I was making dinner when I overheard my daughter on the phone talking to her long distance boyfriend, Kevin. Trevor wasn’t a big fan at the beginning but I think he is coming around and finally realizing that Emmalee is not a little girl anymore.
“Ok…bye…I love you too,” she chuckled and finally hung up the phone.
“Already using the ‘L’ word, huh?” I teased her and it also concerned me a little.
“Yea,” she smiled and took a seat at the kitchen island.
“It sounds serious,” I raised my eyebrows, “I hope you remember what we talked about many times. When you’re ready to have sex with your boyfriend, come to me first and we can get you on the pill and remember to always use a condom. I’m too young to be a grandma.”
“Mom,” she rolled her eyes, “I don’t want to have this conversation again.”
“Want it or not, it’s important,” I put the knife down and looked at my daughter, “look Em, you’re growing up, I know you won’t wait forever. I want to make sure you’re safe when you make that decision.”
“Fine, I’ll come to you first.”
“Just not too soon, ok? You should be really sure that it’s the right person.”
“I’m done talking about it. When is dinner?”
“Ugh. Alright, I’m going to do my homework.”
My daughter stomped into her bedroom and my son walked out when he heard the doorbell ring and let his friend Melissa inside.
“Hi Mrs. Morrison,” the red haired girl said as she walked by the kitchen.
“Hi Mel,” I smiled from the cutting board, “how is school going?”
“Alright. We have a homework to do.”
“I see. Are you going to join us for dinner? We’re having spaghetti.”
“I’d love to.”
Melissa was a very sweet girl that was friends with Emmet since kindergarten. They were both very scared of starting school so their teacher sat them next to each other and they were inseparable every since.
Melissa and I often do our homework together. It’s fun to discuss the topics and pick each others brains. Sometimes we get into little arguments, but that’s fun too. We both like the challenge in proving our truth and eventually, we always end up agreeing.
One thing we don’t always agree on is a movie selection. She likes documentaries and sci-fi like I do, but she is still a girl and that means, she sometimes forces me to watch chick flicks, like tonight, after we ate dinner with my family. I don’t always hate them, but that’s not something I can tell her. We would never watch anything else again.
“This guy is gonna end up with the main chick,” I predicted when we were about ten minutes into the movie.
“That’s not the point smart ass,” she rolled her eyes and gently slapped my shoulder, “it’s how they end up together that matters.”
“Well, he’s probably about to do something stupid and then he’ll have to apologize and prove his love.”
“Shut up and watch.”
This time it was me who rolled eyes.
The movie ended just like I predicted. Melissa glanced at her phone and jumped up from my bed.
“Crap, it’s after nine. My parents will freak out. I gotta go.”
“Ok, see you tomorrow.”
She ran out of our house into the dark. She had a strict curfew and even stricter parents. Every time she told me stories about them, I was grateful for the parents I have.
On my way home from school, I decided to stop by Caroline’s house and hopefully get her out for a bit. I barely see at school this year and she still spends all her free time in the gym. I needed to talk to her about my dilemma with boys.
I entered the house like a million times before, saying hi to Nora who was reading a book on one of the sofas in their living room, and continued upstairs to Caroline’s bedroom.
“Come in,” my friend said from behind the door after I gently knocked on it.
“Hey,” I entered the room and found her in her workout clothes, getting ready to leave, “where are you headed?”
“Gym, wanna join me?” she asked and put a towel into her gym bag.
“Not really, but if it’s the only way how I can talk to you then I guess I have to. We have to stop by my house so I can change, I’m not working out in jeans.”
Caroline bought an older car for the money she earned during summer so it was easier to move around the town now.
She finished tying her shoe, “ok. Let’s go.”
Fifteen minutes later we were on the treadmills.
“So what did you want to talk about?”
“Caleb. And Kevin.”
“What about them?”
“Caleb keeps asking me out and for some reason I can’t tell him no. It’s like he has some kind of power over me. So every time I say yes and then I have to lie to Kevin. Does that make me a horrible person?”
Caroline laughed and set her treadmill on a faster speed, “Kind of. You should probably decide who you want. You’re leading both of them on.”
“I know,” I sighed, “but how?”
She didn’t answer me, just shrugged her shoulders and kept running. I guess I will have to figure that one on my own.
We worked out quietly for another forty minutes and then I convinced her to get a snack with me in the café right next to the gym that was called ‘Gym junkie café’. It is very convenient for all health enthusiasts. You can work out and then have a healthy snack or smoothie.
Even though Caroline agreed to go with me, all she got was a bottle of water.
I sat down with my big smoothie across from her and looked at her suspiciously, “why didn’t’ you get any food?”
“I’m not hungry.”
“You are so hungry, we just ran for an hour.”
“I’m not hungry, give me a break.”
“I’m worried about you, Car,” I admitted, “I haven’t seen you eat anything more than a yogurt in months.”
“Well some of us have to watch what we eat,” she barked at me, “not everyone is lucky enough to eat what they want and be skinny.”
“Whoa,” my eyes widened and I raised my hands in defense, “where is this coming from?”
“I’m just tired of everyone telling me to eat something. You, my parents, even my teacher!”
“We just want to make sure you are ok,” I said quietly, “you are very skinny.”
“Right,” she scoffed.
“You are! Please don’t tell me you’re still trying to loose more weight.”
“Look I don’t want to talk about my weight. Are you done with the smoothie? I have homework to do.”
I looked down on my barely touched glass, confused, and stood up “I guess I don’t have to finish it. I lost my appetite anyway.”
Caroline didn’t speak at all on the way back to her house and barely said bye when she parked her car in front of their garage.
I was walking back home, passing the newest addition to our street – Caleb’s house. His car was there which meant he was home. The fact that he was so close woke up the butterflies in my stomach again.
I started walking faster to pass his house as quickly as possible
I was on the front porch, enjoying the last few warm days, scrolling through Instagram mindlessly. The sun just set down and it was getting dark when I noticed a familiar figure walking on the street. It was Emmalee.
“Emmalee, wait,” I jumped up from the bench and ran towards her.
She kept walking as if I wasn’t there, trying to avoid me once again.
I caught up with her in front of her house, “hey.”
“Caleb, hi,” she finally turned around, pretending she didn’t hear me earlier, but I knew she did.
“What’s up with you? Why do I have to chase you all the time?”
Of course I already knew the answer but I wanted to hear her finally say it to my face.
“You don’t have to,” she said nervously, “actually I’d rather you didn’t.”
“Why?” I sat down on the front steps and she joined me.
She took a deep breath, “ok, listen. There is someone else.”
I raised my eyebrows in fake surprise and nodded, “really?”
She immediately realized I’m not being sincere, “you already knew, didn’t you?”
“Of course I knew, he’s all over your Instagram. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know. Why did you keep asking me out?”
“Because I like you, Em, a lot,” I looked into her eyes, “and I believe you like me too. You’re just too scared to admit it because you don’t want to hurt his feelings.”
She looked down on her hands in her lap and didn’t say a word.
Suddenly I felt the uncontrollable urge to kiss her. I wanted to do it for so long, since the night I brought her and Caroline home from the party, really. I haven’t stopped thinking about her since.
When she looked at me again, I leaned closer and she didn’t move away. I could feel her breath on my face and then our lips finally connected. Slowly and gently at first but eventually the kiss became deeper and more passionate. Just like I imagined it would.
I don’t know how long we were kissing before we heard a voice coming from the pathway leading to Emmalee’s house.
“You have got to be kidding me!”