All was quiet in Jocelyn’s head. And the same around her. Without Nadine at school, things were just different. Just as they had been when Nadine had had strep throat in the 7th grade and was out of school for a week. That was the week when Jocelyn had started writing in her journal.
This was something that she started in a time of sorrow. Back then, Jocelyn didn’t have as many friends as she did now, and without Nadine at school, she was suffering. I mean it. She wasn’t really popular now, but compared to how she’d been back then, even Anne Ferns would be popular.
Most people’s journals were addressed as, “Dear Diary”, or in Anne Frank’s usage, “Kitty”, and some people just dated it and skipped the name. Jocelyn was different.
Her journal was written to Nadine. It was a series of letters that she had written over the length of two years, and was over filling. It was pretty much just an ugly old binder that Jocelyn kept adding pages too. She would even write when she had to confess something to Nadine, and didn’t know exactly what to say. No one knew of the journal besides Jocelyn, Nadine, and of course myself. And this was probably for the better.
It was filled with various topics. Rants, poetry, homework questions, the list of people who she had had a crush on in the two years that she’d been keeping the journal. Her period schedule, and silly things like that which might sound silly to anyone but Nadine.
Nadine did nothing like this. She was open, and rather than expressing her feelings in a long heartfelt letter, she preferred the more traditional stance...
... popcorn, “Titanic”, tears, and a three hour phone call. When they were younger, they would watch the Barbie movies, and then graduated to “Titanic”, and then finally “The Notebook”, which Nadine despised, because she was afraid of dying.
Nadine feared death more than anything. And at such a young age, it was tragic, because she had so many years ahead of her. And it seemed to be a topic too deep and dark for a teenager to be so obsessive with.
But back to Jocelyn feeling alone. Nadine had her audition today, and was going to miss half of the school day. Nadine promised that if she got the audition, then she would be home celebrating, and if she didn’t then she would be at school by 5th period.
Time passed, and Jocelyn was starting to wonder what was going on with the audition... so she started a letter.
The letters were part of the reason why Jocelyn lacked the ability to pay attention very well during class. She was too busy wrapped in the works of beautiful words spilling from her mind, to her shoulder, to her elbow, to her fingertips, and out through the ink in the pen that she used to write the letter.
Jocelyn didn’t believe in pencils, which is why she despised math. She was actually very good at math, but was marked down on practically everything for using pen. Mrs. Long should have just learnt to deal with it, because since the 2nd grade when the teacher had confiscated all of Jocelyn’s pens, and forced her to do her work in pencil, there was no improvement.
The door to the classroom opened. It was a student from another class wanting to borrow the stapler. Jocelyn had looked up and her heart sank. Why? Nadine must have gotten the audition. She just must’ve. There would be no other reason for why she was so late.
Why no cheering or a toothy smily on her face? The job was in New York. For three months. What the hell was Jocelyn going to do without her? And Jocelyn had always encouraged Nadine to follow her dreams, but this time it was different. Because her dream was going to separate them, and both of them knew (at least deep down), that this couldn’t be good.
She lifted her pen to write about the secret which she had never wanted Nadine to hear, or in this case, read. The letter was started, “Nad, I need you to know...”, but her sentence was interrupted by the chair to her right being pulled from underneath the desk. She glanced up, and then back down to her letter. She glanced up again in surprise. It was Nadine!
“Hey Joss,” a pet name that Nadine had developed for Jocelyn.
Jocelyn had to take a second to process her relief, “Hey,” she stopped for a second, “Hey Nad”
Nadine smiled her perfectly straight smile that years of dental work had contributed to and said, “So I didn’t make it. They were clear from the beginning. It wasn’t my fault. I’m just too short for the part.”
Jocelyn successfully hid her smile, “Really?! Oh Nad. Are you okay? I’m here if you need anything. Really. Anyth...”, but Nadine cut her off.
“I’m fine really. Honestly, I am way overqualified for the spot anyways. And plus, I could never spend three months away from my Joss - now could I?”
Jocelyn let out a huge sigh of relief. The stress was over. And Nadine was safe and sound in her desk chair at school, next to Jocelyn.
The teacher opened the door and was back from the bathroom. Jocelyn smiled at her own reflection in the window and a mixture of success and self pity for the reason that she had pretty much just jinxed any chance that Nadine now ever had of being a successful actress anywhere. But who ever said that she had to be superstitious... it could have just been a coincidence - right?
As the teacher started to write more formulas on the board, Nadine whispered, “What’d I miss?”
“Not much. In PE we had a free period because the coaches had a teacher meeting. For English, she handed back our quizzes from last week, and we had a work period for the essay on “To Kill A Mocking Bird”. But in history, there was a huge introductory lesson on what we are supposed to do for our projects. You know, the one that you are doing with Sarah Rollins?”
Nadine raised an eyebrow and asked quietly, “What history project?”
“The one that you said you are doing with Sarah Rollins,” Jocelyn replied as if it was obvious.
Nadine lowered her eyebrow back to its natural position, and said, “Oh, remember, I’m doing that one alone. She just wanted to work with me.”
“Yeah,” Nadine sensed a cold sort of bitterness to Jocelyn’s mood and decided on actually paying attention to the class. She began to copy down the formulas from the board, and then remembered the letter that Jocelyn had been writing when she surprised her by walking in, “Joss?”
“Anything that you wrote this morning?”
“Not really. I added someone to the crush list, because I think I’m over Daniel Beckham. But that’s about it.”
“Hmm, who’d you add?”
“Here, look,” Jocelyn handed the binder to Nadine, and motioned to the 3rd page. They had always kept the crush list towards the front, because it was constantly changing.
“Ah, Mark Wilb?” I never knew you liked him!
Jocelyn laughed a little bit. And then answered, “Not really, it’s just a little crush.”
Nadine smiled again. That warm smile in which she hated, but all others loved. She slyly asked, “What about that letter you were writing when I walked in?”
Jocelyn smiled, and looked down at her graph paper trying to seem like she was busy copying down a formula while she decided on her fake reason, “Oh, I was just bored. That’s all. Mrs. Long was in the bathroom and you can’t actually expect me to do my work when she is gone, now can you?”
“Joss, I love you,” and the girls held back their laughter as Mrs. Long began the lesson.
Later that day, Nadine was doing her math homework when she was having trouble with a problem. She wanted an excuse to call up Jocelyn, and decided to pick up the phone and dial.
It rang twice and Jocelyn’s rough voice answered, “Hello?”
“Joss? Don’t you have caller ID?”
“Oh, hey Nad. No, you called the house phone.”
“Oops! Well anyways, I was just doing the math homework, and was wondering if you understoodd number eleven...”
Within ten minutes, their conversation had gone from math, to teachers, to school, to Mark Wilb, and to making fun of Anne Ferns.
Nadine was laying stomach up on her bed and Jocelyn was pacing (as she always does).
Jocelyn’s mom walked in, and the boy talk was over.
“Wait, so it’s pi over 17.612?”, asked Jocelyn.
“What?” Nadine was on speaker phone, and hadn’t realized Jocelyn’s mother’s presence in the bedroom.
Kim Summers was tapping her foot and staring at the telephone. Honestly, I think that Jocelyn was more afraid of her own mother than Nadine.
Nadine’s mother was perfect. Warm, open, and beautiful. Too bad for Shelby Hart, Nadine wasn’t warm, open; but she was beautiful. Very beautiful. Stunning.
Her hair was stick straight, and as long as the wigs that the women wear in Garnier Fructis ads. Her teeth, as I already mentioned, straight and sparkling white. Her eyes were a dark blue. With purple in them. She was shorter than Jocelyn who was average height, but not super short. Nadine wore heels at every chance she got, and designer clothing from outlet malls. She had that vibe around her like in the movies where people felt like she was cold and popular. But she wasn’t. She wasn’t popular, or cold. At least not inside.
Nadine wasn’t cold really. But as I said before, she was private. Her life wasn’t advertised out for everyone to see like Jocelyn’s was. And this made people think that she was cold. She wasn’t. But she wasn’t warm either.
I guess you could say that she was mutual. She was warm to Jocelyn, and sometimes her favorite teacher, but no one else.
Her favorite teacher was for PE. The previous year, he had taught Spanish class, which Nadine aced; and she had grown particularly close to him.
The teacher, Mr. Minch, was almost as physically perfect as Nadine. His hair was flat. But he had so much of it that it appeared to have much volume. His eyes were a dark brown, and melted her soul. He wore collared shirts daily, and dark wash jeans. He had reading glasses, but wore them rarely, because he preferred contacts.
Today he was wearing his pink polo. This was Nadine’s favorite. And she was hysterically crying over the fact that she missed it while she was at her audition. Little did she know a little secret about Jim Minch that pretty much everyone else knew. Jim Minch was gay.
She had grown quite close to him the previous year because he had worked at her and Jocelyn’s middle school, and she had been his favorite student. Always complimenting him. And having conversations with him about her shoes. And it was probably due to her huge crush on him that made her so blind to it.
Nadine was a sharp young woman, but “love” was one of her weaknesses.
She had never truly been in love. And hell, it was too early to be in love. But she wanted it ever so badly. A shoulder to cry on, a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night, and someone who supported her every move. This is why she was so fond of Mr. Minch. He possessed all of these qualities, but she had failed to see the one problem with this, and today was the day she saw it. Literally.
Just a girl...