The Outcasts, chapter 5: It’s a Date
Unlike Amelia’s chaotic and haphazard lifestyle, Meredith was always very thankful that she had things a little better in life. She felt that she could never admit it, but it was in the back of her mind. Her parents had money, and they weren’t afraid to use it on their children.
As easy as the money could come if she wanted it, though, she wasn’t always eager to take it. She didn’t want to parade around town in a brand new car. Especially if she didn’t need one, as she was much happier walking anyways. She knew her little sister Becca, though, was counting down the days until her 16th birthday, though she was a different creature altogether.
She didn’t work. She didn’t have to work. There was a part of her that did want to, just to say that she was working; just to have some money that she could say that she earned herself and wasn’t just handed to her without any questions asked. The other reason she wanted to have a job was escape the boredom that she lived through when everyone else she knew was working except her. And by “everyone else,” she really meant just Amelia.
On days where she was feeling motivated enough, she’d walk to the library when Amelia wasn’t available to spend time with. It was never her intention to become a bookworm, but when you’re surrounded by so many sources of information, it becomes overwhelming and you just have to indulge.
Meredith was reading the novel Possession, which she had read more than enough positive reviews of, that she finally had to sit down and read it. However, no sooner did she get completely settled into one of the big comfy chairs, she noticed a familiar face in the next chair over to her left, sitting peacefully, flipping through a book.
How did this always happen, she thought to herself? The number of times since Will told of his observation, it seemed like she was everywhere that Meredith was. Perhaps it was always that way, though she didn’t notice until now. Now, though, it was almost absurd how often she seemed to be in the same place as Natasha.
She tossed around some thoughts in her mind as to whether or not she should say anything or not. Was there even a reason to try and speak to her? If her motivation was to talk to Natasha only because of a rumor started by Will, of all people, was it really worth it to do anything at all?
“That’s a really good book,” a voice said. Meredith snapped out of her thoughts to realize it was Natasha who was starting a conversation with her.
“Is it? I just started it. I’ve heard so many good things about it,” she tried to sound sincere and interested, which wasn’t hard to do considering that she was both.
“I’ve read it twice now. It’s so captivating!”
“I hope so!”
“My name is Natasha, by the way,” she said finally, offering her hand to Meredith with a smile.
“Meredith,” she replied, taking Natasha’s hand in hers. “I’ve noticed you through out the school.” Immediately, she worried that maybe she shouldn’t have said that.
“Oh yeah, I’ve seen you around too. In fact, aren’t you friends with Will?”
“Yeah,” Meredith replied, “well…sort of. Do you know him?”
“I just know him from a class I have with him. But I thought I saw him hanging out with you the other day.”
“Oh, I see. Well, we’re sort of friends now. Actually, I used to date him,” she said hesitantly, unsure of whether or not she should be divulging this information.
“It didn’t work out, I guess?”
“Not exactly. He’s a better friend than a boyfriend,” she said with a slight laugh. She then felt guilty for saying it though, thinking that she could be contributing to a reputation for him. “He was just really friend-like with me. We weren’t compatible.”
“That happens,” Natasha said.
“You seem a little…curious in Will.”
“No no, its not like that,” Natasha said, blushing slightly, “he’s just the first person to really talk to me since I started school.”
“Would you like me to put in a good word for you?”
“You don’t have to do that. I think I can manage,” she answered before quickly biting at one of her fingernails.
“Did you just move to the area?”
“Actually, no. I’ve lived here my whole life. This is just my first year in public school.”
“Wow, really? Home schooling…what is that like?” Meredith put her book down on her lap, feeling herself enjoying Natasha’s company.
“It was boring,” she laughed. “I begged to go to high school for my senior year.”
“You thought that coming into a public school in your senior year, when you don’t know anyone, was a good idea?” Meredith didn’t mean to sound so crass, but she was honestly confused as to her motivation.
“I know, it sounds crazy. Teenagers can be so…”
“…closed minded to new people?” Meredith answered her sentence.
“Yeah, exactly. I wanted to experience it anyways. If worse came to worse, I thought, I would only have to endure it for one year before going to college.”
“Besides, I was hoping to make some friends, for once.”
“What do you mean for once,” asked Meredith. “Surely you’ve had friends.”
“Well…yes and no. I’ve had friends, sure. But they’ve been my cousins, or friends of my family. I guess you can say that I’ve been a little sheltered.”
“It probably sounds so crazy…”
“No, I understand,” said Meredith, trying to be supportive.
“Listen to me talk…I don’t even know anything about you, and I’m rattling off my whole life story.”
“It’s really okay,” Meredith said with a smile. “I’m not stopping you.”
“There’s a lot of transition here. I’m getting the hang of it though.”
In Meredith’s head, she could hear the conversation she had with Will and Amelia, playing out all over again. She was suddenly thinking about what might be under Natasha’s pants. In her mind, she played out all the possible ways that she could bring it up. “So,” she imagined herself saying, “I heard you wear diapers. What’s up with that?” Instead, she bit her tongue and tried to push it from her mind.
“Why on Earth would your parents make you do home schooling anyways?”
“A few things. For one, my father was convinced that I was destined for great things, and he made it his life goal to hire the best professional tutors that he could for me. In his eyes, public school would only hinder me.”
“And yet you’re here…what changed?”
“I did. There comes a point where you have to do things for yourself and not just because your family has great expectations for you.”
“So what else?” Meredith asked, remembering that Natasha had mentioned that there were a ‘few’ things.
“Oh,” Natasha started hesitantly, “just some issues.”
“It’s nothing really. I’ve had some disabilities in my life that I’ve had to overcome.”
“I guess you’ve overcome them, then, if you’re here.” Meredith felt like she knew exactly what Natasha was getting at. Suddenly, Will’s words made more sense. She very well could be wearing diapers. She might actually need them. It made a lot of sense.
“I have,” Natasha laughed, “Well, mostly. Like any kind of…bodily issue, you can just adapt to it and not cure it.”
“I’m sorry if this is rather forward,” Meredith said nervously, “but what kind of disability are we talking here? You’ve got me curious now, and you certainly don’t look like you have any sort of disability.”
“It’s not quite one you would notice,” Natasha said in a suddenly more hushed tone. She quickly glanced to her left and to her right, seeing if there was anyone around, before turning back to Meredith, and coming a little closer. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”
“Oh…well, you don’t have to tell me.”
“No really,” Meredith said with a comforting smile. She didn’t want Natasha to be uncomfortable right now. In fact, the fact that she couldn’t just spit out the cause of her ‘embarrassing problem’ seemed to be all the evidence she needed to confirm her suspicions. “I don’t need to know. That’s your business.”
“Thank you,” Natasha said with a slight blush. She sat back in her chair a little bit, looking a little more relaxed. “It’s nice, you know, having some people to talk to.”
“Of course. I’ve felt kind of alone the past few weeks here at school. And with you and Will taking the time to talk to me recently, it makes me feel like I did make the right decision to get out of the house.”
“I’m so glad we could help,” exclaimed Meredith, a little more loudly than she would’ve wished to have been. “Seriously, Natasha, I don’t want you to think that you’re alone, ever. In fact…” Meredith trailed off a little bit, while she thought about whether or not she should propose the idea that just popped into her head.
“Why don’t you join Will and I tonight for dinner. My friend Amelia will be there too!” Of course, Meredith realized that she was going to have to get Amelia and Will to agree on not only going out for dinner tonight, but to also have Natasha tag along. Knowing their curiosity in her, though, Meredith figured it wouldn’t be a problem.
“Really?” asked Natasha with a hint of joy in her voice. “You wouldn’t mind?”
“Not at all! Why don’t you meet us at Maxwell’s at 6 tonight. You know where that is, right?”
“Of course! I love Maxwell’s. I’ll be there at 6. You better not stand me up,” she said with a wink.
“I don’t even think I’m capable of doing that,” Meredith said with a laugh. Soon, they were both laughing.
“Well, I guess I should get my stuff together for Physics,” Natasha said finally. “I really appreciate you inviting me out. I’ll see you tonight!”
“It’s a date,” Meredith said with a smile. She debated in her head for a moment if that was an okay thing to say, but it was too late. Besides, Natasha didn’t seem to have any negative reaction to the comment.
It’s a date, she thought. This is where things could get interesting.