Entry #07: When Cinderella fell, she fell hard.
~ The Cinderella Deception by Juliette Harving
By Saturday afternoon, the following week, I find myself finishing up Grady’s Literature project. The project actually consists of coming up with something that identifies with Shakespeare’s time, and doing a small-write up about it.
I’ve asked around, amongst the seniors, and some of them have made their own medieval costumes, or written a snippet of a play on their own. It’s a very interesting project, if you ask me.
I’ve actually made a mini-model of the theatre in which Shakespeare had his plays performed at. It looks lovely, if I may say so myself.
Not one to do things half-heartedly, I’ve actually spent six hours just sitting on my bedroom floor and making the audience circle, the red curtains, the round platform for the play to be acted in.
Needless to say, I’m very proud of my master-piece.
When I’m done, I ring Grady up. He answers on the third ring.
“Harving.” He says, his deep voice sending flutters down my stomach.
“Hey Grady! I’m done with your project. Are you free to come get it?”
There’s a silence on his end of the phone. “I’ll be there in ten.” He says, finally, and puts down the phone before I even get a chance to say good-bye.
Well, that’s not unusual. Over the week, especially after Grady’s cutting remark to Isabelle, Grady and I have surprisingly gotten along fairly well.
Okay, it’s not like I can talk about anything under the sun to him. We don’t even carry out decent conversations. But at least he answers me politely. At least we’re both civil to each other.
Since Grady’s coming over, I realise that I’ve definitely got to do a spot of cleaning. Now, I’m not the most particular person around, but I’ve got to get rid of these bras that are hanging over the edge of my closet drawer.
I do a quick clean-up of my room, and then go around the rest of the house, making Jared and Josie help out as well.
“Jared, get your X-box off the floor and put it on the shelf, please. And push the chairs in under the dining table. And Josie Delia Harving!” I shake my head reprovingly at my four-year old sister, who looks at me wide-eyed. “Go put on a skirt or shorts! Stop parading about in your pink underwear.”
“Geez, Jules, what’s up?” Jared grumbles, as he clears the house.
“Grady’s coming over.” I say, and return to the CD cabinet, stuffing a stack of CDs in haphazardly.
At this, Jared gives a huge whoop and jumps up and down on the sofa, while Josie claps her hands excitedly. Whoa. I had no idea Grady was so popular.
Even more popular than me, I think, feeling slightly indignant. They don’t clap their hands or cheer whenever they see me!
Exactly ten minutes later, the doorbell rings, and Jared immediately runs to answer it. As for me, I immediately disappear into the room to change into something more presentable. I mean, my home clothes are way too skimpy, but I don’t really care. It’s not like my siblings are going to get turned on just seeing me in a tank-top and boxers.
Slipping on an oversized sweatshirt over my tank-top, and pulling on a pair of decent-looking shorts, I glance at myself in the mirror quickly to see if I look okay.
Why all this fuss for Grady anyway, Jules? I mentally roll my eyes at myself as I fix my light-brown hair into a messy bun. It’s not like he’s your boyfriend or anything.
When I get downstairs, I’m surprised to see Grady sitting on the floor in front of the TV, a game control in his hand. The other control is with Jared, who’s sitting right next to him, and yelling at the TV. And Josie, my adorable little sister, is sitting on Grady’s lap, playing with her Barbie doll.
Seriously, do my siblings even know the same Grady as I do?
“Haha, you suck, dude!” Jared yells, a few seconds later. “I completely thrashed you!”
“What do you want? A medal?” Grady asks, rudely, but Jared isn’t offended. I smile. Grady’s acting so much like a kid in front of Jared.
“You suck!” He repeats, a huge smile on his small face.
“Whatever.” Grady scoffs, and turns to Josie. “Well, princess? Got that dress on?”
“Yup,” Josie pipes up, and waves her Barbie at his face. “I can’t get the shoes on, though.” She opens her palm to reveal two slip-on velvet boots.
“Hmm, let me see.” Grady gently takes the boots from her hand. “Now, hold her still.”
Josie holds her Barbie, while Grady slips on Barbie’s shoes onto her little feet. From my perch on the counter-top, where the three of them can’t see me, I press my palm against my lips to keep myself from laughing at the absurdity of it all.
Just imagine. Grady, the bad-boy of the school, playing Barbie with my little sister.
Grady sees me hovering by the doorway, and gets up, but not before he picks Josie up by the waist, making her shriek happily.
“Hey,” I say, blushing, as Grady nears me. Why am I blushing? Why the hell am I blushing? It’s Grady, for goodness’ sake, it’s not like I’ve never seen him before.
But still, you can’t blame me. Grady looks incredibly cute today, with his dark hair brushing against his eyes and his dark grey shirt and faded jeans.
Seriously though, what the hell is wrong with me?
Callie’s voice comes to my mind. Seriously, Jules, you’re not falling for him or anything, right?
Of course I’m not! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I’m definitely not falling for Grady Sullivan.
“You, um, you want anything to eat?” I blurt, at last. “I was making pasta for the kids, and I think there’s some extra if you want some.”
I hop down from my perch, and go into the kitchen. I start to heat up the pasta sauce, and stir it with the wooden ladle.
I jump when I hear Grady’s voice just behind me. “Need some help?” He says, his deep voice making me shiver. He’s so close I can almost feel his breath on my ear.
“Um, sure.” I stammer. Seriously, Juliette? Stammer? “Could you help me scoop the pasta?”
Without another word, Grady gets the plates from the rack. When the pasta is ready, I holler for Josie and Jared to come to the dining table. Lunch progresses in silence, until Grady notices that Jared pushing his salad to one side and not touching it at all.
“What’s wrong?” Grady asks.
“I hate greens.” Jared scrunches up his nose in disgust.
Grady’s gaze meets mine, and I sigh. “He never eats them, no matter what I say.”
“Dude.” Grady shakes his head at Jared. “And you call yourself a man? Real men eat their vegetables. I can’t believe you’re afraid to eat them.”
Jared glares fiercely. “I’m not afraid!”
Grady meets his gaze evenly. “Prove it.”
Without another word, Jared starts shovelling the lettuce into his mouth. I stare in astonishment. Well! Who would’ve thought that a few casual tauntings from Grady would make my stubborn little brother eat his greens?
I catch Grady’s eyes from across the table. “Thank you,” I mouth.
He shakes his head, as if to say ‘don’t mention it’ and goes back to the pasta.
After we’re done eating, Grady helps me to do the dishes, without me asking him. I don’t know what’s up with him today. Granted, he hasn’t been as mean for the past week or so, but he’s never been this nice!
When we’re done, I ask if he’d like to see the project, and he willingly follows me upstairs to my room.
I fling open my door, and show him the model with a flourish. “That’s what I made, and this,” I shove a file into his hands. “This is the write-up.”
Grady’s silent for a while, and I start fidgeting. Is he angry? I do hope not, because I’ve slaved so hard for this! Finally, he looks up at me.
“Thanks,” He mutters, so quietly I almost don’t catch it. “It’s…it’s great. Thanks, Jules.”
“Say it again, I think I didn’t catch it the first two times.” I say, quickly, in a teasing voice.
He glares at me, and I laugh, but I know he isn’t angry because there’s a twinkle in his eyes. Suddenly, I stop and stand on my tip-toes, leaning towards him.
“Hey, your eyes are green.” I say, staring with interest into his eyes. “I’ve never really noticed this before, because, you know, I always thought they were just really dark. But they’re actually green! A really, really dark green, but still green. It’s quite…”
I almost want to say ‘mesmerising’, but then I realise that Grady’s staring at me, as I am staring at him, and I’ve gotten way too close to him. Our lips are practically inches away from each other.
You know, if you just lean in a little, you could kiss him, Juliette. And it’s not like you don’t want to either.
I start blushing furiously from our close proximity.
For some strange reason, I really do want to kiss Grady actually, and I’m pretty certain this feeling has been coming for quite a while now. There’s just something between Grady and myself that I can’t deny. Physical attraction? Sexual attraction? Probably yes to both.
At the very least, I can’t deny the fact that a million butterflies erupt in my stomach every single time I come into contact with him. Even a small brush of the hand makes me weak at the knees.
“Um…it’s quite fascinating.” I say, at last, moving away and waving my compliment away with a flick of my hand.
His eyes darken, and he looks back at the project. “I gotta go.” He says quietly, and I nod albeit a little reluctantly.
It’s not that I don’t want him to leave. It’s just…well, the kids love him. He’s just so good with them, and handles them with ease. Plus, I’ve never seen anyone getting through to Jared as well as he can.
“Alright then,” I say, quietly. “See you in school.”
He nods, takes his project, and leaves without a word.
Through the silence, I hear Callie’s voice in my head again. Don’t you ever, ever fall for him.
Too late, Callie.