Authors: Jolene Perry
Tags: #dating, #rape, #sex, #young adult, #las vegas, #teen pregnancy, #adolescence, #contemporary romance, #virginity, #night sky, #jolene perry
“Problem?” I yell.
“No!” She laughs. “Everything’s freaking
I climb into my car and back out of the
driveway. I watch her face fall and then brighten as I stop next to
her. Most people look better in the dark—their faces lit up by the
street lamps or backyard pool lights. But not Sky, her deep skin is
even more incredible in the sun.
is actually your car?” She
places her hands on her hips, but all I can see from the driver’s
seat is legs that go on for miles.
“This is my car.” I smile at her through the
“It’s a Golf. An old one.”
“An on and off lifeguard job at the local
pool doesn’t quite pay for a Porsche.” I open my door and stand up,
resting my hand on the doorframe.
“Guess not.” She shifts her backpack higher
on her shoulder. “So, what does?”
“My parents work in a casino.” It’s funny
that no one really questions that. They know there’s good money to
be made there, if you have one of the right jobs.
“Can I give you a ride?”
“Don’t you need to get to school?”
She’s pointing out my age again, I’m sure of
“Don’t you?” I ask.
Her smile widens. “Yeah, but are you sure
you don’t mind?”
“Not at all.” A corner of my mouth pulls up
into a smile—something that seemed impossible only a few moments
Sky is wearing her tiny shorts, hoodie, and
old chucks with her long hair flowing behind her as she walks
around the front of my car.
I climb in at the same time she does.
“Don’t look at me like that, Jay.” She
purses her lips together, but I can see she’s trying to hold back a
“Like what?” I let myself
smile back as I put the car in drive and head toward her college
This is probably going to be the
best part of my day.
“Like you’re trying to earn your real kiss.”
She crosses her legs.
I glance down.
“Eyes on the road.” She laughs and pulls her
backpack onto her lap. “Thanks for the ride. I’m not good with
math, and it doesn’t help that the class starts at seven thirty in
“What kind of math are you doing?” The
university is close, and I know I only have about three more
minutes in the car with her. I want to make the most of them.
“Just college Algebra.” Her shoulders
“I could help you, if you
College Algebra? I know I can
As I study her face, I don’t think she’s
that much older than me—a year or two tops. Much better, she might
not be as far out of my league as I thought. Well, as far as ages
“Come over later. I’ll make sure there’s
Pepsi. We’ll work on math, and if you want, we could go for another
“I don’t know what to make of you.” Her face
looks more serious than I’ve ever seen it.
Milk chocolate eyes, high cheekbones, thin
lips. I want to run my finger down the line of her jaw, across her
chin. I’m probably just putting whatever I felt…or feel…for Sarah
onto Sky, which really isn’t fair. But then I remember our kiss,
and I think about how much I’d like to do it again.
“Whatever you’re thinking—stop.” She points
I resist the temptation to
kiss the tip of her finger.
put my car in park and wait for her to climb out.
“Thanks for the ride, Jay.”
“See you later. You know…for Pepsi.” I lean
over the passenger’s seat so I can see her face.
“And math.” She stops
before closing the door. “
I need help.”
The door closes, and I sit
and watch her long legs walk away.
I jog into the student government meeting
about five minutes before it’s supposed to end.
“Oh, there’s our student body vice
president. Nice of you to show.” I hear as I walk through the
Matt and I are friends, but he gets a power
trip over being student body president.
“Bite me, Matt.” I laugh and plant my butt
on a desk placing my feet in the chair in front of it.
“We were just talking about the next
Now all eyes are on me.
I’m never late. I’m always early. Always. I ignore the looks being
thrown my way and pull out my notebook.
“Safety assembly, right?”
“Uh… right.” Matt’s mouth pulls down,
obviously annoyed that I remembered the agenda for the meeting.
“I talked with our two speakers yesterday,
and they’re good to go.” I glance down at my notes. “Mr. Forrester
did a dry run with the projection screen in the gym. So the slide
show that the police want to do should go off without a hitch.”
The door opens
mouth is dry. I’m pretty sure my tongue swells up to the size of a
baseball and my heart is threatening to break free of my ribcage.
Even the shape of her body shows her bubbly personality. She’s
short with great curves and a big smile.
two up to?” Kaylee
smirks at me tapping my foot with hers.
Kaylee’s not allowed to go to dances. She’s probably the only
one in the school who doesn’t know our star quarterback has a new
girlfriend. And then it happens. What I knew I’d have to face
Eric appears behind her, leans
down, and gives her a kiss before stepping away. Sarah’s lips…the
ones I’ve stared at for…
okay, I gotta get
a grip or I’ll never make it through the day.
She beams. It’s a Sarah smile. The one no
one should be able to resist because it’s full of goodness and
happiness. She half leans out the door as it closes. When she turns
to face us, a look of pure happiness is still all over her face. It
dances in her eyes and weaves its way through her body.
The whole room is now staring at her.
“Sorry.” She bites her bottom lip to hold in
her goofy grin.
Her joy stabs and pulls at my chest, but my
mouth stays closed. I make no sound. I’m just amazed that I’m still
in one piece.
“Jameson will catch me up
to speed later.” She sits on the desk behind me and does a quick,
soft scratch on my back. She always does this.
Today is the first day I haven’t loved it.
“Well, we’re adjourned
unless anyone has any objections.” Matt sighs as if in
A whole five minutes of his
meeting was disturbed.
used to him. Matt is an odd mix of overachiever and lazy jock. It
only seems like a contradiction in terms if you haven’t met
I stand up and Sarah throws her arms around
me, hugging me tightly. “Thank you. You know, for everything.”
“Are you moving or
something?” I try to tease. I don’t want to let the warmth of her
body next to mine affect me, but it’s hard.
She feels so good.
I lean my face
down, just a little and breathe in. But I have to keep from
choking. She doesn’t smell like Sarah, she smells like a guy’s
cologne, like Eric.
I drop my arms.
“I gotta run.” She steps back, goofy grin
“See ya.” And I stand in the room like an
idiot watching her walk away.
“You okay?” Kaylee asks, bumping my side
with her shoulder.
“I…I don’t know.” The classroom is empty
aside from Mr. Carlson, who pretty much lets us run our own
“You like her.” Kaylee’s voice is quiet.
“Doesn’t matter.” I shake my head.
“If it makes you feel
better, I was just waiting for the day when you two walked in here
holding hands. It felt inevitable.”
she’s giving me the same sympathetic smile Mom does. If it felt
inevitable to her, how come it didn’t feel inevitable to
“Jameson?” Mr. Carlson asks from his desk.
He’s a good teacher and a great coach.
“Yeah?” I whirl around.
“Don’t forget the first official swim team
practice is this afternoon.”
“You know I’ll be there.”
“Great,” he says adjusting his wire glasses
before turning back to his computer.
I’ll need the distraction.
“Jameson!” Coach Carlson waves at me as I
step out of the locker room next to the pool.
“Hey.” I walk up to him and set down my bag.
It feels like I’ll explode if I have to sit still any longer. The
tension from my day—from watching Sarah and Eric, Eric and Sarah—is
built up high.
“You’re still up for this, right?” He holds
a clipboard under his arm.
“Being team captain? Of course.”
“It’s a lot of work,” he warns again.
“I know. I’m ready.”
“Great.” He walks away to start practice.
“Make sure you get a junior for your co-captain, okay? I need
someone to take your place next year.”
I laugh. “No one can take my place,
He laughs with me over his shoulder. “You’re
Finally, something I’m good at. I can’t wait
to get in the water.
I pull into the driveway
after spending a rigorous couple of hours in the school pool to
hear Mom and Dad arguing. My good mood from practice vanishes. My
parents aren’t perfect, and it’s not like they never argue. It’s
just that they don’t argue very often.
spin around at the front door, and walk through the backyard
instead. I open the slider door to my room and drop my backpack on
the bedroom floor.
Their voices die down and
one of them walks out. It’s Dad, because the next thing I hear is
the kitchen faucet. When Mom and Dad argue, Mom spends the next few
days scrubbing the entire house and slamming cupboard doors harder
than necessary. I’m sure her cleaning frenzy will eventually make
it to my room so I sit down and start cleaning.
Better to get some of it over with now.
I’m in front of the TV as I start putting
stacks of DVDs and Blu-Ray’s back into their cases. As I sit, I can
see into my bathroom. It’s a mess, too. Mom insisted that a skinny
little sink on some sort of post would make my bathroom look
bigger. But really, all it does is leave me with no place to put my
The problem is that
cleaning my room won’t help me stop thinking about Sarah. She’s
everywhere in here. Most of the movies that are out of their cases
are ones we watched together. My desk has two chairs, because she’s
here so often I just leave the two chairs by the computer. She
helped me put up most of the posters in my room – all that weirdo
music I listen to so much. I lean against my bed.
How many hours have we sat together on my bed
doing homework or watching a movie?
Wishing I had the guts to press our lips together. Well, this
is it. I’m officially moping. Does that make me pathetic?
At this point, I honestly don’t care.
“Knock, knock.” Mom’s voice carries farther
than her soft knocks, like always.
“Come on in.” My room looks good for a
change. I can see the floor, the whole floor.
“Wow.” Mom surveys the room as she steps
inside. I forget how pretty my mom is because I see her every day.
She’ll never believe me, but my favorite way to see her is
clean-faced and in a ponytail.
“I…” I start to say I heard you fighting,
but suddenly that doesn’t seem like the right thing to say.
“I heard you drive up,”
she says sitting on my bed. “Your dad has been really distracted
lately. It feels like something’s going on, but I’m not sure
I wonder if she meant to say that
She’s staring out my window at
the backyard. “I’m also not sure how to ask him.”
I open my mouth to speak, but have no idea
what to say.
Her body jerks, as if suddenly aware of my
presence. “Sorry, Jameson. Should we order a pizza tonight?”
Pizza is sure to weigh me
down for tomorrow’s swim practice, but I don’t need to give her any
“Sounds great, Mom.” I want
to ask when Dad will be home, but I stop myself.
What does it mean that I’m afraid to ask? Is this
She stands up and starts out of my room.
“Your dad picked up an extra shift. He won’t be home ‘til
“Okay.” I do a good job of keeping my voice
smooth, but my gut feels all twisted up inside.
I’m not sure what to do with myself, so I
sit in the quiet of my room until I hear Mom answer the door for
our pizza. So, now I have to try and act normal, and pretend
there’s nothing hanging in the air—nothing about Sarah and Eric,
nothing about Mom and Dad. I take a deep breath and step into the
, Mom.” I
really can’t handle that movie right now.
“I suppose you want me to watch one of your
British gangster movies where they drop the f-bomb every chance
they get?” She cocks an eyebrow and hands me a plate with a slice
“Mom, you’re too old to
say f-bomb, and yeah, that’s what I’m in the mood for.” We stare at
one another over the kitchen counter. “Alright,
,” I concede with a
smile. I’ll be a good son and watch the girlie movie with
Mom laughs. “How
? It’s done by that same guy you like so much,