The front garden was gorgeous, and it felt private when I slipped out in to it.
The summer night air was extremely comforting. The flowers were perfect.
As I sat down, I felt like I had dodged a bullet. Penny would be upset with me for not coming through, but I couldn’t. Even if I hadn’t bolted, no intelligible words would have come out of my mouth.
I wanted to be happy with my decision. Nothing good would have come from me staying up there.
But the more I thought about it, the more embarrassed and sad I was. I wasn’t a coward, so why was I behaving like one?
The night wasn’t about to get any easier for me.
He followed me out to the garden and sat down next to me. I tried my best not to look upset about this turn of events. Inside, I was a stewing pot of emotions. Ecstatic that he’d noticed me, terrified for the same reason. Horrified even. The negative emotions were threatening to overtake the positives.
“I’m sorry I startled you.” What surprised me the most was that there was no edge of mocking in his voice. He was honestly apologizing because I ran away.
“It…wasn’t you. I just really needed some fresh air.” He laughed at that, and I realized what it sounded like I was saying. “I mean, it was so hot in there…I mean…”
“I know what you mean.” I smiled. He was really quite gentle sounding. I hadn’t expected that.
“Oh, right, yeah,” I responded awkwardly.
I certainly wasn’t going to keep speaking. If I kept going I’d shove both legs up to the knees into my mouth. For a while, he seemed to just be watching the stars. For a while, it seemed like he wasn’t going to talk anymore either.
“It’s a bit cold out this evening, isn’t it?” he finally asked.
It seemed that Mr. Cool had a plan.
I have to admit, it made me feel really special.
I honestly thought about letting him get away with it.
His eyes really sparkled in the moonlight.
“I’m not that cold,” I told him with a smile as I scooted away. I would have to go to school with him starting in the fall. It wouldn’t do me any good to get involved with someone who would probably be in the crowd most likely to laugh at me for daring to have a crush on a Symphosia. Besides, crushes passed easily enough. Come December I had full faith that I wouldn’t be hooked on him any more.
He still had a smirk on his face, even though he’d just been rejected. It made me think he’d been rejected a few times before, though I couldn’t understand how other girls could do that. Wasn’t it much more common for them to want to be with the cute rich famous boy? That’s how it had always seemed to be to me.
“So uhm, I haven’t seen you around town yet. I mean, I’m new here…”
“I know, and you haven’t.”
“Oh. You’re sure?”
“I don’t go out much.”
“A pretty girl like you? Why would you hide from the world?” What was that song, build me up buttercup, don’t break my heart? It spun around in my head listening to him. Why do you build me up, buttercup baby, just to let me down…I, unfortunately, have little faith in the human race. Especially the male half of the species.
“I ah, I don’t like going out. Sunset Valley is pretty boring, and I don’t have many friends.” Make that any friends…
That statement sobered him further. Oh if Penny could see me now, thrashing the heart of one of the Symphosias. She’d kill me.
After a few moments of complete silence, he turned to me again.
“I’ll be your friend.” I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. Oh if that offer was real…But it couldn’t be.
He went on a tangent of all the things we could do together. To be honest, it was terrifying and intimidating. Apparently he was a big prankster, especially when it came to school.
“I’m a top student,” I told him. Without social distractions holding me back, I didn’t have any trouble staying near or at the top of the class. I wouldn’t mind being in fourth at graduation, though. That meant I wouldn’t have to give a speech. But going into high school, I was the top student in my grade.
“You don’t want to hang out with people, do you?” He’d caught on to my game.
“I…It’s…not that. Exactly…I’ve…lived here all my life. People just don’t like spending time with me. I’m boring, you know?”
“I don’t think you’re boring.” He sounded genuinely shocked. But I knew it was just flattery. Really, he didn’t know me. How could he tell me I wasn’t boring?
“If you say so…”
“I would love to spend time with you.”
“Just give me your number, and I’ll call you up sometime,” he offered. I figured nothing would come of it.
So I gave it to him, and made an excuse to get home. I walked up the street before calling a taxi, to avoid letting him see that the second limo outside the building wasn’t mine. I figured it was the nicest thing I could do, let him dream on about whatever fantasy he had cooked up over me.
Still, as I walked away, I couldn’t help but grin. The whole encounter had given me the confidence to think that I might stand a chance in the future. If I ever found someone on my level that was interested in me.
Penny didn’t come home that night. Granted, I didn’t find that out until morning.
It seemed she had managed to get into the VIP section all on her own.
She’d gotten her wish.
Peter Symphosia was definitely interested in her.
Mom definitely wasn’t going to be happy though.