P.S. I Like You(9)

By: Kasie West

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Don’t be a brat. I’m trying to help.”

I took my hands off my face and looked at her. “I know.”

“Tell me about the competition.”

I propped myself up on my elbows. “It’s through the Herberger Institute,” I began.

Isabel gasped, her dark eyes widening. “Oh wow. That’s really prestigious, Lil!”

I nodded and tugged on a split end of my hair, feeling nervous. “I know. Anyway, there’s a five-thousand-dollar prize, which would be so amazing, of course. But even better, the winner gets a three-week course with one of the professors.”

Isabel smiled. “That’s huge. Knowing a professor could help with admissions, right?”

I nodded. I was trying not to think too much about this fact. Not only would winning the contest get me some money to help pay for college, something my parents couldn’t afford to do, but it might help me get into the college music program that I’d been dreaming about for years.

“So share something with me. One song idea, at least?” Isabel pointed to my green-and-purple notebook that sat on top of my overnight bag on the floor.

I felt a wave of shyness and shrugged. “I have a couple ideas. I need to make them better. I do want to share, just not right now.”

She rolled her eyes then stood up to change into her pajamas. “Chicken.”

I threw one of my socks at her then collapsed back on her bed again, the ceiling poster taking over my view. She was right. I was a total chicken. “I think Einstein is judging me.”

“He probably is. Maybe he read your notebook.”

I laughed and went to get my own pajamas from my bag.

Isabel changed the subject so I didn’t have to. “One movie tonight or two?” That was code for “how long should we stay up?”

I smiled. “Two. We have all night.”

My phone buzzed against my thigh and I sat up on Isabel’s pullout couch, disoriented for a moment. The television hummed blue in front of me. Pale morning light shone through the cracks of the blinds. My phone stopped buzzing, then ten seconds later began again.

“Hello?” I answered groggily.

“Lily.” It was my dad. “Your brother’s last soccer game is today. I know you said you wanted to go to one. Just wanted to give you the opportunity.”

“What time is the game?”

“At eight. As in, thirty minutes from now.”

I yawned. Isabel and I hadn’t fallen asleep until after three a.m. But I tried to pull myself together. “Yes, I want to go.”

“Okay, I’ll pick you up on the way in twenty minutes.”


“Who was it?” Isabel moaned from her bed. She sat up, her normally perfectly spiraled black curls smashed flat against her head.

I tried to tame my own hair, which always became more crazy curls than soft waves in the mornings.

“My dad. Go back to sleep. I have to run.”

“What? Why? What about pancakes?”

“Next time. Thing Two has a soccer game I forgot about.”

“He always has a soccer game.”

“I haven’t been to one yet this year. I promised him I would.”

Isabel plopped back down on her pillow, her eyes already closed. “Okay. See you Monday.”

It took me four minutes to see it on Monday. I had unloaded my book, pencil, and single sheet of paper. Mr. Ortega had begun his lecture. My eyes went to the lyric I had written on the desk Friday. That’s when I saw a line beneath mine written in blocky handwriting.

For the night will soon bring back its shadows.

It was the next line of the song. What? I was confused. Someone else that went to this school had actually heard one of my favorite indie songs? Apparently I wasn’t the only one bored in this class.

I smiled and then quickly wrote beneath the line:

Blackout rocks. I want to be Lyssa Primm when I grow up. I’m impressed you know them.

I wondered how often the janitors wiped down these desks. That message probably wouldn’t even make it to its intended target. It didn’t matter, though; just knowing someone else in this school had excellent taste in music made me happy. I wondered if I knew them. Morris High wasn’t a small school. But only the juniors used the Chemistry room—which ruled out the person I would’ve thought of right away—Lucas. He seemed like he might’ve been just as into obscure bands as I was. But he was a senior. That was just wishful thinking anyway. The odds it was someone I knew were low.

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