Even grace can be a klutz.
Maybe, you were sitting there, your hands twisted vaguely about themselves in an attempt to numb your aggravation, waiting for a certain someone, as was I. Or, on second thought, maybe you were entirely alone, the silently swaying trees your only companion, their leaves gracefully wasting away.
Another hypothetical option could leave you in the arms of a loved one, in some perverse sense of the word, reaching to grasp a final conclusion whether or not you truly cared at all about him or her, or both, for that matter. You had to of, most definitely, or you would have broken up with them months ago, on the Monday you had been meaning to remember as their birthday, but had never actually gotten around to.
Whatever, wherever or however you were, you had to of been most likely unhappy, not altogether depressed or even upset. Just simply not happy.
And as I sat, playing my fingers over and over a loose thread connected halfheartedly to my sweater in the frivolous, absurd sort of fashion that would send my dear mother off the brink and beyond, this exact concept weaved its way through my mind, stumbling and thus having to restart as it ventured its way through the many, and often horrifyingly complicated, passageways. Sighing, I pressed myself against the seat with a rigid conviction. I would imagine that my expression seemed strained, the smile I had practiced time and again faltering shamelessly, for the people beside me, people I knew well, would turn and stare.
Scarlet, I hissed inwardly to myself, get your bony little ass out here. Or else, I added thoughtfully, wondering what I would actually do to her in association with “or else.”
As if in response to this, she appeared, nearly tripping over several yard ornaments, including a rather unlucky flamingo. It had to be impossible, really, to have someone so clumsy be so graceful. It was damn near protesting, flaming club and pitchfork in hand, against the laws of physics, and winning nonetheless. In what seemed to be an unlikely amount of time—at least an hour, if not more—she made her way to the car and wrenched the door, my door, open.
“James,” she groaned, “nobody told me you would be here.”
“Nobody had to,” I replied, grinning smugly. “The world does not revolve around you alone, love, no matter how much you wish it had.”
Without another word, her face flickering to some preset, blindingly resentful expression of boredom, she slung herself—clumsily, of course—into the seat beside me. Despite the fact that she was technically sitting in the only available eight inches of the car, she had been successful in the act of creating a rivet of space between us. This, obviously, aroused the vehicle into a vehement of distress, for it squished a frail girl by the name of Laurie into the unfortunate male sitting beside her.
“For Christ’s sake, Scars,” coughed the boy—I could have sworn that he was clutching at the ribs Laurie had been forced into—“push over.“
“I refuse to be sitting next him,—” she jabbed her finger into my specific direction—“Jon.”
“Scarlet,” Jon spat back, tugging a single hand through his hair, “I don’t care if Michael Meyers was sitting next to you. Scoot the fuck over.”
A great heaving sigh ended it, for, after which, she moved several fractioned inches across the seat. With a certain stealth that I would have thought such a klutz could not behold, she managed to steal a single glance at me. Well, I suppose it wasn’t stealing after all, but instead a leased portion of visual time, for I had caught her. And at that moment, that moment where my eyes came in explicit contact with hers, that moment she had undoubtedly regretted allowing, her expression became unreasonably pained, as if I had forced her into an excruciating game of Mercy where she had suddenly gone mute.
“So,” Laurie broke a silence that had been opaque and strangely impenetrable, “how is your sister, James?”
I supposed that it had become no one’s secret that my sister was getting married. Why should it of been; the wedding was but a week away. My family had begun to fret, running over the same topic of whether or not the marriage was to be some Las Vegas quickie—as paper thin and superficial as the prostitutes that roamed the streets at night—or not, again and again as if it had turned to some horribly addictive drug.
“She’s good,” I decided to reply, not quite in the mood to go into too much detail. How silly of me, I knew that it was so very unlike Laurie to drop it before we got to what was arranged to be the color scheme for the many overzealously frilled bits of fabric that would adorn the otherwise painfully bland, Tupperware-esque plastic chairs.
“Just good?” Laurie prodded, very nearly turning the car into a six by six room, a pane of one-way glass making up the east wall.
Grinning, I imagined her turning to her fellow FBI’s behind that glass, “pretty much.” Oh, how I enjoyed milking it.
“Well, your mom—Diana—called today to tell me about—”
“—The lavender-dyed frilly crap?” I interrupted happily, eying Scarlet’s slightly put-off expression.
“No,” Laurie answered my heavily rhetorical question, “no, she told me that Audrey’s wedding gown was to be strapless,” she paused, searching wistfully for another adjective as if they were not a necessary figment of the English language, but instead a fleeting and complicated equation—maybe it was for her, though, “and very, very gorgeous.”
“Laurie, babe,” Jon interjected, pecking a kiss on her hand, “she says that everything is gorgeous, even that ratty couch your neighbor owns.”
“She was just trying to be nice with that bit, Jon,” Laurie said curtly, “it was just the right thing to do. In this case, I just know that she’s being truthful—and honest.” I began to wonder whether or not she knew that truthful and honest were spectacularly close to the same meaning; birds of the same nest, if you will. As we turned yet another corner, I decided that she probably hadn’t.
“What movie are we going to see, Tom?” Scarlet inquired, nudging the driver’s arm lightly. I was slightly amused to find that she didn’t slip, her hand knocking the clutch into park and killing us all.
“28 Weeks Later,” Tom, Thomas Carver, replied briskly, swerving onto another turn.
“It’s a zombie-esque movie,” I inserted with bland undertones, as if it were a widely known fact.
“Isn’t it, like, a sequel?” asked a girl from the front passenger seat. I furrowed my brow, trying to pinpoint a name to tack onto this familiar voice, the steel needle sinking into the particleboard beneath.
“Yes, it is, Cecile.”
Cecile, I smirked, an expression no one would see, for darkness had formed within the vehicle’s cabin—or so I thought. Cecile Smith.
“What are you so happy about, James?” Scarlet sneered, a certain venomous quality of her voice making it all the more elegant.
“Nothing, I was just thinking.”
“What abouts?” politely inquired Laurie, tugging a loose lock of blonde hair behind her shoulder. Suddenly, it occurred to me that she couldn’t possibly be this much enthralled with my life and times. Scarlet and Laurie had to of been in cahoots.
“28 Weeks Later,” I bluffed warmly, taking a shot at charm, “I do believe that I’ve already seen it.” After all, it hadn’t been entirely a lie; I had in fact seen it just a week prior.
“Why are you here, then?” interrogated Scarlet, sounding less like an eighteen year old girl and more like a cat coughing up a rather nasty hairball.
“Because,” I sighed, allowing that makeshift smile to evaporate from my features, collecting somewhere in the looming, sinister clouds above, “It’s a good movie. Pirated versions are never like the originals.”
Scarlet couldn’t possibly be this easily pliable, could she? It had been as though her buttons were clearly labeled in bold type, “PRESS HERE”, each with enormous, neon-bordered signs. And, as if to prove my mental point, she gawped, her eyes turning to malicious slits as she mulled over the meaning of pirate.
“You do know that that is illegal, right?”
“I am all too familiar with the fact,” I returned, sliding my finger onto yet another control panel, each button this time labeled with a simple precautionary warning of hazardous material.
Yes, I thought dimly, [i]yes, of course she is.