“Hey Stranger,” Melissa snuck up behind me as I was putting some things into my locker.
“Oh hey,” I smiled at my friend, “how have you been?”
She shrugged her shoulders, “bored. Except for the vacation in Bahamas, this summer was pretty lame.”
“Same,” I agreed, “fishing gets pretty boring when you do it every day.”
I couldn’t help but notice how much she changed in the two months I haven’t seen her. She looks so much more….mature. Gone are her pigtails she always used to wear and her body is a lot…..curvier.
The school bell brought me back to reality.
“Hello?” Melissa was looking at me with her eyebrows high as if she was running out of patience, “are you coming or what?”
I blinked fast a few times, waking up from my brief day dreaming, “sure.”
And then we walked together through the hallway to our first class as sophomores.
Summer is over and, normally, I am pretty excited about going back to school and seeing my classmates. This year is different, though. I miss Kevin so much and I only left him two days ago.
It was a heart breaking goodbye both of us. We stood under the pergola where we had our first kiss two months ago.
“I don’t want to leave,” I sobbed.
“Me neither, babe. But hey,” he lifted my chin gently, making me look into his eyes, “I will visit you soon, both our families come here for holidays and some weekend. And before we know it, it will be summer again.”
I nodded. He was right. My parents come up here all the time and Kevin’s parents spend a lot of time in their cabin as well. We may not see each other every day at school, but we will see each other.
Kevin wiped the tears that were rolling down my cheeks away with his thumb and smiled, “you’re so beautiful.”
I said nothing. I just wrapped my arms around his neck and we stayed like that for a while, enjoying the last moments together.
“Gosh I’m gonna miss you,” he sighed and hugged me a little tighter…
“Are you even listening to me?” my friend … poked me in the ribs with her elbow.
“Yea, no, what did you say?” I blabbered.
“I said check out the new guys, they’re so hot. Both of them.”
I looked in the direction where she was looking and, as I expected, I saw Caleb, his sister Leah and his brother. Or at least I assumed it was his brother. I’ve never met him, but he looked exactly like Caleb, only with longer hair. They were standing by the lockers, talking.
Should I go say hi or just ignore them? I felt awkward. I haven’t seen him since the night he drove me and Caroline home from the party, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about him at all and it probably makes a horrible person considering I have a boyfriend, but I can’t help it.
Caleb solved my dilemma for me when he walked over.
“Hi Em,” he started the conversation and leaned against the locker next to mine, “so we finally meet again.”
“Yea, hi,” I said quietly and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear nervously.
“Did you have a good rest of summer?”
“It was ok, you?”
“Fine, fine…just exploring the town a bit, you know. Maybe you could show me around sometime?”
“I don’t know, I’m pretty busy with ballet and stuff,” I tried to come up with an excuse to not be around him. I simply didn’t trust myself.
“Come on,” he looked at me with his puppy eyes and I melted. Damn it!
“How about today after school?”
“Uhm..ok..sure. Why not.”
“Cool, see you later,” his smile widened and he started to walk away but turned around, “it’s a date.”
“No it’s not.” I said to quietly and just watched him walk away.
The rest of the day, the only thing that was on my mind, was the ‘date’ I’m supposed to have with Caleb. I felt like I’m cheating on Kevin by just agreeing to it.
Kevin and I have been texting each other basically every waken minute since we left New Lakeshire. It’s crazy how much I miss him.
“Miss Morrison,” my teacher stopped next to my desk and stretched her hand out, waiting for me to give her the phone I was holding.
What a witch, I thought.
I picked it up after the class and headed outside. Finally, the first day of school was over. If I rush out of the parking lot, maybe I can avoid seeing Caleb and get out of our ‘date’.
I was walking fast pass the cars parked in front of the school, looking behind me like a criminal that doesn’t want to be seen by the police.
I was almost at the end of the school lot when the blue Ford beeped right next to, making me jump.
Caleb rolled down his window and laughed, “trying to sneak out?”
“No,” I chuckled nervously. Busted!
“Hop in, I’m starving.”
I got into the car. The familiar scent hit my nose just like the night of the party. It was a mix of his cologne and a car fragrance. “Well there is this café where all the people from school always go. They have amazing red velvet cupcakes. We can go there.”
We drove for about two minutes. You can literally walk there from school in less than five minutes which is probably one of the reasons it’s so popular among highschoolers.
It’s a cute building with blue siding and a big wooden sign above the entrance that reads SPLIT BEAN COFFEE.
When you walk in, you get hit with the strong smell of delicious coffee. There is a small barista station and a glass display cabinet with all their sandwiches and pastries. On the wall behind the bar is the same wooden sign as outside and on the wall across are two chalkboards with the menus.
Overall the interior is very cozy and homey. There is are some tables with chairs in the middle and a love seat under each window. Bunch of book shelfs, plants and wall art complete the chill atmosphere the owner created here.
I always notice how places I go to are decorated and staged. I often imagine how I would change things to make them more functional or, in small places, better placed. Interior design is something I was interested in since I started playing The Sims when I was a little girl and it would definitely be my second option if ballet doesn’t work out for some reason. It may sound silly but building and decorating houses in the game is one of my favorite things to do when I have time.
“Hi, welcome to Split bean. What can I get for you?”
Caleb looked at me, waiting for my order.
“Ok, two coffees, one sandwich and two red velvet cupcakes,” he looked at me and winked.
I shook my head and laughed.
“See, we’re already getting to know each other,” he said as we were walking to one of the love seats, “you like red velvet cupcakes, I like you…”
He said it so casually that it took me a second to realize what the words meant. That escalated quickly!
We took a seat and I could feel his gaze on me, waiting for a response. The butterflies in my stomach that were there since I saw him in the morning were going crazy now.
I didn’t say anything and just took a sip of my coffee, looking down on the table. Now would probably be a good time to tell him I have a boyfriend, so why can’t I get that through my mouth?!
My phone announced another text message so I pulled it out to read it.
“Saved by the bell,” Caleb joked and he was right. It broke the awkward moment of me pretending I didn’t hear him confess he likes me.
“Sorry, one second,” I quickly typed up a message for Kevin, saying I have a ballet practice and will call him later.
I felt awful. I am a horrible person. Why am I lying to my boyfriend about hanging out with Caleb? He is my classmate and I will obviously see him and occasionally hang out with him just like I will with my other friends.
I stopped in front of Emmalee’s house to let her out and then parked my car in front of our house, that is only across the street from hers.
As I was walking towards the front door, I looked back at her house and saw her sitting on their front steps, holding her phone.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I heard my sister’s voice coming from the front porch, “she has a boyfriend, you know?”
“Well, she’s never mentioned him to me so it can’t be that serious,” I replied and continued to walk by her.
“She did mention him to me, though,” Leah folded her arms angrily.
“Whatever sis,” I walked in the house and went upstairs to my room. Luckily I didn’t run into mom who would for sure be asking questions about the new school and friends. Sometimes, especially after dad’s death, she still treats us like children.
I laid down on my bed and opened Instagram. If Emmalee really has a boyfriend like Leah said, I’m sure there would be some pictures on her page.
It took me a while to find her account but eventually, after going through some of my classmate’s followers, I found it and sure enough – there was a bunch of pictures of her and some guy.
I walked over to my window and looked towards her house again. She was still sitting on the stairs, her head down, looking at her phone, probably texting her bae – as she referred to him on Instagram.
Why would she not tell me she’s taken? What kind of game is she playing?