Everyones eyes are on me now, analyzing my relationship with Nathan which is not good considering I just got back together with Avi.
"Were just friends," I blurt out, then hook my finger into Avis belt loop making it obvious were a couple. I hold my breath and peek at Avis reaction to all of this.
Avi takes his hands off me, saying, "You dont have to defend yourself to me, Amy. Ill be at the bar while you work this out. "
Is he serious? He doesnt have any doubts or insecurities about my friendship with Nathan? "You sure?"
"Yeah. " He smiles and gives me a reassuring nod.
I watch his retreating back as he weaves his way through the crowd.
Wes, the guy from the Jewish youth group who helped me get Nathan in the band, weaves his way through the crowd. "Nate rocks, Amy. Thanks for bringing him by the other night. Were thinking of making him a permanent sub for Lickity Split. "
"Cool," I say, but Im not really paying attention to Wes or Bicky. Or Miranda, for that matter, even though shes in a deep conversation with a guy who I remember seeing at the youth group.
"Nathan. . . " I say, wanting to apologize for kissing him. I also want to tell him Im sorry he has to deal with a screwed-up girlfriend on his first night singing with the band.
"Its cool, Amy. "
"I can stay and help if you want. "
"Youve helped enough, bitch, dont you think?" Bicky slurs. I seriously think she wants to fight me, like in a physical fight. As Im contemplating who would win in a fight between me and Bicky, I wonder if they teach tae kwon do in rehab. Because the only physical fight Ive ever been in was with the sheep on the moshav last summer in Israel. And in the disco in Israel, but that was only because of the ear-licker--long story.
Bicky holds her hands out wide, "You want some of this?"
"Not really," I say. Is she joking?
Obviously not. My response really pisses her off, because now Nathan is trying to hold her back from charging me. I swear Im living in the Twilight Zone. This girl seriously wants to deck me.
Not knowing what else to do, I close my fingers tightly into fists and hold them up by my face. The crowd around me starts moving backward. I think theyre chanting "Chick Fight!" but Im not sure. Whatever theyre chanting, though, is fueling my bravery. Getting into the role, I start hopping around like boxers do. Maybe Bicky is too wasted and shell fall to the ground on the first swing. Its wishful thinking, right?
If I break a nail I swear the chick is paying for a new manicure.
"You want some of this? Come and get me!" I say, playing the role while psyching myself up. I can seriously get into this, acting all tough and crazy. Be afraid, everyone. Here comes the champion girl fighter of our time, Amy Nelson-Barak!
From behind me, an arm snakes around my side and pulls me backward.
"What the. . . ?"
Im kicking whoever is holding me and punching at the arm, which is locked around me like a metal vice. Whoever it is drags me outside and sets me down on the sidewalk. I turn around and should have known nobody is as strong as my boyfriend who said he didnt want to deal with the drama, but ends up in the middle of it.
"What. Do. You. Think. You. Were. Doing?" Avi says each word slowly as if Im an imbecile. His eyes are intense and his hands are shaking. Ive never seen Avi shake before and it scares me.
"Im sorry," I say.
He opens his hands out wide. "I leave you alone for two minutes and youre acting like a hellcat. How can I leave you for three years, Amy? I cant protect you while Im in Israel. "
I point to the club. "Bicky started it. "
"So you took the bait?"
Uh, yeah. "What was I supposed to do, back down?"
"Yes," he says without hesitation.
"Thats not me. Do you back down, Avi? Please tell me once in your life when youve backed down," I say, getting really riled up now because adrenaline is rushing through my body and Im frightened because Avis hands are still shaking.
Avi stares at his hands in horror, curses, then shoves them into the front pockets of his jeans. He swallows, looks away from me, and says, "Lets go. "
I stay where I am, unmoving from this spot on the sidewalk in front of Durty Nevins because I finally figured it out. Whats making Avi shake.
His emotions are running rampant and hes not used to it.
Avi is a guy who is always in control of his body and mind. Even when I kidnapped him, he was in total control of the situation the entire time. Adrenaline he can handle, emotions he cant.
"You were afraid I was going to get hurt. Thats why youre shaking," I blurt out.
He stops. His back is to me. "I dont shake. "
"Then show me your hands. "
"Avi, its okay to be emotional. "
"For you, maybe. But not for me. " I put my hand on his arm, knowing his pain about Michas death is as raw in his chest now as it was when his brother first died. It has nothing to do with me and the fight. Avi cant let go of the pain of Michas death, but still refuses to grieve. "Youre only eighteen. And I hate to break the news to you, but youre human. "
"I cant lose you, Amy," he says, his voice tense even though I sense hes trying to control his tone. "I came to America to prove to myself that I wasnt attached to you, that you werent as important to me as my mind was telling me you were. I was wrong. "
"You rode on a plane for twelve hours just to break up with me?" I say, totally confused and insulted now. I mean, seriously, to come all this way to prove Im not worthy. "If that isnt the stupidest, most ridiculous, asinine thing Ive ever heard," I say, then start walking across the street because I need space.
"A car is coming," he says.
Sure enough, I look behind me and a Honda Pilot is turning the corner and heads right to where Im standing. "Arent you going to save me?" I yell.
"Yeah, I am. "
He walks fast to the curb and is about to step onto the street when I tell him, "If you take one step closer, its over between us. I mean it. "
"That car is gonna hit you," he says seriously, his eyes blazing with intensity. But he does stop cold in his tracks at the curb.
"They see me," I assure him.
Avi cocks his head to the side in confusion while his hands come out of his pockets. Hes trying to look relaxed, but I can tell hes ready to pounce and save me at any second.
"Theyll stop," I say again, trying to prove a point that Ill be okay whether hes here to save me or not. Hes not always going to be around to play Superman. Just like he wasnt around to save his brother when that bomber decided to kill innocent Israelis. My boyfriend is human and for once needs to let go and realize it.
Avi is looking at the car coming closer and then back at me. I can feel the struggle within him all the way over here. "Maybe they dont care," he says frantically to me. "Maybe they cant see you in the dark. Maybe the driver is drunk and--"
"Maybe Ill be okay, Avi. "
"What if youre not? What if you die?"
I put my hand out. When the car reaches me, it comes to a halt. "Yo, chick, you gonna get out of the way?" a guy yells out the window.
"Everyone dies. "
"Do you blame me for wanting to protect you, Amy? Now please get out of the street. "
The guy in the car starts blowing his horn, really loud and its hurting my already sensitive eardrums.
"Im trying to teach my boyfriend a lesson," I scream at the driver. "Do you mind?"
"Yeah," he yells back. "Go teach him a lesson on Lower Wacker Drive where all the other wackos hang out. "
"They give tickets for road rage in Chicago, you know," I say, then roll my eyes.
"Amy. . . Im coming to get you in ten seconds. "
"They give tickets for jaywalking in Chicago," the guy yells while intermittently beeping his horn. I get a little satisfaction he cant pass me because theres no room on the street.
ou have five more seconds to get your tachat over here. "
"Do you love me, Avi?"
"Yes. Four seconds. "
"Do you trust me?"
"Yes. Two seconds. "
"Dude, if you dont get your crazy girlfriend out of my path Im gonna move her myself. "
"Amy," Avi says, closing his eyes tight and opening them again. Two seconds have come and gone. He has a pleading look in his eyes, eyes that are glassy with unshed tears. " Bvakasha. Please. "
Okay, I give in. Because Ive proven my point that I will be okay and Avi has proven that he can trust me. I walk over to him, my gaze never leaving his. The car screeches away. "You see. I survived. "
His arms wrap around me, pulling me close.
"Youre not shaking anymore," I say.
"Im too angry with you to be scared. "
"Angry? Listen, youve got to give up this superhuman theme going on in your life. Shit happens. Life happens, okay? Youre leaving tomorrow and who knows whatll happen. Am I gonna sit around my room so nothing terrible can possibly happen to me? No. Are you going to sit in your army barracks and tell your commander you cant protect Israel because your crabby girlfriend will die if you get so much as a scratch on that perfect bod or face of yours? No. "
"Stop talking so I can kiss you. "
"You cant shut me up with kisses, you know. "
"Wanna bet?" he says, smiling with those perfect white teeth while putting his perfect hands on my body as he lowers his perfect full lips to mine and proves to me hes right.
"Lets go back to your place," he says when we come up for air.
Im holding on to his biceps for support because his kisses still make me feel drunk. "My aba is there. If you even kiss me hell probably kill you first and ask questions later. "
Back at the apartment my dad is nowhere to be seen. I check the messages. Theres one from him saying he has to stay late for an emergency meeting. Then he says to make sure Avi is listening to the message, too, and the rest of the message is all in Hebrew.
I roll my eyes. "Is he having another sex talk?"
"Oh, yeah. Big time. "
I stop the machine before the message finishes and give Avi a mischievous look. "What are you thinking?"
"Which rooms your dad has strategically placed the hidden cameras. "
I laugh. "Thats ridiculous. My dad doesnt have any hidden cameras in this house. "
"He sounded pretty convincing, but I have an idea. "
We get ready for bed, like a married couple except for the fact that were just two trusting teenagers in complete love with each other. Avis bed is still the couch in the living room, but this time I snuggle under the covers with him because my overprotective father isnt home watching our every move.
"I like this," I say. "So whats your idea?"
Avi pulls the covers over our heads so were cloaked in complete darkness.
I finger his stubble with my fingertips. "This is your big idea?"
"It was either under the blanket or inside the hall closet. "
"Its all sababa" I say, and Avi laughs. "Yeah, it is. "