Holland wasn't sure what it was about the name "Holland" that impressed her so much. She felt like with the seven letters, she was automatically equipped with more power, more ability to lead. She felt stronger, like her physical and mental capabilities doubled every time something said her name. And she loved the way it looked in writing - it was bold.
Holland wasn't the eldest of the four girls - that job was left to Amanda, who made the best decisions for both her and the people around her. She was smart, sensible and hardworking. Holland just liked to control every situation she found herself in, the complete opposite to Emma, the youngest, who floated through her life as an invisible mute. But Holland wasn't the loudest. Victoria definitely had the biggest mouth, the biggest personality and the biggest need to do the wrong thing.
So of course, Holland's cravings for leadership dominated in the presence of her least favourite companion. Victoria didn't believe in the reasons for their habitation amongst the humans, instead relishing in the latest fashion trends and how easily she would manoeuvre her little bottom into the lap of an underaged-drinking school boy. She was the most frustrating of the other three girls, though Emma's silence did often aggravate Holland. Why couldn't the girl just talk more? Maybe then she'd stop eating so much.
Holland and Victoria were the closest in age, so perhaps that was why they were bickering so often. It may have had something to do with the fact that Holland, honestly, was prettier. Her hair was naturally curly, ringlets dancing around her untouched face, while Victoria's hair was dead straight and lacking shape around her sharp jaw bone. Holland's eyes were a misty grey, shaped wide and like little diamonds on her face, while Victoria's milky brown eyes looked gothic as she surrounded them with thick layers of black makeup.
Yet still, Holland didn't want the attention. She wanted it to be all for Victoria. She just wasn't interested, never had been. Holland's leading personality required too much control to work in a relationship of two people, she thought. And plus, with the male species developing at a significantly slower rate, who was Holland to have to wait for them to catch up?
A tickling on the back of her neck snapped Holland out of her gaze, yet another curl that had fallen out of her bun. Sighing, she grabbed her bag off the back of her chair and rummaged through the pockets for a hairpin. She wasn't sure why people thought curly hair was attractive - to her, it was just a pain, an uncontrollable, wild troublemaker that she could not control.
'Where'd your friends go?' Matt said, coming over to pick up Emma's diminished plate of fries.
Holland sighed. Where did her friends go? They'd run away again, leaving her alone. Amanda had hurried away to study and Emma had finished the rest of her smoothie before agreeing to drive around looking for Victoria. But Holland half expected her silent friend to go up Barden Street once and then give up.
'Don't pretend like you didn't see them all walk out on me.'
Matt put his tray down on the table, reaching across Holland for a dirty serviette. He smelt like dishwashing liquid and boy's deodorant.
'It was a little difficult to see anyone else when I was too busy looking at you,' he said casually, spraying the table with cleaning liquid. Holland lifted her purse so he could clean the table underneath, oblivious to his flirtatious comment.
'Hello?' Matt tapped her lightly on the head, as he were knocking and asking for entrance. 'Anybody in there? Did you not just hear what I said?'
Holland scoffed and shoved out of her chair. 'Subconsciously, I think I heard it, but I was too busy focusing on breathing through my mouth to avoid smelling your disgusting stench to process how stupid it was.' She swung her bag over her shoulder and grabbed her jacket off the back of her chair.
'Don't think you can flirt with me for info on Vicky, bus boy. I know how this works and you can forget it.'
Matt stopped wiping the table to look at her. He wasn't quite sure what to say; he'd known Holland had a personality hard to compare with, he knew how many boys had tried and failed, yet he still found her oddly endearing. She was beautiful, naturally beautiful and totally different to Victorious Victoria who painted on her beauty.
'Alright,' he said, shrugging. 'What if what you think I'm doing isn't what I'm doing? What if I'm doing this because I can't take my eyes off you every time you come in here, which is almost everyday at the exact time that I'm working?'
Holland wanted to laugh. 'You think I'm come here for you? Let me tell you something, bus boy. You serve coca cola's and lemonades, wipe tables and charm lonely, divorced ex-wives to giving you tips. I come here for coffee, that I can pay for.'
She waited for him to smile sadly and walk away, she waited for him to dump the cloth in the tray and walk away. But he didn't. He just smirked and continued wiping the table, scratching at a dried portion of ketchup.
'I can pay for coffee,' he said.
Holland looked towards the door and considered pushing past Matt to get there, but he was up and standing before she could take one step. And he seemed closer than usual, like he'd slid his feet an inch closer while he was still cleaning the table. She stepped away and folded her jacket over her crossed arms.
'Why don't you let me show you? You take sugar? What decoration would you like on top, a bunny rabbit? A heart? My face?'
She snorted. 'I'd like to see you try,' she said emotionlessly, 'but I have things to do.'
'Fair enough. But I will buy you coffee one day and it is going to be the best double shot flat white you've ever tasted.'
Holland didn't want to show her surprise of him knowing her exact order, so she just smiled quickly before hurrying away. She had to admit, Matt had a strong enough insult barrier to keep his game on during face-to-face consultations with intimidating girls. No one had been able to look her in the eyes as long as Matt had.
When she got out of the Grill, she sighed and shrugged on her jacket. Barden Cove was moving into winter and cold being a feeling Holland and her friends had never experienced, the slowly approaching evening winds made her in need of her scarves and jackets all the time. She knew she could have just disappeared and arrived at her house in an instant, but she liked walking. The enjoyed the way her feet felt when they pressed down on the ground. She liked feeling the impact of her weight as she touched the world, rather than floating all the time with no way possible to change something, even if it only was dented grass stems or shifting a coffee mug from one side of the cupboard to the other.
It was what made her feel alive.