FEBRUARY 8th 2011
The nice thing about finals week was that after I finished my finals I had the rest of the school day off. But today, there was really no point in going home since I had a basketball game in about three hours and by the time I got home I’d have to leave again.
I looked up to find Jeremy and Amos walking out of the school building with their backpacks slung over their backs, talking about how they thought they had beasted their finals. I pushed myself up from the bench by the basketball court and skipped quickly over to them. I grabbed Jeremy to keep myself from falling and Jeremy laughed; this new close relationship was going so well.
“So who wants to go over to the mall and hang out with me until my basketball game?” I smiled brilliantly, trying to make the idea as welcoming as possible. The mall was only five minutes away from our school; it seemed sensible to me. But Jeremy’s smile turned into a grimace.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, tentatively.
“Well…Amos and I were kind of gonna go back to my house instead. Play video games or something like that.” He shrugged. I thought about that… could be a better plan, I suppose.
“Can I come?” I asked, grabbing Jeremy’s arm and jumping up and down, pleading with him.
“Ummm, no.” Amos snorted and replied quickly. I ignored him and gave Jeremy the puppy eyes. I could just see him caving in already.
“Well, Amos… It could be fun… and we’ll still be hanging out. I’m sure Carrie won’t mind playing video games. Will you, Carrie?” Jeremy turned to me.
“Psh! Are you kidding me? Of course I’ll play; I’m like a video game master!”
“Really?” Jeremy asked, shocked.
“No.” Jeremy laughed and I knew I had won.
“Fine, I’ll call my mom and see if it’s ok with her,” he said pulling out his phone.
We were the only people in the house when we got there. Jeremy’s mom was out visiting but Jonathan would be home in about a half an hour. We dropped our bags off and headed upstairs. I could feel that Jeremy felt a bit awkward about me being there at his house without anyone around. He had walls up. I hate walls.
Jeremy set up the video game and handed us each a controller. All of a sudden I realized that I was actually sort of scared; I never played video games. I couldn’t remember the last time I had even played one. Jeremy sat down between Amos and me and read my expression quickly. He laughed.
“Don’t worry, Care,” Hm, first time he’d called me that. I sort of liked the sound of it. “It’s just a simple racing game. All you have to do is turn the thing the way you want to go and follow the track. Easiest game invented.” He nudged me playfully and I forced out a stifled laugh. I could already tell this was going to be embarrassing.
The boys picked sleek, fast cars that they knew would take them places but I wanted to look aggressive and scary, so Jeremy picked a massive truck for me. I was pleased; I felt intimidating. Then we started and the boys were zooming around corners and passing lakes, while I couldn’t help running into things every five seconds. Jeremy passed me several times, which frustrated me so I ran into him. He couldn’t stop laughing. He finished first quickly and then sat back to watch me flail the controller around- like I thought that would really help me get somewhere. I was screaming and talking baby talk to the car, trying to will it the way I wanted it but it was being so stubborn. I was curled up with my knees up to my chest, hating how my car was being completely ridiculous. Video games were stupid. They didn’t make sense and I cursed the person who created them. I couldn’t understand how the male gender liked them so much.
But at the same time, I was enjoying myself. I loved the way Jeremy was staring at me. I felt like the most important person in the world. He put his arm around my knees and leaned his head back to laugh freely.
He turned and looked at me, admiration pouring out of him.
“You are so stinkin’ cute.”
“Shut up. I am not. This is so stupid! How on earth do you enjoy this- Oh my gosh, that rock was trying to kill me! Did you see that!? That was just plain evil! It was totally coming at me!” I shouted over his laughter.
“I’m pretty sure that inanimate object was not coming at you.” He still couldn’t stop laughing. Why was he getting so much pleasure out of watching me suffer this way? I didn’t understand it but I suppose I must admit; I was pretty dang happy at that moment.
My time on the game ran out and I immediately dropped the controller as if it was hot metal.
“That was stup-id,” I confirmed.
“Yes it was.” Jeremy said teasingly with that adorable grin across his face. He twisted a strand of my hair around his finger playfully.
“Well, thank you for entertaining us, Carrie.” Amos said. I had almost forgotten he was there. I felt sort of bad about that but I was enjoying this afternoon too much to give it much thought.
Jeremy leaned back and breathed out heavily, all that laughing must have worn him out. “Well I am famished. Lunch time.”
“That is totally enough bubble-age to count as boiling.” Jeremy picked up the bag of noodles but I snatched it away from him and hugged it to my chest.
“The bubbles at the bottom do not make it count as boiling.”
“Um, they so do.” Jeremy grabbed at the bag. I clutched it but Jeremy was too strong and the wrapping ripped in half, noodles went flying everywhere.
“Nice going, Bradley.” I teased. We both leaned down to pick up the noodles. “And don’t you ever try to grab at my chest again.”
“Whoa! What is going on over there!?” Amos asked from the other side of the kitchen. He was sitting on a stool while leaning against the wall and had been very occupied with the Ipad.
“That’s what you get when you don’t give me the flippin’ noodles. Let me put them in the pot or I’ll try to make another move,” Jeremy warned. I glared him down but then looked back in the pot.
“Ok, well now its boiling,” I told him. Jeremy poured the bag into the pot and I tossed the remnants from the floor in there as well. I could just see Jeremy and me as a married couple; fighting over stupid stuff like the boiling point of water.
I sneaked a glance at him stirring the water. He looked up at me and gave me a nice fake glare, obviously trying to keep himself from smiling. I laughed at him and he threw a noodle at me.
“No food fights.” I said in the most motherly way I could.
I plopped down on the couch and took a deep breath. Jeremy and Amos sat down and did the same.
“I don’t think I ever want to see another noodle again,” Amos stated. Jeremy and I grunted in agreement. Jeremy turned the TV on and clicked to an episode of Seinfeld. My eyes were beginning to get heavy. I decided then to be daring. I turned my body and stretched my legs out across Jeremy’s lap. He turned to me with a bit of shock in his face. I hadn’t done something like that for a couple of years.
“I’m sorry…is that uncomfortable?” I asked, pulling my legs back up.
“Ha, no. It just surprised me, that’s all.” He put his hands on my legs and pulled them closer to himself. “Don’t worry, it’s completely comfortable.”
I reached my hand out and ruffled up his hair playfully. His eyes shut under my touch and I pulled my hand back. My head was racing and I couldn’t breathe. That expression he had just made…Physical stuff is supposed to effect guys isn’t it? Was I affecting Jeremy right now? Okay, I was scared. I was not going to let my heart get ahead of myself and fall for him again. I could not let that happen to me. It would make this amazing friendship that I had rediscovered so much more complicated. I wouldn’t be able to handle that.
But still… this was crazy. We fit each other perfectly, as lame as that sounds. Being around him just came unnaturally natural- if that makes sense. You didn’t meet people like this every day; people who made you feel yourself. People who made you feel safe and worry-free…like when you were around them; everything was right in the world. How could it not be when you were with them anyway?
Jeremy was rubbing my leg with his thumb. That little crease had formed in his forehead as he concentrated on the TV show and right there and then I thanked the Lord that I was so blessed to be this close friends with such an amazing guy. He was my best friend and I had a feeling this kind of friendship was one of those long-lasting ones.