It was about four or five o’clock when my phone rang, blasting the Asian jingle and vibrating in my pocket, telling me that Edie was on the other line. “Eeey, Edie!” I said, pulling the phone out of my jean pockets and walking from my living room to my bedroom. I walked over to the office chair that sat right next to my desk and bed and plopped into it, placing my feet against the gold railing that separated the deep crimson paint on the bottom half of my wall and the yellow that rested on the top. “So what’d your mom say?” I asked her and she sighed.
“I can’t. I got grounded, again!” She cried angrily. Furrowing my brow as I leaned back, I ran a hand through my hair.
“What’d you do this time?” I asked, pulling my hand down and staring at my nails. They were all misshapen with red nail polish flaking off, and with a disgusted look I leaned down and picked up the nail file that laid, unsurprisingly, on my floor. As I listened to her story I shaped each nail to a rounded tip, buffering it with the blue side, then shining it with the white side.
“My mom and dad were freaking out because I didn’t go to first period on Thursday. I went to the truck with Justin. It’s like, if they want me to pass out and have to go to the hospital then fine! I’ll go to first! Stupid. I swear.”
“Ugh, that sucks, dude. Yeah, I really don’t feel like going anyway. I mean like, I’d love to go hang with Michel, but not at a party, honestly. Not to mention I’m trying to stay out of trouble. I’ve just gotten him to trust me even a little bit, I’m trying to work it up to a point where I can bring Mitch home.” I stated before grabbing the nail polish remover from my desk.
“So you’re seriously thinking about introducing him to your parents?” She asked, a bit of disbelief echoing in her voice.
“Yeah, I mean, so long as he’s not, you know, out there. And I mean, when it comes to guys I’m sure my dad trusts me a bit to choose right. Well, considering he doesn’t really have a choice.” I laughed lightly, dabbing the nail polish remover over a cotton ball and draping the soaked ball over my fingers to remove the paint. “Oh! Talking about guys, you’re never guess what happened today before sixth.” I said, stopping mid nail-wipe.
“Oh god. Let’s see, does it have something to do with... Dario?” She asked, and I knew she was smirking with a lifted brow. The way her voice rose and got that mischievous tone to it, it was hard not to imagine her leaning back against a chair not so different than my own with that infamous facial expression.
“How’d you know?” I asked her, false sarcasm dripping off of my lips like melting ice cream.
“Well…” She began, and laughter escaped the both of us before I re-counted my experiences with the Colombian god.
“Before lunch I ran into him, right?” I began, grabbing the bright neon green nail polish and dipping in the brush.
“Well, surprisingly it was one of his bipolar days. I mean, he looked at me and smiled and said ‘hey’ like nothing had ever happened, like I’d never sent him an email pouring out my heart to the kid! I mean seriously! How retarded is he?” I demanded. Originally I would have felt bad, but what happened on the bus that afternoon made me disgusted with him.
“Ugh, god.” She responded, and I nodded as I began painting them. A loud scoff/laugh thing escaped me as I continued.
“But you know what happened on the bus?” I asked her the rhetorical question. Of course she didn’t know.
“Looks like Dario got himself a girlfriend. Or is ‘dating’ someone at the moment, and his friends despise her!” I laughed full heartedly before cursing as green paint dripped over my skin.
“You ok?” She asked, obviously about the sudden cursing.
“Yeah, I’m fine, messed up my nail polish” I responded, holding my phone with my shoulder against my ear as I dug my finger against the skin to clean off the messed up nail.
“Oh, ok. So who’s this girl?” She asked “Do we know her?”
“I don’t, she’s a freshman. I dunno if you do. Her name’s Mackenzie.”
“Wait, freshman Mackenzie?” She asked in a kind of disgusted and shocked kind of way
“mhm, His friends were all yelling ‘do her then ditch her, wait, don’t even do that! You might get an STD and die!’ It was hysterical.” I laughed as I blew on my left hand that now had bright green nails. “Do you know her?”
“Unfortunately! Ugh, he goes from you to her? What the hell?” She asked, and I nodded, laughing again.
“Oh my god, she is a whore!” I cried in fits of laughter. “I’ve just lost all respect for that guy, oh my god,” I repeated, trying not to fall out of my chair. That was funny. “I could totally see him walking up to me to say ‘hi’ and me just laughing and walking away!”
“Know what else I could see you doing?” She asked, and I leaned back against my seat, staring at my non-painted hand.
“You stroking his face and going ‘sweetie, you had me’ then walking away,” With that more laughter escaped me.
“I should do that!” I half hissed half laughed, and she giggled along with me.
“Ugh, I’ve spent my entire sophomore year chasing after someone who was only into that? I thought he was smarter than most guys, there go all those pretty little space dreams of his!” I recalled all that he told me, the college, the space program dreams, all of them could go down the drain because of that girl.
“A junior and a freshman? That’s honestly really weird, just too old!” She began and I blew on my hand again.
“Now don’t say that, older guys are hot.” I stated, starting to paint my right hand, and already beginning to fail epically. “Last year I was flirting with several juniors, and you know what happened over the summer.” I stopped, and stared at the nails, wondering what on earth I was thinking when I painted them that color. Last time they were even close to being that bright it was in August, when I received my second kiss ever from an eighteen-year-old guy in an elevator. I was fourteen. Summer flights are always the greatest. It lasted three days, and that’s when we left. I wasn’t too upset about it though, guys come and go as they please, and I do the same. I don’t try to get emotionally attached to someone I know I’ll never be with.
“Eh, too old for me,” She responded, and voices echoed on her end of the line. “Hang on,” She said suddenly, “I already did my homework, Mom!” She screamed. There was more yelling that I couldn’t understand. “No, Justin’s not coming over today! I already told you that!” More indistinct arguing, then Edie’s angry sigh escaped as a door slammed. “God damn it. I swear to fuckin’ god, such a fuckin’ dumb ass.” She growled then sighed again. “I got to go, I’ll talk to you later, kay?” She asked and I nodded.
“oooh course!” I replied, blowing on the finally finished right hand of mine. “Byes” I finally said, and she responded with a very hasty goodbye before we both hung up simultaneously. The drama never ended, from school to home and back again. Even in our dreams we were trying to figure out half of the messes we’d gotten ourselves into. It was psychotic.
Five hours seemed to pass that Friday night, and I was flipping through the channels on my bedroom TV when my dad yelled for me. In an instant I rose to my feet and jogged to the living room.
“Yeah, daddy?” I asked him, and he turned to me from the computer screen. “Did you feed Maggie today?” He asked, and I turned to the large glass door that led to the back yard.
“Not tonight.” I stated, and without him saying a word I immediately walked over to the pantry, drew her food out with a plastic cup, and opened the glass door. Just as I did though, an odd sight caught my eye. “Where’s the dog?” I asked suddenly. Her leash was unhooked from its clip, and she was no where to be seen.
“Isn’t she back there?” He asked, and I shook my head.
“If she was I wouldn’t be asking where she was. Maggie!” I called her name loudly, over and over again, and I rolled my eyes. “She’s not here.”
“She’ll be back,” He said, not worrying about the fact that she could possibly get hit by a car or hurt in any other way. With a groan I rolled my eyes again, walking towards the front door.
“I’m going to go look for her, I’ll be back in about ten minutes or so.” I said, opening our big red door and walking out as my dad waved a hand in the air, dismissing it with an I-don’t-care kind of way. So here I was, walking around at nine forty five at night looking for an eight year old beagle who acted like she was about six months old. “Maggie!” I cried, over again, wondering and cursing under my breath about where she could possibly be as I jogged toward my bus stop. “Magpie! Maggie baby!” I dragged on the ‘e’ parts in long notes as I approached the main road that led to my community in my neighborhood, still crying out her name. As I approached the area between the community playground and the first neighborhood, I found her sniffing the gate around that separated that pool and play area from the main road. With a relieved yet slightly ticked off expression on my face I leaned over, placing my hands on my knees and panting. Man. It’d been forever since I jogged that far. Half a mile? Used to be no problem when I did a mile every other day in middle school, but no, our PE teacher here decided to have us stretch every day instead of actual exercise. When I stood up straight, my knee began to ache horribly. “Ah shit. Not again. Stupid freakin’ knee,” I thought to myself. I had a really weak right knee, never got it checked out, it would just randomly start flaring up at times. “Come here, girl, come on, home. Go. Come on.” I began, patting my thighs and whistling, or trying to at least. Looking up from her busy sniffing she raised her ears and looked like she was smiling at me as she wagged her tail. “Come on,” I said again, approaching her. She wagged her tail faster. “Come on, go home, let’s go home.” As I came within ten feet of her, she bolted. This was her favorite game. Cursing under my breath, I jogged after her, but stopped after a few steps due to the knee. “Maggie! Get over here!” I yelled, she just stood there, wagging her tail again after darting across the street. For a moment she dropped her tail, but as I took a step forward, she ran off once again down the street. “Maggie!” I screamed this time, anger flaring up as I took off after her. A horrible mistake. I made it to the left side of the road, when pain shot up my leg, and my knee gave way. Crying out as that terrible feeling caught hold of me, I collapsed in the middle of the road. Tears stung my eyes as I bit my lip to keep from cursing at the dog and whoever unhooked that damn leash. Probably my three year old brother, Erin, or one of his friends. Kita came to mind, my neighbors six year old niece. She was always doing what we told her not to, she probably went back there to play with her and let her off, and was too scared to tell us that she was gone because she didn’t want to get caught. I growled evil little words towards her and tried to get up. No such luck. Taking a breath I laid down in the middle of the road. I wasn’t too worried about cars coming, usually anyone who lived in this neighborhood was already home, or wasn’t going to be here until around two, so the thought of being hit by some truck was pretty far fetched for a few hours.
As I laid there, Maggie suddenly ran up to me. Sniffing and whimpering as she softly lowered her body next to mine, snuggling then nudging me up. Furrowing my brow I looked at her, lifting my head and filling with confusion. “What’s wrong, baby?” More whimpering escaped her jaw as she stood again, nudging me with her nose as if to beg “get up, mommy, get up.” I wondered exactly what was wrong when I suddenly heard it. Screeching tires, loud, booming music, and bright white and yellow headlights hit my eyes. “No,” I thought, rushing to my feet, just to welcome that same rush of pain again and kissing the asphalt as I had just moments before. The were going to stop. They had to stop. I still didn’t want to be in the way though as they rushed towards us. Trying to stand again, I threw myself towards the other end, not making it and just ending up back on the ground. Maggie hopped in front of me, growling as the fur on her back raised. No. This car would move, but if it didn’t, I wasn’t letting my dog die too. With a cry, I grabbed the animal and practically threw her to the sidewalk, just as the car lights attacked me. With a blood curdling scream I shut my eyes as the impact occurred.
“Alice? Oh god, no.” Warm arms wrapped around me, holding me as warm wet stuff covered my body. “Somebody call the police!” The familiar Spanish voice demanded, rocking me back and forth, holding me tighter against a large, warm body. “Wake up, Stay with us, come on, damn it.”
“Izsheotay?” a slurred voice I’d never heard before asked, and I heard the warm body snap at it.
“Just get the cops here!” His voice cracked. I opened my eyes just barely, not sure that I was hearing the correct thing. But I was. Dario was holding me, his arms on my back and shoulders, propping me up against his lap. Horror and guilt filled his face as he continued to yell at them to call the police.
“Dario?” I asked softly, still not believe it. Pain shot up me though, it hurt to talk, I tried to move, to adjust myself, and that hurt even more. I cringed and gasped let out a groan of pain. He immediately looked down at me, brown eyes wide with concern.
“Alice! Oh god, don’t move, ok? Just um,” He sat there, and I could feel his heart racing as he pulled me tighter against him. He seemed like he couldn’t find anything to say. Like he didn’t know what to say. “You’re going to be ok, Alice, I promise,” He said, his voice choking again. I nodded, hurting but going numb and closed my eyes, saying very softly as I laid my head against his arm and chest.
“I know…” I said, not exactly knowing what would happen, but not believing that I would actually die, and everything went black as all feeling began to fade away.
© Copyright 2017 Ashley Marie. All rights reserved.
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