Chapter Fourteen

Sarah Smiles

-And it's killing me inside. Consuming all my time, you've left me blind. And when I think I'm right, you strip away my pride. You cast it all aside. (Panic! At the Disco)

The movie ended just as the book did, and while everyone else was leaving when the credits began to roll, I stayed. I kept Theo beside me by yanking down on his sleeve as soon as he dared to stand up.

The credits rolled, pronouncing the actors and make-up and design artists, and I waited to see one, little name. Beside the title "Executive producer" written in spider-like script was the name "Lisa Mangum".

With pleasure and victory surging through me, I triumphantly said to Theo, "Lisa Mangum was the executive producer! That's why the movie didn't suck!"

He looked at me for a second with confusion before pretending like he knew who Lisa Mangum was. "Oh, yeah? That's awesome…" he tried with a sloppy smile.

I gave him a look and rolled my eyes heavenward, shaking my head. I gazed back at him. "Are you ready to go?"

He smiled at me and nodded his head.

We left the screening room and started to walk out of the theater. We quickly entered into the parking lot and to the Nova.

Theo turned on the ignition and blew the heat on full blast. He maturely pulled the car out of the parking space and drove out into the street.

I glanced at the clock. Still an hour and a half until curfew. I looked at Theo intently watching the road. I smiled a little. "Thank you, Theo," I said.

He took a quick glance at me. "You're welcome."

"How did you know I would want to see The Hourglass Door?"

"Carie," he explained, "told me."

I quietly gasped. Carie! So that was why she hadn't seemed surprised when I had told her that I was going to the theater with Theo. Oh, what a good friend! "When did you ask her?"

He glanced back at the road, seemingly preoccupied. "Uh…Sunday…" he said hushed.

I blinked at him. He…he had planned this since…Sunday? How…? Why…? I felt the shock and surprise course through me and then, as quickly as it had come, evaporate. In its place, anger started to flicker, a flame on a candle. My eyebrows knitted together and I stared hard at him.

"Why?" I harshly asked.

"What do you mean 'Why'?"

"You know what I mean."

He gave me a look.

"Why had you planned this since Sunday? Why?"

He gave me another look and then retreated his gaze to the road. "Why not?" he tried cautiously, hoping that that would be the correct answer.

But, of course, it wasn't. I glared at him and felt wild and pure anger burning in my mind. "Seriously, Theo. Why did you take me to this?"

"Because I wanted to see a movie with you, my friend," he explained as his voice rose in volume.

At his words, something snapped inside me or went off. Did he really mean for me to be his friend? If he did, he was sure as heck proving it in the wrong way. He most certainly didn't have the right idea of what a guy and girl friend were supposed to act as.

"Your friend? Or girlfriend?" I pushed. I knew that if I didn't push the subject at hand, I was going to regret it. I had been with Theo long enough to pick up on his patterns. He had to be pushed to talk about something just like me.

He was taken aback by my harsh accusation. Hurt flickered through his eyes like lightening, but quickly disappeared. "What does it matter? Right now you're my friend, not my girlfriend. Why do you seem so intent of making that clear?"

"Because you're always blurring the lines. Blurring and stirring the truth! And now I'm not sure what's real and what's an act!"

Theo looked at me confused. "You think something's an act?"

"No."

"Well then, what's wrong with being content with just being friends?"

I looked at him, into his eyes, though seeing only the black of his pupils. I took a deep breath, knowing that I needed to get what had been prodding at me day in and day out. "Because you don't seem to be," I uttered quietly, as if it were a secret, some sort of hidden message.

"Oh." Theo gripped the steering wheel firmly and moved his hands back and forth on the hard leather. He stared darkly at the road. The car lights illuminated his face and made his eyes look ethereal and eerie.

A fragile and tense silence grew and spread rapidly over us like glass, ready to break at the slightest touch or sound. It was like a dome, shielding us from each other and keeping our lashing thoughts to ourselves. It was unnerving and somewhat calming.

It kept me from blowing out all my anger through one huff of air and it allowed me to cool off just a bit. It gave me time to think over the words that would be appropriate and wise to say in this situation we had somehow stumbled into.

How was it that we were always finding ways to argue and disagree? Why were we so contending and never overlooking our difference? Why was that?

I worked up the courage to finally speak, to ask him something that could make or break whatever we had. But…was it worth the risk? "Are…are you content with being friends?" I quietly inquired as I kept my eyes to my hands that were folded neatly in my lap. I looked up at him.

A muscle in his neck twitched and his arms tightened. His whole body became tense, in fact. He swallowed hard. "I—I think so," he admitted through his teeth. "I mean—"he allowed himself to relax "—I like being friends with you, but… I think… I think I want to be more than that, but I'm not sure." His eyebrows were bunched so closely together it looked as if he almost had a unibrow.

"How can you not be sure?" I asked and let out a breath of air I hadn't realized I had been holding.

He shook his head and shrugged, a combination that was a bit hard to do I noted due to the hesitation in his head.

I gazed at the clock. I still had plenty of time before I needed to be back home. Perhaps enough time to get something out of the boy. "Do you want to talk about it?" I asked quietly, hoping I didn't sound like a mother or therapist.

He started to shrug, but cut the motion off halfway through. Theo nodded slowly, bowing his head low. "Why not?" he mumbled. He turned the wheel to the right and pulled the car northwest towards the park.

After about five minutes of driving in silence, we arrived at the park. We got out into the frigid world and left the welcoming warmth of the car. We walked down past the stroll garden that was full of dead and withered flowers and bushes due to the destructive nature of winter.

Standing alone in the park with Theo gave me a strange sense of déjà vu. It was eerily like The Hourglass Door. Abby had driven Dante to the park to talk just as Theo had driven me to the park to talk. No, of course, Dante and Abby had something totally different to talk about, but the legist of the situation was the same.

I wondered if Theo had gotten the idea to go to the park from the movie. Creative, I'll admit, but not very subtle and discreet. But then again, since when had Theo been very discreet? He'd been anything but discreet and subtle since I had met the boy. Even when doing something simple, he always did it with his own style or personal flair.

I stopped walking, but Theo went on ahead just a few more steps. He stopped as well, being a few feet before me. He chuckled. "You know why I acted so rude and mean to you? And seemed to be like such a dark and cold person? A total emo?"

I studied him, not wanting to answer that question. I supposed it was a rhetorical question, but I wasn't sure. Instead, I shrugged my shoulders and felt the bitter wind start to seep into the tight threads of my coat. I stared hard at his back, silently begging him to go on.

"It was out of spite," he answered after a moment of silence.

Spite? How could someone act like that out of spite? I had heard of people becoming vegetarians out of spite. But emo and goth?

"Spite?" I repeated and felt a sort of echo rumble through my throat.

He turned around and nodded. "It's actually a silly and immature thing for me to do," he said and rubbed the back of his head. He took a deep breath and looked me in the eyes. "But remember how I said I used to live in Sweden?"
I nodded.

"Well, I've lived here since I was twelve. My dad is in the Air Force and is always on active-duty, and so we had to move there the summer I was going into seventh grade. The move was quite… traumatic."

I looked at him confused. How could a move to another country be traumatic?
He must have sensed my confusion. "I mean, at twelve, you think you know everything and that you're at the peak of your life, so I felt as if I was never going to be able to recover and have friends like I did back in elementary school. And so before we had actually left home—"

"Where was your home?" I asked.

"Here," he replied. "Before we left home, I was very angry and cross with my parents. I told them that if they made me move, I would become emo. Of course, they didn't believe me," he said with a one-shoulder shrug.

"But once we arrived in Sweden, I actually did what I promised I would do; I became emo. I lost the Hollister/Abercrombie look I had before and started listening to rock and punk and metal bands. I changed my hair style and got fake snake bites just to complete the look."

"Is the industrial real?" I asked as I pointed to his ear like a curious, naïve child.

"Now," he answered with a shake of his head. "I'll admit, it was a bit hard at first but my spite and determination made me pull through until it came normal for me."

"So then what happened?"

"I got so used to being classified as an emo that it stuck and it's almost become a part of me. I mean, I'm not really a true emo and that's why I dressed the way I did tonight."

I smirked. "And I thought you were just trying to impress my parents."

Theo smiled a little and gave me a look.

My smiled dropped as another question popped into my mind. "So what does that have to do with how you acted when we met?"

"Well, the same thing pretty much happened after school had been let out last year. My dad had been ordered to move here, and I put up a fight."

I smiled a little at his words and knew full well that he had fought his parents on the matter.

"I didn't do anything out of spite, but after I got on the plane, I realized that I was stuck going back to America."

"So you just decided to be bitter?" I questioned.

He nodded his head.

"And so you acted like a total jerk to me because you were bitter about leaving Sweden?" I asked, a bit of astonishment in my tone. Sure, it was a reasonable explanation and it was kind of a relief to know that that wasn't really Theo. But still… Somewhere deep down I felt a bit hurt. A bit betrayed. "And now you decide to tell me?"

"Yeah," he said with another nod.

I felt the breath escape from my lungs. I gulped and looked at the ground not sure what to say to all this. It was…it was hard to take in in one night. I wasn't sure what to think. I wasn't sure I should feel relief or anger at him. I didn't know what to do next.

What was to happen now?

I mean, were we even friends? Were we truly friends? Or was it an act, a repercussion due to his bitterness? Were things about to change? What was in store for us?

"So what happens now?" I breathed.

"We go on with life," he replied solemnly.

I looked up at him gaping at him as if he had grown lobsters from his ears. What did he mean by that? "Go on? Go on as what?"

He gazed at me with wonder and hope. "Anything," he said.

I viewed into his eyes like they do in those soap operas and romantic movies full of emotion such as The Notebook. I didn't speak the question echoing in my mind. Does that include us dating? I nibbled on my lip and felt the breaching question lean closer and closer to the edge of articulation. I shifted my weight and tugged at the cuff of my coat. "And what do you want to go on as?" I asked and the words caught in my throat for fear of his answer every now and again.

"Doesn't matter," he said with a smile.

I imagined for a brief moment how this evening would end if my life was a movie. I imagined me going up to hug him and then that hug slowly—or quickly—evolving into him and me kissing. I could see that kiss escalating into something more. Something dangerous.

I blinked several times as I tried to erase the mental image seared into my mind. I weakly smiled and said, "That's good."

He nodded. "Yeah. Leaves no room for disappointment," he said with a smug smile.

I let out a soft chuckle. I quickly checked the time. Nine thirty. A sudden rush of panic washed over me. I had to be home by ten. And it took at least twenty minutes to get to my house from the park. Not to mention the time traffic would provide.

"Oh, we've got to go," I announced. I jammed my phone back into my pocket and almost reached for Theo's hand. I pulled my hand back before I made a movement too noticeable; my hand merely looked as if it twitched. I breathed a sigh of relief that he didn't notice. "Ok," I sighed, letting my taut muscles relax. I turned hesitantly on my heel to the car. I heard the crunch of snow beneath my feet, and my steady rhythm was joined by another pair of feet. I sucked in the brisk air and blew it out much like a smoker would.

I stopped at Theo's car and waiting for him there. I gazed up. "Untouchable," I breathed, the wisps of my breath curling and coiling up into the dark, night sky.

Theo came up and circled around to the driver's seat. He asked, "What is?"

"The sky," I answered. "So beautifully untouchable with its grace and poise. It's like a little taste of heaven. Heaven, speckled with untouchable, distantly eloquent stars. The moon like a queen held up high regally among her tiny handmaidens. The stars spelling out words, entailing stories and tales from centuries, proclaiming anything we wish of them. From tragedies like Romeo and Juliet to heroes and those commended for deeds we down here merely wish and dream to accomplish." I gasped at the beauty, systematically taking my breath away.

He looked up at the sky like a dumbfounded child while I described the sky barely even talking to him for I was mainly describing the sky for myself. As a way to blow off some raw emotions that had built up so rapidly since we had left the theater.

"Huh," he grunted and shrugged his shoulders. "Never thought of them as story tellers." He unlocked the car, and we bother opened the doors.

"Takes an open mind to," I replied with a small smirk and sat in the passenger seat.

Theo got behind the wheel, rolled his eyes, and turned on the ignition.

We arrived at my house at the appropriate time, and dad wasn't nearly ready to go off on an all-out-man-hunt for either Theo or me. Theo escorted me to the door, but for a few minutes we just stood on the porch. We didn't say anything for a moment or two, and I guess that was just fine. Just standing beside each other while the snow fell made me content enough and felt relief rushing through me that I didn't have to worry about Theo trying to make a move on me.

I stood against the screen door quite languidly, and Theo stood perhaps a foot away from me. He held his right arm up, leaning it against the siding of the house. He looked at me intently and dearly.

"Thank you," I sincerely said, "for the night." I slightly smiled and looked into his eyes. I blinked for a moment upon seeing them. They were…a honey brown. Or had I been mistaken…? "Your eyes…" I breathed. "They're—"

I didn't have a chance to finish my sentence for the next thing I could register was Theo leaning closer and closer. His lips delicately feel upon my own. It was an unforeseen kiss in the way it is said that heaven will meet earth—their first kiss. My first kiss.

He tasted both bitter and sweet; I tasted a hint of butterscotch on his lips as well. It was a nice combination, something that mixed well and left an intriguing after taste. Something that sent me a bit reeling.

He pulled back slowly and looked down on me gently; I opened my eyes and blinked at him. I stared up at him and nibbled on my lower lip a little. I started to ask him why he kissed me, but he beat me to the talking.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I don't know what came over me." He looked down. "And I know we just talked about this sort of stuff and we settled not to do anything stupid."

I numbly nodded. "Yeah," I whispered. "Like that…"

"Yeah," he repeated. He turned around hesitantly, obviously wanting to say more. He took a step off the porch and twisted back around, taking a glance at me in remorse, and I started to have a sinking feeling that things were taking a turn for the worse. He tore his gaze from mine and continued to walk through my yard and to his car.

I blinked out of my trance-like state. "I'm glad you did though!" I called out to him.

He turned back around to me with a soft smile flashing across his face. He waved good-bye to me and got into his car.

I waved back at him, barely moving my hand back and forth. I didn't leave the porch until I couldn't see the tail lights of the Nova. I hadn't even realized I was still waving, my hand moving back and forth just barely. I unlocked the door and a sweet smile formed on my face. I stepped inside, resolving to go and listen to "Sarah Smiles".


A/N: Hello, my beloved readers! Well, I'm sorry to say this, but this is the last chapter for Don't Judge the Book. I actually changed the title after I started posting chapters on here so it's REALLY called Sarah Smiles, but Mostly Smirks Frowns and Glares since it goes along with the song "Sarah Smiles" by Panic! At the Disco. And if you noticed, that's the name of this chapter.

Anyways, in this chapter, we finally see what was going on with Theo throughout the entire story. We see that he was really being all angsty and such and we also see that he loves to be cheesy. Yes, I purposely made him go to the park and be all movie-like because it was cheesy. He's just that kind of guy and you will see more of that in the second book!

GASP! WHAT?! There's a second one?!

Yes! Of course! This book is too short and it kind of cuts off on the status of their relationship. I didn't want what happened to Theo and Sarah to be left up to the reader's imagination because personally I hate that. I want to know what happens to them despite the fact that it could be horribly tragic and end in death.

Well, anyways, I am hard at work with the final editing of the second book. It's called Put Another X on the Calender in reference to the song "The Calender" by Panic! At the Disco. You may have noticed a pattern here ;)

I hope with all my heart that you guys enjoyed this story thoroughly and are excited for the second one to come out. I am planning on it coming out by May or April. It depends on how quickly my friends read it and give me feedback on. Please tell me what you think of the idea of a sequel; I really want to know what you guys think of it. In fact! I shall give you a small preview of it!

I pulled out my iPod from my back pocket and turned it on. "The song I chose is "Raised By Wolves" by Falling in Reverse." I found the song, turning the volume up all the way, and played it.

The guitar and the vocals instantly started. It was only the two until about fifteen seconds in to it, and then all the other instruments came in. The quick guitar strumming and drum beat kept fast pace, setting the tone for the song. The dark, deviant tone.

I heard some people groan a little and others had shocked looks on their faces. Zeke even shouted out, "Oh, no, she's back to her old self!"

I stuck out my tongue at him and laughed a little. I turned to Theo; he had a look of approval on his face. Apparently he hadn't thought I would dare listen to such "heavy" music. Oh, please...

"Good song," he commented.

"Thanks, it's one of my favorite," I replied.

He gave me a look. "Seriously? I didn't think you bought into the whole "screamo/heavy metal" stuff. Not that this is any heavy metal," he said with a shrug.

I rolled my eyes. "No, this isn't the hardest I listen to."

He nodded his head a bit suspiciously, probably not totally buying that the Hipster/ Indie girl listened to heavy metal. "Like what?"

"Acacia Strain, Alesana, Parkway Drive; stuff like that."

"Oh, I see. Yup, I like this song too. Probably my favorite by them."

I smiled. "Yeah, me too."

So that's just a little tidbit of the sequel. It's nothing major, but I hope you guys like it! Let me know what you think!

Thank you so much for reading this. I would have never even finished posting this if it wasn't for your wonderful reviews and you guys reading! So thank you so much! I really appreciate it!

See you space cowboy...

-Neon