“Fuck! You’re freezing!” And he wrapped my hand with his right warm one. I tensed up inside. He was holding my hand. It felt…well, weird.
The school bell rang at the end of the day and I made my way to my locker to trade books for what I needed tonight, jamming my notes Bob gave back in my backpack. After lunch, I just couldn’t bear the thought of going to my classes. So I did something I’ve never done before; I skipped.
When I did it, I just didn’t care, but I knew later I’d feel horrible. I was always a good student, but I guess sometimes I need to take a risk. I spent the last few class periods in the library, hiding in the corner where a worn out couch was placed. I’d never been in there, and yet it became my favorite place as of today. Quite and dark, and oh so peaceful; it was like another sanctuary besides my room.
I left the school, cautiously looking both ways so I wouldn’t run into Brandon or his clan. I didn’t want to have another run in with them. It was raining again just like yesterday after school, and so I pulled my hoodie over my head even though I was still pelted with the drops.
I walked down the stairs and past students who were catching their bus or driving in their cars. Of all days, my father had me walk; but then I’d have to pick up my brother and sister…and then they’d get all wet and sick! I frowned at this; I hated it when they got sick. Whenever the twins get sick, it’s not a minor cold; sometimes their colds would last for two weeks. Somehow they both got stuck with a shitty immune system in their genes.
I walked away from the school and down the road as the rain started to come down harder. I really wished I had an umbrella; it was only after 2 minutes did I soon become fully soaked. Only my socks and underwear seemed to be dry. A car passed by, hitting a puddle that splashed in all directions. And much to my dislike, I was doused with water. I groaned. Now my socks and underwear were wet.
I continued down the road; it didn’t matter if I stepped in puddles. I was already waterlogged. I tried to look at the address of the twins’ school I had saved on my phone, but the rain drops fell onto the screen; every time I’d wipe them away, it smeared and blurred the screen.
Irritated, I shoved my phone in my hoodie pocket.
I heard the tires of a car driving on the wet road behind me, and braced myself for the next splash of water that would most likely drench me. Instead, I could hear the tires slow down, the break squeaking as it pulled up next to me. I turned to look at it, seeing that it was a beat up silver 1988 Subaru XT with the windows up. Part of me tensed up in fear of getting pulled in by some kind of pedophile.
The window rolled down, and the panic was washed away with relief.
“Don’t you think it’s a little chilly to have a shower right now?” Gerard asked with a grin on his face. I couldn’t help but smile back.
I shivered, and pulled my wet hoodie closer around me. Gerard eyed me up and down, his lips turning into a half smirk. He reached across and opened the passenger door.
“Get in,” He told me, and without a second thought I got in eagerly, away from the rain. I couldn’t help but shiver again from the change of temperature.
Gerard turned back in his seat and reached to grab a thick leather jacket from the back seat. He handed it to me.
“Might wanna put this on,” He said, and started the car up again.
I took off my hoodie and pulled his jacket over me. It warmed me up, and I couldn’t help but notice that it smelled a little like him. Gerard started to drive again.
“So, why were you walking in the rain?” He asked. “It’s fucking cold out there!”
I rolled my eyes, and pulled out my phone to text:
My dad said I had to walk home and pick up my brother and sister.
“Ohh,” He nodded. “I can pick them up for you…”
I looked at him with wide eyes, and shook my head. I didn’t want him doing this for me, I couldn’t let him. He saw the look on my face and started to laugh.
“I don’t mind, you know,” He said. “I’m guessing Belleville Elementary?”
I sighed and nodded. He chuckled, and drove to the school. I shivered every now and then. Gerard seemed to notice.
“You cold?” I nodded, and he turned up the heat in the car. His hand brushed mine and he pulled back quickly. “Fuck! You’re freezing!” And he wrapped my hand with his right warm one. I tensed up inside. He was holding my hand. It felt…well, weird.
The entire ride he held my hand, and he didn’t pull away. I couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing. At least I was starting to regain feeling in it. We pulled up to the front of the school where parents with umbrellas were picking up their children. I got out and held up a finger to let him know it won’t take long. I hurried up the steps and saw my brother and sister sitting on some chairs in the hallway, and their faces lit up when they saw me.
“Willow!” Cassie hugged my legs. “I thought you’d never come!”
I giggled and took both their hands and led them back to the car. They shot me confused looks, seeing that they didn’t know they were going to be driven home by some stranger. I opened the door for them and they got in the back, and Gerard turned around to smile at them.
“Who are you?” Cassie asked in a small voice.
Gerard laughed lightly. “I’m Gerard, or you can call me Gee.”
“Hi, Gee-Gee,” Jack grinned. “I like your car!”
Gerard let out a chuckle at his newfound nickname. “Thanks, kiddo. And who might you two be?”
“My name is Cassie.” “I’m Jack!” They both said at the same time.
I smiled at the three of them; they were all getting along nicely. Gerard started up the car and drove on while I pointed in certain directions where he was supposed to go. After a couple of minutes of silence, Cassie broke it.
“Are you Willow’s boyfriend?” She asked.
Gerard started to choke on the air, glancing at me, and blushing a bright red. I turned back in my seat and gave Cassie a look, causing her to sink back in her seat.
“No,” Gerard chuckled lightly. “I’m just a friend of your sister’s!”
I breathed in sharply. He said that he was my friend. Was he my friend? Was he really? I couldn’t help but smile a little. Maybe Gerard did want to be my friend; maybe my mood today was over exaggerated. Perhaps Gerard could be my friend. That is, of course, if he really was telling the truth.
A few minutes passed, and Gerard finally pulled up to my house.
“Wow,” He sighed, looking up at our house. “You live here?”
I shot him a confused look and turned to face my house. It was only my house. Two stories with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, and a nice front yard. What was wrong with it? Was he judging me because of my house?
“It’s really, really… big,” He said. “I wish I could live in your neighborhood…”
I blushed, and smiled at him. I opened the car door and stepped out in the rain, and opened the door for the twins and they dashed to the front door of the house. I stood at the passenger door, looking at Gerard.
“Well…” He said. “I guess I should go home now.”
I bit my lip. He just drove me and the twins home, and I felt a pang of guilt because he didn’t get anything in return. I smiled lightly at him, and nodded my head towards my house, inviting him in. Gerard grinned, and shut off the ignition and got out of his car. He walked with me down the sandstone path to the door, and I unlocked it and my siblings kicked their shoes off and to the kitchen. Gerard did the same with his shoes.
“Your house… just…” He sighed, looking around. “Wow… this is really nice… I’m afraid to get mud on your floor!”
I giggled quietly, and he looked at me with a small smirk on his lips.
“Your laugh is really nice…” He said, causing me to blush a little.
I went to the kitchen where Cassie was sitting at the table and Jack looking through the fridge. Gerard followed me and sat down by Cassie, and Jack immediately went to sit by him,
“Hiiii,” Jack grinned.
Gerard chuckled. “Watcha got there, sport?”
“Grapes!” Jack said, showing him the handful of grapes he got from the fridge, and popping one in his mouth. Gerard took one and ate it. “Hey!”
Gerard stuck his tongue at him, trying to steal another one of Jack’s grapes, only for him to giggle and pull away from Gerard. It was so… cute. I’ve never seen Jack like this since… since Mom died.
I moved around the kitchen, grabbing cheese and turkey slices and bread, making sandwiches for Cassie and Jack. Gerard talked to the two of them, and they both giggled. I haven’t seen them like act like that in so long. I placed there sandwiches in front of them, and opened up a cabinet to pull out two mugs and a package of instant coffee. I poured hot water into the mugs and two spoons of coffee and mixed it. I set one in front of Gerard and sat down.
“Thanks,” He smiled, and I smiled back. “Fuck, that’s good coffee…”
I hit his hand lightly, nudging my head towards the twins who gaped at him.
“Oops,” His face turned red from embarrassment. “You both didn’t hear that, okay?”
They nodded slowly while I rolled my eyes. “So, where’s your parents?” He asked.
“Our dad is working,” Cassie said, eating the last of her sandwich and brushing her hands of crumbs. Jack also did the same.
He nodded, sipping his coffee diligently. “Oh, what about your mom?”
My stomach knotted, and I felt like spewing my coffee. The twins became silent and got up from the table, chair squeaking against the tile, and went up the stairs quickly. I sighed, and looking down into my mug. Silence hung in the air between Gerard and I, and I thoughts came flooding in of all the possible things I wanted to say to him for upsetting my brother and sister.
Real smooth, Gerard, I thought to myself.
“I… I-I’m sorry… if I said anything I wasn’t supposed to,” He said quietly, and I looked up to see him with his gaze down.
I sighed, and could tell from the look on his face that he felt some guilt. I inched my hand towards his, only to pull back hesitantly. I contemplated over whether or not I should do something. I reached back out, and gently placed my hand over his. He looked up at me with his hazel eyes, and I gave him a light smile showing him that it was alright. He looked back down at our hands, and a small smile played on his lips. He pulled his hand out from under mine, and laced his fingers with mine. My heart sped up, and my stomach felt a little fluttery for some reason. I looked at our intertwined fingers as part of my brain tried to make sense of the sudden heartbeat and feeling.
“Hey, um…” I looked up at him, and he bit his lip. “Do… do you wanna maybe… I don’t know… you know; sit with me and friends tomorrow at lunch?”
I didn’t know what I was supposed to do at this moment, or what to decide. Gerard just asked me to sit with at lunch tomorrow. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to say? Gerard was so… kind, and so were some of his friends… Do I say yes? Would it be the right decision? Was I getting myself into something terrible?
I sighed mentally, and looked back at Gerard who was waiting for an answer. I gave him a half smile, and nodded. He grinned and squeezed my hand gently.
“Cool,” He said. His phone buzzed and reached down to pull it from his pocket and flipped it open. He sighed. “Sorry, I gotta get going; my brother wants me to pick him up…”
I nodded in understanding, and we both stood up and I walked him to the front door.
“Thanks for the coffee,” He smiled, and slipped on his shoes. He stood up and opened the door, and looked up at me. “So… I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
I nodded, grinning. He walked back into the pouring rain and to his car. I stood at the doorway and watched get in and start up the engine, seeing him wave from his window. I gave him a small wave back and he drove down the road. I shut the door and leaned against it, sighing.
I went upstairs, and Cassie and Jack were standing at the top step, smiling down at me. I gave them a “what-are-you-looking-at” look. They giggled and ran off to their rooms. I went up to my room to do my homework, all the while thinking of Gerard. I didn’t know why, but for some reason I just had him implanted in my mind. I could still feel the fluttering in my stomach. I wasn’t familiar with the feeling, but it stayed there.
Dad came home after an hour or two and brought home pizza. After dinner I went up to my room to change for bed. When I took off my top, I realize that I still had Gerard’s leather jacket, and that I left my hoodie in his car. I sighed and put it in my backpack. I finished dressing for bed, and climbed in.
I lay in the dark, staring up at my ceiling with my head resting on one arm and the other on my stomach. I thought about what lunch would be like tomorrow with Gerard and his friends. I wondered if they’d feel awkward if I was there, like a hindrance. I always seemed to wonder about these negative things. I shut my eyes, and dozed off, going into a dreamless sleep.