Lucita sat crossed-legged on her black sofa, TV off, blinds closed, hair tied into a ponytail, bangs brushed out of her face. Something inside her felt broken, so she was working on it, trying to meditate, center herself, and get over whatever was bothering her. But it wasn’t working. She tried to contain her anger and frustration by pinching her eyes shut and clenching her fists.
What the hell was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she just be better? Why couldn’t she be normal? Something wet slipped from her nose, jarring her thoughts. Touching her nose quickly, she saw the blood on her fingertips. Not again, she thought, hands shaking.
Eyes wide with worry, she stumbled up and went to the bathroom. Head over the sink, she stood, running the water to wash the blood off her hands and face while it dripped down, further and further, over her lips, down her chin. Drying her hands, she grabbed a tissue to wipe up her face and pinch her nose shut. Counting to four, she leaned against the door frame, willing her nose to stop bleeding. Suddenly a knock came at her door, followed by her phone ringing.
Pulling her phone from her waistband, she stared before answering. “Hello? Cyrus?”
“Yeah, open your door.”
She looked at her reflection. “That’s you?”
“I wouldn’t be saying open your door otherwise. Now come on, open up.”
“Uh, yeah, okay.” Her nose was still bleeding as she made her way to her door. Cyrus smiled and then stared.
“Lucita, what the hell?”
“So I see. What were you doing?”
“Nothing, just sitting here, I was meditating, and it just happened.”
Cyrus forced himself into her house, and she sighed. She didn’t want him to see her like this, so weak and pathetic.
“Lucita, Come on, let me see. Maybe it stopped bleeding.”
“Yeah, maybe.” Lucita removed the tissue from her face and prepared for the worst. But, like always, he was right. It had stopped bleeding. She threw out the tissue back in the bathroom, Cyrus trailing behind her. She washed off the blood from her face, fully aware of him behind her, watching. Then, grabbing the towel from beside the sink, she dried off the lower part of her face, wiping the droplets of water from her glasses. All the while, he just stood there leaning on the door frame. His light brown hair was still the same, and his hazel eyes were gorgeous. He hadn’t changed at all.
“Daydreaming again?” he said, smiling down at her.
“Oh, haha. Conceited much.”
“You know you love me.”
Lucita rolled her eyes, dropping the towel on the sink counter. “Yeah, okay, whatever. Come on, let’s sit down.” Lucita tried to make her way back to her sofa, but, as always, something went wrong, and her vision went white. Stumbling along, taking deep breaths, she leaned against the wall. Cyrus caught her hand, holding it tightly.
“Damn, take it easy. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Uh-huh, sure. Come on.” He wrapped his arm around her waist, catching her by surprise. Cyrus cared about her. After four years of ignoring her, he cared about her.
Setting her down, she smiled up at him. But he didn’t smile back. Instead, he just knelt before her studying her, eyes roaming across her face.
“Yeah, I don’t believe that bullshit. What’s with you lately?”
Rubbing her neck, she looked away. “I don’t know. I’m depressed, I guess.”
“You guess?” His eyes brows arched as he scrutinized her.
“I am depressed. I don’t know why, but I am. I just feel so alone.”
“Come on, you’ve got friends, right?”
“Not really. I mean, I don’t know, maybe?”
A look she couldn’t describe came over his face. “Get dressed; we’re going for a walk.”
“What?” He pulled her up.
“Yeah, you’re too pale to be Mexican. We’re going for a walk, so come on.” Lucita almost laughed. He could have just told her he wanted to get out of the house with her.
Silvia made her way to Rebecca’s. On her way, she saw a guy not from her school arrive at Lucita’s door. He was tall with light brown hair. Stopping for a moment, she watched him enter the apartment, wondering who he was to her. Then, pushing the thought away, she continued towards Becca’s. A question for another day, she thought, knocking on her apartment door. Rebecca opened up, stepping out in her bathing suit, a towel wrapped around her waist.
“Hey Vee, what took you so long?” said Becca.
“Chores, let’s go.” They headed to the pool. Swimming there was Blake. Crap, thought Silvia. “Uh, Becca, let’s go back inside.”
Rebecca shot her a dirty look. “Why?” Looking at the pool, Rebecca laughed, suddenly aware of what was bothering Silvia.
“It’s cool, Vee. I invited Blake.”
Speechless, she forced herself to nod. This didn’t seem right. Blake? Silvia didn’t want to mean, but Blake would never like Rebecca. She wasn’t his type. She wondered why Becca wouldn’t just give up and save herself the heartache.
“What’s wrong, Silvia?”
“Nothing, It’s just…Blake? Why did you invite him? When did you invite him?”
“I ran into him yesterday,” she said matter-of-factly like it was no big deal. “So I asked him if he wanted to hang out. He said sure.” Becca blushed. Blake was up to something, she felt it in her gut, but there was nothing she could say to convince Becca of this. Rebecca walked past her, and Silvia took the opportunity to take out her phone and send a quick text message to Elizabeth.
Yo Liz, Blake agreed to hang out w/ Becca.
U didn’t have anything 2 do with this did u?
cause that be wacked.
She would kill Elizabeth if she had something to do with Blake’s behavior. Thankfully Liz responded quickly enough to calm her nerves.
No, I have nothing 2 do w/ this I swear
keep an eye on him.
Shutting her phone quickly, she stared at Blake. She had every intention of keeping an eye on his moronic ass.
Lately, as if it had just become her custom, Becca sat down, annoyed with Silvia. So what if Blake agreed to hang out with her? It’s not like they weren’t friends. Sitting there, she admired how he looked so graceful as he swam back and forth in his blue and white swim trunks. Stopping by her side, he pulled himself up, water glistening off his tan skin. Becca quickly grabbed his towel, cheeks burning, and handed it to him. Sitting down next to her, his butt making a squishy sound as water escaped his trunks, he wiped his face, smiling at her. It was just too much for Silvia to take.
“Hey, you two, I was beginning to wonder when you’d arrive.” He smiled that charming smile that made Silvia want to puke and Becca’s heart flutter. Silvia rolled her eyes again for the second time in a handful of minutes. What could be charming about a smile that had been on the lips of so many trusting idiotic girls? Nothing, that’s what. But leave it to Becca to find something charming about it.
“Sorry, you can blame Silvia. She took forever to get to my house.”
“Yeah, and had I known you would be here, I would have taken longer.” Her lips pinched upward into a bitter smile. Instead, he just matched her smile with one of his own. Silvia looked away, knuckles clenched tightly. God, how she hated him and his obnoxious self-involved face.
“Well, we don’t need her here to have a good time, do we?” Silvia’s head shot back to him, and a part of her willed Becca to say something. All the while, Blake’s eyes didn’t leave her face, and Becca didn’t look up at her friend once.
“You’re a pig,” she finished, turning away. Silvia wanted to punch him and wipe that smug smile off his face. But, luckily, her phone vibrated.
“Anyway,” began Becca as Silvia took out her phone, “how’ve you been?”
“I’ve been good, failed a test, so my moms been riding my butt about it, but who cares.” He shrugged and ruffled his wet brown hair.
“True, it’s just freshman year, so who cares.” Silvia rolled her eyes again and read her text message. Becca was trying a bit too hard.
How’s Blake Acting?
Like his usual obnoxious self.
I wanna punch him.
U have no idea how bad.
lol, don’t kill him, Becca will have a fit
anyway, just relax n continue watching him.
Easier said than done Liz.
Shutting her phone, resisting the urge to roll her eyes, she sat back, leaning against the concrete, her feet in the cool refreshing pool. Maybe Blake was right. Maybe they didn’t need Silvia to have a good time. She sure as hell didn’t need them.
Lucita fed her cats, slipped into her wedge sandals, the only sandals she had, picked up her keys, and smiled at Cyrus, who smiled back.
“You look better.”
She shrugged off the compliment. “I guess.” All she had done was rinse her face and put on a quick coat of eyeliner, changing into a light blue tank top. She would look normal just for him.
“So you never take a compliment?”
“On occasion. It usually depends on my mood.”
“Everything depends on your mood, you little stalker.” He smiled, and she couldn’t suppress her smile either. He took her in a hug and unlocked her door.
“Are you ever going to stop calling me your stalker?”
He laughed, opening the door. “Never, Luci, you’ll always be my favorite stalker.”
“I was your only stalker.”
They walked out, and Lucita quickly took notice of the people who were at the pool. She promptly turned around and locked her door. She really didn’t want to get into anything with Blake and Rebecca.
“Lu, what’s wrong?”
“Those people at the pool. That girl and that guy. The guy has this stupid crush on me, but she likes him. It’s just drama central. I can’t take it.”
“Why doesn’t he like her? Wait, let me guess, she’s not pretty enough?”
“Not to his standards. I think she is. She’s definitely got the boobs to get any guy’s attention. But, still, she’s persistent.”
“Just like you. Seems like you guys should be BFFs.”
Lucita hated his smugness and began to walk towards the stairs. “Yes, well, I’m thinking of giving up on you.”
“You can’t be serious?” He sounded genuinely surprised. Lucita smiled and skipped down the stairs, amused.
“Oh, I’m very serious. You don’t like me, never did, or do, and I highly doubt you will.”
“So you’re really going to give up on me?” As they neared the pool, Lucita turned around to face him, causing him to stumble.
“Well, that depends. Do you like me?”
“Like I thought, you don’t,” she finished for him, turning around.
“Hey, wait, I didn’t say that.”
“Then what?” She stared at him, and he stared back. Cyrus took a step closer to her, and Lucita held her breath. Would she finally get that kiss she longed for?
“Hey, Lucita!” Dammit, she thought. Cyrus mussed his hand through his hair.
“Your lover boy is calling.” Lucita shot him a dirty look, but he ignored it and didn’t smile.
“He’s not my lover, boy.”
“Yeah, whatever, let’s go get me introduced.” Lucita’s eyes widened as she brushed past her and made his way to the pool.
“You can’t be serious.”
Cyrus turned and looked at her scornfully. She hated that look. He was always such a jerk when he had that look, a sadistic bastard.
“Oh, I’m very serious.” He threw her words right back at her. Lucita followed the jackass, who was her friend. She walked up beside him and crossed her arms.
“Don’t be a jackass.”
“You know you love me.”
“Yeah, and therein lies my downfall.”
“Whatever.” Neither of them laughed, their light, friendly relationship soured by her mood.
Silvia pulled herself up, feet cooled by the pool, but quickly held her breath. Lucita looked pissed, hurt, and for once, Becca didn’t seem bothered by her presence. Blake, though, to Silvia’s pleasure, looked jealous. The guy with Luci was slightly taller than Blake, a little leaner, and better looking by Silvia’s standards.
Standing herself, Rebecca wondered who the guy was. It looked like he and Lucita had just had an argument. Lucita looked angry, and the guy looked annoyed. So who the hell was he? In cargo shorts and a simple white T, she stood a whole foot in front of Lucita. His body language pulled away from her like hers was away from him. Was this the guy that stood in Blake’s way?.
“Hey,” said Silvia and Rebecca in unison. They both looked at each other and smiled.
“Don’t I get an introduction?” said the guy looking back at Lucita.
“You’re more than welcome to introduce yourself.”
“Really? You want me to do that?”
Something that looked like fear crossed her face, catching Silvia off guard. But then her face solidified into anger. “This is my friend Cyrus. We went to middle school together.”
“Hey,” he looked down at Lucita, who was looking away. “So, have you heard of me?”
Lucita rolled her eyes. “As much as this may shock you, Cyrus, my world does not revolve around you.”
“Who are you?” asked Rebecca. She was curious.
“He is Cyrus the Butthead,” scolded Lucita.
“I’m also the love of this little stalker’s life.” He put his arm around her shoulder. Rebecca watched Lucita flinch. Even she thought that wasn’t cool.
“Do you have to tell everyone that?”
“It makes for an interesting story.”
“For you, maybe.”
Blake laughed, standing up. “Wait, she stalked you?” Cyrus nodded while Blake looked Lucita up and down. Lucita ignored him until Cyrus stepped back, wrapping his arm around her waist, making her blush. Silvia could have laughed and almost did. Lucita was so wrapped up in this guy.
“Well,” continued Blake, “I wouldn’t mind if she stalked me.”
“Oh, I’m sure,” mocked Silvia. Lucita hid her laugh in a cough, and Cyrus took his arm off her. Becca watched her face deflate.
“Trust me, her as a stalker, not so pleasant.”
“Maybe for you.” Silvia and Rebecca exchanged looks as the guys just glared at one another. Whatever this guy’s relationship with Luci was, it was clear it had depth.
“Uh-huh, well, Lucita and I should be leaving. Nice meeting you.” Cyrus grabbed Lucita’s hand and pulled her away. Then, eyes wide, she waved goodbye with a bright smile.
Becca stared at her, suddenly feeling closer to Lucita, who was totally in love with that guy. It explained a little more, like why she always looked so lost and sad. Just like she had on the day Becca had seen her running. But that guy seemed to make her glow as if she wasn’t missing a part of herself anymore. It was something she was so familiar with.
A little away from the pool, Lucita was exhausted.
“Uh, Cyrus, you can slow down now. I’m sure he’s not following me.” She laughed, and he did stop so quickly it frightened her.
“Stay away from him.”
“He—just” Cyrus took a deep breath and looked at her. “Okay, look, I didn’t like how he looked at you.”
“He always looks at me like that.”
“Like a piece of meat? Yeah, not okay. Just promise me you’ll be careful around him.”
Lucita was stunned. So she grabbed his hand back and looked up at him with a small smile. “Okay, for you, I’ll be careful.”
“I’m holding you to that.” He tightened his hold on her hand, pulling her alongside him. “Let’s continue our nice walk, and you can tell me about South Broward.”
“If you wish, you big butt.” He smiled once again, his worry forgotten. Lucita loved making him smile and laugh.
New Girl (Memoirs of the Third Floor #1)
Lucita is starting at a new school. Silvia is keeping a secret. Rebecca is struggling with herself. Three girls and their friends have entered high school, and for each of them, it’s hard enough without having to deal with friends, betrayal, and their insecurities. High School is tough enough without having to be the new girl.