I have never felt so awkward in my life.
Here I was, 17 freaking years old, hiding in the bathroom of a sleazy diner. My palms felt cool against the sink but the humidity had slowly leaked in from outside. I slowly tilted my head up so I could face the girl in the mirror.
She looked exactly like the girl I saw 2 days ago. Same ash-brown colored hair and dark green eyes stared back at me. I feel my head throb a bit and I bring my hand to the side of my temple, hoping to maybe stop the sudden pulsing inside my skull. Someone else walks into the bathroom and I involuntarily jump, making the woman give me a 'what's your problem?' look.
I face the girl in the mirror again and shakily chant some calming words under my breath to myself.
"Okay, Reena. Relax. So what if he's there?"
"He was only your friend when you were 10, when you were young and stupid and careless."
"He probably doesn't feel as out-of-place as you do now."
"I mean, so what if you two were like, best buds 7 years ago? Doesn't mean anything."
"It's not like he had a crush on you."
"I bet he is sitting there in that red leather booth just chatting away with your other friends like nothing is wrong."
"Or maybe he's in the guy's room doing the same exact thing!"
"Wait, no. He's not as idiotic as you are."
Okay, so the little self-help chat didn't help my case much. Nonetheless, I had to eventually get out of the bathroom, or else Cabbie and the others would get worried about me and think I probably collapsed.
So I walk out of the bathroom, trying to be calm and act normal. But inside, I'm doing jumping jacks across the tiled floor. I'm a freaking hyena on crack. I'm juggling nausea and nervousness and just plain terror while standing on top of a ball of energy. I'm a wreck. And see, I'm not just thinking this, because when I give a super-fake smile to Cabbie walking towards where we were sitting, I walk into a waitress carrying 4 trays of food.
She does this crazy little dance on her tip-toes for a second, and then the plate slips from her hand, like a frisbee, heading towards the ground.
And you know what happens?
That's right. He's there. Michael Kennedy half-dives half-sprawls and saves the plate from crashing to the floor. Oh, yeah, and the food is perfectly intact, too. What an idiot I am to think he used to\/still may like me.
He stands up, placing the tray ever-so-perfectly on the table, and brushes the invisible dust off of her gray shirt, all while giving the waitress a smile that could be used as a flashlight. She blushes (why?) and tells him thank you and that it was no big deal and how he didn't have to do that (you know, risk damaging his image).
And here I am standing watching all of this happen.
As Mike gets up to go back to his seat, I walk over to the booth, feeling the eyes of that waitress on the back of my head. Yep, I was here to stay.
I slide into the booth and feel even more eyes on me. It's a long 5 seconds before someone says something.
"Well, that was quite a dive," Tim joked. Mike gives another flashlight-smile, laughing along with Tim. I remember those two from when I was younger. They've had this inseperable bond, like they were brothers. Always throwing each other under the bus, but laughing it off the next day.
"You know how important food is to me, Tim. Can't let it just fall to the floor like that," Mike says, drifting into a whole conversation with Tim. I drone the convo out and find myself catching up with Cabbie and Ellison, while Wes and Denny talk about... well...cars or something along those lines of "guy topics."
"So," Elli starts, "You don't have to like, go through your life story, but I've kinda missed all of it, Ren, so try to catch me up here."
I laugh. Ellison DeLaury was your typical blonde. Rich, pretty, and knows exactly how to get what she wants. She was the one who helped persuade my ever-stubborn Dad to get me a puppy for my birthday. And if she could break through my Dad's tough outer shell, she could break through anything.
"Honestly," I start, "Not much. I miss it here, though. I can't believe all of you guys stayed here and hung out for 7 years. I must be the one who needs to catch up!"
|Lily Collins||as Reena Heartland|
|Alexander Ludwig||as Mike Kennedy|
|Hailee Steinfeld||as Cabbie Monroe|
|Callan McAuliffe||as Tim Flanagan|
|Becky Rosso||as Ellison DeLaury|
|Josh Hutcherson||as Wes Burrow|
|Drew Roy||as Denny Avengale|