Sharon’s Note: Liking someone when you’re young can be confusing. You get confused and you don’t know how to act. It’s part of that whole ‘growing up is hard’ thing. We make a lot of mistakes, but that’s how we learn. It’s scary, but that’s important to get through too. Warning: Author is still working on this growing up thing.
Wendy walked into Jim’s house like she’d been there a thousand times before. She immediately went to the old gray cat that perched in the back of the couch.
“Don’t-” Jim started, but didn’t get the warning out before she started petting the old tom. It was baffling. The cat had belonged to his mother, and since she had died, it had become evil-tempered and attacked anyone who got close to it. Jim’s dad refused to get rid of it, so they just had to live with the furry ball of hostility. When Wendy petted him, the tom purred and headbutted her hand like it was desperate for attention. Jim shook his head. “Okay, apparently he only likes women.”
Wendy raised an eyebrow at him. “Dodger likes you just fine. You’re the one who’s looking at him like he’s the devil.”
“How do you know his name is Dodger?” He was certain that he hadn’t mentioned the cat.
She shrugged. “They may not answer to it, but cats know their name.”
Jim licked his lips. “Did you . . . talk to the cat?”
She laughed, and left Dodger to walk further into the house. “Don’t be silly. Cat’s don’t talk. Now, where’s the shower?”
The house was small, with two bedrooms and only one bathroom. Jim showed her where it was and left her with a couple of clean towels. His bedroom was next to the bathroom, so he sat on his bed and listened to the shower run. He flicked through channels on his tv, trying to play it cool. Finally, he pulled out his phone to look at his messages. There had to be a dozen messages from his friends, first warning him off of Wendy, then asking what was going on. His thumbs paused over the screen. He’d been about to tell them about the girl showering in the room next to him but something told him that it would be . . . tasteless? His dad said that a gentleman didn’t kiss and tell. Not that he had kissed Wendy. Jim’s ears got hot from the idea.
The shower stopped and after a second the door opened. He got up just as Wendy rounded the corner to his door wrapped in a towel. Just a towel. Jim nearly swallowed his tongue.
“Hey, can I borrow some clothes? I went ahead and washed my clothes, and it’s going to take a while for them to dry.” Wendy’s hair, still tangled with ribbons and the bell, hung damp around her face. Her legs looked incredibly long beneath the towel, and were equally freckly.
Jim snapped his eyes up and glued them to her face. He was not a creeper. He really hoped she didn’t see him as a creeper. “We have a dryer, if you want.”
“Awesome.” She bounced a little, and Jim just kept mentally ordering himself to keep his eyes on her face.
Quickly, he grabbed a tshirt and a pair of shorts from his dresser and held them out to her. “Here. I’ll go take your stuff to the laundry room while you get dressed.”
“Thank you. You’re sweet.” She moved in to take the clothes and gave him a peck on the cheek.
His stomach jumped into his chest and he rushed out the door, closing it behind him. He leaned his back against it for a second, mentally cursing himself for flipping out. Taking a deep breath, he pushed away from the door, silently told himself to be cool, then went to grab her things.