"Young lady," my father walks up to me all red-faced with anger. "Where have you been all this time?" I would usually be extremely startled by his harsh tone and pure anger, but I'm too distracted by the kiss that I just stare at my father's face blankly.
"What?" I ask him stupidly. My father looks like he's about to explode and leave a mushroom cloud over our house. This was not the best way to answer him.
"What is wrong with you? I did not raise my daughter to become like this," he makes dramatic arm movements.
I finally land back to reality at my father's yelling. It really isn't too hard because I'm sure the entire universe could hear him. In a split second, I realize my own decision. I know what to do. "Father, I'm not going to your alma mater," I tell him while trying to hide my own shaking. Before he can respond I interrupt, "I should have made a decision quicker, but it was not your right to make my decision for me. I'm going to call the admission office and tell them that I sent the letter by accident."
"How dare…" my father starts.
"I'm tired, and I don't want to have this argument again. I'm going upstairs cause I have school tomorrow. Good night," I end the conversation and walk upstairs before he can say anything.
Once I close the door to my bedroom, I let out a sigh of relief. I did it. I finally faced my father. I don't know how I did it or why I did it, but I just instinctively knew that it was the best thing to do.
I fall onto my bed and let all the events of today catch up to me from the huge argument, my decision, and the kiss. The kiss. Maybe he was joking. No. There's no way that he was joking. I remember his unwavering eyes that did not hint of any deception.
My fingers touch my lips as I remember the sensation of his lips on mine. His lips were warm. I recall how his warm hands held my face as he pulled into my face. Although not my first kiss, I don't think I kissed another guy since my last boyfriend from middle school. And, that kiss was just wet and bad. But this kiss, it was nice. But, I'll be damned before I tell that to Benji.
I growl in frustration into my pillow before exhaustion catches up to me, and I fall asleep.
Trees. All I see is an endless space of trees under a full moon. I stand in the clearing in the forest. The pale moonlight did not have the same warmth as the sun in the morning and urges me to enter into the dark forest.
I slowly and cautiously walk through the eerily quiet forest.
Once step… two steps… crack! The branch under my right foot breaks under my weight. On edge, I look from left to right.
Did anything hear me?
I wait a second longer for any suspecting predator. The silence engulfs me once more. I let out a breath of relief, but a little too soon. In the distance, I can hear a wolf's howl that sends shivers down my spine.
I bolt as fast as I can in the opposite direction that I heard the howl coming from. I push my legs to the limit, and my lungs are burning from the exertion.
Faster. I need to run faster. FASTER!
Before I know it, I hit the ground with such great force that I tumble and roll through leaves, sticks, and mud until I hit a tree. The impact takes the breath out of me as my lungs struggle to get oxygen back into my body. What hit me? Panting and gasping for breath, I slowly look up through all the pain to see glowing yellow eyes through the shadows.
He's here. I stagger to get my body up to make another attempt to get away. I can't let him catch me. In desperation, I use my last strength to limp away from him as far as I possibly can. He notices me attempting to escape once again and pounce me until I'm trapped by his paws.
Paralyzed by fear, all I can do is stare widely at him as I wait for his next move. My vision clouds up as tears fill my eyes. He's got me. This is the end for me. Before I can let out a scream of terror, he lunges in for the attack.
I wake up from the dream sitting up to catch my breath. I feel the sweat falling from my brow from fear.
What was that? The dream felt so real. I lift my hands and stare at them even though they were still shaking. My body aches in pain as if I were truly went through that entire scenario. I must be stressed out. Maybe it was from everything that has happened today.
I close the door to my locker door still feeling exhausted. A yawn escapes my lips as I walk towards my class. As I trudge to my first class of the day, Benji jumps me from behind and yells "Casey!"
Still not recovering from my dream, I scream just as I did when the wolf attacked me. The bustling hallway falls into silence.
"Benji," I breathe as I hold my chest to catch my breath. "You scared the crap out of me."
As I recover from the scare, Benji's presence weighs down on me. My cheeks flare up when I remember the kiss from yesterday. I notice that his usually shaggy brown hair is a little long as it covers his eyes that give him a shy appearance. Maybe it's time for a haircut.
Stop. I need to focus. Must act natural. I can do this.
"Benji," I say awkwardly. "I- Hi."
Smooth. That's all I can come up with?
"Hi," he says calmly as if nothing has happened. Did the kiss mean nothing to him? What's on his mind?
"What's up?" I ask him with the same nonchalance, but it came out more high-pitched than natural.
"I just forgot to do some English homework," he says sheepishly. I feel a little disappointed that he doesn't ask me about whether I made a decision yet.
"Oh, well… I've got to go to class. I'll see you later," I tell him quickly and rush to class before he can say anything. I go on to avoiding Benji until lunch, which is no easy feat. Everywhere I turned he seemed to be waiting at the other corner. I felt like I was in a Mission Impossible movie. It's like he's a tracking dog or something, but I somehow made it through the morning without facing him.
I sit down at the lunch table exhausted. Val sits next to me as today's one of the lunches that we have together just by ourselves.
"Why the long face?" she asks me.
"My life just became more complicated in the past 24 hours," I groan.
"What happened?" she asks me concernedly.
I go on to explain everything to Val. I always felt that out of all my friends, she was the easiest to talk to plus she always kept her lips sealed.
"Wow," she says breathless after I finish my tale and take a sip of water.
"Well, wow. I'm glad that you finally stood up to your folks cause what they did was uncool," she starts. "And Benji? Well, I can't say that I didn't see that coming. But, he is one bold kid."
"Tell me about it," I sigh.
"So, what do you think of him?" she asks me curiously.
"Honestly, I don't know what to think of him. Sometimes, I find him the most insufferable person in the world, but he just showed me yesterday his wiser and more compassionate side. I told him things that I was never really able to tell you and the rest of the girls," I confess.
"Do you like him?" she asks bluntly.
I open my mouth to answer, but then close it again. Do I? "I like him as a person," I answer evasively.
"No," she rolls her eyes. "Do you like him as in are you attracted to him?" she reiterates.
"You know I've always liked Jason."
"You've been pining over the guy for years with no results. Plus, you can always like a different guy. So, do you like Benji?" she asks one more time.
"I don't know," I answer her.
Honesty, I can't deny that I'm slightly attracted to Benji. I would have to be blind to not notice how good-looking he is, but I always had my heart set on Jason. But, I can't help but have some feeling for him.
For the rest of the day, my thoughts distract me from doing anything right in class. I even put on my top backwards after gym until Jane points it out to me. How should I act around Benji now? I feel more aware of his presence now, and I can't help but want to avoid him until I get my thoughts straight. I stand right in front of his door contemplating whether I should knock on the door or not. I have half a mind to run away right now. I keep lifting my hand to knock but then bringing it back down. Then, I commence to pacing on his front porch like a madwoman.
"You can do this," I whisper to myself.
I can do this.
Before, I can even knock, the door opens.