April 13, 2011
"...and then, she just screams at me… screams at me," Greg paused, rolling his eyes in an entire circle. "I mean… Me," he repeated, a hint of incredulity creeping into his voice.
"Like, I'm the bad guy," The blond continued with a frown. "I didn't even do anything and she just... " Blue eyes narrowed as the frown on his face deepened into a full-blown scowl. "You know she gave me the silent treatment this morning? Like, really?" Folding his arms over his chest, he continued ranting aloud. "Because, what? She can't handle being wrong?"
"I know what you mean."
Not even bothering to pay attention to what was said, Greg barrelled forward, his attention wholly focused on the words leaving his mouth. "It's just…" he rolled his head to the side, glancing at the large television in front of him as it displayed yet another boring rerun of Law and Order: PRT. The blond kicked his legs slightly, moving them in a frustrated wiggle more appropriate for a toddler than someone his age.
"Everybody feels that way sometimes."
Greg opened his mouth again to continue speaking only to pause as he felt something touch his head. Slender fingers carded through his hair, playing with his lengthening locks and almost kneading his scalp. Raising an eyebrow, Greg stared up at Emma as he waited for her to finish, too distracted by the sensation to keep speaking.
Thirty seconds later, Greg pursed his lips and shook his head slightly, the motion just enough to discourage the roaming hand from stroking his hair again. "Emma… are you even listening to me?"
A slight laugh left the girl's mouth, more a giggle than anything, as she moved her hand down to Greg's face, patting the blond on the side of his face. "Of course I am. You're mad at your mom for…" Emma tilted her head to the side, raising an eyebrow in thought. "Actually, you didn't say why."
Greg's lips turned downwards slightly as he shot Emma a questioning look. "I… I didn't?"
"No, silly," Emma replied as she rolled her eyes playfully, poking her boyfriend in the cheek. "You were being all mopey and I told you to tell me about it and then you started going on and on about how you and your mom had a fight and it's not fair and you don't deserve it..." The redhead waved her hand in the air as she let herself trail off. "I don't really know why but I was hoping you'd get to that… eventually."
"Oh, that was kind of a … huh." Greg cut himself off, unsure of how to tell Emma what happened without bringing in the whole 'PRT stuff'.
"Ugggh", Emma put her hands on both sides of his face, staring down at the boy resting his head in her lap with a faux frown. "You're doing it again."
"Doing what?" Greg asked, his voice slightly muffled as Emma kneaded his face between her palms. "Whaddya mean?"
The girl let out a light scoff as she pulled her hands away from Greg's cheeks, shaking her head as she did so. "You start a sentence like halfway into it already and then you just go on and on like I'm supposed to know what you're saying or you start a sentence and cut it off after like five words and then expect me to get it. It's super annoying."
Greg opened his mouth to retort but shut it quickly, realizing that Emma probably had a point there. Still, he couldn't help himself from muttering under his breath, "Sparky always gets it."
Unsurprisingly, the girl whose lap he currently rested his head in could hear his muttered comments rather well. Emma blinked. "Who?"
"Sparky?" Greg repeated, confused by the question that came out of nowhere. "My friend?"
Emma raised a finger to her chin, one eyebrow still raised. "Which one?"
"Which one? That's hilarious," Greg muttered, snorting to himself. After a moment, he decided to actually answer her question, doing his best to describe his best friend for Emma. "Okay, you have to know who he is. The guy has kinda tan skin, really sarcastic, likes wearing black... Any of this ring a bell?"
Emma shook her head.
"Wow, okay," Greg's eyes tilted to the side, trying to think of something else to add. "Uh, I guess he sleeps a lot too." When that didn't seem to answer Emma's question, Greg continued. "He also talks pretty slow, wears ripped jeans all the time…" Again, nothing seemed to be getting through to the ginger girl. "Okay, the guy wears so much plaid. Like, actually too much plaid. Only farmers, lumberjacks and lesbians wear that much plaid."
"Mmmm…" Greg let himself get his hopes up for a few moments as Emma actually seemed to be taking some time to think about it. Sadly, his positive mood got slapped down as Emma responded with a blasé "Can't say."
How? Greg bit down on the urge to shout the question, at the same time as he fought the urge to groan. , "He sat across from you a couple weeks ago, Emma," Greg added, his tone unbelieving. "How do you not remember him? He literally made that chubby girl run off crying."
The redhead frowned, leaning back on the couch. "Oh, is he the one that looks like he has eyeliner on even though he doesn't actually wear any?"
Wait, what? Greg blinked for a few seconds, confused by the description. "No! No! Why would…" The sides of Greg's mouth turned downwards into a frown as he took in a slight breath. "I mean, Sparky doesn't…" The blond paused, his mouth forming into an 'O' as he thought about his friend's facial appearance. "Frick…"
"So…" Emma cocked her head, her hands still playing with the strands of blond hair in her reach. "I was right?"
"Honestly…" Greg let out a sigh, even as he smiled despite himself. "You know what? I think that… Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's him."
"Oh..." her face brightened, a slight smile spreading across her face, "then I do remember him."
That's what it took? Greg thought disbelievingly as he took in Emma's expression, his own smile growing at the sight of her smile. "Yeah," he replied, the word leaving him with a chuckle. "He's like my best friend."
"Whatever," Emma replied, shaking her head."I don't really care about him. I'm just trying to say that I can't read your mind, Greg. I need context when we talk. I'm not Sparky, okay?"
That's pretty obvious, Greg mused as he stared up at two reminders of that fact. His cheeks flushing red, Greg tore his eyes away, turning his head to glance at the television screen. "I mean, y-yeah… I know that."
"Mmhmm," the boy replied, still trying to think of what to say.
"I need context, Greg."
"Well, I dunno," Greg gave a slight shrug in response to Emma's words, the gesture the first thing that came to mind. "Do we really need to bring up the past? Personally, I'm more of an in the now kind of guy."
"Oh my god, you giant dork. You know what I mean," Emma replied, her voice a breathy sigh. Her hand continued roaming through his hair again, Greg's head nestled comfortably in her lap. "How am I supposed to know what to say if you don't tell me why you and your mom had a fight in the first place?"
You know what? Fine. Greg sighed, deciding to simply bite the bullet. "It started on Tuesday when I got back from school…" he began slowly. Just like that, Greg spent the next few minutes just telling Emma the whole story, rambling for a bit too long about Secret Agent whats-his-face, Doctor Wells, him definitely NOT being a parahuman, and in general, how boring the PRT was.
"So… yeah, that's basically it," Greg finished, bumping his shoulder against her knee as he gave Emma a lopsided shrug. "Me and my mom had a fight because she decided to report me to the PRT because somehow," he managed to draw out the word with a roll of his eyes, "she thought that was a good idea."
Not even paying attention to Emma's words, the blond's mouth turned downward into a bitter frown as he finally sat up, removing his head from Emma's lap to stare her in the face. "I mean, really?" He continued, his tone growing increasingly incredulous the longer he spoke. "What kind of mom even does something like that? And then treating me like it's my fault?"
The blond let out a huff of air as he thrust his hands into the air. "Like, really? Me?" He turned back to Emma, the redhead resting her chin on an upraised palm as she listened to Greg's rant with nothing more than an amused smile. "I'm the bad guy?"
As he finished speaking, Greg let out a loud groan, frustration clear in his voice as he leaned back on the black sectional couch, his head stopping just short of impacting the wall. He didn't have any real fear of being overheard. With Emma's parents off doing whatever and her sister out with her friends, the house was empty apart from the two of them, leaving them alone to relax in the living room.
Shaking his head, Greg sighed again. "It's just not fair, you know."
"That's just how it is. Nothing's ever fair, Greg." Emma moved closer to him, one arm curling around his shoulders as she pulled herself toward him. "All you have to do is talk to her again and she'll get over it."
"But I tried, Emma," Greg replied, a slight whine creeping into his tone. "I really did. Like, after school, I tried to talk to her and she didn't even look at me." Greg dropped his hands into his lap, leaning over to rest his head on Emma's shoulder. "She didn't even ask where I was going when I left the house."
Greg let out another sigh as Emma's hand drifted through the length of his hair again, her fingers trailing across his forehead slowly. "I don't know why she's so angry, Greg. I don't think it's even your fault. Even then, I could never stay mad at you." For a moment, the redhead paused, her index finger drawing a line down his cheeks. "Especially with those big blue eyes looking at me like that."
Those same blue eyes grew even bigger, widening as Emma's finger trailed all the way down to his chin before she brought it to her lips and winked. Oh my God. Greg let out a cough, leaning away from Emma as his face heated up, reddening like a tomato. What do I say to that? How do I even… God.
"W-w-well, uh, I… uh…" The blond coughed again, clearing his throat loudly as he turned his head away from Emma;s smiling face. Shaking his head, he turned back to Emma and cast a wary glance back at the girl, his cheeks still flushed. "B-but, b-but… uh, seriously, can you believe that, though?" Greg repeated again, raising his voice again in a sudden move to return the subject to a safer topic. "It's like she's being ridiculous and won't even admit that she was wrong even a little."
"Greg… I don't know what you want me to say," Emma said in an almost-whisper, as she leaned into Greg again, her body pushing him further into the edge of the couch. Her hand met Greg's in his lap, the teen stiffening as her fingers nearly strayed too close to a certain body part. "People get worked up sometimes. Just wait it out."
Pushing away the urge to shiver as he lifted both his and Emma's hands out of his lap, the blond shook his head again. "No, I mean…" Greg paused to lick his suddenly dry lips. "I mean, uh… it's just… Like, I don't even get how it happened. I mean, how crazy does someone have to be to think that me, of all people, could be a cape?"
The girl pulled away from Greg as the words seemed to settle in the air. Greg blinked in surprise, looking on as a frown marred Emma's demure smile for a single moment. What the… Confused at the sudden shift, he opened his mouth to say something, only to realize that Emma's expression had returned to normal, leaving no sign that anything had just happened. That was super weird. Did I just imagine that or...
"I mean, I could believe it." Emma's words cut into his thoughts, derailing his train of thought as soon as it began to move down the tracks.
"I'm sorry," Greg blinked again, facing the girl head-on as she spoke. "Believe… what?"
"You as a hero… I could believe it, you know." Green eyes fluttered coquettishly at Greg as Emma leaned in close to lay her head on his shoulder. "Bright blue eyes, blonde hair,"
Greg grinned awkwardly at Emma's compliments, letting out a slight chuckle as his face reddened. "Come on, Emma…"
"That smile, these muscles..." At this, Emma gripped his right arm with both hands, her palms tight as they held onto his thin but well-defined bicep, "I could see you in the Wards or even New Wave." She grinned at him, letting out a slight squeak as she held his arm even tighter. "You'd look so cute in a costume too! Don't you think so?"
"Hahahaha…. Yeah, " Greg replied, his laugh slightly atonal as he tried to think of a response. "But that would only happen if I had powers, you know?" Greg gave her a grin, the expression tight as he did his best not to give himself away. "And I don't. Have powers. Like, seriously."
Emma just smiled back. "If you did, you know, get powers," she began softly, her eyes fluttering innocently at Greg, "you'd tell me, right?"
Greg gulped, swallowing a mouthful of nothing. "Yeah, sure. T-totally." Change the topic! Change the topic! His awkward laughter dying down to an anxious chuckle, Greg took a moment to clear his throat before changing the topic to something else on his mind. "So…"
Emma lifted her head from his shoulder, staring him in the face. "So?"
"You wanna…" Greg shrugged, turning away from Emma as his face began to redden again "uh, do something?"
"Do something?" Emma's lips pursed, forming a slight 'O' as she raised a finger to her chin. "Do what, Greg? What do you want to do?"
"No, not really," Emma replied breathily, a slightly mischievous bent to the growing smile on her face. "What should I know?"
Her hand fell to his chest, her palm resting flush against his tight shirt. "Come on, Greg. Tell me. Tell me what you wanna do."
"Okay," Greg replied, nodding. "You… y-you…" the blond paused, gulping in a large breath of air as he prepared to blurt out what he had been thinking about asking for a while now. "You want to go on a date on Friday?"
Emma froze, her hand on his chest stiffening into a fist as she pulled away from him. The redhead gave him a stare that Greg could only describe as frigid before another demure smile replaced it. "What?"
"Do you want to go on a Friday date?" Greg repeated, nodding his head in time with his words. "Like out, again. We haven't gone out since spring break ended… so I figured, why not?"
His girlfriend seemed to let out a heavy sigh, rolling her eyes slightly as she muttered indistinctly to herself. Why, Greg wasn't really sure, but he assumed that she might probably have plans or something. I mean, she is pretty popular, Her schedule's probably full of stuff to do.
"Really, Greg?" Emma let out another sigh in time with her words. "That's what you were so nervous about asking?"
"Well, our last date was kind of a mess,," Greg said, shrugging as he tried to push down the slight awkwardness he was feeling. "I mean, I broke the whack-a-mole thingy - no idea how that happened, by the way - and you didn't even get to eat anything." The blonde paused, giving Emma a trademark Veder grin. "I figured I could fix that date with a better one."
"But…" Emma hesitated for a moment, her hand leaving his chest. "That's really all you wanted to ask about, isn't it?"
"Well, yeah," Greg replied, beaming as he decided to lay out his plans. "I was hoping we could make a whole day out of it." Leaning back on the sectional, Greg thrust a hand up into the air with a smile on his face. "Like, we go out to dinner obviously, but before that we could go mini-golfing or horse-riding or go-karting or even… laser ta-"
The blond's words slowed to a crawl as Emma cocked her head to the side and simply gave him a curious stare, almost as if she was actually confused with what he was saying. "Uhh… does it not sound good, cause I can change the plans? Haven't even made a reservation yet, so..." Greg trailed off as he waited for Emma to respond.
"No, no, d-... Don't change the plans. Just…" The redhead closed her eyes, letting out a low sigh before she opened them again.
She gave Greg a smile that seemed slightly tight, for some reason, before quickly standing up. "You know what? Could you… could you give me a second? I have to go..." The redhead's frown disappeared into a flat line as her shoulders slumped slightly. "I have to go powder my nose."
Greg blinked, eyes widening curiously as Emma began to walk away from him, headed towards the exit to the living room. "Wait, Emma!"
Pausing in her footsteps, the redhead turned to the side to glance as she glanced Greg over her shoulder, still flashing him that same tight smile. "Yeah?"
"Is that really a thing girls do?" At Emma's raised eyebrow, Greg decided to clarify. "Powder their noses?"
Without missing a beat, Emma continued walking around the corner as she replied over her shoulder with a blasé, "Yeah, sure. All the time."
As she vanished around the corner, Greg realized something. Wait, she never told me if she was free or not. He frowned slightly, aware of the fact that weekend reservations were almost nonexistent after a while. Might as well make sure.
Raising his voice, Greg called out loudly, "So, Emma, so are we good on the plan or …?"