Lisa breaks the news about the move to Mandy and Joe.
The next morning, I dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom. No matter how much turmoil was going on in my life, my parents still expected me to go to school. I peered into the mirror and took a long look at myself. My long, shiny auburn curls reached my waist, my light blue eyes were bloodshot and tired-looking, and my pale skin was even whiter than usual. I really didn't look good. It looked like I hadn't gotten any sleep at all last night.
Sighing with annoyance at my appearance, I ripped my gaze away from the mirror and concentrated on getting dressed. I frowned as I tugged on my pleated gray skirt and spotless ironed blouse. We were all forced to wear uniforms at school. It didn't usually bother me too much, but today, everything was irritating me.
After I was dressed, I turned to the mirror. My hair didn't really need anything but a quick brush. Somehow, I had ended up with my mom's perfect silky hair and not my dad's scrawny tufts of hair. At least one thing in my life had gone right. After raking my big square brush through my locks, I turned to the mirror again to analyze my face. Normally, I didn't wear much makeup to school. Actually, most of the girls in my grade didn't even bother with makeup. I had always felt that makeup was an essential to looking good though, so I never left the house without mascara. Today, I needed more than mascara though. I drew a long, thin line of black eyeliner around my eyes and smeared some dark burgundy lip gloss onto my lips. It was the perfect contrast with my pale skin and red hair. I slipped some silver hoops into my ears and then headed downstairs.
After trudging down the stairs, I grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl on the counter and slung my backpack over my shoulder. Before I could leave, my mom walked into the room and looked me over with wide eyes. I figured it was the makeup that had caught her attention, but I wasn't really sure. I didn't really care either. I felt like it was all my mom's fault that we were moving. After all, if it weren't for her, I could be looking forward to the future I had dreamed of having with Joe.
"Lisa, are you alright?" my mom asked, looking concerned as she walked over to where I was standing still by the doorway. "You don't look so good. You're awfully pale and you look like you're sick. You must've caught a bug sometime yesterday. Maybe you should just stay home from school and rest a little bit..."
"No!" I shouted much louder than necessary. My mom took a step backwards at my reaction. In a quieter tone, I added, "I mean, I'm totally fine. There's no need for me to have to skip school." Inside my head I was thinking that my mom must be fucking insane if she thought I was going to stay locked up in my room when I had only a few days left with Joe. That was when I realized I had no idea when we were leaving. For all I knew, we could be leaving tomorrow!
As I opened the door and stepped into the sunny spring day outside, I turned back to my mom and called over my shoulder, "When are we leaving anyways, mom? I don't think you had a chance to tell me last night." My mom, who was still staring at me with a concerned expression, replied, "We're leaving on Monday. This coming Monday."
I gulped. Monday was only five short days away! How in the world was I suppose to say goodbye to my friends, pack my stuff, and be completely prepared to move by then? Feeling tears come to my eyes, I slammed the door to my house shut firmly behind me and stomped down the driveway and onto the sidewalk that led to school.
As I trudged along, I tried to think about what I was going to say to Joe and Mandy. I didn't ever want to leave any of them. Mandy was one of the most loyal friends I had ever had. She stuck with me through the bad as well as the good and had never turned her back on me through all our years of friendship. And Joe...well...breaking the news to Joe would probably be the hardest thing I had ever done. God, what had I done to deserve this terrible twist in events?
~ ~ ~ ~
Around a half an hour later, I reached the familiar prep school that I had gone to almost every single day this year. I had never really liked or disliked the school, but now it seemed like the best school in the world now that I had only two days left at it. Feeling more miserable than before, I slowly walked up the stairs that led to the school and tried to ignore all the students around me. Their happy chatter and laughter was making me feel even worse.
Just as I was about to open the big, tall doors that led inside the school, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I spun around to find myself face to face with Mandy. Her fluffy blonde hair was bouncing around her shoulders and she was grinning at me through perfect pink lips, "Hi Lisa! Did you work on the science project last night?" Then she say my expression and immediately stopped smiling. Pulling me away from the entrance of the school and into a corner, she looked and me sympathetically and added, "Aw, what's wrong? I can always tell when something's wrong. Now spit it out."
I still hadn't figured out exactly how I wanted to break the news to Mandy. Biting my lip, I said, "To your first question, I didn't work on the science project last night. I'm really sorry. I was just really tired and fed up. But...uh...I think you'll need to find another partner for the science project." Mandy stared at me blankly. I could tell she had no idea what I meant by that.
"What's going on, Lisa?" Mandy asked, looking very confused. "What do you mean about finding a new partner for the science project? Are you failing biology or something?" I almost laughed to myself at that. I wished so bad that the only thing wrong was that I was failing biology. As a matter of fact, failing all of my subjects at school wouldn't be nearly as bad as having to move. Nothing was worse than moving. Absolutely nothing at all.
Deciding just to get it over with, I blurted out, "I'm moving." Mandy stared at me for a moment, comprehending what I had said. Her light blue eyes widened and she gasped, "No! You're joking, right? Please tell me you're joking. Seriously, come on! That's a really crappy joke. I don't know what I would do if you..." Mandy trailed off and took a look at my face. I was doing everything I could to hold the tears back and to keep my lip from trembling. The last thing I wanted to do was end up bursting into tears in front of the whole school. Just the thought of how embarrassing that would be made me shudder.
"But why?" Mandy inquired loudly. "That's just not right! You've been here your entire life. You can't just leave us now! I mean, think of me and all your friends here. And what the hell will you do without Joe? You can barely survive a days when you don't see him. You can't do this to us!"
Mandy's words were not making me feel better. On the contrary, I was feeling a thousand times worse than I had been feeling when I had arrived at school. Mandy made it seem like I was the one who had wanted to move. Like I was the one who wanted to leave! Making an even greater effort not to let my voice crack, I said stiffly, "Mandy, do you actually think that I'm the one who wants to move? Of course I don't! I love it here. Leaving is the last thing I want to do. It's my parents who are forcing me to leave. They just don't get it. All they care about is how much fucking money they get!"
Several students turned around to stare at me and give me disapproving looks. We weren't really suppose to use bad language in school. But whenever I got upset or worked up, my temper flared and I totally forgot about school rules. Mandy gave the students ogling us a nervous smile then turned back to me, "Keep your voice down a bit, okay? The last thing you need right now is to get in trouble at school too. So tell me, why do your parents feel the need to move from this place or paradise?"
"It's because of my dad," I explained. "He got a job offer in New York. It's the first real job offer he's gotten in two years. And apparently, it's enough to make us pack up all our stuff and move to New York. You haven't heard the worst part yet. We're moving on Monday. That's only three days away! God, I'm gonna die!"
Mandy looked really upset. She put a hand on my arm comfortingly, "I'm sure you aren't gonna die...we'll come up with something before then. Maybe you can stay at my house or something? I'm positive my parents wouldn't mind it if you stayed with us for a while. We have plenty of room in our house. You could have the extra bedroom all to yourself!"
I wanted to take Mandy's offer so bad! But deep in my heart, I knew that there was just no way my parents were going to leave me here alone with Mandy and her parents. No matter how carefree they usually were, leaving their daughter behind was just something that they would never agree to.
Footsteps sounded from behind me and two seconds later, I felt a hand touch my shoulder from behind me. A voice called out, "There you are, Lisa! Where were you last night? I thought you were coming over last night. When you weren't at my house by ten, I called your house because I was worried, but nobody answered. I've been worried sick about you all night. Is something wrong sweetheart?" I turned around slowly to face Joe, knowing that if I tried to speak, I would burst into tears.
Once I was looking into Joe's deep, brown eyes that were full of passion and concern, I finally broke down. It was embarrassing, but I just couldn't contain myself anymore. The tears came pouring down my cheeks in torrents and my body started shaking as the sobs racked through me.
Instantly, Joe's arms were around me and he pulled me against his chest. I nestled into his chest and cried against his chest. Joe didn't ask what was wrong, he just held me and gently stroked my hair. Luckily, I didn't have to explain why I was so upset because Mandy came to the rescue, "If you're wondering why she's upset, it's because she's moving to New York. Anyways, I've gotta get to algebra. I'll let you two catch up. See you at lunch, okay Lisa?"
I just nodded without looking up at Lisa. My vision was blurred from tears as I cried my heart out. I had a feeling a lot of people were staring at us, but I wasn't concerned. I wasn't even going to see these people ever again after I had moved to New York. Well...not exactly. I would see Joe and Mandy again. I would do whatever it took to stay in contact with them.
After all my tears were finally shed and there were none left inside me, I slowly pulled away from Joe and looked up into his eyes once more. Joe moved a hand to my cheek and asked, "Is it true? About you moving to New York?" Still not daring to speak in case my voice was shaky, I just nodded.
Joe was biting his lip and his hair had fallen over one eye. I could practically see Joe's mind whirling as he processed this information. Finally, he said, "So we have no choice about this?" I shook my head and sniffed, "Not unless I run away. My parents are really set on this. Apparently my dad's job is the most important thing in the family. That's why we're moving. So he can get a job. That's such a shitty reason to leave."
Joe nodded, "Well...I don't want to sit around wasting time moping if we only have a few days left together. I wanna spend every moment with you from now until Monday. I want to make these last days special. Let's do things we'll never forget." For a second, I completely forgot about being sad as I thought about Joe's words. I wondered what kinds of things he meant when he said, "let's do things we'll never forget."
I was about to ask him what he meant, but Joe had already pulled me back into the embrace and I felt his lips press down on mine. Closing my eyes, I kissed Joe back and cast away all unhappy thoughts. Right now, all I needed to worry about was the present. Right now, I had Joe and that's all that mattered.