Chapter Twenty-Five: Shut Up and Get Over Here

Dominique

I kind of wished that the TV would just shut up. It was starting to get annoying. How was I supposed to concentrate when Bruce Willis kept blowing things up?

Shawn pulled his face away. "Hey, I'm sorry about the whole thing that happened yesterday with the therapist and—"

I rolled my eyes. "No talking."

"And girls complain that I don't care," he muttered before I pulled his head toward mine.

Yeah, I know. I was being a whee bit slutty. I was pretty much—okay, was—straddling Shawn Andersen on his couch when I originally came over to watch a movie. But after the last couple days I had had, the only thing I wanted to do was something mindless—like sucking face. Shawn just happened to be available. If Desiree could see me right now, she would be so proud… or a little mad that I was all up on her former crush (I'm just going to refer to that crush as "former" since she jumped back onto the Jesse ship). She would be proud of my slut face ho-baggery, though, that is for sure.

Yesterday went off with a crappy bang when Shawn made me skip school and then forced it out of me that I see a therapist. Then that therapist actually gave me good advice after I had a mini meltdown. And I had spent most of today worrying about how I was finally going to approach my sister. I had downed so many antianxiety pills that I was afraid I might OD. Distractions were good right now. Very, very good.

Shawn pulled away again and I pouted. "Whoa, there," he said, laughing a little. "Slow down, girl. Don't want you to pull something."

"Hmm." I shifted my weight back a little bit so that I could see his entire face. We were going with the long way of the couch, with Shawn laying on it and me laying on, well, him. I pretty much had my butt on his waist and was using that for leverage. The slutty girl position, you know. "That actually sounds kind of good right now."

"What's into you?" Shawn asked. "You usually have a stick up your butt and yell at me and now you're all over me… literally. Isn't this going a little too fast for you?"

I couldn't help it—I laughed. "Fast? You sound like I'm some girl who's never made out before."

Shawn raised an eyebrow. "Oh? You always seemed like the type of girl who…."

"The type of girl who's never made out before? I'm not that much of a prude."

"Just sayin'," explained Shawn, "you always seem so uptight that I always bet you were so cranky because you never got any. That would make me want to bite everyone's head off, too. No offense."

I laughed again. Dr. Bloomington would love that one: My crankiness spurs from my lack of romantic action. Or any action. That comment would probably make her fall off her chair. I would have to remember that one for a later date and time. "So you're pretty much saying that I'm a crabby virgin?"

He blinked, probably taken a little aback by my bluntness, and I mentally snickered. This was so much better than watching TV in my pajamas at home. "Well… um, yeah…"

I leaned in closer to his face. "You got the crabby part right." Then a kissed him lightly on the cheek.

Shawn squirmed underneath me. "Oh…"

"Yeah," I said. "I guess by your logic then you get some all the time then, huh?"

"You are a mean, mean girl," he said, sounding pained.

I snorted and leaned back, letting him sit up. "Well, you know, I am a big crab. It's what I do." This, on the other hand, was something I usually did not do. There was a time when I was "all up" on someone—Desiree's words, not mine. She's the only one who knows about my little friends with benefits phase, back last year before we moved. At least that girl knows that sometimes she really needs to keep her mouth closed. So far Desiree has not let that one slip, and I would have known if she had. Everyone and their mother would have been asking me about that one. This "thing" with Shawn was going to be different, though. First of all, this was not going any farther than serious make out sessions. Period. I will use a Taser on his family jewels if I don't even like the way that kid looks at me (Though, as a side note, I seriously doubt that Shawn would do the Horizontal Naked Dance with me. I don't even know why he's making out with me). I let that happen with the last one and I got a little too attached. Not a good thing.

Now, as I was sitting on Shawn's lap as he was lying on his couch, I returned to the thought, Why was he even making out with me? And since I realized that I had not made a list in a long time, I made a mental one.

Make Out Buddies or More?

-Maybe Shawn is lonely

-Scratch that. A month ago Desiree was ready to literally climb into his pants. Even the girls on Chess team want to get with him

-He could be doing me a favor, considering he thought I was a virginal crabby pants who had never made out before. And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to Shawn Andersen

-He's being nice… with his mouth

-The close proximity of our homes makes me a good house/booty call, minus the booty

-Shawn's dying of cancer and making out with me was on his bucket list

-I should really write down my own bucket list. With my purple pen

In the end, that was pretty pointless. The only thing I got out of that list was that Shawn is confusing and that I need to start writing my lists again. Those things are cathartic, if a bit neurotic. But I never said I wasn't crazy.

"Don't hurt yourself," Shawn said, pulling me out of my mental dream land. "You looked like you were thinking hard there."

Yeah, I thought. About you, not like I would tell you that, because it would go to your head and I would never hear the end of it. People these days. "Just having a moment," I said, and almost cringed at my tone of voice. Suddenly I understood why Shawn thought I was a crabby pants—I sounded like an eighty-year-old who just found out that bingo night was canceled. "I mean," I tried again, trying to sound more like a regular seventeen-year-old, "I was just contemplating something." Dammit, Dominique, I scolded myself. Who says "contemplate"? Stupid!

"About what?" Shawn asked. "Tell me. Tell me."

"Oh crap," I muttered, "you sound like Logan, now."

"Crabby pants."

I scowled. Then thought better of it. Tried to relax my face. Failed. "I am not a crabby pants. I can loosen up."

Shawn grinned. "Mhmm, okay. Then tell me what you were contemplating so hard over there. I bet it was sexy thoughts about me, right?"

I knew I was going to lose this battle. If I did not tell him, I was destined to forever be a crabby pants. If I told him… eh, it was just going to be embarrassing and awkward—kind of like my entire life. "Fine," I said. "I was just wondering… well, why are you doing this? All of my theories kind of suck."

Shawn's brows furrowed and he pushed himself up a little more. "Doing what?"

I waved my arms through the air, making a very unflattering face in the process. "This! Making out with me. I thought we hated each other."

He held up a finger and waved it back and forth. "Whoa. First of all, I never hated you. Why'd you think that? And did you hate me? Do you still hate me? I need to know this stuff, Dom!"

Um, excuse me, back up a little. Only one person in this world is allowed to call me Dom, and he is my very gay best friend. "Okay," I said, "don't call me that. Ever."

Shawn blinked. "Oh. Sorry."

I closed my eyes and sighed. "I don't know if I hate you or not. It's complicated. Some days I just want to rip your head off and stomp on it while wearing six inch stilettos. Other days you actually kind of make the day bearable…." I furrowed my eyebrows. "Why did you have to ask me that? Now I'm even more confused because you made me actually think about it. This is dumb."

"So," Shawn said, sounding confused, "that's a 'maybe' on the whole hating me thing?"

I snorted. "You're so observant."

"I try."

It was silent for a good minute before I had the nerve to even take a breath. It had gone from ahhh-let-me-eat-your-face to ahhh-let's-talk-feelings in about the span of a millisecond. I don't even like talking to a woman who gets paid to listen to me. Blasphemy! Relationships with other people were totally putting a damper on my life. I needed to become a hermit. Yeah, that sounded like a good plan. Live off the wild in the outback of the Florida swamps. Or maybe Louisiana—avoid all the retired old folks.

"You never did answer my question," I muttered.

Shawn looked at me with his mouth slightly open. Idiot.

"About why you suddenly want to make out with me?"

"Oh!" He practically giggled. "Okay, first, I've always wanted to make out with you. Second, I thought we already went over this. You seemed like you needed to get a little."

This was too weird, even for me. "I'm confused," I said seriously. "And that doesn't happen too often. You've wanted to make out with me before? Since when? And, what? You only actually started this whole little fling thing because I had a stick up my butt and someone needed to remove it?!" My voice rose with each word. Part of me had hoped that Andersen wanted to fool around with me because of me, not because he felt obligated to step up to the plate.

Shawn sat up all the way. "Whoa. Okay, um, calm down? I… I'm… Okay." He took a deep breath. "I'm with you—I don't really know why I'm doing this either, okay? It just happened, and I was like, well, I don't really want to stop this. But do you, like, think that I'm just doing this because someone had to? Because I'm not. I've always thought that you were hot…"

"What?!" I could feel my face turning red.

"Yeah," he continued, "since you guys moved in next-door. I mean, yeah, I thought Desiree was hotter at first, but then I got to know both of you guys and—"

"God dammit!" I shouted.

Shawn didn't say anything.

"Desiree!" I clenched my hands. "She's my sister and I love her, but god fucking dammit why is it always about her? She's the one that can't realize that her boyfriend is nuts! She's the one that makes me have anxiety attacks—over stupid Jesse or when she doesn't come home from a party or when she does something stupid. And she's always the one everyone notices and remembers." I leaned down and picked up my Converse where I had discarded them on the floor. It was time to go. It was time to forget about Shawn. Desiree had always wanted him. He had gone out on a date with her, even though it technically was me. He had made out with "Desiree," too. He wasn't doing a very good job trying to convince me that he was nothing more than a little man whore. Correction—big man whore.

Only when my shoes were on and I was heading toward the door did Shawn find his voice. "Wait, no. That sounded wrong. I don't want Desiree. Trust me. I only went out on that date with her so maybe she would stop flirting with me all the time. And I thought it had worked, but then you told me that she had gone back to Jesse—"

I didn't hear the rest of it because I had walked out the door. Shawn followed after me as I stalked across the lawn to my house. "Go home, Shawn," I said without turning around.

"No! I have to explain what I meant!"

I put my hands over my ears. "La la la la, I can't hear you!"

"C'mon—"

I reached my front door. It was open and I stomped through into the house. Shawn kept following. I was ready to turn around and yell at him to get out of my house, but a voice stopped me.

"Dominique?"

I turned around. "What, Desiree?"

She did not react to my harsh tone. "Where have you been? I texted and called you, but you didn't answer. I have a surprise for you. I think you'll like it."

My cell phone was resting upstairs on my nightstand. I had conveniently forgotten it when I went over to Shawn's house so that no one would bother me. A pretty good idea, seeing that the person that wanted me was my shit-listed sister. "What?" I asked, knowing that Shawn was still standing in the hall behind me.

Desiree smiled widely. "C'mon, in the living room."

The way today was going—the way this year was going—it had better be a tub of Ben & Jerry's. "Fine." I glanced over my shoulder and glared as Shawn followed us. I wanted him gone, but I knew it was too late to force him out of my house.

I followed Desiree into the living room… and when I got there, my brain fell out of my open mouth.

"Carli?!"

The smiling blonde girl in front of me was no mirage. She was there—as in really there. Carli was my old best friend, back from before we had moved. Over the years we had drifted apart, but we still made the effort to stay friends. Lately we had started to talk more. She had texted me and told me all about how Jesse had apparently skipped town and that even his sister, Haley, did not know where he was. She was one of my only connections to sanity, and she was standing in my living room.

"Dominique," she started to say, but before she could finish I was hugging her with all my strength.

"Whoa, there, calm down," a deep voice said. A hand was then on my shoulder and I looked up into the face of Elliot, Carli's older brother.

"Um… uh," I sputtered. "Elliot… hi…" I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks.

Carli stuck her tongue out at her brother and turned me so that I faced her. I looked from her to Elliot and back again. They had not changed at all. Carli still had super-straight blonde hair, had a good five inches on me, and was the size of a twig. Elliot, like his sister, was tall and skinny, but he had military style auburn hair, and a great smile, nice eyes—Stop it, Dominique, I told myself. The point was that they still looked the same as when I had last saw them, and they still looked too much alike not to be related.

"What are you doing here?" I finally asked. "How? Why?"

Carli laughed and clapped her hands together. "Just ask your sister."

"My sister?" I turned toward Desiree. "You did this?"

Desiree shrugged. "Well, you know. I had to make it up to you somehow and I figured that this was a pretty good idea. Not that I'm trying to win back your trust or anything," she added quickly. "I'm just trying to make things right."

I glanced at Carli and Elliot. "About that trust thing…"

"Oh, we know," Carli interjected. "From what you've sort of told me and from what Desiree told me, and then of course I told Elliot—yeah, we know all about the whole Jesse thing."

I looked warily at Desiree. "The whole thing?"

Elliot coughed. "Yeah, that's pretty much it."

I breathed deeply. Carli did not know about the whole incident with Jesse, the car keys, and the scar. Elliot, on the other hand, did. And thank god Desiree knew that there were times to keep her mouth shut. She could tell Carli only certain things, and she knew that. "So, you guys just came up?"

"Well," Carli said, "Desiree called me and explained some things the other day and asked if I was willing to take a drive up here. So, I told Elliot about it all and he said he would drive up with me. Which was good, because I hate being in the car alone for long times."

Elliot nudged her lightly on her shoulder. "You're leaving out the part where I was the one that drove the whole way here."

Carli shrugged. "Eh. Sacrifices."

I smiled wearily. "Wow. You really didn't have to come up here. I mean, the fact that you did it means a lot to me. But what about school?"

"We figured we would leave right after school today, and then it's the weekend, and we figured that you could maybe play hooky with us on Monday and we would leave later that afternoon. It's a win-win situation—less school and we get to see each other!"

"And is Dad okay with this?" I asked Desiree.

She smiled, looking relieved that I was happy about what she had done. "He's more than okay with it! He even encouraged it! He was here earlier when they were here, but he's out with Mr. Johnson for a beer. If you have answered your phone, you could have seen him."

And instead I was at Shawn's while Carli and Elliot were here, I thought. Shawn! I turned around, but he was no longer standing in the hallway. "Um, Desiree…?" I asked.

My sister took a few steps toward me. "He left."

"Oh." I was almost a little disappointed.

Desiree smiled at me. "C'mon. Go hang out with Carli and Elliot."

"And how about some food?" Elliot asked. "I'm hungry."

I had to laugh. "Some things never change—you're still always hungry."

"You got that right."

Carli rolled her eyes. "Isn't it great to be back together again?"

Great, yes. But things did just get a little more complicated.

To be continued…