Day Fifty-Six of Being Clueless
Was it sad that part of me was actually excited about what was probably going to become known as "The Crab Incident?" The correct answer should be yes, but I was too involved with what was happening to even worry about my moral compass. We had a front row view to something none of us wanted to miss. Alana and Lee had plopped down in the shallow water next to us, obviously knowing what was about to happen. I was vaguely aware of Zeke's arm still draped over my shoulders and I tried to calm the butterflies in my stomach.
We watches as Danny Delvin held a crab out in front of him, trying not to get pinched by it while trying to keep its existence a secret. I wondered why he would even think it was a good idea to stick a crab on Jodi but then I remembered something: He's a boy. Of course he's going to want to stick a crab on some girl.
"You do realize," Lee began, "that—"
"Shh!" Kristi reached over and pushed Lee over. He caught himself, sticking his arm out to stop the downward motion.
"Sorry," he muttered. "I forgot your evil plan was in action."
Fireballs almost shot out of Kristi's eyes. Lee smartly shut his mouth. The whole gang watched carefully as Danny inched his way towards the group of girls that hung at the edge of the marsh. They were the girls who were too "cool" to go swimming, afraid that their hair might actually get—gasp—wet. And who would want their hair to get wet when swimming? I mean, really? Of course Jodi was in this group, practically in the center, as if even though the world did not revolve around her, then something else must. Her new group of friends—wannabes, really—weren't making it too hard for her either. Danny kept glancing around him, his arms stuck straight down to hide the crab from view. So, in other words, he looked completely conspicuous. Not that we expected more from the resident marker sniffer anyways.
Somehow he wormed his way through the group, acting like he belonged there. Jodi was standing with her arms crossed, listening impatiently as Kayla Lwoff, her new BFF, incessantly talked about something that obviously wasn't holding Jodi's interest. Danny slipped up behind her, took one last look around him, and nonchalantly placed the crab on Jodi's shoulder. And that's when I realized that Danny had two crabs with him. I glanced over at Kristi but she put her hands up, letting me know that this was not her doing. What's better than sticking a crab on someone? Sticking two crabs on someone. Gingerly, afraid that Kayla might see him, Danny lightly dropped the second crab on Jodi's head. Then he bolted out of there, for once using his brain and knowing that the aftermath was not going to be pretty.
It didn't take long for the crabs to be noticed. At first, Jodi shrugged that shoulder in annoyance, probably thinking a fly had landed on it. When the strange feeling persisted she glanced down—and came face to face with a crab. She let out a short shrill and jerked back, as if she was trying to distance herself from the crustacean. The movement caused the crab to dislodge itself, falling back into the water, most likely thankful that it was home. Everyone in the area had looked for the source of the noise, their brains clearly registering that this was not a yelp of someone having mindless fun. This was a that-just-scared-the-crap-out-of-me yelp (Or in this case it's a that-just-scared-the-crab-out-of-me yelp. Sorry, that was really bad).
We all leaned even closer, waiting for the grand finale. Kayla, who had been completely oblivious to the depositing of the crabs, was now actually paying attention. "Um, Jodi," she said, her eyes trained on the top of the other girl's head and her face scrunched up in confusion.
"What, Kayla?" The words were practically venom, but Kaya didn't seem to notice.
"There's something on your head…"
Jodi's hand shot up to her head and landed directly on the crab. A wave of disgust rolled across her face—wet and slimy must not mix well with hairspray. Then she let out another scream, but this one was not because she was shocked. "It just pinched me!" she cried out in disbelief. She pulled her hand away with the crab latched on. And there it stayed. Jodi tried to shake it off, refusing to touch it, but this crab was not as ready to return to the big blue sea. "Kayla, help get this thing off me!"
Kayla, ever dutiful, yanked at the crab, grinning when it came off and holding it up like it was a trophy. By now there was a crowd watching the spectacle. "Aww," Kayla said, bringing the crab up to her face. "Look at the little bugger. I wonder how he got up there anyways."
Jodi let out a frustrated shriek. I'm not sure if it was because of the crabs or Kayla's stupidity. She glared around at everyone and then stomped out of the water, climbing up the bank and into the yard. Kayla followed her after gently placing the crab in the water. I could have sworn she had said, "Be free!" as she released it.
Kristi fell back into the water laughing. She was obviously happy with the way her plan had gone. "That," she said once she had calmed down, "was perfect! If there's any way to close out freshmen year, that's it." She floated there for a moment. "Sometimes my genius surprises even me."
Everyone rolled their eyes. What surprised me was that she was still alive. No doubt Jodi knew who was behind it. Everyone probably knew who was behind it. I was just scared for the confrontation later; there had to been one. Jodi was putting her wits back together and filing her nails before she returned the attack. Yay.
"So." Kristi sat up. "What now?"
"Becca!" Kristi yelled, cupping her hands around her mouth. Becca, who was on the other side of the yard, did not hear her and she continued to stalk Neil through the throng of people. "Becca!" Finally she looked up at the sound of her name. Kristi waved her arms in the air like a madman and Becca raised an eyebrow at her. "I gotta pee!"
"What?" Becca shouted, looking confused.
"I said, I gotta pee!"
"Oh my god," I muttered, putting a hand on my forehead. "I don't know her."
Becca came up to us. "Why are you telling me this?" she asked, trying to decide whether to be amused or disgusted. I was mostly embarrassed that I knew Kristi.
"Because," Kristi said, as if it were obvious, "I don't remember where your bathroom is and I think you'd find it kinda creepy if I went searching through your house for the throne room. You wouldn't want me to come upon your room accidentally and start searching through it, would you?" She shook her head, as if she was answering the question for Becca.
Of course, Kristi could not be like a normal person and just ask Becca where the bathroom was by walking up to her. No, she has to yell across a yard full of people, letting them all know about her intentions, and then she practically threatens Becca. I'm surprised that I haven't started losing my hair over this girl. Becca looked the same way I felt. "It's right inside that door to the left." She pointed at the back door. "And if I find anything missing from my room, I'm suing."
"Like I haven't heard that before," muttered Kristi as we peeled off toward the house. She had insisted that I accompany her to the bathroom, even if that is something prissies might do. Apparently she didn't want to get mugged on the way there…. Like that's going to happen. But, being a good friend, I agreed. Plus, I wanted to snoop around Becca's house.
The inside of the house was just like the outside—cute. The walls were a soft yellow, with small, framed pictures all over the walls. The floor was wooden. All in all, there was nothing interesting to tell. A few kids mingled through the house, catching a few moments of air-conditioned goodness, but most people were outside. Kristi found the bathroom easily. I leaned against the wall of the little hallway, near the opening to the living room. As I waited for her, I felt a hand grab my arm.
Zeke grinned at me and my stomach flopped. I suddenly felt that butterflies were swarming in my stomach and threatening to escape through my mouth. I'm pretty sure that's not a normal feeling. "Hey," he said and somehow that one word left me tongue tied.
"Hey," I finally spit out. Good one, Anna.
"What's up?" he asked and I suddenly realized how close he was to me. Okay, I thought, what the heck is going on with me? Yes, I know that I like Zeke. By now I've actually admitted that to myself, but my insides were starting to go crazy today, as if they had finally caught on to what my brain already knew. Not that I didn't feel giddy before, but now it seemed to spread to my whole body. I kept finding myself grinning like an idiot. It was madness!
"Just waiting for Kristi." I motioned at the closed bathroom door. "I'm here to make sure she doesn't get mugged. Her words, not mine."
"Good to know." He slipped his hands into his pockets and wiggled self-consciously. "So, I was wondering, could I talk to you after?" He nodded his head toward the bathroom door. "You know, without the future hit man."
There go the stomach butterflies again. "Sure," I said, not really knowing what else to say. I couldn't go with, "Tell me now before I die of anticipation or I'll send Kristi after you." That would just be weird.
A smile flickered on his face. "Cool." And with that he was gone.
Two seconds later Kristi came barreling out of the bathroom. "Okay, two things. First. What the heck was that?" She poked me in the shoulder and giggled. "'I'll talk to you later,'" she mimicked in her best man voice. "Call me crazy, but you guys are actually kind of interesting, even if it is you and Walker. Good entertainment. And I get bored easily—there're only so many NCIS marathons I can watch before my interest is shot. So you guys are the next best thing." I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or bothered. "What do you think he's gonna talk to you about? I hope it's something good." She was talking so fast that I knew she had had sugar and great amounts of it. Most likely she drank about a gallon of soda and that's why she'd had to use the bathroom so badly. "You guys better invite me to your wedding."
"Let me get this straight," I said, trying not to laugh as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "You were eavesdropping through the door."
Kristi glanced back at the bathroom. "It's not a thick door."
"Right. What was the second thing?"
"You said there were two things."
Recollection flashed across her eyes. "Oh! Right!" Kristi exclaimed, as if I had reminded her that her house was on fire and she had to go put it out. "Smell my hands." She stuck them in my face. "Becca has the best soap!"
Becca also had food. And who doesn't love food? Kristi, Lee, and I plopped handfuls of chips, cookies, and other artery-clogging goods onto our plates while Alana shook her head at us, dismayed that we had not crossed to the dark side and joined her healthy lifestyle. "You only live once," Kristi tried to tell her, but she had stuffed so much food in her mouth that it was practically undistinguishable.
"I hate to break up this little pity party," Zeke said as he came up to us. We were sitting on Becca's lawn, legs crossed, in a circle. Kristi glanced sheepishly down at her food and then back at Zeke when he called us a "pity party." I tried not to do the same thing. "But," he continued, stealing a chip off my plate, "I need to borrow Anna."
My stomach twisted for unexplainable reasons. "O-o-o-h," Kristi said, glancing around the circle. She stopped when no one else joined in.
"Okay, then." Zeke shot me a look that pleaded with me to let him escape these people I called friends. As if it was that easy—once these suckers pull you in there's no way of getting out (And I say that with all the love in my heart).
We walked away from the others and I heard Kristi ask Alana, "Was that pity party thing a fat joke?" I tried not to drop to my knees and plead with the heavens why me? I followed Zeke through the throng of people, still amazed that so many people had shown up. However, poor Becca kept running around, making sure that people didn't break her ancient swing set or yelling at whoever was trying to change the radio station. Finally Zeke came to a stop by the edge of the house, stepping into the shadow it created. I was thankful to follow; the day was so muggy it was almost unbearable.
"What's crack-a-lakin'?" I said and instantly regretted it. That did nothing to improve my social status. I mentally head slapped myself enough times to give myself a mental headache.
Zeke looked amused but he said nothing. "So, I wanted to ask you something." So I've heard. Zeke looked down at his feet. "I was wondering if you like how things are going?" It came out as a question.
How things were going? With what? I was confused, and I knew the answer was fairly simple. "With…?" I hoped that I didn't seem like a totally dimwit. Sometimes I'm not on the same page as everyone else. Sometimes I'm not even in the same book as everyone else.
"You know." Zeke shrugged in a helpless kind of way. "Us."
Oh. That would make sense. "I think—"
"'Cause I was going to ask you earlier," he interrupted me, "but Erik was in the car and that would have been weird, and then there was people all around here and I wanted to make sure, and it's not like I don't like what's going on and… yeah…" He stopped when he realized he was babbling.
"Zeke," I said, grabbing his hand and surprising myself, "I quite like the way things are going."
Relief spread across his face in a way that was too cute. "So you'll continue to date me?" He pulled me close to him. "And only me?" Then he did what I did not expect. He leaned down and kissed me lightly. In front of everyone. Okay, maybe not everyone, but if someone just happened to be looking this way they would have seen something that would make Becca's gossip radar go off the charts. "What?" He grinned at the expression on my face. "Afraid of a little PDA?"
A thought popped into my head. The unsolved case of the Valentine's Day roses. I had to ask before I chickened out. "Zeke." He looked at me expectantly. "Did you send me a flower on Valentine's Day?" I remembered our discussion of the roses and how he had said that he doubted Jodi had sent one to me as a prank.
His cheeks reddened and he looked away. "Yeah…"
I once again surprised myself and leaned in and gave him a kiss. "C'mon." I pulled him away from the edge of the house. "The pity party is waiting for us."
We were separated on the way back. A football friend of Zeke's insisted that he had to see something. It had to do with something only boys would find entertaining, so my brain immediately went elsewhere. I set off to find the others, who no doubt were still stuffing their faces. I was just coming through the crowd of kids, feeling like I was parting the Red Sea, when I came face to face with my worst nightmare.
Okay, so maybe Jodi Smit wasn't my worst nightmare, but she was pretty darn close. The only thing that made Jodi bearable was the fact that I don't think she has it in her to poison my food. But that's her only redeeming quality.
"Anna." She put a hand on her hip and flipped her dark hair over her shoulder in the way that was supposed to be intimidating. All that did was make me noticed how long her hair was, which reminded me that I really needed to get my hair cut (My train of thought…). There were kids all around us so I didn't have to worry about her sprouting fangs and going for my neck. "I'm guessing you saw what happened earlier."
Forget trying to come up with a good comeback—I needed to be rational so that Jodi did not tear me to shreds, even if it was with her words. "Yes. And I'm guessing you know it was Kristi's doing."
Jodi pursed her lips. I glanced around and realized none of her new posse was in sight. "Who else would it be? Your little friend really needs a life. For someone who hates me so much she seems to build her life around finding ways to humiliate me. Truthfully, I don't think it's fair. I haven't spread a rumor about her all year. Her personal vendetta is getting a little outdated, don't you think?"
I did think it was getting old, and I have told Kristi that, but there was no way in the Underworld that I was letting Jodi know that. "Unfair? You've got to be kidding me?" Suddenly my blood was boiling. I don't mad very easily, but when I get angry, I get very angry. Jodi raised an eyebrow and started to open her mouth, but I shut her down. "No," I said briskly. "You're not going to interrupt. You say it's unfair that Kristi tries to humiliate you? It's called karma, Jodi. Usually you don't fight fire with fire, but you deserve what Kristi has done to you. You humiliate everyone. You even make fun of your friends. Why do you think Caitlin and Breanna don't hang out with you anymore? You make people feel like crap, but it's an outrage that someone fights back."
The look on Jodi's face was unreadable. Her mouth was open slightly but her eyes never left me. Finally she seemed to recompose herself. "So?"
"So?" I almost laughed. "So you're a mean girl that has no real friends. Kayla and all those other girls that hang around with you now aren't your friends. They don't really like you, they just like that you're popular." The words just fell out of my mouth and I didn't care if I was being cruel. It was the truth and it felt really good to say it.
"And what?" Jodi scoffed. "You hang out with a bunch of dorks."
"But we all actually like each other," I said. "And one of those 'dorks' is your ex-boyfriend."
She snorted. "Zeke's gone soft. I dumped him for a reason."
"Just liked you 'dumped' Neil?"
Jodi sneered at me.
I had to smile. "He's too good for you, you know. And I hear he and Caitlin are dating now." Much to the dismay of many, many girls.
"Humph." Jodi turned to go.
"Wait." I took a step towards her. "I told Kristi that she should stop her crazy attacks. I don't know if she will, but I want to suggest something. We don't deal with each other. We forget that the others exist. You don't bother us, we won't bother you. Almost like a peace agreement."
Jodi stared at me for a long time. Then, her mouth tightened and her eyes became hard. "I've already forgotten you exist."
As she turned to leave, I remembered something important. "Wait."
"What?" Jodi snapped.
"Sorry," I said. "One more thing. Did you happen to send me a flower on Valentine's Day to make fun of me?"
She snorted and shook her head. "Anna, I make sure people know my work." And with that she turned and left.
"You know what this night needs?" Kristi asked as we watched a partial view of the sunset. From the bank of Becca's yard, we could just make out the sun setting before it disappeared over the trees at the end of the marsh. "Fireworks."
"Yeah," Lee said, rolling his eyes, "because that's what you need. Explosives."
Kristi shrugged. "I'm just saying, that would make this night perfect." She spread her hands in front of her, as if she was envisioning it. "It's summer, guys, and summer needs fireworks. I guess I'll just have to wait 'til the Fourth of July." Kristi leaned back and wrapped her arms around us, me on one side of her, and Alana and Lee on the other. "I can't wait for this summer to start. We're gonna have so much fun. We'll get to show you how we spend summer on the Cape, Anna V. I hope you brought a lot of sunscreen from New York, because I'm not intending to stay inside."
"We'll point out all the tourists to you, too," Alana added. "Kristi always tries to pick out the weak ones and mess with them."
"Those ones with the fanny packs just set themselves up for it."
I laughed. "I'm exhausted after spending a school year with you guys. I'm going to be dead by the end of summer."
"That might not be a bad thing," said Lee. "Jodi will have all summer to plan her revenge. I'm not sure I want to go back. We might not make it through our sophomore year."
Not if I had anything to do about it. I decided I would tell them about our little talk later. Right now I didn't want to even think about Jodi. I wanted to listen to the sound of the crickets across the marsh and laugh at the group of boys trying to convince Becca to let them build a bonfire.
"Forget about her," Kristi said bluntly. "She's not worth the thought."
People were starting to leave the party. Caitlin and Neil said goodbye as they passed. I was glad that Caitlin had now resorted back to her genuine nice self, and I knew that Neil and I would always be friends. Cheyenne found us on her way out and said that she would see us on Monday. No one had the heart to remind her that school was out. Now that the sun had set, the sky was quickly becoming dark, highlighted by the sparkling of the stars. A breeze came off the marsh, bringing in its particular salty smell.
Kristi leaned in to me. "What did Walker want to talk about with you, Anna V?" she whispered.
I had known that she would ask, and I wasn't mad that she was snooping. She was just being Kristi and I had no problem with that. "We just agreed that we liked each other."
She rolled her eyes and grinned. "I guess that means he's sticking around, then."
"I think so."
Kristi, Alana, Lee, and I stayed like that for a while longer, watching the night sky and listening to the sounds of nature billowing around the marsh. A few minutes later Zeke found me. Erik was out front with the car, but I told Zeke to make him wait a few minutes longer. He sat down next to me. No one said a word. We were all perfectly content. I was happy. I was extremely happy. I was surrounded by people I loved, in a place that I had learned to love. Sure, my best friend was a little crazy, and I was dating a wise-cracking jock, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I knew I would always listen to Kristi tease Lee, and Alana would always scold our eating habits. Erik would be our unfortunate driver until he left for college at the end of the summer. And if things went right, Jodi would be the thing of the past.
As I'm writing this entry, my Dearest Diary, I know it will be my last. I need a little break from documenting my life. Who knows, maybe someday I will pick this up again and have the urge to write. But after writing about my freshmen year of high school, my pencil has been reduced to a little stub. I'm glad, though, that I can look back on this diary later and be reminded of all the things I went through. I know that I'll read a section and think, Did I really say that? Other moments I will read with warm nostalgia. This year has had its ups and downs, but in the end I survived. I did more than just survive—I lived. I met amazing people and some not so amazing people. I had the opportunity to grow, and I surprised myself over the course of the year. I wouldn't take anything back (Not even my excessive amount of parenthesizes).
I may be the girl who has no clue what she's doing. And I'm perfectly fine with that.
I truly cannot believe this story has come to an end! I started this at the end part of 2009 and here it is 2012. This story has meant a lot to me. It might not be a literary knockout, but the characters and style became a part of me. This story has taken up a large part of my time and I will miss writing it. I never imagined when I started that it would span fifty-six chapters and more than two hundred reviews.
I would like to thank everyone that has read, reviewed, or favorited this story. You've stuck with me for a while. Your reviews have been a pleasure to read and they remind me why I love to write.
As for Anna, I think her life will go one pretty well. As of now, I don't plan on writing any more of her story. The rest of her high school career will be left to the imagination. The identity of the other sender of the rose is left a mystery. I know who sent it. Who do you think sent it to Anna?
This is the end. It's been fun.