“Falling in and out of love, With something sweet to throw away…
I can go with the flow
But don't say it doesn't matter anymore…
Do you believe it in your head?”
From “Go with the Flow” by Queens of the Stone Age
It was Skyler who found her crying outside of that night. Wondering where she was she was alarmed to find Odessa in her state. Odessa , not being able to face the partygoers --particularly her parents-- asked her scarlet-haired cousin to find one of their friends to take her home. Skyler obliged and even told Odessa she’d find and inform her Uncle John and Aunt Vangie and tell them they were both feeling tired and wanted to go home. But first Skyler had to ask her parents permission to stay over at for an impromptu sleepover. She went back inside: got the go-ahead from her father to stay over her cousin’s; found her Aunt Vangie and informed her of her intention of staying over (which Evangeline was fine with), as she and Odessa were feeling tired and were now leaving; found Kiko and pleaded with her to give her and Odessa a ride to the latter’s house; and lastly, Skyler retrieved Odessa’s belongings. On the ride home Odessa had been quiet, and Kiko wondered what was going on. Odessa didn’t answer and Skyler simply told her that she wasn’t feeling well. When getting out of the car at Skyler insisted Kiko go back to the party and assured to her in a whisper that they’d talk later, and thanked her for the ride home.
Although she was comfortable with the idea of going back to the party, she responded, “No need to thank me, I’ll always be there for my girls. Just let me know if you need anything else…”
For the rest of the night, Skyler comforted Odessa , who was giving her a shortened account of the conversation she’d had with The Boy, through tears. She had been extremely grateful for Skyler’s presence, because getting through the rest of that night, alone, would have been too much for her to endure.
A little over a week into the new spring semester at school had passed and unfortunately for Odessa was the fact that Gisella’s taunting wish came true: she and Odessa shared classes (3rd period AP chemistry and 6th period calculus) and even lunch together (‘B Lunch’). In chemistry class, Gisella and her table partner sat on the other side of the classroom from Odessa and her partner. Odessa could feel the occasional cold stares and smirks her nemesis would give her, and in calculus she had the misfortune of being assigned to a seat next to Gisella, where the latter would express obvious annoyance whenever Odessa would ask a question in their classes together. On the first day of the new semester, Gisella had passed a note over to her. It read:
I know you must be counting your blessings… Aren’t you glad you and I have classes together in our final year, in school! First we’re bridesmaids in the same wedding and now this! :-) :-)
Odessa had looked over at the girl, who gave her a devious wink before returning her attention to their teacher. Excluding her issues with Gisella, Odessa ’s few comforts for that semester was continuing her year-long photography and computer programming classes, both of which she loved. Also, that semester she had ‘B Lunch’ with Kiko, as well as Tamzin, Nicole, Jacob and Derek’s sort-of girlfriend, Desiree.
“Ahh, ‘Jacob’s Angels’ all around me, the way it should be…” Jacob relished.
“Only in another dimension, sweetcheeks,” Nicole quipped. Tamzin, occasionally, would sit with the group, which didn’t sit well with Gisella. But because she was also friendly with Desiree, she did join them at the table one time, much to Odessa and Kiko’s displeasure.
But worrying about Gisella was the last thing Odessa had on her mind. She hadn’t seen or heard from The Boy since New Year’s, and she had no classes with him, or lunch period. However, she did know he was still attending Llanview High, as she’d seen his motorcycle in the senior lot on days she was late to school, and learned he had classes with Alec, Derek, and Nicole. Even then, as they’d not been hanging out with each other like so before, speculation of a rift between the two was beginning to form. One afternoon Odessa was planning to go to the Love Centre in Angel Square , the place where her 18th birthday party was taking place. On her way to the parking lot after school she saw The Boy sitting on his motorcycle, revving up his engine. He spotted Odessa , seemingly looking in her direction, with his helmet visor raised. He sat on his motorcycle and after a moment or two, he pushed down the visor and took off. Watching him ride away, Odessa was both angry and distraught with his actions, but most of all, it still didn’t change the fact that she missed him immensely. Just as she was about to enter her car she could hear Kiko call out her name. She asked Odessa what she was up to, and invited herself to come along on when told. Kiko was actually supposed to be at a Student Council meeting, but decided to play hooky.
“Bump it,” she had said. “I’ll blame it on ‘Senioritis’…”
At the Love Centre, the girls were sitting on a small set of bleachers watching some youngsters playing a pick-up basketball game. Odessa was trying to keep her mind off of The Boy. “So how are you holding up after the game yesterday?” Odessa asked Kiko, referring to the girls’ basketball team losing in the 2nd round of the state playoffs.
“Eh, I’m fine really, but I wasn’t expecting us to go far, anyway… Especially with Gisella being a ball-hog, but whatever…”
Odessa managed a chuckle at her friend’s lacking team spirit. “Atta-girl, Kiko… So will Teddy come back to visit soon?”
“Yep and I’m looking forward to it! He’ll be back for J and J’s wedding, especially since Xavier is Jack’s best man.”
“That’s cool then… Speaking of which, I think that is going to be one G.Q.-looking wedding… Jack, Xavier, Matthew Buchanan, Alec. Oh yeah, and Paulie-B, also.
“Oh Man! How did I completely forget about that jack-ass?!” Kiko exclaimed. She wasn’t particularly fond of her cousin, Paul Balsom, whom she viewed to be corny and an irritant like his father, Rex. She was, however, very much fond of Paul’s ten-year old sister Lillian, and their mother Adriana. The family moved to Chicago a few years ago, but Paul lived in Pittsburgh , working as a sports journalist.
“Hehe, that’s messed up, Yuriko. He’s your family, and I think he’s a cutie too!”
“Oh yea, Jamie’s going with Ms. Corinthos as her maid-of-honour,” Odessa remembered.
“Really? How does Starr feel about that?”
“Dunno, but Ms. Corinthos is Jamie’s best friend, and all… but Starr’s going to be a bridesmaid, either way.”
“Hmm… so are you looking forward to your big 1-8 bash this weekend?”
“I’m just looking forward to it to be over with.” Odessa sighed. “You know, the past couple of months I was all looking forward to my party and everything, but now I’m not so sure I care that much anymore,” she said sadly.
Kiko was aware of certain parts of Odessa and The Boy’s situation, and gave her friend a sympathetic look. “Does how you feel have anything to do with Tim?” The look in Odessa ’s eyes answered the question. “Aww, I’m sorry Babes…” Odessa flinched at the sentiment. “Oh man! I shouldn’t have said that! Damn it, it’s not fair! Sky and I were calling you that way before you met Tim.”
Odessa gave her a meagre smile. “It’s okay, Keeks… I know you didn’t mean anything by it. I just don’t know what to do right now! You only turn 18 once and here I am… can’t even get amped up. But it’s just so hard… I practically haven’t seen him since we were at your grandmother’s. He won’t even bother to call me, and I’ve called him with no luck… I’ve even left him a message about the party. But what’s the use… he’s completely avoiding me, and it hurts!!”
Kiko was contemplating. “Ode, do you mind if I ask you something personal?”
“No, I guess…”
“Um, have you and Tim ever… you know… done it?”
Odessa’s eyes got big. “No! Which is probably a good thing, huh?”
“Do you think he’ll come?”
“I don’t even know… I don’t know anything right now! I don’t even know if we’re still together at this point! Arrgh! I’m such an idiot! Why did I have to open my big mouth, and tell him that I love him!!??” Her eyes were beginning to well with tears.
Kiko tried to comfort her. “Oh no, ‘Dessi, don’t cry, please! If anyone’s the idiot, it’s Tim for being such an asshole to you… Look, it’s only natural to tell someone feelings you’ve kept inside for a long time, and you couldn’t help what you were doing.”
“I should’ve had more control, Kiko… I should have! And now I think I’ve turned him away. I just don’t understand, I honestly thought that…” She stopped and gave a sour chuckle. “I guess it’s shame on me for reading too much into things…”
Kiko hugged her. “O, if there’s one thing I learned from my dad, it’s that guys are never easy to understand. I know you’re hurting right now, but something’s gotta give right? Truthfully, I’ve seen the way he was around you and I can’t imagine him just blowing you off completely like that. He’ll explain himself eventually… he’d better or else he’ll have to answer to me! There’s no way in hell some dude is gonna hurt my girl and think he can get away with it!” Kiko threatened. “Geez, now I’m sounding like Aunt Dorian,” she realised, causing Odessa to laugh a little through her tears. “See? That’s the sound I wanna hear from you! Now you stop that crying and let’s go to the mall to pick out your b-day outfit…”
Early Saturday morning, Odessa received a house call from her Aunt Layla, and took the call in her room. “Hey there, birthday girl! How’s my favourite niece doing?”
“Aunt Layla!! How are you?! It’s so good to hear from you again! And thanks for the Samoan jewellery you sent me!”
“Hey now, I’m not going to forget your birthday am I? I may be busy, but give me more credit than that!”
Odessa chuckled. “How’s production going anyway? And Riley? ”
“Well, I’m in Prague right now and shooting wraps up in Montreal in a few weeks… Thank goodness, because I am tired! But I love my role as role as a global jewel thief, and I can’t wait until the film comes out later in the year! Anyhoo, I’ll definitely be there by Leap Year for Jamie’s wedding. And as for Riley, he’s doing well. It’s been a few days since I’ve spoken with him, but his band will wrap up their tour this week… He plans on coming to Montreal so we can spend some time together there, after I finish shooting.”
“That’s nice. I know you said you two have plans to adopt but for crying out loud, when are you two getting hitched?!”
Layla laughed. “You sound like your mother… I’ll tell you what I told her. Marriage ain’t for everyone, and you can include me in that group!” Odessa sighed, which Layla picked up on. “What’s wrong, honey?”
“Oh nothing much… except boys suck Aunt Layla!!”
“Oh dear… it’s one of those things, huh? What’s the problem? Maybe I can help?”
Odessa was about to fill in Layla with a small version of her troubles with The Boy, when she heard a man yelling in the background on Layla’s end. “Layla Williamson, you’re needed on the set, pronto! This is the third time you’re being called! I don’t want to have to say this again!”
Layla sighed. “I’m sorry ‘Dessi but my director beckons with his bullhorn. I’ve got to run before I never work in this town again.”
“It’s okay Aunt Layla, I understand. But I’m so glad you called.”
“Anytime, sweet baby and Happy Birthday, once again. And I hope you cheer up soon. Things will get better, I promise.”
Odessa’s birthday bash went smoothly for the most part. Dressed in a chic v-cut, violet blouse, a cropped black shawl, and a new pair of dark, stylish jeans, she looked the part of a beautiful birthday girl. A nice amount of people from both inside and outside school had come, including a surprise visit from Teddy, which made Kiko a very elated person. Tyler had also come to Llanview, only for the day, bringing a lovely Indian girl he’d been dating for a couple of weeks named Gurpreet, who lived in downtown Philly. Ace had come with them too, but was somewhat letdown when he found out Gisella hadn’t been invited; he would eventually take off for the night to meet up with her. Evangeline, Marcie, and Michael, who was off duty from the hospital, were acting as chaperones, as was John even though he was on call. Other chaperones included her grandmother Eve, who came to town, again, for the celebration, Lindsey Gannon, and Jamie. Sadly for Odessa though was the fact that The Boy hadn’t shown up. She was doing an A-plus job of hiding her emotions, even making excuses for why he wasn’t there. Her biggest test was lying to her parents about his absence. “He sprained his ankle on the stairs at the hotel, and he’s not allowed to walk on it,” she’d said. Nevertheless, the show had to go on. Music, dancing, chowing down on food and cake, some gift-opening and more dancing were some of the activities that took place. There was even an impromptu acoustic performance by Derek playing the guitar and Alec’s (lousy) singing of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ dedicated to Odessa, making everyone, including her, laugh and applause cheerfully at the end. She had been cheered up, but only for the time being. The only glitch that occurred --apart from The Boy’s no-show -- was when a fuse had blown, spooking some of the party-goers. Derek, Randy and Jacob were all trying to be comedic, reciting lines from the cult classic Nightmare on Elm Street films, until Skyler threatened to clock them with the barrel of a fire extinguisher should the lights come back on. “Commissioner McBain, do you hear that?! We’ve got a pre-meditated injury threat being made here, by none other then your niece!” Derek wisecracked. Soon afterwards, a custodial worker sorted out the problem and all was well again.
Finally, towards the end of the party, Odessa couldn’t stand it much longer and went outside in the snow-filled air for a quick breather, as well as to lick some of her internal wounds. She’d walked round to the side of the building, where it was dimly lit, and tried to blink away some tears. “Damnit, ‘Dessa, it’s your birthday… stop being such a loser!” she scolded herself. Then she heard footsteps crunching in the snow behind her. Immediately her guard was up. “Who’s there?!” she cautiously asked as she turned, her fists already in form.
“Don’t worry Babes, it’s only me…” It was The Boy who’d stepped into the dim lights, with an air of sadness around him. As usual he was dressed in dark clothing, including a black trench coat, and he had his black toboggan on, as well. He stopped his tracks and stood at arms length from her.
“You came…” she whispered excitedly, having the urge to up and give him a massive hug and a long kiss and another big squeeze, only to undergo a bout of resentment. She turned around. “I’m not even sure why the hell you’re here now, being that things between us has been a mistake,” she said harshly.
“ Odessa , don’t be like that. Let me explain--"
“Don’t be like what, Tim?? An asshole like you? You avoid me for almost two weeks, and now you show up to my party when it’s practically over!?!… You jerk!! Don’t you dare tell me how I should be, okay!? Because you have no right!!” Odessa hissed.
The Boy stood silent. “You’re right… and I deserved that. I’ve been a jerk and I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?! Tim, you made me feel like a pathetic fool at Llanfair. Trying to make me out to be like some kind of bad guy or something, especially when…” she hesitated to continue. “When I told you how I felt about you… What the hell was I thinking? Go figure, you were too good to be true, because the guy I thought you were doesn’t exist.”
Her words startled The Boy. “I know… I don’t exist,” he said quietly.
Odessa snorted. “Well don’t worry because I didn’t mean what I said to you that night, anyway.” She turned away from him, angrily folding her arms. She knew she didn’t mean that last comment, but she felt the urge to save face.
“You shouldn’t say things you don’t mean, Odessa …”
She turned around fully irate. “HA! You’re one to talk, you clever piece of shit! Or are you just making fun of me, now!? All those beautiful things you’ve ever given to me, said to me, did you ever mean them!? NO! And now you just want to push me away.” Her body was starting to heat up from her worked up anger. “You know what? Just forget it and get the hell outta here!” She laughed bitterly. “To think you told me at Homecoming that you’d never hurt me!” she was close to tears now.
“ Odessa-- "
“Leave damnit! Or I’ll get my dad out here!”
He frowned, contriteness, defeat, and disappointment showing in his face. Odessa felt like recanting her words, for no matter how angry she was at him, she couldn’t deny to herself that she truly did love him. But he’d hurt her and she had to keep her ground and stay strong. I refuse to be made a fool of again by you, Biker Boy!
The Boy spoke up. “Alright… I’ll go, but I have one more thing to give and say to you…” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small gift wrapped-box. He tried to hand it to her but she refused to accept it.
“I want nothing from you, and don’t come near me!” Odessa blurted out, stepping back and faced the other way from him, crossing her arms again.
He was stung again. “Okay, then. Let me just say this… Odessa , I did mean what I said before and still do… I never wanted to hurt you, but I did. I don’t want you to be scared of me, but I feel that you are sometimes… which is why I thought I was doing you a favour by staying away, because, at the end of the day, I’m just a typical screw-up… and I can admit that. But it was already too late because the feeling I had for you had set a long time ago, and it only got stronger and stronger. Never once did I realise that someone as precious as you could fall for someone like me and the thought of that had me scared for you. The moment you told me you loved me, I automatically thought that it’s not right for you to feel that way, and I wanted to protect you from me--"
Odessa finally turned to face The Boy. “Protect me? Tim, what are you talk--"
“Please… let me finish.” She quieted as he continued speaking. “Not surprisingly, me staying away from you was pointless… and selfish. You have no idea how much it was killing me keeping my distance from you, and I couldn’t do it anymore, which is why I’m here now… I think about you all the time, Odessa . What I feel for you is something I felt practically from the moment I first set eyes on you. Of all the drawings of mine you’ve seen, have you ever noticed that there are marked dates only on pictures of you?” Odessa nodded her head. “Well the dates on the one with you under the Angel Square Statue represents the very first day I saw you; the one where it’s just your face is from the day I first saw you up close and personal at the mechanics’; and the one I gave you for Christmas, the date is on the back, representing the first time I ever used colour in my private sketches. But it’s the one where I drew you by the hospital pond, snapping photos of those kids playing ball and the ducks…” He stopped as he stepped closer to her, looking deep into her eyes; he continued. “There was a light around you that day... I could sense something completely passionate about you, something so peaceful that I wanted to be a part of. I’ve said I was jealous of eagles because of what they stand for, but that day I saw you by the pond…” he grew a small grin, “…I was actually feeling jealous of those kids and ducks. I wanted the attention you were giving them.” She was now trembling, and not because of the snowy, cold air. “I’d been taking one day at a time, just hoping everything right -- or what felt right -- would fall in to place, call it fate if you will… The day I finished that picture I just kept staring at it. I had to put a date on it because… even before I really got to know you, it was the day I knew I’d fallen in love with you, Odessa McBain.” Tears spilled from a speechless Odessa , and he wiped them away from her face. “What did I tell you about doing that?” Still looking into her eyes he took a step back from her. He placed the present on the ground next to her. “I know you’re hating my guts, so I’ll go now. But I had to let you know that I’m completely head over heels for you… I’m sorry I ruined your birthday… but I’m even sorrier I hurt you.” With that he turned and walked off in the direction of the nearby Angel Square Hotel.
“Ode, where are you?” yelled a voice from within the Centre.
Odessa ignored the call. “Tim… wait!” she called after The Boy.
He stopped and turned to look at her. “Go back to your party, Bella… They’re missing the birthday girl in there.” And she watched as he walked off into the night.
She picked up the box he’d left for her and slowly opened it up. Revealed was a small but expensive-looking silver locket, beautifully detailed with roses and vines. She opened it up and on the right side was a timepiece; on the other side was an engraving. She read it: “Until the End of Time…” Then she noticed a note that had fallen near her, on the ground. On the note was written:
Happy 18th Birthday, Bella.
I’m replacing your watch that was broken the night of Homecoming. I hope you like it, even though it’ll be tough to tell time from your neck. Anyway, the message inside it says all, my love for you. I hope it’s not too late between us, because I’m nothing without you.
I am so sorry…
“Ode! There you are!” Kiko exclaimed. Odessa quickly wiped her tears away. “What are you doing out here?” She noticed the locket in Odessa ’s hands. “And where’d you get that?”
She smiled weakly. “A certain Biker Boy gave it to me…”
The party was over and after everyone had left and all the cleaning up was done, Odessa had made plans to spend the night with Kiko and Skyler at La Boulet. The girls had talked that night with Odessa disclosing that The Boy had come by the Love Centre, telling them some of what had been said. It was now 1:30 AM and lightly raining outside. Whilst the other two girls had clocked out, she’d been tossing and turning, all the while thinking about her recent encounter with The Boy. She wrote Kiko a little note and put it just underneath her covers. She’d decided to sneak out of La Boulet and drive out to the Angel Square Hotel. The receptionist, Patty, on the graveyard shift was on and Odessa pleaded with her to let her up to The Boy’s room, after the Patty was unsuccessful at getting him on the phone. She could see Odessa was absolutely desperate and felt sorry for her. Patty deemed her harmless so she let her pass. Odessa graciously thanked Patty and ran up to The Boy’s room, knocking frantically on his door. There was no answer. She knocked again loudly until one of the other residents came out of his room, scolding at her. Odessa apologised to him. Where could he be at this hour? Standing there a little wet and cold she didn’t know what to do. Turning his doorknob she was relieved to find it was unlocked. She entered his room calling out his name, but he wasn’t in the room even though both the lamp on his nightstand and his stereo were on. She played around with the radio dial, not really looking for any station in particular. She looked over at his desk and saw that there was a sketchpad out. She figured it to be a new pad as the picture he was drawing was on the very first sheet. The drawing, itself, appeared to be a sketch of her and The Boy, with her sitting on a bench and him lying down, his head in her lap. It was a similar depiction of when they were at the library the day he saved Rosie; the only thing was that it wasn’t complete. And even though their bodies had been drawn, missing were her eyes, and his as well. She noticed there was already date on it: her birth date. Then she heard clomping sounds coming from outside. It was then Odessa realised that his window was open. She saw legs coming down the fire escape and she stepped away from the window when The Boy climbed inside the room. When completely inside he stood there and watched her, a lack of expression on his face. “H-Hi…” Odessa stammered; he said nothing. Then she babbled. “Patty let me come up and I found that your door was open and I came in when you didn’t answer…” His look remained unchanged. Feeling somewhat chilly she shivered and began to sneeze. “A-choo, a-choo, a-choo!”
“Bless you…” He went to his closet, pulled out a thermal blanket. “Take off your coat,” he instructed and wrapped the blanket around her when she did so.
“Thanks…” she said staring into his eyes. Then she noticed something else. “You’re still wearing the chain I got you for Christmas.”
“You couldn’t pay me enough to stop wearing it,” he quietly but firmly responded.
She cleared her throat. “I saw the drawing on your desk… it’s not finished.”
The Boy was reading her, and after a moment of silence he responded. “It might be…” he said sadness in his voice.
Odessa was blinking rapidly. “I… I don’t want it to be… Tim, about what you said earlier… I don’t hate you, and you didn’t ruin my birthday–”
“But I made things more awkward and difficult, Odessa , and I shouldn’t have done that…”
“Baby, there’s nothing like that between us now. Why won’t you let me help you?”
“Because my problems aren’t yours, Odessa ! I need to sort them out myself. But then there is you... I just came from the rooftop thinking about how important you are to me, how much I need you in my life… If it’s not too late, I want to know how I can make things right with you again.”
She smiled at him. “No, it’s not too late. I just don’t want you pushing me away again. Let me be there for you, too. You and I together, I know that’s what right.” Then peering into his eyes, she cradled his handsome face. “And I also know I’m ready for you…”
Realising what she meant The Boy became wary, removing her hand from his face. “Babes, I don’t want you to think you have to prove anything…” he said.
Odessa gently shook her head. Then her voice became firm and smoky. “No, I’m not trying to proving anything… You’ve already been so patient with me all this time… Thank you.” She reached into her purse. “I even bought these, a while back.” She showed him her packet of protection. She brushed her hand against his cheek. “You know, I need you too. It’s a brand new year, and it’s still early enough to kick things off right… So Happy New Year, Baby. I’m ready…”
Chapter 24 follows by email only. Please contact author.