A/N FINALLY! I got my Laptop up and running slightly. So so sorry for the long wait but I'm hoping to now have once a week updates for you! Thanks for sticking with the story so far guys! Enjoy more floof and a little of Anna's POV near the end of the chapter. Oh, TW for some slurs, but nothing too serious. Stay awesome - Tiff
EDIT: Realized I forgot to put that Anna's POV is the day before, it's set the same time as Chapter 2, so she doesn't have her sheet at the time. Fixed!
"Just be back for 9, I assume you're not having dinner then?"
"No, mum, I'll be having it at hers."
"Well, alright. Have fun dear! I want to hear all about it when you get back."
Ah mother, I'm glad it's just a straight answer with you rather then question after question.
After I gained permission from her, Anna and I were soon on our way to her home. She'd informed me it was in the rougher estates in the town, not too far from me, but not exactly in my direction. However the route she was taking me through was certainly familiar thanks to my walks. We passed the park where I sat last night, which was at the moment full of children playing. Of course, it was far earlier then my usual walking time, so it was expected.
I wonder what type of dog she has. I can see her being a small, yappy dog type. Maybe a Chihuahua, or a Pomeranian. Something that would fit into a handbag or something; assuming she even uses those.
We chatted a little whilst on the way to hers, about what we were up to the previous night. I'd managed to bring up that Hans was my cousin, after she told me of a tall ginger that wouldn't stop flirting with her. As soon as she mentioned the sideburns, I instantly knew it was him.
"He said in history he'd be seeing you, so I gave him your science sheet."
"Yeah, thanks for that. But your cousin is certainly very... forward."
"He is. Is it bad that I assumed all of you guys were the same?" I was rather hesitant about bringing this up. But she simply laughed, bringing her hand up to her hair.
"You mean you thought I was a sleep around?" I felt rather embarrassed when she asked this. As much as I wanted to tell her I didn't mean it in that way, it was exactly what was on my mind. She continued to smile however, looking ahead again. "Nah, a lot assume that. When you consider who I hang around with, I guess I give that impression. Trust me, they couldn't be any more wrong."
I hushed up after this. I didn't want to sound any worse, or come off as a judgmental bitch.
Plenty of time to make that fuck up.
She began to fiddle with her keys, unlocking the bottom lock of the door, then the top. From within, I could hear a shrill barking. That would be the dog. But it sounded so strangely familiar...
I'd know why instantly. As soon as she opened the door, we were greeted by the same white blur that greeted me on my walks. That same, smiling expression. There was no way it could be-
"Olaf! I missed you too boy." The redhead knelt to him, instantly stroking her hand through his thick white fur, tickling behind his hears, under his chin, all over. I felt a smile pull up against my lips as I gazed at their affections. It was great to see them both so happy. But soon enough Anna stepped aside, allowing me inside. "I'm pretty sure dad's in the living room. Just let me introduce you first then we'll head upstairs for a while, ok?"
"Oh, sure." Great, no escape from meeting the parents now. If her dad was rough, I wondered what her mother was like.
I followed her in, and soon enough we were within the dark living room, being light only by the dull light of a TV screen. As I suspected, sports would be on; specifically, football. Manchester United were playing I see. So this is what a normal, non-religious father watches on his Wednesday afternoons. Except her father was nowhere to be seen. Probably in the kitchen.
"So I'm back, and I have a friend, hope you don't mind!" Anna called happily, throwing her coat onto the chair the other side of the room.
"Does she know?" A rough voice called back. Yet another familiar tone. A voice I'd heard before, recently.
... Wait, what? Know what?
"No, she doesn't but I don't mind if she does!" The redhead instantly responded, rolling her eyes in my direction. I couldn't help but giggle, it seemed like a question she got all the time when she had a friend over. But I had no idea what would come next.
"She a new girlfriend then?"
I... What? Did I just hear that right?
"Not this time dad, just a friend."
No, I heard that right. Holy shit... Holy, shit. I did not see that coming at all.
With my family, my father in particular being as church driven as he is, if they ever had an inkling that I took an interest in the same sex I'd be thrown out, or at least have no end of corrective counselling. It was something completely new to me to be around people who treated it as nothing.
In fact, it got better.
"Fair enough, just don't queer up the house. But when it's you, it's a bit late for that." The man chuckled, walking out from the kitchen to rough up his daughter's hair. Soon his gaze turned to me, and instantly I knew why I recognised that voice. It was him, the same man who walked Olaf most nights, walking stick in hand, track suit bottoms, no leather jacket this time, but the balding hair was still there. He smiled when recognising me. "Well well! I had no idea you knew Anna here!"
My cheeks grew red as I looked down in embarrassment. I raised one hand to wave shyly. This was way more nerve wracking with Anna in my presence. Although her only response was to look at the two of us, head darting back and forth, before she pointed at me, whilst gazing at her father. "Wait wait, you know her?"
"Sure do! See her whenever I walk lil' Olaf here. You're usually sat on the swing, eh honey?"
I nodded shyly in response, before finally holding out my hand toward his, managing to battle my own anxiety to look up to meet his eyes with my own. "Elsa; it's nice to meet you officially, sir."
"Pleasure's mine darlin'! Any friend of gaylord here is a friend of mine. You can call me Phil." He reached to take my hand, tugging it roughly into a firm handshake; which soon ended as soon as Anna softly punched his shoulder.
"Gaylord is still here you know."
We worked for a good three hours before we'd built up enough of an appetite to venture out and get food. There were all kinds of places near hers; pizza, Chinese, Indian... My dad and I called this area the Health Inspector's bank. But I was in the mood for fish and chips. There is just something so satisfying about eating freshly cooked cod and chips in the brisk winter air.
We took our place on the bench by the park, not far from my usual seat on the swing, hungrily pecking at our food with our small wooden forks. The warmth wafting into the air as it carried the scent to our noses. I haven't had this for weeks, but it's a good meal every time.
I had by this point become a little more confident when talking to Anna. I suppose when I more or less became her private history teacher, that was simple enough. But now we were away from homework. It was me and her, seemingly friends.
Don't screw this up, Els. Your first friend, don't talk about something too stupid.
"Your dad's nice." Good start. "It's nice to see someone so open and playful about... that." And you've screwed it.
Not that it mattered. It got a smile out of the redhead, who's mouth was full of food at the time. She swallowed, before picking at her battered sausage with the fork. "Yeah, he's never been bothered about it. He and I are almost like best pals rather than parent and daughter, so we make jokes and stuff all the time. It's fun."
"I'll bet. My parents are just stupidly uptight. Mum's ok, but my dad..." I didn't want to finish the rest of that sentence. I don't think she'll want to hear about the whole homophobic parents thing. At least not now. I might as well change the subject a little. "So am I the only one who knows?"
"Actually, yeah. I don't tell Meg or Snow at all, else it'll spread like wildfire. I'd rather keep to their good sides, know what I mean?"
Is she seriously asking me this after the shit I get put through with them? But I nodded, forcing even more food into my mouth. If anything, I was just curious. God forbid if I ever spoke about anything like this in my home. "So... You have a girlfriend?"
"Nah. I'm single. Had a couple in the past, but nothing serious. It's just, messing around you know?"
So you are a sleep around then.
"But I don't see the problem. We're always safe, dad doesn't mind, it's fun, so why not? I'm just don't want a relationship right now."
... Way to think like a jerk, Elsa. I understood her point entirely, even though personally the idea of doing... that with someone I wasn't in love with kind of disgusted me. But hey, it's her life choice. Who do I think I am to judge her?
"What about you? Anyone you're dating or think is cute?"
I had to think about this question for a while. No, I didn't have a partner, that was for sure; but I never really thought about things like this. Some guys looked hot, had a nice figure but none were really attractive. Heck, women were just the same, some hot but none really stood out. I guess up until this point, I never really thought about anything like that. Least until this point.
I shook my head, swallowing more chips again, looking up aimlessly into the black sky. "No. No one exactly wants to date the straight A nerd. Heck, I don't even have any friends to be honest."
"So what would you call me then?" I could feel her stare upon me. The question filled me with nerves, so much so that I couldn't speak. I wasn't used to this at all. Asides from when I've been with my parents, or even Hans, no one has ever talked to me this much. It would be rude to not consider her a friend. But why would she want to be friends with someone like me?
"Look, I know a lot of people have been jerks to you, Elsa. But I mean it when I say, I want to be a friend to you. Not because I feel sorry for you, not just because you can help me in lessons, but genuinely because I think you're a nice person you know?"
I felt another tug at my lips a rather large goofy grin forming upon my face. Wow. She really does want to be friends, for a genuine reason. I would be lying if I said I wasn't flattered. Completely, and utterly flattered. I felt my cheeks glow red as I gazed back down at my food. I couldn't reply, but I think she got the message. That was the beginning of something completely new to me. A true friendship.
One day previously.
"Eh, not really my type. Uuuum... Pink? Or whatever her real name is."
"You're speakin' my language now."
Dad and I always had these conversations in the car. It passed the time, it was a laugh, why not? He could do with the laugh, especially considering where we were going. It was a common trek, to the hospital for a check up on his legs. But it constantly filled me with worry. Realistically, when his legs are in this state; and with me being a learner driver, I shouldn't be driving him. But what would the police know.
Dad was good at picking up on my feelings though. He could tell I was worried. Perhaps my lack of cartwheels was giving it away. "It's only a check up, darlin'. Nothing's happening to your ol' pa just yet."
I sighed, looking down slightly at the road. It wasn't the check up I was too worried about, it was that I never really knew what to say to him. I knew his legs weren't what they used to be, I knew they never would be again. I was saddened more for him then myself. But there were other things gnawing at my emotions, dragging me down. Things that remain unresolved.
Again, my dad could pick up on it. He was good at that. He placed his hand gently upon my shoulder, rubbing it soothingly. Thankfully not enough to distract me from driving.
"Look, I know times are tough right now; I know your mum always used to handle this stuff with my appointments, my medication all that shit. But you're doing such a great job. My little baby girl is all grown up, taking care of her pap'." I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I wanted to look at him, but I couldn't take my gaze off the road. We were almost there anyway.
"I'm so proud of you, Anna. We may act like we're the best of pals, take the piss out of one another till the ends of the earth; but I am proud to call you my daughter, understand?"
Here comes the river of tears. I let out a slight chuckle, allowing the tears to fall. We had arrived anyway, so I parked up to finally give him a long hug. I couldn't help but cry into his shoulder; there was so much on my mind. Our money troubles, mother's passing, his legs... It was all too much for me. Too much to handle. I'd been to the doctors previously about it and was put on medication, but not even all the pills in the world could fill the hole in my life that the worry left behind.
My dad finally let go, brushing the tears away from my eyes with his finger. He looked to me with a warm smile, tears welling in his own eyes. "I'll be back in an hour, tops. There's change in the glove box if you want to get yourself a coffee while you wait. And feel free to text your friends, sweetheart. I know you missed them today."
I smiled back in response, nodding to him in agreement as he finally got out the car, hobbling toward the hospital building with his stick in hand. My friends would more then likely reply, they never really cared enough about schoolwork. But still, I was curious as to the girl I was partnered up with in Science. Elsa. She seemed nice enough, nervous, but nice. There was something about her that just had be curious of her, but I could never put my finger on it.
I know the group I was with would constantly talk about her though. And never in a good light. "I swear her hair's never been washed, it's always in that same braid." "She spends her lunches in the library. How boring is that?" "I heard she goes to the teacher's houses after school for extra study work. Probably the only way she's getting A's if you know what I mean?"
The conversations ran through my head, more and more horrible words about a girl who was lovely to me in science class. But I wanted to get to know her more. It would be nice to have someone who wasn't as toxic as my group.
Well, she still has my science sheet. So I'll have to see her tomorrow.