I watch the argument between Genesis and Corin with less humor now as the whole scene devolves into a sort of shouting match…this isn’t like Corin at all. Something is wrong here. He would never yell at Genesis. He’s totally into her, and a total closet romantic.
I would have expected tears before shouting.
I stand up when I see Corin heading back into the gymnasium. I run to catch up with him, ignoring any looks I might be getting Genesis and her friend Sabrina.
They seem to be coming along, but I’m running so I catch Corin just inside the building and grab him by the arm pulling him aside with a harsh whisper. “What’s up with you?” I jerk my head back towards the door for clarification.
“Nothing.” Corin replies angrily, pulling his arm out of my grasp. He tries to keep walking, but I grab his wrist firmly again.
“Well, something is wrong. You just freaked out on Genesis. Are you ok? Talk to me here, come on…it’s me.”
I give Corin a pleading look. At first he just stands there, head down, ignoring me.
He pulls his wrist out of my grasp, but gently this time.
He moves over to the quietest corner of the room, and I follow him.
Since we are right beside the bleachers, we go underneath of them where we can have privacy to talk. We duck around the metal cross beams, and move a little further into the space beneath.
I look up, trying to be sure nobody is sitting just above us, and that nobody is evesdropping.
“Alright, now will you please tell me what’s going on with you?” I ask once more. Now that we have some privacy, Corin drops his guard a little and confides in me.
“I don’t know why I yelled at her like that. I’m an asshole, I guess. My head is killing me. Like someone is hammering nails into my eye sockets.” Corin rubs his eyes with his palms, trying to relieve some of his headache.
I suddenly realize that he must be trying to fight back a migraine. “Well, no wonder your head hurts. We were going to have some lunch, remember? Before all the drama with that alarm.”
I rummage in my bag, pulling out a bottle of water and a small Tupperware full of cheese, apple slices from the orchard and a hunk of bread.
“Here, eat this.” I hand him the food.
“What about the meeting?” Corin asks, but takes the food and starts to eat the bread. He moves over to the wall and sits down, leaning against it. He puts the food down and drinks from the bottle, drinking half the bottle in one draught.
“Slow down. Just eat the food like a human. They can wait five minutes. I’m sure the world won’t end.”
I smile, but the joke sounded bad, even to my ears.
Corin continues to eat, avoiding the crunchy apples. I reach down and take one. I pop it into my mouth, enjoying the crunch and flavor of the tart green apple. I sit down crosslegged beside Corin and ask him again, “what’s up?”
As soon as I eat a little bread, and drink some water, I start to feel a little more like myself. Wendy knows me pretty well by now. And she’s smart enough to pack food in her bag.
I guess for a girl who wanders off on a regular basis, though, it makes good sense to do so.
She won’t let up on the interrogation, however. She asks me again, “what’s up?”
I drink some more water, then offer her the water before I talk. She takes it, and drinks while I start to tell her what an idiot I am.
“I don’t know what the heck is wrong with me. I totally just yelled at the girl of my dreams. She’ll probably never speak to me again.”
Suddenly, I’m angry again, remembering the interaction that happened only moments ago.
“Its just that she doesn’t understand. I’ve been trying g to talk to kids all morning about this. Maybe I should have explained that to her. But I know that some of these kids are really in need of somewhere better to stay.”
Wendy stops me with a hand on my arm. She reminds me that she wasn’t in the meeting, and she wants to know what the hell I’m rambling about.
I give her a really quick recap of the situation, finishing by telling her my plan to invite the redhead and her brood of little ones to live in my house.
“And I guess I just feel like I can help them, you know, by asking them to live at Graythorn.” I smile, then I see Wendy is not looking pleased. She looks downright annoyed with me, a look I’m familiar with by now.
I shake my head a little at Corin’s idea to bring people into our home. I knew that we were planning to offer that others move in, but I’m annoyed at him for acting like this is his house, his decision.
“Greythorn is my home now too, just as much as it is yours. Don’t I get a say in this?”
I thought there would be time for people to choose. Time for people to talk.
Corin sighs and stands up. He puts out a hand for me and pulls me up too. “Come with me.” I reach down, quickly packing everything back into my bag, and follow Corin back out from under the bleachers into the main part of the gym, where it is instantly 2 times louder than under the bleachers.
He directs my attention to the far end of the room, at the opposite corner by the ‘away team’s’ bleachers.
He points out the red haired girl, who is holding a toddler on one hip and grabbing at the hooded sweater of another small kid, trying to keep him from climbing the side of the bleachers. He points out to me that she seems to be shepherding at least 3 others. She looks very harrassed. Her clothes look unwashed and her hair is a red cloud of curls the seems like a hair tie could never keep it in place. The kids all look clean and vibrant, laughing and playing. It’s the girl I instantly sympathize with. How in the heck did she end up looking after all those kids? I ask myself
I look at Corin, understanding his desire to help her. “Alright, alright. I get it, ok. But let me go talk to her. You go deal with this group of lunatics” I tell corin, with a wide sweep of my arm that includes all those present.
I leave him and cross the room. well, here goes. I hope she is nice I mutter to myself as I approach her.