Steph is fretting about her new English assignment.
School on Monday was terrible. I fell asleep in my math class, because I stayed awake most of the previous night wondering where the hell my mom was. Even if she’d got a call, it wasn’t like her to stay the entire night, unless the guy was rich enough. She finally came home at some ridiculous hour in the morning, wasted. She claimed as she was having a night off she decided to ‘get to know the city.’ I refused to talk to her. I had to make my own dinner out of microwave fries because everything I try to cook goes horribly wrong. Her immature argument for not calling was that I hadn’t called the night that I stayed around Kate’s. It’s completely different. I was unconscious. I’m not meant to be the responsible parent.
Needless to say, the absence of my consciousness didn’t go down well with Mr. Ferris. I played it off with some excuse of how the humidity of the room made me sleepy, as I wasn’t used to it. I barely escaped without a detention, but suffered a very, very long lecture on how important it is to make sure I get plenty of sleep because I'm at an extremely 'critical' age of my life right now and simply cannot afford to miss out on my education.
I don't listen in his lessons anyway. I day dream whilst he speaks and when we have to do work, I poke Timmy Inglebert in the side with a ruler. He knows this is the signal to explain to me what we're doing. 'Why didn't you wake me up?' I hissed to him today. He uncomfortably pulled at his collar with a chubby finger.
'I t-tried.' He stuttered 'B-but you f-flung a c-compass at m-me.'
'Oh.' I said 'Sorry.'
The day got worse. Mrs Fitzergeld delivered the delightful news that we were to do an 1000 word essay on bad habits. It caused some confusion. A bad habit’s a bad habit. What more is there to say about it? A lot, according to Miss. What it is, when it began, why it began, examples of causes, effects, is it noticeable to others? have you ever tried to stop? What bad habits do the people around you have? It sounded pretty pointless to me.
_ _ _
My cell phone had 2 missed calls from Brendon. I had missed the last one by mere seconds, my ring tone ending the moment I stepped inside the house after Ryan had dropped me off. There was an answer phone message. I played it.
‘Hey Steph, Brendon here. Uh, just wanted to know if you wanted to go to the movies later? I’M NOT ASKING YOU OUT! I’m asking Ryan and Kate and Spencer too! Brent wasn’t at school today, don’t know why. Hmm...Yeah. Call me back. I was hoping we could see the new Harry Potter film or something. It looks REALLY good. Or you know whatever you guys want to watch...As long as it’s not a chick flick. I’m the one making the arrangements! I put my foot down. Why are none of you picking up your phone? Does your school end later than mine? I think it does, come to think of it. Oh. Hmm. I’m hoping Ryan can drop us in. Yeah. So please come. OK. I think that’s it. Yeah. No. Yeah. No. Yeah. N-‘
The phone beeped, cutting him off.
_ _ _
‘What are you going to do the essay on?’ Kate asked me whilst we lined up in the queue for popcorn.
‘I have no idea.’ I said truthfully.
‘Me neither. What habits do I have?’
I paused to think for a moment. ‘Pencil chewing.’ I came up with eventually. ‘You do it when you’re bored in class. And doodling. If you have some sort of writing equipment you’ll just sit there drawing random shapes and things on paper. Or even on your hand’ I said, gesturing to her ink stained palm.
‘Hmm. I never really thought about it.’ She said, studying the blue swirls looping her hand and tracing them with her finger.
‘What about me?’ I asked. I didn’t really like to think about it. There wasn’t much point in me actually doing the essay really. It would probably turn out to be a load of crap that made no sense. I cringed with nervousness, chewing on the ends of my nails every time I thought about it. This could be it. Next thing I know, I'll be taken out of lessons so someone can try to teach me how to spell 'Cat'.
‘I really don’t know.’ Kate asked. ‘Maybe I haven’t known you long enough.’
‘Please, it’s so blatant.’ Said Ryan out of the blue, steeping away from the queue with his bucket of popcorn.
‘What do you mean?’ I asked, creasing my forehead.
‘Nail biting’ He said ‘you do it all the time. When you’re nervous and such, or worried. You were doing it just now.‘
I looked down at my fingernails. Or lack thereof. They were stubby and short and torn, like I'd always known them to be. 'Oh yeah. I forgot about that.'
‘Can I help?’
The woman gave me the popcorn and I shuffled over to Ryan as Brendon approached the counter. I went back to studying my nails.
‘Worried about something?’ Ryan said. He knew what was bothering me. I sighed.
‘No.’ I said shaking my head and attaching my teeth to my nail before I realized what I was doing. Ryan gave me an amused glance, and I quickly pulled my hand away and curled it into a fist.
‘It’s Harry Potter time!’ Brendon exclaimed, once we were all finally assembled with our popcorn and coke.
He did some sort of frantic motion with his hands, which I think was meant to relate to casting a spell with an imaginary wand or something. Ryan gently patted his shoulder. ‘Let’s sit you down before you become too excited’ he said.
The theater was pretty packed so we had to split up for seats. All we could find was a four with a single in front of it. Coincidentally, Ryan knew the girl that sat in the front row and therefore offered to be the one to sit there, leaving Spencer, Kate, Brendon and I to sit on the row behind.
The lights dimmed to nothing, the background music stopped and the movie eventually began. And I soon learnt to never sit next to Brendon Urie in a movie theater again.
He got very enthusiastic about the movie, nudging me every so often or giving me a sharp jab with his elbow when something exciting happened. He was practically bouncing on his seat the whole way through. I wondered it if would be best to take his cup of coke away from him. He was excitable enough without the extra sugar dosage.
The girl, who sat in front of us that Ryan knew, kept whispering things to him. I wondered if he was finding it annoying. She must like him, I concluded. But that was not in the least bit surprising. I could only see the back of her head, and there was only so much I could make out of her in the dark. Her hair was curly.
‘STEPH!’ Someone said sharply, shaking my shoulder. He said it very loudly too, causing half the cinema to look over at us.
Ryan turned and looked at us curiously as Brendon sheepishly let his hand slip off my shoulder.
‘Sorry, it’s just you were miles away.’ Brendon said.
‘Oh, sorry.’ I said, turning my attention back to the screen.
Brendon clapped loudly when the film eventually ended and hopped up immediately from his seat. ‘Wasn’t that just AMAZING’ He babbled, as we all made our way out through the rows of seats. ‘I mean the effects... and the guy with the wand...’
As Kate began explaining how to him how there was actually a lot of guys with wands in Harry Potter, I scanned the slow moving crowd to see where Ryan was. He was few paces behind us talking to that girl, who I still couldn’t see properly through the crowd.
‘HURRY UP RYAN!’ Brendon bellowed in my ear.
Ryan eventually caught up with us, looking a little pink cheeked. I was curious but no one questioned anything.
Kate, Brendon and Spencer all went off to use the theater toilets, leaving Ryan and I by ourselves outside to wait for them. It was never really a good idea to be left alone with Ryan I was learning to discover. So far, every time he’s managed to unearth some usually untouched secrets of mine. I feared I would be running out of them soon. Though I couldn't as of yet conclude how standing outside some theater toilets would be able to spark a conversation that lead to that one other part of my life I was so far reluctant to reveal.
I pondered going into the toilets after all just to escape, but decided against it when I saw how crowded they were, my slight claustrophobia getting the better of me. So instead, I stayed there, placed next to Ryan, nibbling on my nails in discomfort. I caught myself and hastily refrained.
‘Did you enjoy the movie?’ Ryan asked politely.
‘Yeah, I did.’ I said. ‘You?’
‘Yeah, it was good.’
We turned silent and I went back to nervously biting on my nails.
I groaned. ‘This nail biting thing is really getting on my nerves now. I should get that stuff that you stick your fingers in and makes them taste horrible.’ I mused, staring at my poor blunt nails. Nail-gro or whatever.’
‘Are you nervous because of this essay? Can you word process it?’ Ryan asked.
‘I’m not nervous’ I scoffed, though unconvincingly. ‘And yes I can. So it’s no problem. But we have no computer and we had a laptop but it broke before we moved and got left behind. Mrs Fitzergeld said I should either use a school computer at lunch time or write it. But even word processing takes me a while anyway so it looks like I’ll have to make sure I can escape some detentions for a while so I have enough time.’
‘How much time do you have?’
‘You’ll never make it.’
I sighed in agreement. ‘They are already threatening me with summer school.’
‘I wish you would just say. It would be a lot easier for you.’
‘But I don’t even know what I’d say. Or who I’d say it to.’
‘Can’t your mom just contact the school or something?’
‘I can’t imagine her ever bothering to do that.’
‘Really?’ He said, creasing his forehead ‘your mom sounds...’
But he trailed off without finishing.
‘Can’t you just tell Fitzergeld or someone yourself?’
‘I will. I just really don’t want to.’
He gave me a hopeless look, like he knew I wasn’t really planning on saying anything soon at all. He leaned back against the wall in defeat, folding his arms and tilting his back. I prayed one of them would come out of the toilet sometime very soon. I subconsciously mirrored Ryan and leaned back against the wall with my arms folded, mainly so I wouldn’t be tempted to put my nails anywhere near my mouth again. Ryan turned his head to face me.
‘You know, you could use my computer if you wanted to.’ He said ‘It would probably be a lot easier, and you’re round ours a lot of the time anyway.’
I blinked and swallowed. ‘Are you sure?’ He nodded and I smiled. ‘Thank you.’
‘BOO!’ Someone screeched in my ear, grabbing my shoulders with their hands. I jumped and squealed. Brendon laughed in accomplishment.
‘About time.’ Ryan said.
‘Long queue’ Said Spencer.
Kate came out a couple of minutes later. ‘Ryan, this girl in the toilets asked if I was your sister and started being really nice to me.’ She said, puzzled.
‘Oh, it was probably Jane.’ He said.
‘Jane?’Said Spencer ‘The girl who really likes you?’
‘Jane, the girl who I was sat next to.’
‘The girl who really likes you?’ Spencer repeated.
Ryan sighed. ‘How could you know that?’
‘It’s totally common knowledge’ said Spencer, putting a hand on his hip.
‘Dude, you look camp’ said Brendon.
‘And you sat next to her during a movie?’ Said Spencer said, taking his hand off ‘She probably thinks you’re dating now.’
‘Well we kind of are.’ Ryan mumbled quietly,shrugging and pretending to fiddle with his phone to avoid everyone’s gaze.
Spencer squealed oddly whilst Brendon clapped his hands together and Kate and I stared at him.
'How did that happen!?' Spencer demanded.
Ryan looked up from his phone and gave a shy smile 'I dunno. She asked me out just now so I said yes. Anyway.' He said, flipping his phone and putting into his pocket. 'Shall we go home?'
He walked off briskly and we trailed behind him. Well I did. Brendon, Spencer and Kate all caught him up to ask questions, much to his disgruntlement. I wondered along behind, lost in my own thoughts. I couldn’t hear them but I saw Ryan’s shoulders shrug a lot. He looked back at me briefly and halted for a few seconds whilst I caught up with him.
‘AH!’ He said sharply, grabbing my raised hand briefly, to indicate it. I released it from my mouth and let it drop to my side, sort of dazed.