03: Overthinking

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My eyes slowly open, only to be met with the bright white glare of my phone screen facing me. I take off my glasses for a bit, rubbing my eyes. I put them back on and I notice that I'm in a FaceTime call with Clementine. She has herself on mute, her headphones are on. She's wearing some type of... black glove that covers her pinkie and ring finger, she's drawing on some tablet looking like thing, glancing back at her camera that was to the side; I'm only able to see the Nikon strap that cuts in frame. She looks so calm, it's actually kind of soothing to see her in a calm state. She glances over at her phone, glances back at her tablet, then immediately does a double-take. She turns her tablet off and turns her camera off from what I can guess. She turns off the mute option, the white microphone disappearing from her half of the call.
"You're awake!" She says happily
I smile, sitting up and adjusting my phone so it's able to see me. "Yeah, did I fall asleep on you?"
She nods, removing the glove from her hand. "I didn't wanna bother, so I just muted."
"You could've ended the call idiot." I teased
Clementine shrugs. "Just wanted to stay just in case you woke up, which you did, so worth the wait."
"That's kind of you."
Clementine slightly blushes, awkwardly chuckling. "I guess."
'She's blushing she's blushing she's blushing? Does this mean she likes me? No, of course not Violet, stop overanalyzing things... this is why you always end up getting hurt.'
"Hey you good there?"
I immediately shoot my face towards the camera, not noticing that I slipped out into my own head. "Yeah, just... just a bit tired."
"You took a 2-hour nap Violet."
"You waited for two hours?" I yell slightly
Clementine nods, I feel bad for falling asleep during the call. I glance up at the top of my phone screen, it reads 7:24 P.M. and for being somewhat late in the day, it's still light outside. I glance back down, only to see Clementine staring straight at me. I say her name, she gets startled a bit, making me laugh.
"Sorry about that Clem."
She rolls her eyes. "Nah don't be, you just look really cute."
That's definitely a wake-up call for me, I feel my eyes widen a bit and I know that I'm blushing the hell out of my mind right now. 'Did Clementine Everett just call me cute?'
"I- uh, i- thanks!" I laugh nervously. "You look pretty cute too!" I utter
Clementine brushes a strand of hair behind her ear. "Wow purple smooth much? And thanks" She teases
"Oh shut up tangerine~" I mock back, internally yelling at myself for being so awkward.
I hear a knock at the door, it's probably my mom. I say goodbye to Clementine and end the call, walking down the ladder to answer the door. I unlock it, having my mom rush in, only to completely ignore me and just pile her office work on top of the papers laid out on the table.
"Sorry, sweetie, uh... how was first day back?" She asks frantically
I narrow my eyes at her, closing the door to prevent any bugs from getting in. "Good? What about yours?"
"You know, usual day, paperwork and all that, dropping your father off at AA."
"How's that going for him?"
She looks up at me and with one glance I could tell what she means. I walk over to the small couch and take a seat. My dad is an alcoholic, well, used to be at least. He's been going sober for a couple of months now, this Saturday would make it 5 months since he's gone sober. I'm proud of him, just hoping that he won't drink for a while. My dad gets really frightening when he's drunk. He would slur obscenities at my mom and I, belittling us to the point where my mom and I just had to leave. He would call us horrible words and just made me feel so worthless every single day. He started drinking ever since I came into the picture... I sometimes blame myself for being the reason. I know it's not my fault, but sometimes that's the only thing that I can only think of. I'm just glad my dad is doing alright right now... I can only hope for it to remain that way.
"What's all this stuff Vi?"
She shuffles all the syllabuses into one pile, looking through them. She reads the title of one and immediately starts putting her signature down on each of the papers. Let me tell you, this women writes really fast. I guess it's because she's always in a rush all of the time. She hands me them back, including the pen and I go and place them back into my backpack.
"So, what's for dinner tonight?"
My mom only focuses on the reports she's working on, only to answer my question with a wave of hand, signaling for me to go away.
"Just, go eat with James again."
I frown, hoping that we would eat like a family or at least just eat together, but of course; work had to take it away from me. I respond quietly and grab my phone off my bed, walking over to James's place. James goes to Ericson's as well, but since he's a senior he gets to leave early. We go together in the morning, but after that, I'm on my own; James is in the drama department. He is a Korean-American teenager, helping out at his dad's food truck along with his boyfriend Charlie. Other than Minerva, James is the only other LGBTQ+ person that I know of and I'm sort of jealous that he has someone. He likes to poke fun at my major crush on Clementine and although he does, he tries to help me deal with my problems. I like to call him my therapist as a joke. I walk up the steps to his trailer, knocking on the screen door. I count for a few seconds, James answers on the 5th second.
"Wow 5 seconds, that's a record for you." I laugh
He smiles. "Good to see you too Violet. Dinner with me again?"
I nod and he leans slightly, grabbing three plates of food. "I figured, I already set a plate up. Come on, Charlie is waiting for us."
We walk over to the little bonfire area that is set up behind James's trailer, it's calming to sit there actually. I take a seat near the fire, grabbing my plate of food from James. I uncover the tinfoil that covered the paper plate and immediately stuff my face with the California Burrito from his dad's food truck; one of my favorite items on the menu.
"Geez Vi, slow down." Charlie remarks
I flip him off, continuing to eat my food. I've known James for my entire life since he's lived in this trailer park for as long as I can remember and Charlie for a couple of years. Charlie is a year older than James, he attends college up North, majoring in computer science. I continue eating, tuning out the conversation that James and Charlie were having.
"Hey Vi." James says
I glance up at him. "Yeah?"
"You ever going to tell Clementine?" 
I shrugged. "I don't wanna ruin our friendship dude."
"You're not going to ruin anything. Clem won't do that." 
"Dude, I don't even know if she's into girls like that. Why would I take the chance even if I already have none..." I bitterly say
James pouts a bit. I sigh. "I'm sorry, I...I didn't mean it to sound so insolent. I'm just scared. There's so many endless possibilities guys. One path she ends up liking me back, but nothing happens and we drift away. In the other, she's disgusted. And in a-...you get what I mean."
"C'mon, even though I don't even know her that well, Clem doesn't seem like the type of person to do that typa thing." Charlie adds
"You gotta tell her one day Violet." 
I pause, looking down at my plate of food. "I know..."

-Time Skip-

You gotta tell her one day, you gotta tell her one day, you gotta tell her one day, you go-
"Cardarelli. Eyes up here please. I know you just came out of ballet and all, but just try to stay with me until the end of class dear."
My eyes dart back towards the teacher. I shuffle in my seat, adjusting my posture and grab a pencil out of my case. "Sorry ma'am."
She nods and continues lecturing everybody about political sides and issues, writing notes for us to copy down on the whiteboard. I look up and down, up and down, until I see Brody trying to catch my eye from the corner of the room. I look over to her, she mouths "are you okay," to me. I nod back at her, continuing to write down the notes with the words of what James sad last night trickling to the front of my mind. How can five words be so difficult to say?


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