Monday, September, 3, 2012
Two weeks after Lake Fest, August turned to September, and so suddenly Jordyn didn’t even realize it had happened, the hot summer air had been exchanged for more dreary, but more chilly fall-like days. She loved it so far, strangely enough, though, because she’d never experienced a real fall before.
The weather wasn’t the only thing changing in Cedarwood, though. Jordyn found herself adapting to Cedarwood better than ever after that night after the football game. She started to really fit in with her friends, and suddenly, she didn’t feel like she was the new kid anymore, just plain, Jordyn Hamilton of Cedarwood, Pennsylvania. She’d never expected she’d ever be proud of that fact, but she was.
Oh, yeah, and her new friends? Jordyn hadn’t noticed it before, but they were pretty popular. It was Ashley and her crew that were the wannabes. The more Jordyn and the girls were visited by the popular junior boys, Blake and his friends, and Ashley wasn’t, the fact was more believable.
She’d already realized after that night at Mickey’s Ashley Moore was simply an oblivious wannabe who was so busy being stuck on Natalie and her crew and trying to act like she was better than everyone else she didn’t even know she was probably the least liked girl in school.
Dance was still going good, too. Maggie had managed, in the three weeks they’d been back, to teach several numbers in her version of contemporary and jazz, which she stated would be performed at their fall recital and even at the Harvest Festival. Erin explained that was in October, and Main Street in Cedarwood was blocked off for tons of fall-themed booths, fun games, and even a pumpkin-growing contest.
Erin had even admitted she’d searched her on Youtube.
“You did what?” Jordyn had asked with a laugh, amused by this.
“I looked up you and Victoria Joy. You’re a damn beast outside of Maggie’s room.”
“I was alright.”
“Alright? People made fan videos for you.”
Jordyn had just shrugged. “People are weird.”
But the biggest change so far in Cedarwood? Cole Anderson. He and Jordyn had moved up from surreptitiously flirting and smiling at each other from across the cafeteria to actually speaking almost every day, and he’d even gotten her cell number from Ty over the weekend and was texting her.
Jordyn could have squealed.
“You guys, do you think he likes me?” she’d finally asked her friends on Monday at lunch, still watching him from afar, despite all the progress she felt like they were making.
The girls had laughed, making Jordyn a little curious. What was funny?
“You guys, I think Jordyn’s the only who doesn’t know Cole’s hot for her,” Alice had said.
After school, Jordyn had gone with Alice to the book store to hang out, and when they weren’t talking about Cole, they managed to get a little homework done.
A little after 5:00, they heard the bell over the door ring, and looked up to see a tiny, 80-something old woman, hunched over, with big, eighties-style glasses, and a sweater draped over her shoulders.
“Morning, dears,” she said with a smile.
Morning? Jordyn thought in confusion. She looked over at Alice, who didn’t look confused at all.
“Hi, Miss Opal! How are you!” she said instead.
“Fine, sweetheart, just fine.”
When Miss Opal was gone, Jordyn glanced at Alice.
Alice smiled. “That’s Miss Opal. She’s ninety-four.”
Jordyn’s jaw dropped. Ninety-four?
“Yeah, she’s a sweetheart, though,” Alice said. “She comes in here every day. Like, seriously. She goes on walks. She lives in a tiny house at the end of the street by the lake, and walks from there to the library every day.”
Jordyn was amazed. That was about half a mile, but for a ninety-four-year-old?
“She comes in, browses, never buys anything, but sometimes she’ll stay and we’ll talk if I’m slow here. She usually tells me a bunch of stories about when she was young, and I swear, I enjoy listening to them so much. It’s so interesting.”
Jordyn smiled. “I bet.”
“Her husband died last year,” Alice said, her expression suddenly overcome with sadness. “They were married seventy-two years. They used to go to the library together and sit in the gazebo outside just talking. When he lost his sight, she would read to him. Opal says she still goes out there every morning, sitting in the gazebo, talking to him. She says sometimes he even answers her back. Isn’t that so sweet!”
It was, Jordyn thought. It was the most romantic thing she’d ever heard. “I hope I have a marriage like that.”
“You and me both,” Alice said.
Miss Opal did what Alice had said she would do, browsed about fifteen minutes, then headed out the door with a friendly wave and smile.
“She’s a sweetheart,” Alice sighed after she was gone. “I don’t have any grandparents. Well, I do have them, but they aren’t close. My dad’s mom’s dead, and his dad is a drunk. My parents were seventeen when they got pregnant with me, so my mom’s parents kicked her out. I’ve met her parents, but don’t really like them. I know that’s bad. I think that’s why I like Miss Opal so much. She’s like this sweet old grandmother I’ve always wanted but never had.”
Jordyn smiled. “I understand that. I met my dad’s dad, the one who left us the house, a few times, but he died three years ago. I never met his mom, and my maternal grandparents live in Sweden and don’t speak a lot of English. They visit once maybe every two years.”
Alice beamed. “See. We have tons in common. We were meant to be great friends.”
Jordyn chuckled. “I agree.”
The bell chimed again over the door, this time, Erin came in in her dance gear, her duffel bag over her shoulder.
“Hi!” she said, smiling. “Is my dance partner ready for another rigorous class at Miss Maggie’s?”
Jordyn chuckled. “Yes, I guess she is.” She waved to Alice, picking up her own duffel bag and followed Erin out.
They passed the ice cream shop, The Creamery, on the way to the studio from the book store, and Jordyn glanced through the window. There she saw her brother and Natalie, sharing a sundae. She smiled.
They were officially the school’s “It” couple, and were starting to be inseparable. If Ty wasn’t at Natalie’s house, Natalie was over at theirs. Jordyn had no complaints. She loved Natalie. She was like the big sister Jordyn never had. Best part? She didn’t like Ashley.
“Your brother and Natalie are so cute,” Erin said, nudging her as they walked.
“Yeah, she’s the best girlfriend he’s ever had,” Jordyn commented.
“You’re so lucky,” Erin said. “You’re a California transplant and already you’re popular.”
“Oh, I so am not,” Jordyn said.
“Are, too. Cole Anderson likes you, that’s enough. Not to mention you already have haters.”
“I have what?”
Erin laughed. “Hello! Ashley’s so jealous of you. You dance better, so she’s not Miss Maggie’s favorite anymore and the cheerleaders actually like you. You got everything she knew she wasn’t gonna get. She was just acting like she didn’t care before you came along.”
“I’ll be honest,” Jordyn said. “I’m sort of tired of Ashley and her friends. They’re really starting to get on my nerves.”
Erin laughed. “They got on everyone else’s nerves before you got here.”
After dance, Erin drove her home. She’d started offering her rides last week since Jordyn wasn’t making any leeway on getting her parents to buy her a car.
“So, does Cole come over to your house a lot?” Erin asked as she pulled into Jordyn’s driveway and saw Cole’s Jeep Wrangler in the driveway.
Jordyn felt her stomach flip over when she saw it. She hadn’t known Cole was coming over tonight.
“Uhm, no,” she told Erin, pushing the door open. “I didn’t know he would be here.”
“Maybe he’ll ask you out,” Erin said, winking and nudging Jordyn.
Jordyn shook her head. “It’s not gonna happen. Like you guys said, he’s a player. It’s obvious. We danced at Lake Fest, but that’s nothing. He doesn’t like me like that. You, Alice and Bethany need to accept it. Besides, I don’t care. I’m three weeks into this new school year in a new town and I already have three amazing friends. I have no reason to complain about not having a boyfriend. It’s no big deal. Really. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”
“Call me the second he asks you out,” Erin said instead. Jordyn scoffed and chuckled, shaking her head and shutting the door on Erin’s Jetta, then walked across the dark yard to her front door.
She pushed the door open and went into the living room, seeing Cole, Ty and Natalie on the couch.
“Hi,” she said, smiling as she closed the door behind her.
“What’s up, Jordyn?” Cole asked with a smile, and Jordyn almost melted.
Oh well. Good thing Erin didn’t believe her. Because when she told her she didn’t need care, she was lying through her teeth.