I spend the rest of my weekend studying like crazy. I then actually start to feel confident about my exams. The only class I am nervous about is Communications. Then again, my professor has been nicer to me since the Christmas bazaar we threw.
Speaking of which, I am so happy we were able to earn enough funds to give us a start. After doing some research, I realize one of the next steps is getting a faculty member to be our “adviser,” and maybe eventually our “house mother.” Abby says she has it covered, so I decide to leave that detail her. She still has her heart set on the house she found, and I know she is going to do everything she can to secure it. Besides, I am too focused on studying to pass my finals.
I am still a bit worried when I walk into class on Monday, but after I begin taking my final, I start to grow some confidence. By the end of my last class, I leave the room feeling extremely relieved. My psych final was very challenging, but I have faith that my studying will get me the grade I know I deserve.
Afterwards, I head over to meet Michael at the comic book shop downtown. We have been meaning to go for quite a while, but with all of my classes and doing all the writing for my novel and Abby’s sorority, I just haven’t found the time. When we did hang, we always went straight to the arcade or the movie theater.
I wave to Michael who is sitting on the sofa reading, and then walk over to one of the comic book shelves.
Scanning through the titles, I finally spot the one Michael has been encouraging me to read, “The Legend of Ara.” On the cover, is a drawing of a girl, about the age of 18 or twenty, wearing a leather get up and posed with two medium sized swords. I tuck the book under my arm and then walk over to where Michael is sitting.
“You found it,” Michael says, as I open the book to the first page.
“Well, I figured I’d give it a shot. Otherwise, you probably won’t stop bugging me about it.”
Michael laughs. “Trust me Lizzie, I know you are going to like it. Just read a few pages and you will be hooked.”
I give him a skeptical look, and then begin to read.
He ends up being totally right. Within the first few pages, I am completely hooked and can’t put the book down. The main character, Ara, is amazing. Although she is the cliché girl that was sent from another world to Earth for safety and raised by a family that found her in a flower field (superman anyone?), I still admire the amazing artwork and the intriguing plot. I can see Michael smirking at me from the corner of his eye, and I know he can see how much I love it.
We read in silence for the next couple hours, only stopping to share passages with each other or use the restroom. Any other person would have found our hang out session incredibly boring, but I love it. I really do love being around Michael, even when we aren’t talking to each other. His presence alone makes me feel safe and calm.
Thinking about this makes me start to feel guilty about not asking him to come home with me for winter break. I really do care about him and might just be…well…falling in love with him. So what was stopping me? Why couldn’t I seem to ask him?
Ten minutes later Michael closes his book and stretches.
I look up. “You finished reading that whole thing?”
“Yup. I started it before you arrived. It’s pretty good. You should read it next when you get a chance.”
I smile. “I don’t know. Something tells me that I’m going to be spending my time catching up with this series.”
Michael grins. “I knew I would get you into it. Do I know you or what?” He then rises from the couch and walks back over to the comic book shelf.
He was right. He did know me pretty well. He was one of the most thoughtful people I had ever met other than my family and Abby. So why couldn’t I just ask him about winter break? The thought was kill me.
I finish reading my book fifteen minutes later and then leave the couch to put the book back on the shelf. “I should just ask him,” I tell myself. “Just do it.” I knew how I felt about Michael. It wasn’t a big deal. Abby was asking Charls to come home with her, and had even done so over the summer. I barely talked to Michael all summer. Yes, I was still sorting out my feelings for Kendal, but if I’m being completely honest, I think I knew the answer was Michael all along. So why was I holding back?
“Don’t think about that,” I tell myself. “Just ask him.”
I take a deep breath and square my shoulders back. My heart feels like it is beating miles a minute.
“Michael,” I start calling to him, but at the same time, his phone begins to ring.
He then raises it to his ear. “Hello? Oh hey.” His tone sounds a bit disappointed and I wonder who could be at the other end.
Although I don’t want to eavesdrop, I can’t help but do just that as I stand by the bookshelf. Michael seems irritated and anxious to get off the phone.
“No, of course.” He sighs deeply. “I will, don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything. I’ll see you in a couple of days.” He then hangs up.
I look over at him puzzled. What did he mean by saying he would “take care of everything?” Was something going on?
“Everything okay?” I ask, walking over to him.
Michael turns and then nods. “Yah, I guess.” He then sighs again. “It’s just my mom. She was asking if I’m coming home for winter break this year.”
“Oh.” I feel a bit disappointed. “Are you?”
Michael shrugs. “I told her I would, but I’m not sure. Things aren’t always that great there, so it isn’t really something I look forward to. I welcome any kind of plans or distractions so I don’t have to go.”
I frown. “Michael! That’s terrible!”
“Trust me, if you were there you would understand. She is barely conscious for most of time and she is always inviting the strangest people over.” He shakes his head. “I made an excuse to miss last year, but I don’t know if I will be able to do it again. I might have to just go over and endure it.”
I take a deep breath. “Here it goes,” I think and then open my mouth.
“Michael, I need to-” I barely finish my sentence when my phone rings. I roll my eyes feeling annoyed, but then I realize it is Janice.
“Hey! I just finished finals! Whooohooo!” She calls. I hold the phone away from me, not wanting Janice’s scream to ruin my eardrums. “Let’s go out and celebrate! Meet me at the bowling alley. I’m heading over there right now. See you soon!”
She then hangs up before I can get any word in.
“Janice says she wants to meet up at the bowling alley.”
Michael nods. “Sounds good. It has been a while for me.”
I start to head in the direction of the door, but Michael pulls me back.
“Hey, wait up,” he says, “It sounded like you were going to tell me something before you got the call. What was it?”
I blink for a minute and then remember what I was talking about. “Oh, that.” Suddenly I realize I have lost my nerve. I feel too awkward to ask now that he had put me on the spot.
“Actually, I just wanted to do this.” I then lean forward and kiss him gently on his lips. I kiss him as passionately as I can, trying to distract him from what I was trying to say earlier. Lucky for me it works. Michael kisses me back and soon we are full on kissing in front of all the people in the comic store.
When we finally pull apart, I feel a bit embarrassed by some of the people watching. I giggle and pull Michael closer to me, trying to hide my face on the other side of his shoulder. I am definitely not a pda person, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Michael laughs. “You never cease to surprise me, Lizzie,” he says, and then he pulls away. “We should head over to the alley.”
I blush slightly. “I’m right behind you,” I say and then follow him out. All the while, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty. Would it have been so bad for me to ask him? Why was I so afraid?
“Took you long enough!” Janice says, when Michael and I come through the door. “How far away were you?”
“At the comic book shop.”
Janice nods. “Figures. He was probably doing all he could to get you into that Legend of Ara comic, wasn’t he?”
Michael shrugs. “Guilty. And guess what? I succeeded.” He flashes Janice a wide grin and she scoffs.
“Don’t tell me.”
I lift my shoulders up. “I couldn’t resist! The comic was actually pretty good.”
Janice sighs. “I know, I’ve read it too.” I open my mouth to protest about that, but she waves her hand. “Enough of that. Let’s get bowling!”
With darkness beginning to fall outside, the bowling lane turns on their cosmic bowling lights. Janice stands in perfect form and then tosses the bowling ball down the lane, knocking down all the pins.
“Strike!” she says, pumping her fist into the air.
Michael is next up. He tosses the ball down the lane and also gets a strike, to Janice’s dismay.
“Goal!” he says, doing the most hilarious kick in the air. “You’re going down, Janice.”
Janice frowns and shakes her head. “We’ll see about that, Mike.” I laugh looking back and forth between the two of them. Their little squabbles are pretty entertaining. It makes me enjoy hanging out with the two of them even more.
“So, did you ask Michael to come back home with you?” Janice asks, when Michael is out of earshot. I blink at her in surprise.
“Abby told me,” she says with a smile, “and by your reaction, I can tell that’s a no.”
I sigh. “I’ve just been so nervous about it. Maybe I’m just not ready to invite him back yet.”
Janice shrugs. “Well, if you’re really that uncomfortable with it, then you probably shouldn’t. But if he is really an important part of your life, you got to do it sometime.” She then walks back over to the bowling lane to retrieve her ball.
I stare after her in silence. I know she is right, but I just can’t bring myself to ask him. I need more time to get use to the idea. I only hope that it won’t push him away even more.
I still can’t believe that Lizzie and Janice threw that Christmas bazaar for the Beta Gamma Kappas. I was so touched by it. The next day I went straight to the administrator to find out what to do next. With most things done, it seems like we missed one of the crucial things, getting a faculty adviser to sponsor us. Maybe even become a house mother. Lizzie offers to look, but I put it on me. She, Janice and Kimberly have already done so much for me.
I end up being able to talk to one of my old art professors, Mrs. Krutz from last year. Although I hadn’t seen her in a while, she was actually intrigued by the idea of me starting a new sorority. She did say she would have to think it over, but I have a pretty big feeling the answer will be yes. Even with all the negative things that Clare and Taylor were trying to spread about me, I am happy that the bazaar really turned things around. It looks like the Beta Gamma Kappas are getting some more positive attention. We are definitely on our way. Next up, planning some events to help the campus, so we can get more recognition. That said, I have come up with another way for us to secure the building for our sorority. We were going to have to rent it. I haven’t told Lizzie, Janice or Kimberly yet, but I couldn’t wait!
I am so busy trying to figure things out with the Beta Gamma Kappas, that I almost forget about finals. I get some last minute studying done on Sunday and Monday, so by Tuesday I am ready to start my finals. Taking a deep breath, I push open the doors to my first class and begin.
I am completely exhausted by the time my last class rolls around. Still I manage to focus and finish my exam right before class ends. I then turn in my final project for art (which my professor seems completely taken with, if I do say so myself) and then I am off to the grotto to meet up with Charls.
The ground is beautifully, covered in white snow and I admire it as I drive along. Just before I reach the Grotto, I remember that it is closed this week for renovations. I quickly send a text to Charls to warn him and then head to the bowling alley instead.
I take the staircase up to the second floor and then find an empty pool table. I figure I might as well enjoy a game since I won’t be here for the next few weeks.
Lining up my pool stick, I hit the ball and the correct one goes straight into the whole. I am definitely getting better at this.
I look over and see Charls walking over.
“Hey,” I say back and then sink another ball into a hole.
“Will there ever be a day that I don’t see you at a pool table?”
I laugh. “You’ll have to wait and see.”
“So,” I give him a look. “How were your finals?”
Charls grins. “If that is your way of asking if I failed, then no. I am pretty sure I passed each one.”
“Well that’s good to hear, considering you hardly studied.”
Charls raises his hands. “Hey, just because you didn’t see me, doesn’t mean I didn’t.”
“Whatever you say, Charls,” I say laughing, and then set my pool stick back in its slot.
I give him a quick kiss, wrapping my arms around him.
“So I had something to ask you.”
Charls kisses my forehead. “Ask away.”
“Well, I hope you don’t think its way too sudden, but I was wondering if you wanted to come home with me for Christmas.”
Charls raises his eyebrows. “Whoa, really?”
I suddenly feel like my stomach is doing somersaults. “W-well, if you feel it’s too soon, we don’t have to. It was just an idea. I thought maybe since you came for such a short time over summer break, it might be fun for you to stay a bit long-”
Before I finish, Charls cuts me off with a mind-blowing kiss that I feel from my lips to my toes.
He then pulls away and smiles. “You talk too much. And yes. It sounds fun, and definitely tops me visiting my folks.”
I grin and kiss him back. “Well, I’m glad to hear that. Winter break is going to be amazing.”
We then hold hands and walk down the stairs together. I am surprised when we walk to the door and spot Lizzie, Janice and Michael bowling at one of the lanes.
“Hey, fancy meeting you guys here,” I say.
Lizzie smiles. “Likewise. What are you two doing here?”
“I was just playing some pool upstairs. I’m so happy finals are over.”
“Me too! Now for a break.”
I then remember the thing I wanted to tell her earlier.
“Hey, are you guys ready to head out? I wanted to show you guys something.”
Janice and Lizzie look at each other and then back to me.
I grin. “You’ll see. Just follow me.”
We load into our cars and Lizzie, Janice and Michael follow behind me. I lead them through the streets until we pull up in front of the house that I just know, will soon be our sorority house.
“I should have known this is where you were taking us,” Lizzie says with a laugh.
I grin. “Well I wanted everyone else to see it.”
“Not bad,” says Michael. “Hey Charls, let’s check out the back.” The two of them then both walk around the side of the house and disappear from view.
Janice looks around and smiles. “Wow, the building is pretty nice. Is this the one you are hoping to use for the Beta Gamma Kappas?”
I nod. “I’m betting on it, and I have the best idea for us to get it. The other sorority that was optioning for it dropped out. So, I think we should rent this building next quarter.”
Lizzie looks surprised. “What? What do you mean rent it?”
“I mean, rent it! It has about six bedrooms. We could start off renting the building on our own and then option it to the board as our sorority house when the time comes. At least we would have a base for our sorority. What do you think?”
Lizzie looks at me and then to Janice.
Janice shrugs. “I don’t see why not. I think it’s a good idea. Besides, I’ve been thinking about finding my own place. At least this gives me the chance.”
Lizzie looks at the house quietly and nods. “I guess you’re right. Besides, this place does look nice. Well, it will when we fix it up.”
I clasp my hands together. “Yes! This is definitely falling into place.” I nod politely to a girl that passes by carrying her backpack.
After a while of admiring the building, I turn to Janice. “Hey, I know this is out of the blue, but how are you and Greg doing?”
Janice sighs and looks toward the ground. “It is what it is I guess. He still hasn’t talked me, but I could have sworn he called me yesterday. I answered, but no one responded. I just heard breathing and then the line clicked off.”
“Well, at least you know that he does want to talk to you. He just is going through a lot. Clearly.”
“I guess.” Janice sighs again. “I just wish he would talk to me.”
Lizzie gives Janice a hug. “Don’t worry, he will. If he is already calling you, it means that he’s coming around.”
Janice nods. “I sure hope so.”
Lizzie then gets distracted by Michael who comes around and pulls her into a hug.
“You’ve got an amazing place here,” he says. “You guys picked well.”
“Well, you should give all the credit to Abby. She is the one who showed me this place.”
I grin. “Why, thank you.” I am about to do a cheesy curtsy, when Charls spins me into his arms and dips me.
“Well when the Beta Gamma Kappas become as known as the Alpha Beta Phis, I can say I knew the founder before.”
I laugh. “It’s nice to know you have faith in us.”
“Oh I have no doubt. You were meant to do this Abby. And I know you will.”
I smile and pull his face closer to mine. “I love you,” I whisper.
Charls kisses me and then whispers back, “I love you too.”
I have to say, at this moment, I feel like nothing can bring me down.