I groan as my feet touch the floor after I wake up. That damn alarm clock is really annoying. I never understood why I felt it necessary to set my clock so early in the summer, but I had never been one for change, not even the slightest bit. I wake up at 7:15 every day in summer without fail. Don’t worry, I know it’s weird. I’m not delusional.
I smile as I notice the red notification light shining on my phone. It means my boyfriend, Wyatt, left me a text. He’s been gone for over a month now, and I don’t see myself getting used to it anytime soon, let alone by the first day of school, which is only less than a week away. At least I’ll still have Ella and Ben before I can join Wyatt in Minneapolis next year.
I sigh as I check the phone. It needs to be charged, that’s all. No text yet. “He’s still asleep. Stop freaking,” I tell myself, literally out loud. I go on with my routine and start getting ready for the day. Before that, I make sure my phone’s plugged in. I don’t want to miss any calls from Wyatt, after all.
The rest of my morning is pretty uneventful. I feed and bathe my two-year-old brother, Preston. He’s the result of my mom’s second marriage, which explains the age gap. Feeding him is no problem, but he LOVES baths. That doesn’t bode well for me, because I always end up having to change after he’s done. At least he’s only two, and doesn’t understand why I’m freaking out when he gets my white t-shirt all wet. He pays no mind to my hot pink bra and continues to play with his Batman toy. Today, The Dark Knight is saving the world from The Man of Steel. According to Preston, the ocean (our bathtub), is made of “kirkynite.” It’s adorable, if you ask me. I love my little brother.
When I go back to my room after drying off Preston to change my shirt, my phone starts to buzz, causing me to smile immediately. It’s a text from Ella, my best girlfriend. I’ve known her forever. Our moms used to work together, and we’re only a few weeks apart age-wise. We used to be convinced that we were just like the girls in the Traveling Pants books.
“Ki! We need to talk. Can Ben and I come over?”
“Yeah, of course! Preston’s been asking about you!” I quickly reply.
They arrive together a little while later, and I give them an odd look when they drop each other’s hands after I open the door. What’s going on with them? This must be why they came over.
“Hey, Ki,” Ben coughs out awkwardly. I move out of the doorway so they can come in. He waits for Ella to walk in before giving me one of his signature looks with his dark green eyes.
“Hiya, brownie,” I say, referring to his dark locks. I started calling him that when we first met, way back in Kindergarten.
Press is in the middle of telling Ella a secret when we finally get around to joining her. He loves telling secrets, especially to girls. What a player he’s going to be when he grows up!
Ben clears his throat, and Ella blushes. There is no way in Hell that the secret Preston just told her is provocative enough to make her turn red. It must be Ben. I won’t lie; that’s making me nervous.
I’m not exactly the type of person who enjoys awkward situations (who does, really?), so I decide to pull the band-aid off, quickly and painlessly. That was the idea, anyway.
“So when did this start?” I ask the both of them.
They answer at the same time.
Ella said, “When did what start?”
Ben, on the other hand, was honest and answered, “Right before Wyatt left.”
Ignore Ella completely. “Over a month?!? Why are you just now telling me this?”
“I-we..I don’t know, Ki! Honestly,” Ella says frantically, her cerulean eyes pleading with me before shifting to Ben.
Thankfully, one of my friends is capable of telling the truth. Ben shrugs at Ella and says, “Maybe it’s because we can’t spend five minutes without you whining about your boyfriend. It was hard to find a place to fit it into conversation between your incessant babbles.”
He’s always sarcastic. Always. Now I’m beginning to regret having them over. “Get out,” I strain.
I can’t yell at them, not in front of Press. Talking is fine; he doesn’t know what words like incessant mean, and it’s not like he’ll start saying them, anyway. But yelling he understands; he knows it’s bad. He hates yelling.
Ella gives me a hug, and I oblige her, but Ben remains distant. It makes me upset, though, because he’s the one I need to talk to right now, not even Wyatt.
They leave after that, giving me my space back. I hold back my tears. I can’t cry after Ben just said that to me. I can’t let it be true.
After a few minutes of silence, Press dawdles over to me. He’s somehow gotten his juice all over himself. He recently taught himself how to twist lids, which is a scary thought. His clothes are stained a deep purple color, and it makes me smile.
“Press, what’s wrong?” I ask him after I place him in my lap. I bounce him up on my legs.
“Lots,” he huffs.
“I hear ya, Press. I hear ya.”
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