was one week since I had graduated out of high school as a
senior. Since the school hadn't made a big deal out of it and we
had only gone to six flags for our graduation, the whole senior
class was on going on a short cruise. And by short I mean a week
and a half. We were supposed to depart off the east coast of
Florida and get off someplace in Maine. Then we were supposed to
take a rode trip all the way back to our city.
I lived in the city of Palm Springs, Florida. It was a
big enough place to where you almost never got bored, but it
wasn't so big that there was action everywhere you
I was lying on my blue and brown comforter staring at my
blue wall, daydreaming, when my cell phone on my bedside rang. I
let it ring for a moment, before sitting up and
"Hello?" I asked, barely suppressing a
"Hey Dani," said a deep male voice.
"Oh, hey, what's up Ty?" I asked, a bit more awake than I
had been originally. Ty and I had been friends since we were both
newborns and he was the best friend a girl could
"Nothing really," he told me. "What are you
"Talking to you," I said with a
He laughed too and said, "I mean before
"I was completely bored before you called," I told him.
"I'm bored out my mind too," he confessed. "My mom made
me pack everything last night and now I don't have anything to
do. Wanna come over? Dad's on a business trip and mom left to go
to the spa and use up that gift card you guys gave her for her
birthday last week."
"Yeah," I said enthusiastically. Then I added, "It's not
like I have anything better to do."
"Oh, that makes me feel so loved," Ty said sarcastically.
I could almost imagine his mocking smile and taunting hazel
"I know it does," I said back in a very fake sweet voice.
"See you in five."
"But how are you going to get your brother to drive
"I have my ways," I said in an evil voice.
Ty laughed at me and I said, "Bye."
I hung up my cell before walking out of my room and into
the kitchen to see my brother, Will, who was two years older than
me, doing the dishes.
"Hey Will," I said. "Can you give me a lift over to
Ty's?" I had to ask Will for rides because I didn't have a car of
"Let me think about that for a minute," Will said,
pretending to look thoughtful. "No."
"Ah, come on," I said, pouting slightly.
"There's not a force on this Earth that could get me to
drive you to Ty's," Will said, not looking at me."
"I'll give twenty bucks," I said
"So what are you standing around here for?" Will asked,
stopping what he was doing and grabbing his car keys. "Let's get
this show on the road!"
I rolled my eyes and followed him out the door and into
his blue Nissan. My older brother would do anything for
money. Or for girls.
"So do you want me to tell mom and Jim where you've gone
too?" Will asked as we drove down the street.
"Could you please tell mom," I said emphasizing
her name for many reasons. "That I've gone to Ty's and I'll be
back some time tonight?"
"She probably won't care anyway," Will said with a sad
shake of his head.
"I know," I said quietly. Tears pricked my eyes and I
looked out the window to hide them.
My father had died in Hurricane Katrina three years ago
when he had been a part of the police department. His death had
been really hard on me because my dad and I had been pals and had
done everything together. It didn't help any either that it had
only taken my mom six months to remarry, and not to a very good
Jim was probably one of the worst step-fathers on Earth.
He bossed my mom around all the time and he was rude to everyone,
especially me. He basically hated me because I really didn't put
up with his crap and threw it right back in his face. He also
didn't like me because I acted more like a boy than a girl. I
played football, hockey, and played a ton of other sports that
weren't considered to be girl sports. Jim was convinced I was
some wanna-be-guy and that it was all my father's fault.
Whatever. As long as he watched his mouth around me about my dad,
I didn't care what he thought of me. The truth was, I just didn't
like acting like some innocent helpless girl and I found that I
liked guy sports more than girl sports and I got along better
with most guys than girls because they weren't prissy little
"Here we are," Will said, interrupting my thinking as he
pulled into Ty's driveway.
I unbuckled my seat belt and started to get out, but
Will grabbed my arm and stopped me from getting out of the car.
"Hey, where's my twenty bucks?" he asked.
I smiled at him and said, "It's lost in the
William snorted and said, "Yeah, just like
your last report card was lost in the mail."
smiled widened and I winked and said, "Exactly," before getting
out of the car and shutting the door, waving as he drove off.
Most people who weren't close friends with me would say that my
brother and I didn't get along very well, but they were very
wrong. Sure we fought every now and then, but he was one of the
first people I turned too and the only one who I could talk to
besides Ty about our step-father.
I stood in the driveway for a moment before skipping up
to the door and knocking loudly. I was greeted by a loud, "It's
I walked in and saw Ty making a sandwich behind the
counter. "Jeez," I said. "Don't you ever think it might be the
least bit dangerous to leave your door open and let anyone in
when you live in this big of a neighborhood?"
"No," Ty replied, looking pointedly at the floor beside
I followed his gaze to see Max, his five year old German
Sheppard guard dog who sat loyally beside him.
"Oh," I said. Max has been the Martin's guard dog for
almost a year now and he preformed his job well. I got down low
and said, "Hey Maxy! How's it going buddy!"
Max gave a happy bark and ran up to me and licked my face
playfully. I laughed and pushed him off before leaning against
the counter across from Ty and watching as he added the finishing
touches to his sandwich.
"Do you want anything?" he asked, taking a bite of his
sandwich. "I could make you something."
"No, I'll just have a soda. Besides, I wouldn't trust you
to make me something anyway, I don't know where your hands have
been within the past twenty-four hours," I said, grabbing a Coke
from the fridge as Ty laughed and followed me into the living
"So," I asked after a moment of silence. "Got anything
planned for the day?"
"Well, Jake's suppose to be coming over in a few minutes.
He wants me to teach him some trick on his skateboard," Ty said
with a shrug. "Which is one of the many reasons I invited you
over. You're way better at that stuff."
"Whoa," I said holding up my hand with a frown. "Back up.
Jake's coming over, as in Jacob Knight?"
Ty looked at me sheepishly and said,
"Ty!" I groaned crossly. I flopped down on the couch in
his living room and gave another groan, this time one of
I didn't like Jake at all. In fact, at some points, I
loathed him. In my opinion, he was one of the many cute
guys at our school whose life was too easy. He was rich and lived
in this huge house with about three floors. Before our senior
year had ended, he had been the most popular guy in school
because he was some big football jock and his parents gave him
anything and everything he wanted.
Was I a bit jealous of Jake? Yes. Did I sometimes wish I
had his easy life? Definitely yes. And I had every right to. I
lived with a somewhat poor family whose step-father used all the
money to by a six pack of beer and get drunk daily and a mother
who did whatever the hell he told her to do. He actually had time
to study and do his homework and get good grades because he
didn't have a job after school to get himself money for college
because he already had money.
But did I wish I was Jake? Oh, hell no. He was a jerk. He
treated most of his girlfriends like crap and once he got what he
wanted from them, he dumped them without a second thought and
moved onto another girl. And if you weren't popular, he acted as
if you didn't exist unless he wanted something from you. To sum
it up he was ass. Why someone like Ty was friends with him, I had
"Ah, Ty," I said, looking hp at him. "You know that Jake
and practically hate each other." Which was true. Jake disliked
me almost as much as I disliked him. I think it was because I
didn't but up with his crap and it always backfired on
"Jake's not that bad," Ty said a little
"Yeah," I agreed sarcastically. "For a self-centered
ignorant jerk who needs to get his ass kicked."
Just after I said that, the door bell rang and Max gave a
vicious bark from on the floor next to the couch. Knowing it was
Jake, I said encouragingly, "Yeah, you tell 'um
Ty gave me a stern look and said, "Just please try
to behave yourself."
"Fine," I said as he got up. "But if he makes some rude
comment, don't try to stop me from kicking him in the
Ty snorted before leaving and answering the door. When he
was gone, I coaxed Max to sit down on the couch next to me-
though I was sure he wasn't allowed on the couch- I didn't want
to take the chance that Jake might sit down next to me, so what
better to take up the space then a big fierce German
When Ty walked in with Jake right behind him, Max lifted
his head from my lap, put back his ears, and gave a low
I just barely hid my smile by biting my lips, but I
couldn't help myself from ruffling Max's ears, letting him know
he was a good dog.
Ty saw me ruffle Max's ears and gave me an irritated look
before turning to Max and saying sharply, "Max,
Max obeyed with something like a grumble before resting
his head in my lap again. I had to contain my laughter by
pretending to cough.
Of course, Ty noticed right away what I was doing and he
threw me another irritated glare at me before saying,
"Jake, you know Dani, don't you?"
"Sort of," he answered. "Looking good by the way Dani,"
he commented, showing me his cocky smile.
Oh, barf. You are so not trying to hit on me, I
thought. Because that's not going to work out to well for
I tried to
keep my expression blank as I said, "I would say the same, but it
would be a waste of air for me to do so because I wouldn't mean
Jake gave a small frown and I heard a small growl come
from Ty. I looked in his direction and burst out
His face was red and made of one of pure irritation and
embarrassment, and for some reason, it just struck me as
"Dani," he said slowly. "Can I talk to you?
"But-" I said still laughing, when Ty grabbed my arm and
all but dragged me to his messy bedroom before shutting the door
"You know," I said casually, looking around and trying
not to laugh. "You really need to clean all of this
"Dani," Ty said in a slightly strangled voice. "You are
so lucky that Jake's here right now because if he wasn't, I'd
"Could you wait to do that after the trip?" I asked, just
to irritate him even further. "Because I'm really looking forward
to it and-"
"This is exactly why I'm considering your murder!" Ty all
It took all I had not to break out into a fit of giggles.
Instead I said with a perfectly straight face, "Fine. I'll be a
good girl and go back in and be nice."
Ty snorted and said, "Right." But he opened the door
anyway and let me walk in front of him back into the living
Not wanting to chance Jake hitting on me again, I just
got right to the point and asked, "What skateboard trick do you
need help with?"
Jake snorted and asked, "You?"
"She's better than me," Ty explained to him. "In fact,
she's the one who taught me how to skateboard."
Jake just stared at Ty in disbelief before shaking his
head and saying, "Whatever. Let's just go out to your
I had the satisfaction of seeing him red before he walked
out the front door. His embarrassment was priceless. I would have
bet my entire college fund to bet he had never been taught
something about a sport by a girl his age. Oh Jesus, this was
The phone had rung just as we had started to go out so Ty
had stayed behind to answer it. So now, Jake and I were in his
I crossed my arms and asked, "So what is it you need help
"The kick flip," Jake said with a sigh. "I keep getting
it wrong. It doesn't spin fast enough, or my feet catch or I just
miss the board completely so I end up falling on my face half the
time." He gave a humiliated look and I had to hide my
I waited for a moment to contain my laughter before
commanding, "Show me."
Jake hesitated and I realized he wasn't us to taking
orders, especially from a girl and I gave a sigh and said, "Look,
if you want me to help you, you should start doing what I
"Fine," Jake muttered. He set the board down and got on
it. He started to skate forward, and then he leaned down, as if
getting ready to do an ollie, before flicking out his foot. His
board was probably a half of a foot of the ground and only spun
halfway around before it hit the ground. Jake started to fall to
the ground, but I was right next to him when he started to fall,
so I caught him by the arms before he fell, making myself stumble
backwards with his weight- it's not easy catching a guy who's six
foot one and probably weighed around one hundred and sixty pounds
while you were only five foot six and weighed only a hundred and
twenty-seven pounds- before I regained my balance.
"Uh, thanks," he said, standing up and stepping away from
"No problem," I said without any expression on my
"So, what am I doing wrong?" he asked, not meeting my
"Oh, just about, everything," I said. He gave a soft sigh
of frustration, but I ignored it and went on. "For one thing,
you're not flicking it hard enough, so it doesn't spin fast
enough. And you're not getting enough air."
"Well then," he said. "Why don't you show me how it's
"Fine," I took the board from him and hopped on. "I'm
warning you now though, I haven't done one of these in forever so
don't be alarmed if the board comes flying at your
Jake gave a snicker and I smiled at him, but it
disappeared after a moment. What was wrong with me!? Since
when did I get along with Jake! This has to be a
I came back to reality and skated down the driveway once
before turning back. I crouched down with my back foot on the
tail and my front behind the front truck bolts with it turned at
a forty-five degree angle. It occurred to me that as I was doing
it, I wasn't wearing a helmet and knowing how klutzy I could be,
that probably wasn't very smart, but I brushed the thought aside
and focused in again.
I did an ollie as high as I could- which was well over
two and a half feet off of the ground- and as I did so, I flicked
my front foot to the side, causing the board the spin. I got my
feet out of the way as I did this, so my feet wouldn't interfere
with how the board spun and as soon as I saw the top of the board
again, I slammed my feet down, absorbing the impact with my
knees. I let the board slide forward a few feet before bringing
it to a stop.
I turned to Jake with a huge smile on my face and said,
Jake smiled back at me and took the board. "Know it's
my turn," he said. "If I fall and don't get back up, call
I rolled my eyes and called after him, "Focus on getting
your board as high as you can first and then start the kick flip!
Remember to flip it hard enough so it turns fast enough and keep
your feet out of the way!"
He gave a quick nod before turning his board and getting
ready for the kick flip. He leaped into the air- which was around
the same height I had jumped- and kicked his foot to the side
before drawing them up so he wouldn't hit the board. Then, as he
saw the top of it, his eyes lit up with something like victory
and he slammed his feet down on the board.
I thought about closing my eyes, afraid for the outcome,
but before I could make my decision, Jake landed on the driveway
and just stared down in disbelief before turning to me and
whispering, "I did it."
"You did it!" I exclaimed, smiling wide.
"I did it!" he yelled, pumping his fist in the air before
walking the few feet to come next to my clasping his hand with
He smiled brilliantly at me, all traces of cockiness gone
and the smile nearly took my breath away. Then I shook myself and
a voice yelled in my head, You hate him,
see that! That was freakin' awesome!" he yelled, pounding
me on the back.
I opened my mouth to answer him, but at that moment Ty's
front door slammed and I looked up at him smiling only to have it
slowly fade away when I saw the look on his face.
Ty was pale as a newly bought sheet with tight lips. His
eyes were moist and it looked he was about to cry.
That's what made me very nervous and uneasy. Ty
never cried. I saw him riding his dad's motorcycle, fall
off and have his leg peeled of all skin and showing the bone in
some places and his arm dislocated without his eyes even getting
So, to sum it up, this was bad. This was very, very