Sunday, January 3, 2010

16.) Infatuation

Soundtrack Song - Alexz Johnson, Temporary Insanity

I tried to catch my breath. I really didn’t even know what the big deal was. Honestly, I’d kissed tons of boys. Life is too short to not go after what you want, and that’s why I just went for it and kissed Kris. He’s a gorgeous, gorgeous man, and nothing’s ever stopped me from going after a guy before. And it wasn’t even like we made out or anything—it just a lingering lip lock.

But I had been afraid to make the move, and now, after I had done it, I could feel my heart palpitate. Why was I so worked up over this? He’s just a boy. Sure, he’s cute. And hot. But he also irritated me. He knew how to rub me the wrong way. But I couldn’t get my mind off thinking about how maybe he could rub me the right way, too.

That was a very distracting line of thought.

Trying to get my mind away from that, I headed into the living room. I was relieved knowing that my dad was gone. I just couldn’t deal with him on top of everything else. But now, I was lost in my good mood and the excitement of my infatuation.

“Jo—”

I screamed and looked around, freaking out about not knowing who was in my house. Then I groaned when I saw who it was. “Damnit, Tubby! You scared the shit out of me!”

He chuckled in his deep voice. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. But I was worried about you, so I stopped by.”

“Worried?” I asked, surprised by his statement.

“Well, yeah. I haven’t heard from you in two days!”

I rolled my eyes. “Yesterday. You were just here yesterday.”

“Exactly,” he replied, holding up two of his fingers. “Yesterday and today. I was driving by and saw that your dad was home, so I thought something happened.”

“Oh. Well, I don’t know why he was here. I wasn’t home.”

“Obviously. Well, so I stopped in. He said something about spilling coffee on his shirt and needing to change. He was here for about five minutes before he left again.”

I nodded, trying to take in that bit of information. Five minutes? What were the odds of when Kris brought me home the first time, that he was here, if he was only here for five minutes? Could I still blame this on mere coincidence?

“So, where were you?” Tubby asked, not allowing me to think about that situation any more.

“I was out with Kris,” I told him.

“The same guy you called yesterday, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you going to tell me any more than that? Like how it went?”

“You’re just like a girl,” I laughed, shaking my head as I headed into the kitchen for a can of cola. “Worse even. It went... fine.”

He followed me into the other room. “Well, obviously you had a good time yesterday if you saw him again today. What did you guys do?”

I sighed, but I knew it was better to answer than to ignore him. When Tubby really wanted to know something, he wouldn’t let it go. “We just kind of talked. A lot of talking. And just... hanging out.”

“That’s it?”

“Oh, come on, Tubs. You know I don’t kiss and tell,” I joked, opening the can and taking a sip.

“So, there was kissing involved?”

I choked on my drink. I looked at him, and he smiled back at me. “Uh, yeah. I kissed him.” I reddened, feeling embarrassed that he knew. Which was weird, because I’ve never been this shy about a guy before. Especially not around Tubby.

“Look at you all blushing and shit,” he teased. Then he quieted his voice. “You really like this guy, don’t you?”

“I do,” I whispered, almost afraid to say it too loud. “I don’t know why, but yeah, I do.”

“Hold up. You said you kissed him. Ain’t he feelin’ you?”

“I, uh, I don’t know,” I admitted. “I kinda kissed him and left.”

Tubby shook his head, still smiling. “You’ve got it so bad. So when do you see him next?”

“Dunno. That’s probably the one thing we didn’t talk about.”

“Well, is he taking you out for your birthday?”

“I never even brought it up to him.” I further explained to him, “We were talking about other things. And besides, I just met him. No one takes you for your birthday when you’ve only known them for a week.”

“All right then, that settles that. What are we doing for your birthday?”

Tubby looked at me with anticipation and sparkle in his eyes, and I hated that I had to let him down. I couldn’t bear to think of doing anything special on Sunday to mark the occasion. “I don’t want to do anything.”

“But it’s your birthday! We have to do something. Whatever you want.”

“You know I don’t like to make a big deal out of it,” I reminded him. My birthday was a hard day to celebrate, when I had been used to celebrating it with James. It was never the same without him, and last year’s had been really hard on me. I imagined this year’s would be just as bad. “It’s just another day in the year. Except it’s an excuse to eat cake. But seriously, I don’t want to do anything.”

He turned serious. “I can understand how you were upset about it last year, Jo, because it was the first year without James—”

“Please stop, Tubby—”

“—but this year’s different. You can remember him and still have fun.” I glared at him for his interference. Tubby paused before taking a different approach, knowing that he wouldn’t get anywhere otherwise. “Don’t you even want a present?”

I bit my lip and tried to hide the smile. “Well, you know I’ll never say no to a present.”

“What do you want?”

Nothing immediately came to mind. “I don’t know. Can I think about it?”

“Sure you can think about it while we go grab some grub. I’m starving.”

“’Kay. Just lemme get my jacket,” I said, walking into the living room. Except it wasn’t there. I knew that I had to have left it in there after I came home, until I realized that I didn’t wear it home. I didn’t wear it to the zoo. I left it at Kris’s apartment. “Shit.”

“What?”

“I left my jacket at Kris’s.”

“You were at his place?” Tubby asked, a smirk on his lips. “So much for not kissing and telling! Hot damn, Jo, why didn’t you tell me that you spent the night with him?”

“Because I didn’t. I told you, Tub. We hung out yesterday. We hung out today. And, yes, I did kiss him. But that was it.”

“All right. If you don’t want to tell me about it, that’s fine,” he continued to tease. “Just call him and tell him you left your jacket there. We can stop and get it while we’re out. Maybe then I can properly meet him.”

I thought about his suggestion, but I couldn’t do it. Call him so soon after what just happened? I didn’t want to do that, because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. It was a quick kiss, just to show him that I was interested, and I didn’t give him any time to respond before I left him on my porch. He should be the one making the next move.

But it wasn’t just my jacket, it was James’s jacket. I had to have it. Even if I didn’t want to wear it, I couldn’t stand the thought of it being anywhere else than in my possession.

Then I thought about letting him call me to tell me I left my jacket there. Kris seemed like a stand-up guy; he’d call about it. It seemed like a perfect turn of events. I’d be sure to hear from in the very near future, and I’d get my jacket back without looking desperate.

I told Tubby that I’d just grab a hoodie. He didn’t know it was James’s jacket that I left at Kris’s, so he wouldn’t second-guess my motives. We left my house and went a Chinese restaurant on the other side of town for dinner. We talked and joked and laughed like normal, except for when he asked me more about Kris and the time I had spent with him. I tried to blow it off and dismiss it, because I didn’t want to relive the emotional parts and also I didn’t want to think too much about that kiss.

Over and over again throughout the night, I kept glancing at my phone. Waiting for that text or that call from Kris. But it never came, and I became more and more aggravating to him since I wasn’t paying any attention to him. I apologized, but it didn’t stop me from checking my phone every five minutes, even though I never heard any of the indicative alerts.

I tried my best to focus on Tubby, but I kept thinking about not having that jacket and when Kris was going to call. I wanted James’s leather jacket back, I wanted Kris to call and tell me that he was going to return it, and I wanted him to call and talk to me. I was so unbelievably anxious and nervous about it.

After we ate, he took me and my leftovers back home. I asked Tubby if he wanted to come in and watch a movie or something, but he declined because he was annoyed with me. “I really don’t feel like watching you constantly check your phone for messages.”

“I’m sorry, Tubs,” I apologized again, for what felt like the millionth time. I knew it wasn’t fair to ask him over, knowing I’d be lousy company, but I was so worked up over wanting to hear from Kris that I didn’t want to be alone either. I wanted a distraction.

I walked into my home alone, and I made a bee-line toward my room and my stash of pot. I had a nugget that I had been saving, and it was just the right amount for me tonight. As I took a couple hits, I could feel my nerves begin to calm and the tension ease. My mind could filter out everything that was going on around me, allowing my mind to focus solely on one thing. That’s what I wanted—everything to fade away. Except that one thing I could think of was talking to Kris and getting my jacket back.

It sounded like a good idea to send him a text, so that’s what I did. My fingers flew over the numbers, typing that I had left my jacket at his apartment and that I wanted it back as soon as possible. Within a few minutes, I received his reply that he wasn’t at home, but he’d gladly return it to me sometime tomorrow. I was about to reply and ask when, but he beat me to the punch by sending me another message, asking if I wanted to attend the game.

This had to be a good sign, right? An invitation to watch him play must have meant that he liked me. Right? And it had been a long time since I’d seen the Pens play, even though I worked for the arena. I didn’t have to start work until the events were over, and I never showed up early. James and I used to go to games, because he loved watching them play, and I loved watching the cute players skate around. But I hadn’t gone since he died.

Despite my hesitation, I agreed. He told me to show up early, around six, so he could give me my jacket before and meet the people I’d be sitting with. I took a few more hits, wondering about what I may have gotten myself into and if it was going to be worth it.

6 comments:

  1. I don't think Jo could be any more adorable right now! You've got it spot on with the title of the chapter hahaha. I'm so glad she's really taking to Kris because I can already tell just how adorable they're gonna be. (:

    Once again, Jay, you've written another amazing installment. Can't wait for the next one.<3

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  2. Well you were right... The song WAS perfect! YAY us!! haha

    I love her internal struggle. Like him but no he's too annoying... But I do like him....

    I felt like I was Jo in this.

    Kudos!

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  3. Ahhhh I cant wait to see what happens at the game. This story is so good...

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  4. I just caught up with this story, and I'm so glad I did. I love fan fiction when it's well written, but this is not just well written, it's really mature and realistic. I love it. I can't wait to see what happens next.

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  5. Yep, fabulous chapter, and I, too, am excited to see what happens at the game...I love this story because you don't know what to expect, so I feel like anything could happen, lol!

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  6. Ahhhh..I hope she doesn't sit with crabby gf's who don't like her! : (

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