Friday, November 9, 2012
November settled in in Cedarwood so suddenly that before Jordyn knew it, Thanksgiving was less than two weeks away. This, of course, meant that her big solo with Miss Victoria was also less than two weeks away, and she didn’t know why, but she was getting more and more nervous the closer it got. And colder, too.
Jordyn quickly learned that she had judged October far too harshly, because November in Cedarwood was a nightmare. Jordyn knew she was going to die in January.
Alice, however, was finding her pretty humorous.
“Jordyn, it’s like 45 degrees outside,” she’d chuckled early Friday morning when she caught Jordyn’s outfit coming into school. “You look like you’re going on an Arctic expedition or something.”
Jordyn hadn’t cared, though. Sure, she may have looked silly in her black bomber, scarf and earmuffs compared to Alice’s simple fleece jacket—and Jordyn hadn’t even bothered to tell Alice how much she had on underneath the bomber—but at least she was warm.
In homeroom, things had started to change a little. For one thing, Jordyn didn’t see Leah and Shari talking to Ashley, nor did she see Ashley glaring at her like she usually did. That had eased off about two weeks ago and while Jordyn almost—but not quite—felt bad for Ashley sitting there looking lonely and sad every day, she was so happy to finally get her off her back. Even if it was for just this week.
After homeroom, Jordyn waded through the halls to her first period Chemistry class, where she found Cole leaning against the locker. He smiled when he saw her. “Morning.”
“Hi,” she replied, leaning forward to touch her lips to his. She saw him simple long-sleeved shirt and frowned. “How are you not freezing?”
He raised his eyebrows in response, then tugged on her puffy coat. “How are you not on fire?”
“I’ve never experienced weather like this. Give me a break.”
He laughed. “Well, I’m used to it, so you give me a break.”
She sighed dramatically. “Fair enough.”
“Well, then, I guess right now isn’t the best time to bring up a question I had for you, then,” he said teasingly.
She narrowed her eyes. “What question?”
“I was going to ask you to come hang out with me afterschool today.”
“Well, yeah. Why wouldn’t I want to hang out with you?”
Football season had ended, and since Cole had afternoons free, now, they had plenty more time to spend together. And took every second they could get.
“Because I found this old camo jumpsuit I had when I was like, thirteen, and it would fit you perfectly.”
She groaned. “I should have known.”
“Come on. Do it once, and you’ll love it.”
She highly doubted that. “Cole, do you know me at all?”
He laughed. “I think you’ll like it. Come on. Ty went.”
Jordyn folded her arms over her chest. “Ty’s a boy.”
“I know plenty of girls that go hunting.”
“Yeah?” she challenged. “Who?”
“She does. Pretty good shot, too.”
Jordyn took a moment trying to wrap this around her head. Homecoming queen, head cheerleader, Natalie Bishop went hunting? And she could shoot?
Cole grinned. “I got to go. See you at lunch.” He kissed her once, then turned the corner, heading to class.
“I wish it would snow,” Alice said at lunch. “I’m ready to see some white stuff.”
“Same here,” Erin agreed.
Jordyn stuck her spoon in her yogurt, listening to her friends talk. She was sitting with Alice and the girls today, since Cole and Ty were skipping lunch to lift weights in the gym. Plus she’d really been missing out on what was going on at their table lately.
“Do we get out of school if it snows?”
Erin, Bethany, and Alice looked at Jordyn like she’d just asked them what planet they were on.
Jordyn just shrugged. “What? I mean, do we?”
Alice shook her head and smiled. “Only if it’s like, a blizzard.”
“Here, practically everyone has a 4-wheel drive,” Bethany said. “The only time we get out of school is if there’s ice on the roads. That’s when it’s too dangerous.”
“Otherwise, we’re stuck in here,” Alice said.
Jordyn had never experienced snow, so she wasn’t sure how she would handle it, but she really didn’t see herself having an easy way through it. God help her when it was time to start trying to drive in the stuff. She would have a hard enough time walking.
“When enough gets on the ground, Jordyn, we’ll take you skiing,” Alice said.
“Yeah, you’ll have fun,” Erin said.
“Busting my ass on the cold hard ground?” Jordyn asked drily. “Doesn’t sound fun.”
“You’re a surfer and a dancer,” said Erin. “Aren’t you supposed to have perfect balance or something?”
“Not on slippery snow.”
“We’ll teach you,” Alice offered.
“Yeah, I think you’ll like it,” said Bethany.
Jordyn was sure she wouldn’t, but she’d think more about that when the time came.
“So, have you guys ever been hunting?” she asked.
Alice and Erin shook their heads, but Bethany nodded.
“It’s fun,” she said. “And deer meat is delicious.”
“Why?” Alice asked. “You going hunting or something?”
“Cole wants to go. I haven’t decided, yet. It sounds hostile.”
“It’s not hostile,” Bethany said. “But it can be boring. Most of the time you’ll go out and not see anything.”
“But if you do see something, you shoot it, right?”
Bethany nodded. “That would be the point, yes.”
“So how is killing an innocent animal not hostile?”
“It’s called population control,” Bethany said. “We have a lot of deer around here. It can be dangerous.”
Deer were dangerous? As far as Jordyn was concerned, her deer knowledge stopped at Bambi, and that hardly rung as dangerous.
“If you hit a deer, it can cause a lot of damage,” Alice explained. “My mom hit a deer a few years ago and it came through her windshield. She had to go to the hospital.”
That didn’t make Jordyn OK with actually ending the life of an innocent deer. She certainly wouldn’t eat one.
She poked at her food, until Cole settled down next to her, kissing her cheek.
“Hey, babe,” he said.
“Hi,” Jordyn replied.
“Cole, we’re on your side,” Alice said as Cole reached over, snatching a fry from Jordyn’s plate.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“We’re trying to talk Jordyn into going hunting with you,” Erin said.
“I go,” Bethany shrugged. “I think it’s fun.”
“I told her that,” Cole said.
“OK,” Jordyn sighed. “If everyone stops talking about it, I will go. Deal?”
“Deal,” Cole said. “And you’ll like it.”
She shrugged. “Maybe.”
“No, Jordyn. I think you will. You underestimate yourself. There’s nothing more fun than sitting in the middle of the woods, in the bitter cold, waiting for the kill.”
Jordyn forced a grin and nodded. “Yep. Sounds like a real blast.”
But who knew. Maybe it really would be fun. Cole had gotten Ty to go, Natalie went, Bethany went. Maybe there was something exhilarating about hunting. Just maybe Jordyn would have a good time.
Jordyn lifted one heavy, muddy boot after another, trudging across the backyard after their two hours in this tiny little tent in the woods. It had not been fun. It had been cold, wet, and boring.
Cole stood on his back porch, watching with amusement as she walked. He laughed as she yanked her camo stocking cap off her head.
“Aw come on, Jor,” he said, pulling his boots off. “That was fun and you know it.”
“That was the furthest thing from fun,” Jordyn retorted.
She’d really gone into the woods with Cole with an open mind. She’d really tried to enjoy it. But who was she kidding? What was fun about sitting in this tiny little tent, a camouflage thing barely big enough for two, in complete silence for two hours? Jordyn couldn’t even move. And while she trusted he wouldn’t shoot her through her head with that big bow, she was still nervous with it being so close. Oh, and the bow? Not the simple little bow and arrow one would imagine, like from Peter Pan or something. No, this giant mechanical thing was scary looking, and obviously if it was the weapon of choice, it could kill a deer.
“Fine,” Cole said. “So I got you to go. I win. You didn’t like it, I won’t ask you to go again. You win.”
“I guess we can look at it that way,” Jordyn said shrugging. “I’m not going to get sick am I?”
“Why? I bundled you so tight I got hot looking at you.”
“It’s sort of raining.”
“Not in the tent. You’ll be fine. And if you get sick, I’ll take full responsibility and come to your house with soup and take care of you.”
She smiled. “That sounds good to me. I’ll hold you to that.”
Still on the porch, they got out of their camo jumpers. The things were dirty and a little wet from the moist ground, so Cole explained that his mother would kill him if he brought it inside.
Jordyn was appalled when she found out they didn’t wash them after every use.
“You have to leave the outside smell on it so you don’t repel the deer,” he’d explained.
They hung the suits over the railing, and now standing on the porch in only her jeans and a t-shirt with no shoes, Jordyn shivered. “Let’s go inside. It’s freezing out here.”
“Yes, it is,” he said, leading her into the laundry room. “And I know a perfect way to warm you up.”
He shut the door behind them, and pushed her against it, pressing his mouth against hers.
“Mm,” she moaned against his mouth. “You’re right. You do know how to warm me up.”
He slid his hand under her bottom, and hoisted her off her feet, then carried her down the hall to his room.
An hour later, they found themselves stretched out across Cole’s bed, their clothes long-since strewn across the floor. The hunting had really sucked, but it was worth it if it lead up to plenty of alone time before Cole’s parents came home from work.
By 6:30, he decided they were pushing for time and needed to get moving before his parents made it home.
“Do you want to stay for dinner?” he asked, yanking his boxers on.
Jordyn sighed, tugging on her underwear then searching for her bra. “I would love to. Except I’m on a strict workout schedule with my mom until my performance. We do yoga, and then she yells at me for the entire two hours I work on my dance.”
“That sounds like a lot of fun.”
Jordyn nodded. “Yeah, very. She’s a real stage mom when we get close to competitions. But it pays off in the end.”
“I can’t wait to see it pay off,” Cole said with a grin as he zipped his pants. Then he walked over and kissed her. “I’ll be there in Pittsburgh, cheering you on.”
Jordyn laughed. “Thanks for the added pressure.”
“I’m not pressure,” he told her. “I don’t know a damn thing about dancing, so I’m going to cheer for you either way. I just can’t wait to see you in your zone, doing your thing.”
“Well, I’m glad at least one of us is excited,” Jordyn sighed. She checked her phone for the time. “I should go. The excitement is waiting for me at home.”
Jack was working the nightshift tonight, so when Jordyn came home, she wasn’t surprised that she didn’t see his police charger in the driveway. She parked her car, then went inside, anticipating another long night of rehearsing in the basement with her mother.
In the living room, she found Ty and Natalie, cuddled together on the couch in front of the TV.
“Hey,” she said to them, shrugging out of her coat. “I thought you guys had a party to go to.”
“We do later,” Ty said. “Mom is upstairs. She’s pissed. Go up there and see what you did.”
“What I did?” Jordyn asked, hanging her jacket. “I mean, what did I do? I haven’t even been here to do anything.”
“She didn’t say, she only said to send you up when you got home.”
“Great,” Jordyn grumbled, then turned and headed up the stairs.
“Good luck!” Natalie called.
“Thanks,” Jordyn sighed.
She found her mother in her parents’ bedroom, the TV on her favorite reality show, her hair pulled back while she painted her toenails.
“Hi, mom,” she said. “I’m home.”
Zara looked up. “Did you have fun hunting?”
“No. Not at all.”
“Oh. Well, I guess that’s just not your thing.”
Jordyn shook her head. “Not at all.” Her mother sure didn’t seem angry.
“OK, now sit down. We need to talk.”
So, never mind.
Jordyn sat at the foot of her parents bed, waiting to see what she did. Mentally, she ran through her week’s activities. As far as she remembered, she hadn’t broken any rules, that she knew of. She’d been a good little dancer this week, so what could her mother possibly be angry about?
Zara cleared her throat. “Jordyn, are you having sex?”
Jordyn’s eyes went wide. She had to admit, she really hadn’t seen this one coming. “Am I what?”
“I asked if you and Cole are having sex, and since I already know the answer, you’d be wise to tell the truth.”
Jordyn nibbled her bottom lip. She didn’t know how to answer. It could be a trap, and being truthful could only be ratting on herself and getting herself in trouble. After all, Jordyn had been so careful. How could Zara know?
Zara held up a box of condoms, and Jordyn’s blood went cold. Nope. No trick.
“Now, I won’t tell your father,” Zara said, sighing. “But we are going to talk. I found these in your room when I was dropping off the laundry.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Jordyn said.
Zara sighed. “When did this happen, Jordyn?”
“Well, I’m very disappointed. I thought we talked about this. You gave away something very important to you and you can never get it back.”
“But I gave it to someone important, mom,” Jordyn insisted. “Cole was the right one. I still think so and I don’t regret it. And we were safe and everything.”
“I don’t doubt that, but Jordyn, you’re only sixteen.”
“And how old were you?”
“I was nineteen, and it was your father.”
Zara nodded. “Yes.”
“Well, look. Mom, I’m sorry I disappointed you. But truthfully, I’m not sorry I took that step with Cole. I really care about him, and we’ve been so much closer since then.”
“I understand you feel that way now, Jordyn, but I really just wish you would have waited.”
Jordyn should have expected this. Of course Zara wasn’t going to be happy with her decision. Why would she, after all? She was the mom, and while Jordyn was fully confident with her decision and the choices she’d made with Cole, she knew Zara didn’t trust them.
“Well, on Monday I’m making you an appointment with the doctor,” Zara said. “Obviously you’re not listening to me and you’re going to do what you want regardless so if you’re going to be having sex, I want to know you’re protected.”
Jordyn sighed. “Mom, I—”
“We’ll talk about this more later, Jordyn,” Zara said, getting up. “Let’s just go start rehearsing.”
Jordyn had no choice but to obey and follow her mother. She didn’t know what to expect after this, but she knew for sure, that now was not the time to bring up her future in dance.
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