One day left. It was the middle of November, and there was only one day left until Wicked. Mr. Phillips was so stressed that he actually let us go home early.
On the way out, Eric was nervous. No, scratch that, he had been looking nervous for a while now. There would be these awkward silences every ten minutes. It was like, one second we were talking and laughing and the next it was like...nothing. He kept starting sentances with "Hey, do you....never mind," or "Are you....nothing."
I was in the middle of a very bad Squidward impression (my younger siblings are having a majorly negative impact on my intelligence) when he said, "Hey, do you want to go see a movie or somethingon Saturday?"
"Sure," I said, and then, because i'm clueless, "who else is coming?"
"Um, no one."
On the outside my reaction was this: A smile and "Oh, that's cool too." On the inside, i had completley freaked out. Was he asking me out? No, he couldnt be. We were friends, and i've gone to the movies alone with a friend tons of times. Yes, but those were all girls. You've only been in a group with him, and it was only that one time because all his other friends sang along to the songs and then you accidentally-on-purpose spilled buttered popcorn all over that girl with the big hair and she screamed like you had lit her sweater on fire and gave you evil looks and then you both agreed afterwards that going to movies, at least ones that were musicals, with his friends was a bad idea.
Still. It was ERIC we were talking about here. So, i concluded, it was impossible.
Is it really?
"Fiyero...! Oh, thanks a plenty, dearest. He's gone to fetch me a refreshment."
Eric came runing backstage. "Yeah, I'll fetch her something," he muttered in my ear. I laughed silently to avoid the dirty looks that Mr. Phillips had been giving me ever since i had tripped and (gasp) smudged my face makeup right before the first scene. But other than that "catastrophe" (not), the show was going pretty well.
"Elphaba, that's your cue! Move! Move!" I ran onstage and...well, i don't really remember much from the actual play, considering that i get this really great natural high from acting, and i can hardly remember anything afterwards. If i tried to describe it, you'd be like, "What was this girl on at the time?" so i'm not going to even bother. All i know is that at the end of the play we went out to take our bows and it felt really good, for a Woodland musical.
Also that I heard a very small but very loud voice yell "GO BEVERAGE!"
"I told you didnt I? I told you! I knew it, i knew it, i knew it. Didnt i say that he liked you?" Vanessa ranted, bouncing up and down. It was a few minutes after the curtain had dropped, and a couple of people were trying to get her unstrapped from the wheelchair that she had to be in as Nessa. She kept falling out, so the set designers had to make a seiries of really complicated seatbelts to make sure that she stayed in place. Now they were looking like they wanted to strangle themselves, considering that after i told her about the whole eric thing she was now freaking out and bouncing and wiggling around and generally making their job 1000000x harder than it was before.
"I did say that he liked you," she continued.
"Stay still," grunted the senior who was trying to undo the wires on the back of the chair.
"I am staying still."
"Well, stay stiller."
"Stiller, as in Ben?"
"Not funny," I said.
"I know. But let me just say-" and she screamed loud enough to break the eardrums of every single person in the place. The stage crew guy stood up and yelled "Fine, you can just untangle yourself!"
Vanessa laughed and said, "Great. Help, please." I bent down and tried to figure out how high on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being Mr. Rodgers, 10 being the guys in Guns&Roses) the stage crew had been when they thought of this "brilliant" idea. "So what movie are you seeing?"
"I have no idea, but i hope it's not a musical."
"Long story." I found the last harness thing and unclipped it. She slid out of the seat and stretched. "But i really don't think it's a...date." Just saying that word was more trouble than it should have been. "This IS Eric that we're talking about."
"I still don't get why you won't even consider the fact that he might be interested in you. He flirts with you all the time."
"You know who else he flirts with? George, Brian, Mike, and Tom. And me. But the difference is that it's not REAL flirting. It's fake flirting, because he knows that he would never go out with any of us in a million years. With them it's because they're guys. With me it's because...i don't know." At this point we had walked into the little mini "dressing room" things that they had installed to make Phillips stop whining. There was one for girls and one for boys, but people mostly just used bathroom stalls to change in. I sat down at the little sink and started rubbing green off of my cheek.
"Do you like him, though?" Vanessa asked.
I thought about denying it once again. But there wasnt really much point. "The complete true answer in one word is no. The complete true answer in more than one word is that maybe i could, but i've never let myself consider it."
"Because people ask him out all the time. Because he seems sensitive and nice and he'll be all chivalrous sometimes and they'll start to read too much into it. Then they'll come up and ask him and he'll turn them down but be really nice about it. And i don't want to be one of the many. Honestly, for anything to happen, he would have to make the first move. But...what am i talking about? Because it'll never happen." Vanessa was silent for a minute while i watched the green paint swirl around in the sink three times before disappearing totally.
"Sounds like you like him."
I walked around the room for a fourth time. This was odd. It was really odd. Only it wasnt. Because we were just friends. Right? Right.
The doorbell rang, and even though i was expecting it, i jumped like five feet in the air.
I walked over to the door and took a deep breath. I opened it and there he was...
"Package for Mrs. Harriet Herdman?"
"Yeah, that's me," I lied, grabbing the paper and signing my mom's signature. She and Dad had taken my siblings out to dinner. It was so cute watching them be all parent-ish. I sign for my parents all the time anyways, since they're never here. People get a little suspicious when i tell them that i'm John, but when i put on this extremely hurt face and say "But Mommy said i was normal," they tend not to pry.
"Hey." Eric had walked up to my door while the mailman was standing there.
"Hey, I'll be there in a sec." I hauled the package inside. Whatever it was, it was heavy.
"So I guess I've got some competition," he joked, nodding in the direction of the departing mail truck.
"Oh yeah, because postage stamps really turn me on these days." He lauged and opened the back door of his mom's car. I know, I know, what a hot date, but you can't walk anywhere from my house, and neither of us are old enough to drive yet.
Once we were in the car, his mom totally started to put me through the third degree. Isn't it the guy who's supposed to go through that? But i just smiled a lot and was very polite and we were best friends by the time she dropped us off. If there is one thing my parents have drilled into me (besides to never sign a contract without a lawyer present), it's manners.
After waiting in a horrendously long line to get to the ticket booth, Eric tried to get tickets to that new movie with Ben Stiller in it. "Sorry, that movie's sold out," said the very bored-looking dude working the little microphone thing.
The only other things playing were three horror flicks (immediatley off the list since i can't stand freaky movies), four movies that were rated R and we couldnt get into, and...
"Two tickets to Yours, Mine, and Ours, please."
"Jumping off a building."
"That's not original enough."
"Shooting myself with a potato gun five thousand times. I would live, but i would be in really bad pain."
"Alright..." Eric said, "Throwing myself into a giant paper shredder."
"Shhhhhhhhhh!" The lady in front of us hissed.
"Listening to George play clarinet for ten straight hours."
"Reenacting that Monty Python skit, The Idiot Race or whatever it was called. The one where you have to run yourself over with a car."
"Being eaten alive by ravenous worms."
"Worms don't have teeth."
"Nice. Watching this movie for the rest of my life."
"That doesnt make any sense," I whispered. "You would rather watch this movie for the rest of your life than watch this movie?"
"You would rather be eaten by worms than watch this movie?"
"They have no teeth, so it'd be slow, plus i hate worms so it would be totally gross."
The lady in front of us was starting to look fairly homicidal, so we shut up. This was possibly the worst movie ever, and the Dennis Quaid factor didnt help. To amuse ourselves, Eric and i had been thinking of as many creative deaths as possible.
And the thing is that we never, ever had an awkward moment. He didnt do that whole corny thing that guys always do in movies, where they yawn and put their arm around the girl's chair. Not that i don't give the male species major props for thinking of a more subtle way to do that, but i didnt necessarily want Eric to go all..guy-ish on me. This was fine as far as i was concerned. Being morbid with Eric was much more fun than hanging out with Luke.
Even if it was against a backdrop of Drake Bell screaming a fake song in another steryotypical kid party.
We cheered when the movie was over. Not because it was good, but because the torture was over.
We laughed and talked on the way back. It was almost the exact same high that i got off of that audience watching me as someone else, only different, a little stranger.
Then we were at my house, and he was walking me up to my door, and i had forgotten all about how this was supposed to be awkward.
"And seriously, them painting the pig blue had to be some kind of animal rights violation. They should get the ASPCA called on them," I said, smiling and watching the little fog my breath made against the completley black sky. We reached the top step coming up to the door.
"So...this was nice," I said.
"Yeah. We should do it again sometime."
"Cool. Well..." All of a sudden this big crash came from my house, followed closely by an "Oops" and a wail. "Jeez. I leave for three hours and the entire place falls apart," I joked. "I should go."
"Okay." And it would have been normal if he had just left. But then, as i was opening the door, he touched my hand. I looked back and smiled at him. He smiled back, and i walked into my chaotic house.
Instead of dealing with the problem at hand (Craig had thrown a baseball at Dennis, which he had successfully ducked. The ball had hit this old watering pot type thing that has absoloutly no point that sits on our fireplace. It had hit Blaire on the leg and she immediatley started to cry), i walked through it all and sat on my couch, pretty much oblivious to everything going on.
What was going on here?