“Oh my gosh, I am sorry I’m late, It’s just, I got this phone call and I was just….” Harriet was completely frazzled. It wasn’t like her at all.
“Did something happen at your support group?” I asked.
“No, no. It’s not that. I got a call from Adam. Luke and Danielle were in a car accident last night” Harriet replied.
“What? Oh my god” I said.
“Luke is fine. Apparently just bruises, a sprained wrist, but Danielle’s not good, she had to surgery, I don’t know anything else about it” Harriet said.
“Gees…that’s terrible. Have you spoken to Zadie? Does she know?” I asked.
“Yeah. I think Donna called her” Harriet said.
“God, Donna loves the gossip doesn’t she? Always the first to do the rounds with the phone calls and texts. I’m surprised she doesn’t blog about it. So, what did Zadie have to say about it?” I asked. I kept thinking about the fight before she got in the car, watching her drive away. That could have been her. I’m actually surprised it wasn’t.
“Nothing, really. I mean, she was concerned for them, but that was it. I think she was Johnny so she couldn’t talk or something.” Harriet said.
“So she didn’t mention anything about a close call or…did she mention me?” I said.
“Why would she mention you?” Harriet said.
“Oh, it’s nothing” I said.
“She did ask me out for lunch. Do you want to come?” Harriet asked.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea” I replied.
“Oh come on, I know you guys had a fight, but you’re best friends” Harriet said.
“I don’t know about that anymore…” I said.
“It’ll be fine” Harriet said.
“I’m not actually sure what I want from her now” I said.
I was just about to head to the ice cream parlour. It was where I had spent every afternoon this week. I have been sitting there, scoffing mint chocolate chip ice cream until I got a brain freeze and tried to continue working on my novel. I was definitely feeling the hole that Zadie had left in my life. The ice cream, and maybe watching the bodyguard a few times might have helped with that. Today clearly I wasn’t going to get there when Aunt Rose appeared at the doorway on my bedroom. She had the look on her face that she only gets when she needs to talk about something serious. I was prepared for anything when it came to Aunt Rose.
“Hey, are you still not talking to Zadie? It’s been a week” Aunt Rose asked.
“Nope. Well, it isn’t that I’m going out of my way to not talk to her but she’s been giving me the silent treatment since the party and I’m accepting that” I replied.
“Maybe you should just give her a break” Aunt Rose said.
“What? Are you serious?” I said. Aunt Rose sighed and walked into my room.
“You know, I used to be just like her when I was a teenager” Aunt Rose said.
“No way! You? My Aunt Rosie? I seriously cannot picture that. I mean, you’re so stable, so responsible and so good with the advice…oh, now I get it. All this advice has been coming from personal experience” I said.
“Yep. I did all the things she’s been doing. I didn’t care about school because it was hard and I was embarrassed, so it was easier to not try and pretend to be cool with failing. I drank. I slept around. Do you know why I did both those things? Because I thought partying would make me friends and I thought sleeping with guys would make them love me. I was just so desperate to feel accepted, to feel wanted and to feel loved by anybody who would take a chance on me” Aunt Rose explained.
“What does this have to do with Zadie?” I asked.
“I’m just trying to make you understand that maybe what she doesn’t need is a lecture or judgment from you, but just a friend. Friends can have different opinions, you’re going to have different feelings on things but I think friends are so precious and so important, you can’t let one slip away from you because of it, if that’s what you want. Something has got to be troubling Zadie. She needs real help. She needs you” Aunt Rose replied.
“I don’t know if I can do that…” I said.
“Just remember. I use to be the wild child and I think I turned out alright, but I had to hit rock bottom first to want to change. I was just glad that I had your parents to help me become the person I dreamed of being and build a great life that I thought I wasn’t good enough to deserve” Aunt Rose said.
“You wanted me to meet you in the auditorium?” I said as I walked through the doors at the back of the auditorium. Clayton was standing on the stage.
“Yeah” Clayton smiled.
“So what’ up?” I asked as I noticed him wipe his hands on the thigh of his jeans.
“I just, um, I wanted to show you something, take a seat” Clayton said.
“Um, okay…great” I said as I sat down in the second row. I didn’t know what to expect. I was ready for anything, at least I thought I was. Clayton hit the button on the stereo. He looked right into my eyes. I watched him take a deep breath and then he opened his mouth and begin to sing. It was just like magic. I was captivated. I had goose bumps all over my body and a big smile swept across my face. I clasped my hands together. I was trying to soak it all in. I just wanted to be in the moment with him, because I knew that this was something pretty special. As the song finished and the music slowly faded out, I rose to my feet.
“Have you ever sung for anyone before?” I asked.
“No one, just myself, in the shower, in the car. Here” Clayton replied. I quickly bounced up the stairs onto the stage. “You have a real talent Clayton. You’re incredible. You shouldn’t shy away from that. I’m so glad you showed me that. I know that must have been hard”
“Thanks, Evelyn” Clayton said looking a little overwhelmed.
“Thank you for letting me be your first” I said.
“Well, you’re the only one I trust” Clayton said.
“I trust you too” I said as I opened up my bag that was swung over my shoulder. I was sure that I wanted to do it now, after that. He was so brave to open up to me like that. His music was personal, just as my novel was to me.
“That’s why I want to give this to you” I handed him my manuscript.
“What’s this?” Clayton asked as he held it in his hands, looking back up at me.
“It’s me” I said.
Clayton smiled “okay?” He didn’t really know what I was talking about but he soon would.
I chuckled “just read it”
“I will” Clayton said firmly as he held it close to his chest. He trusted me.
“Now, come on, we don’t want to be late for biology” I said as I linked arms with him. I felt like right now, together, we could conquer the world. He was just what I needed. I felt like I could actually be excited about the school dance again, after all the dramas with Zadie.