Jenny had a dreamless night and slept calmly. A strange sense of lightness had crept in her heart that night, something she hadn’t experienced before. Last night was a mess, she thought. I can’t believe I cried. I have to stop acting like some weird, emotional chick, she decided as she showered. Putting on her usual white shirt, black jeans, and long brown boots, she thought of all the work that she was supposed to do. French class verbs, check. Maths trigonometry assignment, check. English questions, check. English…… Oh yes! Nick’s book.
Combing her hair, she searched for Nick’s book. She was already late. Uh, I’d say I didn’t find it, idiot! She grabbed her bag, and the car keys, climbed down the stairs, snatched the toast off the dining table, and exited the door, when she bumped into someone.
‘Oh hell!’ she said, as all her things fell out of her hands. She bent down to collect them, when knees in faded jeans came into view. ‘Are you crazy dude? Can’t you just walk properly,’ she scolded as she looked up. It was Nick. ‘What do you want? I said I’d hand over you book at school. There was no need for you to collect it.’
He just smiled and handed her all the papers that he had collected. ‘I know. While checking my bag this morning, I saw that we had exchanged our books, that I had yours-’
‘I know what an exchange is. Thanks.’ She interrupted, rather rudely.
‘I thought you might be searching for it, so I decided to drop by and hand it over to you,’ he said coolly, and rose up.
‘First of all, thank you for your consideration. But, to think of it, it might have been a consideration only if you had considered coming half an hour earlier,’ she shouted at the last four words, with her hands dusting her knees. ‘I have been looking for it everywhere. You stay clear of me, understand? And if I were you, I’d avoid dropping by,’ she said warningly. Storming ahead of him, she moved into her car and drove away.
‘I don’t know how I’ll manage in this town if all people are like this,’ Nick said as he made his way across to the car.
Jennifer never gave her sister the ride to school. She had enough friends to do that. What she was worried about today was the fact that Jules may herself ask Jenny to give her the ride. She didn’t want to hear how her date with Mark went and how Louise/Louisa, her so-called best friend happened to meet Jack secretly, behind the school walls. So on her way to school, she was silently congratulating herself on having managed to evade Jules for the rest of the day. That is how she did it. Congratulate. Eat. Drink. Talk. Work. Play. Celebrate. All silently. It was rare and uncharacteristic that she opened up to Alex. They were going strong, however, Jennifer understood Alex to be the dependent one, not the other way round. It would ruin the balance.
Ms. Adrian Foxx had married Mr. Brad Cruise, when she was barely seventeen, after a whirlwind romance at high school. Adrian never had imagined that she would have baby at nineteen, but Brad wanted it so much that she consented. Jennifer was born. That was the start of the bad times. Brad went into business and opened three casinos in Vegas. Most of his time went in work. He became successful and opened up four more franchises, three in the U.S.A. and one in Europe. He became busier, when suddenly one day, newspapers declared, “Cruise Casinos Fraud: $40 million at stake.” The next morning, Adrian woke up and found that their house had been stripped of all valuables and that Brad had cheated on her, and run away. What she told Jennifer was that Adrian and Brad couldn’t make things work and so Brad left them. Jennifer felt as though Adrian had kicked Brad out and she grew detached and suddenly stopped talking to her. Adrian, thinking that Jenny was not taking this finely, adopted Jules as she didn’t want Jennifer to be lonely.
Jennifer was thinking about her broken family when she reached school. She parked her car at her slot and waited for Alex to come. She took out her Maths question in the car and was about open it, when she heard a knock on the door. It was Nick. She groaned, not bothering to hide her frustration.
She rolled down her windows, ‘Didn’t you get what I said at the house today? ‘If I were you, I’d avoid dropping by’, right?’
‘Right, but you forgot this.’ He held his hand up, showing a battered, yellow diary. She snatched it out of his hands. ‘This is personal, how dare you touch it?’ she growled.
‘Simple, this fell from your bag when you turned. I didn’t read it.’ He watched her, fascinated, as she examined her diary. ‘So, you want to show me around?’ He asked, unperturbed by her anger.
‘Of course not!’ she said, surprised.
‘Why, you may enjoy my company,’ he replied, smiling. She glared at him with such animosity that his smile faded slowly, and he turned back, went away, muttering vehemently all the way.
‘What a weird guy,’ she commented, getting out of the car.