There came a day that I attempted to take initiative and go over to his house. It was the old Goth Mansion, the one that was featured in my history books. I imagined there was a lot of pressure on them, living in this house. It even came complete with its own graveyard.
I chickened out before I made it to the door.
I knew he’d call me or come over soon, so I really didn’t need to go up to his house. Besides, the paparazzi could see me and then I’d be all over the front page of the paper, perhaps on the news and I could only imagine what my mother would say to that…No no, I got out of the taxi, then turned right around to leave, shouting to him that I was just some idiotic fan girl that was chickening out of a dare.
It wasn’t that I was a coward. I just didn’t want to cause trouble. I was very unlucky, and trouble was bound to follow me. Both of our families already had enough trouble with his brother and my sister, plus our mother’s working on the same movie? Yeah, the press was all about Symphosia-Black relations. It was not a good idea for me to be making it worse by showing up to his house.
Unluckily for me, Matthew saw me. “Lulu! Lulu wait I’m here!”
He sounded nervous, which was extremely strange. But then I suppose the famous (and their children) hide a lot of things in the closets of their own homes. I wasn’t about to pry, knowing that my family was trying to keep their own secrets.
I took a deep breath to compile my nerves. Ok, I’ll admit to it. I still got nervous just being around him. Like he was going to vanish and I was going to go back to being on my own.
His nerves disappeared when he reached me though. His bright eyes were just as jovial as always. “It’s great to see you! What brings you all the way up the hill?” The manor was situated at the highest point in all of Sunset Valley.
It wasn’t that difficult to take a taxi, though.
Looking into his eyes, it took me a moment to re-discover words. When I did, I almost clammed up.
“I uh, uhm, ah…er…I ah, er…wanted to uhm…do you want to hang out tonight?”
“At your house?”
“At the bistro and town square and…stuff.” My cheeks turned bright red.
“It sounds lovely, Lulu.”
“It’s a date! I’m busy tonight, but we can meet up at the park tomorrow at eight.” With an eleven o’clock curfew, that didn’t give us a huge amount of time, but it’d be alright.
When I got dressed up, it didn’t feel right. I felt like I was lying to him with the facade. A pretty hat, some simple heels….It wasn’t me. I was frumpy. I was simple. But when I dressed up I felt like I belonged in his world.
In elementary school, I had been the butt of a lot of jokes. Especially ones that centered around my gender, or my preferences, purely because of my hair. It was ostracizing. The students that did the joking probably knew it wasn’t true, but the ones that heard it all believed them. That was what hurt. I didn’t think there was any way that anyone could actually care about ‘Lucy.’ Lulu was a different person.
She was confident.
She was in love.
“Good evening, Sir Symphosia,” I greeted him playfully. He glanced away sharply. “Sorry, I ah…”
“It’s alright. I just…I hate when people call me that. That’s what they called my father.” He grinned at me. “Would you like to join me?”
I slipped into the swing, gripping it a bit. It wasn’t that I was afraid of swings. I was just wary of the wind and my rather short skirt. My sisters were all far more familiar with clothes that cut above the knee than I was. I took a few deep breaths so that I didn’t blow Lulu’s cover.
He was calm, so I tried to be too. We were just two normal teenagers hanging out, having fun. “Want to swing race?”
“Yeah, see who can get the highest the fastest.” I didn’t really see the harm.
“Ok, don’t think I’ll win, but we can try it.”
I know that in the dark there’s a fear of letting go
I know that in my heart that I fear what I don’t know
…and this feels like I’m letting go.
“Thank you,” I whispered when he stopped pushing me. It had been absolutely exhilarating. I couldn’t believe I’d never tried playing on the swings as a child. Well, I can, I know how it happened. I didn’t want to stick around where kids could pick on me. But I missed out because of my fearfulness. I allowed myself to miss out on a lot of things as a kid.
I almost let it get the better of me on the date, too. Matthew took my hand and pulled me up from the swing and I just knew what he was after.
“Lulu, the moonlight makes your skin dazzle…”
“That’s a bit corny,” I giggled as I turned down my face to hide the blush.
“Is it? I’m sorry.”
“No, you’re fine. I…I like it.” He seemed nervous too. That helped my confidence, to know I wasn’t the only person struggling right now.
“I’d really like it if you’d be my girlfriend. Officially. No more of this going where no one can see us, I want everyone to know how much you mean to me.”
Lulu wanted to say yes. Boy did she ever. Lucy couldn’t though. It wasn’t right.
I slipped my hands from his. “I need to think about it.”
The confusion in his eyes nearly shattered my heart.
“I’m sorry, I just…have a lot of baggage I want to sort out first, ok?” With that, I politely left him standing in the middle of town square.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror outside of my bedroom.
Just what did I think I was doing? This wasn’t me.