Scarlet was sitting in the backyard of Andersons'--- more like a abandoned one with grasses and random flowers growing waywardly in every single corner they can get to. The walls, the fences, the corners. She liked it better than her own garden though --- perfectly maintained and planned by her mother, every single flower and plants were in place, neatly divided into section according to their species.
She closed her eyes and felt the evening breeze lifting her strands slightly off of her shoulders and leaned backward on the fence. She took in a deep breath and smiled --- she likes the smell of dry grass, it was almost like you could smell the sunshine.
Scarlet jumped when someone blew into her ears. She almost screamed when she saw it was Nick, then the shock quickly transformed into anger and annoyance. "God Nick," she rolled her eyes and said, "What are you, Caspian? You gave me a heart attack." She put her hand on her chest and glared at his smirk.
Nick sat down on the bench across her and asked, "So what are you doing in my backyard, Scarlet Brennan?" Scarlet shrugged. She just liked it better here. Nick's house is crowded all the time, with his little siblings and all. Scarlet's wasn’t. It was quiet, and she spent most of her time home alone. Even on a Saturday like this.
She thought of what James had asked her the other day --- to be his date to prom. Boy, was she surprised --- it was the first date she'd ever gotten in her life. If she said yes, that is. The thing was, she didn't. Yet.
Somehow she felt the need to tell Nick. But he was her best friend, after all. "Nick," Scarlet began, "About prom....." But Nick wasn't listening. He was gazing at something --- nothing particular anyway. His stares were blank, as if he was thinking. But there was a faraway look in his eyes.
"Nick?" Scarlet asked and reached out to shake him slightly. He snapped back into senses and looked at Scarlet with an odd look on his face, but she was too distracted to notice. She continued, "About prom… I have something to…"
"Scar? I got something to tell you too, "Nick interrupted, "About that.."
"Yeah?" Scarlet stiffened, and raised her eyebrow. "What about that?"
Nick bit his lip, "I don't know how to tell you this actually, but…" he mumbled, he looked uneasy while he said that. "I'm going out with Noelle."
For a second Scarlet's mind was blank. Millions of thoughts raced through her mind, the way Noelle looked at Nick, and the way he smiled at her. How she held onto his arms and put her hand on his shoulders. The shoulders Scarlet slept on, she was sorry to point out. A wave of ....feelings that she can't explain washed over her like flood, and she suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe.
There was a long, dead silence between them. The wind blew and the leaves produced soft sounds as they rubbed against each other. And finally, Nick spoke.
"Scar, you okay?" He asked. She looked up and saw his face --- he looked genuinely confused by her reactions. But so was her. What was wrong with her anyway?
"I'm fine." She lied. Because she suddenly felt like throwing up, the way she does when she's nervous. She stood up quickly to think of a chance to excuse herself ---- she needed to get out of here, before she explodes, or something. But Nick grabbed her arms --- which made her heart skipped a beat. She took a deep breath before turning around and managed a smile.
"Yeah?" She asked, in the most normal tone that she could manage. She really needed to go. Get out of here. Out of his sight. Alone.
"Where are you going?" Nick asked, sounding worried. They both knew Scarlet wasn't a good actress--- she probably looked like her pet just died, or something. But Scarlet managed to let out a stiff laugh. "Home. I'm feeling sleepy. I'll call you." She made up an excuse and turning to leave, but Nick still had his arm on hers.
"What was it that you wanted to ask me?" Nick continued, not letting go. Scarlet smiled, "I'll tell you some other time. See you later, okay?" She said, emphasizing the sentence with a firm look on her face, and slowly, Nick let go of her hands.
Her phone buzzed just when she was about to leave. She opened her cell phone and saw a message. From James. She paused for a while and stared blankly at the screen, unsure of what to do all of a sudden.
"Who was that?" Nick asked, looking at her in the eyes. He still looked worried. God, couldn't he just let go of it? She thought.
"Mom." She lied again. She didn’t feel like explaining anything to Nick now, she just wanted to get home. Or just... somewhere else. Immediately.
She opened the message and saw a short sentence from James: BE MY DATE 2 PROM? She bit her lips and Nick's voice suddenly appeared out of nowhere, reminding her..
I'm going out with Noelle.
And that was all it took for her to say yes. She pressed "send" and headed out, without looking back.