Interim
Author:S. Walden

So. Much. Ish.

 

I don’t even know where to begin. First, I did it. I did it! I wore what I wanted, and I didn’t care at all what Brandon said. And trust me: he said A LOT. All damn day. But I didn’t care, and it felt sooo good to not care. I felt myself coming alive. How’s that for melodrama? But seriously. There I was: Regan. The real Regan. It was more than just an outfit, you know? It was a statement about me—who I really am. I felt alive and happy and confident. It was just the coolest feeling. It’s like the moment I clipped in that hair extension, all the broken wires in my brain repaired themselves, and I could see myself clearly. All I needed was the right connection.

 

Another high? Soccer practice. We scrimmaged today, and I’ve never played so well. Why couldn’t the scouts be there this afternoon? Why am I always better when there’s the least amount of pressure? I wish I could be that kid who performs her best under intense pressure. I mean, I don’t normally choke, but we all remember last year . . .

 

Which leads me to the third high. The inappropriate high. My heart nearly stopped when I saw him today. You know who I’m talking about. Jeremy Stahl. I don’t know what happened. All I know is that he emerged from the darkness of all those oversized, black clothes he wore last year, and I saw him today. Like, really saw him. Like he wasn’t afraid to be seen. I don’t get it. The kid used to skulk around all tucked into himself, and now he’s just out there. I’m talking a normal-sized T-shirt. I don’t think I’ve seen his arms since we started high school. Did they always look like that? And now his scar is pierced, too. He has this metal rod sticking through it. It’s totally badass. He’s this hot, muscly, pierced badass, and I have a boyfriend. So unfair.

 

I won’t lie. I watched him in secret all day. I made sure he didn’t see. I certainly don’t want him thinking I’m some obsessed psycho. Because, hello, I’m not! But what else am I supposed to do with his lip ring, huh? Yeah, that’s right. Scar piercing AND lip piercing. Can we talk about this silver lip ring for a moment? Hello, where did you come from and why do I wanna lick you so badly? Are you hearing this? I’m so fucking weird. I see this lip ring and my initial instinct is to run up to it and lick it. I wanna lick this guy’s lip ring. I can’t stop typing it—!

 

Her hands jerked at the sound of her phone. She didn’t want to talk to anyone but her laptop, and glanced at the screen: Casey.

 

“Ugh.”

 

She let it go to voicemail. Casey didn’t leave a message. She called again.

 

“Really?”

 

Regan froze on the bed. She thought Casey knew her well enough to suspect that she was right there beside her phone avoiding the call. Maybe if she lay perfectly still, she could trick her.

 

Voicemail. No message. A third call.

 

“Gahhhh!!!!” Regan punched the speaker phone button. “What?!” she barked. “I love you, but what?!”

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Trying to write!”

 

“Write what? We don’t have a writing assignment.”

 

“Just stuff, Casey. God.”

 

Pause.

 

“Are you back to writing those cheesy poems?”

 

Regan went hot all over.

 

Casey sighed. “Regan, I thought we talked about this.”

 

“I’m not writing poetry!”

 

“That one about the rainstorm . . .”

 

“Hush!” Regan giggled.

 

“And the ticking clock in the middle of that mountain thing . . .”

 

Regan burst out laughing. Casey followed suit.

 

“It was a metaphor for being trapped!”

 

“It was something. That’s for sure,” Casey replied.

 

Regan guffawed, rolling onto her back and clutching her stomach. She couldn’t catch her breath. Casey laughed just as hard on the other end. Probably crying. Casey cried when she laughed hysterically.

 

Regan wasn’t sure how long they wasted minutes laughing over her poetry phase, but she was happy she answered the call. That journal entry was getting too intense, and she couldn’t be wholly sure she wouldn’t have gone straight into writing an explicit sex scene starring Jeremy as her gentle, misunderstood, first-time lover. How embarrassing.

 

“Okay, okay,” Casey breathed. “You good?”

 

“I . . . I think so,” Regan wheezed.

 

“Can you talk for a second?”

 

Regan took a deep breath. “Sure.” She flipped her laptop closed.

 

“So what did you think about today?” Casey asked.

 

“I thought it was all right,” Regan replied.

 

“You think Ms. Griffin is going to be as tough as she let on?” Casey asked.

 

“I think she’ll be worse, actually,” Regan said. “She’s young. She probably thinks she has something to prove. She’ll make our lives hell.”

 

“Probably,” Casey replied. “You think she’s pretty?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Yeah, me too,” Casey said thoughtfully, then sighed. “She’ll end up sleeping with a student.”

 

“Casey!”

 

“What? You know it’s true. No one straight out of college goes for a high school teaching position unless she’s trawling for a lover.”

 

“Lover? Did you just say lover?”