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Jerry's plan is straightforward. It's complicated. It's thoroughly thought out and spontaneous. Jerry's plan, actually, is a lot of things.
"—and that's when we turn on the smoke machine," he continues excitedly. He talks with his hands so much that I have to wonder how many people he hits without realizing it.
"Whoa," I stop him, completely lost. "I'm not sure we're, you know, capable."
He frowns. "My uncle has a smoke machine." I can't help but laugh at his mock puppy-dog expression, so he sighs. "…I know, I know, I think it's completely ridiculous too. The sad truth is, I've got nothin'."
"Well," I say, an idea suddenly striking me. "What if we go to the dance together? It could make Sadie realize who she should really be with," I add, waggling my eyebrows.
"What?" he sounds genuinely surprised, even though it had been my theory that both of us had been thinking of that ever since Erik asked Sadie. "Rose…" he looks off into the distance. "No, I can't. It's just…"
"Just what?" I demand. It sounds like a perfect plan to me.
"I don't want Sadie to think she likes me just because she sees me with someone else," he blushes and looks down, mumbling the rest. "I want her to really like me. Anybody could try to make her jealous by taking you to the dance, Rose."
I have to admit, this hits home. In the event that I actually make Erik jealous, how long would it last? Until someone else makes him jealous? It's so insubstantial, but even so, would it be worth it?
I have such a headache.
"Let's just try," I plead. It feels good to be able to tell someone semi-how I feel about Erik and Sadie and the whole situation in general. It's weird being deprived of Sadie and telling her things. "Please. Sadie does really like you. She just needs a hint."
"Well…" he doesn't sound convinced, but the mention of Sadie seems to get him discombobulated enough to convince him that my plan is going to work. "I guess, but on one condition."
"What's that?" I cock my head to the side, bracing myself.
"That you never let me do something this stupid again."
We go out to eat at a diner because neither of us want nor can afford anything fancier. "Why go to an expensive restaurant and get just a little bit to eat," Jerry wants to know. "When you can go to a cheap place and get tons of grub?"
I really hope that Sadie realizes how she feels about Jerry before she sees him eat. It could be worse, of course, but still. I'm hoping that he's just really hungry. When we're finally done, we take off the napkins we'd stuffed in our tops to make sure we didn't get sauce on our formals and start to head out, trying to pretend that nobody is staring at us. Well, at least, that's what I'm doing. Jerry just thinks it's funny.
Driving there is a little bit awkward, I'm not gonna lie. Normally we probably wouldn't have had quite as much of a problem talking, what with the amount Jerry talks, but at least I'm so nervous about seeing Erik and Sadie that I can't really think straight. None of my sentences are really connecting.
We get there right on time and walk into the gym, flashing one of the volunteer moms our tickets and student IDs and heading inside. The room is absolutely beautiful, even though I'm perfectly aware that it's a gym, which Jerry pointed out when I commented about it. Hmph. I'd bet he'd think it was prettier if he wasn't so huffy about Sadie not being there yet.
Neither her nor Erik is in sight, however. I can only imagine what in the world they are going off doing… but I really don't want to. "Let's get some punch or something," I suggest, having to shout over the crowd. I have no idea what else to do.
Jerry shrugs and starts heading towards the punch table, and I follow, trying to avoid people ramming into me. We finally get to the punch and Jerry pours some first for me, and then for him, and we sort of just stand there for a second, sipping. "Uh, so—" I start, but before I can finish, someone runs into me from behind and I almost dump my punch all over myself.
I whip around to find Sadie and Erik standing there, right there, and turn bright red at the sight of Erik. He just looks so…. Charming?
I glance over at Jerry to find him choking on his drink, probably at the surprise of seeing Sadie. Maybe because her dress is so… interesting, but probably because it looks so freaking good on her. Despite the, er, interesting color scheme.
"Hey guys," Erik says, the only one who obviously isn't freaking out. Well, besides Sadie, I guess. She just looks distracted. But why? Why wouldn't he be freaking out? Why was I having to go out of my mind when he got to just stand there like nothing was happening?! "What's up?"
"Nothing," I grunt a bit more huffily than I had intended to. I'm read and my face is hot and I'm trying to look down at the ground when Sadie catches my eye.
"Rose," she says suddenly and quite excitedly. Jerry, Erik and I simultaneously raise our eyebrows. "I need to talk to you."
"What?" I blink, and then look at Erik. "But Sadie, you—"
"Please," she begs. "I really need to talk to you. You really need to talk to me. Trust me, you're going to want to hear this."
"But—" I start, but it doesn't matter, because she's already grabbed my arm and started to drag me towards the side of the room away from Erik and Jerry. I can hear the principal standing up on stage to announce something, probably the winners of the party princess or whatever, but Sadie opens her mouth to talk over them.
"I know what you're going to say," I say before she has a chance to. I was finally going to apologize for what a loser I've been the past couple of weeks. I suddenly can't figure out why I've been so mad. It's just a boy! …Well, sort of. "And look, it's okay. I know I've been overacting about Erik, but I have a reason."
"Oh," she says. "Well it's okay because—"
"I don't really know how to tell you this," I blurt, my voice cracking. "I didn't want to, because I know you like him, but—"
"But that's the thing!" she says, sighing with relief. "I don't like him."
I furrow my eyebrows, tilting my head to the side in confusion. "But…" I stammer. "You don't like him?"
"No!" she laughed, and went on to list all of the reasons why she doesn't like him, but why I should like him, and not give him such a hard time. It's so ironic that I can feel my the corners of my mouth twitch up in …well, I don't know, but I suddenly have this huge burst of energy.
"You know what?" I laugh, grinning. "I was wrong. You were right. He really isn't such a bad guy."
"And besides which," she adds, still defensive. "He—oh. I'm right?" she blinks.
"Yes," I laugh. "You are. I'm sorry I was so hard on you."
"I'm sorry I didn't listen," she says, squeezing her arms around me. Sadie always gives very large hugs. And since we're done talking, my full attention focuses on the announcements on stage.
And I realize they just called Sadie's name.
"Did you notice where Jerry went?" she says, raising her eyebrows and flipping her hair to the side, trying to look nonchalant. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen, actually, but I'm still freaking out about the fact that she just got elected… something!
It takes her a moment to realize what they said, since obviously neither of us was listening. But when it hits her, it hits her. Her eyes get wide and her jaw drops. I cringe as I hear Erik's name called, because it sends chills up and down my spine. Or maybe that's just because my back is naked.
I snap out of it and shout, "omigosh!" and we bob up and down for a minute or so before she goes up there to do whatever it is dance princesses do. I want to wait near the front so I can talk to Erik now that I finally know what to say. Sort of. At least… I think I can think of something when the time comes. But Jerry… Jerry looks as if he's about to leave. He keeps looking back and forth between Sadie and Erik, frowning a little more each time.
"Jerry!" I call, power walking towards him as I see him starting to step backwards. I cannot let him leave! He and Sadie are this close to getting together and I…
Well, I suddenly realize it, and it feels selfish, but it almost seems like if I can make sure the two of them tell each other how they feel, things will work out between Erik and I. What things? Well, I—
"Rose," Jerry sigh. "I'm just going to go home. I'm tired, and dances aren't my thing."
"Whatever," I say simply. "You are going to talk to Sadie whether you like it or not."
"Why?" he snaps, which completely surprises me, because it's just so… not Jerry-like. He motions towards the dance floor, and my jaw clenches when I see Sadie and Erik both on the dance floor. They aren't even dancing together, but just the knowledge that I'm not there makes me just… eh. "She has Erik to talk to, doesn't she?"
"She doesn't like Erik!" I cry because he's already turned around. But when I say this, he stops.
"What?" he squints in thought.
"She just told me she doesn't like him," I rush. "You know, like… you know. Which means that she likes you."
"That doesn't mean—" he starts, but I grab his sleeve and start trying to drag him towards where Erik and Sadie are, because the music is dying down, but he pulls away. I notice he stands there, though, watching.
I walk the rest of the way to Sadie and Erik, crossing my fingers that Jerry won't budge and everything will work out. "Sadie," I say as I finally get up to them. "I have to talk to you." I had to tell her about how I felt about Erik. Which was… uh—
"I have to talk to you," Erik says, stepping closer to me, making chills go up and down my spine. This time I know it's not the dress. (Or lack thereof.)
"Well I'm done talking to both of you," Sadie says, standing on her toes and looking around. "Where'd Jerry go?"
"What?" I blink, because I'm still staring at Erik. It's not my fault, though. He's looking me directly in the eye. Gah, I never realized how pretty his eyes are or that his lips are so soft looking…
"Yeah," he grunts, looking away. "Where'd your date go?"
"My date," I huff, because while I secretly hope that maybe that was just a little hint of jealousy in his voice, that's probably wishful thinking, and even so, I can stop thinking about what Jerry said. "Is getting us punch."
He's not, though. In fact, I glance around, and he's about to walk out the door. Sadie takes a step towards him, flailing her arms around. I realize everything is about to go up in flames, but I never realized that it would ignite the way it did.
Erik grabs Sadie and kisses her.
My jaw drops and suddenly I feel this huge rush of tears welling up behind my eyes. He doesn't like me. He never liked me. Even though Sadie doesn't like him, he likes her. It's so complicated, but any way I get the pits. And suddenly I cannot believe that it took me so long to realize how much I like him. So what if it's risking something? So what? It can't be worse than lying around, wallowing self-pity about the fact that he may or may not like me.
But now it's too late.
I shake my head and start running towards the door. He may not like me the way he likes Sadie, but I am not going to let him see me cry. I shove the door open as hard as I can, pushing past Jerry. I feel him follow me, but by that point I don't even care, because while I appreciate the sentiment, the only person I would really want to follow me is kissing my best friend.
This realization just makes me start crying harder, and I stop running as I break into the cool night air, walking the rest of the way around the corner of the school, kicking off my stupid high heels and plopping down on a bench, huddling because it's pretty chilly and I don't have a jacket.
I see Jerry out of the corner of my eye, but he doesn't say anything. Instead, he just goes back inside, probably realizing that I would just snap at him if he tried to talk to me, which I cannot deny.
I sit there for who knows how long before I feel him walking towards me. I guess he finally decided that it must have blown over enough for him to be able to talk to me, but it really hasn't. I've stopped crying for the time being, but I know that if I try to say anything I'll just start up again.
"Jerry," I say quietly, trying to keep my voice steady. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Jerry's inside," Erik says softly, his voice cracking as I leap up with my eyes wide. I keep expecting to burst out in tears at the sight of him standing there, his hair all rumpled, staring at me like that, but I'm too surprised. "And I want to talk about it. Rose," he rushed. "There's something I've been meaning to tell you, but I keep getting… things keep getting in the way."
"I have to go home," I grunt instinctively, but he puts his fingers lightly on my upper arm, and for some reason it's enough to make me stop in my tracks.
"I don't know why you are avoiding me," he says frustratedly. "I don't know what I did. But I'm sorry, I really am. I would never do anything to hurt you, Rose, don't you get it?"
"I…" I squeak.
"If you really and truly don't like me, say so right now, and I'll leave you alone. But I just thought that maybe… that you just must feel something, because it just doesn't make sense that I could feel like this and you not feel anything, and I just…"
"Well, I…" I start, looking at him. He's furrowing his eyebrows and for once in his life, ever since the very first day I met him, he looks upset. He's not cool, calm, and collected. He's not perfect.
Aw, screw it.
I can't understand what he's saying as I throw my arms around him and plant my lips on his, but it doesn't matter. At first he seems completely surprised, and my heart stops just for a second, but then I realize that it's a good surprise.
He snakes his arms around my waist and pulls me as close to him as I'll go and I take a step back to support myself, only to find that I slip on one of the shoes I'd flung off, but it doesn't matter. I'm so tightly pressed up against him that my feet don't even need to be on the ground.
He takes a couple of steps forward and I'm smooshed in between him and the wall, but it's a good smooshed, and he runs his fingers through my hair and starts kissing me more thoroughly, and I feel more tinglies up and down my spine than I ever have before.
It's a while before he stops kissing me, and then I wish he wouldn't. I can't believe I ever thought it could be a bad thing. I mean, sure, it might be tough sometimes… but they were made worth it by times like this.
"So, uh," Erik says a bit awkwardly, waggling his eyebrows, and it's the cutest thing I've ever seen. "I suppose this means you won't be able to avoid me much now, eh?"
"And why is that?" I giggle a little bit, feeling his breath in my ear.
"Because," he says simply. "You're going to be seeing a lot of me."
And out of the corner of my eye, I could swear I see Sadie headed in the direction of Jerry's house.
I know it's a bit... a while after I posted the first part of this, but better late than never, eh?
It's over. Officially. Completely. OH GOSH.
Which means, obviously, that you have been reading this (and I know that a lot of you have, don't be deny-izzling it), now would be a REALLY GREAT TIME TO TELL ME WHAT YOU THOUGHT. Seriously. EVEN IF IT IS JUST ONE WORD. Just uno. Anything would make me happy.
If you're a longer reviewer... your favorite parts? Your least favorite? What you liked best and what you think needs improvement?
That would rock. But if you're crunched on time, ONE WORD WOULD STILL BE OKAY. It would take like, five seconds. Gosh. xD
Now you can go read "All I want for Christmas" because the stories I used to have up here to read no longer exist. o.o