#Chapter 192: A Little Accident
“Nina?” Jessica asked, finally making me tear my gaze away from the door where the two new transfer students had just disappeared through. “Knock knock. Anyone in there?”
I shuddered as I came back to my senses and turned back to face Lori and Jessica, who were looking at me with concern. “Sorry,” I said, forcing a fake smile. “Just got a little distracted.”
“I’ll say, ,” Lori replied, pursing her lips. “You have got to stop staring at that new guy. His girlfriend is gonna get pissed.”
I nodded and headed back to the fitting room. “I know,” I replied. “I’ll stop.”
But as I took off the black dress and changed back into my regular clothes, then paid for the dress at the counter, I still couldn’t quite get my mind off of what I had seen in the mirror. As the boy and I locked eyes, it really did seem as though his face was morphing into Enzo’s. And for a moment, I swore that he recognized me, too. But as soon as I turned around, he looked nothing like Enzo again, and he didn’t seem to
recognize me at all anymore. Maybe I needed therapy or something, because this was getting out of hand. Lori was right; if I kept staring at that boy every time I saw him, his girlfriend would certainly start to get suspicious -and I didn’t need another Lisa on my hands.
After we bought our dresses, Lori, Jessica and I made our way over to the cafe to enjoy some coffee and pastries. It was just like it used to be – if I pushed my strange familiarity with the new boy, my apparent looming insanity over losing Enzo, and the fact that a quarter of the stores on this little shopping strip were boarded up
because of the Crescent attack. Then at least I was able to pretend that everything was normal.
As we stepped into the coffee shop, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. The two new students weren’t here, so I was able to just focus on enjoying coffee and pastries with my friends. We ordered our food and sat down, and I couldn’t help but smile a bit as Jessica prattled on about how excited she was for the dance and how good we all looked in our dresses. In a way, I almost felt like I was in high school again and as though it was the day before prom. I also couldn’t deny the fact that I was excited as well to have a bit of fun – not to mention the fact that the fundraising from this dance would be good for our campus.
The three of us were sitting together and chatting, however, when I suddenly felt someone bump into me. Something warm and foamy soaked not just my lap, but also the bag that contained my brand new dress.
“Oh!” an unfamiliar voice said from beside me as mine and my friends’ eyes widened. “Sorry! It was just a little accident!”
I slowly turned and looked up to see none other than the new transfer student standing beside me. She was staring down at me with a cardboard coffee cup in her hand – which was now empty – and although she apologized, she didn’t actually seem regretful at all. In fact, when I looked into her eyes, I could tell that she did it on purpose. There was a hint of vindictiveness there that was almost too familiar. Almost like…
I swore, for the briefest of moments,
that it really was Selena. I could see it in
her eyes. The way she looked at me was too familiar, too full of hate.
But before I could say anything, her appearance quickly faded back to that of the new girl. I blinked a few times, feeling confused. But by then, Jessica had apparently already decided to stand up for me herself.
“A little accident?” Jessica said, standing. “I saw you coming! You totally did that on purpose!”
The new girl pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. “I did not! There’s a rug here. See? I tripped on it.”
“Bullshit,” Jessica growled. “And you ruined her brand new dress. You should buy her a new one; not only that, but you should also feel sorry, because her boyfriend just-”
“It’s fine!” I suddenly interjected, standing and dabbing at myself with my napkin. “Let it go, Jessica. It’s just a dress.””It’s not just a dress,” Jessica insisted, her hands balled up into fists at her side. “You needed this, Nina. And she just ruined it, totally on purpose.”
“Jess,” Lori said, nodding her head toward the barista, who was walking our way with an angry look on her face. “Calm down.”
The barista walked up to all of us then and folded her arms across her chest. ” You four are disturbing the peace,” she said. “If you can’t break it up and calm down, then I’m going to have to ask you to leave. All of you.”
“I’m sorry,” I muttered. “We’re sorry, I mean. We’ll be quiet.”
“Thank you.” The barista walked away then. The new girl, who now looked nothing like Selena, flipped her hair over her shoulder and stormed out with a hmph, leaving Lori, Jessica and I standing by our table in stunned silence.
Jessica, grumbling to herself, walked around to my side of the table and reached into the bag to retrieve my dress. When she held it up, it was certainly ruined. The coffee left a big, brown stain right on the front. Even though the dress was black, it was still made of silk; and I knew that I would never be able to get a coffee stain out of it.
“That little bitch,” Jessica muttered, to
which I shook my head. “What?” she said. “I saw that she did it intentionally. She walked right up to you and practically just… dumped her entire coffee onto you. I swear there was even a smirk on her stupid face. You saw her, didn’t you, Lori?”
Lori nodded. “It did seem intentional,” she replied. “Nina… This is why you can’t keep staring at that new guy. We don’t know these people. You don’t know what they’re capable of. They could even be Crescents, for all we know.”
“It’s alright,” I said. I took the dress out of Jessica’s hands and put it back in the bag, blinking back tears as I did so. I wouldn’t be able to buy a new dress; I didn’t have the money. I would have to wear one of my old dresses that I had in my closet, but it was okay. At the very least, I learned something new — and it wasn’t just that I learned not to stare at other girls’ boyfriends.
That day, when I stared into that girl’s hateful eyes, I swore she really looked just like Selena. But I knew that it was a crazy notion, and pushed the thought away; why would Selena even want to come back to Mountainview with Enzo if she was specifically trying to keep Enzo away from me? It simply didn’t make sense.
Maybe I really did need help after all. I was clearly beginning to see things caused by my stress and constant exhaustion, and if I didn’t get help for these hallucinations soon, I would not only likely have a complete mental breakdown, but I would also piss off the new girl even more for relentlessly staring at her boyfriend.
I had to let go of the notion that Enzo had returned. It was only making my heartache even worse.