Pulling Her HEARTSTRINGS Episode 36
A story written by HAPPY
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School passed by in a blur for the rest of that day, which I spent mostly in the garden with Oscar. Then it was time to go home. I texted Audrey that I’d be leaving with Oscar because he’d said he was going to drop me off. I was happy at that. Now that we’ve both said how we feel for each other, I feel kinda shyer than when we were stepping on each other’s toes👣.
I waved to him when I got down at the curb and stood watching the car as it drove away until it was out of sight. Then I grinned at nothing in particular and headed for my house.
Loud shouts that suggested a heated argument had me stopping in my tracks. I recognized mom’s voice, which was weird because she’s hardly home during the day, and dad’s voice. Eavesdropping is not my thing, but my curiosity was piqued when I heard, “Oh yeah? Well you’re just pouring water on a ducks back. Eighteen years of nonacceptance had already been by. And nothing’s going to change. I will never, ever show love to —”
“Hannah for god’s sake, stop being this way. The girl’s going tough because she lacks that soft touch of a mother.”
“Then go get Liz! I’m tired of having this same argument every single day!”
Having heard enough, I entered the house. “Mom, dad. What’s the argument all about?” I asked.
Hannah glared at me, grabbed a bottle and stormed out, bashing my shoulder as she left. I closed my eyes briefly as if to shutout the hurt. When I opened them they met with dad’s own. He sighed. “Don’t let it bug you honey,” he leaned on his crutches and walked towards me. He stroked my cheeks and my hair and smiled. “Minus the frown which your mom and I arguing put there, you look extremely happy. Care to tell your old man what’s up?”
I laughed, and could feel the blush rising on my cheeks as I placed his hand across my neck and we walked together into the dinning. “Had lunch yet?” I asked.
“Nah, but I did whip up something,” he winked and opened the pot, “Lamb stew pasta!”
“No way,” I gasped.
“I’m feeling my old self back gradually… I’m starting to do my crazy flips. Watch this,” he kicked one leg over the other and spun on his heel. Slowly but surely.
“No way,” I gasped again.
“Good yes? Anyway, take off your uniform and get down here. We’ll have lunch and heart to heart.”
I dashed to my room. “Thanks best dad………”
He laughed. “Anytime best daughter.”
I tucked some dollar bills into my wallet, and slipped it into the rear pockets of the faded jeans I wore. Lately I’ve been neglecting myself because of Umbria. It’s been two months since I’d blurted out my feelings to Umbria, and she’d returned with a stinging slap which I deserved for force kissing her. Two months that I’d been isolated from my friends—Um and Maggie — and chose Instead a new buddy; the bottle. Two months that I missed out on the fun side of life. And two months to realize that I’d blown things out of proportion. I don’t know when exactly the wakeup call came, but I think it started when I’d phoned my big sister in Knoxville. One night I felt so dejected that’s I didn’t know what to do. I was sober for the first time in a long time and I realized what a mess I made out of myself. Maggie stopped approaching me because I pushed her away. Umbria was scared to try and when she did I pushed her away too. I felt lonely. I hardly ever keep in touch with my family — which is just my sister Frannie and her husband James, and aunt Winny, mom and dad died in an accident years ago —except on some Thanksgiving when they’d fly down, but I needed someone to talk to. I phoned her and spilled everything to her, the whole story nothing left out. It felt good pouring it out, and we spoke I felt better. The next day I didn’t go out or to work, just spent the whole day getting back most of my old self.
Today I decided things were going to get better.
I ran a brush through my hair, stepped out of the house and turned the key in the lock. As I trekked along towards B³, I spotted Lucy at her usual spot behind an alley. Today however, she wasn’t drinking, smoking or hooking up a chick. She just gazed up at the ceiling unblinkingly. Instantly I felt a pang of guilt for her. Don’t know why, after all I shouldn’t because she’s a slut. The stupid times we spent together worth nothing. I was just being a dick then.
She turned and our eyes met for a split second before I broke away and continued my trek. She was something to get my mind of things. That’s all.
🍞BRUCE BAKES AND BREAKFAST🍞
“And there’s our darling princess to be!” I said as I stepped behind the counter, making Louisa glare while Maggie and Umbria who were in a heated discussion cut themselves off to look at me in bafflement.
I laughed. “Isn’t somebody supposed to say hip hip?” I asked and tied on an apron.
“We’re just a little struck up, hip hip…” Maggie said.
“No, Um should say it since she’s not the future princess,” I said.
They exchange glances and laughed. “Why’d you say I’m going to be one?” Maggie asked.
“Because you’re dating a prince. Or will soon be if the press and the king turn in their hackles. Um’s not.”
“I don’t know about that…but okay.” Maggie grinned.
We stood quietly for a while staring at ourselves.
I cleared my throat. “Guys, I know I’ve been a pain in the butt lately and a big time jerk… esp to you Um. There’s no excuse for how I behaved and it was really stupid of me to throw away years of friendship just because of….well. So I’m sorry. I want our old trio back with me feeling all jealous when you have your crazy girls nights shouting all over the neighborhood, me as your makeup dummy in exchange for you both cheerleading me during football games, and those rare circle of trust nights. Miss em all. Miss y’all. Want everything back. Really, really sorry.”
“Aww…” Maggie cooed and exchanged looks with Umbria. ”Come here you..” she said and stretched her arms out, with tears dripping down her cheeks. Trust Maggie to be so emotional and dramatic. Umbria too joined in the hug and we stayed that way until we were squeezing each other’s necks. We broke apart laughing
“Damn i missed you Carl,’ Umbria said.
” Me too Um,” I replied.
“Feels so good that we’re back together, right Louisa?” Maggie yelled.
“We got some catching ups to do…trust circle night?” I asked.
“Trust circle night,” Um and Maggie replied.
🌞 🌞 🌞 🌞 🌞 🌕
“The book really piqued my interest…. and now I’m going to make sure I get every copy there is to get from James Patterson. London Bridges was off the hook!” Audrey laughed and fell back on the bed hugging the novel to her chest.
I shook my head with a smile as I watched her. She jumped up, trotted to my bookshelf and replaced London Bridges with When The Wind Blows.
“Actually I read the book already when I shopped it on eBay, but I just can’t seem to put it down,!”
“Yeah, I felt that way too,” I replied still watching her read the book. I smiled to myself. She was pretending to read the book. Her eyes were focused on one spot, and for the next five minutes she didn’t turn the page. Yet it’s the dedication she was reading which was just about three lines.
I know Audrey’s trying to be difficult even before Umbria told me. She said Audrey was holding out longer than necessary because she felt that I ‘deserved’, eyeroll, it for giving her a hard time by not noticing her signals. I laughed at that. Contrary to how she put it, I did notice her ‘signals’. Just that I wasn’t sure what to do about it, with the boys being all teasing about us all the time. Eventually I realized that I did like her too. We had the same interests: books and indoorship. We’re both introverts of sorts. And, when we finally started talking — actually, when I finally had the courage to ask her to Sparkeys— we clicked. A few dates later I popped the question. Admittedly I expected her to say yes because the stars that lit her eyes were something to see. But she said she’d think about it, and I felt like screaming. Think about what!!? Well I intended to get her say yes soon.
I cleared my throat.
” So. How interesting is the dedication? Lemme guess, they kill somebody, or you’ve got psychic abilities to help you see invisible write-ups? ”
She blew a raspberry and chuckled, then frowned. “How, on earth, do you except me to concentrate when you staring at me like that?”
“How’d you know?”
“Hmm…” I twisted a curl of her blond hair around my index. Unlike Jessica’s curly, Audrey wore hers in simple waves. They smelled nice. Like jasmines. “And this peripheral vision of yours is tuned to my radar?”
She shook her head and snatched her hair from me.
” Somebody please help me! Somebody please! Can anybody hear me?” Max’s screams pierced the clear mountain air. Her throat and lungs were beginning to hurt, to burn. The eleven year old girl —”
“Audrey…..” I called again. She’s reading the whole damn book!
“—was running as fast as she could from the hateful, despicable School. She was strong, but a
“Fine, I’ll tell what I was staring at. You.”
I had her attention because she stopped, but still kept her eyes trained on the book.
“I was just lost in admiring the green of your eyes,” I kissed each eye as she closed them, “your pertly beautiful nose,” I kissed the tip of her nose, “And your wonderful, stubbornly pouting lips,” I feathered a kiss on her lips, and another one. She still kept her eyes closed, but her lips were curling into a smile. I kissed her again, this time fully and she didn’t spare any second to return my kisses. It was gradually turning into a make out session, and remembering that my mom could come in anytime to call for lunch, I pulled back hesitantly. Her lips were red and swollen.
“Come on…how much longer are you going to punish me?” I husked out.
She giggled sweetly and tugged me back down, starting the kiss again.
“Not much longer. It’ll just take a dozen of James Patterson and Happy William to bribe your way through though.”
“How bout a kiss here…” I kissed her cheeks, trailing it slowly down to the corner of her lips and then down her jaw to her neck, “sounds better?”
“Tempting,” she said sounding a bit breathless. “I’ll give you five minutes, then I’ll pass,” she grinned.
JESSICA: It didn’t work out. I got humiliated instead. He kissed her in front of the whole class and Miss Derby, and said he loved her. Worst,the little imp said she did so too!
I shook my head and felt my blood boil at the information.
TOM: Like hell she does! Umbria is mine alone. Nobody gets to touch her when I haven’t. Much less to love her!
JESSICA: Then do something about it! Come up with something.
OK, this girl’s being too bossy for my liking. She’s a spoilt thing, and if not for the fact I needed her since she’s got the circles of Primrose, I shoulda had her and done off with her. But her jealousy and determination to get back a guy that never even wanted her is a good thing. I always say revenge’s a necessary fuel for crimes.
TOM: That damn video was out biggest bet! You blew it all up, you think of something.
JESSICA: I just wanna kill her with my bare hands.
I could do both.
Or, three actually. Whichever pleases me and it’ll be the perfect revenge for my sweet little Umbria.
And now I begin to wonder.
Has he touched her already?
Damn,don’t want to think about that. I might just suck on this stub of cigarette until it’s done and I haven’t gotten another packet yet.
I knew I should have just had her before leaving Queensland. If only that Carl wasn’t there to fuck things up!
But things happen for reasons.
I never believe in that shit because I’m basically an impatient person. But now, somehow, it holds sway.
The guy’s a fucking prince.
TOM: You just got me an idea.
JESSICA: What? Share.
TOM: No. Don’t want hitches this time like you blew up the first.
JESSICA: Aw come on. We’re in this together. We both want the same thing.
This messaging thing was too trying. But we agreed to it so no one would be suspicions on her side. For me, I’m as hidden as a hood in the night. No body even knows I’m in town.
TOM: Come over. Maybe I’ll be willing to share after rounds of banging.
JESSICA: Fuck you!
Patiently, I waited for her to change her mind.
JESSICA: Be there in five.
⛅ ⛅ ☁ ⛅ ⛅ 🌁 ⛅ ⛅
Days had gone by, and things looked to be shaping up. At least from my point of view.
Mom and dad still had arguments which were awfully suspicious to me. I talked about this to Oscar, after he had me promise to tell him everything. No secrets. Although I still held back an awful lot of them. Sometimes you can’t just let go of your pasts.
Maggie and Edward still dated, but to be honest I wonder what he’ll do about his engagement to Stephanie Greenfield.
Carl bring back is one of the best things, I realized how much I miss him. He’s made friends with my friends, but I see how edgy he is around Oscar. He’d said that his feelings for me had never changed, but he’ll try to let go. I agreed. For everyone’s piece of mind.
Recently Jessica avoided me in school. But each time I look at her, I catch her staring at me with…well, a murderous glint in her eyes. Bitches don’t change spots.
“Okay, okay okay, I’ll admit it Brya, you’re a pro!” Oscar yelled.
“A pro, or ‘the’ pro?” I taunted.
“The heck I’m going to admit that. I’m the pro—owww!” he yelled when I tugged on his arm again, pulling it further behind his back in a submission style. We’re both arguing over who plays the guitar better. He’d been teaching me for sometime now, and me, being Umbria, learned pretty fast. Only that I’m now better than him and he refuses to admit it because of his oversized ego.
So yeah, I just jumped onto his bed, grabbed his right arm and twisted it to his left shoulder backwards with all my strength.
“Go on darling, who’s the expert guitarist, hmm???”
Before I knew it, I was being turned over in a flash,I didn’t know where my limbs were until a second later and I was pinned under him. His handsome grinning face was inches above mine, his lips hovering temptingly.
”A student can’t be better than the teacher, ” his smirked, and I gasped.
“No way. I had you pinned, I was damn sure!”
“You had me, not pinned though. I was just relishing the fact that you were touching me without any awkwardness or…..shyness,
”What!.” I struggled to roll off. As expected he was way stronger than me. “I’m not shy, and that was my best submission yet.”
“Uhhuh, if it’ll make you feel better my arm did hurt.”
” Ha!” I retorted and struggled again. Before I knew it his mouth found mine and we were kissing. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of kissing Oscar. It’s like the more we kissed, the more I wanted more. Was it bad that this was becoming an addiction?
Nah, don’t think so.
“I love you Brya,” he said and I smiled. I’ll never get used to those words being genuine.
“Geez, get a room you two!” I heard Diana scream before we both looked over to see Edward covering his hand over her mouth and eye.
“Silly, we’re in a room,” Oscar said amusingly.
“Yeah, but be discrete. Newest ten year old prowling the palace walls,” Edward said walking in as Oscar rolled off. Oh no, the blush…..
“We were wrestling though,” I felt compiled to add.
“Doesn’t matter,” Edward grinned.
Oscar winked at me and turned to Diana.
“Happy birthday princess,” he said
“Ohh, can’t wait, grandpa and granny would be coming, and aunt Liz and Freddy and Tessy…and aunt Yasmin too with Mia and Gia, I’m sooo excited” she clapped.
Me too..but it just registered that Liz was the same name I heard mom yell at dad.
”Oscar you’ll do a number…Edward
We all saluted.
”Yes your Highness,” and laughed.