Chapter 10

I groaned when I woke up the next morning. Another Saturday. It seemed like every time I had a bad day, it was a Saturday. A few months ago I would have said everyday was a bad day, but that wasn't true, not anymore. Because of Matt.

Snuggling up with Freudburg on my bed, I let the events of last night wash over me again.

Why did I do that? What made me think that I could kiss him, that it was okay? I mean, sure, he kissed me before. Right here, actually. But...he's Matt Hunter. He can do things like that, and not look stupid. I can't. I'm just Jen Walker.

That was the problem. I didn't want to be just Jen Walker anymore. And there was no way in hell I was going to spend yet another Saturday moping around my room.

Taking a deep breath, I picked up my cell.

"Megan? Hey, yeah, it's Jen. Yeah, I know I never call. Sorry. Listen . . . I really need to get out of here. How 'bout the mall? Nothing's wrong. I'll tell you when you get here . . ."

"So what's the deal?" Megan asked as we browsed through a rack of CDs.

"I don't get why they even make these anymore," I replied. "Everything you want you can get on iTunes."

"Yeah, but this store is always full of cute guys!" She winked at one such boy as he passed by.

The boy blushed. What can I say, Megan is hot!

"Anyway, you're stalling, so quit it," she continued. "Something happened, and I'm not going to feed you until you tell me what it is."

I groaned. I was starving. But now that I was at the mall, and Megan was right in front of me, I would almost rather do anything than tell her about last night. What had I been thinking? She wasn't Kelly, and we weren't that close. What if she laughed at me? But a girl's gotta eat.

"I kissed Matt," I blurted out, grabbing a random cd and staring at the cover. I waited for her to say something. And waited. And waited.

I finally looked up, and she was still flipping through cds.

"And . . . ?" Megan looked up at me.

"And what? Did you hear me? I kissed Matt!"

"What's the big deal?" she rolled her eyes. "I'm sure you kiss him all the time. Everyone knows he's your boyfriend."

"WHAT?!" I shrieked.

"Shhh!" a lady hissed from the Easy Listening section. She was 80 if she was a day. So that was who still bought cds. She was probably mad she couldn't find any 8tracks.

"What?" I hissed, softer this time. I pulled Megan out of the store and onto a bench.

"Wait! I wanted to buy that!"

"You can do that later! Now repeat what you just said, but this time slower."

"I wanted to buy that," she said very, very slowly.

"Shut up! I'm serious!" I couldn't stop shrieking. "You said everyone thinks Matt is my boyfriend?"

Now Megan looked shocked. "What, he's not? I mean, you guys are together all the time. And I mean all the time. I guess we all just assumed…"

"Well, you assumed wrong," I whispered, burying my face in my hands. This was a disaster.

"Jen, what's the big deal?" she asked again. "Okay, so he's not your boyfriend. I guess I jumped to conclusions. But seriously, why are you so upset?"

I gave her a look. I never realized Megan was so dim. "I kissed him, remember?"

She just stared back at me. "Um, Jen, I'm sorry if I'm being dense, but I don't understand what the problem is. So, you kissed him, so what? You guys are friends."

I shook my head with a groan. "You don't understand. I was really upset last night, and I was over at his house, and he was being so nice to me, and I guess I just took it the wrong way, and I kissed him. And he—" I sighed, realizing I was babbling.

"He what?" Megan asked. She wasn't laughing anymore.

"He pulled away."

"Oh, Jen, I'm sorry," she said, hugging me. "Did he say anything?"

"He said he didn't think it was a good idea."

She stood up. "Let's go get some lunch. It'll make you feel better, and it will help me think."

"About what?" I asked, letting her lead me to the food court and our favorite restaurant.

"About what you're going to do next, duh."

She waited until I had my three cheese olga halfway finished before she started talking about Matt again.

"What did you say, after he said that?"

"Nothing," I replied, a little calmer now that I had food in my stomach. "His mom came in and I went home."

"So you don't really know what he meant by that." She said, raising her eyebrows and stealing a curly fry.

I smacked her hand away. "Of course I know what he meant! He doesn't like me, and he was just being nice to me because he thinks I'm pathetic! I am pathetic! He probably thinks I told everyone at school he was my boyfriend and that's why that rumor's going around!"

So much for being calm.

"Whoa, J. Calm yourself. You are overreacting to the extreme. You don't know if that's what he meant. Maybe he just didn't want his mom to catch him making out with you in his room."

"Yeah, you're right." I said out loud. But I didn't believe her.

"Jennifer, honey, is that you?" Mom called as I tiptoed through the door.

I winced and spun around to see her peeking through the doorway from the kitchen.

"Come in here, sweetie."

Giving her a fake smile, I nodded and followed her into the kitchen. Honey and sweetie in almost the same sentence. That meant she either wanted something from me, or she was going to apologize. Honestly, I hoped it was the first one. I had been avoiding her since yesterday, and I didn't want to talk about what had happened. I definitely didn't want to hear her apology.

"Where have you been today, Jennifer? I went to wake you up but you were already gone," she said, stirring the ravioli on the stove.

My heart sank. If she was making my favorite food, she was definitely feeling guilty.

"I went to the mall with Megan," I said quickly. "I bought a new pair of shoes, do you want to see them? They're usually very expensive, but they were on sale for 75 off, can you believe that? Megan was so jealous because she wanted to buy them too, but they didn't have any in her size."

Maybe if I kept talking she wouldn't say anything.

"That's great, honey," Mom said quietly. "I want to talk about yesterday."

"Can we not?" I tried, grimacing.

She shook her head, looking sad. "No. I wish we didn't have to, too, you know."

Turning the burner down low, she sat down across from me. I looked everywhere except at her face.

"I'm sorry, Jen," she began. "I don't know what happened yesterday. I was cleaning the house yesterday, and I passed Kat's room. I was just thinking, it has been shut up so long, for three years now. I was thinking about how dusty it must be. I thought it had been long enough, Jen, I really did. But I went in the room, and I saw the picture of the three of us on her nightstand, where she always kept it, and I just—I broke down. I just miss her so much, you know? My baby—" she broke off.

I stared at her in horror, thinking she was going to cry. I didn't know what to do if she cried.

"I'm okay," she said, wiping away the stray tear rolling down her cheek. "Anyway, it just all came back to me, and I got irrational. When you came in, I snapped at you, and I didn't mean to. I'm sorry, Jen. It's not your fault. Mrs. Hunter came over and helped me remember that." She placed her hand over mine.

I looked away. "Don't lie, Mom. You think it was my fault Kat killed herself. You blame me, and you always did. Just admit it."

"That's not true," she said. "I don't blame you, Jennifer. It's just, Kat was so happy, you know? She had so many friends, and a great boyfriend, and everything going for her. I just think sometimes, that maybe if you hadn't been walking around the house all the time wearing black and talking about death and listening to that horrible music, maybe she wouldn't have gotten so depressed, that's all. But it's not your fault, honey. You didn't know. It's not your fault."

I had caused it, but it wasn't my fault. Part of me wondered if she was even listening to what she was saying, but the other part agreed with her. Deep inside, I believed her, that ef I hadn't been such a goth "freak", my sister would still be alive.

"I understand, Mom," I muttered, feeling hollow. I slipped my hand out from under hers and went upstairs.

"I'll let you know when dinner is ready," she called after me.

I threw myself down on my bed and cried.

Author's Note:

Hey everyone, thanks for reading! I actually just moved to this site and reposted this story - This is the first time I've updated it in 2 years, so this chapter was mostly getting reoriented with the characters and everything.

I do have a plan for where it's going, so I will be updating more often. I hope you like the chapter, and please review!