I noticed her Lancôme mascara sliding down her red cheeks.
But I didn’t say anything.
I have nothing against her, were just two different people.
Girls, minds, clothes, (definitely), attitude, status, and plus many many more.
Most importantly, she’s a popular drama queen and I’m an awkward geek.
Whatever. Like I care what she says about me.
She always wears tight skinny jeans with tight-spaghetti strap shirts.
Even though it’s against our dress code. But she doesn’t care. She just wants to look good. I would and want to start a riot against it, but she could put my status (or whatever I have left of it, or If I even have any, but I work hard to earn my living. It’s not like my mom can kick me out for getting sixty-four on my Social Studies test. Thanks a lot, George Washington! ) Into the toilet.
And then everyone would flush it and I would go down the drain into the dirty sea of failure and geekness.
She looks good no matter how less she tries. It comes naturally.
But I know her clogged pores in her life won’t.
She wears way too much makeup.
She’s trying to hard.
Like you can’t notice!
But anyway, she got dumped, and while I completed this stupid Valentine’s Day worksheet from our teacher, I forced myself to smile. Jessica was served.
And I wanted another piece.
· * *
It was cloudy today, and I was secretly happy. Today was Valentine’s Day, but like I could care less about love and cards and gushy and kisses. I was planning something way more IMPORTANT. Today was the day HE was going to like me. I dressed in my most cutest clothes. I wore this light green Abercrombie shirt that mom said, “ It brings out your emerald eyes.”
I wore tight white skinny jeans, and my cleanest, yet cutest purple converse.
I looked really, and yet shockingly curvy. But I wasn’t done.
I dabbed on some light pink plush, and dabbed Victoria Secret lip-gloss from my mom’s makeup bag.
My lips shined, and it wasn’t from the rosy shine.
Pink looked nice on me. Maybe I should start wearing it.
I applied gray eye shadow, but not TOO much.
I didn’t want to be like Jessica.
I added black eyeliner, mascara, and a smudge of both on my lower lid.
I was done.
But a quick touch-up of Base was all I needed.
I only wear makeup ONCE in a YEAR.
That’s good, I hope. I’m not overdoing it.
I had to make sure I fastened on my lucky chain.
It was from HIM.
But that’s a long story.
My hair was curled cutely, and I like how it bounced. I plucked my eyebrows a bit yesterday, hoping Mom wouldn’t notice. Thank god, I have no facial hair. Maybe a bit fuzz. But it’s hardly noticeable.
And then I wore this cute jacket, and made sure to get a mani-petti. Purple with a dash of light pink.
I was set. Almost all, I hoped. At least my features.
He had to love me and hold me and kiss and hug and told me I was the most gorgeous girl in the whole darn Milky Way.
But I was in for a gulp.
All eyes were staring at me shockingly when I walked into the classroom. Whatever. I expected this. Jessica narrowed her almond-shaped eyes, and I smiled to myself in delight. HE looked at me. I melted into a gooey puddle of pancake batter.
He was GORGEOUS.
AND HE WAS LOOKING AT ME.
I hope I LOOKED ALL RIGHT!!!
I didn’t try hard enough at ALL.
Duh, Smart ALEC!!!!
Anyway, he actually stood up and handed me a card.
I could’ve fainted!
The angels could’ve took me and I would drink holy water from the Holy Grail… Aaaaahhh….
But I didn’t.
So end of story.
I read the card, and my smile was now a frown.
Turn that frown upside down.
OH, LIKE I COULD!!!!
· * *
“ I heard about your faux pas.” Melody Snitter informed me during lunch. I picked at my pizza. “ Your tottallllyy like Jesss.” She sneered. “ Whatever.” I said. I say that a lot.
I took a flimsy piece of pepperoni. I felt like throwing it at her big, stupid head. She continued on. “ Are you trying to win him?” She gestured at him. I shrugged. “ Well, back off geek. He’s Jessie’s. And you’re weird, UGLY, even if you do dab on makeup.”
She told me as she walked away. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream.
I wanted to do both.
But I couldn’t.
Disadvantages of makeup.
After school I ran home. But someone grabbed me. I looked behind.
It wasn’t him.
My heart dropped.
But it was something else. And they were holding chocolates with a card.
The boy turned as red as a tomato. I couldn’t help noticing he had silky auburn hair and hazel eyes.
It reminded me of my favorite hazelnuts spread, Nutella. I love eating it with waffles spread on both sides. It’s a messy meal, but a delicious one, too.
I smiled hugely. “ Hey.” He murmured. “ Um, hi.” I replied back nervously.
Before we could both breath, he flung the chocolates and the card to me and ran away.
I understood his position. So I just smiled and yelled faintly, “ Thanks!”
I guess the makeup worked out for me today.
At least something did.
I didn’t want to read the card. But I munched on the melting milk chocolate truffles.
I didn’t want to think about cards, especially the one from HIM.
I remember that exact moment.
I opened the card, and it read, in his sloppy handwriting, (which I thought was super-duper cute, until that very moment ago.)
Tiffany, I know you like me.
And today’s V-day.
So. Go figure.
But, I just want to be friends.
And you don’t have to get dressed up for anything.
I’m sorry, but um, it’s not gonna work out. I just don’t like you. Happy V-day!
I was super embarrassed. I felt like giant blueberry, and he popped me. Bad example. But, he had noticed my makeup and dressing up. So that was bad. Guys. Guy stuff. You can’t understand them sometimes with romance.
But I hoped the guy’s other card would help me out.
I opened it, but before I could catch a glimpse of the card’s writing, my silver razor rang.
I picked it up and threw the card on my pink, frilly carpet.
“ Hey. It’s Derek.”
I was so SHOCKED! It’s HIM!!!
“ Derek? Oh. Yeah. Hey.” I replied back casually.
Did he know I was screaming my curls off?
“ SO….” He trailed off.
” Happy Valentine’s Day.” I quickly cheered.”
He laughed on the other end. I smiled to myself.
“ Look, about that note…”
I got butterflies.
“ That was pretty below zero. And I’m really sorry, Tiff.”
He called me TIFF!! And he APOLIGIZED!!
“ It’s okay.” I said.
” BTW, are you free right now?”
I made a humming sound and pretended like I was super busy.
“ Um… pretty much. But whatever. Valuable time is your time.”
Where did that come from? Did I just really say that?
He laughed comfortably.
“ Great. Awesome. Sweet.”
“ Meet me at the pizzeria. You know by Lawton Ave? At eight, kay’?” He asked.
“ You mean Francesco’s?” I asked.
“ Yeah. See you there. Bye.” He said.
He hung up.
I pressed off on my cell.
I was going on a date with him!
On Valentine’s Day.
I was so excited.
But what was I going to wear?
It was seven-thirty.
My time to shine.
· * *
While Tik Tock by Ke$ha played in my room, I got ready. This time, I straightened my hair. I turned on an episode o f What Not to Wear, and quickly stared at the makeup tips. It would be a surprise for DeeDee. (I secretly called him that in my own little world.)
I wore this cute, black dress with silver pumps.
I wore the lucky chain again, and I was set.
I grabbed this cute silver purse of mine and stepped out.
I ran fast there.
But I was early.
He came in minutes later.
“ Hey.” He gestured toward me. He noticed my chain. “ Oh. You still got that?” He smiled. I nodded yes. He moved toward me. He grabbed the chain. He took off my neck. Then he moved closer. I gulped. His neck moved toward mine and I moved toward him. My first kiss and…
But his cell phone rang.
He turned red like that guy after school today.
I still had to read his card. My mouth hungered for more of those delicious chocolates.
“ Sorry.” He mumbled. He turned off his cell phone.
But I didn’t want to try again.
The moment was ruined.
We shrugged it off and went into the pizzeria. Pizza. I remembered Melody’s words.
” He’s Jessie’s.”
Derek didn’t notice.
We waited to be seated.
“ Derek,” I asked.
He looked at me with his puppy dog eyes.
Suddenly, Jessica, Melody, Nicole, and Courtney ran in. They were laughing. I looked at Derek. He was, too. Tears welled up in my eyes. Thank god, this time I used waterproof mascara. “ Huh?” I whined.
“ You dork!” Nicole snorted. They were all part of Jessica’s clique.
It’s a long story.
We used to be best friends.
Like I said, end of story.
“ Excuse me?” I asked.
I gazed at Derek. “ You jerk!” I cried.
“ You set me up, and you guys and you made that phone call and you…”
I trailed off as I sobbed.
Jessica approached me. “ Don’t mess with the fire.”
The other girls laughed, “ Or you’ll get burned!”
Wow, cheesy enough? Need more Cheez-It’s?
Meow to you, too.
A sudden rage overwhelmed over me.
“ Can you ever STOP?” I screamed.
I started firing other insults, reloading my cannon every second.
Everyone in the pizzeria looked at me.
The girls were storming mad, too.
It started out slowly.
Jessica pushed me.
I shoved her back.
A little catfight.
At least I got a manicure.
And then, I didn’t know Jessica could do this, she punched me.
I was bleeding.
She motioned the other girls.
They started hitting me.
We all started to fight.
It wasn’t your usual catfight.
What did I do?
I don’t know what happened next.
Some called 911 or the police.
I heard sirens.
My mom was standing beside me.
“ Hold on, sweet pea…”I thought I heard her say.
Jessica and her girls were crying.
Why were they?
I was so confused.
But I knew when I woke up in the hospital,
I wasn’t going to make it.
The doctors thought I wouldn’t.
The only thing left was a transplant…
And a new life.
I was fading away every second.
They beat me up so bad.
The doctors did everything.
And my mother paid for every cost.
She went crazy with her money to save me.
Did she think I was going to make it?
But, I did.
The doctors said I had terminal cancer.
I didn’t know how, but I do.
I had months to live.
And I was going to go crazy on vacation.
And have love till I die.
I’m going to make the best of it.
Until my time runs out.
The waitress brought me an iced tea in a fancy glass with ice-cubes. She grinned widely and spoke something in her native language. I just nodded my head and said, “ Thank-you.” I took a frosty drop of my chilling iced tea, and glanced over at my mom. Her eyes were closed, and she was lying down on her stomach. On the table beside her, I saw a half- empty Strawberry Pina Colada, and a PEOPLE magazine she bought at the airport before we left for our flight. I sighed deeply and stared at the bright sun for a millisecond.
Sweat dripped down from my forehead.
I pulled off my drenched yellow tank top and my denim GAP shorts, revealing a cute white bikini. Simple, bold, cute white. Mom said it brought out my emerald eyes.
It was tight fitting and it made me feel like I was a Victoria Secret’s model or something.
I threw my shorts and tank top on my bench and walked barefoot to the beach.
The sand was hot on my feet, and I jumped in pain every minute I walked.
I finally reached the wet sand, and cold water touched my white-painted toenails.
I hadn’t taken off the necklace Mom bought me at the flea market. I fastened it tightly.
After counting three seconds, I jumped into the cold ocean.
Cold! Cold! Cold!
I shivered. My hair was wet against my face, and I chewed on a strand.
It was one of my worst habits.
I swished playfully to get warm, and get used to my new bikini.
I darted my eyes around, and then I saw… HIM.
I quickly darted my eyes away, but found myself looking at HIM again.
I knew I couldn’t get my heart broken again. I bitterly thought of Dee-Dee.
But, I couldn’t wait six months, so I built up my courage and swam near him.
HE was gorgeous.
He had a bold tan, which stood out against his almond-shaped hazel eyes.
He had five freckles on his nose, barely noticeable.
He was tall, but not that much of me.
I figured he was eighteen.
He had charcoal hair, and it stood up in a cute semi-Mohawk.
He looked strong. He was.
He had a six-pack.
Your crazy, I told myself.
You’re only SIXTEEN.
GOING on SIXTEEN!
But I approached him anyway.
I tapped on his shoulder.
“ Hi.” I said.
He grinned widely. “ Hey.”
I don’t know what came over me, but I started to laugh nervously.
His eyebrows went up. “ Am I really that funny-looking?” He joked.
“ Maybe.” I said. I batted my eyelashes cutely.
“ That makes two of us.” He said.
“Only one.” I cornered. I playfully smacked him on the arm.
” So, where did you come from?” He asked.
“ New Jersey.”
“ New York.” He replied.
“ Ah, distant neighbors.” I said.
“ Well. New Jersey, what brings you here?” He asked.
“ Relax time.” I splashed him.
” That makes two of us.”
“Again.” I laughed.
“ So,” I asked. “ Do you have a name?”
“ So, Tiff, how old are ya?”
“ You first.” I asked.
“ Fine.” He sighed.
“ I know. I look younger than I really am.”
Double Digits: 2---0!
I was only about SIXTEEN.
“ So… you eighteen?” He asked.
I was still in disbelief.
About 5 years apart!
“ Now, you.” He asked.
“ Nineteen.” I lied.
I wiggled my top.
“ Yeah. You look like you are.”
He titled his head.
For once, I was glad for being an early bloomer.
“ So. Nice meet. You going to dinner today?” He asked.
“ Like I would want to starve in paradise.” I snorted.
In the water, I felt his leg brush against mine as he swam a bit closer.
My heart literally skipped one thousand beats, and than stopped.
“ Well, why don’t you sit with me?”
“ You got manners?” I asked.
“ Best there is.” He said.
“ Maybe.” I answered.
I turned into a puddle, flowing away into the ocean.
· * * * *
My mom didn’t scream or shout or pull off her auburn curls when I told her everything that happened in the beach. I told her about me and Connor and our encounter, and how after we got out I saw him staring at me for a long time. We built sandcastles and buried each other and each got a tan. He wanted to rub sunscreen on me but his mom called him.
I stopped talking there.
The rest was he winking at me and waving goodbye.
My mom swallowed. “ Well,” she started slowly. “ That’s great.”
She faintly smiled.
I expect if I was really nineteen, and I told my mom this, we would be jumping up and down and screaming happily. If only.
If only I didn’t get stupid terminal cancer. My mom continued to read her PEOPLE magazine. I sighed. I went into the bathroom and got ready for dinner.
I remembered Valentine’s Day and that same exact makeup and outfit. I decided to wear that again. Same exact outfit, hair, and makeup. I added a bold twist, though. I didn’t wear the chain, but a seashell necklace. I wore blue converse instead. It was the color of the ocean where Connor and me met. I wore gray skinny jeans, and I turned around and around, dancing in them. I stretched them out, wore them in, and danced them out. I was ready.
I blew away a curl as I walked out of the bathroom.
“ Sweetie,” My mom said.
“ You can’t go to dinner like that.”
I went back into the bathroom, still wore the same makeup, but changed into a strapless, pink dress with silver high heels. The dress stopped at my knee and was very tight fitting. I felt like a supermodel again. I left my hair in place, but replaced my necklace with an expensive silver necklace. It was Mom’s. She didn’t say anything when I walked out.
She just gasped and said, “ You look beautiful, darling.” She took a quick snap on her camera, and I posed hilariously and gloriously. Mom stared at the pictures. She started to cry and I saw that she erased the picture. I sat next to her on the fluffy bed and held her in my arms. Later on I changed into a sparkly, glimmer, shiny purple tight-fitting dress, the one Mom was wearing when she met Dad at their college prom. I looked beautiful. And if Connor didn’t recognize that, I would move on faster than slurping down a whole Pina Colada.
I walked into the fancy dining room, with expensive white napkins and silver china. I narrowed my eyes and searched for Coco, (I secretly t thought of a nickname for him, too.) and in a few spare seconds saw him tugging at the pure white tablecloth in a lonely table occupied with him in the middle of the enormous dining room. I approached him, smiling my Crest White Strip smile. He sensed motion and looked up, and happy to see me, he waved. I frowned for a second or two. I was way out of place. He was wearing black skinny jeans with a buttoned white shirt paired with black Nikes.
“ Hi.” I nervously greeted. He looked shocked and replied back,
“ You look…”
“ New York?” I replied.
I sat down in a cushioned chair next to him.
“ Parental Control. My mom thought I shouldn’t go to dinner in converse and skinny jeans.”
“ But, as always, I can pull it off.” Connor laughed.
“ So, what’s at the buffet today?” I tried to make small talk.
“ Why don’t we go see?” Connor asked. He took my sweaty palm, his hand in my hand.
I had a feeling of uneasiness. I thought this was going too fast for my agenda. I slipped my hand away. But I realized I was being a total dope, and then took his hand in mine.
We took a short walk to the buffet, china plates and helping ourselves to loads of food.
Today was an American theme buffet, and I drooled when I saw pepperoni pizza. I took two slices. Connor took one, but he also had a cheeseburger on his plate, too.
We walked back to our table, and I quickly munched on my pizza.
“ You really love pizza, eh?” Connor asked.
I nodded and smiled, while chewing.
Connor moved closer.
I moved far away.
Connor’s eyes narrowed, and he picked at his burger.
Suddenly, Connor took my hand and ran away fast to someplace I didn’t know of. \We ran and ran till we reached to a beautiful view of a beach. Connor put his hands around my waist. I pushed him away.
“ Connor!” I shrieked lightly.
“ What?” He was clearly amused.
“ I am not amused.” Connor laughed.
“ Save it for the British. This is going way too fast for me.” I said.
“ Your acting like your fifteen. You know? First love?” He said.
I gulped. “ Well I’d like to say that…” I ran out of comebacks.
“ That you totally like me.” Connor answered the question.
“ Wrong answer.” I pouted.
“ Look, let’s forget this.” He kissed me lightly on my lips.
“ Strawberries.” He whispered.
My lips did taste like strawberries.
I didn’t know what came over me, but we started to kiss.
After a long period of time, Connor pulled away.
I started to pull toward again, wanting more.
But HE blocked my view.
No, no, no, not Dee-Dee.
It was that guy who gave me that card on Valentine’s Day that I never read, because Dee-Dee called me. Ono. He knew I was really about sixteen. He knew…
That’s all I could think of.
If he found out I had terminal cancer or…
I didn't even want to think about that.
I just ran.
Connor chased after me.
And that other boy?
He just mouthed “Bye.”
A tear gliding down his rosy cheek