Hi, guys! I know it's been a long, long while... Thanks to all that have continued to read and favorite my stories on here. I was missing JC so I decided to give him a visit. Enjoy! ~mary
So she was mad at me. Again. Because I forgot all about the stupid dance that I didn't want to go to in the first place. I'd only agreed to go because it was what she wanted me to do. It's what she expected me to do. Because we were, like, together now or whatever.
That's what couples did, she said. They went to stuff like that together. They went to school dances, they went to the movies, they went out on dates. All the things that we'd never really done. All things that I never really did with anyone. Mostly because I'd never really had a girlfriend before.
But she was my girlfriend now, right? I was supposed to want to do that stuff with her. I was supposed to be around her and her friends and spend time at her house with her family. I was supposed to bring her to my place and hang out with my ma and my little brother with her because we were a couple now. At least that's what she told me I was supposed to do while she was yelling at me in the front seat of my car a few days ago.
And what had I done? I'd sat there like an idiot and taken it all because I'd fucked up and forgotten about the dance. I was the reason she was upset and about to cry. Why shouldn't I let her have her say?
In the end, I'd taken her home and watched as she climbed from the car without a backward glance, not once telling her why I couldn't go. She'd slammed the door so hard it had rattled the whole car. She'd marched angrily up the front walk and let herself into the house, never once looking over her shoulder.
That was Thursday. Today was Saturday. The day of the dance.
It had been exactly two days since I'd pissed her off. Two days since I'd watched her eyes flash angrily at me as she blinked back tears of anger and frustration. Two whole days since I'd last talked to her. Was that normal when you were together? The being mad and not talking? Or did that mean we weren't together anymore? Hell, I don't know.
Like an idiot, I'd gotten up yesterday morning and drove to her house to pick her up for school. It was her little sister that came to the door to tell me Angela wasn't going to school. She said Angela was sick and in bed and I should just go away. Always subtle, that sister of hers.
I'd went to school alone, ended up going to half my classes and then skipping out to go to work at the garage. I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on all the work my cousin usually saved for me to do on Saturdays. When I got off work, I came home long enough to shower and actually eat dinner with the family for once before I headed to the loft for rehearsal.
It was really late when I got in and fell into bed. That's when I let myself think about Angela again. Mostly because I couldn't help myself. Why wasn't anything with her ever easy?
Now that it was Saturday, I had nothing to do but hang out at home with Joey. Ma and Joe had gotten an early start because I hadn't went to work. They were up and gone before Joey had even gotten out of bed. When he did finally get up, I fixed him a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and parked him next to me in front of the TV to watch cartoons. We passed the morning away that way.
Lunch was a sandwich and chips. We had strawberry jello for desert. Then we played with his matchbox cars on the living room floor. Spending time with Joey was easy. Pleasing him was easy. I just had to make sure he was fed and show him some attention when he asked for it.
By mid afternoon, we were both tired of being cooped up in the house. After strapping his booster seat into the back of my car, I took him to the park around the corner. It was one of his favorite places to go and I tried to take him there as often as I could.
While he ran around with a little boy close to his age, I sat in the grass leaning back against a large oak tree to watch him. I pulled my knees up in front of me, feet spread wide, and picked at the grass beneath my letting my mind wander back to a certain redhead who had the knack of driving me crazy. She seemed to get under my skin like no other girl ever could.
Joey ran by me laughing, followed by his new little friend. Just once, I made eye contact with whom I assumed was his mother; a young blond woman in her early twenties. Truthfully, if it hadn't been for Angela, I would have approached her and tried to strike up a conversation. So, instead of trying to talk to her, I returned her smile and sought mini-me out as he played.
I let him run and run until he was tired. We stayed so long that the sun started to dip down in the sky. When he finally dropped down into my lap, he yawned.
"I'm ready to go home now, Jay," he murmured sleepily as he rubbed his eyes.
With his little body cradled in my arms, I got to my feet and headed to the car nodding once to the mother of his playmate as I passed. He looked up at me through the hair covering his eyes and smiled as I buckled him in. By the time I got him home, he was fast asleep.
I unfastened his seat belt and lifted him into my arms again, carrying him to the door. Fumbling with the keys, I finally got the door unlocked and open. I laid him down onto the sofa, tucking the afghan from the back of the cushion around him. I leaned over and kiss him on the forehead.
As I straightened, I caught the reflection of the clock behind me in the mirror hanging on the wall behind the sofa. Closing my eyes, I cringed thinking that I should have been getting ready to go to that stupid dance. I pictured Angela sitting on her bed, crying, because I'd been a complete ass and forgotten about what might have been the most important event in our budding relationship.
Well, there's nothing I could do about it now, I thought, glancing down at the little guy fast asleep on the sofa below. I was stuck with him and couldn't go anywhere. Not that I minded watching him, but still.
With a deep sigh, I walked around the den collecting Joey's cars and tossing them into the laundry basket Ma used as a toy box. I stacked all of his books into a neat pile on the coffee table and tucked his shoes beneath the edge of the end table. After I finished picking everything up, I made my way into the kitchen to preheat the oven for the chicken and rice casserole Ma had left in the refrigerator for us.
I had just popped it into the oven and poured myself a glass of milk when I heard a knock on the kitchen door. Wondering who it may be, I set my glass aside and scrubbed my sleeve over my mouth. I walked over to the door and pulled it open without looking to see who was there. To say I was surprised was putting it mildly. With my mouth hanging open, I stared at the girl in front of me, sure I was imagining her.
"Uh. Hey, Ang," I said, feeling my brow draw into a frown. I lifted my hand to scratch the back of my head. "Whatcha doing here?"
She was no less angry, it would seem, than when I'd last seen her. With her arms crossed over her chest and her jaw set, she snapped, "I came to find out what was so important that you'd forget about going to the dance with me."
"Look," I started, shifting from one foot to the other. "I'm sorry. I had something to do."
"Like what?" She pushed her way past me, looking around. I shut the door and turned back to her. Despite the anger, I could see the hurt shimmering in her eyes. "Hanging out at home?"
"I wanted to go with you, okay?" I raised my hand, palm up, and took a step closer to her. "There was something I couldn't get out of."
"What, Jordan?" she demanded, taking a step toward me. "What was it? Tell me."
I took hold of her sleeve when she was a foot from me. "Ma and Joe are out of town, Ang," I whispered urgently, "It's my mom's birthday."
"So." Her jaw worked as she fought to control her emotions. "That doesn't mean you couldn't go."
Tugging on her arm, I pulled her down the hall with me toward the den despite her protests. I stopped just outside the room and touched my finger to my lips to shush her. I didn't want her to wake him yet. Not until I explained that I never meant to hurt her. Stepping through the door, I pulled her with me.
Her brow furrowed into a deep frown as her eyes traveled the room before landing on Joey's sleeping form on the sofa. She swung her gaze up to mine, her eyes questioning. Then, something so completely out of character for her, she smacked my chest with her open palm.
"Why didn't you just tell me, Jordan?" she whispered. "I would have understood."
I reached up with the hand that wasn't holding onto her and rubbed the stinging spot her hand had left. "I dunno."
"You should have told me," she repeated, staring up at me. "I wouldn't have been so mad if I'd known."
"I'm sorry," I murmured, dropping her arm.
I brought my thumb up to my mouth and started to chew on the side of it, giving away my nervousness. Which was stupid, because why was I nervous? She was here, right? And she didn't seem to be so angry anymore.
She brought her hand up, resting it against my bicep. The soft smile that graced her lips made her even prettier than she already was. All I wanted at that moment was to kiss her. I fought hard to restrain myself, afraid that she'd push me away.
"You know, Jordan," she said softly, "It was never about going to the dance. It was about me and you, going to the dance together."
"Yeah?" I asked, looking down into her green eyes.
"Yeah." She leaned against me, pushing herself onto her toes. She kissed my cheek before I realized what she was doing. "I didn't really want to go anyway."
"You didn't?" I asked, frowning.
"No," she admitted, slipping her arms around my waist. Of their own accord, mine closed around her. "I just wanted to be with you."
Because I couldn't not kiss her, I lowered my head and claimed her upturned lips. She kissed me back with an urgency that I didn't expect. When I pulled away and looked down at her, her eyes were still closed and the smile on her face was still there.
Her lashes lifted slowly. "So, you're home alone?" she asked, unable to hide the blush that stained her cheeks as soon as the words fell from her lips.
"Nah, Joey's here," I reminded her, motioning over her shoulder toward the sofa with my chin.
"Oookay." She ducked her head and mumbled, "But other than your three year old little brother, we're here alone?"
"Well, yeah," I said, unable to stop the grin from stretching across my lips. "Ma won't be home until tomorrow night."
"Want some company?" She asked, looking up at me from beneath her lashes.
"Who?" I questioned playfully. "You?" I laughed when she pinched my side. "I guess I don't mind if you stay."
I hugged her to me, pulling her scent into my lungs as I buried my face in her hair. Her arms tightened around me. If it weren't for Joey stirring behind us, I would have held her that way forever.
When I started to pull back, releasing her, she whispered my name. "Yeah, Ang?"
"My mom thinks I'm at the dance," she confided in a small voice. "I was supposed to stay at Rayanne's tonight. I don't have to be home until tomorrow."
Then, removing herself from my embrace, she turned to where Joey was now sitting up on the sofa. She went to him, ruffling his hair as she dropped down beside him. She sat there, looking completely innocent and cute as hell as she talked to my little brother.
Now how in the hell was I supposed to act like she hadn't just handed me the most exciting, the most frightening news of my life?