The date of the concert had finally arrived. I felt strangely nervous about it although I wasn’t sure why. As I had mentioned before, I wasn’t a huge fan of Rhyme and Reason, so I wasn’t nervous about meeting them. But there was an uncertain way I felt about Dash that made my stomach flip. Granted, Toby would be there to provide a buffer if needed, but I wasn’t sure that this feeling was altogether unpleasant or unwelcomed.
I got back from my therapy appointment late, so I had to rush to get ready. I was never one for fashion, but due to my new and improved wardrobe I was frantic to find the perfect outfit to wear. I wanted to dress nicer that I usually dress for school. This was a special event, after all. After much consideration I chose a modestly short black dress with a large bangle necklace. I zipped up my new black high heeled boots and I was ready to go. I glanced at the clock. It was almost five and Dash wasn’t going to be picking me up until five thirty. I wondered what to do in the meantime.
Gathering up my new purse and transferring some essentials into it, I went downstairs to wait. Aunt Esta was cooking herself a TV dinner in the microwave. She smiled at me when I entered.
“All ready for the concert?” She asked.
“Yeah, I can’t wait. Thanks again for getting me the tickets. This is going to be so fun,” I said, smiling back.
“Anytime,” Aunt Esta said. “It’s nice to see you smiling again. I take it things are going better at school?”
“Yeah, tons better,” I lied. Things hadn’t been going better at all. Now, kids were actually flat out ignoring Dash and I and the bullying had gotten worse. We were both still stumped trying to figure out how to get the bullying to stop, although it seemed pointless to have us come up with anything anyway. Since Dash and I didn’t share the same lunch period I started skipping lunch and hanging out in the library with Toby. We had come even better friends after we discovered our mutual love of cheesy sitcoms.
Of course, I still hadn’t told Aunt Esta the latest development at school. I didn’t want to worry her, mainly. But mostly I felt embarrassed that this was happening to me. I had never had any problems fitting in at school before and this was just an odd turn of events for me. It seemed strange to me that these kids, who all thought that they were better than me, couldn’t muster up even a fraction of the kindness and compassion that I possessed for people.
“That’s great,” Aunt Esta said, not even questioning my lie. Maybe it’s a good thing that she hasn’t had kids so far, I thought to myself. My mom would have seen straight through my bullshit and called me on it.
“So, how was work?” I asked my aunt. I really didn’t understand what it was that she did for the label and she used far too many industry terms while trying to describe it for me to actually understand, but I felt that it was polite to ask.
“It was great! We’ve just signed a new band called Remix and a solo artist named Derek Detterman. They all have so much potential, I can’t wait to see what they can do.”
I wondered what the groups sounded like. Maybe they played my kind of music and I could get to meet them and have them sign my CDs.
“When their demos come out, would you like a copy?” Aunt Esta asked me, bringing me out of my thoughts.
“Sure,” I responded. “What kind of music do they play?”
“Remix is mostly dance music with some electronic and Derek is a pop singer with a little soul thrown in there. They’re all so talented. I’m so glad that we found them.”
Remix sounded perfect for me. Maybe Dash would like them too. We could get together and listen to their CDs… My thoughts began to wander. Thinking of all the great things that Dash and I could do together.
“You look really nice tonight, honey,” Aunt Esta complimented me. “I hope you have a great time at the concert tonight. I’m sure all of your friends were upset that you could only take two of them.”
I didn’t want to tell her that I only had two friends so I just smiled and nodded. In truth, when I had announced on Facebook that I was taking Toby and Dash to the concert I only got a few comments from my old friends talking about how lucky I was. The rest of my classmates stayed silent. When I got to school the next day, they kept ignoring me. An insecure part of me wondered if I should uninvite Toby and Dash and opt to take one of the more popular kids, for the obvious benefits it would have. But the realistic side of me sobered up. Even if I took one of the popular kids, what’s to say that they wouldn’t enjoy the concert then turn around and continue the bullying? That was no promise that they would be nicer to me or anyone else.
“Valentine? Are you alright?” Aunt Esta asked, cocking her head.
I broke free from my thoughts. “Yeah, I just have a lot on my mind,” I admitted. “Have a big paper coming up in history class.”
“Oh, well, if you need any help, please let me know. I’ll do whatever I can to help you out,” Aunt Esta said, sweetly.
“Sure,” I responded, feeling slightly guilty about lying to her. Lying in most situations was something that I picked up from my mother. We lied to each other all the time. Whether it was to spare someone’s feelings or make a day go smoother or just because we didn’t want to deal with something right then. Lying solved most of our problems or at least, postponed them until we could deal with them better.
Suddenly, the door bell rang.
“I’ll get it!” I said, joyously, racing to the front door. I pulled it open to see both Toby and Dash standing on the front porch. They both looked casually dressed up, but still gorgeous. I was so glad that I had decided to wear my dress.
“Are you ready to go?” Dash asked me.
“Yep!” I responded, happily.
“Don’t forget your purse!” Aunt Esta shouted from the kitchen.
“Oh, right,” I raced back into the kitchen, retrieved my purse, then headed for the front door.
“Have fun! And don’t come back too late!” Aunt Esta shouted as I shut the door.
I wove one of my arms through Toby’s arm and the other around Dash’s. “Alright boys, let’s go have some fun!” I announced.
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