I woke up to see Justin not beside me. "Justin?" I called, picking up my shirt from the ground to put on. I then slipped on my underwear. I stilled for a moment, looking around the room. I noticed a piece of paper on my mirror.
Sorry, I had to go... family problems. I'll call you when I'm sure you'll be awake.
yours truly, J
I sighed, and set the piece of paper down. I glanced at the clock. 11:27 A.M.I decided that I needed a shower. I spent 10 minutes cleaning myself, and a good 20 minutes just standing under the water, letting it run over me.
After I was fully dressed in grey joggers and a white t-shirt and fuzzy rainbow socks, I settled on going downstairs for lunch. Diane was sitting at the table. "Hey, sweetheart." She smiled up at me. "Is Allie up?" She asked. I shrugged. "Would you mind checking? She has a dentist appointment in about an hour."
"I'll be right back." I turned on my heels and ran up to Allie's room. "Get up!" I jumped onto her bed, expecting to jump on her, but instead, landing on a mountain of sheets and comforters.
"I'm already up." Allie called from the bathroom. "So..." She looked me up and down.
"What's up?" I asked before my phone started ringing. I ignored it, trying to carry on the conversation with my sister. It rang again. "Just answer it." Allie laughed, shaking her head, pushing me out of her room so she could change.
"Hello?" I said, walking down to the kitchen again., not even bothering to check the caller ID.
"Hey, Pigeon, sorry I had to leave earlier." Justin's voice sounded raspy over the phone.
"It's fine. Family first, right?" I said, opening the fridge.
"I suppose, but we need talk."
"Yeah, okay." I was nervous. Isn't that a line that a girl never wants to hear?
"It's nothing bad, I promise. I shouldn't have even said it like that-- I have something to ask you."
"What is it?" I opened the pantry and grabbed a granola bar to eat. I heard a knock at the door. "Hold on, just a second." I opened the door, seeing a familiar face. "You shouldn't be on your phone and driving at the same time. It's dangerous." I scolded Justin as I let him come in.
"I come baring fast food, and I was only driving while on the phone with you for like a second, okay?" He held up a take out bag from a popular burger place in town. I tried to stay mad at him, but I couldn't. I smiled and took the drink holder from him.
"Allie!" Diane walked into the foyer. "Oh, hello, Justin. How are you?" She smiled at him, not even questioning as to why he was here.
"I'm great. How about yourself?" He asked. "Same old, same old. Allie is getting her wisdom teeth pulled out, and Farrah here is going to care for her when we get back, seeing as how I'll be needing to get to work." My eyes were wide open. This was the first I was hearing of having to act as a caregiver. "Where's Luke?" She looked past Justin, through the window.
"He's at home right now." Justin answered. Allie came scurrying down the steps.
"Hey, Justin. Bye, Justin and Farrah!" She ran past us and straight to the side door that lad to the garage. Diana shrugged.
"Nice seeing you, Justin. Tell your mother I said hi." She turned around and followed her daughter.
I took the food into the living room, and set it on the coffee table. "You know Diane?" I asked, popping a fry into my mouth. Justin shrugged, pulling two plates out of the cupboard.
"I mean, we don't talk like we're best friends or anything, but, yeah, she knows me and I know her. Diane is friends with my mom, and I got to seeing her more when Luke started dating Allie." He sat on the sofa, setting the plates down on the table. I nodded. It was still weird.
"It would've been nice to have had a warning that you were coming over. I look like trash." I looked down at myself. My hair was still damp from my shower I took this morning.
"You look like cute trash, though." Justin pulled a burger out. "Your colorful, fuzzy socks are the perfect pop of color and just what your lazy day outfit needed. Besides," He took a bite of his food. "You look great in anything."
"So what did you want to tell me?"
He handed me a little red velvet box. I opened it. There was a necklace in it. A small diamond hung from the chain. "Prom?" Justin gave me a half-smile. I looked down, fidgeting with the box. Prom had been the last thing on my mind. It was only a few weeks away. "So that's a no?"
"What am I going to wear?" I looked up at him. Justin let out a sigh of relief.
"Whatever you want, Pidge, and that necklace." I nodded, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I'm glad he didn't do anything over the top.
"I'll go in pajamas." I joked.
"Okay, just tell me what color so my bow-tie can match." Justin smiled. This boy was going to be the death of me.
"You want to know the weirdest thing?" Justin said. I raised my eyebrows.
"What?" I encouraged him to continue.
"Some guy came up to me while I was... attending to family matters and asked if I knew someone Farrah Jones while I was at Crest Park." That caught my attention. I hadn't heard my last name in a while. "I thought he was talking about you, but then he showed my this picture of the girl. She looked like you, but she had red hair and was very scrawny with sunglasses on. I'm talking like just meat and bones scrawny. She looked so fragile. No way it was you." He took a bite of his burger, finishing it.
Oh God. That must've been a photo from when I was around fifteen. I had chosen the ugliest shade of red. I had been going for a bright crimson red, but it had ended up as a muddled red because of my already brown hair.
"How did this guy look?" I asked, taking a breath, preparing myself for what I knew was coming.
"He had dirty blond hair, green eyes, and he was pretty thin too. I'm not gonna lie, he looked like a crack head."
"Tell me, Justin," My voice was shaky. "Did he have a tattoo on his neck? A, uh, Chinese symbol?"
"Yeah! You seen him too?" Justin said, wide-eyed.
"Fuck." I said.
"What?" Justin asked.
"I can't... I have to leave. He found me. He found me." I jumped up and made a b-line to my bedroom, upstairs. I heard Justin trailing behind me. I pulled a backpack out of the closet and started to feverishly throw clothes in.
"Farrah, what are you doing?" Justin's hand wrapped around my wrist, stopping me. His touch so was so gentle and kind... and I let myself fall for it. I was too trusting, with him, with everyone. If I had been paying attention and more cautious, he wouldn't have been able to track me down.
"You wouldn't understand, but I can't stay here."
"Tell me what the fuck is happening." Justin said. I shook my head.
"No." My voice cracked. "I'm not dragging you into this." I continued to frantically stuff whatever clothes would fit into the bag.
"Dammit, Pidge." He took the bag from my hands, and tossed it to the ground. I wanted to grab it, zip it up, and leave, but Justin stopped me. He made me look him the eyes. My eyes welled up, and one by one, the hot tears fell down my cheeks. I shook my head at nothing. He pulled me to him, and embraced me tightly. I sobbed into his shoulder, while my limp arms finally found enough strength to wrap around him. My heart was still racing and I could feel myself still trembling.
"Running only makes it worse." He muttered into my hair. I only held him tighter in response. He was right, but running away was my only answer. It was all I knew. It's was I was taught. "You have to stay. We only have a few weeks left of school, and if you feel like you really have to leave, you could have the school mail you diploma to wherever and not go to graduation. Plus, you already said you'd go to prom with me, so you have to stay for a bit longer." Justin tried to lighten the mood, and it worked for the most part. I nodded, taking it all in. Only six weeks left. I could do this.
I dried my cheeks. I steadied my breathing and heart beat. "Okay." I tried to smile.
"I'll stay with you until Diane and Allie come back." Justin stated. I nodded my head. I closed the window shades and turned off the light. It all left the room sort of dark. I crawled into my bed and pulled the fluffy covers up to my chin. Justin rested next to me over the comforter. He twirled my hair around his fingers as I laid quietly. We didn't talk at all. It was a peaceful silence. Soon enough, my eyelids felt heavy, and I finally fell asleep.