What Lies Beyond the Eyes

Chapter 6: An Unexpected Visit

Chapter 4: A Fight

”Mark?! ”

I looked up to see Danny, Gia, and Rom standing wet on the sidewalk beside the slides. Sandy walked up a ladder onto the sidewalk beside them, and I followed suit with the innertube in tow.

”You actually went down one of the taller slides? I thought you didn like them? ” Danny asked me.

”I…uhh…Decided to try it out I guess. ” I told him, deflecting from the fact that Sandy convinced me to do it, so I could avoid the consequential barrage of teases that would be thrown at me when we got home.

”Wow, aren you a player. ” Gia said as she gave off a smug grin looking at me.

I stared daggers back at her as I walked up to her, lightheartedly flicked her forehead, and told her, ”Shut it, Miss Clingy. It was her idea. ”

”Uh, rude! ” She told me as she puffed her lip out.

Sandy seemed to be blissfully ignorant of the conversation as she was picking the innertube back off the ground, seemingly to go back on the slide again.

”Well prove you aren a weirdo then! ” She continued, ”Go down the slides with us then! ”

”I… Uhhhh… hmmm… ” I started to stammer before being interrupted by Sandy.

While Sandy paid no mind to Gias earlier comments, it was this that caught her attention. She said to Gia in a motherly tone, ”Hey Gia? Mark doesn seem that good with heights, and he seemed to be really nervous after just that one time. If he doesn want to go again, we shouldn force him… ”

”No… NO!! ” Gia cut her off yelling, ”You can decide that! Why is it fine with you but with us, no! Just because you
e the perfect… ”

”Gia… ” Danny somberly said as he firmly wrapped his hand in hers.

Even the normally quiet and non-expressive Rom beside her put her hand on her shoulder as worry filled her face. This was odd, Gia was loud sure, but Ive never seen her snap like this for seemingly nothing…

”Why are you so mad, Gia? Its not like Im the brother you
e dating? ” I curiously asked her while moving out of the way of the ladder so people could exit the pool from the slides.

Apparently, this was not the thing I shouldve said because Danny immediately shot me an evil look and Roms face seemed to say, ”What did you do?? ”

”What? ” I asked innocently.

”First of all, don ever even suggest that again, ” Gia quietly seethed at me. ”And secondly Im not mad because you would never come with me specifically… Well I am, but…! But! ”

I smirked at her. ”You don know why you
e mad anymore do you? ” I said, ”Oh, theres the teen angst. ”

”No! Shut up! I know exactly why Im mad and she does too! ”

I looked over to check on Sandy, and my heart ached. She had the same distant, pained look on her face that she did when she almost ran into that boy. Now I know why that expression was there when I started talking to her about how similar she and Gia were… Were they always like this?

”I can tell you why when we get home Mark… ” Danny calmly said to me to very loud objections from Gia.

”Mmmm… ” I responded, keeping my eyes on Sandy, whose eyes had a all too familiar shiny glaze starting to come over them.

I wish I could do something to help. I don even know why! I just met her, but after seeing that smile from earlier…For her to go from that to this so quickly…You shouldn look like that unless you want to look like that, like me. (Which I guess even then it was forced on me after years and years of being the odd one out in school cliques. Able to get along with anyone, but not form any lasting, meaningful relationships.)

That look shouldn be forced on anyone. I wish I knew what to do to change that look back to that amazing smile she had from what now seemed like a lifetime ago, but Ive never been good at making people happy.

”…Fine! Im Fine! ” My hypnotic trance studying Sandy was abruptly interrupter by Gia shouting reassurances to Danny and Rom before going off in a huff, ”Its not that big of a deal anyway! I shouldve expected that he is just a scared loser! ”

”What she just call me? ” I thought maliciously to myself, ”Does she know Im right here and four years her senior? Shouldn this little shit be just a little respectful? ”

Quickly thinking of the thing that would make her even madder, ”Hey Sandy? Lets go on the other slides now, okay? ”

”W-what? ” she stammered.

I grabbed her hand and picked up the innertube, ”Come on! ”

”Oh! ” I said as I passed the three shocked kids that stopped in their tracks, ”You guys can come along too, I guess. Try to keep up though. ”

Gia then bolted out in front of Sandy I with Rom and Danny in tow, yelling, ”No, you keep up with us! ”

Smiling at myself for getting rid of that awkward situation I quickened my pace a little to keep up with the trio.

”U-um… ” Sandy stammered beside me.

”Oh! Sorry! ” I told her. I realized I never let go of her hand.

”N-no its fine! Its not that! ” She nervously said, ”Its just you know… Are you going to be okay? ”

I let out an exasperated sigh. ”I should be the one asking if you
e okay. Im going to be fine. We just got to spend as little time at the top as possible and more time on the actual slides. Im not afraid to admit that going down the taller slides was kind of fun. ”

A slight grin appeared onto her once downtrodden face. Suddenly she whirled in front of me and grabbed my arm and yoinked me up the stairs. She said with her beautiful smile back onto her face, ”Lets go then! We have to go down the slides until it closes! Come on we don have that much more time! You can leave just riding one slide! ”

She snatched my hand and dragged me along with the innertube back up the stairs so quickly we ended up passing the kids again.

I smiled back at her and quickened my pace to be with her by her side. Her and Gia aren really that similar after all. Sure, they
e both bubbly and outgoing, but Sandy pays attention to others and how they feel whereas Gia tends to run all over people. Maybe thats why I wanted to help her feel better? Yeah, thats the reason. I would do the same thing for other people too. Its just the right thing to do. I used to do stuff like this all the time. And after this shell quickly move on, and Ill go back to being alone… Like I should be…?

After riding the different slides for around thirty minutes, I was left exhausted sitting in the chair with our stuff. I just had a moments rest from Sandy because she went to the restroom and the kids and I were waiting for her to return. The trio looked as exhausted as I did when I looked at them. Gia was leaning on Dannys shoulder with her eyes closed, and Danny was leaning on her head. Rom had her head on her arms on the table, and I was watching over them like a benevolent guardian.

I smiled at the pleasant scene. ”I guess they used up all of their teenage hormones huh? ” I thought to myself.

Sandy then came running up to us, still full of energy, saying, ”You guys ready to go again!? ”

Nobody budged an inch at her exclamation, and I tiredly looked at her and said, ”I don think their feeling up for it anymore. ”

”Cmonnn! ” She implored as she dragged me up from my seat by my hand, ”The park is going to be closing soon! ”

She started to pull me back out towards the slides, but I stopped in my tracks and held firm. Still holding onto my hand, she looked at me bewildered. ”Sandy. ” I explained. ”While you and I can keep going, I don think theyll be able to. Maybe we should get some food here before it closes don you think? ”

She looked back behind me to the exhausted kids sitting comfortably under the shade of the large umbrella, and she smiled to herself warmly. ”Okay. ” She surrendered before dragging me along to the concession stand in the waterpark. Luckily there wasn that big of a line, and we were going to order pretty fast. ”What do you think we should get? ” She asked me as she gazed at the menu.

I peered at the choices and shakily suggested, ”H-how about a pizza and Dippin Dots for everyone? ”

”That sounds great! ” She exclaimed as she started to fiddle with her wallet with her free hand.

Realizing that she was wanting to pay for it, I hurriedly told her, ”No, I can pay! Youve already done so much today. ”

She playfully huffed at my suggestion saying, ”Noooo! Youve been such a big help with the kids its only right! ”

”Whatll be you
e order? ” The voice of the cashier asked us from the open window. It was our turn to order. Sandy told her the order, and after she finished the cashier asked us, ”Will you two be wanting the couples Dippin Dots? Its cheaper than just a normal large. ”

Sandy, flushed, suddenly was at a loss of what to say. I tried to explain that we didn before I noticed that Sandy still had a firm grasp onto my hand. We must have noticed it at the same time because she quickly released me from her clasp, and we darted our embarrassed eyes from each other to the cashier. ”N-no…We
e not… Um no. We want them all individual. ” I clumsily explained.

It wouldve been too much of a pain to explain everything, so I just went along with it. As the cashier went into the back to get the orders, I quickly suggested to Sandy, ”Split the bill? ”

”Yep! Sounds great. ” She quickly said as she moved her damp brunette hair over her ear.

I smiled. It seems that being flustered made her lose the will to fight on paying for the food all on her own. We paid the cashier and made our way back with the food. We happily ate the remaining hours of the park away.

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