[Creative property of Lady Quindecim]
Page Forty Three: Morning Fox
Day 10 - Thursday
I woke up feeling light and refreshed. Even if only in my dreams, Fox and I spent the whole night running through and playing in the woods and park and cemetery. She would tell me she never wanted to be without me, then playfully run away for me to give chase. I would catch her and she would bury her face into me. And I would hold her until the cycle started over again. I would not catch her right away. I could not if I had wanted to, for the way she put her gymnastic skills to practice.
Still out across the chair in my room was my costume for school the next day. Mom had helped me and together we just chatted pleasantly about all sorts of things. We talked about Fox asking me to help help with the food for the party and about Cody asking me out on a date, but I omitted the bit about Julie and Kathy wanting Keith to be told Julie wanted to go out with him.
As I headed for the shower, mind once more on my dreams, I kept thinking about one, subtle trend throughout. I mean, it seemed like nothing at the time but awake, the simple fact that I remembered it at all as a thing had to be significant. She would never look me in the face. Every time her eyes fell on mine, she would lose her smile until she turned away. This kind of nagged at my insides all the way up until...
Fox was sitting by my locker, eating an apple. There was an empty single-serving yogurt cup beside her and a book in her other hand, open and holding her attention.
“‘Sir James Almont, appointed by His Majesty Charles the second Governor of Jamaica, was habitually an early riser.’ I however, am not. Do my eyes deceive me, or are you having breakfast at my locker?”
Fox flipped back to the first page of the book, then looked up at me for a moment before turning back to her book. “That is freakily uncanny. Or do you just memorize the first line of every book I own?”
It was like in my dream where she did not really look at my face. And yet, I realized why this stood out in my dream; she does that quite a bit, the turning away. Sometime, yeah, she looks me in the eye and it is great, but she is more comfortable with me when we are walking side by side, looking anywhere but at me. Sure, I am no really ‘hottie’, but I think I am okay. I am not like, disfigured or anything and my complexion is clear, so far, anyway.
Then, quite casually, she said, “Good morning to you too, DG. There’s one more, if you want it,” then took another bite of apple.
“I don’t want to eat your last apple.”
“You know, for a smart person, you really are thick. It’s for you.”
“Thank you.” I slid off my coat and sat down beside her, carefully tucking my skirt around my legs, not that my leggings did not cover everything but simply out of habitual response to corrections from my mother.
Fox closed her book on an old receipt-for-a-bookmark and handed me the other apple. “I am trying, you know?”
“Oh?” I asked, wondering just what it was that she was trying.
“It’s a thing, you now? Like a bonding, or whatever. You have had lunch, or basically a meal, with basically all my friends. But I am always working during lunch, so... here we are.”
“Makes sense.” I was at somewhat of a loss for how to respond to that. So I kind of just tried a few things. “Thanks. For the apple, but for... doing things to make me feel welcome here.”
“Yeah, well, I am trying. A mission undertaken.” She looked at me again, then turned away, turning her body sideways, back to me, and leaned against me. “It is not easy. I mean, sure, you make it kind of easy, which only makes it harder for me.”
“I don’t understand,” except, I really did understand. If Fox was a jerk, or at least not so incredibly intriguing, it would be easy to just treat her like everyone else. But that was me. I did not understand what was hard for her or why I was likable.
“I can’t figure you out. Everything you say and do is just so different from what I see when I look at you. Stupid, huh?”
“Well, no, but-”
“Like, supersimplified, but like here you are, in AP German, but you are talking to me in French, natural as anything.”
“That was not really my fault, but,” Then it hit me. We had been talking in French and I did not even think about it. In under ten minutes, I was going to be in serious trouble.
* * *
Nope, I managed to stave off serious trouble all through german class. The whole way to the language hall I imagined being back on the phone with my German-speaking unkle, rebooting my mindset. It was rough and clumsy and Fox would correct me as we walked when I used a French word instead of German, but I did okay.
I spotted Cody just outside the English classroom and took the chance to try and fix one thing unresolved from the day before. “Hey, Cody, when you asked me out, I didn’t realize you were asking me to Mag’s party. I just forgot that was Saturday, you know?”
“Oh, sure. But I mean, Brad can still pick you up if you want. I mostly just kinda wondered if you wanted to team up on the costumes, you know? Or, something?”
“Or something, for sure,” as we started into the classroom, “Only, I am going to be there already. I am working with Fox on the food.”
“She’s letting you into her kitchen?”
“Hers? I thought it was at Mags’.”
“Actually, it is at James’, but no, like any kitchen she can, she will take over and kick everyone out.”
“That must have been some burrito you made.”
“Uh, think nothing of it,” as we took our seats.
* * *
Morning classes were going well, mostly because I was still feeling very looked-at and surely the new-kid thing had worn off after a week, even if I did look like their star student’s little sister. So, to tune everyone out, I just dug into the books, focussed on the studies and assignments. This was having a not-so-ironic, positive impact on my grades.
Nonetheless, when lunchtime came around, I was happy to find myself among my friends. Mags and James were sitting together, doing homework, Ginger and Mary Anne were reading magazines, Brad and Brian were playing chess and Samwise was drawing something in his notebook. I said hi, people said hi... it was good.
I greeted Samwise in German and he happily talked to me for a little while in German. I thanked him and he said that I was doing better than most of the people in his class. I did not want to make a deal of it but then he went on. “I see why Frau Ohtomo took you in her class.”
“I do not think she really had a choice.”
To that, he just shrugged.
I let him get back to his drawing as I spotted Cody and Keith walking up. I strode over to meet them. Cody and I still wanted to talk Halloween.
“Hey, Chole. Did you already have a plan for a costume on Saturday?”
I shook my head, “I was thinking of maybe going as an Eskimo, but I have not even been able to find a good coat or come up with a decent analogue. What about you?”
“I had some thoughts.”
“Like I could be C3-P0 and you could be R2? Or I’ll be Gandalf and you could be a hobbit?”
“Okay, so yeah,” he laughed, “I get it, You’re tall and I’m short.”
“Sorry, I’ll be good. What are your thoughts because I got nothing.”
He gave me a crooked smile, “I suppose I should suggest something that would put you in a bikini.”
“Or you. It is supposed to be like, literally freezing cold. You can freeze your bits off.”
“Good point. No bikinis.”
He went on to tell me some of his ideas and we went back and forth with thoughts on them. Pirates, zombies, vampires... we covered all the bases. I brought up ballerinas and princesses, but those did not go over so well with the guys. In the end, we decided on blue men, like from the group, but Keith would still have to talk to Tanya about it. I thought to myself that it was kind of ironic with the four of us, very different people, all looking to wear these same, alternate personalities that will hide our true selves.
Cody looked around a little, then said quietly, “Yesterday, I kinda got what you were saying, you know, and I could see who was around, and yeah, a certain somebody has been desperately been trying to get another certain someone to go out with her for a long time. We kinda had a laugh about it.”
“Good,” I said as a matter of fact. “I feel better,” but in fact, I had just about forgotten about it. Oops.
[You have been reading the forty-third installment of the Fox Tale Series by Lady Quindecim.]
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[I hope you have enjoyed this installment]