"You should just talk to him."
"To who?" I asked innocently.
Megan flipped her blonde hair behind her shoulders and rolled her eyes, "You know who! To Drew."
I winced and peered over at her. "Is it really that obvious?"
"Em yeah!" She laughed. "I see the way you stare at him when we pass him in the corridor." I groaned and dropped my head into my hands. "Grace why don't you just ask him out?"
I snorted and gestured wildly around me, at a loss for words. We were sitting at my breakfast bar drinking orange juice while the rest of our school were out busy making the most of the last three days of our Christmas holidays. "Because Megan, because guys like him don't go out with girls like me!"
"Okay so we're not as popular as him but I bet you'd be a welcome change from the blonde bimbos he usually goes out with."
I raised an eyebrow. "You do know that it's weird you're dissing blondes, right?"
"No. I'm naturally blonde and they all spend hours getting their hair dyed."
I smiled but I knew she just didn't want to admit that she was a lot like them. When we first went into high school, with her flawless tanned skin, perfect teeth, big blue eyes and blonde wavy hair that cascaded down her shoulders, she could have easily chosen to be one of the popular girls. But she didn't want to become like those girls who picked on us during our early awkward teenage years. Megan is a lot like them in everything but personality.
And in the past few years we've grown to despise the popular kids with their mean superficial ways and we've grown to love making fun of them. But Drew isn't like that. You can see that the macho star quarterback role he plays everyday is just a front. Really he's nice and sensitive and funny and caring. He's not like the rest of them.
"Grace do you want some more orange-" Megan was cut off mid sentence holding up her empty glass because just then Drew burst into my kitchen holding my unconscious brother in his arms. I know he's not like the rest of them because Drew is my brother's best friend.
* * *
"Are you sure you're alright?" My mom asked Ryan anxiously for what mush have been the billionth time. She took an ice pack out of the freezer and brought it to where he was sitting on one of the stools surrounding the breakfast bar with Drew was supporting his shoulders.
"Yes I'm fine!" Ryan snapped, grabbing it from her and holding it to his head. Megan was frantically poking my leg under the table and I slapped her hand away.
My bright red cheeks and my frozen smile should have told her that I was very aware the guy we had just been taking about was standing inches away from me. I stared at his high cheekbones, long thick eyelashes, dark brown eyes and his curly chocolate brown hair. He was still sweaty from football practise and I traced his biceps with my eyes. I could have crossed the room in five steps and kissed him.
"Andrew, honey thank you so much for bringing him home," my mom gushed.
I could have, but I didn't because to everyone else he's just Andrew. The same boy who's been friends with Ryan since he moved into the house down the street five years ago, when I was eleven and they were both twelve. The summer I was fourteen we all went swimming in the lake by the cabin our families rented together and that was the day I stopped wanting him to think of me as Ryan's annoying little sister.
That was the day I stopped thinking of him as Ryan's annoying best friend who teases me and give me socks for Christmas. I spent the rest of the summer hiding from him and read a billion books and spent hours doing my hair and blushed whenever he looked at me. I actually began to think he might like me too. But then when school started again he started dating Cindy, the town's dumbest blonde and I realised that he'd never think of me as anything but Ryan's little sister.
"No problem. The coach offered but I told him I'd do it since I live so close. He seemed fine, just a little out of it. But then he passed out in the back seat. You really scared me man." He patted Ryan's shoulder but he shrugged him off angrily muttering that he was fine.
"Well we're just all so grateful you brought him home."
Megan snorted and grinned at Ryan. "Dude I can't believe you ran into a wall."
He swiped at her and she ducked. "The sun was really bright. I got distracted!"
"Yeah distracted by the cheerleaders' boobs," I muttered under my breath.
"Ryan keep that ice pack on the swelling," my mom looked at him worriedly. "I'll go ring Coach Parker to tell him you're okay. We might have to ring the hospital too and see if you have a concussion." she said walking out of the room out of the room.
He leapt off his chair and winced. "No really its okay," he followed her out of the room "the less we talk about it the less people know about it."
Megan gave me a meaningful look and I tilted my head and narrowed my eyes at her. No way would she leave me right now. "I'll just eh- I'll go see if he needs any help," she said and I heard Ryan yelling, "Give me the phone!" as she ran out of the room smiling to herself.
And I was left there alone with Drew. Great. Just great. I stared down at my empty glass, determined not to meet his eyes. Plus if I looked up my brain would have to register the fact that I could see his exquisite toned abs through his shirt and I wouldn't be able to look away. Which could get a little awkward.
"So…" he said slowly after a minute of silence and I went to the fridge trying to make myself look busy.
I threw open the door facing him and closed my eyes trying to lower my heartbeat because I was sure he could hear it. This is exactly what I'd been trying to avoid for the past few years, being left alone with Drew. He probably thinks I hate him by now. I pretended to be looking for the orange juice while trying to smooth down my brown frizzy hair and wishing that I was wearing something other than the shorts I'd woken up in this morning and an oversized hoodie that belonged to Ryan.
"Need any help?" I heard Drew's voice beside my ear and I jumped, screamed and at the same time whacked my head off the top shelf in the fridge. "Oh god I didn't mean to scare you!"
"Ow ow ow!" I whimpered clutching my head and trying to hop to a stool at the same time with my eyes closed against the throbbing pain in my forehead. There was no point trying to look cool anymore, I might as well just burst into tears and call my mommy to come help me.
I felt a strong pair of hands lift me up onto the counter top and I opened my eyes slowly, trying to adjust to the sun streaming in through the windows, and saw him peering at me with concerned eyes. God he was sexy when he was worried.
He grabbed some kitchen paper and ran it under the sink before pressing it gently to my forehead. I hissed and bit my lip at the sudden sting. "Sorry, sorry," he whispered and I felt myself sway slightly towards him, "whoa careful," he said softly holding me up even I don't think it had anything to do with my injury.
I held the tissue to my head, our fingers brushing as he took his hand away. Suddenly he seemed to realise how close we were and he took a step back as I slid off the counter. "Thanks," I smiled even though I'm pretty sure this wasn't helping the whole 'him not seeing me as a kid' situation. "I think I'm alright now."
"I better stay with you until someone comes back in," he grinned, "if you're anything like your brother you'll be dead to the world in two minutes."
"Oh I'm nothing like my brother," I reassured him quickly, because I wasn't.
We had the same brown hair and green eyes but Ryan was popular. Okay he was popular because he was nice to everyone and they were nice to him. Also it kinda helped that he was the team's fullback and he spent four days a week in the gym. But it didn't mean he wasn't an idiot. And I was forbidden, under the threat of getting beaten up, to talk to him during school hours so clearly his niceness doesn't extend to family members.
"Yeah I'm beginning to see that," Drew grinned and my heart melted. Was he flirting with me? Was I flirting with him? "I heard that it's important to talk to a person after they get hurt. Sweet tea is supposed to be good as well." He turned on the kettle and began collecting mugs and tea bags and sachets of sugar from around the kitchen. "I'd bring Ryan some but he'd be too macho to take it," he laughed and turned to look at me. "So what are your plans for the last three days of freedom?"
I sat up on the stool and crossed my legs. "Just hanging around here with Megan." Oh that sounded pathetic. It was Friday night for god sake. I sniffed nonchalantly and stretched back in my chair. "Maybe go to a few parties…" Oh no that sounded worse.
Now he probably thinks I'm some sad loser who stays at home all day and never does anything exciting besides from 'maybe' go to a few parties. Which isn't true, I don't go to parties. Apparently having his little sister hanging around as he tries to impress girls doesn't suit Ryan because he refuses to go to a party if I'm there. And since everyone wanted Ryan to go to their parties they stopped inviting me.
He grinned. "Really? Well then," he took a card from his pocket and slid it across the table, "here. Don't tell Ryan I gave it to you, okay? He'd kill me."
Megan skipped back into the room and threw herself onto the stool beside me. Drew handed me the mug of tea, picked up his gear bag from the door and slung it over one shoulder.
"I'd better be going. Take care of yourself. I might see you Sunday?" He grinned once more, winked at me and then he was gone leaving me with a mug of tea in one hand and a card in the other.
"Oh my gosh you two were alone for almost ten whole minutes. What did you talk about? Did he just wink at you? What happened to your head? What's on Sunday? What's the card say? Oh my god is it his number?" Megan asked bouncing up and down on her stool as I took a sip of tea. I glanced down at it and frowned.
"Number one. Find the man with blue boxers. New York."
Megan frowned too. "That doesn't make any sense. Wh-" Suddenly she gasped and almost fell off her chair.
"What?" I said irritably, I'd been expecting his number or at least something that wasn't just a bunch of random words. My head was staring to hurt again and Megan was known for being dramatic.
"Drew gave that to you, right? Right?" She repeated excitedly when I didn't respond quickly enough the first time.
"Yes he did! So?"
"Grace! Do you know what that is? What member of the social standing gave you that little white card? When did he say he might see you?"
I looked at her disbelievingly. "No. No it's not. It's…" Megan screeched and clapped her hands.
"We're going to the After Party 2012!"