Chapter Two: Ridiculous

I'd gotten to registration early so that I could pick up my schedule, then hop behind the FCA table. I wanted to get a jump-start on recruiting new members this year—FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) was one of the smallest clubs at Midland High School in terms of members, but as corny as it sounds, we were big in spirit. Still, I knew of many Christians—Lydia included—that weren't part of the club. In Lydia's case, I'd asked her constantly to come, but she could never get a ride to school. At the time, I was catching rides with my girlfriend, so I couldn't offer to bring her to school early, and so she'd never come to a meeting.

I had been standing behind the table, handing out fliers for next Friday's meeting, for nearly an hour when I felt two fingers poke into my sides. I jumped and turned around, and a huge grin spread across my face when I saw the beautiful blonde behind me—the girl I'd seen so many times in my memory last night as I'd fallen asleep. The girl who'd been in my dreams. "Lyds!" I cried, throwing my arms around her and giving her a quick squeeze. "How are you doing, baby girl?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "I'm okay…I had a fun summer with my dad, but obviously I'm back here now, so that's bound to damper my moods some."

"I'm glad you decided to stay, Lyds," I told her. Towards the latter part of the last school year, she'd had a slim chance to go back to Ohio. It probably wouldn't have worked, but she hadn't been sure if it would be worth it to try…she had said that she had already registered for several AP classes that she wanted to take. I hadn't liked the idea of losing her, but I hadn't told her that…instead, I'd told her to do whatever God led her to do.

"I don't know if I'm glad or not," she admitted. "I think I made the wrong decision, and for the wrong reasons, but there's nothing I can do now…I'm stuck here."

I frowned and took her in my arms and held her again, rubbing my hand up and down her back to reassure her. "It'll all be okay, Lyds." I let go and slid my hand down her arm and held her hand for a brief second. At that precise moment, a boy decided to approach the FCA table. I turned my attention away from Lydia just long enough to give him a flier and encourage him to come to the meeting the following Friday.

I turned back to Lydia and found my eyes looking her up and down. Her once-emaciated figure was now filled in, and she looked healthy again. It seemed like every muscle in her body was perfectly toned and tanned, and she looked amazing. "You look great, Lyds," I was finally able to say.

"Thanks," she grinned, and I thought I detected a bit of crimson creeping across her face.

I gave her a stern look and made sure my tone matched. "Are you eating again?"

I was thrilled when she answered, "Yeah, I started again."

"Good," I whispered as I hugged her again, holding her tighter and longer as I thanked God for answering my prayers to keep her safe. "Hey, let me see your schedule," I said. "I want to see if we'll have lunch together this year."

She retrieved her schedule from her pocket and I found mine. I held them side by side to compare, and was aware of Lydia looking over my shoulder to see, too. I gave her a grin and she smiled and backed off—she knew I hated people reading over my shoulder…actually, she hated that, too. I folded her schedule back up. "Your chemistry class is on the same hall as my physics class, so we should have lunch together."

"Great!" she smiled as I handed her schedule to her. "Well, I'd better let you get back to handing out fliers or whatever you're doing. I just wanted to talk to you for a little bit."

I didn't want her to leave, and searched my mind rapidly for something, anything I could say to make her stay longer. All I could think about was the stack of papers on the table in front of me, so I grabbed one to give her. "All right, but before you leave, you have to promise me that you'll come to FCA this year."

"I'll try," she said noncommittally, folding the flier and putting in her pocket along with her schedule.

I gave her my sad puppy eyes and poked out my bottom lip. It served a double purpose with her—it always made her smile, and she could never say no to me when I did it. "Lyds, please?"

She rewarded me with a soft smile. "Okay, I'll come next Friday, if I can get a ride."

I was determined to have her come. "If you can't, let me know and I'll come pick you up."

"Okay," she nodded. "Bye." She started to walk off, but I couldn't help wanting to be with her still…I didn't want her to leave.

"Hey, Lyds," I called after her. She turned around and looked at me.


"What are you doing tomorrow?" I asked impulsively. I had no idea where this idea had come from…it just…came.

"Absolutely nothing, why?" she replied.

"Do you want to do something with me, then?" I asked hopefully.

She grinned at me and gave the answer I wanted: "Sure!"

"Okay, I'll call you tonight and we'll talk about it," I promised her, hoping I could find her phone number. I knew it was written down somewhere in my room…I just didn't know exactly where.

"Okay," she nodded, then continued on her way down the hall. I watched her walk away until a voice behind me brought me back to attention.

"Jordan, who was that?" my friend Cole Sanders stood next to me. "New girlfriend, or just flirting like you always do?"

"Not funny," I told him, even though he was right. My ex-girlfriend, Aubrey, had graduated the year before, and even though I'd spent a lot of time with her over the summer, I'd been talking to a lot of other girls…flirting, as Cole so eloquently worded it. I'd gone out with a few of them…but they were all like Aubrey…ditzy, air-headed, clingy girls who freaked if they broke a nail and didn't care so much about emotional attachment in a relationship, so much as what the guy looked like and what they could get out of him. I'd dated girls like that all my life…and I wanted…no, I needed…a change. The problem was…the only girls I knew that weren't like Aubrey and my previous girlfriends, were Elaine and Lydia…my friends.

"Okay, fine, so who was that?" Cole repeated.

I stared at him like he was crazy. "You know her…we had lunch with her last year…that's Lydia."

His eyes widened as he looked towards the hall where Lydia had gone, then back at me. "Lydia Holland?"

"Yeah, Lydia Holland," I confirmed. "She looks good, doesn't she?"

"Hell yeah she does…" Cole replied. "She looks so different…"

"Well, she's not a skeleton anymore and she's got a tan, and she was in a good mood for once," I shrugged. "But she's still Lydia…her face is the same, her personality is the same."

"Well, you can comment on her personality more…I didn't really know her like you did," Cole shrugged. "I might like to get to know her now, though…"

"Watch it, Cole…" I warned.

"Hey, I was just playing…don't hurt me. What, do you like her now?"

"Lydia?" I scoffed. "She's beautiful, but she's my friend. Of course I don't like her…but I'm going to protect her from other guys."

"Mmhmm….I think you like her," Cole grinned.

"Cole, she's my friend," I repeated.

"Aubrey was your friend, too…your best friend…before you started dating her," he reminded me.

"Yeah…but…" I faltered, realizing there was nothing I could say to challenge that. Aubrey and I had been friends first…but still, Lydia was a different kind of girl than Aubrey. The kind of girl I want, I thought. But she's my friend…

"See?" Cole said with a devilish smile. "I think I'm right…you do like her."

"No, I don't," I argued. I shoved a FCA flier at Cole. "I'll see you next Friday morning…bye now."

"Aww, Jordan's getting mad at me because I know the truth about Lydia," Cole teased.

I shook my head and laughed. "Seriously, Cole…yeah, I was doing some staring just now…she looks great. But she's just my friend…that's all."

"Whatever," Cole said under his breath. He looked up and knew I'd heard him. "See you later, Jordan."

"Later, man," I replied. Cole walked off and I shook my head…he was crazy. Yeah, Lydia looked incredible…gorgeous…but it was shallow to like her for that…if I liked her at all, it would be because she was so sweet and trusting and compassionate. She was all those things, but I didn't like her…that was just ridiculous…