Erin Should Know Better Than to Fly Away Without Me
By Kendall M. Larson
1: Hi, my name is…
My phone buzzes softly in my pocket. I barely hear it over the music pumping in my ears. Eminem. I reach for it too quickly and everyone stares. They know I've been waiting for this text all night. I glance at it casually, trying not to seem too eager. I hope silently for good news. 'I'll be there in a few.' It reads. 'Anxious to show off the new 'do ;).'
My excitement must have shown across my face; they're all staring again. Candice makes some off comment about me getting a text from my 'boyfriend', but I'm not paying attention. I fake a laugh. "You're a fucking comedian." I say, pulling a pack and lighter from my jeans. I light up and take a long, slow drag, blowing the smoke into Candice's pretty face. She winces and shakes her head. Not a smoker, although she wishes she was. We let her pretend.
I chuckle, for real this time, and shift my gaze over to Devin. He looks jittery, like always. He's bordering on stocky, hair left un-brushed for days. It was dyed black long ago, fading slowly. Little dreadlocks are beginning to form. They reek of booze and pot, I would know. They always have, for as long as I can remember. He shakes, tripped out on pills; Adderall, probably. His dull brown eyes looking faded as ever. I must have zoned out, analyzing his every feature like I do, because he began to give me a look I know well.
"Would you stop staring at me like that? Fuck, it makes me think you can read my mind or some shit."
If only I could. Although it might not be too interesting considering who I hang out with. I can only imagine.
I take a drag and wonder what he could be thinking.
…I wonder if Candice wore a bra today…
Devin smiles that devious little smile of his, proving my theory correct.
Frown. He leans forward on his elbows, realizing she did. "How many cigs you got left, Stacie?"
"I've told you a million times, Devin. No matter how cool you think you look when you smoke, it's not going to get you laid." I glance over at Candice.
The bell on the door rings. I look up; hoping it's who I think it is.
"OK, Does my hair kick ASS or what?!" he shouts, pointing at his newly bleached 'do. It's getting pretty long and is flawlessly messy, like he did it on purpose. It's perfectly punk rock.
Justin Thatcher. My heart beats faster. "Very sexy, Juss. Very sexy" I reply. I think it's obvious, buy I'd do anything for a shot at this boy.
Justin walks up to me and pulls the cigarette from my lips. He takes a few puffs and puts it back, patting my on the head.
"Smooth." I flick it at him.
"Don't mention it, babe." He replies, without looking. He squeezes in next to Candice, half falling off the seat. He looks strange next to her. She's pretty underneath ten pounds of make-up, her fake blonde hair falling nearly to her waist. Her dress is hot pink and her Ds that she's so proud of are pushed up as far as they could be. I catch Devin staring at them out of the corner of my eye. Creep.
Justin is glorious, to say the least. His hair has the look of being newly dyed and you can tell he spent a good twenty minutes getting it to fall the way it does. He has snakebites, black studs. His left eyebrow is pierced, too. Ears gauged to a perfect 00, currently occupied by black silicone tunnels. His eyes are blue and shine brightly, unlike Candice's dim grey ones. He's got magnificently crooked teeth, like Billie Joe; always smiling his cute, dumb boy smile. He seems preoccupied. I look at him, trying to read into his thoughts.
My concentration is broken before I can determine what he's thinking.
God Damn it.
"Is Erin working tonight, or what?!" Devin exclaims, slamming his fist down on the table. He's anxious to go home and get faded with Candice. Maybe, if he's lucky, he'll get some action.
"I dunno. Let me go ask. She said she was, but you never know with her." I get up and make my way across the floor. Al's Diner. Not a classy place. It's run down and the guy who owns it is a shady cat, but it's really the only place in town you can eat for not a whole lot of money. We're teenagers and we live in the middle of fucking nowhere, so we don't expect much.
I reach the counter and look the guy over. His nametag is discolored. Jim, it reads. How original.
"Hey, uh… Jim. When does Erin Peterson's shift start?"
"Why? You her girlfriend?"
I slap him. Not enough to hurt, but it gets my point across.
"Hey, hey. Calm down."
"Just tell me when she works."
"Ten. She never showed up. Crazy lesbo bitch."
What is this jack-hole thinking? I catch him staring down my shirt.
What a fucking pervert. "Fine," he says. "If you're not queer, prove it."
He's hoping I'll kiss him, or something. I'm too smart for that. Still, my reputation is on the line. In a town this small, one guy says you're a lesbian and you never get a boyfriend again.
I walk over to Justin and, in a moment of spontaneous bravery, grab him by the shirt and kiss him. As soon as I feel I've gotten my point across well enough, I walk back over to Jim and flick my cigarette in his face.
"Let's go guys." I say, as cool as I can manage, making my way towards the door. Over the sound of the bell ringing, I hear Justin's Doc Martens on the linoleum, followed by the click of high heels and the scuffling sound old, dirty Chuck Taylors make. Everyone follows, except Candice. She stops to talk to Jim. I can't help but mutter a 'slut' under my breath.