P.S. I Like You(4)

By: Kasie West

“Really? Cool,” Gabe said.

Isabel just rolled her eyes and smacked my arm. “Be good.”

I stood on the path alone now, watching the groups of students around me talking and laughing. Isabel’s worry was unfounded. I was fine alone. Sometimes I preferred it that way.

I sat on the school steps with my notebook in my lap, drawing. I added a few flowers to the sketch of the skirt, then shaded in the tights with a green colored pencil. My earbuds were in, and I was listening to a song by Blackout. The lead singer, Lyssa Primm, was basically both my style and music idol—a genius songwriter who rocked cherry-red lips, vintage dresses, and her ever-present guitar.

“Stretch out your wilting petals and let the light in,” the song played in my ears. I tapped one foot to the beat. I wanted to learn how to play this particular song on my guitar. Hopefully, I could practice later.

The sound of the minivan was loud enough to drown out the music, and I didn’t need to look up to know my mom had just arrived. I closed my notebook, stuffed it into my backpack, took out my earbuds, and got to my feet. I could see the two heads of my brothers in the backseat. Mom must’ve picked them up from school first.

I opened the passenger door, an old One Direction song filling the air, only to find the seat taken by my mom’s bead organizer.

“Can you hop in the back?” Mom asked. “I have to deliver a necklace to a client on our way home.” She pushed a button and the side door slid open, revealing my two little brothers fighting over an action figure. A plastic cup rolled onto the ground. I looked around to see how embarrassed I should be. The parking lot wasn’t too full anymore. A few kids were getting into their own cars or shouting to their friends. No one seemed to be paying attention to me.

“Sorry I’m late,” Mom added.

“It’s fine.” I shut the front door, swiped the cup off the asphalt, and patted my brother on the back. “Scoot over, Thing Two.”

I wiped some Cheez-It crumbs off the seat and sat down. “I thought Ashley was picking me up,” I said to Mom.

My older sister, Ashley, was nineteen. She had her own car, a job, and went to college. But because she still lived at home (stealing my opportunity of having my own room) she had to contribute to family obligations. Like picking me up from school.

“She’s working at the campus store late tonight,” Mom reminded me. “Hey, are you complaining about your super hip mom picking you up?” She smiled at me in the rearview mirror.

I laughed. “Do super hip moms use the word hip?”

“Fly? Bomb? Awesome?” In the middle of her list she turned to my brother and said, “Wyatt, you’re ten, let Jonah have it.”

“But Jonah is seven! That’s only three years younger. He shouldn’t get everything.”

Jonah elbowed me in the stomach in his attempt to steal the Iron Man figure.

“It’s mine now,” I said, causing an outraged cry from both my brothers as I took the action figure and flung it into the trunk.

My mom sighed. “I don’t know how helpful that was.”

“My intestines appreciate it very much.”

My brothers both stopped mid-whine and giggled, the desired result of my declaration. I tousled their hair. “How was school, Things?”

My mom slammed on her brakes as a black BMW cut into her lane. I reached over to keep Jonah from hitting his head on the seat in front of him. I didn’t have to look at the driver to know who it was. But I could see him anyway, his wavy dark hair styled to perfection. Cade had the boy-next-door looks—tall, big smile, puppy-dog brown eyes—without the personality to go with them.

“Someone didn’t learn safe driving skills,” my mom muttered as Cade drove away. I wished she had laid on her horn.

“He didn’t learn a lot of skills.” Including the ability to make chants rhyme.

“You know him?”

“That’s Cade Jennings. People call him Jennings the Jerk though.” Now that was catchy. Alliteration. Magnet … Lily? How did anyone remember that?

“They do?” my mom asked. “That’s not very nice.”

“They don’t,” I mumbled. But they should’ve. It had a nice ring to it.

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