(Dear readers, I wanted definitely to do a post for the evening but was not catching a prompt that caught my fancy. So, here is the first piece I’m adding onto for a second time, I believe you remember Brown Town. If not, click on the “Work in Progress” category on the side and you shall find it. Or, just read from the top, as I copy pasted here and now I’m off!)
I am usually oblivious to the looks that I get. I’m nothing special, just the quiet girl in the corner. But it was different with Jason. He saw through the shell I put up…the too heavy makeup, the jeans, the books up to my nose.
I stood in my bedroom rifling through my pants drawer for something different. Jeans, jeans, dark jeans, worn jeans, HA!, at least this one’s a jean skirt. He’s always liked when I show flavors of me, shined up. On the night table sat the necklace he gave me on our first date. It seems silly, but I never leave home without it. He laughs at me, because some days he comes in to find me wearing it, and nothing else. Not because I know it turns him on (though I know it does…), but because I don’t like it not being there. The only times I take it off are to shower and to sleep, and both are because I’m paranoid.
Breaking me out of my reminiscing, I heard a knock at my door. It seemed odd because Jason came without alerting, often, but knocking was not his thing. I wrapped myself in a bed sheet and shuffled to the door, assuming it would be him and he would get a good laugh. He always told me that it didn’t matter what I was wearing, especially when I was dressing up for the girls, I was beautiful no matter what. Usually I thought he was saying this to get laid, but, again, I’m paranoid.
Lucky for me there’s a window on my door, because it was not Jason I was greeted by, but his father.
I was about to turn and dart to grab pajama pants and a shirt when I realized exactly what Jason’s dad was holding: Jason’s leather jacket, and a jewelry box. I nearly dropped my sheet.
“Mr. Stewert? What…what’s up?” I asked, barely clutching the doorknob. The jewelry box had thrown me off, but Jason was never seen without his leather jacket. Seriously, he and I debated this often, especially on the days when I would snake my arms inside it and come out covered in sweat.
“Alana, honey, could you let me in? I need to talk to you.” He asked, jiggling the handle.
I opened the door without another thought.
“Oh, dear. I see you were indisposed.” Mr. Stewert said, ever so obviously aiming his eyes toward my dusty popcorn ceiling.
I replied by clutching the bed sheet tighter and stepping around the corner to my room. While shimmying into a crumpled pair of jeans and an old Call of Duty t-shirt I called, “My apologies for the, um, “leafless” greeting. You caught me getting ready for this evening, and I assumed that you were Jason. Have you heard from him?”
I was greeted by silence, and some muffled sounds I didn’t want to acknowledge.
“Alana…Have you seen Jason? Today? Maybe yesterday?” He replied, slowly.
I gave him a confused look, having stepped back around the corner to see him sitting on my beat up red sofa, curled around Jason’s jacket. I thought for a few moments. Last night, before I fell asleep, I got my text from him. It was the same text I got every night: See You Tomorrow, Beautiful >B-). He always joked that he didn’t need to actually see me, he would see me in his dreams. But physically I had not seen him that day…or the day before…
“Not since the day before yesterday, Wednesday afternoon. Why?” I asked slowly.
“Funny…that was about what his mother said. Wednesday morning…and ……..then we knocked on his door to drag him to breakfast, and we found this draped across the bed.” He said, holding the coat tighter. “I wasn’t going to worry, but…I don’t know if he’s told you the history…this was his Grandfather’s…the one he was named for…he’d never have left it. And when I picked up the coat to take it down to his mother, I found this. Do you know anything about it?”
He opened the box, and there was, without a question, an engagement ring inside.
I stared in complete silence, the kind that sucks all of the sound out of the room.
I considered the options. Jason occasionally disappeared with the boys for the weekend. He always called it “searching for inspiration”, but I knew better. It was always when things got a little tough: The first time he caught his parents fighting; when his best friend attempted suicide; when he failed two classes his first semester of college. But he hadn’t disappeared in a while, and things had been good. I was three semesters away from my Zoology degree, he two from his in Broadcasting. We had already started looking at places to travel, near a nice zoo for me, but where there would be interesting stories for him to dig up. But the ring…this was new.
I never thought he would consider that. We had been throwing around big words recently. Scary words.
I can’t honestly say that either of us want these things, but it felt funny. I think they were my fault usually, but sometimes Jason’s. I was looking for a choice. He was looking for a way to not turn into the facade that was his parents.
All I wanted to know was why this…why now…and where he thought was safe from my confusion and frustration.
(I know, not exactly huge progress, but I was angry with myself for missing out. I started to post this a few nights ago, and fell asleep at the computer. This, my little writers, is a lesson in patience. Even if you feel like you NEED to work. Even if you hope you have an audience, you have to put yourself first. It will come. And you will balance all of it. Remember, even when it is work, it’s still what you love. If it’s not, turn it off, you’re done.)