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Was That A Challenge?
I'd always been attracted to large, deep brown, puppy dog eyes. That's why it was extremely strange to me when I found myself attracted to Charlie. His vibrant green eyes, luscious blonde hair, and extravagantly tall frame were just not the fit of my dream guy. Perhaps that's the reason why I found no harm in playing the overly clichéd game of fifty questions with him, the night our parents went out. My mom had gone with Mr. Daniels to a charity event for orphans in Columbia. Not as a date or the like, but she had taken an interest, and as gentleman, Mr. Daniels, offered to take her.
"Don't you forget about me," the television thundered. As I was flipping through the channels I found an eighty's movies special and like the big dork I am, I decided to watch. I perhaps love all eighty's movies more than chick flicks. The Breakfast Club just so happens to be my all time favorite movie, regardless of time. I've lost count of how many times I've seen it.
"Will you recognize me/ Call my name and walk on by," the TV. kept going on while I bobbed my head to the song.
My friends invited me out to The Knit Box, but I turned them down. It was sort of a tradition with my group that we'd go every Sunday night. To be honest, I secretly loathed and loved our hang out. It was no secret that it was reserved for the cool people. The way people thought they were entitled to be there made me disgusted. The only thing that made me love this place was the boy behind the counter; Elliott. He was of the nerdish sort, the kind of guy I knew I wanted to end up with.
Watching him was my only entertainment when I was at The Knit Box. His thick black glasses and puppy dog eyes always made me wonder what was going on in his head. I found out later on that he went to the local high school and was the head of the school book club. No one knew I was interested in him—not even Amber—Charlie was the first to know.
"Hey, The Breakfast Club! Cool, what channel is it on?" Charlie's and I conversations usually only consisted of a few words, so it was custom to be polite and answer even if you were annoyed.
"It's on five-eighty-four," that should have been the end of our conversation, but my stupid mouth kept going as he started walking to his room, "you can watch it in here if you'd like." I didn't have a comical reaction to my abnormal behavior. I just treated it like a nice gesture I was so prone to seldom do, in the eye of other people.
"Yeah sure," his reply was a shock, actually. It shouldn't have been, though. Charlie is the type of guy to be nice to everyone and everything; also, he is of the social nature. He came and sat on the sofa there was enough room between us to be considered polite but yet friendlier than strangers.
We sat in silence for most of the movie, only opening our mouths to yawn or cough. Nothing out of the ordinary was going on in my mind. I was just watching a movie with a boy I happened to live with. Honestly, I think to me it was probably like being in a movie theater with total strangers. We did not shift directions during the movie so that we were closer than before, we were not rigid either, I felt comfortable. I cannot speak for him, though.
"So, do you want to play a game?" The movie was over and the final credits were running. I looked at Charlie, his hair was shorter and his eyes were dark, a sure sign of boredom. I assumed that after the movie I would be able to continue my normal nighttime behavior that consisted of reading a book in the bathtub, talking to Amber, then going to bed.
"No--," I began to decline. I wasn't really up for socializing or being beyond polite, in my opinion, that night.
"Why do you always do that?" Charlie interrupted.
I was caught off guard and didn't know what he was implying so I simply stated, "excuse me? What do I do?" It wasn't simple though, my voice was defensive. A mannerism I picked up from Amber. I was ready to defend my actions, confrontation might not have been my thing, but as I grew older, I began to prepare myself for it.
"You always decline people that you are weary of," his matter of fact tone irked me. It was like he figured out one of my deep secrets that I kept hidden in a place even I didn't know about. It really unnerved me how he could do that.
"Well I'm sorry if I take caution to the people I'm weary of." The conversation was not going well. At that point, I had made up my mind to end it before one of us got insulted.
"Having a conversation with someone won't make them break whatever precious thing you hold dear to you. Why are you weary of me? We've lived together since we were little." Being the voice of reason somewhat of a comfort for me, and when someone else showed that skill, it made me feel a little less important. Not so much that it took a blow to my self-esteem, but it made me think about how many other people have the skill. And out of those people how many use it, and how many would be able to comfort my friends like I would, when they were in a crisis's?
"You're a teenage boy; you're not supposed to have wise words."
"So you think I'm wise?"
"No. You probably read that out of a magazine somewhere… or maybe someone read it to you." Being mean is second nature to me when I feel threatened. Now that I think about it, I didn't feel threatened, just scared of the way I was comforted with him, despite his personality flaws that I told myself to loathe.
"Do you really have that little faith in your peers?" The way his mouth turned into a smirk made me know he was just messing with me. I felt a bit more at ease then, but not enough to want to stay in his company.
"Yes I do. Now will you please excuse me, I want to go to my room." I smiled for our good-natured teasing and made my way off the couch.
"That is a fake smile; please do not use it on me." I stopped in my tracks as his voice lazily spit out the words. I turned to him; my back now facing the direction of my room, his body language was causal. Like a normal boy, he was sprawled on the couch, a pillow under his head, and the remote in his left hand. He had one eye on me and the other was watching as he carelessly flipped through the channels.
"I love the way you can tell me what my actions mean," the way he thought he had figured me out was just so irksome yet compelling. My mixed emotions made my actions become defensive, inquisitive, and negative. The effect he had on me was not pleasing, or maybe I was just making it that way.
"Let's play twenty questions," Charlie suggested now switching his full attention on me.
"You do know that the game gets boring easily." I was subtly denying him.
"Yes, I do. But, that is if you know the person. I know nothing about you, my dear." The point he made was absolutely correct and I had no choice but to agree.
"Fine, but move your big butt, so I can sit down."
"I'm not big, you're just too tiny." It was true. To him I was like a cat to a redwood tree. Being short is my biggest default. Amber tells me it's a blessing. She's five eleven, with the long legs and decent sized torso. Then here's me, this short five foot three girl, with tiny limbs and a big chest.
"Do you want to ask questions first or last?" Charlie asked while we adjusted ourselves on the sofa. I was sitting crossed leg facing the right and him the left, so that we were facing each other.
"Umm, I think I want to go last," I confirmed to him. He nodded and rubbed his hands together as if thinking hard about his first question.
"Number one: What's you're favorite animal?" I raised an eyebrow at him, but answered anyway.
"Do you care to elaborate on that?"
"No." I always felt a bit immature in his company. Like all my common sense and mature demeanor just fades away. I don't have to keep up the façade of who the world expects me to be. Plus, I could be stubborn without having regrets.
"Okay then. Question two--," that time he scratched his chin causing me to laugh aloud, instead of opting to do so quietly like normal.
"Um no," I began shaking my head. He gave me a puzzled expression, "its question three. I counted the elaboration question. You can proceed now." I smiled sweetly; my eyes were probably glaring daggers at him.
Charlie cocked his head to the side continuing his previous sentence like I hadn't interrupted. "Question two: What is your favorite brand of shoes?" Charlie sat there with his hand underneath his chin expectantly. He was testing me. He wanted to see if I would do the 'proper' thing, or if I would do what I wanted. Charlie somehow knew that I was weary around him because of exactly who he was not because of his popularity status and good looks.
"Are you testing me, Mr. Daniels?" I smirked. I was turning his actions back on him. Charlie just smiled and made his eyes look up and over, as if he was thinking about telling me.
"If I am what are you going to do about it?" Charlie ran a hand through his hair then reached for the remote again. He was challenging me. I didn't realize it till now, but that's how our relationship worked. We'd challenge each other. Whether it is playful or striving to be better than we were before, our whole relationship was based on the one or the other challenging the other one. No one had challenged me for a long time—aside from Amber. It was refreshing, unexpected, and wonderful.
I can't exactly pinpoint when I fell in love with Charlie, but I can pinpoint when I became his friend. That was the exact moment when I decided to actually let Charlie Daniels enter my life, not as just a guy I lived with, but as a person to talk to. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a little voice was saying: This is guaranteed to be your greatest adventure, perhaps your biggest mistake. The line that always described how I felt about love, but was hoping the guy that I fell in love with wouldn't make it come true.
"Well I'll just have to exceed your expectations and prove you wrong." I put on my best smile and winked at him. Charlie just raised an eyebrow and put a look of disbelief on his face.
"Oh really? What exactly are my expectations?" Charlie had implanted a smirk on his face clearly already amused by my answers to his questions. His eyes had brightened a bit and that was also a key he was amused.
"Well first off babe, you expect me to forfeit my turn on asking you questions just so I can get away from you," I stopped for a moment and looked pointedly at Charlie.
"Mmhhmm," that's all he gave for acknowledgment of my acquisition.
"And you expect me to forget about the number of the question we were on. Which is now four because of the question you just asked. SO, Mr. Daniels my favorite shoes are converse. Next question." My voice was smooth, my eyes challenging, and my smile mocking. It felt good to be able to use whit along with childishness.
Charlie moved to put his finger and his thumb up to his mouth so that he was pinching his lip and his elbow rested on his knee. The TV was then forgotten and the room was just him, me, and all the words we had to say to each other. I raised an eyebrow as if to ask him 'why didn't he know what his next move was?' I leaned back on the edge of the sofa's arm and awaited his next question.
"Question number three: what do you want to be when you grow up?" He decided to compromise with the number but I wasn't going to give in that easily. I made up my mind not to answer his last question.
The question wasn't surprising since we had been assigned at school to think about and make a decision on what we wanted career we wanted. There's this program for the seniors that helps the get started on what they want to do by training them and giving them early lessons that are mostly only learned in college.
"I want to be an author in Europe and in-between my books I want to work as a photographer and travel different places."
"Wow. You're going to be a busy woman. Hope you're damn happy because you'll really be working out of love not money." Charlie is worldly in not just the 'I know about starving kids in countries most people haven't heard about' way, but the 'I understand how middle class works now and not all of the are blue collared'… now.
In our relationship, I taught him my knowledge of normal people and their budget and what poor truly was. I suppose I didn't do a very good job though, because I barely know what it is. The only source I really have is my Aunt on my mother's side. She's middle class America. Aunt April says she makes a decent living but if she had kids, she'd really be pushing it. I guess she's lower middle class America.
I rolled my eyes at Charlie's comment. "Yeah, I know. Next question, please sir."
"Four: favorite painter?"
"Five: Favorite hangout?"
"Not the Knit Box?" Charlie looked really surprised by my answer. Normally I would have taken offense to this, but with him, it was different. Like he talked to me without a lot of expectations of how I should like everything, my friends liked, and perhaps I warmed up to him because of that.
"Six: What do you think about the Knit Box?" I wasn't surprised by the question because I doubt many people of the popular crowd have my view on it. Then again most teens think high school is the best time their ever going to get in their life and are just going to enjoy the perks of being able to think their better than people.
I took some time to think about my answer. If I answered truthfully, I'd be giving this boy I lived with, practically a stranger, and insight to my mind. If I lied to him, he'd probably know it was a lie and regard me as overly secretive or shady. I opted for the truth hoping my head didn't outweigh my instinct that told me to trust him.
"I think it's mediocre and flat out stupid how people think their entitled to be there and I think its retarded how people stay out just because their peers tell them to. The only reason I go isn't even because of my friends it's because of Elliott." At the time I didn't even think about editing my opinion, now I realize it might have been a bit too strong worded.
Charlie nodded like he was comprehending what I was saying because it was foreign to him. His eyes then held a vibrant green that they were prone to when he wanted to cause mischief. "Seven: Do you have a crush on Elliott the guy that works behind the counter?"
By that, I was shocked, my eyes widening ever so slightly. Charlie gave his mocking smirk, not the playful one. I never would have openly asked someone that and I really expected to have the same courtesy, but then again most people had a thirst to know other people's business.
I stopped my eyes from darting around the room and held Charlie's gaze. My face was neutral, but not in the scared kind of way. My face probably gave off something along the lines of 'Guess what I'm thinking if you can, jackass.'
"I have taken an interest in him." That was all I told him, and all he needed to know to actually know. By telling him, that I had laid some trust in him that I didn't have with my other friends. Sure, I could have had the kind of trust with Amber but it wasn't really fitting at the time. My other friends were too judgmental because of color. I didn't exactly know if Charlie had those views, but from the way he was raised and the vibe, he was giving off, I didn't think he did.
The rest of the questions asked that night were just pure silly and at one point, I rolled off the coach laughing.
"Question twenty one: Do you think I'm too sexy for my shirt?"
"Hmm let's see, take it off." My voice was a low sleepy whisper. I had to stifle a yawn just to get the sentence out. "Hey, let's go to bed. We can finish this at home tomorrow or something."
Charlie agreed and we went our separate ways to our rooms, his to the hallway at the left and mine down the right. As I snuggled into my covers that night, I realized Charlie didn't say gloat about the 'expectations' because he understood, or simply forgot. However, I had puttoo much faith in him at that point. That he understood by me suggesting that we finish later I meant that we would talk again and not avoid each other after that night.