Splish, Splash, Gurgle

Splish, Glub, Splash, Glub, Gurgle

My mom. My mom, my butt. That had to be the worst, lamest, most two-faced excuse I had ever heard. Who did he think he was, anyway?

Splish, Glub, Splash, Glub, Gurgle

What right did he have to do that? What incentive? And now, here I was, walking home during a freakin' torrential downpour in thin, white canvas sneakers. Thanks God, thanks a lot. The constant pitter-patter of rain really was doing a lot of good for my soul.

Splish, Glub, Splash, Glub, Gurgle

"Aggghhhh! This is such a fart!" I screamed, throwing my arms up in the air. I decided right then and there that pedestrians were created to suffer, which probably meant that I was going to suffer for some time from then onwards. My t-shirt was soaked through and my hair undeniably frizzy and monstrous.

There was absolutely nothing that I could do (other than hitchhike, but not even I'm that ridiculous), to prevent this long, treacherous march home, so trudge onwards, through the mud, I did. This was much more than a frustrated-with-the-stupid-weather march, though. This was more like an I-feel-like-a-moron-and-I'm-going-to-strangle-my-best-friend march.

Gare had kicked me out of his car, and I couldn't drive myself home because I was a loser without a car. Well, maybe he hadn't so much kicked me out of his car as told me to get out. And it's even possible that he didn't tell me to get out, but he just stared. OR it's even possible that I maybe got kind of furious with him for doing something incredibly mean and stupid, and I refused to get a ride home with him. Additionally, it's possible that after five minutes of stubborn refusal to his protests for me to get in the car, I ran out of the mall parking lot and began walking home all by my lonesome (it wasn't raining then), making sure to duck behind a mailbox when Gare passed in his car, looking for me. But that's all hypothetical, of course.

The two green signs above me indicated that I was at an intersection of Rose Street and West Boulevard... which meant that I had eighteen gajillion miles left to walk. That really sucked. That sucked more than trees, with their xylem and phloem. Heck, that sucked more than learning about trees and their xylem and phloem.

Why was I walking home, again? Gare honestly hadn't been that much of an insufferable monkey. Couldn't I have gotten myself home in his car and then exploded at him? I guess I just wasn't that prudent, and I was a complete failure as a meteorologist.

--

Looking over Caleb's shoulder after we had linked arms, I saw Gare stomping angrily in our direction. A puzzled, somewhat saddened look imprinted itself upon my face. Honestly, what was the worst that Gare could've possibly done in the seven minutes I'd been gone? It wasn't even as if he were being chased by mall security. No. He was just stomping like the annoying four-year old brother that I'd never had, but had seen in the movie theatres. Even if he wasn't going to be mauled by a guard, what could've been so important that he felt the need to interrupt my mission?

Caleb noticed the unpleasant change in my countenance immediately. He unlinked arms with me and fitted my hand snuggly into his palm, giving it a little squeeze. He didn't say anything; he just squeezed my hand. He was a good guy, he really was, and that gained him two brownie favor points.

Naturally, I gave him a massive hug for being such an awesome person and a perfect guy. He seemed a little bit surprised, but he didn't really mind being randomly hugged by a stranger. In other words, he hugged back, pressing his warm, forest green-T-shirt-clad body against mine. He was so warm, and I hated him for that, but it only made me appreciate him more, if that makes any sense. Needless to say, he was very, very comfortable and exactly the kind of guy who I would want to take with me on extended bus rides to use as a pillow.

"Haha, Julie, for a second there, I thought I was being a bit forward there, that is, until you huh-" Caleb said, getting cut off by a certain friend of mine before he could finish his sentence.

Gare had reached us and politely (and somewhat menacingly) tapped Caleb on the shoulder, thus ending the warm hug. He could be such a poop sometimes. "Julie," he hissed, turning his glare away from Caleb onto me.

Pulling my arms away from Caleb, I planted my hands firmly on my hips and matched his glare with a skeptical look of my own. "Gare?"

Now, I'm pretty sure Caleb was feeling exceedingly awkward. Here these two people were, trying to kill each other with looks alone, and there he was, just standing there, rather useless and very confused. Then he opened his mouth. The boy proves me wrong again!

"Hey, I'm Caleb," he said, smiling and stretching out a friendly hand, which had recently squeezed my hand, to Gare. Two more brownie points for him!

Gare responded with stony silence and a harsh scowl. He apparently was angry. I know; I'm quick to catch on.

I gave a nervous and rather flat laugh. "Yeah, Caleb, this is Gare- uh- Gareth. He's my-"

"Boyfriend, I get it, don't worry," he replied, nodding. He looked so innocent and bewildered, with his large, round eyes staring into my dark brown ones. I smiled at him. He was so adorable!

Then it hit me. Wait. What? Did he just call Gare my boyfriend? Gare was now staring at me curiously, most likely surprised and slightly appalled by the fact that I wasn't passionately disagreeing with Caleb's assumption. I could feel heat and blood rushing to my cheeks, and I could tell that Caleb's opinion of me was dropping exponentially for every second that I stood here and let him think that I was taken and had still hit on him. I felt dumb- and not in the stupid way (well, maybe in that way too) - but in the sense that I just was rendered incapable of talking.

Gare paused and then took my moment of silence to bail me out. "Actually, she's not my girlfriend. We're just best friends." He then took Caleb's still-outstretched hand and firmly shook it.

"Oh, and Joules, your mom called and we've to go," he continued fluidly, now staring down at me.

I might not be the brightest bulb in the box, but I knew that was a lie as soon as and I managed to comprehend the words that he had said. First off, my mom wouldn't call Gare unless my cell was off, which it wasn't. Second, his cell was dead, and I knew that for a fact, because a week ago he dropped it into a school toilet and complained about it for forever and a day. Third, if my mom had called, it would've been about something important and really bad, like her car exploding or juvenile delinquents starting a war with Canada or destroying the Empire State Building, or something like that, and Gare probably would've been spazzing out.

I squeezed my eyelids nearly shut and pursed my lips at his blatant, bold-faced lie. I wasn't going to explain this to Caleb, though. It would take too much time.

"Yeah, Caleb, I have to go. Apparently, something is important enough for my mom to call Gare." I started to walk off with Gare, who had a subtle yet reasonably self-satisfied smirk on his face.

A minute later: "Wait, Julie, cell number. I want to talk to you again," Caleb said, jogging a bit to catch up with us. I pulled out my cell and he typed in his number. Two more brownie points for him, for chasing after the girl. If I was the girl. I really hoped I was. "Call me soon," he said, returning my cell and beaming me a genuine, heart-melting-but-not-teeth-showing smile. His dimple was exposed, and his hair slightly disheveled from his run, and I couldn't help but return an equally genuine smile of my own.

"I will," I almost whispered, looking down at the cell with his contact info now installed upon it, brushing a strand of dark brown behind my ear. I really would, I really would.

Caleb backed up, gave a quick glace to Gare, and raised a hand to us to say goodbye. I smiled, yet again. Adorableness overload? Pretty much.

Now, it was at this point, when I was all smiling and happy, happy, joy, joy that Gare decided to be entirely ridiculous. Before I could wave goodbye, he put a hard, controlling hand around my waist, twisted me around so that I was walking towards the mall exit, and practically pushed me forward, forcing me to walk at a faster-than-I-wanted pace, as compared to my previous lovey-dovey amble pace.

"Hey!" I cried out when Gare finally shoved me out into the humid parking lot.

"What?" he asked, obviously unaware that I didn't like being shoved into humid parking lots by my best friend.

"Hey!" I cried again, my hand making fierce contact with his pale arm.

"What? What was that for?"

"I can't believe you!" I said, slapping him again.

"Why not?" he asked, pulling his body away, in fear of further slapping.

"Because you're unbelievable!"

"Oh, really? You don't believe me because I'm unbelievable? ...and that's a legit reason to slap me?" he responded, with a tone of annoyance ornamenting his voice.

"Yes! Exactly!"

"Women." There was that annoyance again.

"Excuse me?! Don't use that tone with me, Gareth Francis Cohen!"

"What?" he asked for the third time, I think, in the past minute. The tone of annoyance was still there, and his annoyance was rapidly becoming mine.

"Okay, I hope you know that if you weren't my friend, right now, you'd be dead. One: for completely wrecking the mission. Two: for making me look like a moron. Three: for lying. Four: for being a butt," I said bitterly, raising a finger for each reason. In the end I had five fingers up, but that's only because I can't raise my fourth finger without raising my pinky, but that wasn't really the point.

"Yeah, well, at least I'm not all over random strangers!" he whispered angrily, his eyes flashing as they widened and face distorting into an unpleasant mask. He now held his arms in a tense position at his sides, palms open and fingers trembling.

"What's your problem, Gare? He's a nice guy! You think that you're the only genuine guy in the world? And out of us, who's the one who's never been on a date? Never gone to a dance? If anything, you should be happy for me. You? You're the Prince Charming to the fairy tale princesses at our school. You could get any of the eye candy that you want, and you've gotten a good deal of it too. Heck, in the past two years, I haven't managed to get asked out once, and I haven't gotten any Valentines from anyone other than you and my friends. Meanwhile, you might as well have groupies! You think that doesn't bother me? Well, you might not know this, but it hurts a tad bit to see your friend's locker shoved up to the brim with boxes of chocolates while all you've got are five cards and a box of sugar hearts." I ran my hand through my hair, a bit frustrated, a bit sad, and a bit furious. The last time I had gotten a Valentine from a guy other than Gare was in my freshman year, and that was from some perverted weird kid who Gare quickly tracked down and beat up for having what he declared were "stalkerish tendencies." Good job, Julie. (That was sarcasm, if you couldn't tell.)

"He's a nice guy? A nice guy? How can you determine that after knowing him for five minutes?" he asked. My mouth gaped open. Shock. Fury. Roar. He continued, though, despite my obvious wordless protest. "And there's a reason you don't get any Valentines and that you don't get asked out. It's becau-"

"So there's a reason that nobody wants me? Am I that apparently unattractive? Do you just hang around me to make yourself look more desirable? I can't talk to you right now," I said, moving to walk away.

"Joules, it's not that," he said, grabbing my arm before I could get anywhere and pulling me close to him. "Come on, let's just walk to the car and forget about this." We were so close that I could feel his warm, almost soothing breath against my cheek. Scoffing, I broke free from his grasp and started walking away again, this time faster than before.

As my figure slowly shrunk on the horizon, I think Gare finally realized that I wasn't heading for his dad's silver Toyota hybrid, which he had, without permission, borrowed for the day. No, I was heading directly out of the parking lot to navigate myself home without Gare's help.

My self-confidence dropped considerably when it started raining only two minutes after I left.

--

And that's exactly how I ended up at the corner of Rose Street and West Boulevard, drenched, depressed, kicking stones across sidewalks, avoiding mud, and screaming up at the skies which so hated me.

"Screw this," I said under my breath as I waited for the small blue car that currently was obstructing my safe passage across Rose Street. It wasn't moving. Maybe the driver was staring at the mess of a teenager that was standing on the sidewalk. Maybe that conjecture was one hundred percent correct.

The driver of the blue car, after staying in the same position for nearly a minute, rolled down a raindrop-covered window. "Julie?" the driver asked. I stared back in disbelief. Coincidence? Nah, it was fate.

--

A/N

This isn't just a one-shot... as this chapter proves. I don't know if the writing in this chapter really holds up with the writing in the last one. If anyone has any suggestions, tell me- por favor. I'll probably end up editing this chapter at some point.

I'll try to update soon. I like reviews. They make my socks happy.