The end to the longest week of my life finally came, and it was Friday. Like we’d planned to do, Cambree and I had gone to get our nails done right after school. Laurel and Taryn had come along, and as I’d expected, I’d been the fourth wheel—I know that didn’t make a lot of sense, but in my case, I think it did. I was brushed to the side mostly, while Cambree shared inside jokes with Taryn and Laurel, and of course, the girls paid extra attention to Cambree. It was like I wasn’t even there.
They dropped me off, and I knew they were going back to Laurel’s or Taryn’s to get ready together, and I’d admit it stung a little that I wasn’t even asked, but I was also happy to get away from Taryn and Laurel.
I hopped right in the shower. I chose to wear my tightest denim jeans and an off-the-shoulder red sweater over a tank top. I pulled my hair into a low, side chignon, and after a light round of hairspray, I decided I was ready.
Andrew rang my doorbell at 7:30, just like he said he would. And just like my parents requested, I allowed my father to answer.
“I’m Liam Martin, nice to meet you,” my dad said as Andrew stepped over the threshold and into the house.
Andrew took my father’s hand and shook. “Hello, Mr. Martin. I’m Andrew Harper. Nice to meet you, too.”
My mother stepped up, and after exchanging introductions with her, Andrew looked my way, and he smiled. “Hi, Sophia. Wow. You look great.”
I smiled. “Thanks.”
Olivia was sitting on the couch watching TV. Well, she had been watching TV. Now her eyes were glued to Andrew.
“Andrew, this is my little sister, Olivia,” I said.
“Hey, there,” Andrew said. “It’s great to meet you, Olivia.”
Olivia grinned. “It’s really great to meet you, too.”
“So,” my father said. “I understand you’re both going with some friends to the movies. Is that right, Andrew?”
Andrew nodded. “Yes, sir.”
After that, my father proceeded to ask Andrew how long he’d had his license. Had he ever had any accidents. Had he gotten any tickets. After all. Andrew was carrying precious cargo.
No kidding, my dad actually said that.
Andrew just smiled and didn’t seem fazed. “I understand, sir.”
Nevertheless, I was humiliated.
My parents finally let us go. Andrew was, of course, given direct orders to bring me home after we ate.
I was so happy to get out of there.
“Your parents are really nice,” Andrew commented as we walked across my yard to his truck. The sun had been out most of the week so a lot of the snow had melted, but more was expected to fall over the weekend.
“Sorry my dad interrogated you,” I told him, reaching for the passenger door of his truck.
He laughed. “It’s no big deal. You’re not the first daughter I’ve gone on a date with.”
I hopped into the front seat of his truck, and he did the same on the driver’s side.He explained we were meeting everyone else there.
We passed the old lumber yard on 75 on the way, and Andrew told me he worked there during the summer.
“Cool,” I said. “Doing what?”
“Loading wood,” he replied. “And I run the saw, too.”
I nodded. I really thought that was cool.
After a while, we passed the old drive-in movie theatre. The place had been out of business since before I was born and on any given night was really creepy looking with all the trees growing around, and no lights. I’d heard kids at my school went there, though, to, well, be alone. I wondered if Andrew had ever been out there with a girl.
Probably, I answered myself.
I adjusted myself in the seat and accidentally, my knee bumped the glove compartment, knocking it opened.
“Oops, sorry,” I said, reaching forward to shut it. And I saw what was hidden inside.
I was really sorry.
He chuckled, since I was a bit frozen, and reached over himself to close it. “It’s not mine. I’m holding it for a friend.”
But wasn’t that always the excuse when someone was caught with drugs?
OK, so it wasn’t like I found meth, or coke in his glove compartment. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that he had a small baggie of weed. But I was. And maybe a little disappointed, too.
But he had said it wasn’t his. I had no reason not to believe him. Then again, I had no reason to believe him, yet, either.
We met up with everyone at The Megaplex, where we stood in line for tickets for a new horror film everyone was pretty keen on seeing. I was surprised at Cambree. She was like me when it came to scary movies. We both preferred romance and comedies.
We all bought our tickets, went inside, and Andrew bought two drinks, regular for himself, diet for me, and a large popcorn for us to share.
We took up the back row of the theatre. Cambree sat to my right, Andrew to my left. It was after the lights went down when I realized why Cambree had no objections to the movie we saw. Her tongue was shoved down Ethan’s throat.
I felt my jaw drop, but she was too occupied to notice. So I looked back to the screen and grabbed a handful of popcorn. I wondered if I was supposed to be kissing Andrew, too. I’d always heard on first dates you weren’t supposed to kiss. It was moving too fast. I looked back to Cambree. This wasn’t their first kiss, but it was definitely her first date.
I slouched in my seat. I knew my knowledge was limited, but maybe it was more limited than I thought? If so, I was in trouble.
Andrew leaned over, his lips close my ear. So close, I could feel his breath. Yes, big trouble.
“Are you alright?” he whispered.
I nodded. “Uhm, yes?”
“You look spooked,” he chuckled. “The movie’s barely started.”
And then he casually stretched his arm over my shoulder. Not like in the movies where the guy did that fake yawn and stretch. No, Andrew just dropped his arm around my shoulder like it was OK.
I guess it was pretty cool. It was safe to say I was inexperienced, and my romantic knowledge was based solely on books and movies. I had little to go on here, so I guess I could trust Andrew to take the lead. I didn’t know much, but I knew what was too far. An arm around my shoulder I could deal with.
After the movie, we went to Paulette’s for a burger.
Paulette’s was across the street from the movie theatre, and was the most popular place in town for burgers. When we got there, it was pretty packed, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. We managed to find a seat near the back big enough for all of us. Andrew and Ethan slapped high fives and shared hellos with guys they knew as we passed them by, and I graciously, and privately accepted the stares I was getting by being the girl Andrew Harper was holding hands with.
We hadn’t been there long when I saw Jenna, Tony, Mandy, and even Derek come in. They were all together, and they immediately looked our way.
Cambree saw them and waved. I did the same, but they didn’t look too friendly as they waved back.
“What the hell is their problem?” she asked.
I shrugged. They hadn’t seemed angry the last time I’d talked to any of them. Then I realized, of course, the last time I’d actually talked to any of them was early in the week. I guess they were pissed because Cambree and I were hanging out with Laurel and Taryn and everyone.
Well, in my defense, I was only doing it for Andrew. I decided I would call Mandy and Jenny tonight. Maybe we could get together tomorrow.
We ate, then headed out. Andrew bought my food, which surprised me. I guess it shouldn’t have but it did. I thanked him, and tried to stop by and talk to Mandy and Jenna as we left, but between Cambree ushering me out and Mandy and Jenna being dismissive—ouch—I felt inclined to just go.
I owed them an apology. But Andrew was the first guy I’d ever had a date with, so I’d like to have thought they’d cut me a break and accept it when I did apologize. I hoped they would anyway. I needed them while Cambree was going AWOL. Or at least, while the old Cambree was going AWOL.
Andrew drove me home, and when he pulled into my driveway, we sat there for a minute with the truck off in the quiet, and I wondered if he was going to kiss me.
“So, I had fun,” he said finally. “I’m glad you came.”
I smiled. “I did, too. Thanks for asking me.”
“Are you doing anything tomorrow?”
I shrugged. “I don’t think so.” Was he asking me out on another date? Already?
“Well, if you’re interested my cousin has a band in Fernville, and they have sort of a gig tomorrow. I’ll be honest, they’re not that good, but I promised him I would go for a little while. I was wondering if you would want to join me, and maybe we can cut out early, grab some lunch or something.”
I nodded. “I’d like that. Sure.”
He smiled. “Great. How about I pick you up at noon?”
I agreed, telling him noon sounded great, and then finally, he leaned closer, and he kissed me.
It was nice. His lips were soft and warm, and they lingered. When he finally pulled away, he was still smiling. I told him I would see him tomorrow, then got out of the truck.
My parents were awake when I got inside. They were sitting together in the dimly lit living room watching TV when I came in. As expected, there were questions. They asked me if I had a good time, and I told them I did. I told them Andrew had asked to see me again tomorrow, and my dad agreed that he thought it would be OK. He asked what were our plans.
So I told them.
My mother raised her eyebrows. “Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun.”
I smiled. “Yeah, I guess so. Well, I’m tired. I’m going to bed.”
“Goodnight, Sophia,” my mother called after me. “I’m glad you had a good time!”
I hurried up to my room to get in bed, but I knew good and well, I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep. Andrew Harper had just kissed me, after all.
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