Every Girl Does It
Why voicemail? Poor Kristin. I feel like yelling and she probably knows it. Since the whole town is aware of what transpired today, what I need is a good solid sleep and some time at church. I walked over to the computer to turn off the monitor and laid my hungry eyes onto Mr. December.
So what if I stomped his foot, he deserved it. Looking at the monitor again, I click on “order now”. As I’m taken to the payment page, I justify actions, or try to. The money is going for a good cause. Our firemen are underpaid, and the donation to the local homeless shelter only sweetens the deal. Feeling fully justified, I groan as I see how long it will take to arrive. Two to four weeks!
Time for sleep. One last peak at Mr. December, and I shut down the computer. Tonight I’m testing the theory that people will dream of the last thing they thought of. Maybe in my dreams he won’t talk as much. He is more attractive with his mouth shut.
Unfortunately for me, the last thing I remember as I go to sleep is Derek’s pitiful face.
Three am, four am, five am. Ring! Ring! Ring! Who in their right mind? Whoever they are will wish for death after I’m done with them. It’s Sunday! Church doesn’t even start until eleven. Who wakes up at this ungodly hour?
“Hi this is Amanda, leave a message.” BEEP.
“Amanda.” Silence. “This is Derek, I just wanted to tell you that I’m over you. You and your stupid cat. I hated your cat, by the way, it's the ugliest cat ever. And I didn’t really mean it when I said I loved you. So there. Go, talk to that stupid fireman again. See if I care. You are so—”
The machine cut him off, which is lucky for him. Because I was about ready to get out of my bed, get in my car, drive to wherever this psycho lives, and cut his hand off so he’ll stop dialing my number.
“When will it end?” I yell into my pillow.
Six am, seven am, and again the phone rings. “For the love of all that’s holy!” I scream as loud as possible. But it's not the phone, and the doorbell continues to ring. Running to open the door, baseball bat in hand of course, I’m ready to show I’m in no mood for conversation.
“Easy, killer,” Kristin says as she holds out a fresh Starbucks coffee. “I come in peace.”
As I smell the steaming aroma of caffeine, I could kiss her.
“Where are the kids?” I ask as I take the coffee from her and quickly down the hot contents. “And Brad, where’s Brad?” Waiting for her response, I sit down on the couch and continue my love affair with the grande latte.
“They had Sunday school remember? He teaches the three year old class once a month, so I decided to stop by and see how you were holding up.” She winks and takes her scarf off, revealing a low cut V-Neck dress.
“Inappropriate,” I cough, not making eye contact.
She rolls her eyes. “Please. That’s why I had the scarf on. Stop being so dramatic.” She looks at me and waits for me to spill. My lips are sealed. I’m not going to relive yesterday’s events. She would have to kill me first, which I might welcome after yesterday and last night’s dramatic happenings.
“I said I was sorry,” she scolds while inspecting her perfectly polished fingernails.
Huffing in an unlady-like manner, I pretend to examine mine as well.
“So, was it as bad as I heard?” Her face holds no emotion as she waits for me to respond.
“I’m so sorry, panda. I had no idea.”
That’s her pet name for me, panda. It makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Comparing me to a fat bear that sits and eats bamboo all day doesn’t boost my self esteem. She only uses it when she knows she’s in trouble, forcing me to feel even worse for making her feel bad. Manipulative friend.
I throw open my arms and welcome her hug, then laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.
“In hindsight, it was a comical situation when you think about it; especially the part where Preston punched him in the face.”
“Preston?” Her eyes go wide. “You don’t mean the Preston from high school? Please don’t tell me it’s that Preston?”
“Okay, it’s not that Preston,” I say unconvincingly.
Her face goes red as she laughs then chokes on her own coffee. “The one you turned down in front of the entire school and lied to? That Preston?”
Nodding my head, I try to figure out a way to change the subject. This conversation could turn into dangerous territory quickly.
“Well, does he at least still have those glasses?” She takes a sip of coffee and smiles.
Shaking my head no, I lead her to the computer to see Mr. December. Her face goes pale as she looks at me then back at the computer then back at me.
“Oh, dear.” Her response says it all.
I nod my head in confirmation as she scrolls down the page. “Oh, Amanda, look. You can buy the calendar.”
“Oh, I didn’t see that. Look a bird.” I point out my window and quickly click off the web page.
“I don’t see a bird, Amanda. What are you talking about?”
Shrugging, I go into the bathroom to get ready. It was time for Bible study and for church; I needed both.
“Brad said they’re doing baptisms today. Isn’t that cool? I know how much you like watching those.” She calls from the living room.
It’s true. The only time my high-strung, totally in control demeanor crumbles is one, when watching baptisms; two, when seeing commercials for stray cats and dogs; and three, when Leo dies in Titanic. Other than that, I’m strong as steel. Sighing with anticipation, I have to admit the day is looking better. What a great way to start a week!
What a horrible day! This is the worst day ever. Wait for it. Just wait for it. The baptisms I was so excited about? They included none other than Mr. December. Trying not to cry when I hear him read his testimony about getting his life on track and joining the local church, I eventually cave. I use all the tricks in the book, waving at my eyes, staring at the light, thinking about funny jokes. Nothing works. In fact I was such an emotional wreck that I had to leave the service and go to the bathroom. Not only was I embarrassed beyond belief, but upon exiting the bathroom, I ran into Preston. He was just getting ready to go into the men’s restroom next door to change out of his wet clothes. Don’t ask me why they do baptisms without swimsuits, must be a decency thing.
He asked if I was okay. He saw my tears, and bless his little infuriating heart, he wanted to know if I was sane. The poor guy saw me go from anger to pain to passing out to crying. I can’t get away from this beast of a man.
Snorting, I wave him off, dismissing him in an inordinately impolite manner. He takes a step to follow me then stops. His eyes turn to steel before he rolls them and walks into the men’s room.
I decide there’d be no harm in doing a double take as he passes through the doors, his shirt was glued to his body. The view was everything I wanted it to be and more. Then to my chagrin, he whips around and says, “You can stop staring at me now.”
I want to die. Where is the chariot, Lord? Come get me! Instead, Preston left me, mouth open, in the middle of the foyer in a panic. I don’t remember how I got back to my seat. Naturally, I went catatonic for a few seconds after his comment. Never had I met a man who could make me want to punch his face while kissing it. I hate him for it. I want to destroy him. I want to—
“Amanda?” Kristin’s voice interrupts my thoughts.
“What,” I whisper loud enough for the row in front of me to turn around with scowls on their faces.
“You’re hurting my hand,” she scolds.
Apologizing, I look down and release my grip. I fear I need therapy considering how much anger I’m feeling toward myself and Preston.
In theory, many of our pastor’s sermons were life changing, and normally I listen attentively. But today my heart just isn’t in it. Annoyingly, I keep seeing flashes of what Preston’s wet clothes looked like as they pressed tightly to his body. It didn’t help that I was looking a
“Ahem.” Some old man clears his throat behind me. I shake my head and try to concentrate on the pastor. He needs a haircut.
“Ahem.” The man behind me really needs to get a cough drop. What is this person’s problem? Looking in the direction of the offending person, I almost choke on my gum. “Preston!” I say rather loudly as I realize Mr. Old Man is not Mr. Old Man at all, but my irritating fireman, clearing his throat, so I’d move my body, so he could sit.
Scooting over, while trying to keep my mouth shut, I give him ample space to sit down with room to spare. However, he doesn’t take the hint to sit far away, but instead sits rather close. Too close. So there he is smirking, like he has something to be smirking about. So I decide, in true middle school fashion, to write him a note.
What are you doing?
Um, listening to the sermon? And seriously, why are you passing notes in church, we aren’t ten anymore. Plus what makes you think I even want notes from you?
I hate you.
You make me want to scream.
I’m sure I do.
Um, not in excitement, you moron.
Ouch, are you always this mean to the guys you like?
LIKE?!? Have you completely lost your mind? It’s taking every ounce of self-control I have to not stab you with my pencil.
Like you could make it through my muscle.
I wouldn’t know.
Sure you wouldn’t.
If you refer to your body one more time, I’m jumping up and screaming fire.
Don’t tempt me.
I think I already am.
Wow…a woman of many words.
You don’t want to know the words I’m thinking right now, Mr. Fireman. Why are you even sitting here?
I didn’t want to cause a scene by walking past you and having you trip me.
Oh, so you’re aware of how I feel about you?
Yes, uncomfortably aware.
What is that supposed to mean?
Has anyone ever told you that you hold a lot of rage for such a small person? What are you, five-two?
Five-three, and yes the extra inch does matter. I do not have rage, and if I’m angry toward someone, they obviously did something to frustrate me in the first place.
Whatever. You have issues. Stick with decaf, panda.
WHO TOLD YOU TO CALL ME PANDA?
Are you yelling with your pencil now?
Kristin, of course.
What, no response?
NO, I just have nothing good to say. Don’t call me that, ever. I would never tell her, but I don’t like being referred to as a panda. They’re fat and lazy.
You’re anything but that.
Gee thanks. I want my life back.
You read me. I want my life back. My life before you started ruining it and being all Decemberish and swooping in punching things and running next to me and, you get the picture. I want it back. I’m taking it back. I’m ignoring you from now on!
I thought you were ignoring me.
I break the pencil in half and put it into his warm and surprisingly large hands. This guy is big. Not only is his height impressive, but the size of his shoulders and hands dwarf me. It’s quite intimidating, and attractive. At present, I don’t appreciate feeling either emotion.
“Everyone stand for the benediction.”
I can feel the heat of his body and lean closer just in time to see him wink at me. So I look away as if I touched a hot oven and scowl. He must think he’s so great, that all girls fall at his feet. Well, I’m not one of them. Being a successful Visual Merchandiser at Macy's is great for my confidence level. Kristin is the HR director and ended up hiring me to style the clothes. I also do other stores on the side. I don’t need his approval or anyone else’s. Nice pep talk, I feel better already. Those are always the best.
Looking around, I notice, to Preston’s amusement, that I’m the only one left standing. The private pep talk had gone on too long. I sit down then yelp as the pencil I had broken earlier is pointed directly up onto my leg. The jerk! I’ve never thought of physically hurting a person more in my life than in the past twenty-four hours that I’ve known Preston. Correction, the new and improved Preston.
As if it wasn’t bad enough, now I have little youth group girls turning around and giggling in our direction. Please take him! True entertainment would be to see him fight off a whole bunch of hormonal sixteen year olds. Oh shoot, did I actually say something about the calendar to him? I hope I didn’t. I wouldn’t want him thinking...
Church ended and I must admit it was the longest service I can remember. Kristin had to get the boys and Brad then she would meet me at the little café in church for bible study.
Running past Preston without saying goodbye, I find a seat in the café. Decaf isn’t an option, so I get a double caramel Macchiato. Note writing, and all around immaturity, can be draining, plus the cinnamon rolls look good. Grabbing my latte and roll, I scan the room for a seat and spot Brad and Kristin.
“Hey!” they shout, a little loud for being so close.
I still have food in my mouth so I wave then open my mouth for the boys to see chewed food. They laugh. Then I hear another type of laughter. Man laughter, or let’s just call it maughter.
My nemesis. Is he stalking me? And why am I kind of flattered? Mutinous emotions, I press the disturbing thoughts from my mind and try to behave maturely for a change.
“Amanda, you’ve met Preston, right?” Brad pushes him forward, obviously not reading my body language of “hate” well enough to understand that yes, I did, indeed, know Preston.
Preston is the first to interrupt the awkward silence. “I actually knew Amanda in high school. Isn’t that right, Amanda?”
The cinnamon roll is like glue to my tongue, so I nod my head and smile with my mouth closed.
Brad laughs. “Well isn’t that something? Wow, did you guys ever date or anything?”
And that’s when the food flew out of my mouth onto Brad’s nice Armani shirt. I gasp and quickly grab napkins, while Brad keeps telling me not to worry and to “remember, I do have two kids under the age of three”. But still, I feel awful. Well, that and just angry that Preston seems to be enjoying himself so much at my expense.
“So,” Brad says as he puts the napkin down. “I guess that’s a touchy subject, I’m just glad you guys know each other so well, especially for what I have to tell you next.”
I look at them with genuine happiness that maybe Kristin is pregnant again. Maybe they want me to babysit. Oh no, no babysitting! In anticipation, I look between the two of them waiting for their secret to be revealed.
Preston looks equally pleased and sticks his tongue out at me while we wait. I stick mine out, too, then am ratted out by one of Kristin’s kids, the little traitor. Preston laughs lifting his hand in a thumbs-up sign as if to say, “good job getting caught by a three year old, genius”. The temptation to slap the smile off his face nearly overwhelms me.
“We won a trip to Hawaii!” Kristin squeals with delight as Brad kisses her on the mouth.
I couldn’t be more thrilled, except what does it have to do with me and Preston? No! They are going to ask us to babysit! Kristin knows how I feel about babysitting. I saw a shrink for two weeks after that incident. Oh no, then the thought occurs. I’m going to be an awful mother, and this solidifies that statement. I’ll be stuck with them for a week, and then I’ll rule out children forever. But I want kids. Life is so unfair.
Preston gives Brad a high five. Since when did they become best friends
“Sorry to interrupt, but Brad, how do you and Preston even know each other?”
Preston blushes for the first time I can remember, rendering me, yet again, speechless and confused.
Brad answers, noticing Preston’s sudden embarrassment “Well, the church has a series of meetings and counseling that each new member has to go through. It’s all kept private, so I couldn’t share it with Kristin. Preston was paired with me, and we hit it off. It might sound weird and maybe too feminine, but I’m glad to have a good guy friend.”
“Aw shucks, mate.” Preston replies, punching him playfully in the arm.
This is too much to swallow. I cannot handle them being best friends. Kristin is going to have to fix this. I look at her sternly and communicate with my eyes, via giving her the stare of death, “Fix this now!” And I think she heard me, because she nods her head and leans in as if to say something to the entire group.
“The reason we wanted to tell you both together is because we actually won two extra tickets.” She looks between us and winks. “Brad and I thought it would be fun to take two of our closest friends. Isn’t that great? Can you believe it? A free trip to Hawaii over Thanksgiving break! We leave the day after, on black Friday.”
Air. I need air. Where is air? Is it hot in here? Why am I seeing black spots? I blink my eyes several times before the rest of the room regains its natural state.
“Swell.” Sorry but that’s all I have in my repertoire of words to say at the moment. That, and a word that shouldn’t be repeated at church, which happens to start with the same letter.
“Guys, that is so generous of you, really.” Preston gives Brad a high five and Kristin a hug. “But who’s going to watch the kids while you’re gone?”
“Oh, Brad’s parents said they would love to! It’s all working out so perfectly!” Kristin beams.
“Isn’t it though?” I say through clenched teeth. “So, I guess we don’t have much time to prepare. Isn’t Thanksgiving next week?” I ask.
“Yes, we would’ve told you guys sooner, but we just found out this morning. We entered one of those trip sweepstakes you get in the mail never thinking we’d actually win. But, surprise!” Kristin laughs again and throws her hands up in the air in a “surprised” manner.