Chapter Eighteen, Oops, I Did It Again
I felt like some spy or secret agent going undercover as childish as it sounds. I had to duck my head so many times, press my back against the wall, and walk super fast through the halls without being seen by anyone I knew. It's definitely one of the hardest things I've done. I had contemplated how I might be over exaggerating the incident during lunch, being that I was acting like a total freak, but I still felt humiliated. I could have sworn everyone in the quad had heard and watched what happened, especially my walk of shame out of there. I felt so open and weak, I didn't want anyone to see or approach me while I was vulnerable.
Oh my gosh, I was... sensitive? Wow.
Turns out, I would be a horrible FBI or CIA agent, so there goes working undercover for the government when I grow up. Kinda sucks. Guess I could settle for SWAT. Anyways, the reason for narrowing my career choices was because I ran into Carmen on the way to my car. It was in that very second I saw her that I remembered it being Wednesday and I had to drive her home. Un-freaking-believable.
We were standing outside the school not far from the parking lot. Carmen was only, maybe, three or four yards away. Our gazes locked and students passed by us, but our eyes never faltered. I couldn't read her expression, but mine was of full horror no doubt. That's how I felt at least as we stared at each other. I expected her to walk towards me because I'm pretty sure my feet somehow became apart of the cement underneath me. My heart was not desperately trying to break free from my ribcage, but instead it was frozen. I don't even remember breathing. There was something else I felt, but I can't even describe it because I'd never felt it before.
When I noticed Carmen moving closer, my senses snapped and I repeatedly, excessively, cursed in my head. She is the last person I wanted to see and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. Those dreams I had about Carmen were so sweet compared to this terrifying, nail-biting nightmare taking place. I didn't even try to gain my composure back as she stood before me. I just wanted to run away faster than Usain Bolt. Why does this have to happen to me?
"Hey, thought you were gonna try and ditch me." Carmen teased as if she knew just how uncomfortable I really was around her. She probably does.
"Ha." I tried to smile and laugh, but it wasn't really funny since it was the truth. And she looked scary for some reason. Her hair was in the same curls as when I first saw her, only I didn't want to watch one of them bounce this time.
"You look like you're gonna be sick. Are you okay?"
Oh Carmen, Carmen, Carmen, you don't even know.
"Psh, I'm fine." I noticed the pitch of my voice rise and it sounded kinda squeaky. This isn't happening. Why can't I have freaking red shoes so when I tap them together, I'm home? Is that too much to ask for on Christmas?
"I don't think so." Carmen said as she stared at me skeptically while she concentrated on studying my face. Really, that was a waste of her time because she was right, but I wasn't going to tell her that.
"Yeah." I answered, nodding my head and trying so desperately to pull myself together. It was like something destroyed my guard and I was having trouble at least mending it. Did I mention it was the worst day of my life, because it was.
"Okay, then let's go." She said, pushing whatever doubts she had aside and jerking her thumb in the direction of my car. I nodded my head again and followed her.
Even after Carmen and I had sat in my car and we were on our way to her house, neither of us said a word more to each other. It was quiet and I couldn't help but feel like the silence was suffocating me. It made everything worse since I had been brooding over what happened. Not gonna lie, my whole mood did a shift and I was becoming annoyed and frustrated with myself. I ended up putting myself down and adding my own name to the list of people I disliked. Fine, I was becoming insane and more than the people who I accused of being insane. I just couldn't believe how incredibly stupid I was acting again.
"You do realize that I've forgotten what happened during lunch, right?" Carmen asked, breaking the silence after what felt like thirty hours, but was realistically only five minutes. I had lost my sense of time, too, which was just wonderful.
"What?" I asked because saying that she had forgotten what happened meant that she actually remembered what happened, so really she was lying to me. Why is she lying and making me feel a gagillion times worse? This is why I only ever liked associating myself with Peter and Adrian. They've known me since elementary school and nothing like this would ever happen.
"You're acting so different and I know why. No worries, Niall. We all say stupid things on an impulse without thinking." Carmen explained. It made me irritated and defensive, though.
"Don't try to act like you understand how I'm feeling and what's going on, because you don't." I bit back to her.
"Well, maybe if you would actually talk about it, then-"
"Why would I want to talk to you? You're the last person I want to talk to." I spat.
"Okay, that's fine." She said rather calmly. I took a second to look at her, but I couldn't read her face at all. She was either angry, upset, or actually fine. Maybe she was a combination of all three.
The rest of the drive was silent again. I couldn't stand it. I kept having the urge to turn on the radio or put on a CD to break it, but I chickened out every time. As soon as I reached Carmen's house and parked in the driveway, Carmen was out of the car and walking to her door. She hadn't said bye and when she entered her house, she closed the door without a simple wave to me. I would have loved to have an argument with her, even a punch to the arm or a slap on the back of my head. She chose giving me the cold shoulder and it sucked. As I drove home, I knew I should have taken the embarrassment as a gift and welcomed it with open arms.
I felt like crap when I walked inside my home. I was too exhausted after everything that happened during and after school. Sleep sounded more like heaven to me after a quick snack. I stopped by the staircase to drop my backpack off then made my way to the kitchen. As I passed the living room, I heard the tv on and noticed Kelsey and Greg cuddling on the couch together. I hoped they wouldn't say anything to me and they didn't. I grabbed a bag of chips and a bottle of water before I made my way to my room. Of course, I couldn't escape the inevitable greeting from my brother.
"Hey, Niall. Glad to see you home." Greg said just as I was passing by.
"Hey." I muttered, continuing to walk so that way he'd leave me alone.
"How was school today?"
"Peaches and cream." I answered with fake enthusiasm.
"Sounds terrible." Kelsey confirmed.
"What happened? It didn't have to do with Adrian, did it?"
"No, just leave me alone, please." I stopped and began replaying the highlights of the day in my head, and ended up turning around and going back to the kitchen. I need more junk food to help soothe me for being an amazing idiot.
"Sure you don't want to talk about it? You're not having girl problems, are you?" Kelsey asked, trying to be helpful and possibly be won over by me. I would have liked her a hundred times more if she had listened to me.
"I don't have that type of anatomy, therefore I don't have girl problems." I sarcastically replied, but it only reminded me of Carmen even more. Wow, just wow.
"I didn't mean- oh god, no. Uh, never mind. Hope you feel better." Kelsey stuttered and remained quiet.
"Niall, I can't go home this evening knowing there's something wrong. Are you sure you don't want to at least tell us what's wrong?" Greg offered, and though it was appealing, I didn't want to see his reaction or for him to even know. He's my brother, but he's not my friend.
"Remember what happened last time we talked?"
"I promise I won't say anything, or judge you. Well, I'll try not to judge you." He insisted.
"Fine, after I grab some brownies. Where are the brownies?" I don't know why I gave in, but I did. I was probably frustrated because I couldn't find the brownies Kelsey had made last night. They were amazing and I never knew walnuts tasted so good with chocolate.
"Oh, about that, we ate them all after dad took a few to work." If I were actually a girl and had that anatomy, I would have cried.
"Do we have anything else?" I whined from the kitchen. I heard Greg say something, but I didn't know what because he wasn't speaking loud enough from the living room. Kelsey started giggling and soon Greg was in the kitchen with me.
"What do you want?" I asked. He comes home with his girlfriend to visit and then finishes all the food we have in the house like he doesn't eat enough when he's gone.
"To help my little brother out with his food problems." I rolled my eyes.
"Yeah, of course you do."
"I think there's some cookies in one of the cupboards." I made a face and shook my head.
"Gross, they're Sandie's. I'm don't like nuts in my cookies."
"There's ice cream."
"I'm not in the mood for it to melt before I'm finished."
"That's all I know of."
"Did mom bring anything from work yesterday? Sometimes she does."
"You mean those cake things on sticks?"
"They're like... lollipops but it's cake."
"Are there any or are you getting my hopes up?"
"I don't know where mom put them."
"Yes, I do!"
"You like them?"
"I'm not talking to you anymore. You finished your girlfriend's brownies without at least saving me one."
"Not accepted, but I appreciate the gesture."
"I love you."
"That's nice. I love me, too."
I had just finished gathering my snacks together and was about to go back to my room, but Greg blocked me.
"Nope, you have to tell me what's wrong first."
"No, I don't. Stop bullying me."
"How am I-"
"Kelsey! Greg's being mean to me again!"
"No, I'm not! He's lying!"
"Be nice, boys!" Greg and I both rolled our eyes.
"I'm not moving." Greg warned me.
I sighed, knowing I lost this round with him. I set my stuff on the counter beside me, then sat on top of the counter. I opened my water and drank some before opening the bag of chips. Greg watched me as I started eating and didn't seem pleased with how comfortable I made myself.
"Get off the counter." He ordered me but I ignored him. "Niall, get off the counter."
"Because mom doesn't like it when we sit on the counter."
"Mom doesn't like a lot of things."
"Yeah, and the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, either."
"Don't compare me to her. She's scary."
"She's not and your mother. Get off the counter, please."
"Ugh, fine, only if I can go to my room."
"I feel like if I give in to you, all these feelings you have are going to grow and then you'll explode. You're so bitter when you explode."
"Duh." I said with my mouth full.
"Does this have something to do with that girl you were texting... Cameron?" My eyes went wide, but then I frowned.
"Her name is Carmen."
"So, what's the problem?" I rolled my eyes at his immediate assumption that turned out to actually be true.
"I messed up and she's mad at me. Turns out I don't like it when she's mad at me and ignores me."
"Oh really?" Greg asks with fake interest.
"What did you do?"
"I embarrassed myself during lunch and it ate me alive until after school when I took her home. It became annoying then. I sorta got upset at her when she was trying to help and was being nice about it all." I confessed. It felt good to get it out, but I'd never tell Greg that. He would have a field day.
"Have you tried apologizing to her?"
"Oh my gosh! That's the greatest thing I've heard! You're my savior! I love you, Greg. You're the best brother in the world."
"You're so annoying, I don't understand how this girl likes you at all. You should talk to her because it's obvious you love her." Greg walked away after that and I swear he freaking snickered.
"Butt hole." I muttered as I jumped off the counter.
I gathered my snacks for a third time and walked to my room, picking up my backpack on the way. When I reached my room, I tossed my backpack on the floor, dumped the snacks on my desk, and sat on my chair while staring at my phone. It was like I was waiting for something to magically happen, but in reality I was finding the courage to at least text Carmen. I hate having an older brother, but I'm unashamedly grateful I have Greg. Though Greg's advice was helpful, I still couldn't bring myself to type out a simple apology.
The more I stared at my phone, the more I realized that I really was a jerk. I blew everything that happened so out of proportion and on top of that I really did screw up. I made Carmen upset which makes me upset at myself, too. I should just wait until tomorrow where I would be fully rested and confront her about how stupid I am. That's the smart thing to do because who in their right mind apologizes over text? Of course, I do. I take the most impersonal route and I get this sudden burst of confidence.
I'm a dick and I'm really sorry for getting upset at you for the 2nd time when you were just being the sweet person you are
I'm sorry, Carmen Shay Mitchell
I set my phone on my desk face down and took out a cake pop from the ziplock bag. I noticed the remote to my CD player, so I picked it up and turned it on. I don't know exactly why I felt so sad, ashamed, and guilty. It was a strange feeling. The last time I felt this bad was when Carmen told me about Samantha, well I at least felt similar. Maybe I was just thinking too much about everything. Ugh, I really am becoming sensitive and I'm actually showing compassion to someone who I really like. It feels good, though. As the song that was playing started to sound really good in the moment, my phone buzzed. I checked it and grinned.
Carmen: You dork. I said to never use my full name again
And you really remember that? The last time you were upset?
Me: can't forget. I feel horrible
Carmen: I'm not mad at you, you know
Me: but you just left
Carmen: Because I was upset. I forgave you already
Carmen: Wait, omg!!! YOU WERE SO UPSET AWWWWW HOW SWEET
Me: shut up :/
Carmen: AWWW AND YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TODAY I AM SO DONE I CANT EVEN
Carmen: AWE ARE YOU BLUSHING
I BET YOU ARE RED RN
After Carmen's last text, I took out another cake pop and turned the volume of the stereo louder. Greg gave the worst advice. He's the worst brother ever. I guess that's the second time I've ever embarrassed myself. Two times in one day must be a world record and if not, my condolences to the person who holds that record. I want to bury my head in the sand and then let the waves carry me away. They say to follow your heart, but I should have listened to my gut.
I stayed locked in my room for the rest of day, hoping it would be a blur by the next day. I reluctantly said bye to Greg and Kelsey before they left, though. Thankfully, he didn't say anything to me other that I should call him more often. He's stupid if he really thinks I'll listen. Anyway, it was such a long day and I hated it.
made this chapter longer for you cuz I kinda lagged this update. I'm sorry if it disappoints bc omg I've just been busy and the past few days sucked and I'm just... really sorry but I swear next chapter will be better bc I love surprises!
but ugh, I miss Peter. like, has he made any progress with the aliens??? THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IN THE STORY. I MISS THIS IDIOT. HE NEEDS TO GET HIS LIPS OFF SAMANTHA