Iridescent and Dazzling
Hello everyone! So, I absolutely LOVE the book and movie Flipped. And I decided to check out its fanfiction. I'm glad I did, because I really love everything I've been reading. I also decided to try my own hand at writing fanfiction for Flipped. So here goes, please read and review. I'd love to hear what you guys think.
Note: Chapter names will tell which person's POV it will from. For example, this chapter, Starting Over, will be denoted as Starting Over (B) to signify that it is from Bryce's POV, as a chapter from Juli's POV will be denoted (J).
Disclaimer: Flipped and all of its plot, characters, and settings belong to its marvelous author Wendelin Van Draanen. I own nothing nor do I make any profit from this story. Thank you.
She waved back. It was a slight and unsure, but it was more than I could've hoped for. Making my way back to my room, I tried to feel optimistic about Juli, but I just couldn't. I had screwed up so often, I was sure she was done with me. She had chased me for six years, six years, and I had wasted them by being a coward, and a jerk. Instead of seeing the beautiful person she had always been, I'd been too worried about appearances. That disgusted me more than anything, because it was exactly how my father behaved. And sadly, he wasn't someone I wanted to emulate. I can't change the fact that I look exactly like him, but I can try my hardest to be a better person than he is. Starting now.
Dinner started out as a normal affair that night. Granddad was still feeling over the moon about my feelings for Juli, so he was happy to praise my mother's cooking.
"These mashed potatoes are magnificent, Patsy. Did you use a new gravy recipe, perhaps?" My mother beamed at him and replied "As a matter of fact, yes Dad. Thank you for noticing. It's a cheese and chicken flavor blended together."
Lynetta scowled and muttered "As if chicken and cheese is healthy for you."
My mother ignored her. I glanced at her, and then stared down at my own untouched food. The baked chicken, mashed potatoes and peas lay there, unappetizingly. I wasn't hungry. All I could do was think about Juli and wonder what she was doing. I wondered if she would ever talk to me again. I really needed to see her, but it was best to give her space.
I was quiet, broodingly so, but then so was my father. That was strange, normally he was bellowing away about his job at the office, but right now, he was quiet. Almost too quiet. I glanced up from my plate to find him watching me steadily, our identical blue eyes staring right at each other, his searching, mine confused. Why was he watching me? Shrugging, I stared back at my food. I wasn't going to ask him. If he had something to say, then he should just come out and say it.
My mother must've noticed the awkward tension between my father and I. Glancing back and forth between us; she asked my father "Rick, is something wrong? You're unusually quiet." She turned to me and asked "Bryce, sweetie, is there anything wrong? You haven't touched your food." I sighed and started to shake my head.
My father took this as his cue. "Well, Patsy, I for one would like to know about Bryce's basket boy lunch. Wouldn't you? You made a fancy lunch for him, and he never even told us how it went. I'm curious, aren't you?" I dropped my fork and my head snapped up. I looked at my father, wide-eyed. He knew. I don't know how he knew, but he knew exactly what had happened between Juli and me at that lunch. Bummer.
My grandfather stopped eating and looked at me, to see what I would do. My mother and sister eyed me curiously, sensing the hidden animosity behind my father's words. Shakily, my mother told me "You never did mention it, honey. Would you like to share?" She glanced at my father whose eyes were narrowed, staring at me. She turned to me again, gesturing for me to tell the family.
The first thing that came to my head was 'No, I don't want to tell you, because it isn't any of your business, and you'll think I'm weird for liking her.' But instead, I shrugged and glanced at my grandfather. He seemed to shrink behind the rest of the family, but he was still more interested in my reaction than anyone else. It was almost like a test, but I didn't understand why. So I thought back to the conversations I'd had with him, the rare, but wisdom filled exchanges we'd shared with each other. Then my conversation with Juli came back, the one where she'd called me a coward. The one where she told me she had heard me laughing with Garret, instead of being honest with him, and telling him his retard jokes were not only not funny, they were cruel. Then, it dawned on me. My grandfather wanted me to tell them. He wanted me to be honest, and true to myself, like I had never been before. Most importantly, I think he wanted me to stand up to my father, who seemed sure that I would lie and cower beneath his stare.
But I wouldn't cower, not this time. If I was ever going to be with Juli Baker, then my family, especially my father needed to see that I was serious about her.
Sitting up straight, I looked right into my father's eyes and said "The basket boy lunch was going well, until my two dates got involved in a catfight. While they were fighting, I went over to Juli Baker's table, where she was having lunch with Jon Trulock, grabbed her hand, asked her if she liked Jon, and then tried to kiss her. She rejected me then ran off. I've been trying to get her to talk to me for the last two days. I'm the one who planted that tree for her."
My mother gasped. Lynetta stared at me with her raccoon eyes, Granddad smiled and nodded appreciatively. My father scowled deeply.
"Why did you try to kiss that girl?" He asked me. I gritted my teeth and responded "I tried to kiss Juli because I like her. A lot. I like her so much that I was willing to plant a Sycamore tree for her, because she loved that tree that you called ugly. She loved it. And I wanted her to be able to remember that tree, so she could remember how she felt when she was climbing it. So much that when I'm around her, I can't help but want to kiss her because she's so beautiful." I finished solidly.
Lynetta rolled her eyes and said "Beautiful? Do we see the same girl?" I glared at her and said "You wouldn't understand. Juli's just… she's just different. Warmer, brighter. And I really li—"
"I forbid it." My father interrupted. My stomach dropped. He what?
My mother and grandfather both looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
"Rick! You can't possibly be serious. Julianna is a wonderful young lady. She's very intelligent and hard-working. It would be perfectly fine if Bryce saw her." My mother said reassuringly. She smiled at me. A real, genuine smile that told me she accepted Juli as well.
"Patsy, that family is no good! Drug dealing teenage boys! A daughter who raises chickens and climbs trees. A father so lazy his daughter is doing the work he is supposed to do. She's related to a retard. Does that mean nothing to you, son? She'll never be normal." My mother's eyes widened in horror at his words, Lynetta scowled and left dinner with a scathing glare over her shoulder at Dad.
Angry now, I didn't take care to temper my words. "I don't want normal! I've had normal! I want her! And I'll be whatever she needs me to be for as long as she wants. You can't keep me from seeing her." I told him, steaming mad. I had never ever thought about hitting my father, but his words were too much. He was worse than Garret, who I still wasn't speaking to. I wanted to knock him down. I wanted to tell him that Juli was a better person than he ever would be.
My grandfather fixed my father with a hard stare. My mother dismissed me. I gladly left, my grandfather following behind me. As I reached the stairs, he put his hand on my shoulder and said "Bryce, I'm real proud of you, son. I'm sure Juli would be to. You made the right choice."
Jaw clenched tightly, I nodded, and kept walking. Something had been damaged tonight. Suddenly, my father was an enemy. His words were too much. To him, appearance was all that mattered. But I was starting to learn that there was a lot more to life that appearance. Character mattered as well, like my Granddad had been saying to me.
I slammed the door to my bedroom and lay in my bed, kicking off my shoes. I stared at the ceiling wondering how long I would have to wait for Juli to accept me, and hopefully, forgive me. So deep into my thoughts, I almost didn't hear my door being knocked on.
"Baby brother?" Lynetta called out softly. I paused and sat up. Lynetta and I didn't really get along, I didn't know anything about her, and she didn't know anything about me, either. For her to talk to me in a soft, almost caring tone was a change.
"Come in, Lynetta." I said tiredly. She came in, almost nervously.
"So…. you and Juli, huh?" She asked me. I shook my head. She sat in my desk chair, staring at me.
"I screwed up, Lynetta. Big time. I don't know if she'll ever speak to me again. The things I did, and said." I told her sadly. Lynetta smiled and said "So you acted like an immature jerk. You're a thirteen year old boy, Bryce. Immature, at this point, is pretty much your life. Your life isn't over. And if she's as special as you think, then she'll forgive you. It sounds like you've made a lot of mistakes with her…. But from my experience, I can tell she'll forgive you. I'm a girl, and I know that any guy who plants you a tree, well, it's obvious that he cares for you. You guys don't make gestures like that unless you mean them."
I nodded, and conceded that to her. Guys don't make gestures like that unless we mean them. It was quiet. Lynetta bit her lip and said "Mom and Dad are arguing again. Over you and Juli again. It's pointless. Dad isn't going to give. He'll do anything to make anyone as miserable as he is. It's kind of sickening. But you'll be able to see her. Mom won't let him stop you. I wish she'd leave him." She finished in a low voice.
I stared at her. "Seriously?" I asked her.
Lynetta nodded and replied, "He's an asshole. She tries to hide it, but Mom's not very happy. She'd be happier if she left him." She stood and said "Remember what I told you, baby brother. Don't stress over it. Juli will talk to you when she's ready. And I'm sorry… for what I said earlier. I should've been more considerate." On that note, she exited the room as quietly as she had entered.
Lynetta sorry? I'd never heard those words from my sister. It was unnerving. But I considered that Lynetta was getting ready to leave for college soon. She had been accepted a few places, like USC, Stony Brook, and Binghamton, but she was waiting on some other college from California. Apparently, she couldn't wait to put distance between herself and Mayfield. At the moment, I couldn't blame her for wanting to escape Dad.
Someone knocked at my door again. I scowled, I didn't want to talk to anyone. I started to say that when she called my name.
"Bryce? May I come in? It's Juli." She said in a quiet, measured voice. I looked around my room frantically, trying to see if it was presentable enough to let her enter. It was. There were no dirty clothes lying about, no shoes out of place, no books or toys scattered.
Too eagerly, I stood up and walked to my door. Telling myself to remember to breathe and not freak her out, I turned the knob slowly and opened the door.
Juli stood outside my door, looking as nervous and out of place as I did. I stared at her. It seemed she would always have that warm glow about her, and I felt myself drifting towards her. I wanted to touch her hair, it still looked incredibly soft.
Clearing my throat, I pulled back and gestured for her to come in. She did and closed the door behind her.
"Hi." She said clearly.
"Hey Juli." I replied, sitting on my bed and pointing to the chair. She sat down as well. We were both quiet. I stared around my room, while she seemed to stare down at her feet. After five minutes, she blew out a breath and looked at me.
"Bryce? I wanted to thank you. For the tree. It's the sweetest thing that anyone's ever done for me. So thank you. It was very nice of you to plant it." She said, looking at me with her warm brown eyes trained on my face.
I smiled and replied "You're welcome Juli. I'm sorry… for… everything, I guess. I had no right to try and kiss you, I know that, but I couldn't hold it in any longer. For so long, I'd had these confusing feelings about you… and I just acted. I'm sorry about the whole Garret thing. And the eggs. And your tree. I should've climbed up with you. I should've tried to see what you always saw instead of being the coward that you accused me of being. I don't expect you to forgive me but I ho—
"I forgive you, Bryce. I'm not mad anymore. I'm… confused, but not mad. But let's not focus on the past anymore, okay? Let's think about our future. You say that you like me. A lot. I have to be honest. I don't know what I feel for you exactly. For so long, I liked you, but now I don't know what I feel. I do know that you and I have never talked. Never really talked. Maybe… maybe it's time we do that. Why don't we try being friends first, okay? And see what happens from there. Can we do that?" She said to me earnestly, biting her lower lip.
My stomach did that flippy thing it's been doing whenever I think about her lately and I knew that I couldn't say no. I could be patient, I could wait. But at this moment, I couldn't imagine my world without Juli Baker in it. It was a lie, that world without her. Smiling at her, I told her "Juli, we can be friends. Maybe it's time we started over and really got to know each other. Hi, my name is Bryce Loski." I held out my hand for a handshake.
Juli had leaned forward, her shiny brown hair flowing over her shoulders, just like the picture. She grinned at me, and put her own hand in mine. I nearly sighed out loud. I'd been right. Her skin was soft. Her hands were a little callused, but it didn't matter to me. Nothing matter except the fact that she was no longer mad at me. That she wanted to talk to me, even though I'd been so rotten. She smiled at me again, and shook my hand and said,
"Hi, Bryce. I'm Juli Baker. It's nice to meet you."
Well, I hope that was enjoyable. Please read and review. Reviews are love. Tell me what you think.