Fane bowed slightly, placing his hand over his heart. “As we say in my country when parting, pînă la următor timp Mai art.hot. Moon lumină al tău patetic. It means: until next time, may the moon light your path.”
Jen looked at Fane and in her outspoken way asked, “Is that kinda like an Irish proverb? Only, ya know, like a Romanian proverb instead?”
Sally giggled, Jacque looked mortified, and Fane simply smiled. “Yes, something like that.”
Jacque pushed Jen and Sally towards the door, trying very hard not to look and see if Fane was watching her. She knew somehow that he was. So, what the heck? Might as well watch him back, she told herself. She tentatively looked over her shoulder and, sure enough, Fane was staring at her. He had a slight smile on his face and his eyes were squinted together ever so slightly, giving her the impression that he knew something she did not. That thought made her shudder and push Jen and Sally harder out the door.
“We’re going, Jacque. Good grief,” she heard Jen grunt.
“Well, go a little quicker please!” Jacque whispered through tight lips.
The girls walked briskly down the walkway and across the street, not even bothering to see if Jacque’s mom was behind them. All Jacque could think was that she needed to put some space between her and that hottie. Okay, so she still couldn’t stop calling him hottie. Well, it's true, so go jump in a lake already, she told herself.
Once inside the house the three girls double timed it up the stairs and into Jacque’s bedroom. Sally shut the door firmly and turned to pin Jacque with her best “you better spill it now” stare. Jen had pulled up some carpet and was staring just as sternly.
Jacque took some slow, deep breaths. I seem to be doing this a lot lately, she thought.
“First impressions?” Jacque finally prompted.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe something like, OH MY, stutter, drool, FREAKING, pant, deep breathing, GOSH!” Jen spat.
Sally nodded fervently. “Yeah, what she said, but more panting and deep breathing on my end.”
“What about you?” Jen asked. “You didn’t seem as mesmerized as us. Why is that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because I was, ya know, a little distracted by THE VOICE IN MY HEAD!” Jacque realized she was yelling. “I’m sorry, ya’ll. I shouldn’t take my stress out on you. I’m just – just – I don’t know. Freaking out, I guess.”
“Have you tried talking back to the voice? You know, like answering it through your thoughts?” Sally asked tentatively.
Jacque shook her head. “I feel like if I do, then I am just solidifying the fact that I’m losing it.”
“You’re NOT losing it. Something is definitely up with this Fane guy. No one, and I mean no one, can look that good and make you want to curl up and purr when he talks to you. Something’s fishy and it’s not your mom’s fried chicken,” Jen told her.
Jacque turned to her window and opened the blinds. She looked across the street at the Henrys' house and wondered what to do about Fane Lu-whatever his last name was.
She heard her two best friends walk up beside her. With all three gazing out the window, they put their arms around her.
“I know I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it until it sinks into that unruly, curly head of yours, but it will be alright. You are not alone in this, okay?” Sally said with love.
“Yeah, chick. You got us, no matter what,” Jen agreed. “Besides, we’re too nosy to not stick around.”
Sally pulled a strand of Jen’s hair as a scolding. “Ow! Crap, I’m just saying!” Jen scowled.
Jacque turned away from the window and wiped away the tears she hadn’t even realized were there. Then she hugged her friends.
“Okay, I know you guys need to go home and assure your parents that you’re still alive and haven’t been abducted or anything. But do ya’ll think you can come back later?”
Both girls nodded.
“I will have to do some laundry and pick up my room to pacify my mom, you know how it is, but then I can come back over and stay the night again if your mom is cool with it,” Jen said.
Sally spoke up as well. “Yeah, I can be back around seven tonight. I just need to take care of some chores as well.”
“Okay, that sounds good. I’ll let my mom know that ya’ll will be back. I know she won’t care.”
Jacque walked them downstairs to the front door and watched as they each walked to their cars. She stood in the doorway, watching them drive off until she couldn’t see their cars any longer. She slowly turned and went back into the house, shutting the door behind her.
She stood in the entryway, looking at nothing. Her mind was running amok again and Jacque was trying to decipher the thoughts. It was no use. She was tired, emotional, and beginning to realize that ever since she had walked out of the Henrys' house and away from Fane, it was taking all she had not to turn around and run – not walk, but run like a cat with a fire cracker tied to its tail – back to him. What the hell was up with that?
Jacque’s head snapped up when she heard her mom hollering from upstairs. “Jacque? I need to go to the store for a little while. I’ve got some new inventory I need to take care of, and since I was able to hire some other staff I can finally get caught up.” Her mom came to the top of the stairs and looked down at her. Tilting her head, she asked, “Are you okay, sweetie? You look a little frayed around the edges.”
“Naw, I’m good. Just a little tired. I didn’t sleep too well last night,” Jacque fibbed. Then she thought of how she had been feeling her mom’s emotions so strongly and decided to say something. “What about you mom? You okay?”
“I’m fine. Just got a lot on my mind, that’s all. Nothing to worry about. Why don’t you lie down for a little bit? Are you gonna be okay while I’m gone? Need me to get you anything while I’m out?” her mom asked.
“No. I’ll be fine, mom. Thanks though. Oh yeah, I did want to check and see if you were okay with Sally and Jen spending the night again tonight?”
“No, I don’t have a problem with that if their parents are okay with it. Ya’ll can order pizza if I’m not home by dinner,” she answered.
Jacque hugged her mom and told her goodbye before heading up to her room. She shut the door, turned off the lights, and put her Evanescence CD on. The music was oddly calming to her. Then she laid down on her bed and closed her eyes.