Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 6
6

“I'm going to need my car keys back,” I said.

James and I were outside of the car talking while Brooke waited inside. We were at the Crystal Flower Hotel next to Blake High School. Crystal Flower was a strange name for a hotel, but it was exclusive. Only certain people got in. So, I didn’t know how James’s family had managed to live there.

James grinned. “Leaving so soon?” he asked.

“If you don’t remember, I have to make sure that she doesn’t go into depression,” I said, pointing at the car.

“Yeah, concerning that,” James said thoughtfully. “Should I still pick you up tomorrow?”

I looked at the back seat. Brooke was watching us.

“I think that we should wait until Brooke is in a condition to drive again.”

“One week. No more time,” James said. He frowned and cursed. “Make that four days.”

I looked at him surprised. His voice was hard and expression cold.

I laughed humorlessly. I wasn’t thrilled about it either. “I hope my head can hold for that long.”

“Yeah, so do I,” James said.

His cold expression remained and he sounded serious.

I walked closer. “I'm still going to need my keys,” I said, holding out my hand. We were so close. One move and we’d be making contact.

He smiled sadly. He put the keys in my hand without making a comment. Though, before I could walk away, he leaned down and kissed my forehead.

My eyes widened and I lost my balance. When he pulled away I looked up at him stunned.

“Take care—and stay near me,” he said, walking past me. One hand was in the pocket of his jeans and the other one brushing his hair back.

“Why do you want me to be near you?” I asked curious. I was still shocked and dizzy from that little display of affection.

He stopped walking and turned halfway around to look at me directly in the eye.

“I told you I'm not letting anything happen to you this time.” His expression was almost as sorrowful as his eyes. It made my chest hurt.

Before I could ask anything else, he walked inside the hotel.

I walked to the driver’s seat and opened the door. I sat down and was still for a minute. I was listening to my heart as it skipped beats and pounded faster than usual.

Brooke popped up. She was sitting next to me now.

“God, it’s like you don’t have a broken neck,” I said.

“He kissed you!” Brooke exclaimed. “Your first kiss!”

“He didn’t kiss me,” I argued.

“You’re in denial. I always expected this to happen.”

“He didn’t kiss me, okay?” I threw my hands up.

“Uh-huh. Then how come I can hear your heart beat from over here?”

I ignored her and sped off. Brooke kept running her mouth.

When she finally shut up, I said, “Brooke, any rumors you spread, any person you tell, anything you say about this, I’ll kill you. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll literally kill you.”

“Don’t make me promise anything,” she complained.

“You know what, never mind. There are enough rumors going around already.”

“Oh? What happened?”

“I got sick and he carried me to the nurse’s office, okay?” I said. I waited for Dexter to open the gate. Then I parked in my spot.

“Is he strong?” Brooke asked. She got out of the car and so did I.

“Yes. Oh, yeah, and his hair is silky soft and his lips taste like cherries.”

“Really?”

“No! Brooke, really just mind your own business.” I slammed the door closed and marched to the front door. I opened the door and walked in.

Brooke followed me as I went into the kitchen. Molly was in there with someone.

“Hey girls,” Molly greeted us, looking up from her guest.

“Hey, Mom,” I said, heading for the fridge. “Who’s this?”

“This is your Uncle Matthew.”

The guy turned around to look at me. He had short brown hair and dad’s golden eyes. His eyes were wise like James’s and Andrew’s. But there was something else in his glare. It was something that sent chills down my back. It was something…evil.

“I didn’t know I had an Uncle Matthew,” I said, taking out a soda and throwing another one to Brooke.

“I'm your father’s brother,” Matthew answered.

I ignored the tears that were threatening to shed and the way my stomach twisted uncomfortably.

I hadn’t had contact with my father’s family ever since he perished. Before that, I remember that Molly would talk to my grandparents, but I would never. Molly doesn’t like me being near people who remind me of him now. She also did not like them being near me before he died. She’d done a pretty good job of isolating me from half of my family until now.

Brooke was staring at me concerned, aware that my father was a delicate topic.

“He’s visiting us for your birthday,” Molly added. “He wanted to spend some time with you and catch up. That’s why he’s here so early.”

 “I haven't seen you since you were a baby, Lumex” said Matthew.

I nodded. “Mom, Brooke is recovering from an accident. She’ll be sleeping over for a week,” I said, looking at Molly.

“Sure. Just tell Celeste.”

“Well, excuse us,” I said, rushing out of the kitchen.

I ran upstairs and jumped on my bed. Brooke had run after me and was now watching me sadly as I lied sick on my bed. She turned on a light and walked towards me.

Brooke sat down next to me and said, “He wasn’t at the funeral, was he?”

I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. “Nobody cared about my father—his family didn’t care.”

“If they didn’t care about you guys, then why is he here?” Brooke rubbed my back in comfort.

“I don’t know, but Molly doesn’t even like them. She’s kept me away from them ever since I was a baby. I don’t even know my grandparents. They weren’t even at the funeral. Only Molly’s side of the family had attended.”

“But now you have the opportunity to meet them,” Brooke said. “I mean think about it. First it’s your uncle, and then it’s your aunt. Then, who knows? The rest of the family maybe,” she sighed.

“I don’t want to know them. If they don’t care about my father, then they don’t care about me.”

“Lumex, look, you have a chance to change things here. You can change things in your family. You’re lovable and anyone who meets you will want to get to know you better. They’ll want to get to know the sweet, loving, generous, thoughtful, and trusting person you are.” She stopped and exhaled. “I wish I had this opportunity. I'm jealous of you. In my family, you drink, you cheat, you get divorced, and then it happens all over again. If I could change that I would. I mean, my parents are very close to the divorce part. It’s probably going to happen to me too.”

“It won’t happen to you. You’re a better person than any of them. But I'm different; I don’t want to get close to anyone,” I said stubbornly. “I don’t want to get hurt when something goes wrong. I don’t want to take the risk.”

“Lumex, sometimes you just have to take a chance.”

I looked up at Brooke.

“You have so much to offer the world,” Brooke continued. “Your heart is full of love and you’re strong. You think about other people. You put everyone before yourself. Why can’t you give that to your own blood?”

“Don’t say blood. My father’s image is enough,” I said. I took deep breaths and shoved away the image.

“Just give them a chance,” Brooke sighed. “You should give James a chance too.”

I looked down at my bedspread embarrassed.

“I think he likes you,” Brooke continued. “And I'm pretty sure you like him back. I mean, the way you two look at each other, it’s like you’ve been together forever. Like you’ve seen a million sunsets together and you’ll see a million more. I’ve never seen that in anyone. I’m jealous of that too,” she admitted. She looked away, lost in thought, her expression sad.

“Brooke….” I said sadly. I didn’t know what to reply. I wanted her to be happy, sure, but I couldn’t help her with this. James and I, we’d just casually found each other. It wasn’t planned.

She snapped out of it and jumped up. “Anyway, you promised me some lobster and I want to eat now.”

I laughed. “Do you want to go out and get it or risk the chances of food poisoning from my cooking? Will is probably sleeping by now.”

“I think that my answer is obvious.” She walked over to my closet.

“What are you doing?” I asked, following her inside.

She was looking through some dresses. “I want to go to a five star restaurant. You pay, of course. But I'm not going like this. I mean, I just got out of the hospital.” She flipped her big hair back and grabbed a dress.

I rolled my eyes.

The next morning, Brooke and I got ready for school and then went down for breakfast.

“I really don’t get it, how do you stay so thin?” Brooke asked.

“I don’t know. It runs in the family or something, I mean really, sticks!” I exclaimed as we entered the kitchen.

Matthew was sitting at the table with the newspaper and a cup of coffee. He looked up as we entered.

“Morning,” he greeted.

“Hey,” we said at the same time.

Brooke and I sat down and grabbed a piece of toast.

“So, did we have any homework?” Brooke asked.

“It was the first day of school, for crying out loud,” I said. I took a bite. “Hey, when do you have history?”

“I think sixth period. Why? Do you need me to calm you down before you explode?” she teased.

“No. But I sat down in the wrong seat.”

“Why? It can’t be that bad.” She sipped her orange juice.

I lifted my right hand. “James,” I lifted my left hand, “Demetrius.”

“Wow!” she exclaimed. “That’s bad.”

“Well I wasn’t feeling very good at the time. I’d been talking to the Barbie doll before that,” I rolled my eyes.

“Speaking of the Barbie dolls, what are we going to do about them this year?” she asked. “I mean, with James, Claire’s going to try and annihilate you.”

I smiled. “Same as we do every year. We’re going to get them after they get us so we’ll look innocent.”

She laughed. “Last year was awesome! It should be a classic.”

I laughed. “I think that this year we should go all mud on them.” I looked around the table. “Where’s Molly?” I asked Matthew.

“She had to leave early. Fashion designing and all that,” Matthew said.

“Oh. Anyway, we should get moving,” I said, standing up. “I have to talk to James.” We walked out to the lobby with an apple in our hands.

“Oh, official boyfriend girlfriend stuff?” Brooke asked mockingly

“You know that he’s not my boyfriend. And if you spread any rumors I’ll rip your head off.”

“I won’t. I promise.”

“Uh-huh. I'm going to have to keep my eyes on you,” I said as we grabbed our bags and walked to my Camaro. I had to lend Brooke a backpack.

We got in and I started the car. I waited for the gates to open and sped off to school.

“I really don’t know why you don’t wear these clothes,” Brooke said, checking herself in the small compact mirror.

“Because I don’t like looking like a daffodil,” I snorted. “It’s more you.”

Brooke sighed. “I swear your sense of fashion is so different. So…what’s the right word? So unique,” she decided. “I mean, it’s like a mixture of the tough kid, a rocker, punk, a little tomboy, and still feminine. But I wouldn’t go so far as to call you scene.”

“Is that a compliment?” I asked, looking for a parking space.

“I don’t know. It’s just weird. I mean, you don’t see anyone dressed like that, dressed with more than one style. I mean, it’s either they dress preppy or Goth. Tomboy or nerd. No gaps in between.”

“You lost me,” I said.

I made a U-turn and parked in a spot next to a tree. We were about ten minutes early and the car loop was filled already. I was hoping for an easy parking space because of the tardy kids and all the new freshmen.

“You have a different style. Maybe you could start a new trend.”

I rolled my eyes. “Okay.”

We got out of the car and headed towards our lockers. We separated our ways and I walked towards my locker. I put in my combination and stared bored.

A dead rat was placed in the center of my locker. It was on top of my history binder.

I sighed and shook my head. “Rookies,” I mumbled.

I slammed the locker door closed and went to the girl’s bathroom. After grabbing some paper towels I went back to my locker. I opened it and grabbed the dead rat by the tail with the paper towels. I slammed the locker closed again and walked to the corner.

“Nice try,” I said.

Claire and her other Barbie dolls were looking at me wide eyed and angry. I grabbed Claire’s hand and put the dead rat in her hand. She screamed.

“Have fun.” Walking back to my locker, I threw away the paper towels in a trash can near a classroom door.

It was funny. They were still screaming and probably throwing the rat back and forth. I opened my locker and got out my history binder. I looked at it, brushing away strands of short gray hair.

“Hey,” someone said from behind me.

I turned around to find James leaning against the locker next to me.

“Hi.” I blushed. Yesterday he’d taken me by surprise. “What’s up?”

“Well, remember how I said I had to fly in some people before explaining my letter to you?” He asked. I nodded. “Well, they’re arriving Friday, so make sure that Brooke can drive safely.”

I closed my locker and smiled. “Is that all you care about? Your letter?” I asked. “What about Brooke? You haven't asked if she’s okay.”

He looked upset. “I know she’s okay. It’s you I'm worried about.”

I flushed. “Thanks, I guess.” I thought of yesterday when he had handed me my car keys. It hasn’t been four days yet. It’s barely called a day.

“Speaking of Brooke, where is she?” James asked, looking around.

“Locker,” I shrugged. “We can go see her if you want.”

James took a step forward. He brushed back a strand of hair from my face. “I’d rather be with you.” He glanced around. “It’s actually safer for you to be near me.”

“Explain later,” I said. “I just want to get school over with. My uncle is visiting and he wants to spend some quality time with me,” I rolled my eyes. “But I figured that the sooner I spend time with him, the sooner he’ll leave.”

James looked surprised. “Do you always treat your family like that?”

“No. But I don’t really want to get attached to him,” I shrugged. I realized my mistake a minute after I said it. I was revealing too much.

“Why? He’s your family, isn’t he?”

I swallowed hard. “Remind me to tell you about my fifth birthday one day.”

“Cockcrow!” someone screamed from behind me.

I sighed and turned around. Claire was marching towards us. Her hair was a mess, she looked like she was going to vomit, and she was furious.

“Did you like my little gift?” I asked.

“You messed with the wrong person! That rat was supposed to freak you out! You were supposed to run away screaming!” Claire yelled.

“Yeah, how did that work out for you?”

She screamed. “And get away from him! He’s mine!” she exclaimed, shoving me away from James. Claire hugged James’s arm and that was the last straw.

I gained my balance and grinded my teeth. “You’re dead meat,” I growled. Then, I smiled and dropped it. “You like mud masks, don’t you?” I smiled, evilly again. Claire looked at me warily. “You’re going to get one very soon.”

“You see, James?” Claire said, sounding innocent. She looked up at James with puppy dog eyes. My mouth dropped open. “She really hates me. She’s so mean.”

“James, you can’t possibly believe her!” I exclaimed angrily.

James smiled at me. “Claire, I saw you put the rat in Lumex’s locker,” he said. He grabbed her hand and took it off his arm. Then he walked next to me and put a hand on my shoulder.

“Then that means that you saw her throw it at me too, right?” Claire asked hopefully.

“I hate to say it, but you had it coming. I don’t like pranks.”

“But—!” Claire exclaimed.

James lifted a hand to stop her. Then, he turned to look at me. “Lumex, you should come over and meet everyone on Friday. I already cleared everything up with my sisters.”

I sighed, relieved. “Thanks. I’ll take you up on that offer.” I looked at Claire with a mocking grin.

“Well. Anyway, let’s go,” James said, walking past me.

“To first period?” I guessed, looking at him.

He turned to look at me and shook his head. “Harmony and Giselle want to see you.”

“Oh.” I followed after him. I stopped halfway and looked at Claire. Her mouth was hanging wide open. “Two things; one, close your mouth. You’ll kill the poor passing by flies with your breath. Secondly, I’d watch my back if I were you. Things are about to get dirty.”

With that said, I ran to catch up to James. Claire looked scared. She should be. This year, things were personal. She’d made it personal when she flirted with James yesterday.

I looked up at him suspiciously. “I don’t like pranks?” I snorted. “What were you really up to?”

“Lumex, I told you. I like you. I don’t like anyone to prank you. You’ll just have to get used to that,” James said.

“As long as you don’t get in between my fights, I'm okay with it.”

“I'm going to protect you. I'm not going to stop you from pulling pranks on people.”

“That’s fine.” I analyzed wheat he had said, finding a flaw.

We passed the bathrooms and went into history class.

I looked at James puzzled. “I thought you said that Harmony and Giselle wanted to talk to me.”

“They do. But you have other, more important people to meet right now,” James said, pulling out my chair for me.

I sighed and shook my head. “You—” I began complaining. I stopped myself before things could get out of hand. “I don’t need you to hold doors open for me or put your coat on the ground because it’s wet. I can take care of myself.” I sat down.

“I'm not promising anything about that,” James said, sitting down. “You either get used to it or suffer in silence.”

I thought about it for a minute. “I’ll suffer in silence.”

James chuckled.

“Lumex,” Demetrius said, walking up from behind James.

I looked up at him. I didn’t feel like being mad, instead I was happy for some reason.

I almost laughed when I saw him, though. He was wearing a black button down shirt that was unbuttoned at the top and buttoned down until the last three buttons. He was wearing jeans that were so tight they were almost skinny jeans. His hair was stylishly messy and he had one hand in his pocket and the other carrying his books. He had a lazy smile and his eyes were dangerous.

I had never thought of Demetrius as the kind who really cared about his reputation. But now, it was like he was making an effort to live up to his cool, bad boy status. I had always thought of him to be the kind of guy that wouldn’t care what people thought of him, whether it was bad or good. I had always thought of him to be more like me in that sense. But, I guess that the one thing I thought we had in common, the one thing I saw that made me enjoy his presence, was just an illusion.

“Hey, Demetrius,” I greeted. “What’s up?”

“You sure seem happy.” Demetrius sat down next to me.

“And how would you know whether I'm happy or not?”

“I'm just saying that you looked so depressed yesterday, and today you’re…glowing.”

“So what, yesterday I was ugly?”

“No. I didn’t—”

“I know,” I smiled. “I'm just playing around.”

“Yeah, I was meaning to ask about that,” James said.

I turned to stare into his gray eyes. They were still the saddest eyes I’d ever seen in my whole life. “What?” I asked.

“What was up with the make-up?” he continued. “You didn’t wear it on the plane ride and you didn’t seem to know how to take it off.”

I blushed. “I’ll tell you later.”

“Speaking of later,” Demetrius said. “Why don’t you join me and some friends for a movie?”

“I'm sorry, Demetrius,” I smiled apologetically at him. “I have plans for quite some time. But you know what my answer would have been one way or another.”

“Is it about your uncle?” James asked.

I nodded.

“We have to make some plans, or Molly will give me the silent treatment for who knows how long, and then I have to meet up with someone about my birthday party. Molly wants to go all masquerade dances on me this year,” I rolled my eyes.

James looked sad and angry. I looked at him confused and hurt.

“Just promise me that you’ll have something sharp and wooden near you,” he pleaded.

“Uh…” I didn’t know how to respond. All my brain had to offer was one word: vampire.

“Well, then, why don’t you eat at my table during lunch?” Demetrius offered, ignoring my conversation with James.

“I—” I started.

“She can’t,” James interrupted. He was looking at Demetrius coldly. “She’s sitting with me. I was supposed to introduce her to someone.”

“James—” I was cut off again.

“I’ll sit with you guys,” Demetrius challenged.

“Over my dead body,” James narrowed his eyes.

“You aren’t so far away from it,” Demetrius added.

“Hey!” I cut them off. “It’s kind of my opinion that goes!”

James watched Demetrius warily and Demetrius did the same to James. It was like they were mortal enemies. Strange, considering they just met—or had they?

“Demetrius, I'm sorry. I'm going to sit with James,” I said apologetically. “He has some things to explain.”

James smiled happy from his victory.

I looked back and forth at them as I spoke. I noticed, now that even though they dressed differently—James had laid back and cool style and Demetrius had bad boy clothing—they have the same eyes, the same vigor. Green against gray and still they morphed together and got the same intensity. Like they had seen the world and they understood everything going on in it. As if they had seen and suffered the same things. As if they knew that everything happened for a reason and understood why. And those kind of eyes—that emotion—doesn’t just come and go. It shows that they’ve been through a lot. It says that they’ve matured and that they’re ready to take on the world.

I have no clue how I know that or how I recognize it, but I know that it’s true. I have a feeling that this has all happened before. It’s a feeling that I can understand the emotion behind eyes like those because I’ve lived through the same things that they have. As if I’ve seen and felt the exact same as them. It’s a feeling like no other.

“And, James, I’ve told you I don’t know how many times now; I can take care of myself. And you shouldn’t be getting involved in my fights.” I continued talking as I tried to figure some things out.

 Everything in my life was becoming very complicated. Everything had its own little story that needed to be told. And when every story was told, I would know everything I needed to get through this lifetime unharmed.

James narrowed his eyes and said, “This isn’t a prank. I only promised to stay out of those fights.” He turned to look at the blackboard just as Mrs. Dashwood stood up and began calling attendance.

James has good timing. I can’t even give a comeback. I'm still going to sit next to him, though. Not because he has to introduce me to someone, but because I like being near him. He makes me feel safe…happy. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I love him even if it’s only been two days. Maybe that’s why I’d trust him with my life. Or maybe I'm just dumb. Maybe it’s just an illusion because he’s the first person I’ve ever felt so strongly about. Maybe I like how the ground disappears from under me or how my head spins and my heart races when we touch. Maybe I'm just that strange. So strange that instead of having little hearts floating around me I feel like this when I love someone. Or maybe I'm just—

“Here,” I said when my name was called.

—Maybe I'm just in love.


 

 

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