Where is this damn thing?, Valerie thought while rummaging through her room. Her phone had to be here somewhere she usually didn’t leave it lying around for long. But today she couldn’t find it.
She had looked everywhere: her purse from last night, her dresser, her desk, her… Valerie sighed as she began to accept what she had refused to believe. She had lost her phone at the party with Jenny. Dammit.
In one last desperate attempt she got down on her knees and peeked under the bed – hard thing to do without a phone to use as a light source. The longer you keep looking the more unlikely it gets that you ever find the thing. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and without waiting for Valerie’s answer Jenny stepped in. Valerie got up from her uncomfortable position half under the bed.
She was surprised to see Jenny here. Maybe she found my phone, she thought excitedly.
“Your mom let me in”, Jenny simply said without even greeting her. Valerie was confused but tried to brush it off.
“Nice to see you. Have you by chance seen -”
“This?”, Jenny asked holding Valerie’s phone up.
Valerie nodded, grateful that she didn’t lose the phone at the party after all. She smiled.
“Yes, thanks so much, I was looking for it everywhere!”
She attempted to grab the phone but Jenny pulled it back. Valerie’s smile faltered as she noticed Jenny’s expression – she had one eyebrow raised and did not look happy.
“I found it at the party last night. I wanted to give it to you straight away but I thought you’d lose it again. You had a few drinks”, Jenny said. Valerie didn’t understand. Was Jenny mad about her getting drunk? Jenny hadn’t exactly been abstinent either.
“What’s your point?”, Valerie asked slowly. Jenny’s face hardened.
“You have missed calls.”
Missed calls? By whom? Her mom? Why would Jenny be mad about her mom calling? Who else would be calling – oh no. Valerie’s face must have shown some sign of realization because Jenny looked as if she was about to explode. And Valerie knew that face.
“You said there was nothing going on.”
“There isn’t Jenny, I swear -”
“THEN WHY DOES HE CALL YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. WHY THE HELL DOES HE EVEN HAVE YOUR NUMBER? WHY ARE YOU IN HIS CALL HISTORY ON DAYS HE REFUSED TO SEE ME?”, Jenny burst out.
Valerie almost started crying as the whole weight of the situation came crashing down on her. Almost.
“It’s not what you think, Jenny, just let me explain”, she whispered in an attempt to calm Jenny’s rage.
“You’d better. I’m really curious about what you’ll come up with”, Jenny grumbled. Valerie had no idea what to tell her. Then she realized that this was probably the best chance she would get to tell the truth. The truth about Ethan and his slimy ways. And the truth about her keeping this secret to illegally get into her dream college. About him threatening to expose her if she told Jenny about him.
“I really didn’t want to be the one to tell you this”, she started.
“Tell me what?”, Jenny asked impatiently.
“Ethan and I have been meeting, because…”
“Please don’t make me tell you this, Jenny. It was supposed to be a surprise”, Valerie pleaded in an attempt to avoid what she was about to do – again.
“A surprise? Very funny. Just tell me already”, Jenny angrily insisted.
“We’ve been planning a surprise party for your birthday.”
The lie crossed her lips easily. She had almost done it. She had almost told the truth. But something had stopped her. Jenny’s eyes widened.
“Are you kidding me?”
“We’ve been busy with the preparations… I didn’t know you would misunderstand like this.”
Jenny hung her head.
“I’m so sorry, Val. If I had known…”
“It’s fine”, Valerie couldn’t believe that she was the one forgiving Jenny. “Just pretend to be surprised, okay?”
Jenny’s expression perked up and she actually smiled at Valerie.
“I sure will. A surprise party! He really is the best boyfriend ever. I’m sorry I ever doubted you”, she giggled excitedly.
Valerie’s stomach twisted. I’m the biggest piece of shit ever.
“I’m gonna leave for the gym now. And don’t worry, I know nothing”, Jenny winked. “Oh and here’s your phone.”
She tossed Valerie the phone and walked out. Valerie stood there slowly realizing what she had just done. She quickly dialed Ethan’s number.
“Yes?”, his brash voice greeted her at the other end.
“I really hope you have a nice birthday present for Jenny.”
Next: Chapter 14