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My Little Summer Lie
“So, Riley, I heard you’re going by the name Taylor these days!”
Mrs. Green twisted her body around from the passenger’s seat to grin at me. Her blonde, Guido poof illuminated in the passing streetlights.
“Jessie!” I exclaimed, “You told your mom about Dex?”
Jessie giggled but didn’t take her eyes of the road. She got her permit only a few months ago but she was already a smooth driver. Jessie’s been a fast learner for as long as we’ve been friends. Many people resent her for it. Pretty and smart? It’s not fair that she gets to be perfect. When we arrived at the mall and waved goodbye to Mrs. Green, Jessie turned towards me.
“So, can we talk about your little fling in Long Beach Island?”
That’s another thing about Jessie, she calls everything little, even when it’s not.
I groaned, “I already told you everything!”
Jessie rolled her eyes, “Yeah, but everyone knows it’s, like, totally different to talk about it through text then in person!”
I sighed, “Fine. What do you want to know?”
Jessie gave me a quick look-over. I could tell she was thinking what Dex’s first impression was of me. I knew she’d do that, so I had straightened my long, layered, black hair and applied a perfect amount of eyeliner. Then, I wore my favorite shirt, a purposely loose, gray tee and Sophie shorts. I’ve never obsessed with the way I looked. Everyone says that Indians are always pretty, but I don’t agree with that. Still, I’m not a stunner like my sister or a troll like my bratty little cousin (Okay, maybe I’m being a little biased). I’m in the middle. Plain Jane. Whoop-de-do.
“Like, was he good?” Jessie asked.
“I don’t exactly have anyone to compare him to, remember?”
When I had first sent the text to Jessie about the hot lifeguard I met at the beach, my mind was set that our conversation would end with me breaking the news. That Dex and I hooked up. Twice.
Now, I’m starting to regret that decision. What if I never sent that text? Jessie has never shown an interest in my life before, mainly because of the lack of Y chromosomes involved with it. The fact that she suddenly wants to know every last detail about my trip highlights my friend’s sad obsession with all things boy.
Suddenly, Jessie threw her arms around me, “I’ve missed you, like, so much Riley! Can you believe this was the first time we saw each other all summer?”
Another thing about Jessie, she loves hugs.
“So, back to Dex the lifeguard…” She continued.
I sighed but Jessie led me into the nearest store and kept on talking.
“Does he have, like, a Facebook?”
I knew this question was going to come up, I mean who doesn’t have a Facebook these days? If I said he didn’t my friends would think he was a freak but if I told them he did they’d want to look him up, and that couldn’t happen.
“Probably, but I can’t exactly request him on Facebook, can I? I lied about my name. He thinks my name is Taylor, remember? Not Riley!”
“Oh yeah.” She put down a pair of size double zero, skinny jeans and pouted for a moment, “Why didn’t you, like, tell him your real name?”
Why? Probably something to do with the fact that I am a pathological liar. Nobody is safe from my lies. Including my friends.
“I was embarrassed! When he was lifeguarding at the end of the waterslide and I fell of my tube, he was about to die of laughter!”
Jessie giggled, “And then when he was at that other slide, you tripped right in front of him! And landed on your face!”
“Exactly. So when he asked me for my name I had to lie! To cover up my identity!”
“Don’t worry Riley.” Jessie smiled, “Someday you’ll look back at this entire situation…”
“And laugh.” I finished for her.
“Exactly.” She picked up the tiny jeans again, “I think I’m going to try these on.”
“You don’t have to, they’ll fit.”
The rest of the shopping trip, thankfully, was Dex-talk free. Instead, Jessie was gushing about her latest hookup, a football player named Toby Stevens.
“He is, like, so sweet. I am so happy!”
“That’s great, Jess.” I mumbled.
I silently wondered how long it would take until Jessie screwed that up, too. Almost every boy in our school has a crush on her. Still, she always misses her chances with the good ones by chasing after the jerks. The best relationship she had was with her best friend, Nick Reardon. It lasted a week. She hooked up with a boy, James, who flirted with her until the day after they kissed. Then, his texts mysteriously stopped. But, it didn’t matter, Jessie had already moved on to someone else.
When Mrs. Green dropped me off I collapsed on my bed, shut my eyes, and thought about Dex. I had sent that text to exactly two people. Jessie and Hayden. I knew Jessie would probably inform the entire town of my “little fling”. Isn’t that why I sent it? To tell the truth, I don’t really know why I did it. Sure, I was tired of being the only one, either then Hayden, who had never kissed a boy. And I was annoyed when my friends acted better then us when they bragged about their boyfriends.
Still, I regret it.
Then, my cell phone buzzed with a text message. It was Hayden, my best friend in the whole world.
“Mind if I come over? I’m all alone at home :(” It read.
I texted back, “Sure, see you soon!”
At first, I wasn’t sure how Hayden was going to react to Dex. She always complained about how she’d never kissed a boy and convinced herself she probably never will. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hayden to death, but she’s definitely a downer. She thinks she’s ugly, fat, dumb, and the list goes on and on. I, being her loyal best friend, always defend her. I tell her she’s not ugly and that the entire school is jealous of her long, perfect legs. If I’m being brutally honest, her eyes are a bit too small and her nose is a tad too big, still I think that contributes to her unique look. Unlike Jessie, who looks like every cute girl in a mini skirt and Uggs, Hayden is exotic looking. And she is not dumb; she’s just behind everyone else. In seventh grade she had to go all the way to Florida for a liver transplant. It saved her life but made her miss out on school. She had a tutor but she still fell behind.
I heard the doorbell ring and rushed downstairs. I cheerfully greeted her and we walked up to my room. I could see the Dex related questions in her eyes, but she didn’t bring it up herself. We hung out and talked like usual; unlike Jessie, Hayden didn’t treat me any differently after hearing the news about Dex.
To tell the truth, I thought she would. I thought she’d talk about being the only one left in our entire friend circle who hasn’t kissed a boy. I thought she’d start ragging on her looks. I thought she’d complain. I really should have given her more credit.
Somehow, yet inevitably, the topic of Dex came up. That’s the way it is when I’m talking to Hayden. One conversation merges into another and soon we were at my summer fling. It was different when Hayden discussed it than it was when Jessie did. We debated whether it was serious or just casual. We wondered if he could come to Seaside Heights in August when we went to Hayden’s beach house.
The way we talked about Dex gave him emotion. It made me feel emotional about him. I could picture is shiny, black hair and his deep blue eyes. I could laugh while telling Hayden of his incapability to play carnival games. I could gush about kissing him on the Ferris wheel. I could remember every detail of that perfect night.
And by remembering, it made me forget – almost forget – that I had made it all up.