Suddenly someone began to clap and said, "That was incredible. The video is gonna be amazing!"
We automatically flinched a few centimeters away from each other. Without I had to look up, I knew who was there. Nevertheless, I forced myself to look up and put on a smile.
Justin's girlfriend Selena stood there leaning against the wall, watching us with a keen eye. Then she came slowly towards us, gave her hand to me and said "I'm Selena, his girlfriend."
I took her hand briefly and then she turned to her boyfriend and hugged him.
"Hi baby," he said still surprised and I looked away.
I had to swallow. I heard they kissed and looked at my feet and only looked back up as Selena asked me "So you're the choreographer of the dance group that won?"
I nodded and she said "Although I haven't yet seen you dance, Jus says you're incredible."
Her sharp eyes bored into mine and I just said "Yes, I'm Grace... and thank you."
Then Justin cleared his throat and asked "What are you doing here?"
Selena began to tell, but I didn’t listen to her. I looked at her and she was... wow. Simply amazing and the complete opposite of me.
Long brown hair, perfect make up, perfect tan, perfect teeth, perfect figure, perfect, perfect, perfect.
No wonder he was able to easily forget me.
I sighed softly and then looked at Justin. He listened, nodded and threw out of the corner of his eyes looks at me. He still looked surprised and I imagined that I don’t look different.
"So, we're going out tonight?," Selena asked and he nodded.
"I'll drive Grace home and take a shower, then I come by, okay?," he said and she nodded briefly threw a look at me and wrinkled her nose.
"Hurry up, I have a surprise for you," she said, tempting and I felt sick.
He coughed and she giggled and I rolled my eyes.
Then she turned to me and said, "It was nice to meet you, Greta."
"It's Grace," I said and she just shrugged her shoulders and said "Whatever."
She kissed Justin again and said "See you later" and went.
Justin was still in the same place, as if he had not received the last few minutes.
"I'm going to change my clothes..." I said softly and left.
When I was finished, Justin was already standing in the entrance hall of the park, waiting for me.
"Normally, she behaves differently," he assured me, and I nodded.
"She's the kindness in person," I said and he sighed.
"Normally yes," he said.
Silently we went to his car and got in.
The entire ride over we were silent at each other, I didn't know what to say.
The radio was playing softly any songs, but I couldn't concentrate. My thoughts rotated in my head, but at the same time I felt totally empty.
I had allowed him to come too close to me. He still had so much power over me that I hardly could stand to sit so close to him in his car. I had forbidden me such thoughts. Not only because he had once broke my heart, but also because I knew very well that he was taken. They were happy and she loved him, otherwise she wouldn't has been so jealous.
But... but why had he let me so close to him? Why? I was practically a stranger and he got on with me, as we would have known each other forever... what was also so. Only that he didn't seem to remember.
I stared straight out the windshield and wished I had told him today morning, he should drive up already and I would come later. Then I would sit in my own car, worry about everything, angry curse him or cry. At this moment I preferred all this rather a thousand times more than being trapped in his car with him.
I forced myself to the absolute peace and hoped that I looked as if I would follow any train of thought. From the corner of my eye I could see that he sometimes looked over at me and was on the verge of something to say. But at the last moment he decided always different, which calmed me on the one hand, but on the other made me even more angrier.
If he somehow should find out sometime, what he did to me by totally forgetting and not remembering me, I was hoping that it would really, really hurt.
Finally, we turned onto my street and from further away I could see my house. Slowly, he stopped at the road and I unstrapped me.
"Thanks for bringing me home," I said and wanted to get out just as he said, "Grace, wait."
My hand slipped off the door handle and I turned back to face him. I said nothing but looked at him and waited. He turned off the engine and then turned to me.
"We need to talk about what has happened in the park," he said, and his eyes looked with a soft look in mine.
"I thought we agreed on the choreography and would teach the crew tomorrow exactly that," I said and acted as I wouldn't know what he was talking about.
He screwed up his face and said, "I don't mean that. We need to talk about what would have happened if Selena hadn't shown up."
Inwardly, I squirmed myself. He couldn't even pronounce it.
"Do we have to?" I asked finally and he sighed.
"Yeah, we must. We need to clarify that. We will continue to work together every day and I don't want anything between us. Scooter says something like that damages the joint work and the resulting shared memories."
Slowly Scooter bugged me. Not only that he had already broken everything previously, but also that he could disturb everything. Justin seemed completely unaware that he followed Scooters words, whenever it suited.
"No," I said and a confused expression appeared on his face.
"No," I repeated, putting my hand on the door handle and pushed it open. I turned around and slammed the door.
Justin looked up with a puzzled expression after me. I ran across the lawn and heard as he opened his door.
"Grace," he called after me and I stopped. "We must talk about it," he added, and I turned around.
"It's not really important," I said and shook my head slowly. Then I shrugged and said, "Nothing happened. And even if?"
I read in his face how much this answer hit and hurt him.
"See you tomorrow," I said, turned and ran to the front door.
The next thing I heard was how he slammed his door and drove away. I sighed, fumbled in my pocket for my keys and unlocked the door.
How could he now be the one who is hurt? He of all people? Ugh.
I stomped into my room and slammed my door. There was still no one at home, which didn’t bother me much.
In my mind's eye I dropped the last few hours again reminisce and could only shake my head. In the moment when I came to the point where Justin and I had almost kissed, I cut off the memory and had only one thought: Not with me. I will not let him do this again with me.
I ripped my door again open and ran into the bathroom of my mother. There I rummaged through her many hair care products, until I read the magic words "Hair Color" and grabbed without batting an eyelash, the unopened package and ran back to my room.
My mom always used to say "If something is about to end, then accept it and move on." Maybe she didn't mean it like that, but that was the way I understood it.
Hours later, after I had washed all the chemicals out of my hair, I began to blow-dry it. Wet it looked like I had dyed my hair black, but when they become drier, it brightened. When my hair was completely dry, I could only stare at my reflection.
In front of me stood the old Grace.
My hair was almost exactly the same brown tone with the slight red tinge. Satisfied, I run a hand through my hair.
The voice of my old, injured ego flared up: "You'll be even more hurt. Sure, you have no glasses and the braces are off - but apart from that you're still the same. Justin didn’t notice when you were blonde, he will not notice if you have dark hair. And this will again really hurt."
I just shook my head smiling.
I was hurt enough. Now it was his turn.