Josh stood there and stared at me like a broken lamp.
My smile only widens as I pat off the invisible dirt from his shoulders and leave him standing in the middle of the field, lost in his delusional thought.
After school ended, I found out that Crystal got suspended from school for the week.
I rested on Josh’s chair and spin around while the phone hung between my ear and shoulder. “I can’t believe you got suspended on the second day of school.”
“It’s bound to happen,” she responds.
I could hear an engine on the other side. “Where are you?”
“I’m heading to Paris.”
I stop spinning and planted my feet on the carpet. “You’re spending your suspended week in Paris?” I repeated her words just in case I misheard them.
“Yeah. Jack told me to take a break to clear my head.”
I was speechless.
“I got to go, the lobster is coming, and I’m hungry. Au Revoir." She blew me some kisses before ending the call.
I was still speechless.
The bathroom handle clicks open, revealing Josh in his pajamas.
“Did you know Crystal is heading to Paris?”
He ran the towel down his head. “Yeah. Uncle Jack told her to go there and clear her head.”
“And that’s normal?” There is no way that's considered normal. Normal is my mom digging a grave in the backyard if I ever did what Crystal did.
He sat down and allowed the towel to rest on his head. “For her, yeah. It’s not a secret Uncle Jack spoiled Crystal rotten.”
“Yeah, but isn’t this a bit too much? Shouldn’t she get punished for her behavior?”
Josh leaned back, resting his palms on the bed. “You’re talking about a man who brought her a small island because she wants it for her birthday.”
I sighed and shook my head. “If my children ask for an island, I buy it and bury them in it,” I grumble.
Josh chuckled lightly. “You sound like my mom.”
I sound like my mom. “Your mom is an awesome lady,” I declared.
“Are you seriously complimenting yourself by complimenting my mom?”
I grin, “Busted,” I sang and twisted my chair back to the table.
“Why can’t you study at your table?”
“Why can’t I have my own bed?” I rebuttal.
“Show me the money, and I’ll take you to buy your own bed,” he replied.
I rolled my eyes but didn’t reply. I don't have any money.
Staring at the book lying in front of me, the words began merging. The clock continues to click in the room. The odd part is that there are no visible clocks in the room that make any sound. So, I know it’s all in my head. I began mumbling the words repeatedly.
Steadily, it began with a chuckle, which increased into a laugh. Then, I stopped laughing and looked around the room, seeing Josh staring at me with this blank look, but I decided to ignore him. When I saw the piles of papers in the trash can, I decided to throw them out. I grabbed it and began walking down the hallway. Swinging it in circular motions, I dropped it into the vent.
I whistled and skipped back into the room, replacing the can with a new bag. I looked around, “What a messy place,” I said and started cleaning up the desks. My eyes peeked towards the bedroom sheets, and I straightened them out - still ignoring Josh’s presence.
When I noticed the dirty clothes piling up, I grabbed them and decided to do laundry downstairs. Josh held my hand before I could reach for the doorknob. “I know what you’re doing. Go sit your ass back down and study,” he spoke in a stern voice.
“I can’t work with this mess around me!” I yelled. I spread my arms out and pointed at nothing because the room is spotless.
He points at his desk, and I stomp towards it.
“Study,” he commanded.
“Okay, dad,” I replied in a mocking tone and grabbed the pencil.
He places his hand on top of mine. “Hey,” his voice deepens. “It’s Papi to you.”
After hours of endless studying, Josh allowed me to take a break by watching a movie together. I sat there, munching on the popcorn as the lady continued screaming her lungs out. The man slapped her and stuffed a dirty sock into her mouth as tears streamed down her dirty, bruised cheeks.
The scene flickered over, showing a man, anger sketching in every part of his tanned features. “I’ll save her, even if it cost me my life,” he spoke sharply, then marched out of the room filled with concerned people.
My eyes picked over, seeing Josh comfortably sipping on a soda. I scooted closer, and he naturally rests his arm around me. “Hey,” I whispered, poking his stomach.
He peeked at me, “Yeah?”
“If I ever get kidnapped...would you rescue me?”
He sat there, staring at me as the woman in the background continued yelling for her husband.
“The silence is alarming,” I said
He smiled, “That sounds like a law enforcement kind of job.”
I turned my body towards him. “Police? Josh! We had been watching horror movies for years! The police are useless during this type of situation!”
He shrugged, taking another sip of his soda. “Isn’t it kind of stupid? For me to personally rescue you when I’ve never been trained for these types of things? I mean, do you really want a guy who still trips on his shoelaces?”
“You’re a black belt! Beat up the criminals!”
He sighed, putting his soda down, and turned his body towards me with his legs crossed. “Okay, let’s say, due to some miracle, I do find you. Now, I’m going to say one word...guns," he straightens two hands in front of me. “They.have.guns.Hailey”
I stared at him.
“How the fuck a black belt is going to help me during a gunfight?!”
“The protagonist in the movies won even in a gunfight!”
“Yeah! However, it’s a fucking movie! They point the gun at me and bang!” He pretended to shoot himself. “I’m dead! Do you want me to die?”