lydia admitted. “But I do sometimes. But it’s not a big deal, I swear.” She promised, although in reality, she was trying to convince herself and not Elody.
“You swear about what?” Elody and Lydia looked up to find Loren walking across the lunchroom towards their table.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Lydia gave Loren a reassuring smile as she sent Elody a death stare. Loren didn’t need to know that her crush had practically banged one of her closest friends.
“Oh, you were telling Elody about this weekend,” Loren concluded. “I’ll make sure to cover for you.”
Later that night, Lydia began thinking about the worst case scenario: her dad calls Loren’s mom, and finds out that she isn’t at her house. He then has a hunch that Lydia’s run off with Joel to elope or something, and hunts them down. He then bans Lydia from ever seeing Joel again and makes the entire Michaels family move just so that she won’t ever see Joel again.
Again, worst case scenario.
Joel and Lydia had decided to stay for only three days, otherwise, Mrs. Michaels would know something was up because Lydia rarely stay over at other people’s houses for a long time without coming back home because she forgets stuff all the time. Mrs. Michaels always described Lydia as one of those people who would literally forget to bring their head with them if it wasn’t attached to their body. Lydia thanked her neck every day for doing the job for her.
As Lydia waited for the forecast to come on, they showed one of those segments where they show missing people in the area. It was pretty depressing to watch, so Lydia decided to turn away and wait for the weather channel to show the weather in her area.
After Lydia brushed her teeth and dressed into her night clothes, she turned off the T.V. and curled into her bed next to the wall. It took her longer than usual to get to sleep not only because of her parents yelling downstairs, but also because she couldn’t get her mind off of Joel and their two week summer break trip. She wanted to believe that she was excited just to get away from her life, but she knew that a small part of her was excited to be alone with Joel.
And that small part scared her.
The Next Morning...
Lydia woke up early that morning, excited and jittery for the day to get started so she could get out of the house. As soon as she awoke, she was speeding into the bathroom brushing her teeth and hair. The whole time she kept her cell phone in her opposite hand, waiting to see when Joel would tell her to go ahead and go to Loren’s house where he would then pick her up.
Lydia had been excited just to get out of the house and spend some time away from other people besides Joel, but the more she thought about it, the more she was excited to be alone with Joel. Not that she planned to fool around with him or anything like that, just the aspect of being with him excited her. And that’s what scared her the most.
It was never a good idea to fall for one of your best friends, especially with a relationship that’s lasted for so long like Lydia and Joel’s. She knew that when she and Joel had fooled around together a few months ago, it might not have been the smartest idea, but it just happened to be an idea they had come up with together when they were bored that night. But now, it was coming back to bite Lydia in the ass. Not literally, of course.
As Lydia slowly chewed her cereal – trying to concentrate on every chew so that her mind wouldn’t wander off – she slowly began to drift away. Soon, she was thinking about that day a few months ago, when she was at Joel’s house and his mom was working the late shift at Kmart. They had been bored that night since the power had gone out from the thunderstorm raging outside, and that’s when Joel had brought up the whole thing.
“Found the flashlight,” Joel said as he climbed back up the stairs and into his bedroom where Lydia was waiting on the bed. He flicked it on, shining it in her face.
Lydia shielded her eyes with her arms. “Not the face,” She said, grinning as Joel turned off the flashlight and joined her on the bed next to her.
They were both silent, just the sound of the two of them breathing in the darkness. After a few minutes, Lydia lay down on the bed next to Joel, pulling his sleeve so that he would lie next to her.
“Ad told me he did it with his girlfriend Persephone last night,” Lydia said quietly, not sure about how she felt about the whole thing. Secretly, she didn’t like Persephone that much because she seemed permanently PMS-y, but Lydia didn’t mind that much since Ad liked her.
“First time?” Joel asked.
“Mine wasn’t that good. She wasn’t really into it, really. But trust me, I was good,” He added in the last part, sounding a little embarrassed.
Lydia would have laughed, but she was shocked. Her eyes popped open wide as she gasped, “Oh my gosh, Joel! You’ve had…sex?” She whispered.
She could feel Joel nod his head against the pillow. “Yeah. Remember when I was dating that girl Asenath? We did it the night before she moved. Kinda like a last time thing, you know?”
Lydia’s mind was racing. She couldn’t believe her best friend had sex with someone and hadn’t even told her! That bastard! Pouting, Lydia slapped Joel’s arm.
“Ouch!” He yelped as he rubbed his stinging arm. “What you’d do that for?” he asked Lydia, who had turned her back to him and was facing the wall.
Lydia crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. “Joel Lorenzo Anderson,” Joel could immediately tell she was mad because she used his full name, “how long have we been best friends?”
Joel’s dark eyebrows furrowed together as he thought about it. “Well, Lydia Cleo Michaels,” He said, doing the same to her as she’d done to him, “we’ve been friends since the sixth grade.”
“So tell me,” She said, talking in a short, clipped tone. “Why didn’t you tell me that you did it with Asenath? Don’t you think that’s something you should tell your very, very best friend?” Lydia growled, finally turning back to Joel with anger written all across her face.
Joel shrugged, not understanding why Lydia was angry with him. “I don’t know. I don’t see why you would care,” he thought about it for a second. “Unless you were curious what it was like…?” He teased.
Lydia rolled her eyes. “Jesus, get your head out of the gutter,” She said. “It’s a big deal for you, Joel! Right after I got to second base with Chris, I told you, didn’t I? You know why? Because it was a big deal to me. And best friends tell each other everything. No matter what.”
“I didn’t know it was that big of a deal,” Joel admitted. He half hugged Lydia, letting her bury her head in his neck. “Sorry, Lyd.”
“It’s okay,” Lydia said truthfully. “I didn’t mean to make a big deal out of it. It was just a shock to me, you know? I thought I knew everything about you.”
“Well now you do,” He reassured her. “Promise. Best friends don’t keep secrets from each other.”
They were silent as the apology washed over the both of them. After a few more minutes, Lydia couldn’t keep her curiosity reigned in. She couldn’t help but ask, “So…was it good? You know, at least for you?”
Lydia could practically feel the grin cross over Joel’s face. “I knew you would ask!” He accused, laughing as he did so. “Well, it actually felt pretty good for me. But I guess it was pretty bad for her because she was basically checking her Facebook throughout the whole thing.”
Lydia failed at stifling her laugh behind her hand. “I’m sorry,” She apologized. “That was just really funny.” She admitted as she looked at Joel’s face.
“I don’t care what she says; I was good,” He said stubbornly, not even really paying attention to Lydia. “I mean, I had the moves down and everything. There was probably something wrong with her.”
Slowly, the laughs subsided after a few minutes more. Both Lydia and Joel were quiet, thinking their own thoughts. Again, it was Lydia who broke the silence.
“It was probably just something wrong with her. You were probably fantastic.”
“Definitely.” Joel agreed.
“Although…” Lydia trailed off.
“Although what?” Joel asked, getting offended. “What, you want me to show you or something?”
They were both silent as they both realized what Joel had just said. Joel, embarrassed that he really just said that, and Lydia ever the slightest bit curious. It was silent for a few moments as Lydia’s gaze slowly crept up to Joel’s and quietly said, “Maybe?”
Joel looked down at Lydia, the contrast to himself with her fair skin and hair with his olive skin tone and dark hair. How different they were, both physically and in other ways, but yet they were so similar in many others. He was quiet as he asked, “Are you sure?”
Lydia gave him one last night after quietly adding, “I’m…curious.” They were silent as soon they began kissing and one thing led to another.
Everything was just so screwed for them now. Lydia couldn’t stop thinking about it, the memory wouldn’t fade from her mind. Now more than ever, Lydia realized that she didn’t want a friendship with Joel anymore. She wanted a relationship, a real relationship. Oh God, she couldn’t believe she just admitted that. She wanted to be more than friends with Joel, she wanted to keep doing the same things they were doing now, but more.
“I’m going to be sick,” Lydia couldn’t help but say aloud. She dragged her hand down her face as a queasiness settled over her stomach. The thought of her wanting to be with Joel more than friends was scaring her to death. How could she have let these feelings continue to grow? How could she have been so idiotic and not realize that she had been feeling this way for so long, since that one night that seemed so long ago?
Lydia looked back to the kitchen table, her eyes trained on her cell phone. She snatched it into her hands, and dialed Joel’s number. He answered after two rings, so Lydia knew that he had been sitting close to his phone.
“Lyd?” He asked, sounding groggy and surprised, so Lydia was sure that her phone call had awoken him. “What are you doing calling me? You’re over at Loren’s house already?”
Lydia shook her head from side to side, sending her small blonde curls flying across her face. “Oh, I mean, no,” She said, realizing that he couldn’t see her shaking her head.
“Then what’s wrong?” Lydia could hear the rustling of sheets as Joel slowly sat up in his bed, running his fingers through his hair to smooth it down. It was good thing Lydia had awoken him with her phone call; he probably would have overslept if she hadn’t.
Lydia nervously bit her lip, her teeth scraping against the Chap Stick she had just applied not two minutes ago. “I’m having doubts about…us. And the cabin. Alone.” She added in the last sentence, emphasizing on the word so that Joel would understand.
Joel’s eyes widened a little as he listened to Lydia. He had been thinking about that night from months ago, too. How everything had felt so right with Lydia, and how he wished he could do it again. Sure, he had been thinking of it, but of course he didn’t say anything to Lydia. It would be awkward, and ruin their perfectly fine relationship that they had now. He wasn’t going to ruin that just so their entire relationship could crash and burn.
“Lyd, don’t worry, ‘cause there’s nothing to worry about,” He tried to assure her, although half of his mind was plagued by the idea of being alone with Lydia. That time a few months ago had been a mistake, but now, if they did it again, would that time be a mistake? Did it make it okay because Joel might…be in love with Lydia?
“You sure?” She asked, still sounding worried. Joel could imagine her standing there in the kitchen, talking on the phone, biting her lip like she always did. “It’s not that I’m having doubts about us, I’m just nervous I guess. About getting caught, of course.” She added quickly.
“Yeah, I know exactly how you feel Lyd,” Joel replied as he looked out the window, thinking about how Lydia had looked that night. How they fit together like two puzzle pieces…corny it was to say such a thing, but that’s the only way Joel could think without going too far and getting graphic. “Don’t worry. You go over to Loren’s house in about an hour and then call me to pick you up, okay?”
Lydia nodded, knowing that Joel knew her well enough to know that she was doing so.
“Later,” Joel said, and clicked off the phone. He let out a heaving sigh as he ran his fingers through his thick, dark hair. It was such a bad idea, why had they decided to do it anyway? What, just because Lydia was curious and Joel wanted to prove that he really was good at it? God, Joel felt like such an idiot.
Dragging himself out of bed, Joel padded silently into the bathroom, listening to see if his mom was home yet. He didn’t hear any T.V.’s or any other sounds like bottles clinking together, or any of her stupid ramblings when his mother sometimes talked to herself. She wasn’t home yet, so she was probably either at the bar or at some random guy’s house. Joel’s mother had been pregnant three times already by the time they have moved to the house, once she had an abortion, the second died when she had a miscarriage, and the third she “accidentally” killed because it didn’t stop her from going to the bar and getting drunk.
Joel walked and stood in the bathroom, staring at his reflection in the mirror so that he wouldn’t think about Lydia. He thought he was good-looking enough. Dark green eyes, dark brown-black hair, a black mole /freckle across his hairline, one on his ear, and underneath the ridge of his jaw. His body was literally littered with moles and freckles, all ranging from the darkest black like on his lower back, to the light brown moles that were scattered across the area beneath his eyes and around his mouth. He didn’t really play any sports besides baseball with a few of the friends he actually had, so they gave him a little muscle in his arms.
According to his last girlfriend, Asenath, the one who checked her Facebook while having sex, only dated him because he was quote on quote, “Hotter than hell”. Joel might have believed he was good-looking – he didn’t say hot, it just sounded weird when a guy said it to him – but all the girls at school avoided him like the plague because he hung with Lydia, the teenage equivalent to P!nk. She even had the blonde, short hair, except it was a little curly, and she even had the blue eyes to match. Well, they were blue and gray, but whatever. She was absolutely beautiful, and it angered Joel to the boiling point about how the kids at school treated her, just because she was labeled as a misfit, an outcast, and a loner.
“Aw shit,” Joel cussed aloud, realizing that he had been thinking of Lydia, the opposite of what he wanted to do. He turned on the cold water and splashed in his face, hoping the cold would be a slap to the face and wake him up. He let out a sigh and began to wash his face, hoping that in just some way, he could just get his mind off the beautiful, whimsical, Lydia Evette Michaels…
“Damn it!” He cursed again, not only because he had been thinking about Lydia, but also because he accidentally squeezed toothpaste onto the front of his chest.
Part Two (Click this Link)