The Reason Why (part two)

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The Reason Why (part two)

It had been four days since the start of the fourth marking period. I was counting down the days left because for some reason, I had been feeling really eager to get out this year. I didn’t know why. It wasn’t like I had any plans that summer. Lately, I had just been counting everything though. Everything I could see or hear that is. I had built up some kind of anxious mental clock in my head. I began counting pencils on my desk, missing aglets from my shoelaces, security cameras in the mall- not that I’d been there as of late. That wasn’t it though. I would count things that most people probably wouldn’t notice. Things like how many times someone said the word “listen” or how many cars drove by with loud music playing. Eventually, I resorted to just counting; in my head. I would start at one and just go non- stop throughout the day and count. It was a really weird obsession.

But as I noted mentally, it had also been four days since I’d met Adonis. I didn’t know why it mattered. He was a stranger after all and we met in a freaking ice cream shop. But for some reason I had actually thought he would call. It was after all, a weird afternoon that day. But after those four days, I'd told myself he wasn’t going to call. And I really didn’t care.

It was three in the morning. I had been in a peaceful slumber filled with dreams about the crisp air of the beautiful countryside. Then a shrill noise woke me and caused me startle. I sat up and a paper stuck to my arm. It was a small blue, star shaped sticky note. It had come off of the long page of elegantly scrawled notes I had written for History. I must have fallen asleep in the middle of studying. The noise sounded out again and I realized it was the phone on my bedside table. I looked at my clock. It was three in the morning. The phone rang again and I snatched it up to answer it before it woke someone else up.

“Hello?” I couldn’t help but sound a little rude. It was three in the morning.

“Hi. Is this Jocelyn?” a deep voice asked. Something about it sounded familiar.

“Yes…” I said slowly. “Who is this?” I asked.

“It’s Adonis, silly.” A rumbling laugh. My eyebrows knitted together. Why would he be calling in the middle of the night?

“Hey…what’s up?” I asked. “Is something wrong?” I was willing to help if it was though for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why he would have called me for help.

“Uh…no. It is a bad time or no?” he asked in mixed English. I frowned.

I sat up more and turned to put my back against the headboard. I kicked all my books off the bed and they landed with a loud boom. “Adonis, do you know what time it is?”

“What was that?” he asked.

I answered my own question. “It’s three in the morning. I have never been to Greece, but normal Americans sleep during this part of the day. Unless you’re working a graveyard shift somewhere, that is. My mother does not work the graveyard shift and I myself do not have a job. Therefore we were sleeping like normal Americans. You can’t just call people at three in the morning. I understand maybe you’re not used to America yet, but you’re gonna have to suck it up and adjust, mm-kay?”

“I am confused. You did not really answer the question.” He said. I squinted into the dark of my room, now suddenly angry. “Is this a bad time?” he asked.

I sighed. I couldn’t help but laugh even though only a part of me found it funny. And not laugh-out-loud funny. Funny because he did not even pay attention to my little rant. I really did not feel awake enough or in a good enough mood to laugh but I did anyway. “Adonis…yes, it is a bad time.”

“Oh. Okay.” he said back. “So then I will call you another time.” I sighed.

“Wait.” I said, shocking myself. “I’m up now. What did you want?”

“Well…just to talk to you.” He said. So nothing was wrong. Honestly, I was kind of happy he did call even though it was three in the morning..

“Oh. About what?” I asked.

“Anything. I wanted to hear your voice. I thought about you a lot since we met a few days ago.”

Really? Aw… “And you just figured that it’d be better to wait until three in the morning on a random night to call me…?”

“Well…I kind of went back and forth about calling you. The better of me gave in. time wasn’t really on my mind.”

“Why’d you go back and forth about calling me?” I sat up as straight as I could. The floorboards creaked outside my room. There was a knock on my door. It opened. “Hold on.”

“Jocelyn, sweetie, why are you up so early?” my mother asked. She was shivering in her robe. She was a tall woman. Usually she was intimidating but right now, she looked like every other Hispanic mother would at three in the morning. Her mess of brown curls was pile dup on top of her head and her red robe clutched tight around her thick frame. Her brown eyes looked around my room.

“I, uh, couldn’t sleep, mama. I figured I’d finish working on my History paper and get it turned in early.” I lied. My paper was nowhere near finished. She studied me.

“Who’s that on the phone?” she asked. She stepped in and crossed her arms.

“It’s Jess, mama. She’s having boyfriend trouble.” My mom squinted.

“It better not be one of those delincuente boys I see hanging out on the corner.” She said. She started swearing in Spanish.

“Mama, mama! It’s Jess, okay? I swear.” I said. She shrugged.

“Well, try to get some rest and tell Jessica that she should, too.” My mom left and closed the door behind her. I heard laughter on the other end of the phone. The same way he’d laughed in the Ice cream shop that day, only this time, Adonis was laughing even harder. I loved his laugh.

But… “Why are you laughing? What’s funny?” I asked. He sighed.

“That’s why I went back and forth about calling you. You’re jail bait.”

“Don’t say that, I told you.”

“What? It’s true. You couldn’t even tell your mama you were talking to me.” His accent was groggy was deep.

“Calmate, gringo. Calm down, okay? I’m just innocent. And she doesn’t exactly approve of the boys around here.” I explained, rubbing my head.

“Oh, yeah? Why is that?” Adonis asked.

“She thinks they’re thugs. She calls them delincuentes.” Even I laughed a little as I said that. Adonis asked what that meant. “It means they act like delinquents.”

“And what’s that other thing you said?” he seemed honestly curious. But I was tired and I had school tomorrow.

“Whoa…. If you’re gonna want to take Spanish lessons, you’re gonna have to call at a decent hour. Now I have to get up early. So call me tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay. ?????????.” He said. I frowned. “It means good night. How do you say it?”

“Buenos noches.” I smiled into the dark of my room. “Good night, Adonis.”

“Goodnight, beautiful.” He replied smoothly and then the line went dead. I couldn’t help but smile as I fell back into my happy slumber.

I concentrated on the sound of my footsteps. It made you keep going. My coach said it had something to do with your feet going on their own and encouragement and a whole load of steroid-pumping-testosterone-fueled-crap. Coach T was a shorter man…well, compared to most of the other male teachers. But he had a booming voice that traveled across the field and even though he was kinda on the chubby side, he was fast. I mean championship- strongest-leg-muscles-I-ever-saw kinda fast. He was good at track. He says he ran track ever since he was in fourth grade. Of course the elementary school didn’t have a track team where he was from. So he ran for the county in fundraisers and stuff like that. He was good in high school, but even better in college. He was training for the Olympics but he got injured and he hasn’t run track in seven years.

“Come on. Come on!” I heard him yell. “You ladies think this is a joke?” He enjoyed addressing us as ‘ladies’ because our team was full of boys and girls. He found it funny somehow. “It’s almost Summer. We’ve got a few weeks until state finals. I was looking for some good people to take but you ladies are slacking—hey, hey! Bryson, you know you’re supposed to lead from the front. Get up there. I thought your name was on that trophy in the hall. I must have read it wrong. Come on, let’s go!” I laughed. There used to be two separate track teams; one for the girls and one for the guys. But just three or four years before, there was a law passed called the Amanda Loyer Law. Apparently some girl was upset that she couldn’t run track with the guys. She said she was way better than most of them anyway. That was beside the point. Now all track teams are co-ed.

Coach T was tougher on the guys but he needed to be. Bryson was state champion two years in a row. Then his junior year, he didn’t run track for our school; Quinn Hallow High. He moved away to go to some military academy in freaking Ireland. Then he came back with this weird accent. Turns out, he actually is Irish, but his accent only comes out around his distant family. He ended up coming back for his senior year though. He was planning on winning States again so he could go to Nationals. I wasn’t worried about that. I just liked to run. I mean, I did enjoy the co-ed teams. It was nice to beat few guys every now and then. But running was fun. It was a stress reliever. Of course then most people would ask “well, why don’t you run at home if that’s why you’re here?” and the honest answer is the track. The school’s track is really nice and it doesn’t have that cheap stone that dyes the bottom of your shoes red.

I mean, I have won some awards before but that’s not why I’m there.

“So where’s Talon?” I asked. It was a Thursday and school was done for the week. We headed over to our favorite spot; the Coldstone. “Or are you with someone else now?” I took a sip of my root beer float. She squinted.

“He’s at home, studying.” She said.

“For what? College finals?”

“Yes…” she said slowly. “What’s up with the questions about Talon?” she demanded. I shrugged in false innocence of my thoughts.

“Just asking.” I said non-chalantly. I looked down at my wrist. A ladybug was crawling on it. Then it flew away.
“It’s just that he seems different than the other guys you dated. So I think you should treat him different, okay?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she said, offended obviously.

I tried to explain in the nicest way I could while being blunt. “You know I love you, Julia…but for Christ’s sake, you’re a man-eater. You’re kinda heartless sometimes.” I looked up and she was staring at me, stunned.

“Whatever.” She said, pretending not to care. She closed her eyes and let her head roll back. The sunlight turned her slight tanned skin pinkish. “So,” she said without looking back towards me, “what ever happened with that boy; Adonis?”

I shrugged. “We talked.” I looked down into my ice cream. “He’s pretty cool.”

“That’s it? That’s all you can say?” she asked. “Come on. I want details!”

“Well, he just moved here from Greece…and he’s twenty-one.” I admitted. “But other than him being almost my brother’s age, he’s awesome. He has this amazing accent and he spoke some Greek the other night. Well he only said, “good night”.”

“Whoa. You really like this guy, don’t you?” she mockingly punched my arm. “And he’s older? Way to go, J!”
Julia beamed at me as I looked up.

“No, no. I mean, yes, I like him. But he’s too old.” She started to cut me off. He’s almost my brother’s age. You don’t seriously think that Harvey would allow that.”

“Okay, first of all…”she held up one finger, “Harvey is not even your real brother. What gives him the right to determine who you date?”

“First of all…” I said, mocking her hand gesture, “Harvey has been like a brother to me since I was a kid. And besides I trust his opinion. It’s not like it’s a dictatorship.”

She sighed and gave up. “Fine. But at least let me have Adonis.” I glared at her. She raised her hands, palms out and laughed. “I’m kidding. I swear! It was a joke.”

I just shook my head and finished my float.

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