Chapter 4: Explanations
When we were finally released from detention, Erik walked with me to my unruly locker and even managed to finally get it open for me. I'm hesitant to even use it considering it took all day for me to get into it. We walked together out of the school and Erik took my hand and pulled me closer. "I should have called - as soon as I knew?" he said, somewhere between a statement and a question.
"Yes." I replied simply. I paused for a moment and then smiled. "But I'm glad you're here."
He pulled me even closer and gave me a lingering kiss. "Good, because I'm going to ask you out for Friday night." he said with a grin.
I smiled at him and held back a laugh. "I'll have to check my calendar." I teased.
"You do that." he said. "Can I walk you home?"
"You live on the the other side of town from me Erik." I said. "Thanks though." I gave him another quick kiss and headed down the school steps. As I neared the street I turned and looked back. "Don't forget to do your assignment!" I called and blew him a kiss.
It took me about half an hour to get back to my house, the whole way I could see Todd walking just a ways ahead of me, pointedly ignoring my presence. I sighed but didn't push the issue. I saw my dad's car in the driveway so I called out to him when I got home. "I'm home!" I said. Before I had a chance to move he came out of the study looking upset.
"Detention?!" he said bluntly.
I grimaced and looked away. I didn't try to explain and walked past him into the kitchen to grab a snack.
"It's no big deal Daddy." I said into the refrigerator.
"No big deal?" he asked surprised. "Ginny, you've never had detention in your life and you got it on your first day of high school. I wouldn't say that's no big deal."
Delaying as long as I could, I came out of the fridge with ice cream but as soon as I shut the fridge door I realized I didn't really want it. I set it down and looked anywhere by my dad's face. "I'm sorry Daddy....I just..." I paused. "I'm sorry."
"You're sorry? That's all you've got?" he asked.
I shoved the ice cream back in the freezer and walked past him once more. "What more do you want Dad?" I asked walking into the living room. I hoped, rather than believed, that he wouldn't follow.
"An explanation Ginny. Stop walking away from me and stop avoiding the issue!" he said in his authoritative, parent voice I didn't hear often. I stopped walking and turned to face him.
"Well?" he prompted after a few moments of silence.
"I was talking in class and passing a note." I said simply.
He paused to consider that. "Okay. Why? And to who? What was so important it couldn't wait until after class?"
"Erik...Erik...and Erik." I said answering each of his questions.
"What about Erik? You were telling someone about him?" he said misunderstanding me.
"No. I was passing a note to Erik about Erik and it was important because...well he's Erik." I said.
"Erik's in Vermont." he said clearly looking confused.
I just shrugged and looked over my shoulder briefly. "I've got homework Daddy, can we talk about this later?" I asked. Before he could reply I turned and headed for the stairs. Of course he followed me.
"No we cannot talk about this later, we can talk about it now young lady." he said as we neared my room. I led the way in. I stopped finally and turned to him. "Erik came back, he moved in with dad. So he'll be here indefinitely." I explained.
My dad looked stunned, and a bit disappointed I noticed. It took him a few moments to process everything. "Okay, and he's in one of your classes. I take it he didn't tell you he was moving back?"
I nodded in reply. "It was quite a shock to walk into first period history and see him there. Especially after the incident with Todd."
"What about Todd?" my dad asked latching onto something familiar.
I tilted my head a bit and considered. "Oh we just had a misunderstanding. Things changed over the summer." I said a bit sad.
My dad nodded, in thought. "I don't like it." he finally said.
"Don't like what Daddy, you have to be more specific." I asked, now the confused one.
"Erik, Erik being back." he said bluntly.
I was stunned. He barely knew Erik! "Excuse me? You should be happy for me!"
He seemed to be calculating his words. "I don't like you seeing Erik." he said finally. "This summer, you spent almost every moment with him. It's too much."
I was speechless for several moments but he didn't continue. When I finally recovered my speech, it was halted and sputtering. "You, you didn't say....anything about it. What are you talking about?"
"I knew he was leaving after the summer..." he said. As soon as he saw the pain and anger cross my face he seemed to regret his words. "Ginny, I just think...you shouldn't spend so much time with just him. You have other friends."
"And none of them were even HERE this summer. Erik makes me happy! Isn't that a good thing?!" I said, starting to yell.
"Of course but they're back now - just don't give up your friends for him." my dad said.
"I don't recall having given them up on the FIRST DAY I've seen them in three months!" I retorted. "And I don't plan to, but I love Erik."
"You're 15, Ginny! You don't kno...." he trailed off.
"I don't what Dad? I don't know what love is?" I asked angry and hurt. I shook my head and finally dropped my backpack on the floor. "You don't even know Erik Dad, you're not qualified to decide whether I can spend time with him or not!" I pushed past him and ran out to the yard. When I got there I wasn't sure where to go exactly but spotted my old childhood playhouse and went in to hide.
I was hugging my old teddy bear when I heard a light knock on the door. I put the bear down quickly and looked toward the door and saw Todd. "Todd." I said holding back tears directed mostly at my dad.
He closed the door behind him. "I saw your light on. You don't come in here any more so..."
"You came to check on me?" I asked with a small smile, I scooted over on the couch so he could sit as well.
"Yeah." Todd said sitting next to me. We sat together in silence for a few minutes. "I'm sorry Ginny. I'm sorry for not calling, I'm sorry for assuming, I'm sorry for today."
I nodded, blinking back more tears. "Why didn't you call or email Todd? We've been friends since kindergarten..."
"I know, I should have. I just..." he paused and looked away. "You're always there for me, you always forgive me. No matter what else changes - you and I - we're always the same and I guess.....I figured it would always be like. You and me."
I didn't say anything and didn't look at him. After several minutes of silence I looked at him and smiled a bit.
"Do you remember when we used to play house in here?" I asked.
"Yeah." he said with a smile. "We were always married and had like twelve children - every baby doll you owned."
"And they were all named with either Todd or Ginny!" I said with a laugh.
"Right!" he said laughing with me. We laughed for a few minutes and then the silence returned. "Are we gonna be okay?" he asked starting to put his arm around me, like we'd done many times as friends. He hesitated, waiting for me.
I nodded and leaned into him just a little. "Yeah I think we will be Todd."
I pulled away just a little to look at his face. "But you have to try to be nice to Erik."
He looked forward and didn't say anything. "Do you love him?" he said, still not looking at me.
"Yes." I said honestly. "And I love you - although not the same way." I added.
Todd just nodded. "Okay, I'll try to be nice."
"Thanks Todd." I said leaning back against him. We just stayed together in silence for awhile.
"Gin?" he said, still looking at the wall of play house.
"Yeah Todd?" I asked looking toward him.
He turned to look at me and said nothing. He seemed to be considering something so I didn't interrupt but looked at him questioningly.
"Todd?" I asked trying to prompt him to say whatever he wanted to say.
He didn't reply, just went on looking at me. Then, without much warning, he leaned in and kissed me.
Our lips connected for one second, two seconds before my brain caught up and I pushed him away. "Todd! No! I won't...."
"Ginny! I'm sorry!" he said flustered. "I....I really am sorry."
I didn't say anything and scooted to the other side of the couch, folding my hands in my lap.
"Ginny?" he prompted me for a reply. When I didn't speak he continue. "Ginny please? Talk to me."
I bit my lip and looked at him. "I think you should go home Todd." I said barely above a whisper. My eyes were ready to fill with tears once again.
He nodded and stood. "Right." he looked at me and then the door and then back at me. "I'm sorry again." he said and turned to leave. I watched him go while holding back the waterworks.
"Goodbye Todd." I said softly as the door clicked shut.