Well, it’s been a few days since my first journal entry. Boy, do I have a lot to say! But I’ll go back to the morning after I met Liev and start there because it kind of leads up to what happened tonight…
…The morning after I met Liev, I sat up straight in bed, startling awake from a restless sleep. “He said I was pretty!” I mumbled with astonishment as I rubbed my eyes.
As a testament to my tumbling and tossing, my covers were tangled around my legs. I impatiently kicked them away, determined to figure this all out.
As I slid my feet into my slippers, I could see my reflection in the full length mirror across the room. I paused long enough to inspect my plain-Jane face.
Yep, still ugly. Why would he say I was pretty? Was he making fun of me?
Confounded, I abruptly turned away from the image of my scrawny, redheaded, freckled self and decided to make my bed and get dressed before making an appearance at the breakfast table. (Keniesha never makes her bed. She says she’s going to marry rich and have a maid. But I live in the here and now, and I don’t like wrinkles…. or messy.)
Pancakes were on my mind this morning. They smelled so good while I was making them, but my stomach did a flip flop when they were done. With Liev’s words swimming around in my head, I wondered if I’d be able to eat anything at all.
Once Keniesha and I sat down at the table, I found that I was enormously hungry afterall. (Have I mentioned yet that I can eat twice my weight in breakfast food?)
I glanced at my sister while we devoured our meal. I could tell she was going to work today because she had put her hair back and wasn’t wearing her nose ring.
“I didn’t sleep very well last night,” Keniesha said. “But I have an idea that I want to run by you.”
My heart about stopped. I don’t like surprises – good or bad. “What?”
“We’re going to have a party. So you can meet people.” She hid her satisfied smile behind her fork as I threw my hands up in protest.
I begrudgingly finished my pancakes and when Keniesha was done, too, we moved to the other end of the table to talk. That’s right, we didn’t do the dishes, we moved to the other end of the table where it was clean because, well, that’s how we roll.
Our discussion was turning pretty heated, though, and before either of us knew it, we were both standing and talking at the same time, waving our arms around like crazy people. It was super constructive.
“Just listen to me,” she finally said, forever calm, but stubbornly insistent.
My hands were still up in the air as I was pretty animated when I was arguing with her. Thing is, I’m just not good at fighting, or listening.
I tried to stare back at her as intently as she was looking at me. I could be pretty intense and stubborn myself, but I was definitely no match for her.
And there it was. The finger, pointing straight at me. I put on my best glare.
“I just want you to have friends. Everyone needs friends, Memphis. Wouldn’t it be cool if a guy called you up and asked you to the movies or something?”
“Oooooooh, I get it,” I fumed. “You mean a boyfriend!”
“OMG!” Keniesha exclaimed. “You are impossible! Yes! A boyfriend – or any friend at all!”
“I don’t need a friend,” I insisted. “I have books!”
Keniesha was biting her lower lip and I realized pretty quickly it was to keep from smiling… or laughing. Probably laughing. That made me even more mad.
“Really. That’s your brilliant answer,” she smirked.
“What do you want from me?”
Keniesha smiled wide now. Her teeth were radiantly white. “I want you to help me with the party and to enjoy yourself. You know… relax.”
Now, I ask you, dear journal. Do I seem like the type that can relax? Yeah, exactly.
But there it was. Whether I helped or not, a party was going to happen. I’d been snookered into this because my sister knew, that ultimately, I wouldn’t let her crash and burn.
So, I cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned.
The night of the party was here before I was ready, but what are you going to do? Keniesha had put her faith in me as far as the food went. But I was no chef yet!
Oh, believe me, I set up a really nice buffet. But I had called in a favor that was owed to me by the Bistro’s sous-chef. Let’s just say that Keniesha was duly impressed with “my” ability to prepare stuffed turkey, autumn salad, and, yeah, I did make the cookies. Because who can’t do that?
No one was here yet and Keniesha was still getting ready. That’s when my nerves began to completely take over. They hadn’t been so bad when I was setting everything up and cleaning because I guess I’d had my mind on that and not on entertaining.
What am I saying? Entertaining? I’ll be lucky just to get through this night without having a coronary!
Keniesha was absolutely stunning in a hot pink get up. I could never wear colors so bright, I don’t think. She, on the other hand, would have every eye on her tonight. Maybe I was going to be off the hook with this whole “let’s get Memphis a friend (or boyfriend) thing.”
“D-do I look okay?” I asked her after telling her how gorgeous she looked. As if she needed anyone to tell her.
“Oh, honey, you look way better than okay!” she gushed. “You’re a little on the reserved side in your navy blue, but you look really, really pretty!”
“You mean it?”
I was beginning to feel better until the guests began to trickle in.
Guess who got here first? I stood nervously to the side, hoping he wouldn’t realize that this was my party, too, when he approached me. To my surprise, he was smiling. Instead of instinctively staring at my feet this time, I couldn’t help but stare at his face. He had the worst sunburn I think I’ve ever seen and he probably thought I was the rudest person he’d ever seen!
He grinned widely at me. “You’re wondering about my sunburn, right?”
I laughed a little and nodded. As soon as I realized I’d smiled, though, I nervously stopped. What would he think? I was so ugly and I knew my face was even worse when my mouth was hanging open like a fool.
It was really hard to remember to keep my cool and not look stupid because he was so lively as he told me all about it. The way he talked to me drew me right in.
He’d been in town yesterday and he’d been playing guitar for tips. He said he’d been so into it, he hadn’t noticed that he was beginning to look like a lobster. When he did become aware of it, he didn’t think it was that bad. He said he kept playing because he had a good crowd.
Boy, did he pay for it later, though. I guess he was up all night because of it.
I hung on every word as he told me his stories. He was really interesting and funny. It made me feel even worse that I’d treated him so poorly the first time we met.
“Ah, there it is!”
“There what is?” I asked curiously.
“That cute smile of yours. You know, it may seem kinda awkward to say this, and I’m not trying to make it weird, but it’s really nice when you smile. Your whole face softens.” His cheeks turned an even brighter shade of red, if that was possible.
I self-consciously touched my face and stopped smiling. But as he continued to stare at me, I brought my hands back down and managed another small smile.
He gave me another boyish grin and then looked at his watch. “I’m really sorry, but I have to go. Thanks for inviting me. Is it okay if I call you sometime?”
I felt like I was in a daze and I could barely answer intelligibly.
“Please?” he added.
He must have taken that as a yes. “Great!” he enthused.
And before I knew it, he had left.
That’s when I saw him. The cutest guy I’d ever seen; the honest to goodness epitome of tall, dark and handsome. And, OMG, he was walking toward me. No, this cannot be! Why would he want to talk to me?
I looked behind me to see if he could be walking toward someone else, but no such luck.
And then, as luck would have it, he had to open his yap.
“Hey there, baby.”
Gross. Was he for real? And he was so good looking, too. This could not be happening to me!
I said the only thing that I could at that moment. “I’m not your baby, dude.”
“Do you know who I am?” He was clearly taken aback by my ignorance.
“Um, no. No, I don’t,” I said. “And I don’t really care to find out.”
I guess my response wasn’t enough of a turn off for him because he just kept talking.
“I’m Garret Covington. You must know the Covington name!”
Truth was, I did know the Covington name. Who didn’t? And now I also knew that made him their spoiled, insufferable, snobby son. They owned the science lab and I guess that meant he thought he was entitled to act however he wanted.
When I didn’t respond, he just kept going with that huge mouth of his. “I’m a big name in science, you know. Hey, does your grandma know you raided her closet tonight? I mean, what are you wearing?”
Okay, at that point, I’d finally had enough punishment. I was hard enough on myself, I certainly didn’t need him to make me feel like a total loser, too. As I started to walk away, he grabbed my arm. It didn’t hurt but it was sure annoying!
“Look, buster! Don’t ever touch me again! Got it?”
He seemed to come half-way to his senses just then. “Oh, man, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so rude. I had a few drinks before I got here.”
“That’s no excuse, you blockhead!”
“I am such a huge jerk,” he agreed. And I nodded to remind him that he was right. “Please forgive me. I really don’t know what got into me. It won’t happen again.”
“Yeah, well, it better not.” From the corner of my eye, I could see Keniesha watching us. I was really wishing she’d march over here and give this guy a piece of her mind. She was so good at it. But it was crystal clear to me that she wanted me to handle it.
“It won’t,” he promised. “Can I make it up to you over dinner?”
“Hold it right there, big cheese. I just don’t see that in my future.”
Like a light switch had flipped, his demeanor changed again and he actually snarled at me, “What are you a fortune teller now? No one tells me no!”
I was shaking inside but I stood my ground. “I just did.”
I got really alarmed when he stepped toward me. Was he going to grab me again? Was he going to do something worse? As he reached his hand out to do I don’t know what, I slapped him hard.
He became so angry, he stomped out. That kind of ruined the mood at the party and the rest of our guests headed for the hills, too.
After we’d gotten our pajamas on, we sat on the couch in a stunned silence. This night had not gone like either of us had thought it would.
After a long time, we slowly turned and looked at each other.
Keniesha was the first to say anything. “So, you got asked out by two different men.”
I nodded dumbly. “I think so.”
“And you told one of them maybe, and you hit the other one in the face.”
I nodded again, feeling even more miserable, if that was possible.
She suddenly clapped her hands and seemed quite satisfied with herself.
“What?” I demanded to know.
“Mission accomplished! My party was a huge success!”
I gotta say, Keniesha always sees the bright side.