Jon smiled at me when he saw me walking down the stairs. Was it sick that I thought of every cliché girl-looking-beautiful-descending-down-the-stairs-for-her-prom-date-slash-loveofherlife movie/TV show scene ever made? Especially since I was in oversize black sweats and an old polka dot tank? Not to mention still bruised and swollen. Yet he looked up at me as if I wasn't that hideous and sloppy. It was nice.
“Alright Luce.. I got the ultimate relax set up ever,” he grabbed my hand and directed me to the living room, gesturing as we entered, “here we have the comfy couch, complete with fluffy blankets, enough nachos AND chocolate for an entire village in Bolivia or something but hey? You're more important to me than some random poor country in South America..” he smiled playfully. I looked up at him and twitched a two second grin. He settled on the adorable brown couch I convinced my mom to buy last year. It reminded me of nature. The outdoors. I loved snuggling up in there on a cold night. It was also half off at Ikea.
Jon abruptly snapped me out of my thoughts, he whined and patted the seat next to him, “Luuucy...c'mere..”
I looked down and realized three things.
1. I was still standing.
2. I was starving.
3. He looked adorable when he whined.
I sat next to him with my hands in my lap and my back rigid. I don't know why I suddenly felt like I was in catholic school with mean nuns and steel rulers. This was my best friend in the whole world, I just went through something utterly..traumatic, and here I was thinking about Jon's cute whiny face. I'm sick. I should be institutionalized.
“Lucy? You okay? I recognize that look anywhere. What's going through your head huh?”
Your cute whiny face.
I sat with my chin resting against my knees and changed the subject.
“Nothing.. nothing sorry. Movie? Play? Which one is it? Please tell me it's not those weird fairy tale ones, I was hoping for a dramatic comedy with maybe Julia Roberts or Julia Roberts type charm and--”
He laughed and interrupted me, “Baby you're babbling.”
He'd always called me his baby. I'd always called him my baby. It was just our thing. For years now. I never really thought anything of it. I just liked it. I liked it even more tonight.
Before I had a chance to babble and start to fry my brain by thinking too much, I grabbed three gigantic nachos, drove them into cheese, and jammed them in my mouth. I am such a lady.
Jon laughed and put his arm around my waist and pulled me close. He always smelled so..clean. He wasn't like other guys that reeked of cinnamon or strange mixtures of strawberries and manly apples.
His scent reminded me of being freshly showered. Was it possible for someone to smell safe? And happy? I buried my face in his neck and decided to relax. I needed this. I needed to be away from the world and my head and everything out there that didn't feel remotely safe.
Jon was safe. This couch was safe. I closed my eyes and wrapped my arm around his stomach. He started the movie, and whispered in my ear.
“Relax. That's the only thing I need you to do for me Luce.”
He traced gentle circles on my head. There was nothing wrong with the world when he did this.
He started the movie, it was not as important to me. I thought back to a nice memory hidden deep within my head. It was the first day I met Jon.
Class. Damn it I hate this school. There's too many hallways. Too many turns. I keep getting lost.
Here I am wrapped up in my own head, tonight's new episode of Spongebob, and this irritatingly confusing map I cannot follow.
I twisted my map every which way. I treated it like a steering wheel in my hands, yet it couldn't get me to fourth period, English. My face was more than likely contorted into some awkward confused 6th grader face. I missed elementary school. I could've sworn I heard my heart crack a little when my previous teacher announced that in middle school, there was no recess.
A sense of minor triumph came over me as a beastly ogre like 8th grader shoved me into a doorway. Finally. Room 207. I swung my backpack around my shoulder and started going inside. There was a seating chart pasted on the door. I looked for my name. Agh this was frustrating. Lucy Velson. Velson, Lucy. This was all initials, what the hell? There was three L.V's. I growled. Yes. Like a canine. I heard a laugh behind me, turning around I saw this short skinny kid with dark brown hair skimming his eyes grinning a steel filled smile. He was funny looking. Heh.
He smiled, “I saw your goldfish stash peeking out of your bag. You're sitting next to me.” He then proceeded to grab my hand and drag me to a corner of the room, the two desks there partly isolated from the rest of the class.
“I'm Jon Alexandres. I'm 12. I like football, Spongebob, Cocoa Puffs and goldfish crackers. You seem nice. I like you too.” He spoke a mile a minute and when he finished he had a goofy toothy smile on his face. I couldn't help but giggle a little.
“I'm Lucy, 11 years old, I like Spongebob, Cocoa Puffs and obviously goldfish crackers too. You seem...” I paused, searching for the right word. “Strange. But I like it.” I dug into my bag and offered Jon a handful of crackers.
As I was handing my goldfish over to Jon's eager hands, a shrill voice made me jump in my seat.
“Excuse me little girl,” A pale woman commanded the room from the front of the class, my teacher I assumed, “I know you're fresh out of the petting zoo but HERE, we are not here to babysit you. You do not eat in class, you ridiculous child!” Her pointy, tall boots only made her intimidating demeanor more frightening, yet it only took her one lecturing screech to make me want to shrink down to a tiny ball and roll away where I couldn't be found. I hated being yelled at.
My words caught in my throat and I could feel my eyes welling up little by little. Oh no. I couldn't cry on my first day of middle school. It would be humiliating and prove her condescending “petting zoo” comment right. I turned my head towards the wall, and back down to the floor. I was about to choke out an “I'm sorry” but before I could, Jon jumped out of his chair, letting it carelessly crash to the floor.
“Hey lady! You can't be mean to my friend!” His palms were placed on the desk and he had a fighting stance set. The expression on his face was one of pure irritation. Our mean teacher placed her hands on her waist, which may I just say was not as narrow as she'd like to think, and smirked.
“Sit down Jonathan. You are being completely disrespectful child. Now. Pick up your chair. If you think you can handle such a complicated task.” She eyed him carefully. He lifted up his arms in a dramatic motion, “Now YOU tell me lady if basically calling me stupid is disrespectful! What's the big deal? Luce was sharing some crackers with me, what's wrong with that huh? LADY?”
The “Lady” looked completely taken aback. She lifted her arm, curled her hand into a fist and pointed her index finger, like a cannon ready to fire. “Listen here boy, you do not disrespect me in any way. It is not appropriate to eat in class. In fact! It's a little selfish. Now sit your butt down or march yourself over to the counselor's office so this God forsaken school can figure out what the hell is wrong with you!” her voice had escalated with every syllable. A throbbing vein appeared on her forehead while her eyes were shooting out of their sockets, almost trying to escape that head.
Jon grinned suddenly. He reached down for my bag and brought out my sandwich container. Which coincidentally had my goldfish inside. He jumped on top of his desk, excitement completely taking over him, and grabbed a fistful of goldfish crackers, throwing them up in the air, sending them scattering like some sort of cheesy confetti. The class erupted in laughter, cheering Jon on. He emptied the sandwich box, goldfish landing everywhere, hair, mouths, the lady's eye. It was magical.
“Courtesy of Lucy everyone!” He looked over at our teacher and smirked. “Sorry miss. Just wanted to be selfless.” He hopped down, smiled at me and lifted his arms once more, in pure dramatic triumph as he went out the door.
I opened my eyes again, and smiled a little. Jon looked down, and smiled back at me.
“A smile Luce? And what is that for huh?”
I picked up my head and wrinkled my nose. “Mmm..not much. I just..thought back to that first fateful day of middle school...” He gave me a knowing smile. “That teacher...was a complete psycho Luce! All you did was share and that totally won me over.”
I gave him a playful smile and rested my head on the couch, “My selfless heart?”
He made a face, “Uh. Your cheesy snacks!”
It was a nice memory. Just what I needed. I wrapped a blanket around myself and laid down on Jon's lap. I closed my eyes, waiting for another nice thought to get me through each moment. It continuously takes all my will power to think about everything but what happened. At points it doesn't even seem like I was the one it happened to. Like it was a gruesome scene I watched on TV But it was me. And now I have nothing to but let all the good thoughts in and lock all the bad ones away.
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