There were two things that prevented Blank from apologizing to Jessica in the days following their movie outing. One: because she hated apologizing to the very core of her existence. And two: she held onto grudges far to easily and for far too long.
As each day ticked by with the problem still unsolved, Blank rationalized that it wasn't entirely her fault that for the argument, therefore she didn't necessarily have to be the first one to say sorry. When it came to mending torn relationships, Jessica wasn't any better at it than Blank. However, after nearly a week of their nonsense, Madelyn concluded that she'd had enough and the two were coerced into amends.
"So…" Blank trailed, seated across from Jessica. Madelyn situated herself between the girls in order to play counselor.
"Yeah," responded Jessica, equally at a loss for words.
"I'm sorry," they said in unison, followed by a mutual grin.
And that was that. Madelyn tried to coax them into talking about their feelings, but neither one would have any of it.
"I'm really not that kind of girl," explained Jessica.
"Right," agreed Blank. "The day she starts talking about mushy stuff like her feelings, I'm going to be racing her to the hospital, 'cause she'll have to be on something."
Jessica laughed at that, while Madelyn rolled her eyes.
It really was a wonder that Madelyn was a friend to Blank and Jessica, because she couldn't be more different.
She was the girly-girl. The feminine one—not to be confused with feminist.
"So how is your lover boy?" asked Blank in good nature.
Jessica uncharacteristically flushed, and mumbled something along the lines of "good". If there was one positive thing that came out of Jessica having a boyfriend, it was her newfound bashfulness—and that's discrediting the fact that she was now deliriously happy.
"Is he graduated and stuff like that?"
"Yeah. He's nineteen. Graduated last year."
"Okay," responded Blank, not sure where to lead the conversation. "Do you not want to talk about James?"
"Mm…" Jessica hummed, shaking her head. "No, not really."
"Is there trouble in paradise?" inquired Blank, with an interested eyebrow raised.
"Oh no, nothing like that!" urged Jessica. "I'm kind of James'd out. Everyone keeps asking me about him. You know how stupefying it is that a black sheep like me could ever get a boyfriend."
Blank chortled, rubbing a finger down her forehead. "Yeah—you and me both, Jessie. You and me both."
Blank had to work at the café that Saturday, thereby turning down her Aunt Lillian's request for her to baby-sit the twins: Lily and Met. It was one of the few times she was grateful for her job. Plus, there was always the off chance that an incredibly gorgeous guy would come meandering in to order an almond mocha, Grande of course.
Who knew what luck Blank would have that very day! Or maybe it would do better to call it fate. Luck just didn't seem right. Because a foxy young man did walk through that café door, a ringing bell signaling his glorious entrance, but to Blank's chagrin that man just happened to be Wyatt Gafford.
"Oh crap," Blank muttered under her breath.
She received a curious look from her manager, Karen. "You got something against our next customer?"
"Uh, yeah," Blank responded with a valley girl edge.
"Great, then you can take his order." With that Karen darted off to the back, claiming to get more coffee beans. Blank glowered at the full sack next to the coffee maker.
As Wyatt approached the counter, she put on her best employee smile. "Hello, welcome to Corner Café. What would you like to order?"
"Just a sec," he replied, reading the menu and showing no sign that he recognized her.
Blank was on the verge of giving up on him. Maybe the sun in Spain fried all his brain cells.
"Okay," he said, jolting Blank out of her dis-on-Wyatt-fest. "I'll have some green tea—a small."
"You mean tall?" Blank asked him, annoyingly.
"Is that a small?" he asked.
"No. It's a tall."
"Well, I want a small."
"We don't have smalls. We have talls, grandes, and ventis."
He raised his eyebrows. "So since a tall is listed first, I can only assume it's a small."
"Assume away," snapped Blank, still plastering that cheeky smile across her face.
Wyatt gave her a skeptical look, then said, "I'll have a cup of green tea, tall."
"Will that be all for you?"
"Yes!" he shouted forcefully.
"Alright, that'll be $2.49." When he handed her the exact change she added, "You may take a seat over there and I'll bring you your drink when it's prepared. Thank you sir."
As Blank turned away to make his beverage she saw a flash of Wyatt chuckling, just like he did back in tenth grade. For a split second he was acting like his old self again, she was the cause of his laughter, and the world was right.
It would be idiotic, however, to dwell on such insignificant events, Blank concluded.
"So how'd it go?" Karen probed, her orange curls bouncing as she popped her head around the corner.
"Like you weren't listening," Blank remarked sarcastically.
Karen winked in response before disappearing again.
As Blank wandered towards Wyatt's choice of settlement, she realized that he was working on his Calculus. With frustration, he rashly grabbed his homework, ready to mangle the paper.
"Hey, hey, hey!" Blank soothed, sliding the assignment away from his destructive grasp. "Here's your tea. Get some caffeine in your system before you go paper-shredding."
She watched as he took a deep breath before saying, "Thanks Blay. This homework is so complicated. I don't understand any of it!"
A thrill tinkled down her spine at the sound of her name—no nickname.
Apparently Mr. Who-Are-You-Again? hadn't really forgotten who she was.
That stupid liar!
"So do you get the work? Can you help me?" he pleaded, suddenly looking hopeful.
Blank shifted uncomfortably on the balls of her feet. "Yeah. I finished the assignment already, but I'm kind of working right now."
"Oh," he said, his countenance appearing forsaken.
Blank's ambivalence was suddenly cleared when she realized what a golden opportunity this moment was. Finally! She had a chance to talk to Wyatt, albeit over homework, but she got to talk to him all the same. And Blank wasn't one to look a gift-horse in the mouth…if the cliché even related.
"You know what? My break is in fifteen minutes. So if I can trust you to remain calm and not demolish your assignment in that time span, then I'll help you."
The look of relief on Wyatt's face was enough to make Blank's week—even though tomorrow was Sunday and therefore her week had already practically ended. But that wasn't the point. The real matter of importance here was that Blank was doing a good deed for someone else. She was a Samaritan: helping, when the realities of the situation permitted her to tell Wyatt to just shove it.
Her mother would be so proud.
When Blank went back to work, she could feel Wyatt's eyes darting between watching her and the clock, as he waited with boyish patience for her break to come. When it finally did, she nervously made her way towards his table and seated herself next to him.
"So-um-where should I-I begin?" she asked, silently reprimanding herself for stuttering.
Wyatt took no heed of her verbal impairment—probably as a result of his own humiliation.
"How does number one sound?" he grinned, flushing at the tips of his ears.
Blank tried to keep her mouth snapped shut. "You weren't joking when you said you didn't understand any of it, were you?"
"No," he mumbled meekly, suddenly intrigued by the carved graffiti on the wooden surface of the table. He traced the words with an extended pinky.
Waving a hand in front of his face, Blank said, "Well I don't think Trevor and Stacey 4-ever can help you right now so…" That remark caught his attention. He gave her a captivating grin, which revealed the small dimple on his left cheek. "I missed that," Blank whispered unintentionally.
"Missed what?" inquired Wyatt.
Blank nearly clamped a startled hand over her mouth, but managed to restrain the foolhardy fist. Having done so, she decided to take advantage of the rather vexing situation.
Looking at him with a coy smile, she stated boldly, "You." Blank gesticulated up and down to emphasize her answer.
Wyatt choked on his tea, some dribbling from out his nose—in a very attractive manner of course.
"I certainly wasn't expecting that answer." He colored from his hairline to as far as his shirt would allow Blank to see.
At that very moment, her abrupt courage chose to skedaddle. She was left with her old self: shy, hurt, self-conscience and anything but brave. As Wyatt uncomfortably scratched his arms and head, Blank knew she'd overstepped her boundaries. Here, before her, was a guy that had brusquely dropped their friendship one day and headed off to a foreign country for a year, only to return and pretend to forget her name. She still had no clue why he even did that! It wasn't like she exactly had a lot of room for relational leeway.
"Sorry," she muttered, copying his nervous fidgets.
He scooted back his chair a little bit, as if preparing to leave. But he didn't.
"No, no, no. It's okay. Really," he urged with earnest eyes. A cocky smile unexpectedly settled upon his face. "I mean I can understand why you'd miss me."
Now it was Blank's turn to be shocked. Thinking better of saying anything, she instead suggested that they begin his homework. Wyatt acquiesced, but his egotistical front lingered throughout the entire tutoring session. After forty-five minutes, and several impatient demands by Karen for Blank to return to her work, she bid Wyatt a farewell. He graciously thanked her, and then walked out of the café just as smoothly as he'd entered. Blank had an unsettling notion that things between Wyatt and her would go back to pre-green-tea customs.
"You know, he's cute," drooled Karen.
"He sure is," replied Blank with a wistful air.
"So why is it that you don't like him?" Karen pondered.
Blank scowled at Karen. "I never said I didn't like him. I said I have a problem with him. And that is a very long story, which I've repeated far too many times in the past month since school started. Seriously. I don't think the best way for me to move on is to recapitulate my perished relationship with him over and over again!"
At this point Karen was backing slowly away from Blank, as if she were an untrained animal. Blank rolled her eyes before lunging savagely at her manager. "Roar!" she shouted, as she made the leap. Karen shrieked girlishly, while covering her eyes. Several coffee-drinkers hastily gathered their cluttered trash and headed out, herding any new customers away from the scene.
"Oh great. Now you've put this little business out of business," moaned Karen.
Blank took off her apron, and hung it on a rack before replying, "Then I guess you shouldn't have hired such a ferocious beast." As she walked out the tingling door, she called back, "see ya on Monday!"
On the drive home, Blank replayed the day's events. It was unbelievable that Wyatt had actually treated her like a human being. He even went far enough to make her feel like a friend.
Imagine that, Blank mused while pulling onto the street that she lived on.
It wasn't until she had parked her car and turned off the engine, however, that she noticed Korbin sitting on the porch steps of her house. He shuffled his feet impatiently as Blank headed up the driveway and gave her a slight wave of the hand.
"Hey you," she offered as a greeting.
Korbin stood up from his sitting position and hooked a thumb on the waistband of his jeans. "I wanted to talk to you, but no one answered when I knocked."
Blank bit her bottom. "Oh. My parents are out with my aunt and uncle and I was working. I have no idea where Ashley is."
"My house," Korbin answered. "He's hanging there with Bella."
That made Blank grin. "They seem to be getting along real nice, don't you think?"
Korbin gave a breathy laugh ere agreeing with her. "You don't have anything up that sly sleeve of yours, do you?"
"In here?" Blank joked, looking up her short-sleeved shirt. "Naw. So what's it you wanted to talk to me about?"
Scuffing his toe, Korbin replied, "I just wanted to make sure things were cool between us. I know it's been several weeks since my family had dinner with yours and stuff, but things have been kind of weird with you and me. Are we cool, even with what almost happened that night?"
Blank looked at him vacantly. "Yeah. Definitely. Nothing almost happened."
She couldn't decide if Korbin's eyes appeared stung or incredulous.
"Good then," he concluded, starting to head back home. "I'm glad."
"Me too," Blank added with a tone of befuddlement.
As she entered her house, she let out a heavy sigh. It had felt horrible to lie so blatantly to Korbin, but for some reason she felt obligated to not indicate that whatever had happened that night had affected her. Perhaps it was a means of her own survival, because as long as she pretended to not like Korbin she could still hold onto Wyatt.
Granted, Korbin was a really nice guy. But he also seemed a bit…bipolar? One minute he was affectionate, which was nice but also kind of strange, and the next he was attacking her for not wanting a boyfriend. There were also those random moments when he acted like a normal human being, such as her recent encounter with him.
And Wyatt was a total jerk towards her, unless no one of importance to him was around. He did, however, have favor in her heart.
There was always the option of not dating at all, which, although lonely was probably the better choice because:
1.) She wouldn't have to pick between Wyatt and Korbin
2.) It would prove that she really could hold up personal standards
3.) She was graduating this year and therefore getting as far away from the little town of Glen as possible
4.) It would, of course, prevent heartbreak
"Stupid love triangles," she grumbled incoherently.
Blank knew there was a reason she'd always hated geometry.
A/N: Another chapter. This one was super hard to write because my muse or whatever you want to call it has run off on me. I think I heard her get hit by a car. Probably my brother's car. (He recently crashed the vehicle we share) So I will be updating on my other story next. And if inspiration does not hit me for this story, then there may be several weeks in which no new update arrives. I'm terribly sorry. Oh and there's those pesky midterms that are approaching with the horror of a raging stampede.
Special thanky-de-dankies to:
Blankroseangel69: Wow you were my very first reviewer for this chapter. Thank you so very much! I'm really thankful that you appreciate how often I update. I know some people do it three times a week, and I'm like wow. You're IMPRESSIVE. Hehe. So I hope you liked this chapter. A little bit of Wyatt in there for you.
Faded Soulfire: Wow. When I saw you're review I did that girly flapping hand thing, complimented with a squeak. Seriously. I love getting long reviews filled with actual opinion and advice. I get so many that are like: I love it! Update soon. Does that tell me anything at all? Um, no. So thank you so much. I've been getting a collective opinion that Korbin is weird. I hadn't really intended him to be that way. But have you ever met those people that just touch you, when they barely know you? And it's not because they're perverts or anything, it's just the way they've been raised. Korbin's like that. And the whole freak out at dinner thing. Yeah, Blank was surprised too! If you didn't notice already. But the almost kissing her part took priority in her mind over the overreaction. I think that kind of explained why he acted that way. When girls get mad they cry (stereotypically) and when guys get mad they yell. He was mad, for reasons I will let YOU GUESS and so he got angry. I hope that clears things up a little. I probably should've made that point a little clearer in the story, so maybe I'll do that in the future. Thanks for the really, really, really long review. I hope my response makes up for it!
Brokeice: Well I'm glad you like this story, and I'm sorry I didn't tell you about it. I took down my other one because I wasn't going to write on it anymore. When I look back at the chapters to it, I cringe. Seriously. My writing has improved (in my opinion) so much since my last story so I kind of wanted to move on. Hopefully this one is just as good for you. Thanks for reviewing mine.
Chede: I always love your reviews. They're so full of stuff! Hehe, like a meaty sandwich. Here's some Wyatt for you in this chapter. What do you think of the little stud-muffin now? And what do you think about Korbin? I'm trying to get an opinion on him, in order to help me with future development. Thanks
Chibimangaangel: Thanks for reviewing. Here's the next update.
Mimighost: I updated. What did you think of the chapter?
Dahee Fanel: Yeah, so a lot of people think that Korbin is creepy. Is it a bad kind of creepy, or is he just a character that needs more development so you understand him better? Here's some Wyatt in the chapter. What do you think of him?
Bay 710: A new person reviewer! Yah, I like those. Hehe. Hope you like this chapter too.
Grunge Muffin: Wow, thank you so much for the review. It was real inspriring for me. Because I realized that you're right. I mean, the stupid crap stories happen to get a lot of reviews (although really good stories sometimes get a lot of reviews too) . It helped me want to update again. Especially when this chapter was difficult to write because I have a plot for later in the story, but I somehow have to wiggle my way there chapter by chapter. So thank you so, so much for the review. You're wonderful!
Deejay Lovely: And you said you wouldn't update again soon! But you did! So that was great. And thank you for reviewing my story. It's always so flattering when authors that I happen to like, review my story. I feel like I'm somehow returning the greatness of your story. Does that sentence make sense? Oh well…
Kelyn: Last on my thank you's but certainly not the least. Thank you SO SO much for reviewing constantly. It's so relieving to find someone to reliable as that. I know that at least there's ONE person out there that likes my story with more than a passing glance. Yay!
11 reviews for one chapter. That is the most I've received yet for this story. Thanks to all you out there who review it (and don't necessarily review *grumble) because you're the reason I write. Yay for audiences, else there would be no art!