When Hearts Turn
Author's note: I just thought it would be cool to write about something like this. I find hypocrisy hilarious... Show full author's note »
Not A Friend“Hey, man.”
Ben looked up and smiled. “Sup, Landon?”
Landon slid into the seat next to Ben, which happened to be diagonal from me and shrugged. “Getting ready for a nap.”
Ben laughed at his joke.
Oh, ha-ha, so funny; you find history class boring! I rolled my eyes, but Landon caught it and threw me a wink without Ben noticing.
I was about to tell Ben about but then decided against it. How lame would it be to whine to
“So, Landon,” I said loudly, gaining Ben’s attention as he finished last minute homework, “I hear you and Anna are going out tomorrow night. Is that right?”
Ben shot a curious look at me before focusing his eyes on Landon, waiting for an answer.
Landon’s light eyebrows drew together, but he was still wearing an adorable smile on his face as he tilted his head slightly. “Um, yeah…we’re going to see that new horror movie.”
I rolled my eyes. “Original.”
A horror movie? Could Landon get any more cliché? Could guys just get over that phase where they figured taking a girl to a scary movie would get them one step closer to cuddly and ‘the move’ move them ahead in their relationship. Even Ben had used that ploy on me on our third date, and I guess, yeah, his arm around me was a great feeling that made me like being around him a little more, but honestly, it was getting just a little old.
“Skylar, what’s your point?” Ben asked me, trying to save his friend. Apparently, according to Ben, when I strongly disliked a person, that person’s life got a whole lot more stressful.
“Don’t you remember that on Friday nights Anna and I come over and watch comedies until midnight?” I asked him, pointedly glaring at Landon as I switched between disbelief that Ben hardly cared.
“I thought you two were in a fight,” Ben shrugged.
Landon couldn’t smother in his laugh in a cough expertly enough for both Ben and I to miss.
Ben raised an eyebrow at him, and he stopped. When Ben turned my way again, Landon smirked at me. “I’m pretty sure we can all share Anna.”
I fixed my glared on him. How dare he try to humour the situation!
“So I can have the privilege of taking Anna out?” Landon teased me with twinkling eyes.
Ben grinned. “Of course.” My eyes boring through seemed to have no effect on him when he looked at me, because he kept smiling his dimple-less grin. “Right, Skylar?”
I looked at Ben, glanced at Landon, saw that my plan had failed, and rolled my eyes. For now.
Landon spotted Carter saunter into class with a redhead hanging onto his arm and headed over for an interesting conversation about their flavours of the week.
Ben leaned toward me. “Can’t you give Landon a chance?”
“He took our annual movie date!”
Ben stroked the bottom of my chin and smiled. “We can go out for a movie that night – a comedy. We can stay out until midnight.”
Normally, I would’ve said yes, but for the lack of backup from him, the tease in his voice, the joke in his eyes, and his thoughts of Landon taking our Anna away was fine, I declined.
“Nah,” I said, looking away from him. “Too much homework.”
When I got home that day, the first thing I did was grab an apple from the refrigerator and ate it on my way up the stairs to my room. I always grabbed an apple when I wanted to think things over.
I flopped on my bed and images of Anna and Landon appeared on my ceiling.
If Ben is talking this so lightly, shouldn’t you be too? I thought to myself. You know Ben is a great guy – he would be worried if there was a huge problem he sensed.
But then what was my problem? I was so fixed on the thoughts that Landon was wrong for Anna, and I had no real reason. The fact that he could hurt her like all the other girls he dated was hardly anything according to Ben and Anna. She was a big girl, right? And it seemed like Landon did like her…
I was trying to figure out if I should have been convincing myself to disagree with my old thoughts, or cross out my new ones.
Just give him a chance! If he messes up, try one more warning. If that doesn’t work, let fate plan itself out.
“Skylar!” my mom called from downstairs a few minutes before seven o’clock, a time when we would usually have dinner.
“Yeah, mom?” I answered, lifting my head from the pillows.
“Could you go run some errands for me at the grocery store?” she asked me. “I need some things for dinner tonight.”
“Sure thing!” I called. Anything to get my mind off my/Anna’s problems was well appreciated.
I slipped on my comfortable sneakers because I had to take a twenty minute walk to get to Sobey’s. As I looked over my mom’s list of tasty things, my stomach grumbled because it felt my apple was nothing useful. I picked up the pace to get dinner on the move.
I felt the cool air conditioning of the store and heard the faint radio music as I stepped inside and headed straight to the aisle where they had frozen vegetables. As soon as I gathered all the things I needed, I headed to the check-outs. I went the express lane, where there were only two people ahead of me and waited silently.
Unfortunately, a creepy voice and cool touch caused me to jump. “Hey there, Skylar…”
I recognized the onion breath of Mr. Rankle, a man who I used to work for a few weeks ago. He’d hired me to work in his garden this summer because of his back problems, but I found out that there was only a problem with his eyes, because he used binoculars every day to watch me water the plants and hunched under a bush at the end of each week to watch me stoop over and dig out weeds. There is nothing creepier than a fifty-year-old man getting aroused by me sweating as I tugged violently at sharp needles. Over all that – before I figured out his issues – he’d invite me for lemonade at the end of each day and watch me drink slowly when I thought he was watching TV in the other room.
“I think I’ll need you to help with the leaves on my yard,” he said softly, his hands resting on my shoulders. “I could pay you double.”
I slid out of his grip and brushed oldie off my shoulders in disgust. “Never!” I briskly walked to the end of a regular line up that held six more people in front of me. It didn’t matter. I’d rather wait longer than be some old guy’s play toy.
I shivered at the look Mr. Rankle was giving me, sizing me up in that creepy way again. Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up… I willed the line to move faster. After another glance at Mr. Rankle’s twisted grin, I decided to focus someplace else. Looking outside, I couldn’t see the raindrops, but I did see people pulling up their hoods, and the tiny kids being wrapped in sweaters as they tried to dance. Great – rain was just what I needed on a walk home with hands full of groceries.
Seeing the lady ahead of me pay with a smile and leave, I pushed my mom’s things up to get scanned.
“Why is the sky so blue?”
I frowned as I fished around in my wallet, but the comment made sense as soon as I looked up into dazzling green eyes that twinkled mischievously.
“What are you doing here, Landon?” I asked him tiredly.
“Get it? Sky? Skylar? Blue? See what I did there?” He grinned because he knew he was pushing my buttons. “I work here, ma’am,” he said with a grin. He flicked off his check-out light to show that his lane was closed and pushed the sign to the end of the moving carpet counter. “How else would I buy goodies for my ladies?”
I rolled my eyes. “Pig.”
“Really?” Landon said. “If you were my girlfriend, you wouldn’t want me to buy you things?”
“Don’t even go there, Landon.”
He laughed his hearty laugh that made a wonderful sound. His smile made me want to punch him out. “Cash or credit?”
I gave him exactly that and he pouted slightly as he packed my plastic bags. “No tip?”
“Wait a second,” Landon called after me as I began walking away. I don’t know why, but I stopped and waited for him. “About me taking Anna away from your Friday night movie thing –”
“Don’t wanna talk about that,” I said dismissively, turning on my heel. Landon’s hand was on my arm in a second and he held me back sturdily, but with a light grip. “What?”
Landon gave me a look. “C’mon, Skylar; we both know that you couldn’t care less that she missed it. She’s mad at you isn’t she? The only reason why you’re so ticked off is because she’d spending that time with me, right? And you also got into that fight because of me?”
I sighed impatiently. “Landon, you’re psychic. We both realize that you are the source of all problems. Can I go now?”
His hand was still around my arm, but it felt soothingly warm with a gentle squeeze that was as comforting as Ben’s. Possibly more… At the thought, I whipped my hand away.
“Lemme at least give you a ride,” Landon offered, pocketing his hands. “You don’t want to walk home in the rain do you?”
“How do you know I didn’t drive?” I asked him, narrowing my eyes.
Landon shrugged. “I saw you from the window when you were at the streetlight.”
That wasn’t weird at all.
I shook my head. “I’m fine. It’s just rain.”
Landon shook his head, mocking me slightly. “Not when it’s getting darker. And not when there are guys like him out there.” He nodded over and I locked eyes with Mr. Rankle. I felt myself shudder. Landon caught it because smiled. “Whad’ya say?”
“Thank you,” I said curtly.
I waited for him to put his stuff away, tell his boss he was ducking out, and grab his keys. Together we walked out of the store with Landon carrying my bags for me. Sure enough, when we strolled out into the parking lot, Mr. Rankle was leaning on the wall with his groceries, obviously waiting fro me. When he caught sight of Landon, and when Landon shot him a look, he moved on.
“You’re welcome, ma’am.”
I just rolled my eyes. I didn’t need him to think any higher of himself just because he could give dirty looks. If anyone could be hot-headed about that, it was me. I was the master at dirty looks, and Landon was my servant that always received them.
Landon opened the passenger seat door for me with a smile and I climbed in silently, waiting for him to close it without a word. Of course he did the exact opposite. “Usually, when I do this for a girl, she blushes and smiles.”
“Then I guess all the girl’s you’ve dated were airheads.”
Landon chuckled as he placed my bags in the backseat. “Anna was one of them.”
I tried not to let the unattractive growl sound outside the depths of my throat.
As we pulled out of the parking lot, Landon started up a conversation. Naturally, it was about something I didn’t like to talk about: him.
“So why do you hate me so much?”
I leaned my head on his window and told him to turn right. “I think – no, I know – you’re a jerk. If you hadn’t noticed, Anna is my best friend, and I don’t want you around her.”
“Because you think – know – I’m a jerk?”
Landon shrugged. “Maybe you’re jealous…”
I looked over at him. “Of?”
“Anna. Who else?”
I completely lifted my head to stare at him. “And why?”
Landon looked over at me and smiled. “Because she has me.”
I smiled too. Landon was insane. He had it fixed in his brain that every girl had to hots for him. What a sleazy little pig full of –
“You’re insane,” I told him. “If you hadn’t noticed, I have a boyfriend. Crazily enough, he’s your friend.”
Landon laughed that laugh again and I rolled my eyes and point left. “Oh, I noticed. Even so, I’d be pretty jealous of Ben too.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Why?”
“Because you’re hot.” Landon shrugged. “Why else?”
“That’s a compliment, sweetheart,” Landon informed me with a smile. “If only you were actually nice to me – wow! Maybe I’d be dating you instead of Anna.”
I closed my eyes slowly, and bit the inside of my cheek to keep myself from screaming. Landon would never rest. Even with his girlfriend’s best friend, he couldn’t control his raging hormones enough to give his pick ups a rest.
“Straight ahead, jerk.”
“Is that my new nickname?”
Breathe, I told myself, just breathe.
“Here it is.” I unbuckled my seat belt and reached over to the backseat to grab my grocery bags. By the time I was facing front again, we were parked in the driveway and Landon was at my door, ready to open it again.
“Again: you’re welcome.”
Wordlessly I stomped up my driveway, and into my house, feeling Landon’s beautiful eyes boring into my back the whole way.
“That was fast,” my mom commented when I dropped her stuff off in the kitchen. “I thought the walk back would take longer…”
“Someone gave me a ride,” I told her, washing my hands and getting ready to help prepare tonight’s late course.
My mom looked stricken. “Not a stranger, I hope!”
“No, Mom, not a stranger.”
I thought of Landon’s face full of himself and jokes and scowled as I furiously shook my head. “No, not a friend.”
You won’t believe what happened today…