Jennifer was running in the hallway but she didn’t care. She had done it. She had finally done something that would do her good. And she wanted to tell Alex and Nick first. And she wanted to apologise and thank Nick.
No matter how hard she appeared on the outside, she still had a warm heart. Alex could guarantee you that. No one would let in a girl barely covered and give her bed to sleep and some food to eat. No one would stand up against a drunkard father for a girl they hardly knew. No one would silently cry at night and say how much they miss their devastated family. No one. No one except Jennifer.
She was just in front of Mr. Warner’s room before Nick came out, accompanying Alex.
‘- I wouldn’t tell you where Jennifer is. Please Nick, I am requesting you, please her life is messed up already, she doesn’t need random challenges to trouble her more than she already is.’ She saw Jennifer.
‘Oh god Jennifer! Where were you all this time? I was worried about you sick,’ she said, noticing her expression, as she was staring at Nick’s face. ‘Everything all right?’
‘Yes,’ she said without turning. ‘Would you mind if I talk to Nick privately?’
‘No sure, I’ll meet you in the cafe,’ she said, a little surprised. She turned around and walked away, not turning back once.
As soon as Alex was out of earshot, Jennifer began, ‘Look, I am here for two reasons. Firstly, I want to apologize to you for what happened the other night. I was upset and then you irritated me and I took it all out on you. I know you don’t deserve it. You’re a good guy and sorry. Secondly I want to thank you.’ She put her hand out in front with palms facing Nick as she noticed he was speaking up and said, ‘I wanted to thank you too. For what you said that day, about the elections. I talked to the-’ she gave up on telling her about the counsellor, ‘-thought a lot about it and felt that it would be great for me to move on, which I clearly haven’t.’
She started blabbering then. ‘Of course with my father out of house, a darned mother who doesn’t care about anything, a hypersensitive sister, and you challenging me on top of that, provided you are too good to me and-’ she stopped herself, feeling the color rise in her cheeks as she noticed Nick who wore a confused expression somewhere between amusement and mocking laughter. ‘Thanks,’ she said finally, ‘would you like to join us for lunch?’ she held out her hand.
‘Yes, sure,’ he smiled and together they walked into the café, past all the tables till they got to one in which Alex was sitting, her eyes wide with disbelief.
‘Hey Jennifer, what’s up?’ she asked.
‘Alex, Nick. Nick, Alex,’ she flicked her hand slightly from one to another, introducing them.
‘Hey Alex, Nice to formally meet you,’ Nick winked. ‘Yeah you too,’ Alex replied embarrassed on the way she had talked to him earlier.
They both picked up their lunch trays and walked to the seats. The great thing was that no one paid slight attention to them, especially Jules and her gang of cheer girls. She was glad to be invisible for once, unheard, unseen and unspoken by all.
‘So, why thank me?’ Nick asked once they had settled down, ‘I mean, it’s not like you’re contesting, right?’
‘Well, that’s where you’re wrong,’ she said teasing him. ‘I had this totally awesome idea last night. We are unpopular nerds, unseen and unspoken. This is our chance to come out of the shell, right? I mean, it’s high time this differentiation between the jocks and the nerds is dissolved. And more than that, it gives hopes to a lot of students who are just like us, who want to make friends, but are just unable to do so?’
‘You got good ideas, Jennifer Cruise. Any idea how you’re going to do it?’ he asked, but she didn’t like the emphasis he laid on how. She had thought about it. Getting yourself registered was just one thing. There are thousand people to influence, to convince and to represent; at least that’s what she had learnt in World Politics.
‘Well, I don’t know. I guess, I’ll start by doing just this,’ she waved her hand over the table.
‘Which is what?’ he asked, biting into his sandwich.
She said, smiling grandly, ‘Making friends.’