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(A description of what I'm doing is here.)
18926 / 39127 words. 48% done!
The next morning came with hazy recollection of my encounter with Wake. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it had happened. Then it came to the forefront, and I let out a huge squeal. It would be a good day, indeed! I lifted my tattoo as best I could to my face, trying to kiss it. It didn't quite work, so instead, I stroked it affectionately. Best night ever? Quite possibly! The dance with Wake completely made up for my excessively lame performance with Alec and Deana. And I'd danced to one song with TWO people, so Colleen couldn't complain.
"No fucking way did you dance with Wake," Colleen said.
"She did! It's true, I was there, I witnessed," Miriam cooed.
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, remembering the memory and revelling in it. "He had his arms around me and everything. Like he loved me. Do you think he's in love with me?"
"I haven't heard anything about him leaving Janell," Colleen pointed out. "He's probably still with her, and just wanted information about the tattoo."
"Yeah, okay, you're most likely correct as that is the most logical assumption, but can't we just pretend he asked me to dance because he's in love with me?"
"Ooooh, pretending!" Miriam said, grabbing my arms and dancing down the halls with me. "I love pretending. Let's pretend I'm a walrus and you're a carpenter!" That's Miriam's favorite poem. We used to play walrus and carpenter the way some people play cowboys and Indians. "The time has come!" She cried, spinning around and around though the hallway, bumping into people and lockers. "To talk of many things! Of shoes and ships and ceiling wax! Of cabbages and kings!"
I didn't really get a lot of lines in the walrus and carpenter game.
"And why the sea is boiling hot-" The bell rang. "Oh, shit, I'm late for geometry. Catch you guys later!" She ran off, her huge tulle skirt billowing behind her.
"Okay, pretending over?" Colleen asked, waving a hand in front of my face. "We've got to get to English, Mr. Carpenter."
** ** **
I saw Wake a few more times in the hallways that week. Every time, he either waved or asked me if I'd found Lisa's number yet. The truth was, I knew exactly where I had Lisa's number. I don't know why I didn't want to give it to him. I had no proof that the tattoo he wanted had anything to do with Janell. Maybe he really liked foxes. Maybe he had a pet fox. Maybe his favorite book as a kid was Fox in Socks. I didn't know.
But I had this inkling, and the inkling kept me from giving up the information. Plus, if that's the only reason he was waving at me in the halls, it made sense to keep it to myself as long as I could get away with it. What if I gave him Lisa's number, and the waves stopped? And I wasn't "Tattoo Girl" anymore? Thinking about that hurt my heart. So I kept Lisa's card stashed in my desk at home and hoped I could drag this out for as long as possible.
By Friday, though, I started to feel that he may have been catching on. He asked after the number again on his way out the main doors, and when I shrugged my shoulders indicating I still didn't have it, he wagged a finger at me playfully. Did he know I was lying about not being able to find it? Did we have a little game now? I smiled at the thought. I was still smiling when Colleen smacked into me.
"What are we doing this weekend?" she asked, doing a little dance at my side.
"Not going out and getting drunk," I said.
"Sorry, you know the rules."
"Okay, but seriously, Dan got his car out of the shop and he's going to take it down to the cliffs, wanna come?"
"Gee, Colleen, I couldn't think of anything more entertaining than getting my guts splattered about the bottom of a rocky abyss. How did you know?"
"I hate you sometimes, you know," she said.
"I love you, too."
"But you have to come."
"I don't want to come. I have...other plans." I thought vaguely of the fish spinning.
"Plans? You? You lie."
"I do. I have big plans. Plans that are big and plan like."
"With your boyfriend?" She drug out the word "boyfriend".
"Wake is not my boyfriend. And no, I have plans with...Bret."
Colleen cocked her head to the side. "Miriam's Bret?"
"Yeah. How many other Brets do you know?"
"Well, there's a Bret in my Physics class."
"Do I know the Bret in your Physics class?"
"I don't know, maybe you do and you've just never mentioned it before!"
"Colleen, be serious. No, he's doing this koi - poi spinning thing, and I'm invited."
"I don't even know what you're talking about."
I sighed. "I don't really, either. I just know that apparently I'm invited and I'm going to that instead of dying horrifically in a car accident."
"Sounds boring! Good luck on not dying of boredom!" She rumpled my hair and bounded off.
** ** **
I sat in my room that night, admiring my tattoo. I'd done this every night since I got it. I examined it from every angle, taking in its smooth curves and sharp angles. It wasn't just a boring "M", I want to clarify. I had picked the most beautiful script. It almost looked like it was entwined in red vines, or some sort of lace. It captivated me. If I could just look at the tattoo all the time, maybe I'd constantly be reminded of how I could sometimes do awesome things. Maybe I should have gotten it on my hand, so I'd always be able to see it. But there'd be no way to hide that from my mom.
Who took that moment to open my door. I jumped, dropping my leg and crossing my feet quickly, attempting to hide the tattoo behind my other leg.
"Maddy, dinner's ready if you want to come down."
"What're you doing up here?" She eyed me suspiciously.
"Just listening to some music, mom." I smiled at her with what I hoped was innocent face.
She wasn't buying it. Shit. I watched her eyes drop to my feet. I scrunched my legs together even more, but it was too late.
"What's that on your leg, Mads?"
I glanced down at my front leg. "This?" I said, pointing to a scab. "Bug bite, probably."
"Not that." She reached down and yanked my feet apart, pointing at the tattoo. "What's that?"
Aaaaaaaaaugh. Why hadn't I been wearing socks? My plan was to wear socks whenever my parents were home. Mom licked her finger and rubbed it against the "M", testing its permanance. "When did you get a tattoo, Maddy?"
"Um. Last week," I answered, my voice small.
"Right. And when did you get my permission?"
She nodded. "That's correct. You want to tell me number one, what artist would tattoo a minor, and number two, where you got the money to do this?"
I wasn't about to rat out Lisa. "Don't worry about the money, mom, I'll pay it back, I swear."
"You stole from me?"
"No, no, I didn't steal from you, I stole from me."
Mom shook her head. "Oh, Mads, your move out money?"
"I'll pay it back," I said again.
"You won't have to. Tell me how much it cost and I'm docking you until it's paid back."
I told her. She looked like she might have a heart attack.
"You're also staying in. For the next two weeks. School only. No hanging out with Colleen and Miriam."
"But mom, Miriam's got a gig tomorrow night! I have to go! I promised!" I remembered with a sinking feeling that I hadn't told Colleen about the gig, and she'd already made her car plans with Dan.
"Tell her your mean witch of a mother grounded you. She'll understand. And if she doesn't, she's welcome to talk to me. Dinner, Maddy."
She left. I groaned, glaring at the tattoo. "Way to get us into trouble," I whispered to it. It remained silent.
** ** **
I called Miriam and explained the situation. Mom was right, she did understand, but I still felt like crap. Especially when she asked if Colleen would be going.
"Um, the thing is, I kind of forgot to tell her about it. She's got plans with Dan."
Miriam sighed. That made me feel worst of all, that I couldn't even pass along a stinking message.
"Okay, well, tell her to have fun."
"I'm about to call her right now, I'll see if she wants to go!" I tried an attempt at fixing things.
I did my best to not let her rejected tone get to me. It didn't work. "Okay, well, I'll talk to you later, Miri."
I waited for her to hang up. She did, after about three seconds.
I stared at the phone, willing it to fix all my problems. Mr. Phone, if you could just tell me what magic number I have to dial to make my mom unground me, to take back yesterday so that I could tell Colleen about Miriam's show, to make me not such a huge spaz around everyone that isn't my childhood friends, and to provide me the confidence to actually talk to Wake about something other than a number I'm lying about not having, I will totally make less long distance phone calls. Of course, that would just mean I'd call grandma less. So maybe that wasn't such a good deal to make. I don't know if you should make deals with phones to begin with.
I sighed, and dialed in Colleen's number.
"What's up, bitch?"
"You have to go see Miriam's show tonight."
Colleen groaned. "No! I'm taking a drive with Dan tonight, I already told you."
"Well, I don't care, you have to go because I can't and we fucked it up last time."
I could nearly hear Colleen shaking her head through the phone line. "What do you mean you can't go? You got a date or something?"
"No fucking way. You? For what?"
"What do you think? What's the only moderately rebellious thing I've done in the past forever?"
"You did not get drunk without me."
"The tattoo, Col."
"Right. The tattoo. Anyway, boo hoo, so sad, I've still got plans already. It's Miri's fault for not telling me earlier."
"She told me to tell you, like, last week."
"Well, I guess it's you who is the sucky one, then."
I took a deep breath. "Listen, it would mean a shitload to me if you could go in my honor. Even if you only stay for one song."
"Colleen, seriously. You have all night to go driving with Dan."
I waited. The silence impaled itself into my eardrum.
"I have an idea. I'm busting you out."
"Yeah. Dan and I can totally bust you out."
"Colleen, I'm not doing it. I refuse to be busted out. You're going to make it worse. Just let me do my time."
Now instead of silence, I heard the wheels turning.
"It'd be a breeze! You don't have a two-story house, we don't even have to climb up any wall or anything, just open your window. You'd be back before your mom even bothers to check on you."
"Colleen, I'm not busting out, and that's final. Go to Miri's show."
"You suck," she whined, hanging up on me.
I stared at the phone, wallowing in self pity. "Yeah, well, you suck worse," I said back to her, even though she was long gone from the line. Colleen seemed to have worse superiority issues than usual these days, and it was really getting to me. Where before I saw confidence, now I saw bullying. Or at least a hint of it.
I gave myself up to my fate, switching on my radio and letting the local station play whatever it wanted. No goth music for me this weekend. No koi spinning, either. Just me, myself and I. And maybe my shadow, if she felt like coming out to play.
** ** **
There came a tap at the window. I rolled over to see what it was, and Colleen stood there, looking quite pleased with herself.
I climbed out of bed, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. When you're confined to your room for the weekend, there's not a lot you can do other than finish up homework (already done) and sleep (in progress). I yanked hard on the window pane, which had the tendancy to stick since I so rarely opened it.
"What time is it?" I asked groggily.
"Seven thirty, Sleeping Beauty," Colleen replied.
"Thanks for visiting, but I'm not going with you," I said to her.
"Right, I thought you might say that. I brought something that might convince you."
"Yeah." She waved someone over, and I had a feeling I knew who.
Sure enough, Wake appeared in my window. "Hey, tattoo girl," he said, grinning. "You wanna come for a drive with us?"
My heart and stomach danced a tango with each other. I felt like I might puke. My entire body screamed at me to say yes, while my head whispered gently that I should probably stay in. I tried very hard to make the "no" come out like it was supposed to. But it stayed very firmly in my throat.
Colleen smiled her "I win" smile at me. I sighed. "I will come with you only if we go to Miriam's show."
Colleen clapped happily. "Yay! Of course, whatever, just come on."
"Do you have any back up plan for when my mother decides to kill me?" I asked.
"Hmm, plead insanity?"
"I hate you."
She gestured to Wake. "You love me."
And at that moment, it was honestly a little bit of both.
** ** **
"This is not the way to the club," I pointed out, as the car wove its way in and out of the city streets. "In fact, this is the exact opposite direction from the club."
"This is a shortcut," Dan said, winking at Colleen.
"Yeah, right," I grumbled, crossing my arms in front of my chest.
"Hey, tattoo girl, everything all right?" Wake asked. He sat in the back seat with me, an idea that, any other night, would have thrilled the crap out of me.
"I'm supposed to be at home right now. And if I'm not going to be at home, I should be at my friend's show, because I missed it last time." There. A coherent sentence. Why did it have to sound so bitchy?
"It's cool, man, just enjoy the ride." He stuck his arm out the rolled down window.
"I'd enjoy the ride a lot more if I didn't know there would be a huge pile of shit sitting on my doorstep when I got home."
"Tell me the bastard who's leaving it, and I'll beat them up."
"Can I ask you a question?" I demanded out of nowhere.
"You just did."
"Another one, then."
"Are you dating Janell? Dance team Janell?" I have no idea where it came from. Maybe I was just so pissed, I didn't care about making a fool of myself. Maybe that's the secret to owning it. To just be so pissed at everything that you don't care if you fuck up.
Wake shrugged. "Yeah, why?"
I squeezed my arms even closer to me and tried not to let myself cry. "You're only interested in me because you want the tattoo artist's number," I said.
"Um, what does that have to do with Janell?" Wake asked.
Colleen leaned over the seat. "Mads, chill out," she said.
"You just want to get some stupid fox paw tattoo because it has something to do with Janell, right? You're never going to go out with me and I should just get over it and move on, but instead I'm here in this stupid car, driving around, totally getting in even worse trouble than I'm already in with my mom AND with Miriam."
"Seriously, Mads, shut up," Colleen snapped.
"Yeah, take a chill pill," Dan said.
Wake didn't say anything. I glared at him for a moment or two just to make my point, then went back to staring out the window. Colleen swivelled around to face front and slammed herself back in her seat.
"Why do you think the tattoo I want has anything to do with Janell?" Wake asked.
I didn't know what to say. I had no evidence, I'd just assumed. And now I felt kind of stupid about it, since the way he said it indicated I'd obviously been wrong. "I don't know," I shrugged.
"Because it doesn't."
"It's got to do with my mom."
I clenched up. I knew their mom had died shortly after Rick, their oldest brother, had been born. And now I felt like the most evil person alive. Who the hell was I to judge why someone wanted to get a tattoo? Ink in rememberance of your mom is a hell of a lot more honorable than getting your own damn initial on your ankle.
"Okay," I said again, hoping he'd let me be to wallow in my stupid.
"She loved foxes, that's all. I thought it might be a little cooler than a stupid 'mom inside a heart' tattoo."
I took a deep breath. "Okay."
"Okay," he said.
The car became silent.
"Fuck this," Colleen sighed. "Dan, will you drop Mads off at the club?"
"No, drop me off at home. This was a stupid idea anyway."
"You were the one bitching about wanting to go see your friend's show," Dan said. "I'm taking you to the club, and you get to walk home for being such a bitch."
I threw my hands up in the air. "Fine. Whatever. I'm a bitch. Just take me somewhere and let me out of here."
Dan turned the car around.
** ** **