There was something different about the wind today. Softer and quieter, with a hint of warmth. Nick took a deep breath of the fresh air and smiled. Somehow it reminded him of Scarlet, which he had yet to figure out about. His mind flashed back to last Friday when he saw James and Scarlet sitting under the tree, kissing.
The sight of Scarlet's hand resting on James's neck, their fingers intertwined his arm around her tiny waist and their lips pressed together made him felt awfully uncomfortable. He actually felt his face turning hot as if someone set it on fire; the hotness crawled up from his back, to his neck, and spread out to his body.
He sighed. Why would Scarlet do such a thing?
But again, why wouldn't she? It wasn't like she belongs to Nick. She was allowed to date and like boys, the way Nick's with Noelle now. He didn't even have a right to say anything but pretend he was okay with it. It shouldn't even bother him --- he wasn't single anymore, either.
Then why was it bothering him? He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration, closing his eyes. He wanted to figure out everything. His feelings, and all the reasons hidden behind them. But somehow he had a feeling that he actually did, but he didn't want to admit it.
He didn't want to admit to the horribly ridiculous truth that he might just had a thing for Scarlet. Physically or mentally. For someone who was supposed to be his little sister. What was wrong with him anyway?
He groaned loudly and kicked the wall hard, hurting his toes. He yelped in pain and held his toes, jumping a little with one leg. His heart skipped a beat when someone tapped him on the shoulders and whirled around. But he didn't have to look --- he could tell it was her, judging by the familiar way she touched his shoulders, tapping twice lightly on them every time she approached him. What really bugged him was how did she know he'd be here, alone.
As if she'd read his mind, she smiled, "You looked sort of... weird today." She explained, sitting down against the white wall. It was tinted with a layer of gray, with all these graffiti drawn by the seniors from the past few years on it. "Like your mind is in outer space or something." She finished and set her bag down, tugging on her hair.
"Are you .... Thinking about something?" Scarlet raised her eyebrow curiously and looked at Nick, a bit half expectantly. “Is there something bothering you?" She asked again, a little eager this time as if she was testing him.
But Nick wasn't listening. His glance was fixed on Scarlet's brown hair, frowning a little, the way he does when he was thinking. Scarlet shifted uncomfortably under his gaze and waved her hand in front of his eyes. "Nick? You okay?" She asked, looking a little concerned.
"You looked.... different." Nick finally said, after scanning her from head to toe. Scarlet's long brown hair was cut off to a medium length that was few inches past the shoulders, and she actually had bangs. They fell and hung across her brown eyes ---- something was different about her eyes. Browner, brighter and... That was when Nick realized, she was wearing makeup.
"What happened?" Nick asked, shocked when he saw the pair of heels she was wearing. The straps wrapped around her slim ankles beautifully, but they looked uncomfortable. How was she supposed to walk in these stuff? He thought, and then suddenly remembered where he'd seen them. On Noelle. On every other girls but Scarlet.
Scarlet stopped tugging on her bangs, her face dropped. She looked at Nick worriedly. "I did something. You don't like them..?" She said, and hesitated as if there were something she was going to say. But she looked away, focusing her gaze on her manicured nails. French manicure.
What is coming to the world? Nick thought. "Why are you wearing high heels? Can you even walk in them?" Nick asked, concerned. Scarlet can't even run properly in sneakers, how was she supposed to walk in high heels for the whole day? It was ridiculous. He couldn't believe the girl who was sitting right in front of him ---- this was hardly the Scarlet he knew. For a start, Scarlet Brennan, never ever, wear high heels in her entire life.
He probably meant well, but Scarlet turned red. A red glow crept up to her cheeks as she looked at Nick with a mixed expression on her face. It was a mixture of frustration, confusion, anger and sadness. It faded quickly into her usual angry expression that she put on whenever Nick argues with her and stood up. "I can walk alright." She mumbled and bent down to take her bag, but stumbled when she almost tripped on Nick's legs.
Nick caught her in time as usual. For a second they stayed that way, nobody moves, nobody says anything. The warm wind blew on the leaves, making the soft sounds as they rubbed against each other. Scarlet leaned quietly in his arms with her palms pushed against his chest, and Nick gripped her arms tightly.
There was a dead silence between them where all they could hear is their own heartbeats. Scarlet finally pulled away from Nick, turning around to grab her bag. Nick stood there and watched quietly as she picked it up and left, without saying anything.
Then guilt consumed his heart, building up inside him so quickly, but he had no idea why.