Welcome back to the latest installment of “Discussion of Differences.”
Bethany caught Hunter’s eye. She deliberated folded the note as Hunter watched. She nudged Will, and silently motioned to the note and then to Hunter. Will merely nodded and passed it along.
Hunter took the note from Will and immediately gave it to Lisanna. She looked up and smiled, eyes gleaming. Bethany knew then she’d made the right decision.
Bethany smiled as she turned back to Lisanna’s page. She wrote just three words:
To be continued …
Although no one wanted it to happen, it grew very late all too quickly. Fortunately, Bethany and Lisanna were able to have their first one-on-one before the group broke up for the night.
“Lisanna? Or, can I call you Lizzy?”
Bethany sensed the hesitation in her voice as she spoke the words. She was a little nervous, but she wanted to make Lisanna as comfortable as possible.
“Either one. I don’t mind. How about you? Bethany? Beth? B, like in your note?”
“Any of those. As long as you don’t call me later for supper.”
They both giggled.
Bethany sighed with relief. The joke from Dad always seemed to break the ice and ease tension every single time.
Things were going smoothly, so far.
“I know very little about you, only the bits and pieces that Hunter’s told me. But I liked you from the start, I want you to know that.”
Lisanna smiled shyly. She felt the heat in her cheeks, but it was a good sense of embarrassment. She felt pride that Hunter spoke so highly of her among his closest friends.
“So, Lizzy, I don’t want to know your whole life story. Not tonight, anyway. I just wanted to introduce myself and start our friendship, the right way.”
“I appreciate that, B. I really do. You’re a good friend.”
“So, Lizzy, I have a few questions. I want to make sure that you have an equal share in this adventure that we’re planning …”
Another hour quickly slipped through their fingers. Lisanna and Bethany were just chattering away, as if they were long-lost friends. They’d learned so much about each other in that lone hour. Both were instantly sad when they both caught glimpses of Hunter and Will in the reflections of their glasses.
“Aw, baby, do we have to?”
Will nodded solemnly. “Yep, baby. Sorry. We have an hour and a half drive, remember? It’s definitely late.”
Bethany frowned, with a little bit of a pout, but smiled just as quickly.
“Well, I’m sure that our next planning session isn’t too far away. After all, December will be here before we know it!”
Lisanna’s eyes instantly grew as dark as the sky outside. Bethany covered her mouth with her hands, eyes wide with horror.
“Oh, Lizzy. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean …”
“B – It’s okay, honest. Sorry I scared you. Just hearing that one word brings up so many emotions.”
Bethany instinctively extended her arms and Lisanna eagerly accepted the hug.
“One thing I can promise you – Everything will be alright.”
The next planning session was scheduled two weeks later. This time though, Lisanna wanted to host it at her apartment at LT, for a change of pace.
As before, the unspoken pact remained the same – No formal discussion until the six were together again.
Bethany silently vowed to get everything on paper before then, as much as possible. She didn’t want to formally announce her delegations until everything was written out – That’s how she rolled. They may not like it, but it didn’t bother her. Being a mass media student and a creative writing minor had helped her grow a thick skin. Besides, she needed to do a little bit more research and investigation into everyone first. She wanted to be as prepared as she possibly could.
Meanwhile, the anxiety was gradually building. There were still a lot of practical questions that hadn’t yet been answered, like money, passports, and jobs – All those details that were, you know, only slightly important. But no one seemed bothered by it. Nothing was set in stone as of yet. There was lots of scheming and dreaming, and that’s the way it should be. At least, for now.
Over the next two weeks, Lisanna and Bethany talked almost as much as Hunter and Bethany did via the FlixelFlaxen. It seemed like that initial conversation in Bill’s living room had sparked something. Bethany certainly wanted to get to know Lisanna better – But it started to get uncomfortable more quickly than Bethany had expected.
It was apparent, almost right off the bat, that Lisanna was texting all the time. It was like her phone never left her hands, although Bethany knew full well that she had a full load of classes, and homework, and her other friends at LT. Plus, there was Hunter, too. Bethany didn’t want Lisanna to get distracted – Especially not now, with the month of November fast approaching.
November meant the inevitable – The winding down of the fall semester and the ultimate climax of final exams. Then, more than ever, Bethany wanted Lisanna’s focus to be on passing her exams and her classes.
It finally came to a head the day before Halloween, less than a week since last they’d met. Bethany’s phone was vibrating at least 30 times per hour – So much so that she had to silence it well before lunchtime. She knew Lisanna’s class schedule by heart, and becoming concerned that Lisanna was just ignoring it all.
Finally, Bethany took her lunch break. She grabbed her leftover Subway sandwich, threw on her jacket, and strode out to her car in the parking lot. Kicking the leaves along the sidewalk, Bethany clicked Send.
The dial tone hummed as Bethany muttered, “Come on, come on, just pick up the damn phone, Lizzy.”
Finally, at the last ring before voicemail kicked in, Lizzy’s voice crackled.
“B? I’m eating right now, and I’m in a big rush. Can I call you back?”
“Wait! Do not hang up this phone. Listen to me. I’m worried about you – You’re texting me constantly. Are you even paying attention in your classes anymore?”
Lizzy’s silence spoke volumes.
Bethany raised her free palm to her forehead and let out an exasperated sigh.
“Lizzy – I don’t want to be your mother. But – You have to focus now, more than ever. You do want to pass your classes, don’t you?”
The only thing Bethany heard from the other end was soft sobbing.
“Lizzy – I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be mean, but it’s so true. You’re so close to the end! I’m just looking out for you, that’s all.”
Bethany heard sniffles and then a deep breath.
“You’re – You’re right, B. I’m just so overwhelmed. Stressed. Exasperated. Done. Finished!”
Bethany sighed. “I know, Lizzy. I know all of it. Believe me, I’ve been there. We all have – Even Will. We all had some kind of senioritis, especially toward the end of the last semester.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂