Length: 5-10k words
Awards: First Place for Best Comedy (Summer 2003), First Place for Best Het (Winter 2002), First Place for Best Original Character - Taryn Taz McDonald - (Summer 2002), Nominated for Best Comedy (Winter 2002)
Chapter Three: A Word of Warning
“Noticed.” He replies with a grin.
Noticed? Is that all the response I get?
“With all that mad hair and all.” I add. Talk to me, Banksie.
“And being Irish. It’s a nice accent.”
Is that all I’m getting? Here I am, making a conversation about a girl who’s not my girlfriend, who just so happens to be my best friend’s girlfriend’s best friend. I’m showing way too much interest in her, he should really ask me if I’m interested in her.
“She’s pretty too. In a quirky kinda way.” I say.
“If you like purple.”
Damn it, Banks! Call me on it! Ask me if I like her!
“I like purple.” I say. Come on, I’ve almost said it out loud. Ask me!
He just smiles.
“Fine! You’ve dragged it out of me!” I rage. “I like her!”
He laughs at me. “Dragged it out of you? I didn’t say a word.”
“Well, you should have! You’re my best friend, I shouldn’t have to tell you of my own accord, you should ask me, beat it out of me if need be!”
He gives me a look. “Your logic does not resemble Earth logic. You’ve spent way too much time with Taz.”
“Or not enough.” I say pointedly.
He rolls his eyes. “You should really have started the conversation with ‘I’m thinking of ditching Linda’. That might have got my attention. I have strict instructions from Maya not to let you anywhere near Taz until you have.”
“Oh!” Now I get it. Stupid me. “Well, I will ditch Linda.”
“Nice one, Conway.” He says approvingly. “I’m sure that exchanging one maniac for another will do you the world of good.”
“Taz is a fun maniac, Linda’s just…”
“A boring weasel-faced wench with the personality of a veruca?” He suggests. From his quick response I’d wager he’s spent some time thinking about how little he enjoys Linda’s company.
I nod. “Maybe I wouldn’t be quite so insulting, but yeah.”
“Cool, I’m going to find Maya.” He says, getting up.
“Later.” I say.
Moments later the door opens again, instead of Adam, like I was expecting, it’s Maya.
“He’s just gone to look for you.” I tell her.
“Actually, I came here to see you.” She takes a seat on Adam’s bed.
“Is this about Taz?” I ask cautiously.
“Yes it is.” She says. “Don’t mess her around. She’s a nice girl and the last thing she needs is someone screwing with her feelings.”
“I know she’s a nice girl.” I retort, slightly irritated that I’m getting this lecture after spending just one day with her. And most of that day was supervised, except for our two hours of insanity.
“Charlie, I don’t want to sound like a bitch or anything, but you don’t know Taz at all. You’ve met the fun side of her, and you like it—which is a plus, most people get annoyed with her.”
“So what’s the other side?” I ask.
“She’s very…” Maya scrunches up her face as she searches for the right word. “Vulnerable, I guess. Her life wasn’t always great.” She pushes her hair out of her eyes and leans forward.
“She’s just won an art scholarship to come here. This will be the last school she’s at before graduation. She hasn’t stayed at any school longer than six months since she was eleven. This time she’s making friends for keeps.” She is obviously debating whether or not to tell me the rest. “This doesn’t leave the room, ok?”
“Ok.” I say.
“You can’t even tell Taz I told you. She’d hate me for telling you this.”
“She used to live with her Mom in Ireland until her Mom died, Taz only was nine. She stayed for two more years with her Grandmother until she got too old to take care of her. Her Dad is American, so he collected Taz and brought her over here. She’s been carted around like a piece of luggage ever since. She’s never said anything, but I don’t think her Dad has really noticed she’s a person. Hence her wacky behaviour, attention seeking. She asked him if she got a scholarship to a boarding school could she stay in one place for the rest of her education. He said yes.”
“Wow.” I say softly. “Poor Taz.”
“Don’t ‘poor Taz’ her, she’d hate it. I’m just telling you this, before she gets all attached to you—which no doubt she will do when she starts here if you let her. If you want to date her, fine, but don’t play around with her and stay with Linda. You’ll hurt her, and I’ll destroy you for it.”
“I get it.” I tell her. “And I won’t hurt her.”
At this point Adam walks in. I guess this was some form of set-up. He was probably hovering behind the door the whole time. He takes a seat next to Maya and starts playing with her hair.
“Taz just called me!” She says brightly, as if none of the conversation before has happened. “She wants to know what we’re doing on Tuesday.”