Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 20byrpsuch©
I knew enough about Sandy to figure out what to get her and I knew Sunny pretty well, though I didn't have anything in mind yet. I didn't know Louis at all.
"Tell me about your Dad."
"What do you want to know?"
"Well, I've met everyone else and gotten to know them a bit, but other than seeing him when we left, I have no clue about your Dad."
"He's a really sweet guy, and very smart. He has all kinds of interests. He knows things about almost everything. Of course, he does wander off into space every once in a while."
"Does he know he's a nerd?"
It was his turn to laugh.
"Yeah. He'd have to be pretty obtuse not to notice. But he doesn't care. He's happy being him."
"Do you know you're a nerd?"
He smiled, put his arms around me and pulled me in.
"Yeah. And I'm happy being me."
He squeezed me as he said this. I don't know who had the bigger smile, Jeff or I.
"Tell me more." I snuggled against him. "Does he have a sense of humor?"
"He has a great sense of humor. Sometimes he can get a little cheesy, but he can see the humor in almost anything."
I knew what I was getting Louis.
"What about his parents?" I asked. "I haven't heard a word about either of them."
"Car accident." He didn't sound upset.
"It was a while ago. The thing that makes me sad is that I don't remember much about them. Sandy has almost no memory of them at all."
"That's a shame."
I kissed his cheek. I kissed his neck. I kissed behind his ear. This had nothing to do with sex. I just wanted to be as close to him as I possibly could.
He ran his hand lightly through my hair. I didn't ever want this to end.
Finals were over and I loaded the car to head home. I had never felt so positive about how I had done. I had also never been so well prepared.
I turned on the radio before heading to Jeff's dorm. Counting Crows was reminding me of Sam and I couldn't help but smile.
"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone? They paved paradise, put up a parking lot."
Was this an omen?
Was paradise the girl I had been, always in control, getting whatever I set my mind to? Or was it the girl I had always been inside according to Jeff, the girl I was meant to become, the girl who had captivated him?
Or was this just a song that happened to turn up on the radio when I got into the car?
Jeff piled his stuff in and we were off. So was the radio. I would rather talk with Jeff than listen to anything the radio could provide.
Before I got a chance to steer the conversation, Jeff had something he wanted to talk about.
"I don't know anything about your parents. You've barely said a word, except that you don't want me to meet them."
I took the statement for the question it was.
"I don't like to talk about them."
This was just the beginning. I knew Jeff. He wasn't going to give up.
"You're a very difficult man," I said.
"I thought I was a young fellow of just eighteen."
"You're a very difficult boy."
I paused to see if we had changed the subject.
"Perhaps. You were going to tell me about your parents."
"I'm, like a character to them, not a person. I have a role to play. I have lines. I'm expected to follow the script."
"Who's your character?" he asked.
"The proper young lady. Knows all the right people, dates all the right people. Marries into the right family. Dazzlingly beautiful. No personal accomplishments required."
"That's sad. You were playing it perfectly until I interfered."
"No. I was doing it my own way. I was in control of every situation."
"With all the right people. Dazzlingly beautiful. No personal accomplishments except keeping the guys in line."
"No. Oh, God, yes. No." Could this be true? "I thought I was rebelling. I was going to create my own wealth and power."
"By marrying it?" Jeff asked.
"That sounds stupid."
"I'm sorry. If you're going to cry, pull over and let me drive."
I did. Had my whole life been a sham? Was I just fooling myself?
Jeff reached over and took my hand and just held it. He handled the steering wheel with his left. He didn't say anything. I didn't know whether it was because he had no idea what to say or because he thought it was best not to say anything right now. Whatever the reason, it was the right thing not to say.
We drove for a while in silence. Finally I said, "Thank you."
"How did you know?" I asked.
"Instinct, I guess."
"You continue to surprise me. It amazes me that you can be so incredibly perceptive."
"Go ahead, finish. And so clueless at other times."
I don't know if it was any good, but it I tried my best Bette Davis impersonation.
"It's going to be a bumpy ride."
He laughed at the reference. So, he watches movies in addition to reading books.
Was I going to have to go to therapy over this? That would fit my role.
We might be well-bred and quite proper, but we Fines could certainly be complex enough to require years or even decades of therapy, at least the women.
So, my parents tried to mold me and never saw me as an individual. And I responded by never developing a strong identity except as a beauty. Was that it? Or had I heard so much psychobabble I was as full of shit as everyone else?
Maybe I should see a therapist.
Why hadn't he been content to leave me in my comfort zone?
I hadn't been in my comfort zone since I met him. I think I was being rewarded by being happier than I had ever been. But he made me work awfully damn hard for it.