Broken Frames, Torn Pictures Chapter 9

“You said the same thing about him treating me badly.” I responded. “I’m sorry, but I’m sorta beginning to think I’m not just another person he dislikes.”

Thalassa seemed genuinely concerned. “Why do you think that?”

“Well, before your last show, he told me to stop hanging out with you.”

She frowned down at the float. “He never told me about that.”

That’s because he’s trying to drive me away. I wanted to say something, but Thalassa seemed to really love her dad. Saying something like that seemed a bit rude.

“Do you think he’s trying to scare you off?”

I hesitated. “I think so, yeah.”

“I’ll have to talk to him about that. I’m almost 18, I can make my own decisions!” Thalassa turned to look me straight in the eye. “You think so too, right?”

“Of course.”

“Ugh I cannot believe my father! He’s always butting into my business. He says it’s in my ‘best interest’, but there’s nothing wrong with spending time with you. If anything, I feel less lonely now!”

Wait, what? “You were lonely before?”

Thalassa looked over. There seemed to be a sort of raw pain behind her eyes. “…Of course I was. Didn’t I ever tell you why I was home schooled?”

I shook my head.

“Well…” Thalassa ran a shaking hand through her hair. “People would call me a freak just because I performed magic. They would tell me I was going to Hell, or say stuff like, ‘I bet you’d make your clothes disappear if I paid you enough’ and… other things like that. I tried to ignore it, but it gets hard to ignore such hurtful things if someone’s constantly saying it over, and over again. My father took me out a few years ago.”

“Why’d you decide to go back to public school, then if everyone was so terrible to you?”

“I was lonely at home too. I didn’t have any friends, and my tutor was as dull as a can of white paint. In my mind, at least I had a possibility of making some friends… and I guess I was right. I met you, after all.” Thalassa looked down at her clasped hands. “To be honest, I’ve been watching you play guitar for a while before I invited you to that first show. There was a pain in your eyes that… reminded me a lot of myself. You seemed to have a story to tell, just like me. I haven’t heard the whole version of yours, but I’m putting the pieces together slowly, but surely.” She looked up expectantly.

“I… never realized that happened to you.” I said quietly. “You-you hide it so well.”

Thalassa smiled weakly. “I’ve been practicing for a few years now. You’re pretty good at it yourself.” She lightly punched my shoulder. “But I don’t fall for your usual tricks.”

“I didn’t even realize I had any tricks.” We sat in silence for a few moments. Thalassa seemed like she had something she wanted to say. Finally, she spoke.

“So, prom’s coming up.” She was twiddling her thumbs.

I raised an eyebrow. “What prompted that comment?”

“Well, there’s this guy at my school who asked me to be his cover up.”

“Why?”

“Because he’s gay, and he thought I was a lesbian. I guess he figured we could help each other out.”

“Are you a lesbian?”

“No, he just thought I was because according to him I’m ‘too pretty to not have a boyfriend’. I guess he doesn’t know that I’m a freak.” Thalassa laughed bitterly. “I took it as a compliment, and he seems pretty nice. Him and his boyfriend sit with me at lunch so I have someone to talk to now.”

“Looks like you’re makin’ some friends then.”

“Yeah, but I wish I could hang out with some girls too. I’m tired of being friends with only guys.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I used to be the same way. It’s nice after a while, but eventually, I wished I could talk to the guys. Someone who would get what it’s like to get a random bon-” I’ve said too much.

“It doesn’t seem like you need a guy around to talk about your boners.” Good god, she’s laughing at me…

My face had probably turned the color of a tomato by now. “I didn’t mean to say that.” That made her laugh even harder. By the end of the day I’d probably reduce myself to a living, breathing joke.

“You’re adorable when you’re embarrassed.”

My embarrassment gave way as a frown crossed my face. “I’m not adorable, you’re adorable!” And now I was digging myself into an even deeper hole. One that barely had a chance of me escaping.

Thalassa raised an eyebrow. “I see the whole truth is coming out today.”

I hid my face, hoping Thalassa would just change the subject. Hopefully, I wouldn’t open my mouth again and tell her all about how I just wanted to stare at her perfect face for a few hours, or how I really wanted to kiss her right then and there. That would be an immediate death sentence. Especially considering how she thinks of me as just a friend.

“What else is going on in that head of yours?”

God dammit! “N-nothing.”

“I didn’t take you for an air head.”

“Ugh! You know what I meant.” Maybe I didn’t need to all of my secrets to make myself look like an absolute idiot.

Thalassa just laughed. “I know, I’m just teasing you.” She looked down at her watch. “I should probably get going. My father’s going to be waiting and I need to talk to him.” Thalassa and I walked out of the diner after paying our bill. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Thalassa began walk away.

“Hey, wait.” Why did I say that?

“Hm?” Oh god, I’m going to embarrass myself even more.

“You forgot something.”

“I did?” Thalassa panicked and started digging around in her purse.

“Yeah,” I leaned forward and stood on my tip-toes to land a quick peck on her cheek. Thalassa blushed the deepest shade of red I had ever seen, then looked back at me.

“Is that how we’re saying goodbye?”

Okay Jove, just play it off as a joke. She clearly didn’t take it the way you intended. “Yeah… in Great Britain, kissing someone on the cheek-“

Thalassa pulled me towards her and kissed me. Right then and there. Straight on the lips. I was beginning to see who had the real pair of balls between us. “Bye!” And then she just turned and started walking away, as if nothing had happened.

I recovered from the shock of just kissing the prettiest girl I’ve ever met, and said the most charming thing I could think of, “can we do that again?”

Thalassa just smiled, tapped the face of her watch, and shook her index finger in the air. God, she’s such a tease.

. . .

Apollo had been dropped off at Jove’s house on Sunday, much to Jove’s delight. Apollo seemed to be happy about it as well.

“How was your visit with your mother?”

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