Authors: Jolene Perry
Tags: #dating, #rape, #sex, #young adult, #las vegas, #teen pregnancy, #adolescence, #contemporary romance, #virginity, #night sky, #jolene perry
I nod. It’s a good compromise.
We’re a third of the way into the movie, and
I’ve managed to devour three slices of pizza. I’m slumped on the
couch like the skinny teenage version of Homer Simpson when I hear
a knock at the door.
“I’ll get it.” Mom stands up. “I need
another slice anyway.”
I turn back to the movie. Rachel McAdams is
about to come on. She’s hot, and the TV has my full attention. But
then I hear her voice.
“I’m Sky, I’m here for math.”
“I’m Megan,” Mom says, “and I’m here because
I live here.” She laughs. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Like a shot I’m off the couch, my heart
beating triple time. In two leaping steps I can see her and Mom
talking in the entryway. I guess part of me figured she wouldn’t
show. And part of me just forgot, which seems insane.
“Hey, Jay. Offer still on?” She smiles this
relaxed smile like her gorgeous form is always popping in for math
Snap out of it, idiot.
“Good, because matrices are kicking my
butt,” she says, walking toward me.
Mom’s eyes are wide as she
stares at me. Then she mouths the word—
That pretty much covers Sky. Right now, I
just want to breathe. One small step at a time and maybe I’ll be
able to act something close to normal. Probably right about the
time she leaves.
“Oh, I love this movie.” She smiles as she
steps into the living room. “I’m totally interrupting, aren’t I?”
Her gaze slides between Mom and me.
“Nope.” Mom shoves the last few slices of
pizza into the fridge. “I was just about to go sort out my
“Okay.” Sky’s lips are pressed together, her
body twisting slightly from side to side, as if unsure of what to
do. She glances between Mom and me several more times.
Mom lets the fridge door close then heads
for her room.
“Everything okay?” Sky’s voice is quieter
than a whisper.
“Let me grab a couple of
sodas and we can sit by the pool?” I offer in a normal
Okay, I’m doing better than I
“I’ll skip the soda, but the pool sounds
nice.” Her deep brown eyes meet mine before she follows me out the
I pull out a chair for her at our table in
“Well, aren’t you a gentleman.” She gives me
a half-smile as she sits.
“I…” It’s just something I’ve always
She sets her book down. “So, do you want to
talk about it, and get it out of the way? Or would you like me to
What’s she calling me on now?
“The mood in the room when
I walked in.” She leans toward me, and I breathe in. I can’t help
She smells like vanilla.
“Well, my day went about as expected…”
“The girl?” She gives me a briefly
“Yeah, it’s all anyone could talk about
today.” But I really don’t feel like reliving all that. “And then
my parents were arguing when I got home.”
“Which explains the closet cleaning?” She
has dimples under her cheekbones when she smiles. I didn’t notice
them before. And even on her bronze skin, I can see light freckles
across her nose and cheeks.
“Yep.” I breathe in again.
She leans back and angles her body toward
me. “Okay, I’ll let you get away with the first, but I’m calling
you on the second.”
“The second what?” My
I so hope she didn’t hear
“The second time you breathed in next to me
like that. Do I smell good?” One corner of her mouth pulls up in a
smirk that wrinkles around her eyes.
It’s all about honesty,
She glances at the table.
It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like modesty or
embarrassment from her.
“Matrices. No problem.” I’m glad she changed
the topic, but at the same time, I want to be close to her…and math
doesn’t seem like the best way to do it. At least we’re sitting
next to each other at the table.
“Well, I’m glad it’s not a problem for one
of us.” She laughs.
Sky and I start the first problem, sorting
columns and rows for matrices. It’s hard to concentrate on math…and
not on her. The lights come on in the backyard as the sun goes
down. She catches on fast as I walk her through problem after
problem. I feel smart and useful, and hopefully she doesn’t think
I’m too much of a nerd for knowing this stuff.
“You’re a good tutor.” She slides her
homework into her textbook.
“Thanks.” I’m staring at her lips again.
“Walk me home?” She stands up.
I nearly knock my chair over trying to keep
up with her.
We make it to the front door when I hear
“Nice to meet you, Sky. You’re welcome
anytime,” Mom says leaning out of her room at the end of the
“Thanks.” Sky waves as we step out the
I ignore the wide-eyed look Mom gives me on
our way out.
“It was nice seeing you today.” What a lame
thing to say, but I really can’t think of anything else.
seeing me.” She
bumps my leg with her hip.
I realize, just now, how
tall she is. She’s taller than Mom, taller than probably most girls
“Guess I am.” I stare at the
sidewalk. “You’re tall.”
“You just noticed?”
“I…” Once again, I don’t know what to
“My mom is Native American. My dad’s a tall,
skinny white guy.” She chuckles. “I’ve met him, spent a little time
with him, but I don’t really know him.”
“And you’re staying with his parents?” It
seems bizarre, or maybe just hard.
“I’ve met them before, but we’re still
getting used to each other.” Her voice is quiet and smooth. Maybe
she’s resigned, or maybe she really does glide through life the way
“Oh.” I remember I held her hand last time
we walked together. I reach for it again.
“Still working toward that kiss?” She
doesn’t laugh, but there’s laughter on the edges of her words.
Remember, it’s all about
That one simple word hits me like something
warm and soft as it slowly spreads through me. Without much
conscious thought, I squeeze her hand.
“If you’re still working toward that, maybe
you could take me out this Friday.” Her face is relaxed, but she
isn’t looking at me.
“Take you out?”
Crap. Why did I have to repeat that? And why am I
“Yeah, Jay. Take me out.” Her voice oozes
sarcasm as she glances my way. “It’s my birthday.”
“Wow, no pressure.” I chuckle.
“I’m turning nineteen.” She bumps my arm
with her shoulder. I’m relieved at her age. I thought she was
I bump her arm back, just to feel it again.
“I’ll pick you up around six o’clock?”
“What should I wear?”
How the hell do I answer that question?
She laughs. “Tell you what. I’m going to
wear something comfortable on my feet; probably a skirt and I’ll
bring a hoodie since it’s still cold in the evenings. I’ve only
been here since January, so I want you to show me Vegas.”
“That I can do.” I’m already running through
my head where I want to take her. “Are you opposed to being out all
“Wow, Jay. That’s forward.”
I’m sure I redden. Hopefully the darkness of
my skin helps a bit. “What I meant was, I’m up for most of the
night on the weekends and things don’t really slow down on the
strip until like three or four in the morning.”
We’re in her driveway now. We stop, but I
don’t move away.
“Are you still thinking you might get that
kiss tonight?” She folds her arms.
“You need to recover from the other girl
first.” Her deep brown eyes watch mine carefully.
For the first time all day, I can breathe
easy. It feels impossible—that talking about Sarah to Sky could
help me to breathe, but Sky’s here, making me feel…warm. I really,
really want to kiss her again.
“It’ll happen. You just
rub really hard, right here.” She laughs putting both of her hands
on my chest. She rubs them up and down in short spurts and the
warmth of her spreads through my body.
She’s becoming addictive. Fast.
I rest my hands on top of
hers and she stops. Her eyes have these dark ridges in them that I
stare at and take in. She leans away from me.
Am I leaning in?
“Smooth, but the
answer is still no.” She breaks eye contact and starts to move
“I’d like a hug.” I let my head tilt to the
side as I watch her reaction.
“A hug?” She bites her bottom lip.
“Actually, a hug would be nice but…” She puts a finger up between
us. “Don’t try anything.”
I step into her and wrap my arms around her
before I chicken out. She already knows I like the way she smells,
so I breathe in deeply. Her arms tighten around me, and I really
have zero motivation to move.
“How you don’t have three girlfriends
calling you at all hours is beyond me.” She steps away and walks to
her front door. The loss of her warmth makes me break out in goose
“How do you know I don’t?” I tease.
That sounds cool, like the end of a poem, or
maybe the beginning.
I’m a complete puff
for thinking this. I know, I know—puff? Just turn on the
Sky pauses in her doorway and something
passes across her face. Sorrow? Thoughtfulness? Something. And it’s
significant. The warmth of her spreads through my chest again.
“Hey, Jameson?” Sarah asks while pulling
into my driveway.
Why does this feel awkward…just talking to her?
Did she follow me from swim practice?
“How’ve you been?” she asks.
“Good. You?” I
This sucks. It doesn’t feel like I
can relax and just talk to her anymore. Is it because of Eric…or is
it because of how I feel about her?
my bag off the backseat. We didn’t speak to each other at all
during swim practice. Not that we needed to…the girls have a
different coach, and are kind of separate…kind of.
“Can I come in for a few?” Her brow is
creased with worry.
Like I’d say no. Have I
ever told her no?
This shouldn’t be weird
at all since Sarah usually spends as much waking time at my house
as she does at her own…or she used to.
“Yeah, sure,” I mutter.
She follows me through the side gate into
the backyard stepping into my room behind me. “Wow, Jamesy, I can
actually see the floor!”
“Mom and Dad were arguing yesterday.” I
“So you decided to clean?”
“Yep.” My pack drops to the bare floor.
“That seems to be happening more often.”
“Does it?” Only I know my parents are
fighting more, but this is what Sarah and I do. We walk around the
facts, the important stuff. Acknowledging its existence, but
otherwise leaving it alone. Honesty—is it there between Sarah and
I? I guess it is. Just in a different form.
“It’s nice to be here.”
She sits on my bed and crosses her legs, like always. Her blue eyes
look right into me, just like every time she looks at
“It’s been a while,” I agree. I take one of
the two chairs by my computer and swing around to look at her.
“It feels weird because usually I’m here
almost every day,” she says, pulling her legs up. “I don’t think
Eric likes that we’re friends.”
“He knew we were
When you got
…but I can’t get that last part
Why should it matter? He already has
Sarah in the way I want Sarah, and now he wants to take away our
She’s not sure what to say. I’m not sure if
she’ll even continue.
Instead of urging
her on, I wait.
“Did you know that like,
everyone thought you and I would get together?” she asks wrinkling
Guess we’re onto a topic I’m not
sure I want to touch.
“It’s just because we spend a lot of time
together.” But now my chest is tight and I’m not sure if I’ll be
able to breathe. I lean back in my chair, trying to look
“Kaylee said you like me.”
Wow. Honesty. Will things come out in the
open between Sarah and me?
“When did she say that?” I can’t believe how
normal and relaxed my voice sounds. And my attempt at honesty is
gone, just like that.
“On Monday, you know, when Eric and I…”
Eric and I… soon it’ll
be…we. Because that’s what’s next, right? Since Sarah and Eric are
now an entity.
But am I ready to let go of
the idea that Sarah and Jameson could be that same kind of entity?
I’m not sure.
“Just surprised, that’s
all.” I look up and chuckle even though part of me wants to
“Yes, they’re right! We should be
together! We’re perfect for each other!”
“Oh, good,” she says with a sigh of relief.
“It’s been bothering me since the group got together on Sunday
A group got together on
But I don’t ask. I don’t say
Is this how things are going to
be between us?
But there’s always been
something between us…because I’ve liked her as more than a friend,
for way too long.
So, yes…this is how
things are going to be.