Authors: Taylor Henderson
“Life was so much easier when boys had cooties.” I sighed deeply while relieving my backpack of all the weight of my binders and stuffing them into my locker forcefully.
Lena nodded her head fervently in agreement as she readjusted her tote bag on her shoulder. “I hear you loud and clear, sister.” She gave me a sympathetic look before carefully unwrapping two sticks of bubble gum and popping them into her mouth.
Poor Lena. I felt bad that she had been listening to me chatter incessantly about the “Blake Situation”—or at least that’s what I had been referring to it as—every class period that we had together, and yet I couldn’t stop the flow of words that continued to spill from my mouth. Isn’t it better to talk about your problems than to let them eat at you until you lose your mind completely? Well at least that’s what my mother has been drilling into my head ever since I was old enough to actually express my feelings in words. Coincidentally, my mom had majored in psychology in college, and had worked in the field for a while, stopping when I was born.
Using more force than I intended to, I kicked the door of my locker causing it to slam shut with a reverberating rattling sound that seemed to echo inside my skull. Lena draped her arm over my shoulder with a smirk on her face. “What did your locker ever do to you?”
Her words were playful but I wasn't in the mood to laugh or even smile. I was angry. Not at Lena or at Blake—although I should have been angry with him for lying to me―but I was overtly angry with Brianna. Ever since we were little she has been finding ways to wrap her perfectly manicured and moisturized hands around anything that belonged to me. Milking the fact that she was an only child, Brianna begged her parents for all of her heart's desires. No matter how big, or small in my opinion, her heart truly was.
“This morning it jammed and wouldn't open until it was sure that I would be late for gym. Did you see that death glare that Ms. Botch shot at me when I entered the locker room! I wasn't even a minute late and she still made me run extra laps during class!” I crossed my arms over my chest, huffing angrily as Lena stifled a laugh.
“Ms. B likes me,” she chirped in a sing song voice, removing her arm from its position on my shoulders. “She let me sit out of gym again today.”
Despite my mood, a small smile tugged on my lips as I remembered looking for Lena in class this morning. I hadn't seen her until second period History so I figured she had just arrived late to school.
“Were you stalking the boy’s gym class again, Lenny?” I gently nudged her in the side with my elbow.
A wide and toothy grin took over Lena's freckle-covered face. She shrugged, raising one eyebrow at me and twirling a long strand of her wavy red hair around her finger. “Maybe, maybe not.” She smacked on her gum loudly before blowing a small pink bubble and popping it with the nail of her index finger.
Almost instantly I had the urge to ask Lena if she had seen Blake in gym today. He hadn't ridden the bus this morning and I hadn't seen him in the hallway either. I wasn't exactly trying to find him though. I just wanted to talk to him about yesterday, but I was a little nervous about the idea of confronting him. That was a first. Usually I was up for any kind of confrontation; arguing is in my nature.
As if Lena had read my mind, she said, “Blake was there…” She popped another bubble as we walked through the entrance doors of the school building. “I spoke to him during gym. Well technically he spoke to me because I didn't say much, but whatever, you get the point. Did I mention that his hair was sopping wet? It was so annoying. It was hard to focus on what he was saying, because his hair was dripping all over my legs. I mean, how hard would it have been for him to scoot back an inch? I'm not deaf! I would have still heard him if he wasn't leaning over me and dripping water everywhere! However, I will admit that…”
Being the impatient person that I am, I punched Lena in the arm, earning a glare from her as she gave me her best “what the hell” look. “What did he say?”
Lena smirked and shrugged her shoulders. “What did who say?”
I scowled, knowing that she hadn't actually forgotten what we were talking about. “What did
say?” I made sure to put heavy emphasis on Blake's name.
Lena gasped, covering her mouth with her hand as her eyes widened. “Blake Lively? I love her! I went through this whole
Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants
phase when I was younger. Although, my favorite character by far was Lena. Her name is so gorgeous. Not many people can pull it off, you know?” She looked at me innocently with a small smile on her face.
Frowning, I shook my head furiously. “What did Blake, my boyfriend, say to you this morning on the field?”
Lena grabbed my arm and pulled me in the opposite direction of the school buses. “Oh! Is
what you were talking about? I almost forgot! My mind was too focused on the throbbing from my arm that you just so rudely punched.” I smiled sheepishly as Lena rubbed her arm. Who knew I could punch so hard? I'm kind of like
in a way; I don't even know my own strength.
Lena frowned as I grinned broadly. “You can apologize anytime now,” she grumbled.
“Don't be such a baby, Lenny! Anyway, where are we going?”
My eyebrows furrowed as I took in our surroundings. We were behind the school following a thin pebble path toward the wooded area that stretched out behind the school grounds. To our left was the immaculate football field that I would be avoiding every Friday night until basketball season began. I hate almost every sport there is. You name it, and I hate it. I've taken countless footballs, basketballs, baseballs, tennis balls, and soccer balls to the head in my sixteen years of existence. Come to think of it…maybe I could set my own world record or something. The caption under my picture world read, “Most Balls to the Face”. Although, I'm sure Brianna has taken more “balls” to the face than I have.
Lena nudged my side with her elbow. “Forrester, are you even listening to me?” She narrowed her eyes at me causing my cheeks to grow hot with embarrassment.
“Of course I was.” I shoved my hand into my pocket, crossing my fingers as I spoke.
To my relief, Lena didn't ask me what she had said. Instead she said, “That goofy grin on your face is scaring me. Cut it out. Now, as I was saying before, I'm not answering any of your questions until you apologize.” She pouted her lips, looking at me with puppy dog eyes.
“I'm sorry, Lena,” I sighed. If I were her, I’d prefer to have no apology rather than a forced one.
Lena looked taken aback and a little shocked as she glanced at me. “Well that was easier than I had expected.”
“Lena!” I gasped, feigning shock. “Are you trying to imply that I'm difficult?” I smirked at her for a second before my smirk was replaced with a scowl as I tripped over my foot and landed face down on the ground.
Groaning, I slowly pushed myself to my feet and frowned when I saw Lena was doubled over in laughter. She was clutching her sides with one hand and slapping her knee with the other while her red hair whipped around her face.
Maybe I could use my
punch to my advantage…I smirked as I wiped the front of my shirt off. Taking a step toward Lena with my fist raised, I punched her on the arm again, but not nearly as hard as I had last time. I didn't want to give her any hints about my superhuman strength. After all,
didn't go around flaunting his powers to everyone.
Lena stood up straight and held up her hands in a surrendering motion. “Okay, I'm sorry about that but you should have seen yourself! I mean, clumsy much? You have to be extremely skilled to trip over your own foot.”
If only you knew about my Superman strength. Then you'd really know how skilled I am.
Crossing my arms over my chest, I happily changed the subject away from my clumsiness. “So where are we going?”
We started walking again, leaving the pebbled path as we entered the woods and began following a dirt bike path. The trees towered over us and the crisp smell of leaves hung in the air. This was a good sign that my favorite season was approaching.
When autumn finally came, I would be able to watch the leaves change colors, feel the cool autumn air blowing through my hair, and best of all I would have my two favorite holidays to look forward to. I loved Halloween and Thanksgiving. By the time December rolls around I'll be loaded with free candy, and I'd have visited all of my favorite family members.
Lena skipped ahead of me; the sound of her feet pounding against the dirt path brought me out of my thoughts. I hurried to catch up to her, stumbling over my feet again for the second time today.
“Forrester, hurry up! I told him we'd be here by the time the school buses leave! I'm sure they left a few minutes ago.” She glanced down at her wrist before realizing that she wasn't wearing her watch, and slid her phone out of her pocket instead. “The buses left five minutes ago! Run Forrester, run!” Lena stuffed her phone back into her pocket and began sprinting ahead of me, leaving me to catch up. First Ms. Botch makes me run, and now Lena? What has the world come to these days?
I picked up speed as I ran, swinging my arms wildly out behind me as I did so. To me it felt as if the action was helping to propel me forward, but to any onlookers I probably looked like I was having a seizure of some sort. Up ahead of me I could see Lena's hair fanned out behind her, but I could also make out a huge sign that I immediately recognized.
The sign read, “Bradbury Playground” in bold black letters and I smiled as I remembered all the times that Blake and I had taken Lilly to this park. I hadn’t ever come through this entrance though. Despite my aching stomach and leg muscles, I pushed myself to run faster, focusing on the big sign as I neared.
As soon as I ran into the playground I smacked into something hard, causing me to stumble backwards from the impact. I clenched my fists as I stared up at the boy in front of me. Taking in his natural tan and disheveled black hair. My features softened as I gazed into his pale blue eyes.
Blake ran a hand through his hair, smiling down at me. Earlier I would have been happy to see him, but now that he was standing in front of me acting as if nothing had ever happened, I could feel my cheeks begin to heat up in anger.
I spotted Lena over Blake's shoulder. She was perched on the top of the rock climbing wall, with her tan legs crossed while she smiled sheepishly at me. From the look on her face, I gathered that she hadn't actually been planning on telling me that we were coming to the park to meet Blake. Looking back, I should have been able to figure it out on my own.
When Blake coughed, my head snapped back to him causing me to wince as I cricked my neck. Blake chuckled as I rubbed my neck, but he abruptly turned the laugh into a cough when he noticed the scowl on my face.
“Vi, we need to talk.”
The hot summer breeze blew my hair out of my face causing it to billow out behind me like a cape.
I smiled to myself as I pumped my legs softly, making the swing I was sitting on move back and forth. A peek to my right affirmed that Blake was still swinging slowly next to me, as he had been for the past ten minutes. He fiddled with his fingers nervously, and seemed to be extremely interested in watching his shoes.
In the distance I could see that Lena had left the rock climbing wall and was now hanging upside down from the monkey bars. From here her hair closely resembled an auburn curtain that was billowing in the breeze around her. Catching my eye, she gave me a thumbs up, but quickly turned it into a thumbs down when she remembered that she was hanging upside down. I returned her smile before glancing away.
My curiosity was getting the best of me, but I didn't want to be the one to break the silence. After all, Blake was the one who said we needed to talk so why wasn't he talking? As if reading my mind, Blake spoke for the first time since we had sat down on the swings.
“This is like old times, huh?”
I shrugged, but then remembered that he wasn't looking at me and quickly replied. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Remember last year when Lilly had insisted that the best thing in the park were the swings?” He finally looked away from his oh-so-interesting shoes, and smiled at me.
I couldn't help the smile that formed on my face as I remembered how we had taken turns pushing Lilly on the swings. We would spend hours at the playground, but the only thing Lilly ever went on were the swing sets. “My arms would ache for days after I got home.”
“It was a great workout though.”
Being the impatient person that I am, I couldn't help but change the subject. “Did you really have Lena bring me here so that we could talk about Lilly's park preferences?”
Blake let out a sigh. Not just any sigh though; a deep sigh. A sigh that could only mean one thing. Now it all made sense. I was never good at math—or any other school subject really—but this was obvious. The words, “we need to talk”, added to a deep sigh always equals, “I'm breaking up with you.”