The bus ride was complicated, complicated in the sense that it was awkward figuring out seating. I sure as hell didn’t want to sit next to Beatrice, and she sure as hell didn’t want to sit next to me. But I was put at a disadvantage, because I didn’t want to be clamouring for Jacoby—he was Jacoby for crying out loud, and, well, it made my skin prickle to think about him in any way other than the arrogant little blighter I knew since childhood. So Beatrice, who I thereby dubbed “le evil witch” pounced on the opportunity with all her Cat Woman stealth, and snagged the seat next to him, leaving me steaming with the baggage.
“We can take turns later, if you want,” she said, fluttering her eyelashes at me.
“Do that some more, you old hag,” I muttered as I shoved aside my sleeping bag, “and I’ll rip every single one of them out.”
What made it worse was that I couldn’t take those little jabs as jokes, which they were, ultimately. It was like she knew exactly where she was hitting me when she said them. I didn’t want to look…territorial over Jacoby. He was by no means mine, and I had no right to stake my claim on him, but how could I respond to Beatrice? Any reply I could come up with in the limited on-the-spot time would either make me look needy, jealous, bitter, or varying combinations of the three.
Being the super-smooth person I was, I handled the situation how I handled any other awkward situation: I turned red in the face, spluttered out something unintelligible, and crossed my arms. The window was now my new best friend.
While Beatrice and Jacoby tittered on about—from what I could gather from earwigging—meaningless things, I sketched out and perfected master plans on how to annihilate Beatrice.
The first hour of the ride passed enjoyably for me. I’d gotten creative in my conniving plans.
Just as I figured out a way around the possible lawsuit that could be filed against me, I heard a rustle to my left and turned, only to narrowly miss smooshing my face into Jacoby’s chest.
I heard a familiar high-pitched giggling, and felt my mood rise a little at the sight of Jacoby’s pansies. I hadn’t seen them in a while.
I could’ve done without his explanation. Been happier, even. It made me wonder if he was sitting next to me just because she’d zonked out. Nonetheless, I wasn’t really in any place to be angry with him.
“Yeah, real nice when she claws at you like a cat.” The heavy set of his brow lightened and he stared at me until I looked up at him. “Cat Woman, indeed,” he said.
I gave him a millisecond smile before stuffing my headphones into my ears. If I stared out the window, with raindrops drizzling down its dirty panes, I could pretend like I was in a tragic music video.
Let’s get down to business,
To defeat…the Huns.
Did they send me daughters
When I asked for sons?
I huffed. Not with that kind of music.
I turned down the volume, hoping Jacoby hadn’t heard and wouldn’t take note of my flaming red face.