P.S. I Like You(5)By: Kasie West
“Cade … ” My mom’s eyes narrowed in thought.
“Isabel used to date him. Our freshman year.” Until Cade and I fought so much that my best friend basically had to pick a side. She’d claimed the breakup wasn’t my fault, but I knew it probably was. Half the time I felt guilty, the other half I figured I had saved her a lot of heartache.
“I thought that name sounded familiar,” Mom said, making a right turn. “Did we ever have him over to the house?”
“No, we didn’t.” Thank goodness. Cade would have no doubt mocked me about our constantly cluttered house. With four kids, it was in a never-ending state of disaster.
Isabel had dragged me to Cade’s house once, for his fourteenth birthday. When we’d knocked on the door and he’d answered, his face had shown how he felt about me tagging along.
“Great birthday surprise,” he called in a sarcastic voice as he headed back into the house, Isabel and I following behind.
“Believe me, I didn’t want to come either,” I’d answered back.
Isabel had hurried to catch up with Cade. Meanwhile, I’d come to a standstill in the entryway. The inside of the house was massive and shockingly white. Even the furniture and decorations were white. Nothing would have stayed white for a second in my house.
I’d turned a slow circle, taking everything in, when Isabel poked her head around the corner and asked, “Are you coming?”
My brothers’ voices brought me out of the memory and back into the car with my family. They were now fighting over a fun pack of M&Ms. “I found it under the seat. That means it’s mine,” Wyatt said.
I pulled out my notebook and got to work on sketching the skirt again. “Hey, Mom, can we get some black thread? I’m out.”
Mom turned onto the main street. “Can it wait until the end of the week? Your dad is finishing up a job.”
My dad was a freelance furniture designer. The amount of work he got could be unpredictable, and so was our family budget. Basically everything about my family was unpredictable.
“Yeah, of course,” I said.
Back home, I stepped over the pile of backpacks just inside the door and made my way to my room. “I’m borrowing the laptop,” I called out to anyone who wanted to listen, and grabbed the computer off the hallway desk.
I walked into my room … Well, half of it was my room. The clean half. The half with fabric samples and color palates pinned to the walls. Not the half with magazine clippings of makeup ideas and cute celebrities. Although I had found myself appreciating that half every once in a while.
But with Ashley not here now, I was free to flop down on my bed and pull up YouTube. I searched for an instructional video for the Blackout song. It wasn’t a well-known song so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find someone teaching the guitar part for it. I had to scroll through several pages, but finally I found one. I positioned the laptop on my dresser.
I kept my guitar stowed under my bed in a hard case. It wasn’t a precaution. With two younger brothers, it was a necessity. I slid it out and opened the case. This guitar, my baby, took me six months to earn. I had given up every Friday night to watch the neighbors’ two-year-old twin boys. They were more difficult than any kids I’d ever watched. And considering the nickname I had for my own brothers, that was saying a lot. But it was worth it. This guitar was everything I’d dreamed it would be. Its tone was perfect. And playing it made me feel like I wasn’t as awkward as usual. It made me feel like there was something I was meant to do. This. It made everything else disappear.
Well, it made everything disappear for a little while. I was positioning my fingers for the first chord when the door to my … our … room slammed open.
“Lily!” Jonah said, running in and sliding to a halt in front of me. “Look! I have a loose tooth.” He opened his mouth wide and pushed on his top right tooth with his tongue. It didn’t move at all.
“Okay, bye!” He was out just as fast as he came in.
“Shut my door!” I yelled after him, but either he didn’t hear or didn’t want to. I sighed, got up, and shut it. Then I focused back on the video and my guitar.