Entry 2 - Guilty (not-so) Pleasures
4th day of Winter/year 509
"You know it'll be OK, don't you? Toby's a tough guy." Tommy tells me, making me jump - I thought I was alone.
"How come you're here?" I avoid Toby being a subject.
Tommy laughs. "I figured you'd be here."
"And you want to see me because?"
"Well, just to talk or whatever. I should've been there when you were with them. Why were you late out?"
"How did you know I'd be in Drama, at school even, on a Saturday, at 7pm?"
He grabs a chair that was left on the side of the stage, and drags it to the centre, next to mine.
"We're friends, aren't we?"
"Yeah, of course." My heart flutters slightly. Shut up, heart.
"Well, a friend should know next to everything about their friends."
"And what is next to everything exactly?"
"Their favourite colour, their favourite number, their likes and dislikes. Where they go when they're depressed."
"What makes you think I'm depressed?"
"Mandy said she wanted to talk to you but she didn't know where you were."
"Oh, so you know everything about me and Mandy doesn't?"
"Well you don't know everything about me."
"Favourite colour; pale green, favourite number; 13, likes; drama, dislikes; french. Where you go when you're depressed, or confused; right here."
I roll my eyes and slouch back in my chair.
"What's wrong? Seriously."
I look up at him. His eyes are honest-looking. Does that make a difference? Will he tell anyone?
I think all girls look down on me either shamefully or sympathetically in the next few moments.
"Miss kept me back that day because she thinks I'm in love with you."
There is something wrong with me. I still can't believe I said that. But he had to know.
No he didn't. I'm just an idiot.
Tommy's pause makes me feel awkward. His reply wasn't worth the wait;
I inwardly laugh. "But that doesn't mean I am."
"Oh yeah, no. That's just Miss, she's old." We half-heartedly laugh until an awkward silence falls upon us, yet again.
"Or does it?"
"She's old. Wise? I don't know. I can't say I'd be sad if you wanted to be more than friends."
"But that can't happen."
"I know!" I say, a bit too over-emotionally.
"You're sorry?" I say, a bit too scornfully, an wipe away tears that haven't even come yet.
"If this wasn't our world...just, let's say we were in another world. Where you could choose. There's this guy called Tommy."
I smile but then stop as it fully dawns me that we could never be together.
"There's a guy called Tommy here, too, funnily enough." I say, getting annoyed.
"He's in love. He's got a girlfriend - don't worry, it's her he's in love with. This world is free, they can do whatever. They can be in love. And they are."
"Now I'm sorry. I've just got to go." I abruptly stand up and shove my chair away, grab my bag and run. Tommy is slightly shocked but he regains his composure as my hand meets the door. I open it and his words stop me.
"Her names Bailey." I turn around, and notice that the imaginary tears are now real.
"Don't. You could've stopped at saying something like 'I love you too'. Or whatever. But don't make up fantasies. Not-. just...oh." I turn back and run. I hear chairs squeaking and doors slamming. I know he's coming after me. Damn him, why does he have to be the better runner?
His hand is suddenly there, yanking my arm. The motion spins me to face him.
"You've got it better." He says.
"You've only just realized you have a forbidden love. Impossible love. I realized that years ago."
"How do you know I've only just realized it? How do you know this is just my first time saying it aloud?"
He laughs at my suggestion. "You're too obvious about things that you think break the rules."
"That's not true."
"I climb the tree nearly every day. No-one knew about that until Toby disappeared."
"That was a shared secret."
"What do you-" I was going to say 'what do you mean?' but he cuts me off by stepping closer.
I'm almost as tall as him so I just have to look straight ahead to see his eyes. But I don't look straight ahead, I look up. As he had stepped closer the first raindrop of the second Winter this year landed on my head.
The sky seems to erupt with rain, but I barely notice.
"Tomorrow, this won't have happened."
"Agreed," I said, whilst taking a step back. But he takes another step forward, knowing what I was thinking.
"Or this;" He says and I get my first kiss. This wasn't what it was supposed to be like. I was supposed to turn 14, have my perfect chosen one be given to me and he would be better than I had ever hoped. He would tell me that he loved me even though we had just met and I wouldn't care that he had been chosen for me. But this is what I got. I was 12 (nearly 13), in the rain, at school, on a Saturday night, with a boy that I love, and even though I think I didn't really want to kiss him because I'd end up wanting more, I kissed him back.
I remember listening to my mum read me myths as bedtime stories when I was younger. My favourite one was one where there was a land of no adults; just children, and all they ever ate was this thing called chocolate. It was hot, brown, sticky, felt like thick mud. Sounds disgusting, I know. They never had it as actual food, they said it was melted. When the taste was described though, I craved it so much. The closer thing I have to it is sugar. What a let down.
But that, that kiss...that's what I imagine sweet, hot, melted chocolate tastes like.
Then I get the taste of my tears, salty but light.
I pull myself away from it all, and stare at Tommy.
"I meant what I said. I have to go."
"I meant what I said. Tomorrow we have to forget about this."
I turn and run and slip and slide; the rain has made everywhere muddy. As I finally reach the gate of the school, I look back. Tommy is still where we kissed. (The Drama block is the only center block that is visible from the front.) He's facing the other way and I feel a jolt of guilt.
Why? I didn't kiss him. He kissed me.
The next day at school was torture. I couldn't look Tommy in the eye. Mandy asked me what was wrong; which was pretty ironic since she was the one with the shock problem or whatever they called it. I couldn't focus on any of my work, I kept getting distracted by two things: the absence of Toby; and the feeling of Tommy staring at me from behind or to the side. (Depending on what class we were in.)
At one point, in History, my teacher asked me a question that I hadn't heard. I pretended to not even realize she had asked me anything, so she would repeat. But instead, she just said;
"Bailey, if you don't think that the teachings of Caesar are important, then you can leave my class room this instance." I was more then tempted to tell her that it wasn't her classroom, it was the school's, but I felt as if I was in enough trouble - even though no-one knew about Tommy.
"I'm sorry, miss, I do, I just wasn't listening, miss." She looked at me coldly then repeated her question.
"Is it true what the wastelanders say?"
"What do the wastelanders say?"
Miss sighed; "The wastelanders say that Caesar being our first leader is a myth. Really he is some ancient leader from a world beyond living memories."
"The wastelanders are obviously talking nonsense-"
"Don't start your sentence with because."
I nearly eye-rolled. "The wastelanders are obviously talking nonsense because they are wastelanders. Mad people who broke the law, they now seek for ways to destroy those of us that maintain all laws."
"Very good answer, . Pay more attention next time."
Mandy, who was sitting two to my left, smiled and seemed to reassure herself that any problems I had in the morning were non-existent or petty and now faded.
To keep check on me, she asked me another question a few minutes later but I had learnt from my mistake and had decided to concentrate...or at least partly.
"Caesar's rule over Rome was a long one. He, unfourtantly, died at the young age of 93. How did he die, Bailey?"
"He died of one of the last surviving forms of Cancer, known as Head Cancer. Julius is the last recorded person to have such disease. It was caused by habits of drinking and certain genetics un-available in public records. His personal doctor found out too late, as Caesar insisted in the early stages that he was pain-free and his sudden weight loss was due to exercise. Scientists found the cure two weeks after Julius' passing."
"Well done." She still had no smile on her dreary and badly aged face, but I could tell my detail had impressed her.