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We are the type of friends who get hit by parked cars, spend hours trying to drown a fish, and take flash photography with the lens on … well that’s us for Ya’.
There’s Carson, the spontaneous, flirty, smart one, there’s Kaylah, the loud, extroverted, rebel one, then there’s Jayyne, the funny, (as they refer to her mass as) “fun sized”, and blonde one. It was the summer of 08 and things felt like they would never be different but in reality; they would never be the same.
“Same spot, same place,” asked a distracted Kaylah.
“Course, what better do we have to do?!” replied Jayyne. I could hear the smile in her voice without looking.
“Pool again? Ugh,” I made a pleading face, “Can we please go to the mall?”
“With what money,” said Kaylah in a matter of fact tone, “Were twelve and poor, remember?”
“Oh yah that problematic issue.” I said despondently.
In our book, there were two things horridly wretched about being 12 1/2, our piggy bank is low on bacon, and we have no freedom in our diminutive town.
“See you later guys,” Kaylah said while sauntering into her two story blue house. The close to dead grass almost crunched under her flip-flops. Kaylah had a way of walking where she unconsciously demanded to be looked at. Her extensive, lean legs moved rhythmically while her torso twisted and her shoulder blades became visible through her tank top.
“Tootles,” I called absent mindedly.
Jayyne and I began ambling to her house. “So,” she began, “I saw Brett at the pool today,” she said casually, but I knew better than that.
“And…,” I said pressing her.
“He looked at me and I swear he winked but the light was really bright and my heart sped up I think he could probably hear it and then he turned away and he was with all his cool friends so I didn’t want to look stupid but oh my gosh Carson it was amazing and…”
“Jayyne,” I said putting my hand to her mouth. “Its okay to breathe between sentences. I smiled smugly at her. “But omg he looked at you,” I said sarcastically, laughing like a giddy school girl. She grimaced halfheartedly at me, not able to conceal her own laughter.
We arrived at her house shortly, it was tan with a maroon roof and for the time being white pillars (they were priming to re-paint). It had a vintage look to it and whenever you went in you felt warm and at home. The grass was much greener than any on the block and the flowers framing the front of the stairs that led to their house looked beautiful and replenished after the summer storm we had had this morning. Her mother was sitting on the front porch swing watching Haley’s’ little brother and father play catch.
“Hello girls,” she said cheerfully with a homey smile on her face. “Jayyne, your dinner is on the table if you’d like it now. Carson, would you like to stay?”
“Oh I would but I can’t, thanks for the offer, Heather. I better get home.” “I’ll see you tomorrow Jayyne.”
“Bye,” she said from somewhere in the house. I could tell she had food in her mouth and knowing Jayyne, a whole lot of it.
I continued on the weathered sidewalk to the library then to my house. I sighed looking down at my feet only to look up at roads. I turned into the town library greeting Cheryl, the grouchy librarian but who often made herself helpful. I turned into the young adult section to pick up my favorite book of all eternity. I held up the book and I felt almost a surge of relief to have it in my hands. Yes, as described before I may be spontaneous, flirty, smart, a serious klutz, blah, blah, blah but I loved reading the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I strode to the front desk to find a soft diamond shaped face with piercing emerald green eyes. “Must be new here…,” I thought to myself as she checked out my books. Walking out of the door I was lost in Forks, Washington and could have walked into a street light and have been oblivious. I suddenly felt a jolt of pain through me but I couldn’t tell if it was impact or if the wind had gotten knocked out of me. I looked up and against the blazing sun was Ryan Shenard. Ryan Shenard; captain of the Tremont Turks baseball team, totally hot, and offering me a hand up. I looked at him in a dazed way when I took his hand.
“Oh my God you’re bleeding, Carson!”
“Huh?” I said looking myself over. “Oh crap,” I said annoyed, finally back in reality. “My elbow and shoulder were scratched but my knee was gushing blood. Suddenly my legs grew “numb” and I “fell” onto him trying to look out of it again.
“That’s a lot of blood,” I said in a casual sarcastic tone while I was draped over his arms.
“I am so sorry I wasn’t paying any attention and I’m so sorry, are you hurt,” he said in the most apologetic voice I could have imagined from such a big strong guy.
“It’s totally okay, at least now I’ll have a great story to tell,” I said trying to stand out of his arms but his muscles flexed restraining me.
“Umm I don’t think you should stand up, you look really pale and honestly I think you might faint.” He said worryingly.
“Oh honesty,” I said jokingly. “I am perfectly capable and I really need to get home.”
“Okay, well at least let me make it up to you, ice cream tomorrow at Harlow’s… 7:00?”
“See you there,” I said trying to sound confident. I looked at his arms wound tightly around me then glancing up at him. “Uh, Ryan, will you let go of me now,” I said laughingly.
“Oh, uh, yah, sorry,” He said sounding flustered or embarrassed. I gathered my books with his help and our eyes met one last time.
“Ice cream at 7:00,” he said, “Don’t forget!”
“Promise.” I said.
I walked away from him with a smug smile on my face. I could feel
his eyes burning through the skin on my back.
“That was almost easy” I thought to myself, very content with the night’s happenings.
I continued walking home as if I hadn’t just had the most single amazing thing happen to me. I strolled up the long gravel lane to my two story farm house. I was greeted by an old family dog, a million roosters, and 30 barn cats. I closed the screen door quietly hoping not to attract attention since I had probably missed dinner but I did have the battle scars to prove that I didn’t do it on purpose. I thankfully saw a plate of dinner left over for me, signaling that I wasn’t in any trouble. I could now wipe the sweat off my brow. I grabbed the plate stuck it in the microwave while I went to get some pjs. I saw my mother on the couch along the way.
“Hey mom,” I called.
“Hey sweetheart, why are you late?” she sounded more concerned rather than angry, which was a plus.
I held up my leg, dry blood and all. I heard her have a sudden intake of breath, fast and low.
“Honey, what happened?”
“I wasn’t exactly paying attention to my surroundings on my way back from the library, but I’m fine, no need to overreact. I’m just gonna go and clean it up while my food is in the microwave.”
“Okay sweetie, you got plans tomorrow?”
“Uh yah I’m meeting up with a friend at Harlow’s at seven o’clock. Why?” I tried to avoid who I was going with at all cost.
“Just wanted to see, now go clean yourself up,” she said, always meticulous.
“Okay mom, bye.” I tried to look somewhat shaken up from the experience on my way to the bathroom, adding a slight limp to my step. Once I was out of sight I was quickly in the bathroom, I grabbed a wash clothe and some soap. It was time to see the real damage done; of course I would make it seem a lot worse tomorrow on my date with Ryan. The hot water pouring out of the tub caressed my leg to unveil a long sliver of skin missing from my knee calf and small randomly places scrapes on my thigh. The soap burned my sore as if it were on fire. I swiftly took a dry towel to blotch dry my “wound.” I sauntered upstairs, quickly undressing, taking my phone out of my pocket and tossing it on my bed.
When I had my nightly provisions taken care of, I curled under my blankets laying my weary head on the pillow. I grasped my phone tightly opening it, “message from Ryan” it said unemotionally. I opened it, maybe too excitedly.
“Hey Carson, are you excited for tomorrow? I am!”
“Totally,” I replied, “I’m glad if anyone ran into me it was you, but I do want to ask you something, is it a date date?”
“Do you want it to be?” he wrote back, trapping me with my words.
“Well, yah, kinda, do you?” I replied hopefully.
“Definitely, I got to go, there’s and ice cream sundae calling my name. Talk to you soon. :)”
“Man,” I thought to myself, “This is almost too easy.” I got up from my cuddle of covers and pondered my wall. It was July 30, 2008; school was going to start in… Oh my gosh in 5 days! I still have to go school shopping and clothe shopping oh my gosh 5 days! I ranted to myself. I will talk to Jayyne and Kaylah tomorrow and we will go, summers gone so fast for all of us. Maybe I’ll have a new boyfriend to show off for the 8th grade! That is a very happy thought, I said to myself.
Once again I pulled myself into the abyss of blankets and thought about the new school year. Soon I drifted to sleep with thoughts of Ryan Shenard, 8th grade, and school shopping.
“Carson, pancakes!” is what I awoke to this morning. I sauntered downstairs, I was never much a breakfast eater but my lack of dinner last night had put me in a very hungry mood.
“Hey Squidward, did your nose get bigger over night?” I asked in a mocking tone, he’s my brother I’m aloud.
“Yah and I can see that your teeth got bigger!” he retaliated.
“You guys stop it!” said my mother, the peace maker.
“Whatever,” I said, “I need some money for school stuff mom. Can I have some today? I think me Jayyne and Kaylah are going to the mall and Staples.” She handed me a fifty dollar bill with a hard look on her face.
“I want change Carson, I’ll take you back soon with more.”
“Okay mom,” I said while I was walking out the door, “I’ve got my phone on me if you need me.”
“Bye babe,” She said distracted.
“Ugh finally away,” I though as I was on my way to Kayla’s house. As I strolled through the streets of Tremont, Illinois I saw a Turks uniform and a black ball bag strung over his shoulder. I casually picked up the pace so I would be able to catch up and have time for a detour. I arrived at his side in what seemed like no time. I tried to look as if I hadn’t noticed him so that he would make the first move. I went to stand on the sidewalk when I heard him say, “Hey Carson,” no hint of shyness in his voice.
I began to smile happily to myself as I turned around, averting my gaze to his eyes. “Oh hey, Ryan, game today?” I asked questionably.
“Yah, I’m pitching if you want to come and watch I’d love for you to.” He said hope in his voice.
“I’d really like to, you mind if I bring Kaylah and Jayyne too?”
“No, course not, I better get there to warm up, I’ll look for you in the crowd.”
“Count on it,” I said, as I walked toward Kayla’s house to tell her our plans.
To The Mall
“Hey, Kaylah!” I said happily. She looked psyched for today and after she knew what we were doing I knew she would be even more excited.
“What’s up Car? So what do you have in mind for today?”
“Well, instead of the pool…” I said casually, “I need to start from the beginning. So I was walking home from the library last night…”
“With your face in a book I presume,” she interceded.
“Of course,” I continued eagerly, “Anyway, I literally ran into Ryan Shenard and he said he wanted to make it up to me by buying me Harlow’s tonight at 7:00, then last night around ten-ish I was texting him and we agreed that we wanted it to be a date date. So, I’ve got a date with Ryan tonight, Oh my God! And then this morning I ran into him again but not so literal on my way to your house and he said he wanted me to come see him play so I was thinking that today we would go watch him play for thirty minutes or so and then we could go school shopping!” I said as I was pulling the crisp fifty dollar bill out of my pocket. I was sure I’ve got her now.
“Sweeeeet!” she exaggerated. “What about the pool?”
“Are you saying you’d rather go to the pool and watch old lady water aerobics until noon or play on the swing set than go shopping,” as I waved my bill, “And watch hot guys play baseball? I’m sure he’s got lots of friends!” I said smiling at her.
“Hmm,” she contemplated, “I’ll go text Jayyne to leave her swimsuit at home… Were going to the ball diamond! And shopping of course!” she said beaming.
“No I’ll do it,” I retorted, “Go hit your mom up for some cash.”
“Easy enough,” she said happily. I walked to her kitchen table and pulled up a chair.
“Jayyne,” I wrote, “Were going shopping and we will inform you of other plans when you get here, don’t bother with your swimming suit and wear something cute… and yes, there will be boys involved, Oh, and bring some major cash. See you soon!
“K, I’m on my way… Tootles!” she replied soon after the message was sent.
“Mission accomplished,” I said to Kaylah as she made her way with money in her hand, “Jayyne’s on her way.”
“Okay,” she said as the doorbell rang.
“Hello fellow comrades, so what’s the plan for today? I really was getting tired of old lady water aerobics, it’s very awkward walking past my house when Mrs. Killson is out because she’s the one in the swimming suit from 1980, ergo it fit her in 1980, and she always gives me that evil eye like she’s telling me, “Don’t you go telling people that all that keeps me afloat is my stomach flab, yah hear?” “Can’t you just hear her saying that? She and her bad grammar and that face.” She pretended to shudder.
I laughed and rolled my eyes. “We’re going to the mall to get school stuff but before that we are going to Ryan’s baseball game for a while…” she gave me the “I’d rather die” look and groaned. “Brett will be there!” I said trying to make my life easier.
“Another reason not to go!” she said, “I’ll make a fool of myself!”
“Just don’t talk, fart, or fall, that’s the key.” Said Kaylah laughing while she counted the things off on her fingers.
“Come on Jayyne, for me?” I pleaded and gave her my most pitiful face.
“Fine,” she said popping her lips on the “f”. “But I’m not happy about this, not happy at all,” she said as she wagged her finger at us.
“We never expected you would be, come on, Ryan’s pitching so we can’t miss the first throw.” I said excitedly.
“Then we are on our way,” said Kaylah exaggerating.
“So,” said Jayyne, nudging me with her shoulder that was at mid-arm height for me, “You and Ryan, eh?”
“Hopefully,” I said, “We have a date tonight and I’m kinda hoping it will be official then.”
“You know it will be!” said Kaylah, “I talked to Michael last night and he was talking to Sam who had been talking to Ryan and he said that he’s already crazy about you!” I couldn’t help but smile at this. Michael is Kaylah’s best guy friend. He didn’t appeal to me much but he was tall, lean, a non-muscular build, and a heart shaped, dark face with depthless blue eyes with dirty blonde shaggy hair.
I smiled to myself as we arrived at the ball park. The grass was even dryer than Kaylah’s lawn. The water fountain had an assortment of bubble gum stuck to it making it very colorful and not to mention slightly repulsive. We walked over to the bleachers and sat down; my immediate attention was drawn to Ryan on the mound in the direct center of the infield. I smiled and waved at him, beaming when he smiled back and winked.
“Carson, you’re salivating.” Jayyne said sarcastically.
“Haha,” I said dryly, “You’re truly hilarious, I may cry i'm laughing so hard,” I continued in the same dry tone.
The game was mostly hit, run, out, which got very old after about two innings. Ryan got a double. It’s amazing to me, how can something that hit the fence only be a double, in softball (Kaylah, Jayyne and I all played) that could have been a triple or if you’re fast enough a home run. It seems like so much work just for two bases. But, we had to go to the mall, so when he got pulled in the fifth inning when they had a very sufficient lead I went up to the dugout, luckily he was sitting next to the window that looked more like a prison escape minus the bars or glass.
“Hey Ryan, great game but I’ve got to go. I wish I could see the rest.
“Oh, its okay Car, I’ll see you at seven.”
I took his shoulders gently, leaning in and pecked him on the cheek, before pulling away I whispered in his ear “Seven,” his hot cheek was slightly damp next to mine and I could tell he was out of breathe. I walked away smugly never looking back.
“So what did I miss?” I asked innocently to Kaylah and Jayyne.
“I got a date with Matthew Bennett!” said Kaylah enlivened. “We have to double!” she continued.
“Totally, and you Jayyne?” I said, hoping she at least talked to Brett.
“While Kaylah was in the bathroom and you were makin’ out, I was talking to Brett on the bench…”
“Hold the phone,” said Kaylah, her eyes looking me over, then smiling, “You kissed him?!” she said in a taunting happy way.
“On the cheek!” I said defending myself.
“Oh,” she said disappointed.
“Jayyne continue.” I said casually.
“As I was saying,” she began, looking at Kaylah playfully, “I was talking to Brett while he was on the bench and he said that he wanted to hang out sometime… I guess we’ll be forced to triple date.” She said quickly and excitedly.
“Jayyne!” I said impressed, “You got a date with Brett?!”
“Yes I did,” she said plainly, smiling.
“This has been a very productive day for us!” I said happily.
“So it has,” agreed Kaylah.
“To the mall!” said Jayyne, raising her arm in the direction to her house. “My mom will take us.”
“Okay,” said Kaylah and I simultaneously.
We arrived at the mall soon. I always loved the mall, but sometimes it felt so overwhelming, the stores that look like you should have to be eighteen to get in and all the little shops that look like if you ate one of their food items you would end up looking like the people who work there, which is warning enough for any pre-teen girl. We walked into our favorite stores and out of them, one in particular…
We were walking out of Hollister looking cool with our bags and new clothes, when Kaylah looked at us weird and said, “Look how life-like that mannequin is!”
“Wow, that is life-like,” said Jayyne looking at the fake boy.
“Oh my God, I think it just blinked!” I said alarmed. By this time we were all pointing at it and looking it over. We started walking closer, probably looking a lot like some really dumb people being amazed by a mannequin. Then all the sudden, it walked away.
“Did that mannequin just walk away?” said a very confused Kaylah.
“I… think so? Hey, he’s laughing at us!” said Jayyne as she began running into the store.
“Jayyne!” Kaylah and I shouted. She walked into the store to find the fake boy who was standing next to his mom laughing so hard he could barely stand up.
“Wimp,” she muttered to herself. Then we began walking through the mall in complete laughter rages looking like complete idiots, I’m sure. But the true laughter didn’t come until we were leaving the mall and we saw him wave at Jayyne while he was standing next to his mom.
“Okay,” I said as we got into the car to ride home, “I got four shirts from Abercrombie, three from Hollister, and three from Aeropostale. What should I wear tonight?!”
“Uhh,” began Kaylah, “Wear the Abercrombie t-shirt. I got four from Aero, three from Hollister, and three from Abercrombie. Now, what should I wear on my date?”
“I don’t know,” began Jayyne, “But I got, them all at Hollister, it’s my weakness.”
“Wear the aero tank-top!” I said eagerly, “The quicker you wear the quicker I can borrow it!”
“Yah, I should wear that one, it makes me look gooood!” she exaggerated.
“Yah, sure, whatever,” said Jayyne, “But mine is a major problem, which pair of pants do I wear out with Brett??”
“Oh my, isn’t your date in like, a week or something?” I asked confused.
“Two days!” she retorted.
“Ladies were home!” said Heather, Jayyne’s mom from the front seat.
“My house?” I asked assuming they knew what the question was.
“Where else?” said Jayyne and Kaylah in unison.
We walked into my house with mindless chit-chat about our dates and our clothes, I pulled out the five dollars I had as change to satisfy my mom. We walked in quietly to my house sauntering up the stairs to my room.
“Okay,” I said “We’ve got seven hours to pick out the perfect two outfits. Can we do it?” I said, imitating the guy off of Bob the Builder.
“Yes we can!” said Kaylah and Jayyne collectively.
I got out all of my summer shorts and capris, and my new shirts, “Kaylah, you pick out your shirt and I’ll pick out my pants… GO!”
“Haha, okay, I think I want to wear my…”
“I’m going to Harlow’s mom, I’ll call when I’m on my way back, love you.” I said in a rush.
“Kay, honey, love you too.” She said compelled in the news.
I almost had to fight the urge to run to Harlow’s I was so excited/nervous/ready to puke. I almost tripped on the sidewalk but I take pleasure in knowing that I just barely stumbled. When I got in sight of the ice cream parlor my heart started to flutter like a humming bird’s wings. I crossed the street with eyes only for him. I had never really noticed how attracted I was to him beyond his looks. To be in his presence, I felt whole, like I didn’t have to worry about anything else ever again. His face twisted into a smile when I sat next to him. When he smiled his deep blue eyes looked like the ocean on its clearest day and his body seemed to relax at having me next to him. This should be fun…