The sun shined through the bright curtains on my light skin. I listen to people sing and think about the life we take for granted. My friend Nancy sings here every Tuesday so I like to come and listen. I sit in the Songbird Café on a warm spring day. These are the days I love, anything in the world can be going on, but when I come here and listen to the music I just float into a different world. A world where everything is good, no one is hurt or scared, no one is lost or helpless, no one is sad. A place that I can call heaven.
“Taylor!” The sound of Nancy’s voice snaps me back to reality. Nancy Moore is more than my best friend; she is a sister to me. We have been friends since second grade right when I moved here. We met at the playground when I accidently ran into her. She helped me up and from then on we have been best friends. Nancy has light brown hair with dark brown eyes. Her smile is small, but it’s hard to miss. She is about five feet and five inches. “TAYLOR STROVE!!” Nancy almost screams at me.
“What?” I say looking around the room to see all my friends staring at me.
“Ready to go?” Which is the clue that Nancy is sick of all the guys hitting on her and she wants to leave.
“Yeah, let me just get my car keys.” I rummaged through my purse trying to find the stupid car keys and in that thirty seconds Nancy had managed to get three hot guys to surround her. She didn’t like the attention she got for being such an amazing singer and a beautiful person inside and out. “Okay I got ‘em let’s go.”
We were on our way to our colonial style house in the quiet town of Charlotte, Delaware. My house is made of brick and stone giving it an old rustic look. A family home, my friends always say they feel like a family in my house. Well Nancy lives with me also so its her home too. Nancy’s parents decided to go tour the world leaving Nancy with us when she was eight.
When we pull into the driveway my parent’s cars are here, which is unusual since my dad works from six o’clock in the morning to eight at night and my mom works from five o’clock in the morning to seven at night. It is five o’clock in the afternoon; they should be at work right now. My dad is the C.E.O. at a company called Water 2 Go, an organization that brings clean water to Southern Africa. My mom owns her own bakery called Bakerman.
Nancy looks at me just as I look back at her. We both have the same thought, something must be wrong. As we rush into the house we find both my parents in the living room, sitting by the fire. The fire roars to life as my dad throws a log onto the fire. It is pretty warm in the spring but my dad lights fires anyway. The living room is very earth tone, with brown couches and a black coffee table. My dad stretches his long legs onto the table and mom swats his feet down with a teasing smile. Yes, something is definitely wrong, they never do this. Right as I am about to ask what is wrong a tall man and a thin woman walk into the living room.
“Bill, I haven’t had a nice relaxing day like this in years,” says this man I am not familiar with. He is probably six feet tall, with short black hair, and tan skin.
“We should do this more often.” My dad says this right as he looks back to see me staring at them.
“Ah, Taylor, Nancy, this is Mr. and Mrs. Carmy. They’re old friends of mine.”
“Hello girls. Bill, I mean Mr. Strove has told me a lot about the two of you.” Mr. Carmy gives me a glance and then looks back at my dad. “They look the same age as our boys Max and Chris.”
“Well they are even more beautiful in person, your pictures don’t do you justice.” Mrs. Carmy speaks up. This is the first time I notice her. She has piercing green eyes, dirty blond hair, her skin is pale, and her nails are painted a bright green color.
“Um, we will be upstairs. Nice to meet you.” Nancy says in a monotone voice. I feel bad for not saying anything, but that was a very awkward little meeting.
I walk upstairs slowly trying to process what just happened. I’m guessing my parents just had some friends over, which is extremely strange. I decided just to go straight to bed and figure things out in the morning.
As the sun rose the next morning, I felt the rush of yesterday’s events overwhelm me. Who were those people yesterday? Why were they here? Should I bring it up today? Those questions and many more popped into my head even before I had my morning cup of coffee.
“Morning,” Nancy voice wakes me from my half up half asleep self. “Want some coffee,” she holds the nice hot cup of freshly brewed coffee to me, without any response because the answer is obvious. I take the cup and sip some coffee.
“What the heck happened yesterday?” I just come out with it. Nancy and I don’t need the regular conversation starters. “Did that seem at all strange to you?” I ask.
“That was very odd, and who were those boys she said we are age?” Woah, that is surprising. Nancy rarely talks about guys.
“Do you ever stop thinking about guys?” I say sarcastically.
“Nope,” I can’t help, but smile when she says this.
I hop out of bed and we decide to go downstairs to get some answers from my mom and dad. When we get downstairs my mom and dad are making breakfast, which is a regular thing for Saturday mornings.
“Morning girls.” Dad seems to be in a good mood.
“Morning. Will you please explain to us what happened yesterday?” I cut to the point.
“What do you mean? The Carmy’s are old friends. I used to work with Mr. Carmy before I started Water 2 Go. Plus, they have two boys about your age.”
“I have never heard the last name Carmy.”
“Neither have I,” Nancy chimes in.
“Well then you will pleased to know that we are all having dinner tonight. I assume you will be there and be polite.” Mom gives me a look as if she knew I would come back with a sassy comment and wanted to warn me not to.
“Looking forward to it,” Nancy says before I could say anything and then drags me away.
Now I have to go to school and sit through six hours of torture. Then I get to come home and meet a family of preppy people, probably. Max and Chris Carmy, which are their names. I can’t decide if I am completely miserable or curious to see who they are and what they are like.
School isn’t exactly my strong suit. I do, fine, but compared to Nancy, I do terrible. I get B’s and A’s, but Nancy gets straight A+’s. At least we only have two more months. I don’t understand why school is important when I finish high school I am going to go to college and pursue my dream of being a high school teacher. There’s just something about it. I can’t explain it. I can’t describe it, but the feeling of being a factor in a child’s life is important to me. I want to help them see there potential and show them that life may seem like yes or no, and right or wrong, but there’s so much more to it. Like making friends you will keep forever or deciding the person you’re going to be. I haven’t figured out what Nancy is going to be yet, but no matter what it is I know she will be great at it. She won’t tell me, but I know it will have to do with either music or children.
School finally ends, even though it’s only the middle of April I already want school to be over. I see Nancy and pull her aside.
“Ready?” I say.
“Yeah, lets go.”
As we pull into the driveway there is a car I have never seen. I am guessing that Chris and Max are here. It’s only four, that’s an early dinner.
“Hey girls, how was school?” My dad says. I can barely see his faces as he grills on the deck.
“School was okay, I guess.” I quietly say.
“She means school was good.” Nancy tries to help me speak up.
On the deck with my dad two boys and Mr. Carmy are talking. I can only see the backs of their bodies so I haven’t judged them yet, but just wait for it. I am guessing they are about six feet or more.
“We should probably go talk to them instead of just staring.” Nancy whispers.
Without a response I grab Nancy’s hand and I pull her outside on to the deck. Right away I am hit with the heat and the smell of hamburgers at once. But the only thing I am paying attention to is seeing what these guys are like.
“Hello girls, these are my sons Chris and Max.” Mr. Carmy introduces us.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” The boy on the left says. I remember Mr. Carmy pointing him out as Chris. Chris has dark brown hair that is very short, almost like a buzz cut. He stretches he’s hand out and I shake it quickly. He has to bend down to reach me, but when he stands straight up again I realize he probably is six feet and three inches. His grip was impeccable strong and I got a good look at his eyes. They are dark brown and a little bit lighter around the edges. His skin is light without being too tan. He looks he is in high school, but I can’t decide between sixteen and seventeen.
“Its nice to meet you too.” I say. He goes on to shake Nancy’s hand as well.
“Hey,” Says the other boy, meaning he is Max. He has dark hair also, but his hair is a little longer than Chris’s. He doesn’t reach his hand out so I can shake it, which I find somewhat rude, but maybe he isn’t the touchy feely type of guy. He is a little shorter than Chris, but only by and inch or two. He looks younger than him though. He is avoiding eye contact so I don’t get a good look at his eyes. His skin is tan and his muscles are toned. His arms they stay by his side, and he almost looks like he is flexing them. Max looks angry, but I do not understand why.
“Hi,” I almost forgot to say something back as I was too busy analyzing him.
When I look over at Nancy she’s talking to Chris. He looks extremely interested in what she is saying. So I decide to walk away from awkward Max and go over to Nancy and Chris.
“That is too funny. That did not happen!” Chris is saying when I walk over to them.
“It did too!” says Nancy.
“What happened?” I chime in.
“Do you remember the time we went to the Maroon Five Concert and the guy right next to us was screaming the words to the song? It was the wrong song.” I do remember what Nancy was talking about. That was one of the best days of my life.
“Yeah I do. That guy was crazy.”
“Have you guys been to a lot of concerts?” Chris asks.
“Let me think. We have been to Goo Goo Dolls, Adele, Boyce Avenue, Usher, David Gray, One Republic, Ron Pope, Katy Perry, and Maroon Five.” I list off.
“Woah, I have only been to one. You guys probably won’t know whom I am talking about, but Etta James. I actually saw her right before she died.” Chris tells us.
“You saw Etta James? She was my idol, actually she still is.” Nancy isn’t joking when she says this. When Etta James died Nancy played her songs over and over again for weeks.
“Worst concert I have ever been to. She might has well has been dead then too, her music was so boring.” Max says unexpectedly.
“Excuse me. She was an amazing singer and a person.” Nancy may have not looked like it, but if you offended her in anyway, she wouldn’t be afraid to stand up for herself.
“She just sings sad and depressing songs. I was about to fall asleep.” Max was being extremely rude and obnoxious.
“Max, dude, back off. She is an amazing singer.” Chris says defending Etta James. I have a feeling he isn’t just defending her, but Nancy also.
“Whatever.” Max stops talking.
“Well my favorite artist has to be One Republic.” I try and defuse the tension.
“Ugh,” Max whispers under his breath.
“Do you have a problem with them?” I say. Now he is getting on my nerves.
Before he could respond my dad calls us all in for dinner. We all walk in quietly, leaving the last of the conversation outside. We are having hamburgers for dinner and they smell and look so good. I am about to dig in when my dad stops me.
“So Max and Chris, how old are you?” My dad asks.
“Well I am seventeen and am senior this year.” Chris says. “And Max here is sixteen and is a junior.”
“Well you boys are mighty tall for your age.” My dad always does this. I can bet he is about to ask what sports they play.
“So do you boys play any sports?” Of course dad asked this.
“I play football, lacrosse, and basketball. Chris plays football and lacrosse.” Max answers this time like he feels proud that he plays sports. “I play safety in football, goalie in lacrosse, and point guard in basketball. If I keep playing as well as I did this year I will be a shoe in for captain when I am a senior.” I hate that. Why can’t people just be modest about achievements, but no Max has to feel like he is the best person in the room.
“What about you Chris?” My dad says.
“Well I am quarterback for football and attack for lacrosse. I am captain for both sports, but I think there are much better people for the job.” Now that’s how people should be. Modest and humble.
“Well that’s quite impressive. Where will you boys be playing next year, maybe we can come see some games.”
“We are attending Camden Military Academy. Its in upstate Maryland.” Chris tells my dad.
“We that is a very prestigious school, you boys should be proud to go there.”
“Well we don’t go there because we are prestigious boys. We go there because my mom and dad thought we weren’t good enough for the. So they shipped us off.” Max says like its nothing.
“That is not why we sent you there. You boys needed to have discipline if you want to be a successful man one day.” Mr. Carmy says in a very firm tone.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Max whispers.
Dinner was silent from then on. I was trying to process all of this. So Chris and Max go to a military school. They need discipline so they were sent there, though in my mind Max is the only one who needs it. Chris is nice and very polite. Max is rude and somewhat cocky. I think that covers everything.
“It was very nice to meet you both. I hope we can talk again soon, well actually here’s my number if you ever want to contact me.” Chris handed us his number, 860-372-6219.
“Okay thanks. Here is mine.” Nancy handed her number to Chris. “And here’s Taylor’s.”
“Thanks. See you guys later.” He waves goodbye and gets into the car.
“Bye,” Max says.
“Chris has our numbers if you ever need to contact us.” Nancy says, but you can tell she really didn’t want to say it.
“I don’t think I will need it, but thanks. And I am sorry about being mean early. I was just in a bad mood.” Wow, he was almost nice there.
‘”Its fine. You better go. Bye.” I tell him goodbye and close the door behind him.
Well this was an eventful evening. Nancy looked like she had fun and I can say that I had some fun as well. I haven’t been able to scold and be so sassy in a while it was nice to get some of that out. I also like to see Nancy happy and she looked happy. I think we made a new friend, Chris. Maybe if Max wasn’t so obnoxious I could call him a friend too, but he still has to get a lot nicer if he ever wants to be friends with me. I have so many thoughts running through my head but before I could think about one more I needed to sleep.
The next week flew by in a blur but finally April vacation is here. Meaning a whole two weeks to sit and tan by the pool or the beach. I haven’t heard much from Max or Chris but I think Nancy has. You can tell when she texts him because her face will brighten up and she smiles a lot. When I ask if she is texting him her face will turn all red.
My friend Kurt invited Nancy and I to a huge party on the beach. I usually wouldn’t be one to go to a lot of parties but school was almost over and I wanted to have fun without stressing over everything. Nancy is the complete opposite of me. She loves to go have fun whenever she feels like it. Not worrying what will happen at them or if she will have fun. I told her I would go so I will go but I can’t promise to have fun.
When we got to the party I could hear the laughing and screaming a mile before we parked. As I stepped out of the car I could see a bunch of people swimming in the water and even more people crowded around the bonfire.
“Swimming or bonfire?” Nancy asks.
“Bonfire. I didn’t bring a bathing suit.”
I go to sit next to a bunch of my friends.
“Hey Taylor!” My friend Danielle says to me.
“Hey!” I say back.
“I heard from Nancy you guys had dinner with a couple of boys from Maryland. Are they hot?” Thank you Nancy for telling people. Now I shall be asked this question all night.
“I don’t know,” that is the only answer I could think of.
“Okay then. Well are you going to see them again?”
“Oh,” that’s how that conversation ended. I was right all night people just kept asking me who those boys were.
By midnight I just wanted to go home. I was sick of all the questions. This is the exact reason I don’t go to parties. I didn’t even ask Nancy to come home with me. She just hopped in the car.
“Did you actually think I wouldn’t come home with my best friend?” Nancy says.
“Maybe.” I smile. We drive home and don’t speak of the party just listen to the music and sit in silence. You would think that is awkward but it was completely normal.
When I got to my room I literally jumped on my bed ready to sleep. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was Nancy looking at her phone and smiling.
I woke to a startling noise of papers shuffling around. As I opened my eyes I saw Nancy making her neat desk into a mess. She must be searching for something serious with all the noise and fuss she is making over it. I look over at my clock and it says six o’clock in the morning.
“Isn’t it just fabulous that we get to wake up at six o’clock during the school week and on the weekend?” I say sarcastically.
“Very funny. For your information I am looking for Chris’s number.”
“Oh, why are looking for it?” I can’t help but smile.
“Your dad needs it. He wants to ask Chris and Max to help with some house things. I think painting and building something.” Nancy explains.
“Dad doesn’t even know who they are. That’s a little weird for just meeting them.” That’s just weird.
“Maybe but he said he needed strong young boys and I guess they fit the description so he wants there number to contact them about it.”
A great start to a day I know will be very odd. At least it is Saturday and my Saturday’s consist of sitting outside on the porch reading a good book.
At about noon I hear a car pull into the driveway. I can guess who it is. As Max and Chris step out of the car I see my dad go over and shake their hands. He points over to the porch but before I could get up and leave. Max’s eye caught mine. It was only for a second but for some reason for that one-second I couldn’t look away from him either.
“Hey Taylor,” Chris comes over and waves. “We are here to re-paint the porch so just let us know if we get in your way.” He keeps looking around probably looking for Nancy but he will just have to wait. She went out to buy some food with my mom.
“Alright.” I go back to reading my book.
About an hour of silence past so I thought I should be polite and be a good houseguest.
“Can I get you guys anything to drink?” I ask. They must be thirsty its like a hundred degrees out here.
“Sure. We would love some water. Thanks.” Chris says.
“Here you go.” I hand them some drinks.
“We will be finished in about an hour or two, after that do you and Nancy want to go get something to eat?” Chris asks.
“Sure. Let me just check with Nancy but that should be good. If that is okay with him.” I motion my body toward Max.
“Yeah its fine with me. As long as I get to pick where we go.” He tells us.
“Sure whatever you want princess,” I say.
“Excuse me, its prince to you. Plus you didn’t put any ice in this glass of water. Go fetch me some more.” He orders me. I smile at this.
“Yes master.” But instead of going to get him some ice I pour the water on top of his head. “Hope that is ice cold for you.”
“Its just perfect,” he takes some of the water from his hair and flicks it back at me.
“Get back to work prince.”
When Nancy finally got home Max and Chris were just finishing the painting the porch. She walked in to find me lying on the lawn chair, as Max and Chris were hard at work painting.
“Looks like you’re hard at work. Are you sure you want to go out for dinner? If it were me I would just want to sleep.” Nancy says to Max and Chris.
“Well that’s what I would like to do but Chris over here looks like he will die without some food.” Max says as he pats Chris on the shoulder.
“Alright, let me just go change and get my wallet,” Nancy says.
“Nope, you can’t go get your wallet because we are paying tonight. What kind of guys would we be if we didn’t pay?” Chris asks.
“Probably the guys in our grade,” I whisper. The guys in our grade do not know how to impress a girl. There thought of impressing a girl is to see who can hold their breath the longest. Which is completely stupid and random.
“Well its good we aren’t the guys in your grade then,” Chris is so nice, usually that would attract me to him but I can see that he is not my type. My type is a guy with a little adventure and some attitude, but is still a nice and respectful guy. I don’t think that is too much to ask for but since I haven’t found a guy who isn’t even remotely like that I should probably lower my standards. Chris is nice, yes, but he doesn’t have the adventure I am looking for. Plus I think he has his eye on someone else.
“Just give us a second to go upstairs and change. If you guys need to wash up or something the bathroom is down the hall to the right,” I try and hint that they should go wash their hands and face, since all of the paint is on them.
Nancy and I walk upstairs to our room. Our room is quite big but with all the stuff we have in it is cozy. We have two queen size beds, two desks, two closets, pretty much two of everything you would regularly have in a room. Our walls are a light purple almost lavender, which I find very soothing. Nancy’s side of the room is covered with pictures of friends and posters of singers, actors, and comedians. While my side is blank with just one picture of Nancy and I right above my bed. People always ask me why my side of the room is blank. I don’t have an answer for them. Maybe its because I feel like putting pictures of friends is so you can remember those great times but why would I need to remember the great times if they haven’t ended yet. Whatever the reason I like to keep my wall blank.
As we start to get changed I hear Nancy say something from inside our closet.
“Which shirt should I wear the blue or the red? I like the blue because its more casual but the red makes a better impression.” Well that’s a first.
“What happened to not caring what people thought of you or how you looked?” I ask.
“Well that still remains true but this is guys we are going out with. I need to look good.”
“Do you have a thing for Chris?” I know what she is going to say because she says the same thing every time I ask if she likes a guy.
“No he is just really nice. That’s all.”
“Okay then but I think he might have a crush on you.” I wish I could see her face right now.
“No he doesn’t. He is just being a nice guy,” she won’t give up until I say I believe her.
“Okay, okay, I believe you.” I don’t feel like fighting with her right now.
We get changed and go downstairs to find Max and Chris sitting on my couch talking. Before we walk in I hold Nancy back and try to listen in on their conversation.
“Well would it be so hard to maybe nice? They are nice girls and you are treating them badly. No one deserves that,” Chris says. I know it is bad to ease drop but it was just so easy and I was so curious.
“I was not being mean. That’s just my personality,” Max retorts.
“Whatever the case please start being nice to them.”
“Why are you protecting them?” Max asks. Well I have to say that is quite a good question, especially since I was thinking it at the exact same time.
“I am not protecting them. I am being a good guy.” As Chris says this Nancy nudges me on the shoulder. Her face says it all ‘this is so wrong, we shouldn’t be doing this.’ She was right so we walked out into the open room.
The conversation stopped immediately and they looked at us at the same time.
“You girls ready to go? We have been waiting forever,” Max complains. Chris gives him an evil glare.
“Well you can go if we took to long for you. We really don’t need you.” Nancy was never very polite when it came to protecting herself.
“No its fine. It was no wait at all.” Chris tries to fix the tension in the room.
We all pile into my Ford Explorer and drive to the restaurant. Max wanted to go eat pizza but the rest of us wanted to get Chinese food. So after minutes of arguing we give in and go for pizza. Gosh, Max is just so annoying. Why can’t he just be a regular guy and be nice for a change. I just met him but I can already tell that this so called friendship won’t last. I decide to just come out with it and ask him what his problem is.
“Max, what is your problem? Why do you have to fight us on everything we say? You always want your way and are not willing to compromise. I have known you for less than two days and I already can barely stand you. We have been nothing but kind to you and you only treat us like you’re the kind and we are your peasants.” I know I was slightly rude but someone had to say it.
“I didn’t know I was being so mean so I apologize but I do not think of you guys like that. Did you ever guess that maybe I was just having a bad day?” He is right maybe I should have thought about that before I opened my big mouth.
“No that didn’t occur to me – “ Max cuts me off.
“Yeah you didn’t think of that. So instead of jumping to conclusions why not find out the real story. Thanks,” Max walks out of the restaurant and towards the car.
“I’m sorry he is just having a bad week.” Chris tries to make me feel better but it’s not working to well.
“I am going to go talk to him.” I am going to try and fix this.
When I start to walk to the car I can see Max sitting in the car. He looks so alone. Not just physically, but mentally. He looks as if he doesn’t have anyone to talk to, like his entire life he has been his own best friend. I wonder why, he looks like the type of guy who has loads of friends but everyone looks different on the outside.
“Hey,” I open the car door and slide in next to him.
“Hi,” he doesn’t look at me, just looks out the window.
“I’m sorry for what I said in there. It was completely unfair of me to judge you without getting the whole story.”
“Yeah it was,” he is making this really hard.
“Do you want to talk about what is going on?”
“Well maybe if you talk about it you will feel better,” I touch his shoulder when I say this, hoping he will turn to look at me. Eventually he does and I see a completely different person. Max’s eyes aren’t filled with anger and rage; they are filled with sorrow, almost like a scared look.
“It’s not that big, just a few things with the family,” it is defiantly more than a little thing.
“Like what little things?”
“I don’t know. Like I always feel like I am not good enough for them, they expect me to be just like Chris. In reality I am the same to the naked eye but when you look deeper we are so different. Yes Chris is nice and polite, so am I, when I want to be. Chris is athletic, so am I. But the differences are that Chris is good with people, as you can tell I am not. Chris is so smart; I can barely pass sophomore algebra. Sometimes I think they just wish I was Chris, like they could have another perfect kid.” I didn’t see anything like that coming.
“First off your parents love you, no matter who you are. Second off you will get better in school, just ask for help. Plus you can work on your people skills; you are working on them right now, just by talking to me. Lastly, you are a good guy Max, if you didn’t talk to me right now I wouldn’t think so, but I can tell deep down you are a good guy.”
“If you ever need to talk about anything, ever. Just give me a call and I will listen and help you in anyway I can.” I grab a pen and write my number down on his hand.
“I just might use this,” he smiles.
“Well I was nice enough to give it to you so if you don’t its only your loss.” I ease the seriousness.
“We should probably go back inside. I think I can see Chris drooling over Nancy,” he points to the restaurant. Max isn’t wrong you can see how interested Chris is with what Nancy is saying.
When Max and I walk back inside Nancy and Chris are talking about colleges. Apparently Chris hasn’t decided where he wants to go but he is looking at schools in New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. But what really surprised me was that Nancy was already thinking about college. She was thinking of Delaware University as her top choice. I had no idea she was even looking at colleges, nevertheless choosing colleges.
“Taylor, you should probably start looking too.” Nancy is right I should start looking.
“Maybe we can go on a road trip to find some next week. We do have another week off,” I offer.
“Sounds awesome! We can ask your parents tonight.” This could be the best trip of the year.
The small conversation goes on until we order our food. We all agreed to just get one large cheese pizza. I am very weird about eating in front of people. I can only eat in front of people that I am good friends with. So when I take a piece of pizza I need to cut it up into little pieces so I don’t get grease on my shirt or pants.
“Taylor, I know you think you look stupid when you eat in front of people but right now you look even more stupid. Since you are cutting it up until little pieces, like a three year old,” Nancy says smiling at me.
“Well even if I do look like a three year old, I am defiantly a cute three year old.”
“Whatever stops the tears,” that is the first actually funny thing Max has said all night.
“Well that’s the Max I want to be friends with. Are you guys ready to go?” I ask.
“Yeah,” everyone says in sync.
As we drive back to my house, we blast the music and sing it a lot louder than we should. Nancy and I even tried to rap a little and it didn’t go very well. I haven’t laughed at myself so much in so long. It was nice to just let go and not care about what people thought of you.
“Thanks for coming to dinner with us,” Chris says.
“It was no problem,” I say.
“Hey Nancy can I talk to you for a second?” Chris asks. Nancy looks at me, probably because she is freaking out but I nod to her.
“Go ahead I have to talk to Max anyway.” I try to persuade her to go.
Max and I stand outside the car. I don’t think that Chris and Nancy know we can here everything they are saying but I don’t think I will say anything yet.
“So, I was wondering if you were doing anything tomorrow night?” Chris asks Nancy.
“Not that I know of, why?” She obviously knows what is coming but she is playing it very cool.
“Do you maybe want to go see this singer at one of my favorite restaurants?” Chris keeps looking around, so you can tell he is really nervous.
“I would love to,” Chris looks shocked.
“Okay, I will pick you up at seven.” Chris hugs Nancy and she goes inside.
I turn to Max and he looks back at me. “So I guess this is goodbye.” I say.
“This is not goodbye. It’s only see you later.” That was pretty deep for Max.
“So when will I see you again?”
“When I use this number and call you,” Max points to the number on his hand.
“Okay well use it anytime.” I think that I was just flirting with him. How could I go from disliking him so much to flirting with him? Maybe it is because I saw a different side to him tonight.
As I try to walk her grabs my hand and pulls me toward him. He hugs me. I had no idea that was coming. But it felt nice and warm. I think he actually wanted to hug, not just because it is the nice thing to do. I walk away again this time but he doesn’t grab my hand this time. I wave one last time before I walk inside.
When I get inside Nancy is waiting for me on the stairs smiling.
“Chris asked me out!” She shrieks.
“I thought you didn’t like him?” I say sarcastically. I don’t say anything about already knowing he asked her out. I want to be excited with her.
“Be quiet! I didn’t think I did but tonight he was so nice and sweet.” She is smiling.
“When are you going out?”
“Monday! Which is tomorrow night. We are going to one of his favorite restaurants to listen to some singer.”
“Are you nervous? What are you going to wear?”
“So nervous. I have no idea what to wear.”
“Come on lets go pick something.”
We finally find something to wear after almost an hour of looking. Before we go to bed we go downstairs to ask my mom and dad about going on our college tour. They said we leave on Monday and had to come home on Friday but we were allowed to go! Nancy and I decided to go to five colleges on our trip including, University of Delaware, New York University, Penn State, Syracuse, and Ithaca.
I wake up at about ten the next morning. Nancy is already downstairs eating pancakes and reading the cartoons. I love that about her, she can be so mature at one time and another time just sit down and read cartoons while eating pancakes.
“Morning,” I say to Nancy.
“Morning,” she seems distracted.
“You okay?” I ask.
“Yeah, just a little nervous for tonight.”
“You are going to be fine. You guys have so much in common and always had something to talk about.”
“Yeah I guess your right.”
As the day went on I could see Nancy get more and more nervous so I decided to be a good friend.
“Nancy, do you want me to go with you tonight?”
“You would really do that for me?”
“Of course I would.”
“Well if your offering then, yes please.”
“Okay, tell Chris to have Max call me.”
Its not that I didn’t want to go on the date with them, but it can be a little awkward.
Just as I am rethinking going my cell phone starts buzzing. I can guess who it is. “Hello?”
“Hey, Chris said I should call you?” Max asks.
“Yeah, well tonight Chris and Nancy are going out but Nancy is really nervous so I said I would go with her. As you can probably guess I don’t want to be the third wheel so that’s why I called you. Do you want to come with us tonight?”
“Did you just ask me out?” I can almost imagine him smiling right now.
“No – “ He cuts me off before I could finish.
“I will come, even if this is a date.” What did he mean by that? Was he saying that if I did ask him out he would say yes? Does he like me? All these thoughts rush to my head but before any could be answered Max says he has to go and that he will see me tonight.
What just happened? Did Max just say he would go out with me? I didn’t even ask him out though. I didn’t even know if I liked him as a good friend, now I was thinking about actually liking him as more than a friend. This isn’t happening. Max and I are just friends, not even just people who have to put up with each other. That’s all.
I need to focus. I have about twenty minutes until Max and Chris get here and I haven’t even picked what I am wearing. I go to my closet and grab a casual blue shirt and some jean shorts. I quickly put a dab of mascara and eye linear on. I rush downstairs. I look at the clock on the microwave; I have five minutes to spare. That gives me just enough time to find Nancy and find out how she is. I am not going to tell her what happened with Max right away, this is her night she deserves full attention.
“Hey, you ready?” I ask Nancy. I found her sitting in the rocking chair on the porch.
“I guess, I don’t know. Do I look okay to you?” She is defiantly nervous.
“Nancy you look beautiful. Now lets go the guys are going to be here any minute now.” Right when I say this I hear the doorbell ring. Its always polite to answer it right away, but when you want a guy to be on his toes for the night give it another minute before you go straight to the door.
When a full minute has passed, I open the door casually to find Max and Chris looking really good. Chris was wearing a white polo shirt and light blue jeans. I could smell him from here. That was not a good thing. He smelled of cheap after-shave. I turn to look at Max; he is wearing a button down yellow shirt with dark blue jeans. I couldn’t smell him from here but when I went to give him a hug I could smell his Old Spice deodorant.
“You girls look great,” Chris says.
“Yeah,” Max adds on.
“Thanks you guys look very dapper yourself.” Did I really just say dapper?
When I thought of the car they would pick us up in I guessed a dirty, old Jeep but instead it was nice and clean Audi. It even had the new car smell. I was very impressed that it didn’t have a dirty wrapper or a stain of any sort on the interior of the car.
“You keep the car very neat for a couple of boys,” I tease.
“Hey, we may look like slobs but we are very organized,” Max turns around and says.
“So where are we going?” I ask.
“Yeah, you have been very secretive about that. I hope you aren’t planning on taking us to some dark ally and then leaving us there,” I can trust Nancy to always say the weirdest questions.
“Well I can say that no one has ever accused me of that. We are going O’Riley’s Pub. It is an old Irish restaurant, they play live and acoustic music every Saturday night.” Chris explains.
“So who is playing tonight?” Nancy asks.
“Seriously?” Gavin DeGraw is a singer who I listen to when I need to cheer up. He has one song called Solider. It is about this man who will do anything to protect this girl he cares about. The song reminds me that there are people who will be by your side forever. It helps me sort out my problems but also puts me in a good mood.
“Yeah. I really like him,” Max says. I never expect Max to like a singer like Gavin DeGraw. But I have realized that Max is very different from what I first thought.
We reach the restaurant and it is like an old log cabin. It has a rustic look to it, I like that though. O’Riley’s Pub is plastered with a neon sign to the front of the building. When we get in side the smell of grease and peanuts comes rushing to me. I can hear the sound of an acoustic guitar and the sound of his voice from the back. Without saying anything I look toward it. By the time I see him he has gotten to the chorus of one of his songs so his face is read and you can see his is putting everything he has into it.
“He’s breathtaking. I love his voice. He doesn’t just scream the lyrics, he sings them, almost like he is telling a story,” Max whispers into my ear. I didn’t even hear him come up behind me.
“Yeah, I feel like sometime he is singing to me. That is how much I relate to his songs.”
“Well I hope you are joking because then you must have some serious love issues.”
“I’m not joking. My love life is the joke though. I haven’t had a serious boyfriend in over six months.” I feel like a complete loser now that I said that out loud.
“Don’t blame yourself. The reason you haven’t had a serious boyfriend is because a guy who deserves to be with you for a long time hasn’t appeared yet. Just wait for it.” Why does he do this to me? He makes me over think everything he says now, and question everything he does. But I can’t deny that he makes me feel different then any guy before. I can’t describe the feeling exactly but it’s a mix of happiness, excitement, scared, and jittery.
“When did you become Dr. Phil?” I say smiling.
“Very funny. I am just telling you that keep your eyes open because sometime, maybe soon, a guy just right will come into your life and be that guy you are looking for.”
“You know this how?”
“Because, I have connections. Plus I am a psychic, so I can predicate your future.”
“So what is in my future oh wise one?”
“You will be happy.”
“That is really deep. I wonder how you came up with that.” I like this teasing we do to each other.
“I am just smart like that.”
That’s how our little flirty conversation ended. I liked the way we talked to each other. He would tease me I would tease him back, I could be sassy without being mean. Max would tease me and laugh at me but I didn’t get defensive, I just laughed with him.
Max and I walked back to our table and acted like that never happened. I usually would mind if a guy acted like something didn’t happen but this time it wasn’t that Max wanted to forget it, he just wanted Nancy and Chris to be the star of the date.
“How was he?” Chris says, referring to Gavin Degraw.
“Amazing. As usually,” I say. “So what is good to eat here?”
“Well Chris and I were talking about it and we ordered for us all,” Nan