Home > The Field Party #1 - Until Friday Night(8)

The Field Party #1 - Until Friday Night(8)
Author: Abbi Glines

I turned around to face her. “I love you, Momma,” I said, needing her to know. I was in this with her. She wasn’t alone. When Dad was gone, I wouldn’t let her be alone.

Her eyes filled with tears I knew she wouldn’t shed. Then she nodded. “I love you too, baby.”

That was enough for now. I wasn’t ready to cry. Not in front of her. And I didn’t think I could handle seeing her tears either.

Stay Out of My World



I sat on my bed looking out the window. Tonight Brady had invited several guys over to watch game tapes—whatever that meant. Aunt Coralee had made sure I knew I was welcome to go down and watch with them if I wanted to. But I wasn’t doing that to Brady.

Instead I was sitting here and watching to see if West would come over. As angry as he’d made me this morning, that look in his eyes he tried so hard to disguise had been nagging at me. I wanted to despise him, or even just be indifferent to him, but I couldn’t seem to get him out of my thoughts.

I’d been so sure he was a monster after his performance in the hallway. But later I’d watched him shove a guy against the wall and take a pair of glasses from him and then hand them back to a terrified-looking ninth grader. It had been so quick that if I hadn’t been studying him, I would have missed it. Cruel, heartless people didn’t do that. They didn’t stand up for the weak. West was one big contradiction.

But I still wouldn’t trust him. That much I knew. Just because he spoke kindly to his mother and helped a kid being picked on did not mean I would form any attachment to him. Yes, he had kissed me and, yes, I had liked it. And yes, I was curious about whatever secret he was keeping from everyone. But I wasn’t one to let a guy turn my head. I had done that once in junior high school. He’d been a year older than I was and beautiful. I thought he really liked me, but then I’d found out he was just using me to get to my friend. After finding out he’d asked her to the homecoming dance, I had come home in tears. Mom had sat on the sofa with me and we’d eaten popcorn, chocolate ice cream with hot fudge, and pizza. She was always there when I hurt. She always knew how to make me smile. . . .

I shoved the memory away. I couldn’t think about that. I missed her too much.

I pulled the blanket up over my arms and tucked it under my chin, then rested my head against the wall. West’s eyes were going to haunt me. Were all his friends blind to his behavior? Did they just accept it?

When I’d seen him kissing Raleigh this afternoon— she clearly didn’t stay mad at him long and was rubbing all over him by the last bell—I’d wanted to be her for a second. Now that I knew how it felt to be in his arms, I had one weak moment where I’d wished he’d been the boy I thought he was Friday night. But then I remembered he was standing there kissing a girl he’d treated terribly. Was that his apology to Raleigh? Did she forgive him so easily? Probably. I’d seen that kind of warped relationship with my parents. If she only knew how unhealthy it could become.

Guys who looked like West made girls forget themselves. I had watched it so many times. When you are silent, you can observe so much more. I see others’ mistakes more easily. And people feel safe saying things around me they wouldn’t normally say because they know I won’t repeat them or because they confuse being mute with being deaf.

For instance, two of my six teachers today had spoken extra loudly as if I couldn’t hear them when they addressed me in class. It was comical. I was used to it by now, but it still made me laugh inside.

I wondered how it would feel to laugh again, to laugh right out loud. To feel the sound of it on my tongue. But knowing that my mother was gone and that I had made sure my father paid for his crime, could I ever laugh again? Could I hear my own voice and not break into a million pieces?

A knock at my bedroom door startled me, and I turned to see the knob slowly turn. I watched as the door eased open and Nash’s face came into view. His eyes were just as startling against his dark skin as they had been earlier.

“You want company?” he asked, a sheepish grin tugging on his lips.

He was flirting with me. Several times today he’d appeared at my side and talked to me, knowing I wouldn’t talk back. I hadn’t expected that kind of attention, but I was certainly getting it from Nash. At first I was wary of him, but he’d been nothing but kind to me. He never went beyond my comfort zone, and I had watched him with other people. The others at school all seemed to love him. Even the teachers.

Although I wasn’t in the mood for company, nor was I sure it was a good idea that he was up in my room, I shrugged. It wasn’t an invite, exactly, but I hoped it wasn’t rude, either.

“Good. They’re boring me down there,” he said.

I tried to manage a smile, but it didn’t happen.

“You know,” he continued as he sat down on the edge of my bed, facing me as I stayed curled up in the window seat, “school didn’t suck today with you to look at.”

I ducked my head and studied the blanket I was covered up with. He was going to flirt some more. I wasn’t used to this. Sure, I’d had boyfriends before . . . before everything happened. That had been different, though. We hadn’t been kissing or hanging out. It was more of a social thing that happened only at school or on the phone at night. My mother had been very overprotective, and I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen.

Once, I’d also been a cheerleader and had a lot of friends. But that all changed, and over the past two years I’d lost that part of me.

“I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable or embarrass you. I’m sorry. I was just trying to make your transition to a new school easier.”

He was handsome and sweet. The kind of guy I would have liked in my former life. The kind of guy that any girl would like. I could ignore him and he would go away, but I wasn’t going to be rude. He was my cousin’s friend and, so far, my only almost-friend in town.

I reached for the notebook and pen I had left lying beside me after finishing my homework. He deserved something from me. I would like a friend here. Someone who didn’t look at me as if I were a freak.

Thank you. For being nice to me. This day could’ve been harder than it was, but you were a friend.

I handed the notebook to him so he could read it.

He read my note, and a smile tugged up both corners of his mouth before he raised his gaze to meet mine. “You got a phone? So we can text?” he asked.

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