I was so mad at Chloe that I didn’t even know how to be or what I looked like. Did I have crazy eyes? Was my chest red? Or did I not even twitch a muscle?
I yelled out her name again as soon as I shut the front door. Then the door of her room opened and out came Jodie and Janet. They walked cautiously, like bodyguards.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “Where’s Chloe? Chloe,” I called out, “I know what you did!”
“I’m in here!” She called out. “Just don’t kill me! God, you sound like such a serial killer right now.”
That burst my harsh exterior for the time being, making me huff a laugh and hear what it is I was actually saying.
The girls sat on the couch, I followed after, sitting on the single armchair. Then Chloe came out from the deep. Her long hair crowding her innocent, lip-biting, face.
“I take it it didn’t go very well,” Chloe said, sitting down with us.
I turned to Jodie and Janet. “Do you guys know what happened?”
Jodie stood and walked to the kitchen. “Chloe informed us ever so briefly.”
“Well allow me to tell you the entire turn of events.”
I had been thinking about how to tell the sequence of events on my drive back. I decided to slowly build up to the climax. Have the crescendo hit them hard; especially, Chloe. I know this girl meant well, and it isn’t her fault how Jeremy reacted or how my mom was continuously insistent. But she made the call to my mom. Full stop.
To be honest, it was more the fact that I couldn’t take my fury out on anyone else besides her. Not Jeremy because he was still stuck in Elementary school; and certainly not my mom because it wasn’t worth the fight and, well, she’s my mom.
While I told the story, however, I was feeling more and more at ease about everything. It’s true, it wasn’t exactly an ideal experience. But it certainly wasn’t harmful. It was hilariously strange in retrospect. Retrospect just makes everything funny, huh?
In the evening, I went over to Mark’s place. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to tell him the whole story, but the thought of him not receiving a ‘thank you’ in the form of words or even that materialistic gift was an aspect of the conversation I was looking forward to.
Mark frowned once he noticed there was no gift. When he remarked about it I said, “well, on that note, let me just tell you how that day went, and we’ll just see who owes whom what.”
All the junk food we could find in his apartment was laid out on his bed. The television was on but we hardly paid attention to it. We were both sprawled across his bed like the entire special occasion of thanksgiving had taken a grabbing, unyielding toll.
“That was a bad night,” Mark said after I finished. “At least you got a memory out of it.”
I rolled my eyes. “A superb memory. One that will transcend time.”
“Alright, alright, be quiet before I give you a concussion.”
I laughed. “I swear, you must be hunting me down with that ball.”
“Hey, try this.” Mark dipped a popcorn in a chocolate dip and then fed it to me. My tongue slid ever so slightly over his thumb, tasting more chocolate. Then he licked the remains of the chocolate from his fingertips. “How good is that?”
I moaned and closed my eyes. “Oh, yeah. So good. Nice combo.”
“Don’t laugh,” he said, “but I saw it in First Daughter. That movie with Katie Holmes and some other guy?”
First I thought for a minute, and then I furrowed my brows and shook my head.
“She’s the president’s daughter?”
I shook my head again.
“And she wants to go to college but her father’s worried about her being alone so he enlists the help of an undercover agent who inevitably falls in love with her, and in the end she finds out and—”
My lips were trembling all the way through, but I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I burst out laughing. “I know the movie, I just wanted to hear you explain it. It’s cute that you like chick flicks.”
“You son of a—” he grabbed a cushion and knocked me over with it. I fell back and he held me down. The entire time we were laughing like crazy. But then he stopped and stared, holding me down by both arms. I felt so exposed.
After a moment of comfort he let go and sat up right. I followed suit. Just when I thought an awkward silence was about to begin, he spoke.
“Want to go grab a pizza?”
I smiled, nodding. “We can come up with a better strategy for this little experiment you’re inflicting on me.”
He chuckled at the use of my words. As if I was an unwilling participant in a psychotic practice. “That’s the one thing Napoleon didn’t have: pizza. He could have conquered the world.”