April 9, 20xx
The alarm on my phone went off. I tried to ignore it, but there was no help for it. I had to get up and deal with the day. It couldn’t be worse than yesterday could it? Wait, don’t answer that. I don’t want to think like that.
Surprisingly, Savvy was already up and ready to go, just sitting on her bed drawing or something. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. I was further shocked when I actually got an apology. At first, I was a little confused about what, but then I realized she thought her grumpiness yesterday had upset me. I yawned to cover up a giggle. Daddy was the king of surly behavior. Beyond realizing she was in a pet, I hadn’t really thought anything of it. I quickly accepted her apology though before she thought I was laughing at her.
I scrambled off the bed and into the shower, already feeling in a better mood, despite the bad case of bedhead I’d gotten. I set the phone on the sink counter to play while I was in the shower, and one of my favorite songs by the Wanted came on (one that fits my current opinion on love pretty well too), and I started singing along at the tail end of the second verse, where it goes “We forgive, never forget?” And I got all the way to the interchorus where it repeats “This love is sewn,” over and over again.
And that’s when my brain finally woke and started connecting dots I had been ignoring.
Loretta was dating Josh, but she was also very obviously after Justin, even warning other girls away from him. What was she doing? Leading the poor boy around by the nose? Was he as oblivious to her very obvious wants as Mr. Moorland?
I rather viciously scrubbed the shampoo out of my hair, but it wasn’t really working to get the anger out. No, I was absolutely furious. How could she do that to such a nice boy? I mean, he was being a jerk at the moment, but that was because he was being loyal to a girlfriend who was going to drop him like a stone the instant Justin showed her a lick of interest! I snapped the water off, needing to get moving or else I was liable to explode.
Even out of the water, my mood didn’t improve as my thoughts kept turning in a circle, making my heart ache for Josh and at the same time making me want to slap Loretta. I rapidly flipped through music on my way out the door, needing something that at least somewhat reflected my mind. All I found was Stirling’s Elements, which worked for now. If I calmed down enough, I could practice fingerings too, I thought.
I didn’t calm down. Slamming drawers and brushing my hair particularly hard didn’t help, but it at least made me feel moderately productive in my anger. I muttered under my breath, forcing my hair into another braid since it was still wet. I grabbed the sailor shirt I bought the other day at Fort Pinta to wear over the denim today, since I was too upset over other people’s stupidity to fret over old emotional scars.
A knock came at the door as I was making my bed. Savvy got untangled from her business before I did, and opened it up to let Nikki in. I had just tucked Zizzy away, so imagine my surprise when I turned around…and Nikki wasn’t blonde anymore! I blinked, startled, but she had apparently dyed most of her hair back to her root color and then streaked the rest in a dark reddish purple.
It didn’t break me out of my temper though. I shoved my feet into my boots with a grumble, still not happy, but I at least reached over and turned off the phone so it would quit bothering them. I’m grateful that they didn’t comment on it, in retrospect. We left to grab breakfast, and even though my stomach was all knotted up, I grabbed a muffin. I didn’t eat much of it, mostly just ripped it into bitty pieces, but I managed a few bites between sips of tea.
Savvy got Nikki talking more about herself, which thankfully wasn’t too hard. She talked a bit more about her life at the circus, where apparently she was part of the horse act with her sister right now but was trying to get her own act, while her parents were a sort of seg-way act between different ones. She talked a little about music and color, other non-consequentials. It kept me from having to make small talk, so I was not protesting, though I dread when my turn to spill comes up.
Out in the stable, I think the horses and ponies sensed my upset. Both the baroness’s horses and my own gave me second looks. Evening went so far as to stamp his foot and demand that I pay attention to him before I moved on to Bright. I blew out my breath and rested my forehead against his. It helped me a little, at least, to have him so concerned. I felt Bright nudging my hip, making it clear that he was just as worried, he was just too short to hug me at the same time. Finally no longer so hot, I set out to get Bright ready to leave and catch up with the others.
Savvy and Nikki talked the entire way to Moorland, mostly about things that Nikki could look up in Jarlaheim. I stayed quiet, trying to decide what to do when I saw Josh. Should I call him a bloody idiot for trailing around after Loretta while she was making eyes at someone else? No, too cruel. And too obvious, if he didn’t already know then he was an idiot for that too. Before I could make up my mind, we’d reached polebending and Savvy had greeted Josh.
He looked so surprised to see us. I didn’t dare look at him for long, I’d melt and I was still mad at him for ignoring me yesterday. I turned my head to the side and stuck my chin up, refusing to acknowledge him. I managed to maintain it while the others ran the races, only taking glances at him out of the corner of my eye.
He shouldn’t be allowed to be that cute and taken. It wasn’t fair.
They refused to leave me alone with him, which I’m not sure if I’m thankful for or not. I probably would have folded like a bad poker hand if left to my own devices, so I suppose I’m grateful. Nikki left us to take up her thread of the investigations, and Savvy took the opportunity to remind me that I couldn’t ignore him forever. I wilted a little and nodded. I knew that, I did. I just…wasn’t sure what to do yet.
She brought up the disco and there maybe being other boys there. I suppose that work for anyone else, but… Well, Josh was the first one who showed any sign of interest in me (or what I thought had been signs of interest), and the first I’d had any real kind of response to. But I would like to dance, and I managed to mutter that. As long as I didn’t get put into a position to embarrass myself, it could be fun.
The pony race was fun, and Bright rather enjoyed himself. I think he actually likes ducking between those narrow fences. And to avoid Savvy getting grumpy again, I said I wanted to stop at Silverglade to check the mail. I flushed when Savvy poked a neat little hole in the fact there was no way I had a response waiting for me, but I just pushed it off as wanting to check. Bright and Star were both eager enough for the trip.
I barely paused at the post office window. Derek barely caught a glimpse of me, since I could see already that Mummy’s blue-flower-printed stationary or Daddy’s plain dark teal wasn’t there, and Mrs. Kettle would wait a little longer before risking a letter to me. So I turned Bright right around and went to check out one of the nearby shops. I gave Savvy plenty enough time to flirt, dithering over what I thought Evening might like (since Bright just flicked his ears, I think he liked what I liked).
Finally, I couldn’t stall anymore and called her name to get her attention so we could go back for the horses. Savvy hummed a song I didn’t know all the way back, making me smile a little. At least one of us was going to have a summer romance, it seemed.