Chapter 36: Distractions

After dinner, I changed into a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt. I wasn’t sure how late I’d be, so I rigged the door to our floor with a piece of cardboard over the latch; making sure it wouldn’t lock me out.

I moved quickly down the hall, ignoring two girls who were standing in one of the doorways in their pyjamas. Both girls blushed and giggled. It was like being in a movie from the fifties.

I knocked on Olivia’s dorm room door and waited impatiently. I heard the latch in the door slide open. And the door opened a few inches.

“Liv? Hey, it’s me.”

“Hi.” She said timidly. “Just a sec.”

I waited impatiently. The door shut, and the chain slid across. The door opened, and I slipped inside.

“Hey, are you okay?” I asked.

I bent to kiss her. Without warning, she tilted her chin down and away; I missed and kissed her cheek accidentally.

“Isaac… I… I can’t…. I’m sorry… n-not yet.” She whispered softly.

“Yeah, sure. When you’re ready.” I agreed. I was new at the relationship thing. And aside from picking up and randomly screwing girls; I didn’t quite know a whole lot about girls. I didn’t know how to comfort them or act around her when she was upset. This was all foreign to me.

Olivia nodded, wrapping her arms around herself and gathering her huge sweater in her hands. “I just… thought you were one of the girls from this floor. Since I missed school today I think they’ve all stopped in to be meddlesome and to see if I died of humiliation yet.” She breathed.

“How are you holding up?” I asked.

She pursed her lips. “I… I don’t know. I just keep thinking about what those stupid football jerks said and I… I try not to think about it, or let it get to me… but it’s not easy.” She sighed.

“Can I do anything?”

“You could sit with me… just hang out for a bit?” She asked, looking up at me hopefully.

“Sure. Anything.” I reached out and lightly laid my hand on her shoulder.

She sighed softly and lightly rested her chin on my hand, in a small gesture of appreciation. She moved away from me and into the kitchen. “Can I get you anything? I… I made cookies today…”

“You made cookies?” I asked.

“I thought it would make me feel better. But eating massive amounts of cookie dough can only do so much.” She sighed.

“Oh.” I agreed. “I’m good, actually.”

“I made tea…”

“Okay, I’ll have some of that.” I agreed.

“Okay.” Olivia agreed. She reached down two matching coffee mugs and poured two cups from the elephant shaped tea-pot on the counter.

“Milk or sugar?” She asked.

I assumed I would drink tea the same way I drank coffee. “No thanks. You?”

She shook her head. “Not in green tea. Let’s go into the living room.”

I carried them both into the living room. I placed one on the coffee table and once she sat down, I placed one in her hands. “Thank you.”

She sighed softly. “What did I miss in school today?”

“A whole lot of nothing.” I answered.

She smiled faintly. “So because I wasn’t there our curriculum and everything just stopped.”

“Pretty much,” I shrugged. “Or at least for me it did.”

The brutal honesty of my words shocked even me, but Olivia seemed to smile wryly, at least for a brief second of time.

“I’m hoping to go back to school in the next couple of days. The school nurse gave me the week off. Since I never miss any time and since my record is clean, I just made up a little story about some bad PMS and got the week off.” She admitted, glancing down at the cup of tea cradled in her hands.

“Oh.” I mused.

Olivia sighed softly. “You must think I’m horribly self involved to let this get to me so much… I usually don’t care what they say or think of me, I just… I can’t believe they’ve been thinking those things all along.” She frowned, looking close to tears.

“You have every right to be upset, Liv. I’m upset. If I see those guys again, I’m going to-“ My hands tightened into fists.

Her hands lightly laid over mine. “No, please… you know I really hate violence, and they did actually deserve it, and I do appreciate you sticking up for me like that, it was very sweet… but I don’t want you to get in trouble for me.”

“Liv-“ I began.

“Please.” She begged, her hand slipping into mine.

I nodded. “Okay. I won’t. But if it happens again, don’t expect me to just smile and nod. You don’t deserve those things they said about you. You deserve much, much better than that, Liv.”

She smiled faintly and laid her head on my shoulder. “Can we not talk about it? Please?”

I nodded, “Sure. Do you want to just watch TV?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“Okay.” I handed her the remote.

“Actually, there’s kind of a movie that I borrowed from one of the other girls… but I’m too scared to watch it by myself… could we watch that?”

“Sure.” I answered.

She stood and put the movie on, plopping down on the sofa next to me again.

Before long, she stretched out on the sofa, with her legs bent over my lap. I stretched out next to her, squeezing in between her body and the back of the sofa. I laid my hand on her stomach. With my index finger, I drew tiny designs on her stomach.

She giggled softly, biting her lower lip. “You’re distracting. That tickles.”

“Sorry,” I mused.

“Hey, you know, why don’t I skip my classes tomorrow and stay with you for the day?” I offered.

She laughed softly. “You can’t do that.

“Why not? I doubt they’re going to miss me or anything.”

“But Firestone will reinstate your academic probation.” Olivia pointed out.

I reached out and lightly tucked a stray strand of hair back from her face. “That’s probably true.” I admitted.

“Thank you for doing all this for me… I’m sure this is probably… weird.” She sighed.

“No, not really.” I shrugged. “I’m glad I get to help you… I’ll do whatever I can… I know it doesn’t seem like much.”

“It means a lot. And as much as punching those guys in the face was really unnecessary violence, I’m kind of glad you did it. And you’re right.” She sighed. “The definitely deserved it.”

I laughed.

She picked up my hand and gingerly turned it over, examining the tiny splits along my knuckles. “Does your hand hurt?”

“No.” I lied. It had been killing me the day before, and certain ways I moved my hand hurt, but I wasn’t going to admit that to her.

“Hmm…” She lightly stroked my hand, then glanced up at me timidly. “Umm… so, I never got a kiss when you came in… I… I think I’m ready for that now.” She said, pursing her lips.

I chuckled. “Oh, really. Is that so?”

She nodded. “Please?”

I chuckled, lightly cupping her cheek with my hand, I lightly turned toward her and lightly kissed her.

She smiled.