The next day goes by very fast for me. I don’t wake up until after one in the afternoon. I can tell I must have been tired. Since I am unsure what time the painters are coming today, I quickly head into the bathroom to take a shower and get ready. I can see why they are coming. The bathroom could use an extra coat of paint.
I quickly get ready and finish just as I hear the downstairs bell ring. Good timing.
As the painters work on the bathrooms and the upstairs rooms, I spend the time unpacking my things. Abby then comes in to tell me she is heading to the fashion store downtown to get a new outfit for tonight. She asks me along implying that my wardrobe could use some improvement, but before she finishes, I give her a look which encourages her to stop talking and just leave. Ugh, I guess Abby will be Abby.
After she leaves, I go down to the family room to snag one of the bookshelves Kimberly had purchased, for my room. Michael is down there, surprising me, but he tells me he is just fixing up something with the fireplace for us. Isn’t he handy!
I then go back to my room to put the bookshelf together, taking me forty minutes. I have to say, it looks very nice. Being busy with school and my novel, I haven’t really had a lot of time to read regular novels. I hadn’t even read the comics Michael had suggested to me. Hopefully this quarter I would be able to find the time.
I stay upstairs for the next couple hours putting my room together and even happen to hear Kimberly muttering in the hallway as she lugs something heavy up the stairs. Funny, I thought she wasn’t coming until Monday. I then start to feel famished, so I leave my room and go down to the kitchen. The only thing in there right now is some of Janice’s leftover yogurt, some fruit and Abby’s fruit parfait. We really need to go grocery shopping. I serve myself a bowl of fruit parfait and then join Abby and Janice in the dining room to eat. Kimberly, Michael and Charls join us later and we all chat together before Kimberly announces we need to leave so we don’t miss the New Year’s Eve beach party.
It takes us another thirty minutes to leave because Abby suddenly freaks after hearing from Charls that Brad was back. Now I know that he is her ex-boyfriend and everything, but geez. Did she have to freak out like that? I mean, Charls was right there and everything. Then again, they might have not noticed because Abby can play off being okay better than me.
As we drive along I contemplate asking her if she was okay, but decide not to. She suddenly looks relaxed and I don’t want to hype her up again.
The party ends up being a lot of fun. It is definitely a lot more diverse than before. There are more regular college students than sorority and fraternity members. I spot Janice and Greg hanging out and dancing together which makes me smile. Last semester was just awful with the way that things were with them. It’s nice to see that they are back on track.
Janice then heads over to the grill and starts making some burgers. The aroma makes my mouth water. That fruit parfait just did not do it for me. After she finishes, I snag one of the burgers for myself and may I just say, it was quite delicious.
I then look over and spot Taylor pass by giving Janice a look of disgust. My gaze follows her and I spot her standing beside Brad, along with Clare! In front of them is Charls and he doesn’t look to happy to see them. I can only hope that they don’t run into Abby. She won’t be too pleased with their arrival.
I am about to go and see what is going on, when someone steps in front of me.
“Hey Lizzie,” she says with a smile. “Nice seeing you. Did you have a good break?”
I blink. “Carrie, hey.” I’m a bit surprised to see her at a party like this. She definitely was not the partying type. “My break was good. You?”
She grins. “Great actually! I went skiing with my parents and sister Lucy. Not as productive as I would have liked, but still fun.”
I shake my head. This girl is more into studying than even me.
“So how is your novel going? I can take another look at it if you would like. I wasn’t sure if my edits were cohesive enough.”
“They were,” I say quickly. The last thing I need for her to be is any more critical than she already was. “I’m still working on it, but I will let you know if I do.”
“So, I am pretty excited for the writer’s club this year. We have more members which is going to make the readings great.”
I chuckle. “I’ll bet you have the first reading planned for this week.”
“Well, I did suggest it to Kendal, but we are still in the works. Hopefully it will be on Friday.”
I cough slightly. “I’m sorry, did you say Kendal?”
Carrie nods. “Yes, he’s back this semester. His internship finished over winter break. He’s actually here at the party. Right over there.”
I glance in the direction she is pointing to and sure enough, Kendal is standing by a bon fire someone has started.
“You should go say hi. I’ll bet he’d be happy to see you. He’s been talking a lot about you since he got back.”
Before I am able to answer, Carrie turns and walks off. I contemplate leaving before Kendal notices me, but then decide against it. After everything that he and I have been through, I could at least be brave enough to talk to him. So after taking a deep breath, I slowly make my way over to him.
Just as I am about to lose my nerve, Kendal turns and sees me.
“Lizzie!” he says with a bright smile. “Long time no see!”
I smile nervously. “Yes, it has been a while.”
“How are you?”
I swallow gently. “Good. I’ve been good. H-how was your internship?”
“Excellent.” Kendal grins and I feel a strange feeling in my stomach, the way I used to feel when we were together. Goodness, I think I am starting to understand why Abby was freaking out earlier.
Kendal then starts to tell me all about his internship and how exciting it was.
“I learned a lot, but I still find my passion in my writing,” he finishes. “So I think that I want to minor in it. Maybe I can find a way to mesh the two together.”
I nod. “Sounds like a really good idea. Especially if you are passionate about both.”
He then does something that makes my stomach start doing somersaults. He gives me that smile again and says, “You’re always so easy to talk to. I’ve really missed you, Elizabeth.”
I am completely speechless. My cheeks begin to heat up and I look away quickly not wanting Kendal to see me blushing. It was so strange being with him again.
“I…I um…” I still can’t seem to find the words and just drift off.
Kendal seems to realize the awkwardness.
“Elizabeth, I didn’t mean to make things awkward.” He sighs. “I know things ended weird with us last year.”
I look back up at him. “Yah, they kind of did.”
“That whole thing with us and then Michael.”
I swallow hard. “Yes, about that, there’s something I should-”
I don’t get a chance to finish because Michael comes walking right up to us. Oh great.
“Hey Liz,” he says approaching us. I can see Kendal already starting to tense up. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing, just talking to Kendal. He’s back from his internship.”
“Oh really?” Michael glances at Kendal. “I thought it was for the entire year?”
Kendal shakes his head. “No, just for the past two quarters.”
“I heard about that business internship,” Michael continues. I notice he is getting a bit tense as well. “I know some people who got the same one and they told me that there was one for just the summer and one for this entire school year. Since you were still enrolled last quarter, I’m assuming you got the year internship. So, how did you get out so early?”
Kendal’s eyes narrow slightly. “Not that it is any of your business, but I happened to have arranged the exit of my internship with the company and my advisor.”
I bite my lip. This is not going well.
“Well, if you don’t mind Michael, Elizabeth and I were in the middle of something.”
“Which would be?”
“I don’t think that is any of your business.”
“I’d have to disagree.”
I sigh. “Michael, please.”
Michael turns and gives me a look of confusion. “Lizzie, haven’t you told him about us?”
Kendal frowns. “What are you talking about?”
“I was getting to it Michael.” I exhale deeply. I really wish I could have told Kendal about this before Michael had shown up. “Kendal, Michael and I are…well…”
“We’re together,” Michael finishes.
I blink at him. Goodness! Couldn’t he just give me a minute?
Kendal looks stunned. He just stands still for a few seconds, seeming to be processing everything. I can’t help but feel awful. We had basically ended things because of me and my feelings for Michael and now here I was dating him. This must look terrible.
“I see,” Kendal says finally. “So, you two are in a relationship?”
“Yes,” I say. I am relieved at least Michael let me speak then.
Kendal nods. “Oh. Well then, I guess I’m happy for the two you.”
I smile slightly. “Thank you.”
We stand in silence again for a few more seconds before Kendal clears his throat.
“Well I should go,” he says. “It’s getting late and I have some things to take care of.”
“But what about the fireworks?” I ask. “They’re about to start.”
Kendal shrugs. “It’s okay. I’ll still be able to see them from my apartment.” He then smiles at me. “Nice seeing you again, Elizabeth,” he says, and then he slowly walks off to the sidewalk. Toward the beach, the fireworks go off showing bright colors in the sky.
After Kendal is gone, I turn on Michael. “Was that necessary?”
He frowns. “What?”
“You were basically trying to pick a fight with him!”
“No I wasn’t. I was just talking.”
I give him a look. “Sure, you were. What was all that about his internship?”
“I just thought that his story was fishy. I think there is another motive for him coming back and I am staring right at her.”
My jaw drops. “Michael, Kendal and I broke up spring quarter of last year! You really think he has been sitting around pinning for me that whole time?”
“Yes, I do.”
I give him a look. “Michael,” I start, but then he gives me a kiss on my cheek.
“You’re a special girl Liz, any guy would.”
I can’t help but smile at that. I honestly hate the way I can never seem to stay mad at him for long. “You want to come back to the house with me?”
Michael raises an eyebrow. “A nightly invitation?”
I give Michael a shove. “Get your mind out of the gutter.” I then take his hand and we walk toward my car.
“Janice, do want a ride?” I start to call over, but then I notice she and Greg are pushed against each other and frenching like crazy. Something tells me that she won’t be coming home tonight.
Instead, I call over to Kimberly and she joins Michael and I in the car. I spot Charls’s car missing and figure he and Abby must have gone off somewhere together.
We arrive at the house fifteen minutes later and Michael and I head up to my room. Kimberly gives me a look and I promise her that there will be no “activity” in my room, so she needn’t worry. I can’t however, say the same for Abby, wherever she and Charls were.
In my room, Michael and I lay on my mattress. He tries to straddle me, but I stop him.
“There is one more thing I have to ask. What exactly were you trying to do with Kendal tonight? Stake your claim over me?”
Michael sighs. “No Liz, I-I just wanted him to know about us. Clearly he didn’t.”
“Michael, I was about to tell him right before you showed up! I wanted to let him know without making it awkward.”
“Ah. So I probably didn’t help, huh?”
“Not really.” I let out a puff of air. “Well, at least he knows now. I hope things are okay with us. I don’t want things to be weird with us both being in the writing club and everything.”
Michael pulls me to him. “You worry too much Lizzie. By the way, I forgot to ask, what is up with all that Elizabeth, Elizabeth stuff?”
I frown. “What?”
“He’s always calling you that.”
“Well, it is my name…”
“I know, but it sounds so formal.”
I giggle. “I know, it totally does. I guess I always just thought it was cute. He made me feel like I was in one of those old rom-com movies.”
Michael looks down at me. “Really? Should I start calling you that now? Elizabeth?”
I laugh. “No, I love that you call me Lizzie. It’s my nickname.”
“Are you sure? I could definitely come around to it, Elizabeth.”
I smile and snuggle into his shoulder. “I want you to call me what feels natural to you.”
Michael nods. “All right then, Lizzie.”
I feel my eyelids growing heavy. “But, I can’t lie. It is sometimes nice to hear my whole name.”
Michael kisses my forward. “As you wish, Elizabeth.”
I then slowly lose consciousness and drift off to sleep.
(Thank you for reading! Sorry that the chapter is a little late! With the holidays here and all, it has been pretty busy. In the next few weeks I hope to move to posting two chapters a week. Also, I have a new story in the works. So stay tuned!!!!!)