I've always prided myself on being a good judge of character, but God has James Whittingham proved me wrong. I assumed I knew him, but I've judged him as harshly as he did me. Even if my judgments were less public.
The more I get to know him, the more I see how different he is from the scowling face and the awful haircut. He is smart - crazy smart - and funny. I think even Lissie would like him if she gave him a chance, but seeing as she's missed my last three calls, I've not been able to introduce them yet. I think she avoids them when she thinks James might be there. She still hasn't forgiven him for our first meeting.
Or maybe she can't get over the fact he isn't super cute.
The thing is, if she could see him every day like I do, she'd see he has serious potential if you look past the curtains or the lip ring. Yesterday, he tied his hair up when the heat sent us all crazy, and I couldn't stop staring. He looked so different.
But it's more than that. I can't get over how easy it is to be around him. It isn't like TJ - thank God he only came back to visit for a weekend, I can't afford to drop another piece of Lucille's crockery - and without the nerves and awkwardness, I can understand what Lydia means about boys being just like girls to hang around. I'm letting my guard down, and I think he's starting to show me more of himself, too.
He gets me. More than maybe even Lissie or Lydia did when we first met. I can sit reading for hours, and he never tells me I am boring. He never laughs at my appalling lack of music knowledge and even lets me choose the film most evenings, even when I pick Miss Congeniality for the second time in a week.
Even Oscar likes him. He's started giving us these weird side-looks as though something is going on. Which of course it isn't/ I don't think of James like that at all. If anything, he reminds me of Lissie. Sarcastic, blunt, and with a hard mask that people mistake for apathy or aggression. Underneath that, once he lets it slip a little, he seems sad. Lost. Not that he's really let me see that side yet. Maybe in time he'll trust me. Maybe I'll trust him too.
It's funny. Three weeks ago, I wanted to throttle him and throw his body into the lake. Lately though, I've started to worry what will happen when we get to Hopton Hills. Will he forget this summer? With Presley's influence back over him, will he change back and shut me out? I'm not sure what I'd do if that happened. I'd be back at square one.
1. Figure out James Whittingham
2. Finish the Summer credit reading list (yes, even Steinbeck)
3. Convince Lydia and Lissie to move to Tennessee so that I don't have to start High School alone
YOU ARE READING
Under Tennessee SkiesTeen Fiction
When she moves from England to the small town of Hopton Hills, Tennessee, Martha Heysham finds both her dream of Oxford University and her heart at risk from her new neighbours, the Whittingham boys. **** Martha Heysham hates Tennessee. The sticky h...