“Alexandra, eat,” my mom ordered me.
“I am eating,” I mumbled. I could feel her gaze burning into me even though I was looking down at my plate. Tyler had been in my thoughts every second since the almost-kiss two weeks ago. I had thought about it constantly. I had been avoiding him since then, too embarrassed to talk to him. He had tried to talk to me, but I had totally shut him down. In class, I didn’t turn around or even look in his direction. I didn’t want to accidentally make eye contact with him. Every time he tried to talk to me I would end up doing something stupid like blushing.
“Eat,” my mom said again, sounding irritated.
“I’m eating,” I said, sounding just as irritated. I didn’t look up. Shoveling food into my mouth, I thought about how painfully awkward family dinners were. My mom wouldn’t talk unless to ask me the occasional question and to tell me to eat. My dad was constantly checking his phone, and grunting every so often whenever my mom would talk to him. I tried to make conversation, but it always died very quickly. I sighed silently and took a drink of water. I met my mom’s gaze as I was gulping down water. Her eyes softened for a second and she smiled at me. I put down my glass and smiled back at her weakly.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom. It’s just that she isn’t really there for me as much as I’d like for her to be. Her and my dad both are very opinionated and don’t leave much room for discussion. They’ve always told me that they loved me and all that, but their work was constantly making them spend time away from me. I felt like I didn’t even know them that well. It shouldn’t be like that.
An hour later I was sitting cross-legged on my bed, working on my French homework. Suddenly my phone started ringing.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hey! What’s up?” Peter said.
“Nothing much, I’m just doing my French homework.”
“You’re always doing homework!”
“Yeah, that too.”
“Well, I should probably get back to it…”
“Wait! I called you for a reason!”
“Is something going on with you?”
“I don’t know, recently you’ve just been…distant.”
“C’mon, tell me!”
“It happened two weeks ago,” I said, deciding to tell him about Tyler.
“I almost kissed Tyler,” I blurted out.
“Tyler? As in Tyler Cruz?”
“The one and only.”
“But you hate him!”
“You don’t hate him?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Do you like him?”
“Um, I don’t know yet.”
“Oh my gosh!” Peter said, “This is so unlike you!”
“Wow,” he said, “who made the first move?”
“What happened? Tell me the story!” he said.
“I was at my locker before first period and he just came up behind me. Then I turned around and he backed me up against the lockers and we almost kissed. I ended up being late to first period.”
“Whoa! You and Tyler! Who would’ve guessed?”
“So have you been thinking about it a lot or something?”
“Yeah, all the time.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t told anyone,” I said.
“Okay, well at least it’s not some big crisis. Just boy problems.”
“Those are important too!”
“Not to me!”
“Well, that’s because you’re a boy.”
“Well duh! Hey, I have to go, but good luck with Tyler!” he said.
“Thanks! And see ya,” I said.
The alarm clock’s loud beeping yanked me out of my sleep at six forty five. I groaned and got up. I was dead tired and didn’t want to go to school. It was Friday, though, so that made it a little bit better. Rolling out of bed, I stumbled out into the hallway and then into the bathroom. Closing the door of the bathroom, I pulled off my clothes and turned on the hot water in the shower. I waited for a couple of seconds, waiting for the water to get nice and hot, and then climbed into the shower.
I gulped down my cup of coffee, not bothering to take tiny sips like my mom did. I went back upstairs to get dressed. Pulling on some black skinny jeans, I debated what shirt to wear. In the end I wore a white long-sleeved shirt. While brushing trying to brush my teeth, I pulled on my back ankle boots and shrugged on a sweater. I spit and rinsed out my mouth, and then went back into my room. I put on my makeup and grabbed my backpack, walking downstairs. Mom was at the kitchen table looking at her phone while munching on a low-fat granola bar. She barely looked up when I walked in.
“Good morning,” she said, looking back down at her phone.
“Morning,” I said back, grabbing my phone off the kitchen counter where I had left it while making coffee. “Bye, Mom,” I said, walking towards the door. She didn’t say anything back. Before walking out, I stopped and waited with my hand on the door knob, waiting and hoping that she would say something.
She finally realized that I was leaving. “Bye, sweetie.”
I let out a breath and walked out the door.
Sitting in Lit, I fought the urge to turn around and look at Tyler. I tried to absorb what the teacher was saying, but so far it wasn’t really working out. Trying to think of other things besides Tyler, I thought about what I was going to do this afternoon. I was going to go over to Peter’s house and we were going to hang out there. I was excited, like I was every time before going over to Peter’s house. I loved his family. They were loving, caring, and basically everything I’d ever wanted in a family. And the best thing was that they treated me like some sort of adopted daughter. I felt at home with them.
Drumming my fingers on my desk, I yet again refused to let myself turn around.
After school, I was stuffing things into my locker when Peter came up to me.
“Ready to go?” he said.
“No, not yet. I have to get some things, but you can wait for me at your car. I’ll be right out.”
“Okay, I’m going to go talk to Celina for a second and then I’ll go wait, okay?”
He walked away and I continued putting stuff in my locker. I glanced around the hall. I was by myself. Letting myself relax, I leaned back against the lockers and slid down to the ground. I was absolutely exhausted. I was staying up late every night doing homework, because during the day all I did was clean and clean and clean. I thought the house looked fine, but Mom would always find something for me to do. We had a big house, and I cleaned it all. We were constantly having clients over, and when we didn’t, I had to make dinner. And when we did, I had to make sure the house was absolutely spotless. It was a never-ending job that wore me out everyday. On top of all of that, the teachers seemed to make it their personal duty to give me as much homework and tests and quizzes as they possibly could. I was about ready to fall on my face and sleep at any second of the day.
And now seemed like a pretty good time.
Pushing thoughts of Peter waiting for me out of my head, I let myself sag against the lockers and close my eyes.
“You about to go to sleep there?” I heard a familiar voice say.
I opened my eyes and found Tyler standing in front of me. “Hey,” I said tiredly.
“Hey,” he said, grinning cutely.
I smiled back.
“Well, here, I can show you a good place to sleep.”
“Really?” I asked, mildly interested.
I felt myself becoming more alert and waking up from my formerly dreary state. “Well then show me,” I said. He stuck out his hand to help me up, and I took it gratefully. His hands were soft and warm. He helped me up, but didn’t let go of my hand. “What do I do with my stuff?” I asked.
“I’ll get it for you,” he said, picking up my bag and slinging it over his shoulder.
I shut my locker, and let him lead me down the hall. He was still holding my hand. We didn’t talk as we walked down the empty halls. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, but I ignored it. He led me all the way down the hall and left down the senior hall. He led me to the door of the senior lounge, and pushed open the door. It was dark in the room. He led me to the middle of the room and shut the door. Turning on the lights, he put down my bag and let go of my hand.