I stared at her, my heart beating fast—she just kept staring at me, as if she couldn't comprehend what I said, and for a minute, I don't think even I know what I said.
I opened my mouth to apologize, maybe try and rephrase the question a bit better, but then suddenly Jena's hand reached out and slapped me. I was so surprised, I hardly had any time to prepare myself, in fact I had none. I didn't even know she had slapped me until I touched my cheek softly with my right hand, my fingertips lingering lightly on the reddening skin, and I felt the soreness settling in.
I looked at Jena, my hand still holding my cheek and my face aghast; she met my eyes. It was hard to say what she looked like; I imagine she must have been angered somewhat by my comment, yet she seemed calm, she even turned to face the steering wheel, griping it rather tightly. I continued to stare at her, my cheek heating up. What was this girl's problem? I don't care if I ask an off question or not, she has no right to hit me.
"What was that for?" I asked, an air of amazement about me as I was finally able to speak. Although I was pretty much dumbfounded for the moment, I'm pretty sure my face must have held a scowl of some type on it because there was no I could have said those words the way I did without making one. Jena glanced at me before returning to her earlier position.
"I'm sorry," she said quickly, turning to m and, opening her mouth to say something, then she stopped, whipping around suddenly and getting out the car. I paused, watching her pace outside through her jeep window as I held my cheek. The sting was pretty much gone, leaving the heat in its place, but that wasn't what I was worried about. To be truthful, I was still a bit surprised, I mean, that slap came out of no where…had I enough of sense I would have slapped her back. Besides, who is she to just slap me—an innocent—and get away with it? That's right, she's nobody in no position to hit me. I should have gotten out the car, stormed over to where she was and slapped her twice as hard back. She deserved it--treating me like this; she had no right.
Yet I didn't move.
It wasn't that I was scared or anything, I was just still in a state of shock. Besides, if she can just turn on me and slap me like this out of blue, who knows what else she can do?
I found myself glaring out at the back of Jena as she paced around her side of the jeep, head down and obviously muttering something to herself. As I continued to watch her, I felt my anger draining from me slowly, reasonable suggestions coming to my mind; after all…I suppose she had a reason to slap me.
I dropped my hand down to my side, still watching Jena through the window as she paused momentarily. She turned around again, walking down to the end of her jeep and out of sight. I cocked my head to the side as I waited for her to reappear in the window, and as I did, I feel some type of pity for her.
Poor girl, she seemed distraught, pacing back and forth mumbling things only she could hear…it was almost enough to make me want to console her, yet I did nothing.
I touched my cheek again, thinking about the way I had asked the question. Perhaps I could have been a bit nicer about it? I didn't mean for it to come out like that…it's just that at times I have a tendency to be a bit more…blunt than usual, you can't blame a girl for being blunt, can you?
Jena continued her mad pace back and forth outside her jeep again, her hands on her hips and her black hair swaying in the light breeze behind her back. Her steps and paces had become few and less as she stopped, exchanging light ephemeral conversation with a passing group of guys who looked her up and down hungrily…or something close to it. She must not have minded because she simply waved them by, watching them pass before she pulled her door open, sitting back down as she had first done when we got in the car.
All was silent.
I found myself staring at her dashboard while she situated herself in her seat, pulling her seat belt over her small frame slowly, the automatic locks on the belt clicking being the only thing I heard besides the muffled noise from outside.
"I suppose you'll wanna go home now, right?" I paused, looking up to Jena to see her calm face and dark eyes staring back at me.
Not sure on what to say, I just stared, holding my hands in my lap idly, while I stretched my legs out in front of me, thinking of something to do to take my mind off the matter at hand. "No…I can't go home," how ever weird that sounds, it was the truth. I told my parents that I was spending most of the weekend with my friend; if I showed up tonight, I'd have to explain something, and at the moment, nothing was coming to mind.
Jena nodded, immediately catching onto my problem as she shoved the key into the ignition and started up the car, revving the engine quickly. I remained seated as I was, finding nothing I could do to take my mind off the questions in my head.
"Well then, you can sleep at my house and I'll take you back tomorrow and you can just tell your mother that I had something unexpected pop up," I lifted my head to look at her, but she didn't look at me, instead, she directed her attention into backing up, a good way to busy herself.
"Is that it?" I asked, not knowing what to make of her small talk. Did she not want to be my friend anymore? I glanced out my window, waiting for an answer, and when I got none, I turned back to Jena, pushing her in her arm gently. As she turned sharply to meet my eyes, I could tell that she was on the verge of tears, yet was trying desperately to keep them in check. My mouth fell open slightly as I searched for something to say, you know, something that could maybe cheer her up, but she turned away from me again, putting all her focus into the road.
"It's okay, Christy," Jena said finally, after some seconds of silence had enveloped us. I looked to her at my mentioned name. "I understand if you don't wanna be my friend anymore--."
"That's not it!" I spat it out so quickly that she slowed the car suddenly, causing both of us to lurch forward in our seats. She glanced at me, her eyes scanning my face as if looking for a hint at a possible lie before she pressed on the gas again, yet still she said nothing. I turned around in my seat again, leaning my head against the seat belt that provided itself as a makeshift pillow for the time being. I don't think I was feeling a bit weird about the whole thing, you know, now that I had some time to think about it. It was more like me just still fighting to be her friend, because, believe it or not, I did like her somewhat, to an extent, and wanted the friendship to still be there, for some unknown reason…I just, wanted it to stay.
"You don't need to lie to me," Jena said finally after allowing a minute of silence to blanket us. I looked up, meeting her eyes that still held that sparkle in them, giving off that impression that she was happy, yet I knew she wasn't, and it was all because of me. "I'm sorry…you must be feeling a bit weird now, huh?" Jena chuckled, removing one hand from the wheel as she sat back in her seat, her head tilted down at an angle and with her eyes on the twisted road that lay before her.
I remained quiet, feeling that she must not have wanted me to answer her for she continued talking on in her same slow way. Now that I think about it, it seemed almost droll.
"No answer, huh?" She laughed again, but not with the same high shrill shriek that usually accompanied her laughs. This time, her laugh seemed a bit dolorous, yet she continued it as if it was normal. I shifted around in my chair uneasily, not liking the mood in which she was setting the atmosphere, yet I allowed my silence to continue on. Jena glanced over at me, sighing deeply. "Well, I'll go ahead and answer your question for you. Yes, but…I like to think of myself as being more of the…" she stopped, watching me as I lifted my head to meet her eyes, "bi type."
Interesting. My eyes never left hers, and it was then that she turned, laughing her famous laugh again. It was almost comforting in a way, finally hearing that laugh again, yet, as I knew not what it was for, I just stared at her, not knowing what to make of the situation. Why was she laughing? It reminded me of the earlier days in the week where that was all she did, laugh laugh, and then laugh some more…oh how I hated those days. I felt myself sinking down into my seat slowly in an unknown embarrassment of some type.
"Yeah…surprise yuh?" She asked the question casually, leaning back once again in her seat, her one hand still on the wheel. I looked away from her finally, at out my window, noting that we were just now leaving the forest.
Great, one more hour and a couple of minutes of this. I sighed heavily, thinking that I couldn't take it, her laughing at me all the way back to her house…hearing nothing but that laugh of hers…it'd kill me, it really would.
I looked back to Jena suddenly as she punched me in my shoulder. It wasn't hard, but it still hurt. My mouth fell open as I glared at her, rubbing my shoulder. "What is your problem?" I asked, rather angrily. I glared at her; still holding my shoulder whose pain was slowly deteriorating. I wanted to punch her back, but couldn't bring myself to do it. She was so skinny, I might really do some damage, then I'd never be able to forgive myself.
She stared at me, her eyelids lowered down somewhat as she turned back to the rode, shrugging her shoulders as if what I said meant nothing. "Oh calm down, it didn't hurt."
I scoffed suddenly, a look of pure abject abhorrence playing a game upon my face. "You know, if you're just going to act like this, then maybe you can just drop me off at my house, and never talk to me again." I don't know what caused me to say it, but I think I felt relieved once I did. I know it seems small; a little punch is nothing to get mad over, yet it hurt, and then she was mocking me--mocking me about how I was shocked about her "sexuality". If she was truly my friend, or was trying to be something like it, then I doubt she would have mocked me or punched me then said it didn't hurt, because it did.
Jena paused, staring at me suddenly, her eyes narrowing in on mine. "Is this about me being bi?" She asked suddenly, turning her attention back to the street quickly, but still watching me out the corner of her eye.
"No…and I seriously think I could care less about that factor," I paused, waiting for her to say something if she wished, yet when she didn't, I continued, "I'm just a bit tired of you being so rude--."
"Is that it?" Jena asked quickly, her abruptness sounding unemotional, but I'm sure that was just another one of her flaws.
I paused, pondering her question over in my mind before answering. "Yeah…I believe that's it."
"Oh." Jena glanced at me, then turned around in her seat, pressing on the gas slightly, but never saying a thing.
And so we rode on in silence, both of us engulfed in out own thoughts, or at least that's what I was doing. I wondered what her "oh" statement was supposed to mean. It didn't give me much of an answer. Did she agree with me, or was that her just saying something just to be saying something? I sighed quietly to myself, still staring out my window, watching the side trees and shrubs run past the window in a blur.
"Okay then…I'm sorry." I looked up, surprised that she had finally decided to speak.
"About what?" I must have sounded stupid because that was an extremely stupid question, nevertheless, she answered.
"About the slap I mean…" Jena added on, her voice losing the once comical tone to it. I nodded as if I understood; yet I'm sure I didn't. "You just…kinda' surprised me…" she continued on as she glanced at me quickly, before looking away, almost as if she was ashamed of something.
"It's okay," I said, trying to cheer her up, and for what? I don't know, but I felt as if she needed it or something close to it, even if I thought the slap and punch wasn't okay, it might do her well to think that I thought it was.
"No it's not…I shouldn't have slapped you…that was my fault…I just get so…carried away at times?" She finished as if she were asking herself a question, but she didn't answer it, instead, she sighed, the speed of the car slowing down remarkably as she pulled over to the side of the road, leaving her headlights on but turning off the engine. I sat up in my seat, pressing my face to the glass window as I looked around at the night outside, and then to Jena, completely confused.
"Why are we stopped?"