In the end Lisa had only managed to get a few hours of sleep. The rest of the time she lay awake in bed staring up at her ceiling, blankly. There were few audible sounds. Koenig's light purrs as she slept, the sound of keys rattling in a lock and a door opening as a consequence (her parents came home), the odd passing car driving by the street. It was all as absent from her mind as the idea of doing anything else. It was 3:40 at night. Normally when she woke up this time she'd hit her computer to update herself... but not tonight. Lisa's mind was too preoccupied with what had happened earlier today.
The evening went just as Dani had planned it. As soon as they got indoors they had sex. The sex (in and of itself) was admittedly amazing. But what was haunting her was what had happened just at the end of it. When Lisa was lying with Dani in bed after her orgasm, she had pictured Nicole's face staring back at her. It was brief but significant because she couldn't shrug off the fact that it happened. What did it mean? What did it mean? And if it was not important then why couldn't she forget about it. Lisa had no answers for herself. But the rest of the night it was to plague her. Dani and Lisa spent most of that time in bed. The rest of the time she introduced Dani to her fridge for a drink of anything but alcohol. Then a few hours later, closing in roughly on 11:49, she got in her car and left. Lisa was thankful that she didn't make trouble and threaten to hang around until her parents got home. But when she tried to sleep off tiredness that came with all the sex – there was still a lingering, nagging echo in the back of her head that reminded her that she had been thinking of Nicole; a girl she didn't even know.
Lisa kept thinking of her standing by the bus stop as she had done yesterday, with that sad expression. She could only wonder about what it was that was bothering her. What could it have been? Maybe a relative of hers had died or she had lost her job or something happened back home? Whatever was going on with Nicole, Lisa felt obliged to speculate – even though a more pressing issue might have been her relationship with Dani. Ever since Lisa pictured Nicole's face though, Dani hadn't occupied every corner of her thoughts (like she usually).
If any Lisa felt more distracted and confused than ever.
That went on until morning. Lisa watched the moon fall and the sun rising in its place. The hue of her room changed but her feelings didn't change. She still didn't see why was she thinking about Nicole while she was `with' Dani. But then she didn't question it forever because, as usual, she had school. Lisa peeled herself out of the banana skin that was her bed and headed for the bathroom. She took a shower, combed her hair, brushed her teeth and returned to her bedroom to pick out her clothes. Today (because it looked hotter than most days) it was a bottle green knee length dress and a pair of sandals. She got dressed, packed her books, pencil case and wallet into her bag, then gave Koenig a goodbye stroke and went downstairs. As usual Richard and Daphne were down there before her. And as usual they didn't seem to communicating with each other. Lisa greeted them and walked into the kitchen for what she usually had in the morning -- a cup of coffee. Today she added an onion bagel to that. When she finished eating breakfast she said her goodbyes to her parents and left.
Yesterday, before leaving, Dani had promised to pick her up for school. When Lisa stepped into her driveway, Dani's car wasn't waiting for her. So she walked to the curb and waited a few minutes. Nothing. Then a few minutes became ten minutes. Nihil. And finally ten minutes tripled into half an hour – yet still nihil. By now it was 8:45. There was still no sign of Danielle. If she waited any longer she'd be late. So Lisa heaved a sigh and walked off down the sidewalk to traffic-heavy road 1.5 hundred metres due north. The bus stop she normally used was waiting for her by the street corner. Lisa took a seat by under the shelter next to an elderly woman with an empty shopping bag. There were a few other people waiting for a bus too. For the most part Lisa ignored them as stared distantly at the traffic plying up and down the street. Though she could hear all the honking cars and trucks and coaches around her it was really than no more than white noise to Lisa.
It was at specific point in time that the whole course of her romantic life changed.
That was because Lisa felt someone tap her shoulder. And when she glanced at her left to see who it was, her blue eyes turned into blue saucers. It was Nicole, in all her brown-haired, green-eyed glory. She was looking wonderful in a pair of navy blue denims (that hugged the perfect constitutions of her ass, hips and thighs in all the right places), a tint white tank top with a little pink love heart on the front, and two club-heeled black boots. There was a book satchel hanging from her shoulder. Unlike yesterday she was smiling – and what a wonderful smile it was.
"Hiya," greeted the brunette. "I'm Nicole Milligan, I think we sort of met yesterday?"
Lisa nodded and shook her hand when Nicole extended it to her. Her hands were inexplicably soft to the touch. For a moment that was all Lisa did, shaking that soft hand and staring at her, until Nicole half-smiled and shrugged her eyebrows, nodding toward her. It clicked in her head then that she was supposed to give her name now.
"Oh, r-right...!" Lisa stammered, Nicole's brilliant gleam held her stillborn. "I'm sorry. My name is Lisa. Lisa Whitfield."
"Nice to meet you, `Lisa Whitfield'. Scoot over."
The blonde gave her some room on the metallic seat by moving to the right a little. Nicole parked herself next to Lisa and heaved a sigh, staring out into the traffic. Things went silent shortly. Then that silence was shortly broke when Nicole suddenly blurted out, "I'm sorry about yesterday."
"...Huh?" Lisa honestly had no clue what she was talking about.
"When we bumped into each other I kind of swore at you?" She reminded her. "I'm sorry about that. Ever since we moved here I've just been a little... rattled. And to be honest I can't say that I like it here."
"Where are you from?"
Nicole parted her bangs. "Salt Lake City."
"It was," A nostalgic, wispy smile overcame the girl. "I liked it there. I really did. But L.A.? Man, its like, well... have you ever seen Pulp Fiction?"
Lisa wasn't big on Tarantino movies. She hadn't seen it. In fact the only reason she even knew of it was because it was a subject of an essay she once read at the library called "Postmodernism and Filmmaking". "...No, I haven't."
"Well, there's a scene close to the beginning of the movie where two of the main characters, Jules and Vincent, are in car talking about fast food joints in Europe. Vincent sort of explains that things are similar but `different' somehow. I think that's how I feel about this place."
Lisa glanced at her. "...Why not give it some time? I'm sure you'll... you know... settle in."
"Well, it's not just that, it's..."
The expressions on Nicole's face underwent a rapid succession of changes. They went from nostalgic, to distant, to resolutely dismissive and finally settled on sadly humoured. "You know what, lets not talk about that. I'd probably just bore you."
Lisa still didn't really know anything, but she doubted that. Nicole's looks alone had Lisa skewered. When things went silent between them again, very awkward flashbacks raged through Lisa's consciousness. She remembered almost instantly that she had been picturing and thinking of this girl whilst having sex with Dani. What Nicole think of her if she knew about that? What would she think if she knew that Lisa was a lesbian? But she really even asked herself that, once again Nicole broke the silence between them.
"So what do you do for fun around here?"
Lisa blushed with embarrassment and stared at her unpolished toenails. "I-I wouldn't know. You should probably ask someone at school about that..."
"Well, I'm not wondering what they do for fun, I'm wondering what you do for fun," She said with a small smile. "And besides, I'm not crazy about the student body at that place."
"...The boys seemed to like you in English class."
Three things startled Lisa when she said that. The very fact that she said it, which was more or less an admission of staring at Nicole through Mr. Peterson's lecture; the biting tone she detected in her own voice when she said that, a tone saturated by what Lisa could only assume was jealousy; and finally the fact that Nicole reacted obliviously to both – by not realizing either.
"I'm not crazy about those guys," was all she said. "In fact I'm not crazy about any boys right now."
A probing lust for knowledge angled new confidence in Lisa as she said, "...You must have had a boyfriend back in Salt Lake City..."
Nicole smirked at her. "Hmm. Pretty personal comment for a girl who seems so shy, don't you think?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I... I didn't mean-"
"Don't freak, Lisa," she said. "I like it. I like it when people can be honest with each other, you know? It sucks when you can't do that. I guess that's why I can't really stand most of the kids I've met at Alderson High so far. So many of `em are just so goddamned phoney. I mean, what's up with those bitch cheerleaders? They make Rosie Perez look subtle."
Lisa giggled at that. She liked Nicole already. "I couldn't tell you."
"Well, I'm glad not everyone's a fake up in there. I'd probably go out of my mind if they were."
This time Lisa broke it. "...What classes do you have today?"
"Oh, uh..." The brunette went into her satchel and pulled out a timetable. The numerous classes of the week were all highlighted in different colours. "Um, Art with Miss Cooke, Geography with Mr. Peyton, Physics with Mr. Willard, History with Mrs. Swirlin and Cultural Studies with Mr. Stephens. What are those teachers like?"
A private elation welled up within Lisa. All five of those classes she shared with Nicole, unlike yesterday. But she replied quickly so as not to seem weird, "Uh, Miss Cooke is just your average teacher, no... pros or cons there, really. Mr. Peyton is a nice guy, can't say anything bad about him. Mr. Willard... can be a little crotchety but he really knows his stuff. Mrs. Swirlin is... putting it lightly, an octogenarian battleaxe... I can't stand her, but... she's good at what she does I suppose. But Mr. Stephens is very cool. I'm sure you'll like him too."
"Thanks. I'll keep all that in mind."
"Do you know where the rooms are yet?"
"Not as..." Nicole pulled a long, lazy grin. "Guess you're gonna have to help me again, eh?"
Lisa formed a mutual smile. She liked this girl.