"Elodie, hey Elodie. Wake up sleepy head," I rolled over to slap my alarm clock to find my hand touching a man's chest. I rolled over to find the blurry outline of a think boy with black hair and white T-shirt. I grabbed my glasses and gave him a hard look.
"Adam, what are you doing here? And why did you wake me up so early?" I stretched myself out to help wake myself up.
Adam gave me that goofy grin of his," What do you mean, early? It's almost noon. You can't spend your whole weekend in bed silly."
I was hoping I could. All week I deal with this boy at school. More than just this boy at school, actually. He and his friends followed me around like lost puppies. This is odd for me to get so much attention. I was almost settled to fall asleep again when I heard another voice in my room.
"Adam, stop bothering poor Elodie and let her sleep," I'd know that red heads voice anywhere. I hadn't noticed Zach in my room when I first rolled over. Maybe he just got here. I turned to see him dressed in his sweater dress shirt combo.
"Zach? You're here too?" My words came more as a grumble and growl.
"Not just me, Blake and Ben are waiting downstairs with your parents."
"Which is where you should be waiting," Adam said with a tinge of sourness in his voice.
"Excuse me, if it weren't for me you wouldn't have been invited on this trip. I shouldn't have invited you. You leave in the middle of eating a splendid breakfast prepared by Elodie's parents. Then I find you ruining Elodie's sleep," the anger was rising in Zach's voice.
"Arguing doesn't help my sleep," I said swinging my legs over my bed. I was up most of the night due to late night phone calls from Adam trying to make sure I was alright. He began this pattern of calling me in hopes of making Zach jealous. "You two need to quit fighting. I thought you two were friends." This was true. They were friends. Then they began following me like hounds and their friendship started to become more rivals. They're Edward and Jacob, and I am somehow Bella.
After making the animals leave, I finally changed into my normal Saturday clothes: anything clean. I threw my yellowy blonde hair into a neat bun then head down for breakfast. The smell of fresh bacon and eggs filled my nose as I got closer to the kitchen, as the sound of boys arguing filled my ears.
"Boys, please try to be civilized at the table," my mother called to them. "And try not to drool on the furniture please." I was not the only one dealing with the animals. My mom dealt with nearly being trampled by them every day. They just find their way into my house and bombard her with Where's Elodie? Is Elodie here? What's it like being the mother of Elodie? Poor woman never gets a break.
Breakfast went by as normal. I tried to eat as the boys watched awkwardly. Nothings more uncomfortable than four sets of eyes watching you eat breakfast as if you were a model about to take her top off. This occurred at least twice a day; at breakfast and lunch. I am more used to it but I would rather it not occur.
"So, Elodie, I enjoyed the breakfast. I always enjoy it. You're mom's cooking is the best. I bet you're going to be just as good. Not that you're not good now, but I hear cooking gets better with age. Not that you're moms old or anything. I mean she's a lovely woman. Like you you're lovely-"
"Ben, deep breathes please," This was a habit of Bens. He has a tough exterior but runs himself over every time he speaks it seems.
I could hear Adam and Zach arguing in the background as I sat on my front steps with Ben on one side and Blake on the other. Ben was fidgeting his hands and legs as if it would keep him sane. He kept his head low and I knew it was because he was blushing. Blake watched as an ice cream truck drove by. I could see his eyes go big with every ice cream cone the driver handed out. He had a sweet tooth, but you would never notice it with his slender frame and perfect teeth.
"So what do you have on my agenda today?" I asked, snapping Blake out of his gaze and making Ben look at me with nervous eyes.
"Well we didn't actually plan anything this time. We have done so much planning the other times; it's your turn to pick." They boys were always stopping by my place to take me here, or there. I'm so used to them choosing for me that I almost do not have an answer.
"How about we go see that new movie? The one with the guy that achieves his life dream after years of being told he never could. It sounds good." The movie was obviously cliché but it was better doing the same things over and over.
Blake and Ben seemed to tense up a bit. "You mean a movie, like a date setting? Like, you sit in the dark and someone pulls the move." Ben spit his words out nervously as Blake took advantage of the situation and put his arm around me. I would've worked to get him off if I had not experienced these boys try out the move at some point already. They usually get nervous and pull their selves away.
When we arrive to the theater the rest of the gang is there. Jay and Mason have bought our tickets already. They are standing at the door trying to look cool and they were pulling it off. The boys search for a good seat and I just follow behind. They fight over whose going to get the seats next to me until the lights go dim. I end up between Jay and Zach.
The experience at the theater is calm and relaxed, then I feel finger stroke the side of my leg. It's Jay. I am almost sure this is the first time he's ever made physical contact with me. He's never admitted to liking me like most of the others have, but I know it's there. Why else would he hang so close? I adjust my position so he will stop his advances and it works. At least for little while. He regains his courage and loops a finger around mine. He keeps his face stone and staring at the screen, as if he'd bail if he looked at our looped fingers.
With all the flirting Zach does on a normal basis I was surprised he didn't try anything. He looked as if he had forgotten my existence as he absent mindedly shoved popcorn into his face, spilling more of it on himself and the floor. I was happy with only one boy making a move on me at a time.
The movie ended in a cliché way with a cliché line. Zach was supposed to go home which meant Adam had to go with him as well as Ben and Blake. That left me with Jay and Mason. Of all the boys it was most awkward and most comforting to be with these two. They did not say much but they listened well. Jay was strong so I could rely on him to keep me safe. Mason was in touch with his feelings so I could rely on him to help me through any issues I had.
The two walked me home keeping mostly quiet. The roads were wet from a rain that occurred during the movie and I enjoyed the sound of car tires splashing water. I do not live too far from the theater so the walk was short. Jay and Mason ended up staying later at my place to play video games and eat junk food.
Jay gave me awkward side glances every once a while and I would pretend I did not see them. Mason talked about a book he read about a depressed kid who ends up having his life saved when a girl at his school admits her love for him. He says that even though it had a cliché ending it was moving and beautifully written so you had to give the author credit. I fall asleep somewhere between Mason telling me about the depressed kids childhood and Jay crushing me in Guitar Hero.
Sunday mornings are not full of boys waking me early. Instead I wake early to be religious with my parents. I am the one waking two boys that have fallen asleep on my living room floor and letting them use my phone to call their parents to explain that no they were not having sex or doing drugs, and sorry for forgetting to call. My parents drag them to church in their already worn clothes and un-showered bodies to be able to take them home right after.
The rest of Sunday is full of Elodie time. I study for upcoming tests and finish homework assignments. I do not answer phone calls because they will be there when I am finished having Elodie time. I do not answer E-mails or Wall posts on my Facebook because they will be there when I am finished. It is this time to myself I think about how my friends have turned to these boys who have turn to these animals. Animals that crave Elodie, fight over Elodie and obsess over Elodie. I once had regular friends that I didn't have to feel awkward around and consistently be on guard because they may try to loop their fingers in yours or put their arm around you. This is Elodie homework time. This is Elodie shower time. This is Elodie think time. This is Elodie sleep time.
School is crazy because students push and pull you around, ripping like tidal waves through halls, knocking you around without knowing how strong they really are. I am happy to be friends with boys who loop their fingers in mine, because they are also boys who help me when I fall going up the stairs, and boys who pick up my books, and boys who help me get to class.
Then lunch comes and I no longer desire boys who loop fingers in mine because they are constantly arguing. Adam and Zach bicker over Zach's better, expensive clothes, and Adam's ability to work for his things. Ben and Blake do not argue they just watch me like a lion stalking its prey. Jay and Mason discuss some band they are both into and their new album coming out in two weeks. Jay and Mason are the ones that make things feel normal. Normal boys do not coo over me every moment of my day. They focus on their selves and the pretty girls in school. I am not the pretty girl.
The tsunami known as school is over and I am in Zach's car as he takes me home. Today we are alone because Ben and Blake have some club to attend and Adam is angry with Zach. Jay and Mason usually don't ride with us. Zach discusses his dad's business and how he hopes to take it over when his father retires to become as successful as him. I am bored and focus on the son on his radio. It has a techno beat and I can drown into it. So much so I almost begin dancing and remember: I am in his car and he is speaking to me. I nod appropriately and say that's neat at appropriate times.
Zach stops his car and we are not at my house. We are in front of a large house with neatly trimmed bushes, as well as neatly trimmed perfectly green grass. He is unbuckling his seatbelt and getting out. He opens my door and explains that it is only proper to introduce me to his family since he's spoken of then and already met mine. I am not prepared and worry I'll make the wrong impression.
His mother has prepared a dinner suited to my liking because she was more aware of my arrival than me. She informs me Zach's father will not be at dinner due to an emergency at the office. Zach looks disappointed and I am sorry he is sad. Zach is a boy who always seems on top and so serious, like he could never break. I have witnessed a crack in his shell.
We eat dinner too quickly and Zach makes me go to his room. I am nervous as I walk flights of stairs. His room is neat and orderly, due to his mom, he informs me. He has trophies lined against his wall and a picture of him and his parents framed. He offers me a seat on his bed and I sit on the floor instead. "I wouldn't want to ruin the sheets," I tell him.
The carpet is a soft white. It feels like the fur of a small animal. Zach stands opposite of me and gives me a look as if I'm the strangest thing he's ever seen as I feel the carpet. He kneels beside me and pats my head as gently as I'm stroking the floor. Our eyes meet and I feel my cheeks flush. He is leaning in, eyes shut, expecting me to do the same. My heart is pounding and I am unaware of how to inform him that our lips are like to negative ends of a magnet trying to come together even though they will never attract. He is frozen there and I am sliding back gently to avoid collision.
After hundreds of apologies from Zach and an I'm so glad you came from his mom I am able to be driven home. There is an awkward tension in his car so I hit the play button on the radio. Some rap song is playing and the lyrics move too fast for me to catch on until it's the chorus.
Adam makes his nightly call and I have to force him to hang up because I need my rest for another day of school. I always hang up an hour before my self-appointed bed time because this is Elodie homework time. This is Elodie shower time. This is Elodie think time. This is Elodie sleep time.
At lunch Adam is teasing Zach about his failed attempt to plant his lips on mine. Ben and Blake think it is the funniest thing but Zach does not. Zach thrust his fist into Adam's gut because Zach has had enough. Zach is being led to the principal's office. Adam is cringing and holding back tears on the floor. I am helping Adam get back on his feet again.
I am offered no ride home from Zach because he has been suspended. Jay and Mason walk me home because Adam left early due to his bruised ego and Ben and Blake detest walking. It is another walk full of quiet air.
I receive my call from Adam early because he feels like he ruined things between him and Zach. I tell him he should not have teased Zach so much and that he would have done the same put in the situation. I try to reassure him that things will be fine because they have been friends for years. He gets a phone call and puts me on hold. He comes back on.
"Elodie, Zach and I are still friends, but…," his voice drops and I am unable to decipher his words.
"What was that?"
"Zach is really hurt. Maybe I'll end up hurt like him. I don't want that. My calls…I think I might quit calling you so much." And there is a click. I hear a dial tone. He hung up on me.
I am confused because of all the boys Adam chased me the longest. We had been friends since middle school and I always knew he had a crush. Then he drops me just like that. The boys, the animals, their pack is shrinking. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I enjoyed the attention for so long that I'm not convinced I want it to go away. I suddenly want boys to pull moves on me, loop fingers with me, pat my head, and try to kiss me. Even if our lips are magnets that will never attract. I feel a little hurt and scan through the list of contacts on my phone until I come upon Mason.
"He just hung up on me," I finish explaining to Mason what had happened and how I was feeling hurt. I don't mention I want boys to loop fingers with me or try to kiss me even though our lips are magnets that will never attract.
"That's harsh. He has been friends with Zach a long time though. Maybe he is afraid to let it fade. Maybe he is finally realizing he has been fighting against Zach for you and Zach was finally thrown to the side. He probably thinks that if he wins you, he loses Zach. He's trying to balance things back to what they were." Mason has a way of being deep without trying. Words spill out of his mouth to form genius. I wish my mind was replaced by his.
"Thanks Mason, you always have a way of making me feel better," and these words are true.
"No problem Elodie. I'm glad to be here to help."
It is once again Elodie homework time. Elodie shower time. Elodie think time. Elodie sleep time.
Today is Wednesday, referred to as hump day. Not in the dirty way but in the 'you're almost halfway through the week' way. I feel relief. Today Ben, Blake and I have made plans to hang out at a park because it's a lovely day and won't be raining. Ben and Blake are a team and do everything together. Blake pulls all the moves Ben wish he could, and Ben has the brains Blake wishes he had. Lunch goes by different because Zach and Adam are a duo again and have moved tables to avoid me. Mason pats my back, gives me a moment of silence then assures me everything will be okay in the end.
The sun heats up my skin and I feel like bacon in a frying pan. I am happy to enjoy the sun but dislike the way my skin burns too easily. Ben is lying on a picnic table covering his eyes so the sun does not melt them. Blake is peeling off his shirt and throwing it over Bens face. Ben sits up and gags.
"Dude, that smells like moldy, sweaty, disgusting," I am amazed that Ben is able to push his words out more confidently around Blake. Maybe it is because I'm one of the first girls Ben has talked to since his elementary school years. He has never had much luck with the ladies Blake keeps informing me. He tells me stories of their younger years often and it is sad to hear a sweet guy like Ben is always being shot down.
Ben is chasing Blake around waving his shirt at him like it's a sort of deadly weapon. I can't help but laugh at how goofy they are. Ben notices me laughing and runs towards me with the T-shirt. I scream and run around the park trying not to get pulverized with stink. "Not the stink, anything but the Blake stink," I scream as I run around.
"The Blake stink? That's it," I am suddenly lifted into the air by Blake's arms and he is spinning me in circles.
I am laughing, "Put me down, this is cruel and unusual punishment."
"Not until you take it back."
"The Blake stink is a lie! I tell you, a lie!" He sets me down trying his best not to drop me too hard from his own dizziness. We plop onto the picnic table bench and wait until we gain our focus. Ben joins us and we are all laughing and this moment is great.
I go home happy Ben and Blake are still happy friends and manage to squeeze me in with their friendship. They don't loop fingers with mine but they have crushes that are evident. Ben shows it through his nervousness and Blake through his actions. Mom has made spaghetti for dinner. It tastes amazing and I think of Ben's love for my mother's cooking. I think of putting some into a container and bringing to school for him tomorrow. So I do.
Tonight there is no call from Adam. I haven't talked to him the whole day and it is difficult. We were so close but maybe this is for the better. He is reconnecting to Zach and Zach is getting over my refusal. Zach has shattered and brought Adam with him. I am left with too much homework time, too much shower time, too much thinking time, and just enough sleeping time.
Lunch proceeds as it did the day before. Zach and Adam once again leave out table. They are laughing happy laughs without us. I give Ben the spaghetti from last night and he stares with his mouth open. Blake asks if he can have some so the two share it. Mason asks me if I want to hang out with him today. We both need to work on the same project and I can help him. He may have the wisest brain, but he does not apply it to school.
Mason's home is small and smells of smoke. We are in his room lying on our stomachs cutting pictures out of magazines. He plays a CD and we sing along to the words out of key. He drops his scissors because his hands are too tired, and drops his head into his hands because he is too tired. He looks up so that his eyes are all that see me.
"Elodie, you are truly my best friend and savior, you know that?" His voice is muffled by the carpet.
"And you are truly mine Mason," I smile my best friend smile and offer to cut his pictures out. I do not mind doing his share of work because we are the greatest of friends and he has enough stress already. He does not tell me so, but I assume he does. I finish our projects quickly so we rent a movie and pop popcorn. The movie is based on the book Mason read about the depressed kid saved by the girl who admits her love to him. I have become Mason's pillow because I stole his and am using them.
By the end of the movie I am crying. Not because I am sad, but because the movie ends so beautifully, even if it is cliché. I look at Mason who is wiping tears off his eyes. I love that he is in touch with his emotions. We laugh at each other for crying. It is time for me to head home so he walks me. The sky has gone dark so he sticks close and moves and arm around me. I am okay with this because it is dark and I am afraid. I try not to let him see, but I know he knows it. We reach my porch and he looks at me as though he really needs to say something. Instead he lets out a big breathe of air and heads back towards his home.
There is no phone call. I am left with too much Elodie time. Too much homework time. Too much shower time. Too much think time. Not enough sleep time.
At lunch things do not change. Adam and Zach are best friends again and don't want me to be included. I am happy that Ben and Blake have not dropped me and still fit me into their friendship. I am happy I did not cause them to almost lose each other. I am happy Mason can still be my best friend and lets me call him when I want. I am happy Jay wants to loop fingers with me under the lunch table when no one is looking.
Jay has invited me to his house today. This is new because jay does not invite anyone but Mason over. I feel like a celebrity being invited to his home. Even more of a celebrity than when Zach invited me to his mansion of a house with his perfectly green lawn. Jay's house is small but cozy. Everything looks freshly cleaned and I wonder if he has told his mom I'm coming before I have agreed. His mom is not here but there is a note on his refrigerator. She has gone to work and won't be home for a while. Love, mom. He hands me a coke and we head to his room.
His room is not lined in trophies or perfectly cleaned. It is in his basement and littered with clothes everywhere. I spot a pair of boxers and can't help but laugh.
"Sorry about the mess. I don't usually invite girls over," he is shoving clothes under his bed and in his closet and in a basket. "You're welcome to sit down."
I sit on his bed because I do not feel it would mess up his sheets. "No it's fine, mines a hazard zone." But it really is not. I keep everything orderly, but he would not know that.
He drops a pile of clothes and sits next to me. It is quiet and awkward space between us. I enjoy it though. He loops his finger into mine and stares straight ahead again. I am hoping he does not look down so he does not crumble. "Do you mind?" His voice cuts the air like a blade and startles me.
"Mind what," I ask suddenly confused.
"That I do this," he pulls his finger up with mine still looped. He does not crumble when he looks, but he turns a funny shade of pinkish red.
"I don't," I say in an almost whisper. He nods and we sit in silence once again.
He runs his warm finger against my palm and moves his fingers between mine and they fit perfectly. We stare at our hands and all is silence. He does not crumble.
I decide we should play a game, so we do. We play a video game and it is fun. I beat him and we laugh. He beats me and we laugh.
He walks me home and holds onto my hand as if he would float off into space if he lets go. He stops on my porch and stares at my hands, clears his throat and asks if it is okay to call me. I tell him yes.
I get a phone call and it is Jay. He sounds more nervous than I have ever heard him. I almost mistake him for Ben. "Elodie, I think I like you," he finally manages.
"I feel my cheeks go warm and am embarrassed even though no one is here to see. "I think I like you too," I say back.
"Can I? Can we? Would you?" He crumbles.
"Yes," I say hoping to repair him. I hear a sigh of relief.
I do not desire Elodie time. I do not desire homework time. I do not desire shower time. I do not desire think time. I do not desire sleep time. I desire Jay time. I want to talk to him all night because he has stopped crumbling and is opening his world to me.
"Wakey, wakey," are the first words I hear Saturday morning. I do not reach for my alarm clock. I put on my glasses to see the handsome face of Jay, who is kneeling by me bed resting his head near mine. I am neither cranky nor wanting to fuss. I am up and out of bed changing into good clothes because Jay and I are having our first formal date. I am wearing a clean dress with heals.
When we eat our lunch, Jay holds my hand, out and open. He looks at our hands, then at me and does not crumble. We are happy.