Lucifer heard a knocking on the door as he washed his cup. It was too early for his mother to be home and he was not expecting any guests. He put the cup on the rack and dried his hands. The knocking grew louder as he made his way to the door. When he opened it he was surprised to see Marietta standing, looking up at him with a big smile on her face.
“What are you doing here?” Lucifer looked her over. She was wearing a yellow sundress with a blue sweater. The dress gently brushed against her knees and fit well around her small waist. A school bag hung off her shoulder and looked too heavy for her small frame.
“Well it’s Sunday and we both have the afternoon off from the garage. So I thought we could do some studying. I heard you could use a tutor. So what do you say?” Marietta looked up at him giving him a friendly jab to the arm as she teased him about his grades.
Lucifer still didn´t understand what she was doing at his house. “I guess that would be okay, but how do you know where I live?” He couldn’t recall him telling her where he lived, nor had she ever been here.
Marietta giggled softly before speaking. “It’s called a phone book silly.”
“Oh, right. I guess that makes sense.” Lucifer turned and headed back to the kitchen. When he heard no footsteps following him he stopped. “Are you coming in or not?”
“Oh, yes I am.” Marietta hurried to catch up with him after shutting the door behind her and taking her shoes off. She looked around at the small apartment. The floor was unswept and she instantly regretted taking her shoes off. Lucifer must have noticed her reaction because he quickly apologized for the mess.
“Oh, no. It’s fine. I mean it’s not really all that messy.”
“Thanks, but you don’t have to lie. I know it’s not as nice as most people’s. My mom isn’t exactly in tune with her surroundings and I don’t make a good house keeper.”
Marietta didn’t bother to ask what he meant by his mother not being in tune with her surroundings. She had heard the rumors and when she asked Tool about it one of the days Lucifer had skipped school he explained the situation. It made Lucifer’s behavior more understanding, though it wasn’t an excuse. It was still nice to understand him a little more.
Neither one spoke for a few minutes. Lucifer was still not used to being alone with her. Something about her always unnerved him. It still puzzled him that she was wasting her time being friends with him.
Marietta surprised him by starting the next conversation with an unusual question. “So when are you gonna make a move on me?”
Startled, Lucifer gasped at her. “When am I what?” Her bluntness never ceased to surprise him.
“I said, when are you gonna make a move on me?” Marietta looked at his shock and began laughing. “Come on. I see your reaction when other guys talk to me. You look so annoyed.”
“When do I act like that?”
“You did yesterday. When Tool was asking me what kind of movies I liked. You got so red in the face when he suggested he and I see that knew romance movie. You know, Lustful Nights, I think it was called.”
Lucifer stared at her. She was actually accusing him of being jealous. “I was irritated because he’s a giant pervert. It’s none of my business if you want to get sexually harassed by guys like Tool.”
“You are such a liar.”
“Oh shut up.” Lucifer pulled his school bag onto the table. “Can we just do this.”
“Fine, let’s start with math then.” Marietta pulled out her notebook from her bag. “You’re no fun to tease anyway.”
For the next two hours Marietta watched Lucifer work while she scribbled away in her English work book. She was much faster and finished her homework forty-five minutes in. When Lucifer finished a page Marietta would take the page look it over and circle every wrong answer. If he didn’t get it the second try she would break it down for him and spoon feed him the information.
Marietta handed his sheet back to him the second time. “You’re like a child.”
Lucifer looked up annoyed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that you can’t do anything without help. It’s a good thing I’m here for you.” She smiled and nudged his foot with her own under the table.
“What happened to the sweet, kind girl act? Get tired of being miss perfect?”
Marietta laughed and gave no answer. With a grim look on his face, Lucifer went back to work. Before either realized it, it was seven and getting late.
The front door opening brought both out of their studies. Marietta heard Lucifer swear under his breath.
“What’s wrong?” Concerned, Marietta looked behind her to see a woman behind her. Instantly, Marietta recognized the woman from the store she had visited after her first day of school.
Lucifer looked at the woman who slightly dragged her feet as she walked. “Hi mom.” Lucifer spoke with apprehension. Having Marietta see her like this was embarrassing. He had originally planned on bringing Marietta home long before now.
“Who said you could have girls over when I’m not home.” Her words slurred and Marietta struggled to understand what the woman said. Lucifer, on the other hand, seemed to be perfectly able to comprehend every word. He grew accustomed to the drunken words long ago.
“She was just helping me study. I’m bringing her home now.” He got up and shoved Marietta’s books back in her bag. “Come on. I’m driving you home.”
“Um, okay.” Marietta scurried behind him, not sure what to say. “It was nice to meet you Ms. Night.”
Before the woman could answer, Lucifer shut the door separating Marietta and himself from the drunken mess inside.
“This is why I never invited you over. You shouldn’t have come by.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cause you any trouble.” Marietta stared at the ground as Lucifer dragged her down the stairs and out to his car. Afraid to see his anger, Marietta avoided looking him in the face.
Once he had gotten her in the passenger seat, Lucifer slid into the driver’s seat. He looked to his right and saw Marietta tearing up. His anger melted away and guilt filled it’s place. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten mad at you. You were only trying to help me.” Marietta silently dried her eyes and looked at him slightly, still afraid to look in his eyes. “I am sorry. But now you see. Trying to help me is a waste of you’re time. I have nothing to strive for. The only thing I can achieve is becoming a drunk like my mother, or a piece of shit like my dad. He at least had the brains to escape my mother’s misery. I’m not worth it, so you should find some one else to follow around.”
Marietta’s eyes widened. “What? I don’t know what you’re saying. I don’t want to hang out with anyone else. You’re my friend, Lucifer. My only friend.”
“Well, you should find better people to be friends with.”
“But I don’t want anyone else!” Lucifer didn’t know what to say to her. This was new territory that he did not know how to navigate. “I don’t need other friends. I have you and that’s enough. You’re the only one who actually looks at me. The real me I mean. Everyone else looks at the little miss perfect, proper girl. They don’t bother to get to know me like you do.”
“Marietta.” Lucifer had not seen it before, but she was right. No one ever said how kind she was.
They didn’t talk about how sweet it was that she always save the best part of the dessert for her class mates, or how cute it was the way she always sharpened her pencil right before class. No one even noticed the flowers she drew on every note sheet in her binder. All anyone talked about was her nice cloths or her test scores. No one bothered to see the real her.
Lucifer lifted her chin. “I’m not going anywhere okay? So cheer up.” He smiled at her, wiped the tear from her eye and patted her on top of the head. Then he put the car in drive and took her home.