Chapter 12: Apologies Again

The following day had been borderline misery. Olivia had missed biology class entirely and for the rest of our classes together, she refused to even look at me. It made it increasingly difficult to apologize to her, and I knew I needed to. She deserved one.

Olivia had been completely right. Although I hadn’t meant anything by the kiss—it had been a complete impulse that I gave into—I could see where she would get upset and need answers. She had been one of the sweetest and most genuine people I had met here, and I felt I owed it to her to at least tell her that I hadn’t meant to upset her.

I was dreading my shift at the library, but I knew it had to be done. I was tired and all I wanted to do was go back to my dorm, shower, scribble through my homework and go to bed. But I couldn’t miss my third shift.

The two hours went by surprisingly fast and I was relieved when the librarian sent me home almost half an hour early. I was taking a short cut through the hallways when I heard a sharp and shrill voice come behind me. “You!” It accused.

I turned around to see Olivia’s room mate stalking toward me. With those ridiculous heels on, she looked almost comical. She was like a cartoon character or a skanky chick from a bad soap opera.

She approached me and before I even made sense of what was going on, she hauled off and slapped me in the chest. Even through my thick sweater and button down shirt, it stung.

“Ow, what the fuck?!” I demanded in complete shock. I knew never to hit a girl, but suddenly I wanted to. I shoved my hands in my pockets and bit back the urge to loose it entirely. I was not having a good day, and this insufferable, tiny little woman was not making it easier, just by being in it.

“That was for Olivia! What the hell is wrong with you?” She demanded.

I sighed and suddenly understood. This was one of those chick things where they always bonded together to support each other.

“Alright, I probably deserve that.” I replied.

“What the hell did you do to her?” She ranted. “Olivia spent the better part of last night crying her eyes out because of something you said or did!” She pointed an accusing finger at me.

I rolled my eyes. “Just stay out of it, alright? I’m going to talk to her. I’m going to make it right.” I said the words before my brain even made sense of their meaning. I hadn’t thought this through. How the hell was I going to set things right with her?

Gabby drew in a deep breath. “Really? You mean that?”

I frowned. “Is it any of your business?”

“Yes, it is my business!” She snapped. “Olivia is my roommate, she’s my very best friend. I don’t want to see her get hurt. So of course it’s my business!”

I sighed. “I’ll talk to her.”

“You’d better do it soon before you loose your chance. Right now she’s upset, but if you wait a few days she’s going to be angry and want revenge.”

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at her.

“Look, I don’t know why, but Olivia likes you. She’s pretty much talked about you non-stop since you got here…”

I sighed. “Fine. Where is she? Is she in your dorm?”

Gabby shook her head, causing her too straight hair to swing from side to side. She pursed her glossy lips. “She’s doing laundry tonight.”

“Okay, where is that?” I asked.

“You’re kidding, right?” She scoffed. “You’ve been here over a week and you don’t know where the laundry facilities are?”

“Does it look like I’m kidding?” I returned, folding my arms over my chest.

She sighed out of either impatience or boredom. “You live in dorm six, right?”

I nodded.

“When you walk in, go past the elevators, to the right. Walk a few feet and on the left will be a common room. On the right will be the laundry facilities.” She explained boredly. “Do you want me to take you there? Do you think you can manage to find it without getting lost?” She was taunting me now.

“No.” I rolled my eyes. I didn’t think I could stand the five minute walk with her without beating her to death with her own sense of self-importance and dumping her obnoxious body in the woods somewhere.

“Good, because I’m meeting some people in the cafeteria and I’m about to be unfashionably late.” She walked past me. “Good luck.” She wished me, sweeping down the hall with heavy click of her heels. I was almost completely sure I heard her mumble “You’re going to need it.”

“Bitch.” I cursed under my breath. I rolled my eyes and pushed through the doors and stepped outside. I jogged down the short stone steps into the cold night air. I could see my breath, and I was instantly reminded that I desperately needed a cigarette. I had six left in my pack, and I was saving them for when I got ridiculously desperate.

I hunched against the cold wind, quickening my pace to hurry out of the cold. I shoved my hands into my pockets and cursed this retched school for not making their uniforms warmer for their stupid climate.

As I moved between the dormitories, the big stone buildings seemed to shelter some of the bitter wind.

I pushed through the doors into dorm six and moved toward the elevators. I had never noticed the hallway before.

I followed Gabby’s instructions and found the laundry room. I hesitated, glancing through the large glass widows. I could clearly see that this was the laundry room, but all I could think about was how I had been meaning to do laundry. I had no idea what I was going to say to Olivia.

I noticed her sitting on the sofa. Her long legs were stretched out in front of her with her feet propped up on a plastic chair. I followed her long, denim clad legs. She had a newspaper balanced on her lap, on top of a textbook. The pencil was clutched between her teeth. She was wearing a fitted red plaid shirt, which was knotted at the waist. It showed a white cotton shirt below it. Her beautiful curls were divided into perfectly placed pigtails.

I swallowed, and pushed open the door.

She didn’t bother to look up from the paper, probably assuming I was some other student there for the purpose of doing laundry.

I plopped down next to her on the sofa, and she glanced up wide eyed in alarm.

She drew in a deep breath. “I’m almost finished my laundry, I’ll be out of here in a minute.”

“Olivia, I think we need to talk.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” She answered.

“Yeah, there is…”

“I made it perfectly clear how I felt, already.”

I sighed. “Olivia, it’s not that I don’t like you. I do, honestly…” I paused. “I can’t completely explain to you how I feel without telling you too much. But I like you, a lot. And to be completely honest, that terrifies me. Every other girl I’ve ever been involved with has been nothing but trouble. Most even got me into more trouble than I was already in, so you’ll have to understand that the way I feel about you terrifies me.”

She nodded. “I’m afraid too. I’ve always focused on my studies and getting good grades and getting into a good school… I never even really had friends until I came here to Pine Crest… I’ve certainly never told someone that I like that I have a crush on them before…” She pursed her lips.

Isaac drew in a deep breath. “Look, I may not be entirely ready to jump right into anything other than friendship, but I don’t want to be fighting like this… It doesn’t feel right. What can I do to make it up to you?”

She considered this for a moment, drawing in a deep, slow breath. She let it out even slower.

“You are very cryptic and secretive. Tell me something about you, tell me anything. Let me know something about you that no one else here knows.” She bargained.

I glanced away. I knew if I looked into those emerald eyes any longer I was going to give in and tell her everything.

“Isaac, you can trust me.” She insisted.

I paused. “I really hate biology.” I admitted.

Olivia rolled her eyes and gathered her papers. She moved to stand up and leave.

“No, wait.” I paused, catching her arms. “Look, just ask me what you want to know and I’ll answer it… maybe.”

Olivia settled back on the sofa. “Tell me why you came here. You said you were in some trouble…”

“Pass.” I said quickly.

“You said I could ask anything.”

“Anything but that.” I replied quickly.

“What if I don’t want to know anything else?”

“Then I guess this conversation is over. We’ll have to find new lab partners.” I replied, trying to keep my voice even. I didn’t want either to happen.

She pursed her lips, closing her eyes. “Why did you choose to get a job in the library?” She asked finally, after several moments of deliberation.

I decided I’d better answer this question. “I didn’t have a choice. The dean chose it for me as a part of my academic probation. He said I had to do this job until he dropped the academic probation. And that’s the reason I asked you to help with my biology homework, because if my mark reaches honor level, he’ll drop the academic probation and I’ll be able to quit that stupid job and go on the weekly trips into town…”

She frowned. “Academic probation. You must have done something to warrant that…”

I nodded. “It’s well deserved.” I suddenly felt like I could open up to her. Like I could trust her a little, or if not, it was at least worth trying. “My past record at school weren’t great, and as a result of… some of the trouble I’d been in before, not a lot of boarding schools wanted to take me in. Pine Crest agreed to take me, but wanted me to be on probation until I could prove that I was trying to turn my life around.”

Olivia nodded. “I want to get to know you, but you’re keeping so much secret… I guess you’re trying to see if I can earn your trust.”

“Yes.” I agreed. “That’s why I think it’d be best if we were friends first…”

“Okay. I’d like to be friends with you.” She agreed.

“I would like that too.”

She smiled faintly. “Some day, will you tell me everything? If I earn your trust…”

I paused. “Don’t say it like that. I’m not playing games with you or testing you in any way, I just… some of this stuff I… I don’t want the whole school to know.”

“You have my complete confidence.” She swore.

“I know.” I answered. “You have to understand that I don’t have the best track record with people. I’ve told people things and it’s blown up in my face. I’ve tried to do the right thing, and it’s only gotten way worse… I just need time before I can open up to you.”

Olivia nodded.

“We can still hang out. I’d like to get to know you.”

Olivia smiled sweetly. “I’d like that too.”

I moved closer to her on the sofa. “So what are you doing?”

“The crossword. I know it’s lame, but they’re challenging…” She laughed softly, a sweet, melodic sound. “it’s such a crazy old cat lady thing to do, right?”

“No way. You’ve got to be smart to do those… you’re almost finished too.”

She laughed softly. “Do you want to help me?”

“I don’t know how much help I’d be…” I began.

She shrugged. “You never know… a fresh set of eyes usually helps a lot.”

“Alright, if you want.” I agreed.