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Accordance (Significance #2)(6)


Kyle came out to join us and I was relieved to be free of Bish’s thoughts. Until Kyle swam to me, too close.
“Hey, Maggie, you look a little peeved. What’s up?”
“Nothing, just...listening,” I said low where only he could hear me and he nodded.
“Aha. Well, stop it if it’s upsetting you. Let’s do something fun. Wanna get in the hot tub with me?” he asked and grinned, raising his eyebrows.
“Not really, Kyle. I’m kinda tired already. We’ve been doing laps all morning.
“Well, the hot tub will do you good then.” He moved to stand almost behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. “It’ll work out the tension and kinks.”
I shrugged his hands off.
“Kyle, don’t.”
“What? I’m just trying to help.”
“I know what you’re doing,” I rebutted and started to swim away. He grabbed my hand to stop me.
“Why are you always running away from me?”
“You’re always acting inappropriate.”
“You never even gave me a chance,” he said hotly and pulled me closer. “If only you had stopped being so stubborn before you met Caleb and went out with me, we’d be together now. Not you and him.” He wrapped his arm around my bare waist, his face on my ear. I tried to keep calm so Caleb wouldn’t come running and beat the stew out of Kyle, which is exactly what would happen if he saw him right then. “It should have been me. If only you had touched me first.”
I pushed at him but he held tight. Bish looked at me funny and started to come our way but I held up a hand to him.
I saw visions, Kyle’s memories, of him watching me at lunch as I laughed at something someone said. One of when I was dressed as a fairy for some school function. The one time he got to do the spirit cheer with me when Chad was sick.
So many times when Kyle was watching and I didn’t know it. So many times he wanted to touch me or call me and was never allowed. I felt bad but what could I do?
“It doesn’t matter anymore does it? It’s too late. There’s no point in you acting like this, it doesn’t help anything. It just makes us both feel bad.” His face dropped as he leaned back, his expression as forlorn as ever so I softened my tone. “Kyle, please. I want to be your friend but you can’t do this. I’m sorry. I wish I could help but I can’t and Caleb isn’t going to like this. Let go.”
“If I could just make you see. Just once, kiss you for real and you’d see how much I want you. We’d be good together and you know me. You’ve known me forever, Maggie,” he sighed and touched my cheek.“Just because we’ve known each other doesn’t mean we belong together,” I told him and turned away from his touch.
“You don’t have any idea,” he said sadly. “All you can think about is Caleb and it makes me sick watching you two all day.”
“In all fairness, I left. We came to California. You’re the one who came here. Stop this, please. Let go.”
He did, almost pushing me away and sighed harshly, letting his head fall back.
I heard Caleb then in the kitchen so I got out and trained my mind so I wouldn’t think about what Kyle was trying to do. Caleb would see it eventually but I wasn’t in the mood to deal with it today.
We ate lunch, as I talked about the beach and avoided Kyle’s gaze, and Caleb was right, his spaghetti was pretty good. Then they played video games and I read a book from the library until later on. In the evening, we got ready to go to the pier party.
I put on a long sun dress I’d brought. It was blue and white and had little ruffles on the front with halter straps. I slipped on my flops and earrings. I fixed my hair just like the lady had the day before. It was still cute and I still really liked it.
When I came down and saw Caleb in his khaki cargo shorts, flops and green Carolina Liar shirt, I sighed in contentment. He was pretty adorable.
He turned to me smirking, reading me, and beckoned me to come. All four of us, walked down the beach to the pier. It wasn’t that far and I could see the party already raging and hear the thump of the music.
You look great.
I looked at him and could see his face barely in the moonlight.
Thanks. So do you. The band t-shirts are really growing on me.
Well, we’ll have to start going to concerts. I haven’t been to one in a couple weeks. That’s like a record or something.
Yeah, we should.
You know, Mutemath is playing here this coming up weekend. I wish Mom was here. She loves them.
Your mom? Your mom loves Mutemath?
Yes, loves them.
That’s so weird. I like them too.
Well, we should go.
Ok, sounds good.
We walked up with Kyle and Bish behind us to a wild party. There were already tons of beer bottles littering the beach and it just got started. Kyle took off the second we got there.
“Let’s get something to drink,” I suggested over the loud music.
“You can think again if you believe I’m going to let you drink alcohol, Maggie,” Bish scolded.
“I wasn’t,” I insisted.
“It’s ok. We can’t drink alcohol anyway,” Caleb spouted and then looked a little bit chagrined.
“Why can’t you?” Bish asked suspiciously. 
“Because we’re not old enough,” Caleb replied.
Aces can’t drink alcohol. Something in our blood doesn’t handle it right.
Really? Then a thought came. That’s why you took my drink at that party before? He nodded slightly. It wouldn’t have mattered. I don’t drink anyway.
Well good because you can’t now even if you wanted to. It makes us super, super drunk, like borderline alcohol poisoning. You want a soda or something? I’m sure they have something here.
Yeah. I’ll stay with Bish I guess.
“Why don’t you-” I started to say to Bish but was interrupted.
“Hey cutie,” a girl with long blonde hair and big blue eyes called to Bish then came to stand by him. “Not dancing?”
“Nope,” he said a shifting a little uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
“Well, why not!” she laughed. “You want to dance with me?”
“I’m good here, thanks.”
Oh Lord. Now I have to deal with this juvenile crap just so I can look out for Maggie.
“Oh,” she said disappointed. “Oh! You’re together?”
“No. No. I just don’t want to dance. But thanks.”
“Ok,” she said shrugged and turned to go.
I could hear her as she walked away.
Dang, I haven’t been turned down that cold in a long time.
“Jeez, Bish,” I scolded. “Could you be more rude? She was nice. She just wanted to dance.”
“I don’t want to.”
“But you didn’t have to be so cold to her.”
He pondered that and conceded.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Caleb came back with three drinks.
“I got you a Pepsi, Bish. I didn’t know if you wanted a beer or-”
“I don’t drink beer.”
It makes people mean and hateful.
And then it hit me again. His memories, his thoughts flooded to me and overtook me with a rush over my senses.
It all made sense then.
He was the unwanted child, always. He was the trouble maker. He caused people to be stressed, to drink, to hit and to be mean, to hurt people. He had all those caretakers and all those people who took him in. All those people who abused him and beat him and hated him. What did he ever do to any of them except be born?
He was unnatural, he thought. He caused trouble and discord. His father now was in prison for rape and murder and his mother beat him every day for seven years. And then it followed him everywhere he went. He was cursed.
He didn’t drink. He tried to be good and fair. He tried to protect the ones he loved, the first people to ever care about him, and not treat him like he was nothing. And then that mom left too, my mom. He tore my family apart, like everything else. That’s why he didn’t date.
His blood was spoiled. He had raping, murdering, hateful abusing blood running through his veins and he was afraid he’d wind up hurting anyone he ever cared about that way. He never looked twice, except for Jen, and that had been a fluke. He pushed it out of his mind and kept to his decision. He would never love anyone. Never get married, never have kids. So the curse and bad blood would stop with him.
I yanked back and realized it was Caleb who’d yanked me back to reality with a hand on the back of my neck. He turned me away and I felt a couple tears on my face. He hadn’t wanted Bish to see.
Are you ok?
Yeah. I wiped my face. I’m ok. Oh, gah, Caleb. I don’t know what to do with him.
I know. I’m sorry.
I wanted to tell Bish everything right then and there. To tell him it wasn’t his fault. To tell him I trusted him and loved him, but I couldn’t.I heard Bish start to walk away but I turned and grabbed his arm.
“Will you dance with me at least?”
He looked at Caleb and back to me.
“I’m sure Caleb is ready to have you to himself and not have me dragging along.”
“I want,” I grabbed his hand and started to drag him, “to dance with you.”
He looked back at Caleb who shrugged and smiled.
“Go ahead. I’m finishing my soda.”
I took him to end of the pier where everyone was dancing and we danced. He was really good. I was clumsy and all over the place but I danced anyway. It was so much fun. He was hilarious, playful and actually having a fantastic time. He twirled me under his arm and bent me backwards, being silly, making me laugh hard.