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A Street in Silence, Alternate Ending
I’m sitting around in black sweatpants and my brother’s undershirt. The computer screen is bright to my tired eyes, and snow is falling softly outside the window. Its 9 am, and I haven’t gotten dressed yet. My phone vibrates.
‘Come outside’ a text from Chandler says. He lives a few streets away. Why is he here? It’s snowing.
‘its snowing.’ I reply.
‘Christian left me somethin 4 u’
‘coming’ I run and grab a light jacket, I figure I’ll only be out there a minute or 2. I don’t even put on shoes, just run out barefoot.
“What is it?” I ask, standing out, just off my front porch. Chandler’s standing at the top of the driveway, staring at me and smiling. “What?”
“For God’s sake Stephanie, just turn around!” I look back at my house, confused. Christian’s standing there, lounging against the wall.
“Christian!” I shriek, then run back to the door and give him a huge hug. He picks me up and spins me around, then, laughing, puts me back down.
“When…? I thought you were leaving today!”
“But you said…”
“Surprise!” He said, grinning at me. I start laughing. Then I start shivering. It’s only 11 degrees out. He looks at me.
“Want to come in? My parent’s won’t care.”
“Sure. I’ll walk back over to your house after, Chandler.”
“K. See ya later.”
We go inside, and I sigh contentedly as warm air envelopes me. Mom and Dad are sitting in the living room, watching football.
“Hey Mom, Dad, this is Christian!”
“Christian?” Dad asks.
“Remember? My best friend who moved to Phoenix this summer? Haven’t seen him since Sam’s party?”
“Well, we’ve never seen him. Nice to meet you, Christian.” Dad says, shaking his hand.
“Where’s Nick?” I ask.
“Christian and I are going upstairs. I’m going to shower, then we’re going to hang out. And I know the rules. We have to have a chaperone in if we’re upstairs.”
“Correct. Nick!” Mom yelled, and Nick came running upstairs. He’s 10, and a good chaperone. He’ll just sit there playing gameboy.
The three of us walked upstairs. I walked in the bathroom, and after I jumped in the shower, Christian came in and sat on the counter. The door was open, but the curtain closed, so I had my privacy and we could talk.
“So why are you still here? I’m glad you are, but I’m curious as to why.” I yelled over the running water, washing my hair.
“I’m not actually leaving until after New Years. I just said I was leaving today so I could surprise you.”
I stuck my head out of the shower, keeping the rest of my body covered. “That’s not for another 2 and half weeks!”
“I know.” He said grinning.
I kept showering, and then shut of the water. “Throw me a towel.” I said, and Christian did. I covered myself up, then stepped out. “Out. So I can get dressed.” He laughed, and left. I quickly dressed, then opened the door.
“So-“ Christian started, but I stopped him.
“Let me dry my hair real quick.” He sighed, but motioned for me to continue. I brushed it, then turned on the blow dryer, and mostly dried my hair.
“Come on, let’s go to my room.” We walked down the hall, and stopped in front of my door. “It’s a mess” I warned him. And then we walked in. He stood in my doorway, just staring at the mass of books everywhere. I laughed and sat on my bed.
“Where did you think I got the imagination fuel?” I asked. He always said I had a huge imagination. He shook his head, grinning, and sat next to me.
“So-“ he tried again, but I interrupted again.
“Wait. If we’re going to talk, we got to do this right.” I flipped upside down, and with my head hanging off the bed, and my feet on the wall, motioned him to do the same. He laughed, and obeyed.
“Now can I continue?” he asked patiently.
“Yes. You may.” I said, laughing.
“First of all, your face is really red.”
I laughed. “It’s the blood pouring to my head.”
“I know. It’s cute.” He said, and I grinned. “Anyway, how are you?”
“Confused. Just like always.”
“So nothing new?”
“Ehhh… you were right about Cam. Guess he did like me.” I told him, lowering my voice to a whisper, so Nick wouldn’t hear.
“Ooooo. How’d you find out?” Christian asked, his face slowly getting redder. I swung up, back to normal position, and he followed me. We sat facing each other, cross legged.
“He told me when Jordan and I started dating.” I rolled my eyes. “He thought I’d dump Jordan for him, like I did with Drew.” I cracked my fingers, then my knuckles. Christian brushed my hair out of my face.
“I warned you about him.”
“I know you did.” I said, still cracking my fingers. He grabbed my hands to stop me, and just held onto them. “I was stupid.”
“No, you just have poor judgment.” He said, laughing slightly.
“Whatever.” I said, stretching out on my bed. I placed my feet on top of my pillows, and my head as where my feet normally are. Christian stretched out beside me, and put his arm around my shoulders. I rested my head on his shoulder, and sighed.
“Did you say that you and Jordan started dating?” he asked.
“Wow. A month ago?”
“To the day.”
“When did that end?”
“Hasn’t yet.” I said, and Christian met my eyes.
“Does it surprise you that much?”
“Well… I just figured he’d use you then ditch you. No offense.”
“None taken. I thought the same thing.”
“Well, no matter what the other guys do or say, I’ll always love you, Steph.” He said, and gave my shoulder a squeeze.
“Same here.” I said, smiling. We just lay there for a while, each absorbed in our own thoughts. “What time is it?” I asked, after maybe 30 minutes.
“11:11” he said, laughing.
“Make a wish!” I said, and we just stared into each other’s eyes and wished. “I wish…” I started to say out loud, but then stopped when my phone vibrated under me.
‘on my way.’ A text from Jordan said.
“S***!” I gasped, then texted back ‘see ya in a few :D’
“What?” said Christian.
“Jordan’s on his way over here.”
“We were going to hang out all day today!”
“Cause we’ve been going out for a month today, and we were both free. I made the plans when I thought you were leaving today!”
“Oh. Well, cancel.”
“I can’t do that! I’m so sorry Christian! Can we hang out later? You could come over again later! In the meantime, out in the hall. I got to change.”
“Yeah… I’ll do that.”
“Don’t leave!” I ordered, closing the door. I quickly changed into my favorite jeans, and a turquoise tank top with a black v neck t-shirt over it. Then I let Christian back in, and started putting on make up.
“Don’t put on that. You don’t need it.” Christian said, but I just rolled my eyes. I put on the minimal, eyeliner only on the inner lids, mascara, and lip gloss. I started to put my hair up, but Christian stopped me. “Leave it down.” This time, I listened.
“Throw me my black boots?” I asked, and Christian dug through my closet and found my snow boots. I only threw on two light jackets.
“You’re going to be cold.”
“No I won’t.”
Christian just rolled his eyes, and I looked out the window. Jordan’s dad was pulling up in the driveway.
“Where’s my phone?” I asked, and Christian handed it to me silently, then followed me as I raced downstairs. I even beat Dad to the door.
“Hey Jordan!” I said, grinning.
“Hey Stephanie. Hey Mr. Gladbach.” Jordan said, giving me a hug.
“Dad, Jordan and I are going to walk Christian back over to his cousin’s house. Then we’re going to go for a walk. We’ll be back before 1.” I said quickly, then pulled Christian out the door with Jordan and me.
“Jordan, this is Christian. He went to St Peters last year, but moved to Phoenix, Arizona this summer. He’s visiting his family for Christmas. Christian, you know Jordan.” I said.
“Yeah, I remember him.” They said in unison. Jordan reached for my hand, and we walked in silence down the driveway together. Actually, we spent the whole walk to Chandler’s house in complete silence. Jordan put his arm around my shoulders as soon as were out of seeing distance of my house, and I put my arm around his waist in turn. We stopped at the edge of Chandler’s driveway.
“So I guess I’ll see you later?” Christian asked.
“Definitely.” I said, and I stepped out of Jordan’s arm to give Christian a hug, and he surprised me by kissing me on the cheek.
“Love you, Steph.” He said, then walked inside Chandler’s house. S***, I thought.
“What was that?” Jordan demanded. I sighed, and stepped back under his arm. We walked to the end of the street, then Jordan spun me around to face him.
“You know how I’m always telling Blake I love him? It’s like that. Christian’s like my best friend in the whole world.” I explained.
“Yeah, but you say Blake’s your brother. Is Christian your brother too?”
“Well, no… he’s my best friend.”
“Uh huh. And what were you guys doing upstairs before I came over?”
“In your bedroom?”
“Yes. But it wasn’t THAT kind of talking… Jeez.”
“Okay. Good.” Jordan said, and we continued walking. We walked around my neighborhood, not really talking, just taking in being around each other. We stopped in my backyard, and stood in the snow, just holding each other. It was just a prolonged hug, really. I started shivering again.
“Cold?” Jordan asked.
“Not really.” I was actually freezing my a** off.
“Liar.” He said, grinning at me. He unzipped his jacket, and I stepped back into his arms, this time wrapping my arms around his torso under his jacket. “Jeez Stephanie, you’re frozen solid!” I laughed, and he hugged me tight. I looked up at him, and he was staring down into my eyes. The air around us seemed thick.
“What time is it?” I asked, trying to thin the air.
“I don’t know.” He replied.
“Where’s your phone?”
“Front left pocket of my jeans.” He said, and I reached into his pocket, and grabbed his phone.
“Only noon. We have another hour before my dad will want us back inside.”
“What do you want to do in that hour?” Jordan said provocatively. I rolled my eyes, and then grabbed his hand and headed out of my backyard.
“Where are we going?” he asked as I led him up the street.
“The park.” And this time, he rolled his eyes.
“I basically grew up there!”
“Yeah, I know about the kind of growing up you were doing there.” He said, rolling his eyes again. I elbowed him.
We walked past Sam’s house, my neighbor. She (of course) saw me walking with Jordan and came outside to tease me.
“Hi Jordan! Hi Stephanie! What are you doing?”
“Going up to the park,” I said, and before she continued, “Christian’s in town.”
“Really? You’ve seen him?”
“Yep. I hung out with him this morning. He’s staying over at Chandler’s. You should go and say hi.”
“Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.” She said, and went back inside, like I knew she would. She’d either go put on a coat and race over to Chandler’s as soon as I was out of sight, or she’d go inside and ignore his existence. You could never know with her.
Jordan and I spent the rest of the afternoon, well past 3, up at the park, walking around. We walked on the frozen creek, and tried not to fall on our butts. When Dad called me at 3:30, we took our time getting home.
When we passed Sam’s house, Chandler, Christian and Sam were standing out front, talking, and they waved me over when they saw us.
“What’s up?” I said, walking over with Jordan’s arm still around me.
“We were just going to go watch a movie inside. Want to come?” Sam asked us.
“Love to, but can’t. Dad’s freaking out because we were supposed to be back at one.”
“Why weren’t you?” Sam asked, with her wide eyed fake innocence.
“We were at the park, walking around the creek.” I said, nonchalantly. Sam and Christian’s eyes widened. They both knew what had happened last year when I went walking around the creek with a boy. I rolled my eyes and picked up some snow and threw it at both of them.
“Well, lets just all go up to your house then. We can watch a movie there.” Christian suggested.
“My dad might not go for it.” I warned them, even as we all walked up the street. Right in front of my house, Chandler’s phone rang and he had to go home.
“Catch you guys later,” he said, walking away.
“Stephanie!” Dad said as soon as I walked in the door.
“Hey Dad, can we all go downstairs and watch a movie?” I said, pleading.
He looked at Sam, and Christian. And then he looked at my hand, still in Jordan’s. He gave me that little face, the one that always means ‘I-know-what-you’re-doing-and-you-better-be-good’, and then nodded his consent. The four of us walked downstairs.
“We should watch something Christmas-y!” Sam said.
“How about a Nightmare Before Christmas?” I suggested, and Sam rolled her eyes.
“Never seen it,” Jordan and Christian both said.
“Then it’s settled. We’re watching my favorite Christmas movie!” and they all laughed at my grin. I put the movie in, and we sat on the floor, rather than the couch. Jordan sat on the end, then me, then Christian on my other side. Sam looked at us for a moment.
“I’ll sit on the couch to supervise.” Sam said, most likely just to avoid sitting on the colder floor.
“I’ll try not to sing along. But it’ll be difficult.” I warned them all.
“How many times have you seen this?” Christian asked, trying not to crack a smile.
“How many times have you seen Star Wars?” I replied.
“Too many to count.”
“Well there you have your answer.” I said, grinning at him. Jordan’s hand tightened slightly on my shoulder, and I looked at him. Jealousy was written clearly across his face, and I sighed. I leaned my head against his shoulder, and just watched the movie.
Christian caught me mouthing the words a few times, and elbowed me every time. Sam heard me whispering the words once, and flicked me. Jordan heard and saw it all, and his face remained stony. When Christian and Sam were both engrossed in the movie, I turned my face up to Jordan, and saw him staring ahead, pretending to watch the movie. I reached up and tapped his nose.
“What?” he whispered, audible.
“Look at me.” I demanded, equally quiet. He did. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” He said, and looked away.
“Liar.” I responded, letting a bit of acid leak into my voice.
“What?” he asked, and I just shook my head. He stared at me, and I stared back. Then slowly, he bent his head down a little, and kissed me. We sat there kissing for a minute, completely oblivious to Sam and Christian.
“Get a room!” Sam said, laughing, as she flicked the back of my head.
“Fine,” I said, standing up. “There’s one right around that corner. Let’s go.” Jordan started to stand up, grinning, and Christian’s eyes widened a lot.
“Seriously?” Jordan asked me.
“Nahhh.” I said, laughing. I sat back down next to Christian. “I just wanted to see their faces.” I pulled Jordan back down next to me.
“Damn.” Jordan whispered, and I elbowed him, laughing.
As the movie was ending, with Sally and Jack walking through the snow, Jordan’s phone started ringing.
“Hello?” Jordan said, and I gave him a quizzical look. “Really? Do I have to?” he paused. “Fine. I’m coming. Bye.” He clicked off the call. “My dad. I got to go.” He stood up, and I stood up with him.
“You have to?” I said sadly.
“Yep.” He said, walking toward the stairs. “Bye.” Then he bent down to kiss me. I assume it was supposed to be a quick kiss, since his dad was apparently here, but it didn’t really end until Christian cleared his throat.
“Really Stephanie?” Sam said, trying not to laugh at me.
“I can still make you blush.” Jordan said triumphantly, touching my cheek.
“Damn. I have really got to learn to control that.” I said, absentmindedly touching my cheek too. Jordan kissed me once again, quickly, then went upstairs.
“Bye!” he said, and I heard the front door open and close.
Sam looked at her phone, and then said, without looking at me or Christian, “Doug wants me home. I’ll see you guys later.” And she too left.
“Well this is awkward.” I said into the silence that followed. Christian laughed and agreed “Very.”
“Jordan didn’t look very happy,” Christian commented.
“Because he wasn’t. Were you trying to make him jealous?”
“Possibly.” Christian said, but his smirk gave it away. I smacked him. “What?” He asked, posing for innocence.
“Stop smirking.” I said, sticking my tongue out.
“Stop blushing,” He replied, his smirk getting more pronounced.
“I can’t help it!” I said, angrily, and threw myself face down, on the couch. He sighed, and just stared at me for a second.
“If you don’t stop the temper tantrum, I shall sit on you.”
“You wouldn’t!” I turned my head to reply. So he sat on my legs. I tried to shake him off, but he stayed resolute. “Fine! Get off!”
“Your temper tantrum is over?” he asked, staying on me.
“And you will act pleasant and polite?”
“Can’t promise polite.” I said scathingly. He laughed.
“There’s the Stephanie I know and love.” He said, standing up. He moved my legs off the couch, and I was so surprised, I fell off. He stood over me and just kept laughing.
“Ow….” I said, more out of surprise than pain. Christian could not stop laughing at me. He fell onto the couching, laughing breathlessly at me. I stuck out my tongue again and waited for him to stop. When he finally did, I asked “Done?” And he just started laughing all over again.
So I did what I always do. I poked him until he stopped.
“Was the poking really necessary?” he asked, still grinning.
“Yes.” I said, sticking out my tongue again. I was standing next in front of him, sitting on the couch. He grabbed my hand and pulled me down next to him.
“Oh calm down, I’m just teasing you.”
“You’re just being a turd face,” I replied, grinning. We sat there grinning at each other for a few minutes. “Why did you try and make Jordan jealous?”
“Because he needed to know that he doesn’t own you. Anyone could steal you from him.” Christian said, meeting my eyes.
“Oh, anyone? Like who?” I asked, trying to lighten the mood.
“Me.” He replied, and then, keeping eye contact, leaned forward and kissed me. When our mouths met, our eyes closed, and as he had told me over the summer, tongue was clearly his forte. After a few extremely long minutes, we broke apart.
“S***.” I said.
“What?” Christian replied, his eyes bright.
“This will NOT be fun to explain!” I said.
“Who says you have to explain?” He replied, smirking again. I started to come up with a sarcastic comment, but he just kissed me again, and all thought flew from my mind. After another long moment, we pulled apart again.
“Oh I am sooooo dead…”