III | Edie
I wish that I had never gone to that concert, especially not with Nell. I still can't believe she told Adam about our family. I mean, now he probably thinks that we're some kind of weird family of freaks. Which I guess we kind of are. Dads married to his fourth wife; the only ex-wife that will still talk to him is Phoebe, and it's usually to yell at him about one thing or another. It's sad, really, that he can't get along with any of them. I don't really remember mom at all. I was only almost two when she left. Everyone says that I look like her, though. Which makes sense, I guess. I look nothing like dad.
What bothers me more than Nell telling Adam all that stuff is that I can't get Adam out of my mind. So I decided to do the only thing I could think of: I decided to talk to Cindy about it.
I found her doing laundry on Tuesday night. I had finally worked up enough courage to be able to talk to her about it. "Cindy?" I asked hesitantly. She turned around slowly; her pregnant belly was huge. She was due within the next month, though. "I need some advice," I told her, fixing my gaze on the sweater she was folding.
"Of course, Edie," she said, smiling. "But can you help me fold? It'll get done so much faster that way, and I know Lizzie wants her snack before bed." I walked to stand beside her and reached for my own sweater to fold. "What can I help you with?"
I quickly looked over my shoulder to make sure that Dad and Nell weren't standing outside the door, and that Dad wasn't in his office across the hall. I was embarrassed enough about having to talk to Cindy about this; I didn't want them to know about it too. "Well, you know how Nell and I went to that concert on Friday night?"
"You mean the concert that you and Nell got back from at two in the morning? Yes, I do know the concert you mean. Your father is still upset about it." She frowned. "Why?"
"Well, Nellie and I had a fight, and right after that I met…" I trailed off, blushing and bowing my head. I could just imagine Cindy raising her eyebrows. "I met this guy, and I can't stop thinking about how nice he was to me and how rude I was to him."
"Oh? Is that it, Edie? Or can you not stop thinking about him because he was cute, and nice, and you think you might like him?"
"Maybe. But what do I do, Cindy? I don't know anything about him, and I'll probably never see him again, and even if I do see him again he probably won't remember me. Even if he does remember me, I was so awful to him that he probably wouldn't want to talk to me."
"You know, everyone has bad days, honey. So this boy caught you on one of yours. You can't change that, no matter how much you wish you could. But from what you've told me about him being nice makes me think that he'd also be understanding enough to acknowledge that you were having a bad day."
"But what if he isn't?" I asked after a long pause.
"Then he isn't worth it," she said simply, stacking the folded clothes into the laundry basket. She lifted the basket and walked with it towards the door of the laundry room. "Lizzie is playing upstairs in her room, or at least she is supposed to be. She's acting more like Nell every day. Can you go get her and have her change into her pajamas and meet me in the kitchen so she can have her snack?" I nodded and headed towards the stairs, mulling over what Cindy had said. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I almost missed Lizzie's room.
I knocked three times before opening the door to find my dad sitting on the floor playing with Lizzie. Even at three years old, Lizzie looks like dad. She's blonde like I am, but everything else about her looks like dad, from her brown eyes to her being tall for her age. "Hey Dad, hi Liz." I said as I walked in and sat down on the other side of Lizzie. "Cindy says it's time for Lizzie to put on her pajamas and come down for her bedtime snack," I told dad.
"Sure," he said. "I can do that. Just let Cindy know that we'll be a few minutes. We have to clean up our toys before snack time, right, Elizabeth?"
"Yeah, Daddy!" she exclaimed. I think snack time is Lizzie's favorite time of the day, if only because she can eat her grapes and cut up apple and tell Dad and Cindy about all the stuff she did and saw that day. "Edie, you help too?"
I laughed quietly before saying, "No, Liz, I can't. I've got a bit more homework to do for tomorrow, and pretty soon it'll be my bedtime too." That wasn't true, but I didn't really want to spend time bonding with my family as confused as I was. Lizzie just nodded and started putting her plastic blocks in the big bin that she has in her room. I went downstairs, told Cindy that they'd be down in a few minutes, and then retreated to my room. Nell was lying on her bed with her headphones on. I sat down on my bed and grabbed a book.
I opened it, but my head was too busy with trying to figure out this whole Adam thing to be able to concentrate on the story. I just didn't understand how someone who I never thought that I'd find hot had so easily managed to be a constant distraction since I met him. It was bothersome, and yet it wasn't at the same time. This was the type of thing that Nell was good at dealing with, not me. I was happy alone, so why couldn't I just stay happy and will all thoughts of Adam out of my head. Logically, I knew that I'd never see him again, and in my head I knew that it wasn't that big of a deal that I'd never see him again. I didn't know anything about him, besides his name.
It was in that moment that I made a decision: I would stop thinking about Adam. I would pretend that I never met him, and then everything would go back to the way it was before that night.
School is where I can concentrate, so the next day I told Dad and Cindy that I was going to stay late so that I could work on a project in the library. Nell went home after I told her that I'd be fine and I'd just take the bus when I was done. Before she left, she made me promise that if it was really late that I'd call so she could come and get me. Nell and I might fight a lot, but when she does stuff like that, it just proves to me that we really are sisters and we do love each other.
The library has always been a good place for me to be. I get along with the librarian, Mr. Paul, and I can usually find a quiet corner where I can sit and enjoy myself. I knew that if I was going to be able to put Adam out of my mind, it would be in the library. I like the public library better than the one at school; there are a lot more books at the public library, and usually the people there are quieter than people at school. At school, people are there because they have to be, but here, people are here because they want to be. Those are the people that I fit in with; those are the people that I am friends with at school.
My best friend, Lena, works at the library. She reads books to the little kids every Tuesday evening. I've gone and listened once or twice. She always gets a lot of excited kids and their parents. Kids really like Lena; she has some sort of gift. I think part of it is that she can somehow manage to make the stories come alive for the kids, just in the way that she can read the books to them. Of course, sometimes Lena acts like a little kid herself, so I guess she knows how to make things exciting for them.
As soon as I got there, I headed straight towards the fiction section. It was the kind of day that put me in the mood to read a story that I could lose myself in completely, and just ignore everything around me completely. I walked past Lena, who was welcoming kids as they got there after school, organizing them into a circle so that the kids would all be able to see the pictures.
I walked down the aisle slowly, scanning the titles of books on the shelf. I reached the end, then turned around and started back, reaching up to run my fingers along the spines of the books as I read the titles. I chose one that sounded like it'd be a good read, and headed out of the many aisles of books and back past where Lena was. Where I really wanted to go was to the second floor. There are some good places to sit that not a lot of people know about, and I wanted to sit on a comfortable couch while I enjoyed my book.
I passed the circulation desk and started towards the stairs, which were near the entrance. Upstairs is mostly reference materials, so not a lot of people go up there. Besides, the stairs are kind of out-of-the-way, too.
"'Scuse me," I felt a little hand grab at my sleeve. I turned around to see a little boy standing in front of me. "Where is the place where the lady reads books?"
He was referring to Lena. "It's just over there," I gestured with my arm. "Where's your mommy?"
"I'm here with my uncle," he said proudly. "He's visiting until tomorrow. He promised to bring me to hear stories because Mommy had to work." I smiled, and then nodded.
"I get it. Where is he?" I asked just before hearing someone come up behind me.
"Pete, you can't just take off like that; I was worried!" I turned around to see the one person that I never thought I'd see again, the one person that I was trying to avoid.
I saw Adam.
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