Dixxie and I have been friends since we were seven. The fact that Junee and Dixxie’s mother, Mrs. Fairwell, were so close kind of made our friendship pretty much inevitable. Although it was a lit...
“Oh! I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you,” says the girl. She has beautiful fire red hair, ice blue, orb-like eyes, pale skin, a face full of freckles, and an extremely small figure. I stare in wonder- she’s so small. She lifts a tiny hand and tucks a strand of loose hair behind her ear before handing it out to me. “Hello. My name is Grace Daniels. I see you’ve been crying. Is everything alright?” she says, honest concern filling her words. Even her voice is small. Slowly, I take her hand and shake it.
“I’m Vivian,” I say in a shaky voice. I drop my hand.
Her eyebrows furrow, then she looks up at me with admiration. “Hastings?” she asks, expectantly.
“Yes,” I say, confused. She smiles and says, “Finally,” as if she’s been waiting for me for hours.
“What?” I say, unable to suppress my confusion.
“Oh, nothing. I’ve heard about you, that’s all. I heard you were really pretty and I’ve been wanting to meet you for a very long time,” she says, looking up at me, eyes full of innocence. I stare back at her, wondering what she’s talking about. “I have to say, I’m not disappointed. You’re beautiful,” she says, smiling at me again. I want to ask her what kind of game she thinks she’s playing, but before the words can come out, a wave a trust washes over me. Suddenly, I want nothing more than to trust her, and I do. Why would she need to lie to a complete stranger anyway?
So, instead I smile and say, “Thank you.”
“You never answered my question before. Is everything alright?” she says, concern flooding back into those giant blue eyes– probably the biggest thing about her.
I walk over to lean forward on the sink. I look at her through the mirror and ask, “How old are you?”
She smiles and says, “I understand. You don’t want to talk about it. I shouldn’t be so nosey.” She shakes her head in shame.
“What?” is all I can think to say.
“You keep ignoring my question. That’s a very obvious hint that you don’t want to talk about what’s bothering you. I understand. We all have things we don’t want to talk about,” she says, looking at my reflection. I turn to look at her instead of just the reflection. Her eyes move to mine. Suddenly, I feel another wave of trust and I want to tell her everything, knowing she wouldn’t make fun of me or think of me as a big baby. Not that I was really worried about that anyway. I just don’t like talking about my problems. I’m more of the suffer in silence type. I continue to stare until she brakes my trance.
“I’m 14,” she says. Good thing she didn’t ask me to guess. I would have said nine, or maybe even eight.
“Oh,” is my brilliant reply. She’s still smiling at me while she moves over to the wall and sits on the floor, leaning her back against it. I feel my legs taking me closer to her, but I can’t remember making them move. I sit next to her and say, “Junee is in the hospital.”
“You’re grandma,” she says, quietly. It’s not a question- more like an understanding, and it makes me wonder how she knows this.
“Do you know Junee?” I ask.
“No,” is all she says. Somehow though, I can’t make myself ask more. Instead, she does the asking. “What happened?”
“She has a cold, but because she’s so old, the symptoms are worse than they would be for you or me,” I explain.
“I understand. Her immune system isn’t as strong,” she says. We sit in silence, and I notice the plain looking clock hanging on the opposite wall. I have ten minutes until lunch is over. I sigh and Grace looks over at me.
“I have to go,” I say. “I don’t want Dixxie to worry about me. She’s a little bit prone to overreaction.” I lift myself off the ground and grab my french book. Grace stands up as well, wiping the dirt from the floor off of the back of her pants.
“I’m in here almost everyday. You should come back,” she says. “I like talking to you.”
“Everyday? Wouldn’t that make people curious?” I can’t help but ask.
“Yes. They make fun of me for it sometimes. They call me the ‘bathroom girl’,” she says, rolling her eyes.
“Why don’t you just stay in class then?”
“I don’t like History class,” she says, shrugging her shoulders. Before I can ask anymore questions, she says, “You now have seven minutes to assure your friend that there’s no need to worry.” She points at the clock, then smiles again.
“Oh, yeah,” I say. “I’ll...er... see you tomorrow? Maybe?”
Somehow, her smile gets bigger, and she says, “Excellent!”
I smile back then walk out of the bathroom, not even bothering to check the mirror to find out if I’m presentable. What do I care anyway? It takes two flights of cold, marble stairs and a whole hallway to get to the cafeteria. There, just as I suspected, Dixxie is sitting on the edge of her seat, looking at the door, waiting for me to appear. When she sees me, her face lights up and a huge grin takes the place of the worried frown. She waves me over to the table.
Dixxie and I have been friends since we were seven. The fact that Junee and Dixxie’s mother, Mrs. Fairwell, were so close kind of made our friendship pretty much inevitable. Although it was a little forced, our friendship is still going strong. Part of me is surprised about this fact, and part of me isn’t. There are a lot of differences between Dixxie and I. Apart from the obvious (she’s absolutely gorgeous with her silky smooth blonde hair running down her back, full, pink lips, amazing green eyes, and killer sense of fashion, and I am– in my own opinion– very plain with my wavy chestnut brown hair that wouldn’t be even half as smooth and shiny as hers even if I washed it twelve times, boring green eyes, and put-on-whatever-happens-to-be-in-my-closet-whenever-I-need-something-to-wear style. Although, the fashion thing doesn’t really count at school considering this is a private school and we wear uniforms.), Dixxie is more of the outgoing, you-only-live-life-once-so-live-it-to-the-fullest kind of person.
She loves making new friends, isn’t afraid of anything, and knows what she wants. She’s the kind of girl that other girls look up to and want to be like. She’s always busy with something– getting ahead on school work, working at a local fundraiser, being the star in the school play. I, on the other hand, am just about the complete opposite. I am not outgoing, I don’t live life to the fullest, I suck at making new friends, and I have no idea what I want. I do a few fundraisers with her every now and then, I was an extra in one school play two years ago, and I never work ahead on school work. I do my work to the best of my ability, turn it in on time, hold an A in every class (apart from French, obviously), but I never work ahead. Long story short, Dixxie is over-the-top perfect in just about every way, and I am only average.
I roll my eyes at my best friend and walk over to the table.
“Vivian! Where in the world have you been? I’ve been waiting for you /forever/,” she gushes.
“Dixxie, please,” I say, sighing.
“I’ve been so worried about you! I had no idea where you were. You could have fallen down the stairs, or been kidnaped, or–,”
“Dixxie!” I say, cutting her off mid-sentence. “Do you remember what we talked about yesterday? About overreacting? This is exactly what I was talking about.”
She sighs and says, “I know. I’m sorry.” She takes a bite of her chicken sandwich, reminding me of how hungry I am.
“I’ll be right back. I want one of those,” I say, pointing at the sandwich. She shakes her head and takes a sip of her water. I walk up to the line that’s usually very long but now isn’t, thanks to my tardiness. I grab a chicken sandwich and hand the lunch lady a dollar and fifty cents. She smiles at me, and I head back to my table.
“Hey Viv!” says Patrick, my best guy friend who wasn’t at the table two minutes ago.
“Hey! Where have you been?” I say, pulling the plastic wrap off my sandwich.
“I got bored listening to Dixxie’s unnecessary worries, so I thought it would be a great time for a bathroom break,” he explains as Dixxie sticks her tongue at him. He snickers and says, “What about you?”
“If you must know, I needed.... help... on a French assignment, so I stayed after. I had to stop at the bathroom before I came down here, and I got caught up,” I say, taking another bite of my sandwich.
“Yes, because bathrooms can be very distracting. I completely understand how the ugly yellow walls can cause someone to lose track of time,” Dixxie says, her voice loaded with sarcasm.
I finish another bite of my sandwich before saying, “I didn’t get caught up because of the walls! I was talking to someone.” I take another bite.
“Really? Who?” she asks.
“Grace Daniels,” I say. I stuff the last bite of sandwich into my mouth.
“Ian’s sister? Isn’t she, like, weird? Or something?” she says, scrunching her nose.
“That’s depends on how you define weird,” I say. “Are you going to drink the rest of that?”
She rolls her eyes as she hands me the half empty water bottle. I take a swig and set it back on the table. “Grace is a little.... different. I mean, I can’t really say much about her. I’ve only met her once. She had this weird affect on me though,” I say, remembering the urge I felt to tell her all about what happened to Junee. “She hangs out in the bathroom just about everyday. She doesn’t like History class. I think I might go see her again tomorrow. She’s really cool and so easy to talk to,” I continue. Then, mostly for Dixxie, I add, “If I’m late to lunch tomorrow, don’t send out a search party.”
“Very funny,” she says, flashing me a fake smile. “So, your going to ditch your friends for a strange girl you don’t even know?”
I give her a you-know-that’s-not-what-ment look. “I’m not ditching you,” I say. “You’re welcome to come with me. I’m sure she’d like to meet you.”
For a minute, it looks like she might actually consider it. Then, she says, “No thanks.” Then she sighs dramatically and adds, “I guess I can share you.” She flashes me an irresistible smile and I can’t help but smile back.
“Oh, hey, your mom wanted me to remind you that she’s leaving early,” I say, suddenly remembering Mrs. Fairwell’s request.
“I know. She keeps sending various people to give me that message,” she says, rolling her eyes. “I get it already!”
“Sorry, I promised I would let you know,” I say, shrugging my shoulders. Just then the bell rings and we file out to our next classes.