Episode 069

Melinda’s Journal

Friday, December 1

Each of us lives in our own little world, which slowly revolves on its own axis. Most of the time, our worlds interact with other worlds and everything is okay. But every so often, something happens to knock our worlds off their axes.

Something jarred mine and I can’t seem to get it just right again. I feel like everything is tilted sideways. Not completely, but slightly. It’s making me see everything differently, and I don’t necessarily like it.

I need someone to help make my little world right again. The problem is, I have no idea who can help me. I need someone who has been through what I’m going through. But, who?

Melinda’s Story

When we finished discussing our boyfriends, Sarah, Crystal, and I decided to watch a movie in the living room, where their mother joined us.

“What would you girls like to watch?” 

Crystal scrolled to a movie on one of the streaming services while her mother read the title aloud.

“High School Horrors? I don’t think so.”

Crystal made a face as she picked another movie.

“Zombie High? Still no. How about something not scary? Ooh. What about GnomeWorld? I love that one.”

“Which one’s that?” I could remember the name, but not the storyline.

“This family moves to a new neighborhood where all the neighbors are always fighting about their lawn gnomes.”

“Oh, I remember that one. Yeah, that sounds fun.”

Sarah raised her eyebrows at me. “Can you watch that? Isn’t there a kissing scene?”

“Oh, are you not allowed?” Sarah’s mother sent me a concerned look.

I glared at my roommate. “No, it’s fine. I can watch it.“

Crystal turned to her mother. “Patrick McGregor is Melinda’s boyfriend.”

Her mother shook her head. “Oh, Crystal. I think you understood wrong.”

“I saw them kissing. What’s to misunderstand?”

Sarah nodded. “No, he really is.”

I sighed. “No, Pat Evans is my boyfriend. Let’s just watch the movie. It’ll be fine.”

It wasn’t fine, though. I spent most of the movie trying to remember where the kissing scene took place. As soon as Sarah had mentioned it, I remembered this movie was also Pat’s first on-screen kiss. 

Unfortunately, the scene was near the end of the movie, so I ended up worrying for over an hour. If Sarah hadn’t said anything, the kiss probably wouldn’t have bothered me at all. It looked awkward and I felt only the tiniest ping of jealousy. It actually made me less upset than the entire ordeal with Poppy Sommers.

However, it did make me start thinking. Would I feel like this every time I watched one of Pat’s movies? Would I be even more jealous next time? And what about his next movie? How would I feel when I was at school and he was kissing other girls? Over and over, until the director found the perfect shot?

These thoughts kept me up most of the night. When I finally did fall asleep, I watched Pat kissing a long line of girls, many of whom looked like Poppy Sommers, while I could only sit in a glass booth and watch from afar. 

I woke up Saturday morning wanting to talk to someone about my concerns, but I had no idea who could understand what I was feeling. Sarah certainly wouldn’t get it. Despite the fact that we had all been spending so much time together at school, Sarah still thought of him as Patrick McGregor, movie star.

I considered talking to Larry, who was like a brother to me, but he couldn’t understand any better than Sarah. Walter might get it. But I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable by talking about me and his brother kissing. For the first time in my life, I wished I had an older sister to guide me.

Sarah’s mother took us to the local mall after lunch, but I wasn’t in much of a shopping mood. Sarah managed to convince her mother to allow us to shop alone, but Crystal wasn’t allowed to join us. This resulted in a lot of sulking, and I had a feeling that Crystal’s furious sign language was not entirely polite.

Sarah and I wandered the stores, not looking for anything in particular. I showed her the dress I had picked out for the Snowflake Ball, even trying it on to make sure we both liked how it looked. But ultimately, I decided to wait to buy it for many reasons. I had already packed my school clothes and didn’t want to try to fit it in. I also didn’t want to explain to my mother why I had bought a fancy new dress. But, my biggest reason, which I didn’t dare voice aloud, was that I was concerned I might have to break up with Pat.

After a few stores, Sarah turned to me. “Are you okay? You don’t seem quite yourself.”

I shrugged. “I just didn’t sleep well last night.” I wasn’t ready to explain what had caused my restless night.

“Okay. Well, if you wanna talk about anything, you know I’m here, right?”

I forced a smile. “I’m just tired.”

We wandered the mall for a few hours until it was time to meet Sarah’s mother. Neither of us actually bought anything. When we got back to Sarah’s house, she received an incoming video chat request from Larry.

His pale face with his dark curly hair and blue eyes filled the screen. Sarah greeted him excitedly.

“Hey! Guess who’s here.” She turned the screen for Larry to see me. He smiled.

“Hey! How was your Thanksgiving?” 

“Not as crazy as yours, I hear.”

“You’re telling me. Walter said you visited him the other day, but you ended up spending more time with your boyfriend than with him.”

“Did he explain to you that was only because he wanted some alone time with an elf lord?”

Larry’s laughter rang out from the phone. “Hey, speaking of Walter, you wanna hear something crazy? I was walking by the living room and I could swear I heard Walter’s voice, telling me how to find the perimeter of a square.”

Sarah smirked. “Um, shouldn’t you know that by now?” 

Larry stuck out his tongue. “Kenzie was watching that show she likes, C.I.Amy. It was the tv. But it sounded like him.”

“Maybe it was Patrick McGregor? They kinda sound alike, don’t they?”

I made a noncommittal sound. Larry didn’t seem to want to drop the subject.

“Hmm. Now I’m curious. I’m gonna go look this up. I’ll use my computer so I don’t lose you.” I watched Larry’s image bob as he presumably was walking down a hallway, then we had a nice view of the ceiling.

Sarah giggled. “I think your mom needs to dust the ceiling fan.”

Larry laughed. “Sorry. There, is that better?” He propped the phone on something so we could watch him on his computer.

“Okay. Sammy McSmartyPants is voiced by . . . Wally McGregor. Don’t know who that is.”

Sarah looked at me. “Did he tell you?”

“Did who tell what?” Larry asked.

“Did Walter tell her that he was Sammy McSmartyPants?”

“It’s not Walter. It’s some guy named Wally McGregor.”

“Larry, what’s Wally short for?”

“I don’t know. Lemme search. Okay. It says here that Wally is usually a nickname for Walter.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “So, Wally McGregor is most likely Walter. Right?” She sent me a pointed look.

“Umm . . . Ask him?”

“I’m calling him. Anyone know how to do multiple people on this thing?”

I gave an exasperated sigh. “Oh, don’t bother.” I used my phone to contact Walter.

“Hey! What’s up? Pat said you were at Sarah’s. Oh, hi Sarah!”

“Larry says, oh wait a minute.” Sarah angled her phone so Walter could see Larry. “Larry says you’re Sammy McSmartyPants.”

Walter cringed in such a way that gave him away.

Sarah turned to me without waiting for Walter to actually confirm her suspicions. “When did you find out?”

“Last week? I was watching the show with the girls I was babysitting and I heard Walter’s voice on the television. Like Larry. Walter, I swear I had nothing to do with this. Larry thought he heard you in his living room.”

Larry was laughing uproariously. “Sammy McSmartyPants? I think that is a perfect nickname.”

 “Larry!” Sarah narrowed her eyes at her boyfriend.

“What? I don’t like calling him Know-It-All, because it sounds insulting. I was toying with Walter-pedia, but Sammy McSmartyPants?”

“I like Walter-pedia.” I gave a half smile.

The lights in Sarah’s room began to flicker. I looked around.

“What’s going on?” 

Sarah got to her feet. “That’s the doorbell. The whole house is wired for Crystal. Your mom must be here.” She waved to the boys. “I’ll talk to you later, Larry.”

“Bye, McSmartyPants! Later, Melinda. Text me, Sarah.” Larry disappeared.

“Bye, Walter,” Sarah and I both said as I ended the call. After collecting my belongings, I followed my roommate downstairs.

I was silent on the way home, telling my mother I was tired and wanted to rest. As soon as I had ended the chat, Walter sent me a text asking if I was alright. I spent the entire ride thinking about whether I should tell him what was bothering me. 

I remembered when he first told me about his parents, he mentioned he was uncomfortable watching his mother’s movies. Maybe he might understand what I was feeling after all.

As soon as I entered the house, I locked myself in my room and sent a video chat request to Walter. When he accepted, I could hear the concern in his voice.

“Hey. You okay?”

I shrugged.

“You know I’m not mad at you about the Sammy McSmartypants thing, right?”

“It’s not that.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

I shook my head.

“Want me to have Pat call you?”

“No! I don’t want to talk to him either.”

“What happened? You look like . . . actually, you look like you just broke up with your boyfriend. Where’s Pat? I’ll go hurt him for you.”

I gave a half smile. “We didn’t break up. But he’s why I’m upset.”

“Why? What’d he do? I’ll go hurt him for you.” 

“He kissed another girl.”

Walter looked ready to actually hurt his brother. “What? When? Wait. Is this about that whole Poppy thing?”

I shook my head. “No. I went to Sarah’s last night and we were watching a movie and Pat kissed someone.”

“I’m confused. Pat was teaching me how to play cards last night.”

I sighed. “In the movie. Pat kissed another girl. And I tried to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t Pat, but . . . I couldn’t help it. I got jealous. And I’m not mad at him, because that would be stupid. I’m mad at myself for getting jealous.”

Walter was silent a moment. “This isn’t a me problem. Be right back.”

Walter ended the video chat without warning. I laid on my bed, staring at the ceiling for a few minutes, replaying my dream over in my mind. A moment later, Walter called again. When I answered, his face was in a split screen with Meghan. He smiled in greeting. 

“Okay. I think this is a Meghan problem. Here you go.”

He ended the chat and Meghan’s face filled the screen. “Hey Melinda. How’s it going?”

“Um . . .” I had no idea what I was supposed to say. “I’m not sure. What did Walter tell you?”

“He called me, told me you had a problem and that he thought I would know how to handle it because I’m a girl. And I’m me, whatever that was supposed to mean. Then he called you before I could ask him any questions.”

I sighed. “I had a sleepover at my roommate’s house last night.”

“Yeah, Pat mentioned that. Did you have fun?”

“Not really. We decided to watch a movie.”

“A scary movie? Not Zombie High?”

I couldn’t help smiling. “Are you embarrassed that you did that movie?”

“No. It was fun. I just hate the idea of giving someone nightmares.”

“We watched GnomeWorld. That gave me nightmares.”

“Was it the one where the gnomes are out to get you? I kept having that one after I watched that movie.”

“No. It was the one where Pat was kissing other girls.”

Meghan was silent for a long time before finally speaking. “This is a me problem. But I don’t know what to tell you. You know I dated Jarrod Handy, right?”

I thought over all the celebrity gossip I had read the past few years. “No. I don’t think I knew that.”

“It was back when my agent was doing her job and was able to keep things out of the media. I was hanging out on the Romeo and Juliet set and he and I just kinda hit it off. One day, I got to the set just in time to see him doing a scene with Poppy. The balcony scene.” 

“Did you get jealous? And then get mad at yourself for being jealous?”

“No. I just got mad. First, I got mad at him for kissing her. Then, I got mad at the director, for making him do it again. Then, I got mad at Poppy for being such an airhead she couldn’t even kiss Jarrod properly. And it’s not hard. He’s not a bad kisser.”

“What’d you do?”

“I left the set. I’m not sure Jarrod even saw me there. He texted me later asking if we could meet for coffee, but I told him I couldn’t. How long did it take you to get mad at yourself for being jealous?”

I shrugged. “I dunno. A few minutes, I guess. Not too long.”

“It took me a couple of hours. I didn’t realize how stupid I was being.”

“Is that why you broke up with him?”

“No. I broke up with him because we were both at this party and I saw him making out with Penelope Tracy.”


“That girl thinks of boyfriends as fashion accessories. She dangles one for a few minutes, then tosses him away for the next one. She tried to get her claws into Pat, but he wanted nothing to do with her. Wish he’d listened to me about Poppy Sommers.”

“Do you think Pat and I are meant to be together?”

“I’ve never seen my brother so happy. He cares a lot about you, and I think you care about him just as much.”

“I do. I don’t want to break up with him. But, well, this whole Poppy thing has really gotten me kind of shaken. And, what about his next movie? He’ll be off kissing some other girl. Even if it is just for work, it’s still a kiss.”

“You ever just kiss someone and not have it mean anything?”

I couldn’t help but smile at the memory. “A friend kissed me but it didn’t mean anything.”

“And are you still friends?”

“Yeah. I visited him on Monday.” 

“See, I’ve never—wait. You were at my house on Monday.”

“Yeah, I know. Your brother kissed me, but it didn’t mean anything.”

“No, Pat doesn’t count, because obviously when you kissed him it meant something.”

“Obviously. But you have two brothers.”

“Walter kissed you? Wait. When?”

“I thought he told you.”

“I know nothing.”

“Don’t tell Pat, because I don’t think he knows either. So, you know Pat first kissed me at the Victory Ball, right?” 

Meghan nodded.

“Well, Walter saw. And he got . . . confused. He was jealous and he didn’t know why. So, he kissed me. It was just weird for both of us because we really are just friends. But, I understood what he was feeling because I was jealous when he had a girlfriend. It was a fear that some interloper was going to take away my best friend.”

“I can’t believe he didn’t tell me this.”

“Don’t tell him I told you.”

“Well, I’m not going to go tease him about it. But I may need to use it to make a point someday. Don’t worry. Pat will never hear about it from me. Anyway, I was going to say something. This distracted me. What was my point?”

“You asked if I ever kissed a friend and it didn’t mean anything.”

“Oh. Yeah. So, I’ve never had a kiss not mean something.”

“But you’ve done kissing scenes in movies.”

“And I always ended up feeling something for the actor and we would end up together, even if it was just for a short time.”

“You’re not giving me much confidence here.”

“Pat’s the opposite. He’s never dated any of his costars. Poppy doesn’t count. They never had a kissing scene. Back when Pat did GnomeWorld, he told me he hated kissing because it was just two people mashing their faces together and it was gross.”

“Oh, that’s funny.”

“I still remind him of that comment every so often. After I saw the two of you together Monday, I could tell he really likes you. You guys are just so cute together.”

“That’s what Walter said.”

“Did I help you at all?”

“Kinda, sorta. I mean, I know he really likes me and, to be honest, sometimes I think his feelings for me are stronger than mine for him. But, I don’t think that knowledge is enough to make me feel less . . .”



“Well, now you have my number. I’m here if you wanna talk.”

“Thanks. You wanna know something?”

“What’s that?”

“Earlier today, I was kinda wishing I had a big sister to talk to.”

Meghan smiled. “I’ve got sixteen years experience. I like to think I’m good at it.” 

Pat’s Story

Pat’s story will return in Episode 71

Attention Hammerheads

Melinda is always trying to build her vocabulary. What were some words in this episode that were new to you? She will add them to her vocabulary journal.