Ch.14 Boys and Girl

Nessie POV

I headed out the door of my family's cottage and started my walk towards La Pushe.

The note they had left behind, made it seem like they would not be back until later tonight. I would be able to hang out with my new friends for a little while and come back home before they returned from their hunting trip. My parents wouldn't even have to know that I went out with my new friends.

Being sneaky and secretive seemed to be a new hobby I was developing. My father once said if I wanted to be skilled at something, I must cultivate that skill over time and experience. That was his pretentious way of saying 'practice makes perfect.'

I rolled my eyes. "Well, this is me practicing, dad." I entered the forest around our cottage and began running.

I ran through the woods avoiding any roads. Luckily I didn't encounter any wolves on patrol. I stepped out on the road once I got within viewing distance of La Pushe.

I saw my friends before they saw me. They gathered around Joe's car and another vehicle in the little parking lot.

Suddenly I became very nervous. I stopped walking and stood still. These people that I was approaching were the only fully-humans around my age that I had ever met on my own. They didn't know my name or anything about me. They weren't family and they weren't family friends. They weren't obligated to be my friend or babysitter like everyone else in my life. If I made a bad impression on them, they might not want to be my friend. Or worse, I could make a mistake and reveal my supernatural side.

Negative thoughts ran through my head in rush, preventing me from walking forward. I hadn't realized the importance of this 'hang out' until this very moment. I wanted it be perfect. I think I needed it to be perfect. All the other relationships in my life had started to shift and fracture, so I desperately wished this friend hang would succeed. I may never get the chance to have another, especially if my parents find out I sneaked out.

Was I willing to put myself out there and possibly face rejection from the only normal human peers I had ever met? Could I risk a potential embarrassment and loss? Would it be better for me to turn around and not even put myself into this situation? If I didn't risk myself, then I couldn't get rejected.

Since my confidence in my personal relationships was currently at an all-time low, I thought about returning home. These were the only human friends I had ever made.

Do I go forward or turn back? These two options would yield very different outcomes and I couldn't decide what to do. I was so confident coming here, but now I was so scared to make a choice.

I stayed motionless. I couldn't walk forward, but I couldn't turn around either. I looked at the gathering of people. My eyes scanned the little crowd. I made eye contact with Joseph. He threw his hand up in a welcoming gesture and exclaimed, "Nessa! Come on over."

All the familiar faces I met yesterday turned to look at me and they all gestured me to come.

Suddenly, all the negative thoughts were silenced. I couldn't help but smile. I jogged over to the group.

"So glad you could make it." Joseph chimed.

"I told you she would come." Kat said nudging Joseph with her elbow.

I approached the group and stood next to Kat and Joseph.

Candice looked at me a little concerned. "You look pale."

"White as a ghost." Joseph added.

Kat grabbed my shoulder. "And you're shivering. Are you're cold?"

"Where's your jacket? You must be cold. You didn't bring a jacket?" Joseph asked walking towards me.

I looked up at the sky and saw it was dark and cloudy and a little windy. I wasn't cold, but I understood that a normal person would be cold in this weather. I also looked down at my hands and saw that they were shaking. However, they weren't shaking because they were cold.

I remembered my near nervous breakdown I had experienced only moments ago. I tried shake out arms, as if that would cure my shaking.

"Yeah, I let my jacket in my mom's car. I'm actually freezing." I lied cooly. I made gestures as if I was warming my arms.

Joseph made his way to my side and tried to help warm my arms by rubbing his hands along my arms.

"I can't believe you forgot your jacket. It's basically winter time, too." Joseph said while still trying to warm up my arms.

"I'll guess we'll just have to huddle her like penguins" Candice said.

Joseph replied, "Good thinking. I can hug her from the front, you can hug from her the back, Kat can keep her right side warm and Joe can warm her left side."

Kat and I laughed.

Joseph continued, "Where is Joe?" He yelled in the direction of the other car in the parking lot, "Joe! Get over here!"

Kat laughed. "C'mon guys, I'm sure someone has a spare jacket." She pointed towards the other group and told Joseph, "Let's go and ask one of them."

Kat opened the backseat of Joe's Honda and gestured me to get it. "It'll be warmer in here."

Candice added. "You stay in here until we get you something warm to wear. I'm sure one of those guys would be willing to give their jacket to a cute girl." She closed the door.

I watched her and the others head towards the other group. The other group looked like they might also be high schoolers. Although, the guys in that group looked older than Joseph. One of the guys was wearing a letterman jacket, so he must be an athlete at the high school. There was another guy in a black hoodie he was the tallest in the group. There was a shorter guy and a petite girl and a tall girl who also wore a letterman jacket. They all looked cool. I watched Joseph approached the boy in the letterman jacket with a special handshake. I giggled. Of course, Joseph was friends with everyone.

I couldn't help but giggle to myself thinking about how they wanted to warm me up by huddling like penguins. I thought that Joseph might have a crush a on me because he kept trying to touch me and put his arms around me. But, maybe he was just that friendly with everyone.

I looked down and noticed that my hands had stopped quivering. I think my anxiety and fears of rejection had been defeated by my friends' attempts to keep me warm. Even though, I, the vampire-human hybrid, was perfectly fine in this weather in my jeans and t-shirt, it was nice to be treated so kind by these people I had just met yesterday. I couldn't believe I almost turned around and walked away from this.

I looked up when I heard a knock on the car window. Joe was standing outside the door and opened the door. He didn't bend his head to look at me at eye level. Instead he just stuck out fist that was holding onto a navy colored hoodie. "Here. One of the guys had an extra hoodie."

I was a little caught off guard because he hadn't greeted me since I had arrived. "Thanks" I muttered.

"Don't mention it." He turned around and walked away to join the others.

I quickly pulled the hoodie over my head. The hoodie had a sweet smell. I wondered who's it was. I would like to thank them. Maybe I could be friends with them, too.

I got my body in the oversized hoodie and rushed over to join everyone.

Joseph introduced me to the three guys and two girls. The tall boy in the black hoodie was Joe's older brother. He was a freshman in college and lived in the dorms there, but he came back into town at least once a week. I could seem some resemblance between the two brothers. They were both tall, had dirty blonde hair and both were very relaxed. Although Tom, Joes' older brother, was a bit more talkative and friendly.

The boy in the letterman's jacket name was Dean. He was a football player. He was handsome and cool. Even though, he was a senior in high school, he was good friends with Tom. They used to be surfing buddies.

Everyone else in the group were also seniors at the high school. They also appeared to be good friends with Dean.

Surprisingly they were easy to talk to. Tom and Dean's groups had to leave, but before they left, Dean invited everyone to "a low-key kickback."

I admitted, I didn't know what "low-key kickback" meant and everyone laughed.

"You really are homeschooled." Dean chuckled. "It's a party. But a chill one, where only cool people get invited. So, don't bring any plus ones."

I felt a little embarrassed asking for the clarification, but excited to be invited to my first high school party.

"I'll text you all the details in a couple weeks." He started to walk away, but then turned around. "Oh wait, I don't have your number." He looked to me.

I smiled at him, "Dean, I'm homeschooled, remember, I don't have a cellphone." Everyone laughed at my joke.

"Don't worry Dean we'll keep her updated." Joseph reassured.

That group left but our group remained.

I started having a conversation with Candice while the others were helping Joe search for something in his car trunk. She liked to talk a lot, but I didn't mind because I got to learn a lot from what she said. Apparently, her and Joe used to date. But, now they are just friends. She mentioned that he's known for winking at everyone. She talked about how embarrassing Joseph was because of his obvious crush on me. She also talked about Dean's groups and how they are all popular at the school. She also mentioned that Dean is good at playing football and how he's going to go to college on a football scholarship. I was impressed. I think she noticed because she asked me, "Is there anyone you like?"

I clarified, "Oh, no. I don't like Dean. I just think it's amazing that he gets to have his college paid for because of his football skill."

She laughed, "Sure." She gave me a sly smile. "You should come to one of the games to see him play."

"Yeah, that would be fun." I responded.

"So if you don't like Dean, who is your type? Joseph? Joe?"

I started to get a little flustered by her sudden questions. I saw Kat, Joseph and Joe returning from car, walking back to us.

"Uh, I don't like any of those boys." I said quickly. I didn't want Joseph and Joe to hear my answer to her question. I didn't want to hurt Joseph's feelings if he did like me and I didn't to jeopardize my new friendships with everyone.

She raised her eyebrows, "Oh, do you not like boys?"

I looked away from her and felt my face get hot.

Kat, Joseph and Joe had arrived back and were all looking at Candice with a disapproving look.

"Really, Candice we leave alone with her for one minute and you're already asking her sexual preference." Kat said, shaking her head.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. Shame on you." Joseph said while making a hand gesture shaming her.

Joe added. "Don't mind her questions. She's a big flirt."

Joseph cupped his hands around his mouth, looked at me and said, "she doesn't have a preference."

Everyone laughed and joined them. I felt a bit embarrassed, but the laughing helped me feel more comfortable.

Just as the laughter started to die down, I saw a familiar figure come out of the forest. It was Leah and she was walking towards me at a speed that was extremely fast. I stopped laughing.

Leah was starting to be the bearer of bad news. I braced myself for whatever was about to happen.

My friends looked to where I had been looking and saw Leah approaching us. Joseph blurted, "Woah, she's hot."

Leah heard his comment and made eye contact with him for a second, but then looked back to me.

He whispered, "but she's kind of scary."

Kat nudged him in his side with her elbow to shut him up.

"A word?" Leah said while approaching me. She continued to walk past me. I followed her.

"Your mother asked me to get you." She said flatly.

I thought Leah was my friend, but unfortunately she was also my parents friend.

I knew my fun was over. "I'll say goodbye."

"Okay. I'll wait for you across the street."

I returned to my friends, "I have to go."

"Is everything okay?" Candice asked.

"I'm not sure." I answered looking down.

"Okay, well, I hope everything will be okay." Kat echoed.

Kat then gave me an encouraging hug. Candice, Joseph and Joe did the same.

When Joe embraced me in his arms, I recognized his scent. His scent was the same as the scent of the hoodie I was wearing. He had the same exact sweet smell. I was wearing his hoodie.

I was so caught off guard by this discovery I almost didn't hear him say, "I hope you can make it to the kickback."

I looked up to make eye contact with him. I noticed he wasn't wearing a jacket. He only had a flannel and a beanie. "I didn't realizeā€¦Thanks for letting me wear your hoodie."

"Oh." He cocked his head to one side. "I said it was one of the other guys' hoodie. How did you figure out it was mine?" He asked curious.

I responded, "Lucky guess." He smiled. "Oh, here, I don't need it anymore." I started to raise my arms to take the hoodie off, but he put his arms on mine and told me, "No, that's fine. You can keep it until the next time I see you. Besides, it looks better on you." He winked and started walking backwards towards his car that everyone was entering.

I felt my heart flutter.