Oh shit. Jack didn't recognize me.
I could tell by the way he was scanning my face with a frown that I was just another random person. I could've been selling girl scout cookies for the amount of recognition I was getting.
I saw his eyes flicker over me and land on my shirt. I looked down at what I was wearing - a SEVERELY over-worn Blink 182 shirt, a dark pair of skinnies and my beat-up red converse. I bit my lip. Maybe I should have made more of an effort? My high-tops were practically falling apart, after all.
I looked up then, and his eyes met mine. Before I could find my voice, I quickly looked over how much he had changed since we were little kids.
He was still as lanky as ever and he still made me feel insanely small. His hair was no longer overly long for a guy, though. It was the perfect length for him - and he'd added a few blonde streaks to it, especially his fringe. On anyone else it wouldn't have looked good at all. But Jack could pull it off. Maybe it was the way his brown eyes seemed to go perfectly with his mess of hair, of the fact that he had so much confidence and character - which, even though he was clearly half asleep, was easy to feel radiating off him.
Jack was wearing a very creased white shirt and a pair of light blue shorts. I suddenly felt kinda bad - what if he really had just woken up? I couldn't remember if he was a morning person or not. Erm, even though it was about 5pm. He LOOKED awake enough... even if he was totally confused.
"Hey, Jack." I said and flashed him a small, brief smile.
Please recognize me now...
He opened his mouth and then closed it again.
Damn it. Damn it. I felt my heart sink quickly. I was right earlier - Jack having no clue who I was did hurt. It hurt like a bitch.
But then he made my day.
"RICHARD!" He suddenly exclaimed. His eyes were wide and twinkling. Thank GOD!
I laughed and shook my head. "Hey!"
He looked me up and down before he bent down slightly and picked me up in his arms. "Shit, Rikki! You're still a teddy bear!"
I laughed again and squeezed my arms around his neck affectionatly. "And you're still the BFG."
He set me down, but this time inside of the door next to him. "I'd rather be from KFC... but okay."
I smiled as he closed the door quickly. He looked down at me again. I could try and explain how excited Jack looked but I really don't think there are enough words that would even come CLOSE to doing that job justice. He was making me feel seven-years-old again.
"I just can't believe it's you!" He said. "You look..." He glanced me up and down in a very obvious way. "Wow." He said, shamelessly.
I, on the other hand, blushed beetroot. "You're not too bad yourself."
I regretted saying it as soon as the words rolled off my tongue. My hand flew to my mouth and I felt my flush an even more violent red. If that was possible.
He just laughed at me and shook his head. He then seemed to realise that we were still stood in the doorway. Jack leaned forward slightly, "Listen, there's a 98% chance that my mom is listening in on our conversation right now. Wanna go outside?" He whispered.
I just nodded. I really didn't trust my voice after the last thing I'd said to him.
Jack smiled and led me through his house until we met a huge glass door. It looked pretty heavy but he slid it open with ease. He waited for me to step through onto the grass before closing it behind him.
His back yard was just what I'd have expected it to be. The grass wasn't extremely long, but it looked like it was behind at least a few weeks of being cut. A few little forgotten toys lay here, there and everywhere. I didn't even need to ask to know that they belonged to Jack. There was also a huge wooden hut right at the back, which made me curious. It was new - I didn't remember ever seeing it. And this house practically used to be my second home. The outside of it was covered in fairy lights and there was a tiny cactus by the door. I hoped he'd lead me there, but he didn't.
Instead, he moved into the very middle of the yard and laid down on his back. I joined him, and sat cross-legged. "So, what brings you back to Maryland?" He asked, his eyes wide as he tried to watch me from such a weird angle.
"The hot-dogs." I answered.
This made him grin, and I felt relieved again.
When we were about five, we had another faze. Not the 'I-will-never-cut-my-hair-again' faze, but the 'All-I-will-ever-eat-will-be-hot-dogs-with-mustard' faze. It only lasted about a week - we were threatened by our parents into eating normal food again. They told us that if we didn't, they'd rope us up and force us to eat brussel sprouts. The ultimate punishment for any little kid.
"Well that's the only reason I'm stickin' around here." he laughed.
Jack rolled over onto his stomach and propped himself up on his elbows. "Is another reason me?" He asked, still grinning.
I rolled my eyes. "Sure it is."
"I thought so. And you took so long to come back because you had to ask for directions." He said.
Okay, ouch. I knew he didn't mean that in a complete harsh way, but I could kinda see it in his eyes. He was still a little bit pissed that we hadn't kept in touch.
I just 'Hmmm'-ed in response. He seemed to take it as a hint to stop talking about the time missed between us. Changing the subject, he asked, "So, are you coming to my school?"
I was thankful for the change in topic. "Dulaney High School. You go there?"
He nodded, and began to smile again. "Yeah, that's where I go! That's awesome! I can't wait for you to meet my friends..."
Jack launched into a little monologue about his school life - mainly how he thought the cheerleaders needed to start dating him, how the teachers needed to start to realise his 'utter genius' that was hiding beneath the blonde streaks, and how awesome his friends were. But I didn't really want to know about his friends. I knew that he had a best friend now. Alex. And I'd been replaced.
Okay, so I know that it'd be weird if Jack didn't have a best friend now. And I'm not mad at him for moving on. It's just... I don't know, weird.
I just feel like... like I wanna be his best friend again.
Within ten minutes I knew three things for certain about teenage Rikki. The first, was that I embarrased her. But in a good way.
The second, was that she was pretty. Not just pretty, but hot. And she didn't even REALISE. I know this because I have experience with those kind of girls. The girls that are really, really atractive - but really, really flaunt it. You know the kind.
But she wasn't that kind - it was weird.
And the third? The third was that she didn't like the idea of my friends.
I had no idea why, but whenever I mentioned them she'd look down awkwardly or try and steer the conversation away. And she hadn't even MET them. Alex had moved over from England about three months after she'd left and even I hadn't even met Zack back then. The only one she actually did know was Rian. He'd lived around the block from us, but we weren't exactly best friends. I think it was because he didn't share our love of mustard covered hot-dogs.
But, unfortunately for her, it seemed like my friends were gonna meet her anyway.
"Dude, he's probably sleeping." Zack shouted, running behind me down the street. Rian was on his tail, but I could tell he really wasn't in the mood to be running. He looked tired.
Too bad I didn't gave a shit.
"He's been late three times now. Three! I wanna give him a fucking piece of my mind." I called back. I stopped running and my pace fell to a walk. I didn't wanna use all of my energy meant for shouting on exercise.
The other two caught up with me and began to walk either side of me. Panting a little, Zack ran both his hands through his hair. "Why couldn't we have just waited until tomorrow? This is pointless."
I shook my head. "No it's not."
"Zack's right. He's just gonna do it again. Plus, this is the third time in about a month. We have practise MORE than three times a month - it's fine." Rian said, trying to get me to calm down a little.
But it wasn't fine.
This whole idea was Jack's. He wanted to form a band and be bigger than Blink 182 or New Found Glory. And then he didn't even show up.
I didn't answer Rian. Instead I carried on angrily walking towards Jack's house. I could see it now - we weren't that far away.
Another reason I wanted to confront Jack was also to use him as a decoy. Lisa, my clingy girlfriend, hadn't stopped calling me all day. She'd then found me and insisted she be at band practise. She had to leave early to meet her parents, and she said that she'd be back in half an hour. I wanted to be gone by then.
The guys kept telling me to dump her but it wouldn't feel right. Sure I didn't love her or whatever. And I wasn't worried about her FEELINGS. God, no. I was just worried about her crying in front of me. That's the one thing I can't stand - tears.
Especially if I caused them.
We reached the Barakat's house and I knocked on the door angrily. Rian and Zack stood a few steps away from me. And I didn't blame them.
My bad mood slightly faltered though, when I saw who answered the door. It was Jack's mom. "Oh, hi boys. Looking for Jack?" She asked, in the cheerful tone she always said everything in.
"Yeah." I said. I glanced at the others - they were both smiling pleasantly at her.
I think thats why my mood dimmed. You can't be mad around someone like Mrs. Barakat. It's just not humanely possible. "He's out the back." She answered. She looked like she wanted to add something else, but she let it slide.
The three of us stepped off the porch and made our way to the gate. Before I could even un-hook the latch, I heard laughter. There was a cackle, which was most definitely Jack's. But there was also a light laugh - one that I hadn't heard before.
I rushed through and when I saw the sight before me, I nearly fell over backwards.
Jack was hanging from a tree, with his legs wrapped around one of the thick branches. He was flapping his arms madly, almost as if he were trying to move the tree in circles. You could see that all the blood was rushing to his head by the shade of red his face was turning.
I also found the source of the other laugh - there was a girl next to him. She, too, was upside down, but she didn't look like a spasticated chicken as she did so. She was swinging next to him but the shade of red her face was turning almost flattered her.
The girl was the first one to notice us and stop laughing. She looked kind of awkwardly at us, before punching Jack in the arm.
"Ow." He said, and his voice sounded weird because of the way he was positioned. "What was that for?" He then actually looked around and saw us.
"Hey dude. How's it hangin'?" Asked Zack, obviously thinking he was being witty. He laughed along with Rian a little bit. Until I gave them a look that told them to shut up.
Jack let himself down from the tree and then helped the girl get down. She looked embarrased as she straightened up and put her hand to her forhead. I frowned. I didn't know who she was.
"Hey, guys." Jack said, coming forward to meet us. She trailed after him, putting her arms behind her back. I couldn't stop watching her. I recognized her from SOMEWHERE. I just couldn't place it.
She was quite pretty - her dark hair went well with her shade of skin, and the way she wore her clothes was different. She wasn't like Lisa - she wasn't wearing heels, or a skirt or a tank top. She was wearing skinnies, a band shirt and some high-tops.
I liked it. It was different.
"Is this why you weren't at band practise?" I asked, gesturing to her.
Jack just nodded really quickly. I internally kicked myself. I just gave him a reason! I knew he was out getting pissed and overslept. I knew it. But I still gave him a chance to lie. "Yeah, Rikki came over and we got talking. Right, Rik?"
He looked down at the girl. Rikki. "Um, yeah. Sorry to keep Jack from you guys, but we were... hanging." She cringed at how corny her own joke was, which I thought was cool. She seemed to have a sense of humour - she could laugh at herself.
I heard Zack spluttered a little. Of course HE would find that joke funny.
Rian stepped forward and held out his hand. "It's fine. Jack wouldn't have been very productive anyway. I'm Rian." He grinned at her, and her eyes widened slightly. As do everyone's. Rian has fucking perfect teeth.
"Nice to meet you." She said. She shook his hand before Zack, who'd also hovered forward, came up to her. They shook hands too, and Zack introduced himself. "I play bass." He added, which she smiled at.
Smooth Zack. Real smooth.
When Zack dropped her hand, she finally looked at me. She bit her lip and just nodded.
I nodded back, wondering why she was being so cold. She'd happily given everyone else a hand shake. Did I have cooties or something?
"You must be Alex." She finally said. I was kinda insulted - she said my name like it was venom.
"Yeah... yeah, that's me." I glanced at Jack, who shook his head without Rikki noticing.
"Later." He mouthed.
I held my hand out for me to shake, but she made a show of putting her arms back behind herself again. The others pretended not to notice, and Jack started to properly introduce her. I let my hand fall back to my side.
The whole time Jack was talking, she wouldn't look at me. And it pissed me off.
Right. I was gonna find out what this Rikki's problem was with me. Because she was the first girl I'd ever met that, and I know this sounds cocky, but she was the first girl I'd ever met that hadn't swooned at the sight of me.
So I was gonna make her want me.
<(-: goatee smiley's for all!
well... i hope you like thisss. because i like writing it. a LOT.
this one was kinda short, i apologise. did you like the tree bit? i got it from when, a few weeks ago, two of my friends told me to hang upside down in the tree in one of their gardens. i dont usually like hanging upside down - it hurts my head - but i did it. and i only fell down once, which i was quite proud of.(-;
wow, i'm making it sound like hanging upside down makes you a rebel. i'm such a tame ass. :L
so, this was more of a filler, getting to see Jack and Rikki becoming friends again. And Rikki meeting the others, especially Alex. Which, as I'm sure you guessed from the Prologue, will become very significant.
Oh yes. :D
and, when you find out more about it, you're all gonna hate her dad. i hate him already, and i've only vaguely planned it out. just sayin'. :P
and alex is supposed to come across as a dick here, hah. and she's supposed to come across as a bit of a dick back to him..
so, all in all, this chapter was pretty dick-ish. yes.
Comments? I likeeeeee them. I like them a LOT.
PS. hey maddy. i told you you'd be here.(-;
PPS. i updated pretty quick for my standards! haha!