(Author's Note: Mackenzie's point of view)
“Hey baby,” Justin greeted me when he opened up the door.
“Hey,” I said, stepping inside the house. He shut the door and followed behind me as I made my way into the kitchen. I took a seat on one of the stools and placed my elbows on the island, resting
my chin against my hands.
“So how did it go with Cameron?” he asked, sitting down in the stool next to me. “You got over here pretty quickly…”
“Yeah, because Cameron had a bit of a freak out in Starbucks. But it’s all good now,” I assured him with a smile. He didn’t look convinced though. He actually looked kind of worried.
“What do you mean a freak out?” he inquired.
“Well he wanted to pay for my drink, but I wouldn’t let him because I know he’s tight on money.” I began. “So I guess he got kinda upset about that and he started yelling about it. It’s whatever
though,” I was trying to play it off as no big deal, but Justin wouldn’t let me.
“Wait, so he just started yelling at you in the middle of Starbucks?” he demanded.
“Yeah, but it’s over now. He apologized,”
“I don’t care if he apologized. He had no right to yell at you! Who the hell does this guy think he is?” he cried.
“Justin, it’s fine,” I told him. “Really, don’t worry about it,”
“I have every right to worry about it. I don’t like this guy, Kenz. And I don’t like you hanging around with him either,”
I loved Justin, but I hated him acting like he was my parent. He was my boyfriend, not my father. He didn’t need to be so overprotective. He acted like I was a little kid sometimes and he needed to
keep me safe or something. But I was sixteen years old, perfectly capable of taking care of myself.
“Well it’s not up to you who I hang around with, so just let it go.” I stated.
“But Kenz, I’m your boyfriend,” he said, as if this was a good enough excuse.
“Exactly,” I remarked. “You’re my boyfriend. Not my parent, not my babysitter. My boyfriend.”
“Are you seriously getting mad at me for wanting to protect you?”
“Protect me from what?” I asked, trying to keep from yelling at him.
“I don’t know,” he confessed. “I guess I’m just kinda jealous that you’ve known this kid for a day and you’re already spending so much time with him.” He got this sad look in his eyes that, for
some reason, was really cute on him.
I knew he was just trying to be a good boyfriend, but I just wished he wasn’t so overprotective all the time. It was nice knowing he wanted to keep me safe. There was a difference between safe and
“You have nothing to be jealous of,” I reassured him. “I just had to show him around today because I’m a student ambassador. You know that,”
“I know,” he replied. “I just can’t imagine ever losing you. Especially to someone else.”
“Well I promise you’re not gonna lose me to Cameron, ok?”
“Ok,” He let out a light sigh and leaned in to kiss me, cupping my face in his large hands. The sound of his cell phone startled us both though, and we nearly fell off our stools. “Hello,” he said,
putting the phone up to his ear. “Right now?” I looked at him, trying to figure out who he was talking to. “Sweet, see you soon then.” He paused to let the person on the other line speak. “Alright,
cool. Later, bro,”
“Who was that?” I asked after he ended the call.
“It was Kyle,” he informed me. “Him and the guys are heading over to Boulder Hood, so I’m gonna go with them. You should come too,”
I groaned, having no interest in going. Boulder Hill, or Boulder Hood as everyone called it, was the old neighborhood with all the small, crappy houses over by the cemetery. People called it
Boulder Hood because it was as close to the ghetto as this town got.
Kyle Seavers and all his buddies, including Justin, liked going there to mess around. They did stupid stuff like set off firecrackers in people’s mailboxes and kick people’s trash cans out into the
street. Some of the guys brought along their girlfriends to watch, but I preferred not to go. The fact that Justin was immature enough to do that was bad enough. I really didn’t need to go with and
see him do it.
“I think I’ll pass,” I told him. “I’d rather not be part of vandalizing a neighborhood,”
“It’s not vandalizing…it’s just…” He trailed off at the end, unsure of how to finish his sentence.
“Vandalizing,” I filled in for him.
“Fine,” he said, “but it’s not like what we do is that bad. It’s just for fun,”
“Yeah, because blowing up people’s mailboxes is so much fun,” I remarked sarcastically.
“Well when you put it like that it makes it sound bad,” he replied.
“That’s because it is bad,”
“Well just think, it could be worse,” he pointed out, as if this made what him and his friends did any better. “At least nobody’s getting hurt,”
I rolled my eyes, wishing he could grow up a little. “It’s still bad,”
“How would you know? You’ve never even gone,”
“Yeah, because I’m not a vandal,”
He sighed all deep and dramatically, adding emphasis to the fact that he was growing frustrated with my stubbornness to see things from his point of view. It wasn’t my fault he was wrong though.
“So do you, like, not want me to go then?” he asked, but it was obvious by the tone of his voice that he wanted to go. I didn’t want to try and control what he did either. I wasn’t all protective
and parental like he was.
“I don’t care,” I told him. “Do what you want,”
“Why don’t you just go with me?” he suggested again. “Just this once,”
I bit down on my lower lip as I though it through. Maybe if I just went this one time, I could prove to him how stupid it was. Besides, it wasn’t like I was actually going to be doing any
“Fine,” I agreed, although I was kind of hesitant about it still.
“Sweet,” he said, a smile spreading across his lips. And then, as if on cue, the doorbell rang. I followed Justin into the front room to answer it.
“Come on, everybody’s already down there. I don’t want them to start without us,” Kyle said once Justin opened the door for him.
“Alright, Mackenzie’s coming too though,” Justin told him.
“Fine with me, but let’s go,” he replied.
So we headed out to the driveway where Kyle’s little black Audi was waiting for us. Kyle’s girlfriend, Jamie, was sitting in the passenger’s seat, so Justin and I had to pile into the backseat.
“Hey, Mackenzie,” Jamie greeted me, flashing me a smile in the rearview mirror.
“Hi,” I replied, smiling back at her politely. I didn’t particularly like Jamie. I didn’t hate her or anything, but she wasn’t really someone I’d ever hang out with. She was kind of sketchy for my
taste. I knew that she was into doing hookah with Kyle and a few other people. I wasn’t sure what else she did, but I didn’t really want to find out either.
“I didn’t think you were into this stuff. You’ve never came with before,” she said to me. “How come?”
“I don’t know,” I told her. “I mean, I’m not into it or anything, but I just decided to come with this time.”
“Hmm,” she said mostly to herself. She pulled out a lighter and a box of Newports, not even bothering to roll down the window as she lit up. “You into squares?” she asked, holding the box out for
me to take one.
“Nah, I’m good,” I said. Honestly, smoking completely disgusted me. The smell, the taste when you breathed it in, not to mention that it caused lung cancer.
She offered one to Justin, who declined, and then handed one to Kyle before tucking the box away in her pocket. I held my breath as she took a drag to avoid inhaling all of the smoke. I couldn’t
hold my breath forever though. And when I finally had to exhale, the bitter taste of secondhand smoke was overpowering.
The strong scent hung in the air, circulating to the backseat where Justin and I were sitting. I glanced over at him with narrowed eyes. He knew how much I hated smoking.
“Sorry,” he mouthed to me. I simply rolled my eyes in return and tried to ignore the headache I was starting to get. I knew I shouldn’t have came with.
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