Authors: Jolene Perry
Tags: #dating, #rape, #sex, #young adult, #las vegas, #teen pregnancy, #adolescence, #contemporary romance, #virginity, #night sky, #jolene perry
I don’t make a habit of going to Sky’s
grandparents’ house. They’re tall, thin and very quiet people, who
put me on edge. The problem is, Sky was supposed to come over about
an hour ago. We’re meeting up with some friends of mine at the
water park. But her phone is going straight to voicemail, even
though her car’s in the driveway. It seems like the only option
left is to drop in.
I fiddle with my keys on
the short walk to her house.
shouldn’t make me nervous, just walking over to pick her up,
but it does. The porch is hot, the sun really
hits this spot hard. I stand there waiting, but I don’t know what
I’m waiting for.
Finally, I get up the
courage to knock.
Her Nana opens the door. “Hi.” Her voice is
quiet and her thin lips press together.
I wonder if she disapproves of me, or if
that’s just how she always looks. “Hello, I’m looking for Sky.”
Although, she must know why I’m here.
“Come on in.”
I follow her up the stairs.
“It might not be that simple,” I hear a man
saying. “I’m not as familiar with what Alaska allows the clans or
corporations to do in a situation like this.”
“It just seems like…” Sky’s voice is smooth
and quiet, but she also sounds confused. “It just seems that if all
the paperwork is in order, and both parties agree, then they
shouldn’t have a say.”
“Give me a few days to
look into it.”
Again, it’s that same man’s
I’m at the top of the
Something big is going
My heart responds by thumping loudly,
making it hard to hear.
“I’m going up as soon as school’s out,” Sky
“So, what about…” She stops talking the
second she sees me enter the dining room.
Sky is sitting at the table with Tony, the
guy from AIA who likes her, and a man who must be his dad. He looks
like Tony, only older and a little broader. They have the same
nose, same deep skin, same dark hair.
“Sorry, am I interrupting?” I expect that
Sky will laugh and tell me to sit—that I’m just being silly. Or
maybe that’s just what I want to hear her say.
“A little.” Her smile is weak. “You remember
Tony? This is his dad, Benson.”
“Nice to meet you.” I nod. But now I feel
like an outsider, and I really shouldn’t.
“Can I meet you at your house in a few
minutes?” she asks, as she rests her arms over the papers in front
“Yeah, sure, sorry to
interrupt.” I spin around, and head for the door, pushing past her
Nana. I don’t want to hear anything else. My cheeks are hot with
anger or embarrassment, or something. Again, I find myself wanting
to swim myself to death or have access to a punching bag.
What is she not telling me? Why won’t she tell me
what’s going on? Why does Tony get to be there? How long has she
known she was going back home? How long will she be there? Why
hasn’t she said anything when it’s so obvious that this is
something big? Why am I not being told what it is?
Part of me wants to disappear into the pool. But
I also want to disappear to a place where I can be alone with her.
Like spending an evening in my shower—together this
I kick off my shoes, and let my feet rest in
Suddenly, out of nowhere,
I hear, “Sorry about that, Jay.” Sky’s voice is way brighter than
what it should be.
How could she not be
affected by the heaviness I felt in that room?
“You’re leaving?” I turn just enough to see
her walk toward me.
Her smile doesn’t falter. “Well, there’s
another big clan meeting when school’s out. It seemed like a good
excuse to visit my mom and my brother.” She sits next to me. “I
just found out this morning.”
Am I a jerk for
second-guessing her? Am I reading too much into things?
“And what about…”
“Tony’s dad is an attorney. He got his law
degree for the sole purpose of helping Native Americans.”
“And you need him
Am I asking too much?
“Oh, he’s learning about how the Alaskans do
it all so differently. There’s an issue dealing with a few families
that he was curious about, that’s all.” She leans over and kisses
my cheek. “Are you still taking me to the water park to meet up
with your friends?” Her voice is light and happy.
“Do you still want to go?”
“Of course.” She smiles like I’m being
Am I blowing things out of proportion, or
have my parents made me completely insane?
After riding every
waterslide, and downing four hot dogs, I’m sprawled out on a lawn
chair. Matt and Kaylee have just come back from another trip around
the lazy river, and Sarah is squealing and laughing every time Eric
teases her. Which is constant.
always been this silly?
Sky reclines next to me. Our fingers are
woven together between our lounge chairs. My eyes are almost
closed, but mostly I’m looking at her long, brown legs.
“Oh, Jay.” Her head turns.
I move mine to meet hers.
“Next Friday, after finals, my American
Indian group is going camping up at Red Rock. Wanna come?”
I know next Friday is
Prom, but it’s sort of an odd thing to bring up with someone who
isn’t in high school any more. So I haven’t.
Kaylee opens her mouth to say something, but I shake my head,
just a little, hoping she catches my signal.
“You don’t want to go?”
She must have thought I was
shaking my head at her.
“No.” I smile wide. “It sounds great.”
Camping with Sky sounds awesome. Like maybe we’ll get to sleep next
to one another or…
“Jamesy!” Sarah leans forward in her chair,
staring at me. “You can’t miss Prom!”
“What?” Sky tenses up next to me.
“It’s not a big deal.” I flash Sarah a dirty
Kaylee shrugs in apology.
“It’s your senior year. It’s a big deal.”
Sky scoots up further in her seat.
“Jay, I’m sure you could talk Sky into going
with you. Besides not all of us are as obnoxious as this one,” Matt
says, throwing a French fry at Eric.
Eric bats it away laughing.
Now everyone in our little
group is staring at me.
“I just…I guess I
figured you’d be done with all this high school stuff, you know?
And I didn’t want you to feel like you have to come or
“I actually missed my Prom. We were allowed
to go to the high school in Ketchikan for big stuff like that. But
I was…sick, and couldn’t go.”
I chuckle. “So, you really
want to go?”
The vain side of me loves the
idea of parading Sky around in front of my classmates.
“Yeah, if that’s okay.”
that’s okay!” Sarah sounds
like she’s trying way too hard. Her eyes are wide and her smile
looks forced. I have no idea what’s gotten into her.
Then I think about
spending the night around a fire, listening to the drumming and
getting to know some of the people Sky hangs out
don’t want to miss the camping, though.”
“You could do both,” Kaylee suggests. “I
mean, you two could come to part of the Prom, do the whole dress-up
and dinner thing, then head out.”
Sky’s nodding, her smile spreading across
Sarah and Eric aren’t part of the
conversation anymore. They’re off to the side, back in their own
little world of Sarah’s incessant giggles.
I lean toward Matt. “You and Kaylee should
come too—camping I mean.”
Matt looks over at Kaylee. “That’d actually
be great.” Kaylee nods.
Matt’s jaw drops and his
hand slides over her shoulders. He’s probably thinking the same
thing I’m thinking—
sharing a sleeping bag
all night with a girl you can’t get enough of
“Do you think that’d be okay with your
friends?” I ask, looking at Sky.
“This is going to be
great.” She nods.
I guess that’s it—dinner, Prom, and camping…with
Sky. I wonder if there’s any way to convince her to wear a short
skirt to Prom.
Sarah and Eric have
wandered off for more swimming or sliding
Kaylee and Matt head
back to the concession stand.
We both speak at the same time.
“You first.” I stop and wait.
“Did I just totally invite
myself to your Prom? And if it’s weird for you, please tell me.”
She actually looks worried that I don’t want her there.
“I’d have to be crazy if I didn’t want to go
with you.” I lean toward her giving her a small kiss. She moves
toward me for more.
“Get a room!” Eric yells,
flopping himself in a nearby lounge chair.
Why can’t he just disappear?
“I plan on it.” Sky laughs
and kisses me again. Eric’s mouth drops.
Well, that’s one way to shut him up.
Monday after swim practice, my arms are like
rubber. Endurance again. Apparently, it’s what we need to do three
days before a meet. Tomorrow, we’ll do some light swims and
practice starts. That seems to be the routine.
I step inside to hear Mom
laughing, and then someone else.
“Hello?” I call.
“Oh.” Mom’s voice gets quiet. “He’s here.
You change, I’ll be right back.”
Mom steps out of her room into the hall
wearing a huge smile.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“Sky dropped by and said she had no idea
what to wear to your Prom. So, we’ve been playing dress-up.” I’m
thrilled Mom’s so happy, but I’m not so sure about her and Sky
spending another day together without me. Who knows what kind of
embarrassing stuff came up?
Then I realize the most
obvious problem. “Aren’t you…?”
How can I
phrase this nicely?
Mom works out a lot,
but Sky is so thin and athletic. Mom has curves.
“Yes, Jay. She’s skinnier than me, but I
have all these designer dresses your father’s bought me over the
years. Some fit her, while others can be taken in. Mom is giving me
a grin that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. She looks
girly…not like a mom with a teenage son.
“Sky will look amazing, no matter what.” I
realize I’m clutching my pack, so I let it drop to the floor.
“Well, aren’t you sweet.” Sky appears in the
hall wearing her standard tank and tiny skirt.
“Ready to hang out
?” I ask,
raising an eyebrow.
“Only if you’re quiet, keep your hands to
yourself, and let me study.”
I don’t even mean to, but I let out this
snort of disgust.
“Jameson!” Mom slaps my chest with the back
of her hand. “I’ll order some pizza and please, by all means, you
have my permission to kick my son, if he bothers you while you’re
trying to study.” Mom winks at Sky.
I can tell by the look on
Sky’s face that it’s enough to convince her to stay. And I decide
it’s actually really cool that she and Mom are getting along so
It’ll probably bite me in the ass
eventually, but it’s nice to see Mom looking so happy.
The rest of the week passes in a blur of
swim meets, school projects, and Sky frantic over finals. I still
have time to be excited over our night together…but not a lot.
Without being too obvious, Matt and I set
our plan into motion. We’re all in this together—he and Kaylee, who
got special permission from her parents to go to the Prom, and Sky
and I. No matter what, it’ll be less awkward than our double date
with Eric and Sarah. We’re all headed to the Paris Hotel for
dinner. Afterwards, we’ll leave the Prom early to go camping. It
seems easier to go as a group. I’m sure, at some point, sitting
next to Sky, I’ll be sorry we have company. But maybe I’ll get a
chance to make it up to her, if we share the same sleeping bag.
After all Mom had to say about Sky staying over, I’m kind of
shocked she’s letting me do this. I guess it’s one of the perks of
having your Mom get along with your girlfriend.
My tux feels good.
I’m so glad I’m a guy. Mom and Sky have been in
her room for over two hours. Since they’ve started—I swam, had a
snack, shaved and watched a movie—before sliding on my tux.
I smooth down my black tie and walk out of my
I can hear their voices coming from Mom’s
room. “Can you send a few pictures to my mom?” Sky asks. “She
doesn’t check her email often, but she does sometimes. I think
she’d like to see how we looked.”
“Sure.” Mom laughs. She’s probably just
ecstatic to have a girl in the house.
And then I realize I
hardly know anything about Sky’s mom. Not even her name.
How crazy is that?
to think of it, I don’t know a whole lot about her brother, either.
I should ask her later…if I’m not too busy doing other
My smile spreads at the
“I know that look.” Dad’s voice hits me.
“Dad.” I jerk my head toward the door,
“Your mom found me at work
and told me I should stop by before you two take off.” He steps
inside and stands in the entry, unsure of my reaction.
This should be okay.