The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I was in a grumpy mood. Why, you ask? Because I couldn't find TJ.
Ugh. Tell me, why was it so hard to keep track of a singular girl?
When I woke up again and found an empty spot next to me, I immediately checked the closest bathroom. I mean, she HAD been drunk last night, regardless of the type of drink. She might have been throwing up the contents of her stomach for all I knew.
But she wasn't there.
I went to the kitchen next, then the guest bedroom I had originally sent her to, and even peeked into Amy's room.
Disgruntled with my wasted efforts, I sighed and figured it would probably turn out okay. I mean, my house was nowhere near hers so she couldn't have walked home or anything. She was probably just exploring.
Or at least, that's what I thought before trying to enter the bathroom, the same bathroom I had already checked.
"You've got to be kidding me," I muttered.
I was about to rap on the door when I heard an exclamation of pain from the other side.
"OW! God-jam it! Come on. Easy does it. You like me, right? Then fudging get in the eyeball!"
…What the fuck? Who was she talking to?
"Why me? Why did I succumb to the greatness that is orange juice? And why did I end up in Cooper's bed, of all places?! Besides that, why do I even associate myself with him? Perry always says not to talk to strangers, and Cooper's the strangest of all! I'll never forget the first time we met, although I'll keep trying."
My eye twitched.
Excuse me, what did she just say about me?
"You know, darling. I thought he would be more than the rumors. After all, he did defend me and all. But turns out I was wrong. He's another plaything to be toyed with, just as most girls do with him as they do him. Hehe."
My eye twitched. Again.
I'm a WHAT now?
"Or should I call him a used rag? I mean, he's been with almost every girl at Pelikan High. Cleaning up their hormonal urges one by one! Must be no easy task. It's almost like a full-time job, you know?"
She did not. Oh, she did not say what I think she did.
"Except Cooper is Cooper. At this point in his life, he couldn't hold a job even if he tried. He's only got lust on repeat. Makes me wonder if there's much substance to the boy… huh. Guess not."
That's it. She's dead.
One minute I was enraged with enough power to barge down the unlocked bathroom door, the next I was gaping stupidly as her eyes widened and her lips parted in horror.
I had finally found TJ. Unfortunately, I had found her in a disheveled state of dress. Or undress, I should say.
That's when I also found myself with a bright red handprint on my left cheek.
I cradled my cheek with one hand, glaring at TJ as best I could. "Why are you always hitting me with something? Are you a sadist?"
"Hmm…" TJ put her finger to her lips in contemplation. "That would be an interesting plot element, but no. No, I am not. But you absolutely must be a masochist."
"What in God's name makes you say that?!"
TJ grinned. "You're always doing something that makes me punish you. Like right now. Who even walks into an occupied bathroom these days?"
I turned red. "Well, you were the one who was talking shit about me!"
"THEN MIND YOUR LANGUAGE!"
I sighed as TJ put her book away. "Where have you been? I woke up an hour ago and searched everywhere I thought you might be. You weren't in the bathroom when I first looked."
"I went to see your dad in his study first."
"Oh, that—" I paused when what she said finally registered. "You went to see who again?"
"My dad," I repeated. "My dad. You… you mean, MY dad?"
"Yeah, yeah!" TJ said excitedly. "Tim Zin! I noticed there were a pair of glasses on his desk when we went to visit him that day. It made me wonder if he wore contacts or anything in lieu of them. Turns out he does. Isn't that great?"
I decided not to voice my confusion. "Yeah. Terrific."
"Anyways, your dad lent me some contact solution for my own contacts. They've been bothering me."
I did remember her mentioning something about contact lenses to Amy when they first met.
"Were your contacts the reason you were crying in your sleep?"
"Wow. Cooper has the ability to put two and two together."
And that's when the reality of the situation finally hit me.
"YOU TALKED TO MY DAD WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST?"
TJ tilted her head. "Uhh… yes? Is that what we were talking about?"
"Don't worry too much," said TJ, smiling. "Your dad was a bit surprised to see me, but I think he was also a little pleased. Seeing me in your house just reiterates the fact that we're dating which, to him, means you've turned over a new leaf."
I felt happy and guilty at the same time.
Happy for pleasing my dad in that short moment.
Guilty for deceiving him in the grand scheme of things.
I looked over at TJ, who was glancing around with avid interest. What she saw in my house, I wouldn't know. Sure, it was grander than normal, but still. At the end of the day, architecture was architecture.
"So are we going to pretend that the bathroom scene didn't occur?"
TJ's eyes finally met mine again as she flushed pink. "You just mentioned it, didn't you?" She sighed. "Look, it's fine. I mean, it's not like I was naked or anything. Just… half."
To be fair, she was correct. Her jeans had been pulled up to her knees and the buttons on her shirt were left open. I probably could've peeked at the bra she wore, but I hadn't had the chance. All I'd seen were her creamy legs and stomach before I'd been slapped.
Pity. It was always a bonus to see some cleavage.
I raised a brow when I saw TJ picking at her sleeve. "Are you wondering what you covered your clothes in last night?"
"Nope," said TJ. "I'm pretty sure it's eggs and ketchup. Not a bad combination, if I do say so myself. I'm simply worried about the stains."
"Why'd you put your clothes back on anyways? They haven't been washed yet."
TJ smiled. "I can't keep wearing your sister's clothes. I don't want to take advantage of you guys all because I couldn't help myself from the forbidden drink."
I rolled my eyes. "Amy wouldn't have minded. And why are you being nice now? You were literally just roasting me a little while ago. Multiple times, if I'm not wrong."
TJ chuckled. "Well, duh. How else am I supposed to pass the time?"
"I thought you said I wasn't half-bad."
"Oh, really? And when did I ever say that?"
"Fuck, I don't know. Chapter fifteen maybe?"
"YOU CAN'T JUST CURSE AND BREAK THE FOURTH WALL IN ONE GO!"
"YOU KNOW WHAT, WOMAN? I JUST DID."
TJ groaned. "Look, I only said that because of my bruise. Last night, however, you were willing to abandon your morals and fornicate. We are here today because of your egregious flaw that is your inability to keep your anatomy away from females and their—"
"Don't finish that sentence. Please."
TJ smirked. "Know what I think? I think I'm one of the few who you will never be able to successfully get to like you for who you are."
I frowned. "You don't know me."
"True, but I know the person you pretend to be. It's a facet of the real you."
"So you're saying you will never ever gain a crush on me, or even remotely like me because of the person I am or have become?"
TJ grinned. "Correctamundo."
Twas the night before December when our heroine realized something important.
OH, LORD OF THE HEAVENS ABOVE. IT WAS ALMOST DECEMBER!
In the eyes of the average high schooler, that meant three things.
2. The Big Game.
3. The Winter Ball.
GUYS. I WROTE.
I SWEAR, IT'S ALL ACIE'S FAULT.
If the next chapter doesn't come soon, you'll know I've become normal again :)
Next Chapter: Dress Shopping