Chapter 2: The Dinner

I was getting ready when someone knocked on my door.

"Edith, we haven't got the whole night. Hurry up!" I opened the door and let her in. She sat on my bed as I wondered aloud.

"Emma, what are you doing here? I thought we were supposed to meet at your place."

"Yeah, but I knew that you would be late if someone didn't come here to tell you to hurry," she explained. "Need help?"

"Yeah. I still don't know what I'm going to wear," I admitted. Usually, admitting something like that to Emma would trigger a catastrophe. She would make me try different things on and then choose what she thought I looked best in; but not today. We were going dinner at her place and we were already late. She got up from the bed and looked in my closet for a minute, before taking out a blue blouse and a black skirt that stopped just above my knees. I put them on and we were off. We arrived there at eight and were greeted by Emma's parents..

"Hello, Bella. Take a seat; dinner is almost ready," Her mother told me.

We went to sit down and I saw that Jasmine was already there.

"Miss Edith decided to grace us with her presence?" She asked. I grinned and went to sit down next to her.

"Ugh, you sound like a teacher!"

Emma sat down on the other side of Jasmine and Jonathan, Alice's little brother of sixteen came to sit next to me.

"Hey John."

"Hi, Edith."

"How is school?"

"Not funny," he grumbled. "I can't wait for it to end."

"It's not for now," I laughed. "But you'll survive." I pointed at me. "I did."

Emma tapped on my shoulder. "Edith, could you stop flirting with my brother? We have company".

I smiled at her. "Of course, Emma, once you stop punching me," I said.

"Oh" She removed the hand that was punching me lightly in the back. "Sorry."

I laughed and looked at the 'company'. My smile faded as I spotted Nathan, Ross and Alex taking their seat in front of us. I'm sure my face lost all colour. I looked at Emma and Jasmine who were smiling.

"What the hell is that?" I whispered low enough that the others couldn't hear. My heartbeat was already racing and I wondered how much time it would take Nathan to realize how much effect he had on me. "Why did you invite Nathan and his clan?"

"To make this dinner interesting and to know the guys better," Emma explained. "And Jasmine and I have a thing for them."

I gasped. "You like the big one?" I said, trying to keep my voice as low as possible.

"No. The not so big one."
I sighed, relieved. "Thank God. He's so big and you're so tiny. Jasmine would go well with him…"

Jasmine cut me, "'Go well'" she mimicked. "We are not matching clothes and shoes here, Edith." I shot her an apologetic look.

"Don't apologize," Emma said. "She does have a thing for the big one."

"His name is Ross," Jasmine said out loud. Oh my God. I guess she realized it at the same time as Emma and I because we all looked back at the guys at once. I already felt the blush rise along my cheeks. They were watching us, smiling.

"Hey guys," I said. I bit my lip and looked down. Inviting them was the most stupid thing Emma had ever done. Dinner was being served so I would kill her later on.

Dinner was awkward. Emma's father kept asking all of us random questions while his wife watched the scene in front of her with knowing eyes. I glanced at Nathan from time to time when he wasn't looking, and when he did look at me, instead of blushing and looking away, I smiled at him and he smiled back. The girls were talking about a movie I had no intention of seeing so I ate in silent. Thankfully, Jonathan was at my side, and was all too eager to start a conversation with me. After some time he surprised me by asking, "Is that your boyfriend?"

I looked in the direction he was looking and saw Nathan watching us. I was grateful to John to have spoken quietly so that Nathan didn't hear, because if he had, I would have died on the spot. I looked at John and replied, "No. Not at all," earning a huge grin from him.

After dinner, I took some plates with me and told the girls to come with me in the kitchen. "Bring the remaining plates with you," I called as I walked away, hearing Emma's father offering the guys to stay over. That was out of question. They couldn't. They wouldn't. Well, if they were staying I could just say I had to go home. The girls arrived, their hands full.

"Before I could say anything Emma put an arm around my shoulder. "What a lovely dinner!" She exclaimed. "How was the food, Bella? And the… company?"

"Who came up with this idea?" I asked seriously. The girls didn't seem intimidated at all.

Jasmine raised a hand proudly. "I did."

"And I invited them," Emma said.

I sighed, defeated as I realized there was no point in arguing with them. They always won. I started washing the dishes to calm myself. I didn't understand why I was so intimidated. It was just a guy after all; but just in case, I would stay in the kitchen till I was hundred percent sure they had left. Emma and Jasmine took some dishes as well and started washing them.

"Are you staying over, Edith?" Emma asked. I looked at them suspiciously. What did they have in mind this time?

"Are the guys staying over?" I asked cautiously.

"Nope," Jasmine replied. I finished drying the dishes and turned to face them.

"After what you two did today I'm not sure if I should trust you."

"Edith we wouldn't lie to you," Jasmine assured.

"Well, I prefer being sure. So I'm going home instead of 'accidentally' being left with one sleeping bag to share with Nathan Ferrera," I told them. They were my best friends but sometimes they did things that I wouldn't approve of, and where I ended up being embarrassed. Like inviting Nathan, Alex and Ross today. They knew I made a fool of myself easily and they still put me in situations like that.

"If only I came up with that idea before," Emma said. I glared at her but she continued. "Nathan likes you, I'm sure of it."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "Nope. He thinks I'm retarded. It's different."

"I don't know how you came up with that, but I don't." I turned around at the voice and saw Nathan leaning against the kitchen door. If I hadn't once again made a complete fool of myself, I might actually have considered how sexy he looked at that moment.

"Nathan" Jasmine greeted. "Do you mind taking Edith home? She came with Emma and she doesn't have a ride." Oh. At least I knew what they had in mind. They were the worst best friends ever.

"Yes, of course," Nathan replied. "I mean, I don't mind." He looked at me. "Are you leaving now?"

Think of an excuse! Quick! Think! Think!

"Edith?" Nathan asked again.

"Um… I … I'm staying after all," I stammered.

"Oh. Okay."

Jasmine frowned at me. "Edith, didn't you say your dad told you to go home tonight?"

"I didn't say that," I smiled. Two could play at a game.

Alex appeared beside Nathan. "We're leaving." Nathan was watching me strangely, so I raised one eyebrow.

"Bye guys," Jasmine said. "See you Monday at school."

"Bye, girls," Alex replied, while Nathan was still watching me. I have to admit I was feeling at bit uncomfortable. Alex grabbed his jacket and he walked out of his trance. The guys said goodbye to everyone and left.

I went to sit in the living room where the TV was on, and sat on the couch. I flipped through the channels but there wasn't anything interesting to watch, so I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes, thinking of the torture Jasmine and Emma were surely preparing for me at this moment. They would surely make me try a lot of clothes this weekend since they wouldn't be allowed to do it for a whole month beginning next Friday. I was starting to get sleepy when someone called my name. I opened my eyes to see John standing in front of me.

"Hey," I called as I made room for him on the couch.

"Tired?"

"Yeah. I wonder when they'll put the sleeping bags."

"Why don't you sleep in Emma's room?" he asked. I thought about that for a moment.

"I don't know why I never thought about that. Emma's bed is large enough for the three of us. Well, I guess when we are in sleeping bags it seems like we are camping," I joked.

"Three?"

"Me, Emma, and Jasmine," I said, confused.

"Jasmine left," he said.

I straightened. "What? When?"

"A few minutes ago; her mom called."

"Oh." I wondered what had to be so important for Jasmine's mother to call at that time. "Is something wrong?" I asked, suddenly anxious. It had to be her father.

"No, she said it wasn't important, and that she'd be back tomorrow morning."

We fell silent; I hoped it wasn't bad.

"Well I think I'm going to sleep in Emma's bed. I'd be glad to use a sleeping bag but my back is already aching and it might be worse in the morning," I said as I got up.

"Do you want a massage?" John asked suddenly. I laughed out loud, but stopped when I saw his serious expression.

"Were you serious?"

"Yeah."
"Oh… No, I'm okay. Goodnight John."

"Um… Edith?" His tone made me turn around.

"Yes?"

"I was thinking that maybe we could go to the cinema tomorrow. There's a new movie coming out. 'Vacancy'. You like scary movies, right?"

"A little." This surprised me a bit, but I'd be glad to go. It was then that I remembered the dare. Uh-oh.

"Like a date?" I asked.

"Um… not really." Well it seemed like as a date to me, and I couldn't say yes.

"Sounds like a date to me."

"Maybe." It was a bit annoying. Either yes or no. It wasn't that complicated. I had to make sure because I couldn't risk my truck for a misunderstanding.

"I can't," I said. On with my first excuse. "I don't want to ruin our friendship. I mean, we are great friends and why ruin that because of a date? Maybe we could just buy the movie and watch it either here or at my place. What do you say?"

"Okay." I noticed his face fell. I didn't know what to say but I knew what my friend John would approve of.

"What if I give you a kiss? You won't be angry at me anymore?"

"On the lips, okay," he grinned.

"On the cheek.." I corrected, and kissed him swiftly. "Better?" I asked.

"Yep, but I wasn't angry," he said.

"What? I want my kiss back."

"Where do you want it then?" he laughed, before kissing me softly on the cheek. I smacked his arm.

"Silly. I'm going to sleep now. Goodnight, John."

"Goodnight, Edith. Sweet dreams."