Authors: Taylor Henderson
For the rest of the week school was uneventful. It was as if with each passing day my classes became more and more boring; if that was even possible. My workload so far had been manageable, but I knew for certain that that was going to change with the next week. So far, all we had done was go over the syllabus for each class, play dumb introduction games, and take placement tests so that our teachers knew what we remembered in the course from last year.
I was so grateful for the sound of the dismissal bell to ring on Friday afternoon. The bell not only signified my freedom for the next two days, but it also meant that I had a break from early mornings, dull lectures, and people in general. I was convinced that every single one of my peers was intentionally trying to be obnoxious and immature just to tick me off. If they were, then it was definitely working.
Lena and Blake were the only two exceptions to that statement. I didn’t see Blake a lot during the school day, but Lena and I had grown inseparable throughout the week. I was happy that I had made friends with someone who was in a majority of my classes, because it made life easier. We had a partner in each of the classes we shared in case group work came up, and when our homework began, we would be able to work on it together for the most part.
“What are you doing this weekend,” Lena questioned as we stopped at her locker.
“Probably the same thing I do every weekend, lay around watching movies, avoid my mom, spend time with Lilly, and hang out with Blake. Why?” I leaned my shoulder against the locker near hers, regarding her expression as she put in her combination.
“I was just wondering. Gabri—I mean
,” she corrected herself, “and I haven’t been getting along at all, and I was just hoping that you had a fun weekend planned so that I could tag-along and get out of the house.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to disappoint.”
She shrugged, slamming her locker shut. It rattled noisily as it closed. “It’s fine. I’ll probably just use my time to explore the neighborhood, you know? See if there’s anything that I haven’t seen yet besides my walk home from the bus stop.”
“There’s not really much to see around here. I bet your exploration would have been better in Cali. There isn’t really much to see on foot in this area.” I bit my bottom lip in thought as we began walking toward the front of the school to get on the bus. “If you want to, you can come over today and we can just hang out. You can stay for dinner,” I suggested, earning a smile from Lena.
“Would that be okay with your parents?”
“I’m sure my mom won’t care if you come over. She could probably give you a ride home tonight too. I’ll just have to ask her to be sure.”
Lena smile hard, pushing a few curly strands of hair out of her face and behind her ear. “That would be great. I’m sure my parents won’t even notice that I’m not there.”
“I doubt that,” I responded, pushing through the front door of the school. We headed outside, walking toward the buses where students were piling on in streams.
We boarded our bus, and took our seats just in time before the doors closed and it took off.
Blake, who had already been on the bus, leaned into the aisle from his seat diagonal from me and poked me in my side gently. “How was your day?’ he questioned, his pale blue eyes bright in the sunlight that streamed through the bus windows.
I sighed in exasperation. “It was long, tiring, and unnecessary because I didn’t learn anything.”
He scoffed. “That’s not possible. You learn something every day, even if you’re unaware of it.”
didn’t learn anything today.”
Blake shook his head, furrowing his brows. “If you say so.”
“I do say so,” I replied snarkily. Then, changing the subject I asked, “What are you doing tonight?”
Flicking his eyes away, he looked a little uncomfortable. He was silent for a moment before he finally answered with, “I don’t know. I’ll probably just hang out at home and start my homework. My math teacher passed out our textbooks, and assigned reading and questions for the weekend. So I guess I’ll get that done tonight so my weekend is free.”
I nodded. “Smart. Lena is coming to my house for dinner,” I said with a smile.
Hearing her name, Lena leaned around me from her place near the window and said, “I finally get to meet the infamous Mrs. Forrester.”
Blake smiled. “Mrs. Forrester is great, you’ll love her.”
Just then, the bus pulled to a stop, and Blake stood. “Have fun. I’ll talk to you later, Vi.” Then he trudged off of the bus.
It wasn’t long until Lena and I were getting off of the bus too. Together we walked up my driveway and into my house. As soon as I pushed the door shut behind us, I heard my mom’s voice from the kitchen. “Violet? Is that you sweetheart?”
“Yes mom, who else would it be?” I questioned, rolling my eyes playfully, making Lena laugh. “I brought my friend, Lena, over,” I called out again. “Is it all right if she stays for dinner?”
A few seconds later, Rose Forrester came speed walking out of the kitchen—since she doesn’t allow running in the house—wiping her wet hands on the front of one of her many aprons with a huge smile on her face. “You made a friend?”
She looked genuinely shocked at the fact that I had a friend other than my boyfriend. You know you’re a loser when your own mother thinks that you’re incapable of making friends.
“It’s so nice to meet you! I’m Rose, and it would be an honor to have you for dinner.”
Lena looked flustered as my mom shook her hand roughly.
Way to go mom.
First she’s surprised by my ability to make a friend, and now she’s trying to scare her off? Of course I’ve had friends before, I’m not a loner. It’s just that whenever I find a friend, we hang out once or twice before we notice that we have nothing in common. It’s a sad chain of events.
“Do you have any food allergies that I should be aware of?” My mom asked, absentmindedly stroking my hair.
I leaned away from her reach as Lena said, “No allergies here.”
“Great!” my mom responded before she turned and spoke to me. “Violet, why don’t you take Lena upstairs and I’ll call you down when dinner’s ready? It should be done by the time your father gets home, so about an hour and a half.”
I nodded, turning to head toward the steps with Lena in tow, but stopped when she continued talking, adding, “And please wake Lilly up from her nap. I don’t want her to be up all night. It’s not healthy for a child of her age. I read online the other day that a child her age should be getting about ten hours of sleep at the very least. When you were her age you only got around eight hours of sleep each night. Do you think that could be why you’re iron deficient?” Her brown eyes widened in horror and from the corner of my eye I saw Lena stifle a laugh.
“Um, honestly I’m not sure. Maybe.” I turned and put my hands on Lena’s shoulders as I guided her up the stairs and away from the embarrassment that is Rose Forrester.
Once we walked into my bedroom Lena let out her laugh as she plopped down onto my bed. “Your mom is funny.”
“That’s what you think because you don’t have to live with her,” I grumbled.
Lena nodded. “That could be true, but I still think that she’s funny. Should we wake up Lilly now? You got to meet my sister so it’s only fair that I get to meet yours.” Her feet swung back and forth over the edge of my bed and I was immediately relieved that my mom didn’t notice that we hadn’t taken our shoes off at the front door.
“Sure. Take your shoes off and make yourself at home while I go get her.”
Kicking my shoes off, I left my room and walked down the hallway to Lilly’s room. The door was cracked so I pushed it open quietly and walked inside. If I hadn’t known any better I could have sworn that a unicorn had thrown up all over her room. Every inch was filled with bright colors and stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes. On the ceiling were glow in the dark stars that Lilly had begged me to buy for her at the store last month. Finally, tucked beneath a thick
Dora The Explorer
comforter was Lilly’s sleeping figure. I walked farther into her bedroom and pulled back the comforter to see a peaceful Lilly.
Her thick and curly eyelashes almost grazed her eyelids even when they were closed. Her small chest gently rose and fell with every breath, and her plump round cheeks were rosy and red. Her sleeping state was so peaceful that I felt bad about having to wake her up. I brushed a few strands of wavy brown hair from out of her eyes before I gently shook her shoulder.
“Lilly. Wake up Lilly Hill Billy,” I said in a sing song voice.
After a few calls, she yawned and opened up her big brown eyes. When she saw me a smile broke out on her face, giving me a front-row view of her toothless mouth. She had just started losing her baby teeth recently, and she had only lost two so far so I guess you couldn't really say her mouth was “toothless” yet, but whatever. I leaned down and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Hey Lizzie,” she mumbled groggily, waking up. Suddenly an excited expression crossed onto her face. “Guess what I got today! A wipe board! Mommy says I can use it to work on my letters for Kindergarten next year!” Her eyes twinkled as she spoke. Lilly always would ask for me to guess something, but she never gave me the chance to actually guess. Thank goodness she didn’t because I’m a terrible guesser anyway.
I shuddered at the nickname she always calls me. After almost three years of hearing “Lizzie” you would think that I would be used to it by now. Lilly insists on calling me by my middle name. She said that I look more like an Elizabeth than a Violet. How would she know? She’s only five! I’m probably the only Violet—and Elizabeth—that she has ever met.
“That’s awesome, Lilly! I have a friend in my room who wants to meet you. Are you up to it?” I smiled, already knowing that she would be willing to meet any friend of mine.
“Is it Blake?” Lilly slid out of her bed and onto the floor where her small feet sank into the plush pink carpet.
I shook my head. “Nope,” I said popping the p. “It’s someone you’ve never met before.”
Lilly’s eyes scrutinized my face as she crossed her arms over her chest. “Are you tricking me?”
I shook my head again but this time more slowly. “Why would I trick you?”
“Because I already met Blake, and he is your only friend. I thought Blake was your bestest friend ever. Aren’t you only allowed to have one bestest friend?” Her eyes were as big as saucers. She looked genuinely perplexed as she spoke, and I couldn’t help but laugh at her grammar mistakes.
“Of course not! You can have as many friends as you like. Come on, let’s go meet Lena. She’s really nice. I think you’ll like her.”
Lilly nodded and skipped out of her room, leaving me to follow behind her. She skipped down the hallway and turned into my room. I could hear her voice as she said, “Hi! I’m Lilly Rae Forrester! I’m five, and my favorite color is blue! I know it’s a boy color, but I think it’s really pretty.”
I smiled as I walked through my bedroom door and took a seat in my swivel desk chair. “Lilly, this is my friend Lena.” I popped a breath mint into my mouth and offered one to Lena who gladly accepted.
Lilly held her hand out to Lena with a big grin on her face. Lena shook her hand and smiled as she said, “It’s nice to meet you Lilly. My favorite color is blue too. It’s not fair that boys get the pretty colors, is it?”
Lilly shook her head furiously. “Nope! My dad always says that life isn’t fair, but he won’t tell me what that means.” Lilly quickly changed the subject before Lena or I could respond to her statement. “Lizzie you told a story! Blake is here! Look!” Lilly pointed a small finger out of my bedroom window. Lena and I followed her gaze out the window and I almost choked on my breath mint when I saw Blake sitting in the room directly across from mine; Brianna’s room.
Lena slid off of my bed and stood next to me as I stared at Blake through Brianna’s bedroom window. He was standing awkwardly by Brianna as she stretched her arms high above her head in a seductive manner. Her thin camisole—that I assumed she squeezed into as soon as she got home—rose up to reveal a couple inches of her toned stomach. I smiled to myself when I realized that Blake hadn’t glanced down at her torso. Instead, his eyes were focused on her face as his lips moved. It was times like this that I wished I had more talent in the lip-reading department.
Lena coughed, bringing me out of my trance. “Did Blake tell you that he was going over there?” Her fingers combed idly through her hair as she spoke while her eyes fixated on mine as a look of genuine curiosity settled onto her face.
I shook my head and reached forward to close the thick purple curtains that framed my window. “Nope. He just told me that he had homework and other things to do and that he would call me later. I guess it’s not that big of a deal that he didn’t tell me. He probably just forgot.” I shrugged nonchalantly as if it truly wasn’t a big deal to me that my boyfriend was hanging out in the super-slut’s bedroom.
I could tell that Lena wasn’t buying my blasé attitude from the way she placed both hands firmly on her hips and raised one challenging eyebrow at me. “If
boyfriend was hanging out in a bedroom with a girl like Brianna, with or without me knowing, I would be furious.” Lena placed one hand on her knee as she bent over to peek through the curtains that were now blocking the view into Brianna’s bedroom. “And if she was flirting with him like that, I would be jealous too. No matter how much I denied it.”
I ran my tongue along the back of my teeth, fiddling with my fingers for a moment before I spoke. “She’s flirting with him?” My words came out shakier than I had intended them to.
Lena shrugged, pursing her lips as she looked at me. “Sure does look like it. Maybe she has an evil plan to steal Blake away and turn him to the dark side.” She rubbed her hands together, looking slightly devious. “We should call him!”
“And say what?” We couldn’t just call him and demand to know why he was hanging out in Brianna’s bedroom. If we did, they would know that we were spying on them and Blake would think that I didn’t trust him; although it’s Brianna who I don’t trust.
“Ask him what he’s doing. Invite him to dinner. Use your imagination!”
Lilly dangled her feet over the edge of my bed with a big smile etched onto her face. “Tell him I said hi, and I want him to come play dolls with me!”
I dug my cell phone out from the small pocket in my backpack although I was still unsure about calling Blake. Lena leaned over to peer down at the small screen with a serious look on her face. She tapped the screen with the nail of her index finger, “Call him, and put it on speaker!”
A deep sigh escaped from me as I typed in his number from memory, “What if he doesn’t answer?”
Lena hardly had a chance to answer my question before the phone connected and Blake’s voice sounded in my ear.
“Vi?” I noticed that his voice was a bit shaky and nervous as he spoke. “Can I call you back later?”
I sighed as I saw Lena giving me a frustrated look as she pretended to be pressing—stabbing really—a button in the palm of her hand. Begrudgingly, I obeyed her silent demand and put the phone on speaker.
“Ask him if he can talk now,” Lena whispered. In any other situation I would have come up with a sarcastic remark about how it is obvious that he isn’t incapable of physically talking from the way his voice just come out of the phone speaker a moment ago, but instead I just obliged to her whispered demand.
“Can you talk now? It’s important…” I chewed on my bottom lip while I waited for him to reply. There was a long pause before I heard any noise come from the Blake’s phone. I even glanced at the screen a few times to make sure that he hadn’t hung up.
Finally, noise crackled through the speaker again. “Of course I can, Violet. What’s wrong?”
“Um…I was just going to ask if you would…Um…Explain the theory of evolution to me?”
A high pitched chuckle boomed through the speaker and for a moment I wondered if it was Blake who had laughed. “Violet, did you really call me to ask that? You have never shown an interest in anything that was school related before.”
“I know I haven’t but this year I’m going to focus all of my attention on my studies. I even started my homework as soon as I got home.” I crossed the middle and index finger of my free hand. I have always been a firm believer that if you cross your fingers when you lie, you can’t really get punished for it. Of course, this theory works better when I’m not face to face with the person who I’m lying to. Maybe that’s the reason why people always know when I’m fibbing. It could also have something to do with how bad I was at lying.
Blake coughed into the phone, “I’m actually really busy right now, Vi. I thought you and Lena were going to hang out today?”
“Yeah, Lena’s here, we’re both studying actually.”
“I see. Maybe you should ask Lena to explain the theory of evolution to you then.”
“She can’t,” I said hurriedly. “She doesn’t get it. That’s why I called you.”
He sighed into the phone. “Can I call you back later?”
Lena shook her head zealously as she wagged her finger at me. “Ask him what he’s doing. If he lies then he’s hiding something,” she whispered.
“What are you doing?”
At Brianna’s whore house?
I wanted to add that to my question, but if I did then he would think I didn’t trust him.
Blake cleared his throat before he spoke again, thinking that I had misheard him. “Studying. I know you don’t do it that often, but it’s when you open up a text book, and read it whilst taking notes. Sometimes when you do it you obtain pertinent information that you can use in the future.”
Lena rolled her eyes, but I could tell that she was trying to stifle a laugh.
“No duh, Captain Obvious. What I meant to say was,” I grappled for something to say, “tell your mom that I said hi.”
“My mom? I’m not even at home, Vi.” There was a long pause before he spoke again. “Are you sure that was what you were going to say?”
I groaned, deciding instantly that my need-to-know was stronger than my need for him to think that I trust him. So, after a sigh to prepare myself, I put on my big girl panties and began.
“Blake, why are you playing in Brianna’s room?” If I didn’t know any better I would have thought that the words had come out of my mouth, but to my surprise, it was Lilly who was speaking.
“You always play with Lizzie in her room, and now you’re playing with Brianna in her room. That’s not fair! I want you to play dolls in my room too.” Lilly’s bottom lip quivered as her eyes widened and slowly began to water.
Lena reached for Lilly in an attempt to console her but Lilly stepped toward me, wrapping her arms around my legs as she started bawling. I reached my free hand down and ruffled her hair, trying to calm her down.
in Brianna’s room.” My stomach churned as realization swept over me. Blake was going to deny the fact that he was at Brianna’s house. If he said that he wasn’t at her house then he was obviously trying to hide something from me. I held my breath and bit down on my bottom lip as he began to speak again. “I’m tutoring her.” I sighed in relief although the way that Blake had hesitated made me a little suspicious.
“Do you have to tutor her in her bedroom though?”
Blake’s deep sigh carried through the phone. “Vi, I’m just helping her with her math homework. Our teacher asked if I would be willing to help her out with her homework since she was having trouble in class today. That’s all.”
I could feel the tears stinging at my eyes, and threatening to spill over, but I forced them back. Crying shows weakness, and I hate being vulnerable. “Brianna is in
math class, not yours.”