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Moving's a Merp
“I-slam! -don’t want-slam!-to go!” I shrieked. Slam! “Maybe now you understand how stupid you are.” I say, my eyes watering. Never, in my thirteen years of my life, ever, have I called my mother anything bad, or even impolite. I could see tears in her eyes, too.
I’m dead, I thought. I try as hard as I can to swallow and apologize, but that would mean saying sorry, and I would NOT say that.
Smack! Mother just hit me.
“Bethany Marie Henderson! How dare you!” she said, shocked.
“Well, it’s YOUR fault we have to move! Did you ask for my opinion? Did you ever think ‘Gee, I wonder what my ONLY daughter would say’?” I asked in my loudest voice I have ever used. “Mother, you can hit me all you want, but I will not change my mind. Clear?”
She hurled a shoe at my leg. I just stand there, acting like nothing is happening, when Sperry’s are the hardest shoes in my closet. The shoelaces fall off. You owe me eighty dollars. I will not let my own mother bring me down. Confidence surges through me as I stare at her with a huge lottery-winning grin and ask, “Am I a fly?”
She pulls at her charm bracelet dad got us when we went to California. Looking at the problem, I should have yanked it off, but I love dad and I will not throw ten thousand dollars into the streets. I bet Tiffany jewelry is more important to her than I am. Tiffany 1, Bethany 0.
“I asked you a question,” I sing-song.
“No,” she looks down at her shoes.
“Then why are you swatting me?”
“That’s enough Bethany. Are you an untrained dog?”
“Than what makes you think you can p*ss me off in my own house?” she finishes with a devious smile on her face
I see where I get my comeback charm from.
“Are you the tile floor?” I ask.
“No,” she says.
“Because you’ll get walked over by Jennifer when I tell her your little secret.” Jennifer is in my mom’s book club. Her daughter is my BFFL. I can’t say the secret because for all I know, she could throw her books at me.
“Bethany, come here,” she said, her arms out wide. “I’m so sorry. But it’s what’s best for us. Now come give me a hug.”
“Hug THIS!” I screamed. I threw her hideous shoe at her flat stomach and I sprinted out the front door before she threw it at me. I shoot out of the house just stand. My face feels cold and sticky with tears, my lip quivering. Finally, my legs give up and I fall.
So what if we get more money. I think, sobbing. Money’s not everything. I already have everything I want. I don’t want to go! I feel my eyes starting to shut, but I’m not going into that house, no matter how much my mind is telling me to apologize. I fall asleep.
“You see? We’re here,” Mom says. “It’s not that bad.”
I just stare. That was the worst, THE WORST house I have ever, ever seen in my life. The house was a mucky gray with yellowing grass and weeds. The windows were broken and some rooms didn’t even have windows. The front door was on the floor with some glass. The bushes on the front door were tangled up and twisted in the ground. Just like Mother’s head. I think. The backyard looked like a giant stepped on it because all the flowers were smushed to the ground and there was a huge grassless spot covered up by a dead, fallen tree.
“Am I on George Lopez?” I finally choke out.
“Of course not,” she says
“Because this is not funny!” I scream. “Where are we anyways?”
“We’re somewhere, at least,” she says with a sigh.
“Come on in!” Mother calls gleefully from the house. “Your room is the best!”
I tiptoe in. The house is even uglier on the inside than the outside. All the rooms are painted a guacamole-like green with dead flowers. Ew! If the living room looks like this, I cannot walk into my room. I think. The floor is creaking every time I walk in my new, not ripped Sperry’s. At least she bought me that. Mother was ahead of me, shaking her butt in my Miss Me’s, the ones I had before my diet with the sparkly fleur de lis sign. They used to be my favorites. Now I’m a size two and my pants were sagging every time I walk, so I gave them to her when I should have donated them to some NICE(cough, cough) orphans who need clothes help, not professional help like Mother.. She was wearing a brand new shirt with a house on it. It was the most hideous shirt ever, but in this house, it looked like a million dollars.
“Here we are!” Mother excitedly says. It’s the last room in the narrow hall. She opens the door.
“Aaahhh!” I scream “Ew! Oh my gosh! NO!!”
“Bethany, Bethany!” Mother says.”Wake up!”
What? I think. My eyes flutter open. I’m in our front yard, the one that won’t be ours anymore. It was all a dream. Thank goodness! I think.
Then, I start smiling. Mother stares at me smiling, and then she grins too. Then, without warning, we burst out laughing. We laugh for what seems like forever, until my sides start hurting. Tears rush down our cheeks until we’re on the floor rolling around.
“I’m so sorry,” I say. I feel tears, sad tears coming out again.
“The only way I’m ever going to forgive you is if you put on a happy face for your father when he gets home,” she says, her face hardening. “He’s so happy we’re moving and very stressed out without adding you into the mix.”
“I’ll try,” I say. “But no promises.”
“Ugh! Please tell the movers to SHUT UP!” I scream. It’s such a tragic way to start a Saturday morning, because today, Mother was paying me for not saying anything about the move. I’m supposed to go with Jenny, Jennifer’s daughter. But I cannot, and will not go with dark circles under my eyes.
“MOTHER!” I scream. I slam my pillow on my dresser and a note flies onto the floor. I pick it up.
Father and I went to the mall to buy you a surprise I’m sure you’ll luv times 10. Please do not yell at the workers because they gave us 30% off. LOL! Jenna will be there at 9:30. Have fun!
I roll my eyes at her trying to act like a teenager and stretch on the rug with my two dogs, Mini and Lucky. The names sound weird, but it matches their personality like dark jeans and a white shirt. Mini is mini-sized and Lucky just makes us crack up with how weird she is. She makes washing clothes twice as hard though, if you know what I mean. She’s not very lucky. Either way, I love them equally. I walk to mom’s room and take out five dollars from her Coach wallet. I have to eat! I walk into the kitchen to get in the garage. The dogs follow me into the kitchen because that’s their favorite room. It’s where the treats jar is. They follow me, with their tails wagging and their long Chihuahua ears pulled back.
Then suddenly, Lucky shoots out of the house from the patio door left open and runs to the front yard. Mini follows, a little less enthusiastic than Lucky, and they wag their tails. That means someone was out front. I grab a shovel and creep into the front yard, expecting to find a stalker. But it was just Natalie, my 12 year old neighbor. She’s my best neighbor friend and we walk the dogs together. I see in her eyes that she's mad. Not just I-wanted-peanut-butter-not-turkey-sandwich. More like an I’m-going-to-kill-you look. She’s just standing there, her face wet. I forgot to tell her we’re moving. She’s wearing orange pajamas with frogs and pink socks. Even in bright, happy clothes, her mood looks like the complete opposite. She stiffens when she hears my feet step on a pile of leaves and turns slowly.
“How could you not tell me your moving?!” she screams. Her screams scare the birds on the trees.
“Can you jump hurdles?” I ask, smirking.
“Then get over it!” I shout.
She walks away, pivoting on her toned right leg. She does basketball, track, and wrestling. The third one freaked me out the most, so I didn’t add more than I should have because I could have been her next punching bag. She walked away so fast, she dropped her iPhone. I slide to unlock and see that it does not have a pass code. Ding! I have one of those light bulb moments like in my mom’s Lifetime movies she’s always making me watch to “start valuing you life and thanking that it’s not like the girls in the movie”. Her words, not mine. Natalie’s going to wish she never messed with me. I stomp back in, forgetting about breakfast. Revenge beats Dunkin’ Donuts any day, hands down.
I go in the living room and lock the door, so the nosy movers won’t walk in and eavesdrop on the phone call I was going to make. I dial 10 digits. I dial the 10 digits of the boy of my dreams, Justin Donaldson, the guy who’s brave enough to cut his hair like Justin Bieber without caring what anyone thinks. I dial Justin, Natalie’s boyfriend. I found out 3 seconds ago she’s going out with Justin Donaldson, even when I talked to her for over a year I lo-I mean like him.
Ring, Ring! Pick up. I think. When I think he’s not going to answer, I hear crackly noises
“Hullo? Is it you, snuggly bear?” he asks, yawning. I assume snuggly bear is Natalie.
“Hello Justin! I forgot your nickname. I’m so stupid. Would you mind telling me again?” I say. I let him think Natalie is an airhead.
“You have to know it!” he says snootily. “If not I’m breaking up with you!” he says jokingly.
“Fine, we’re through!” the corners of my mouth curl up evilly. “You were never good enough for me! When did you ever buy anything for me? Why didn’t you buy me a Miss Me like you bought Bethany?” I heard him sigh and imagined him brushing his hand through his adorable hair.
“I did not!” he suddenly roars. “I thought you were The One, but if you think I’m cheating on you, then think as much as your stupid brain can. Only I won’t be cheating on you. You know why?” he finishes, gasping for air
“Why?” I ask, my shoulders shaking from laughter.
“Because we’re through!” Click.
I slam the front door shut and sprint to Natalie’s house to tell her the news. I’m only going to help her feel better, of course.
Ding Dong! I hear muffled footsteps and a huge cry. She opens the door, hitting the wall. She stares at me
“What do you want!” she shouts more than she asks.
“So, how’s your relationship with JUSTIN going?” I smile.
“Great! We’ve been having great dates and MAKING OUT!” she stares.
“Really? Because he just called me on this fancy iPhone I found lying in the streets. He said, and I quote, ‘It’s over!’”
“What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything.” I say. She sighs and smiles.”Yet.”
Her smile goes away and she slams the door at my face. Through the window, I see her run to her room and grab a Pillow Pet. “Baby,” I say. And I walk back home, where Jenna will be waiting.
I slowly walk back home, in case Natalie was behind my back with a hammer. I finish the rest of my walk home sprinting, because on her iPhone I “forgot” to give her, it read 9:00. I only have thirty minutes to get ready. And who can straighten their hair in thirty minutes?
Thirty minutes later, I hear a Ding, Dong! I run to open the door and almost slip on my mom’s magazine. I throw it on the couch and try to finish buttoning my dark Rock Revival jeans. I paired it with a tank top with strawberries on it. We decided to be “fruity” and she should be wearing a tank top with cherries on it. I walk around to the window and look to see if she actually listened. She did. I yank open the door and shriek” Hi!” we hug and I turn to say hello to Mrs. Turner, but she’s gone.
Jenna is wearing the cherry tank top I told her to wear with a dark Miss Me jean with crosses on it. We decided to wear the same sparkly TOMS. She had a new eye shadow color, which made her more beautiful than she already was. If beauty was a flower, she’d be the whole freaking garden!
“You got a new phone?” she asks.
“Um… yeah? What are we waiting here for? Let’s go spend!” I finish screaming.
We run to Mrs. Turner’s car and crank up the volume on the radio. I see mom and dad parking in the driveway. I lower the volume and ask Mrs. Turner if I can go say hi to her. She nods her head yes.
“Mother! Dad! What’s my surprise?”I ask
“We hoped we got here earlier to see the look on your face, but I see Mrs. Turner over there in her car. Just take this box, open it and go. You might need it at the store. Bye!” she speed talks. She walks in with dad and shut the door. I run to the car to show Jenna. I think she would love to see it.
“What did they give you?” she asks when I open the car door.
“I don’t know. Let’s open it!” I cheer.
We lay the Coach box on the cup holder.
“What do you think is in here?” she asks.
“OMG! Is it? Is it the…” I trail off while she opens it.
Her mouth falls open. She taps my shoulder twice. “Look,” she says. She pulls her hand in and pulls out… a purse. Not just a purse, THE purse. THE Coach cross body purse in black. I couldn’t believe what the noodles was happening to me. I unzip the purse to see if it is authentic or a cheap knockoff. It’s real. In it are three hundred dollars with a note that says:
I hope you <3 it as much as I did. It was made just for you.
P.S. There is three hundy dollars in there. Knock yourself out. Literally.
Love, Mother and Father
So that’s why I came home with 1 Miss Me jean with angel wings and a hot pink Delia’s quarter sleeve shirt. With the remaining one hundred and fifty, I bought a light skinny Rock Revival jean with sparkles. The rest was for Ben & Jerry.
While we were in the car going home, she blurts out, “I’m going to miss you!” tears pool in her eyes while she hugs me. I hug her back and give her a present. Not all of the money was for me. She grabs it and tears off the wrapping paper.
“OMG! Thank you!” she stares at me. “I’m really going to miss you.” I got her a Miss Me t-shirt with sparkles and ruffles, because I knew she was going to say she would miss me. Ha! Funny pun. It was such a sweet moment, that I felt like we were in a movie where a girl ends up moving. Only it wasn’t a movie. It was my life.
July & August
Not much, we packed up mostly.
If this month was a movie, it would win an Oscar for Most Dramatic. It really would.
It was the first day of school. September 2, 2011. I walked down to eat home-made pancakes, but all I found was a breakfast bar and a cup of juice. “Where’s breakfast?” I ask dad. He cringes. He knows I’m not happy. He lifts his head out of the L.A Times and says, “What? I thought I left a Special K bar down there.”
“That’s all I found! What about Special Day Pancakes?” I ask.
“No time. The bus comes in thirty minutes.”
“I’m riding the bus!” I shriek. “I cannot ride the bus! It will make me smell stinky!”
“This is not an option, Bethany!” he roars. He only yells at me when he’s very upset.
“Fine,” I huff. I turn on the heel of my new shiny Sperry’s and climb upstairs. I’m wearing the clothes I bought with Jenna and finish straightening my hair.
Once I was done, I opened the door and walked to the bus stop. I halted when I saw two girls with over-eye lined eyes and two guys talking to them. The first guy had a Mohawk, shredded jeans and a tank top. The second guy had golden brown hair, the Justin Bieber way and honey brown eyes. He was the cutest guy I have ever seen in my life. He beats Justin Danielson by a long shot. I feel confidence in my shoes as I walk over.
“Hi,” I say. The two girls stare at me. Both of them had the same floor-length dress and loafers. Seriously, loafers. Even though the Ew-fit was ugly, I still said hi because beyond all that Target makeup, they were beautiful. I guess that’s why guy number 1 was still talking to them when I stretched out my hand so he could shake it. He stares at me with cold eyes and asks, “Where the fudge is you from, prissy girl? No one in Los Angeles ever shakes hands. Here we fist-punch!” he has very bad grammar.
He holds his fist out to Cutie Guy. He nods his head no, stands up, and shakes my hand. “Hi. I’m Nick,” He says. “Nick Hamilton.” I smirk at Mohawk guy. Not everyone likes to fist-punch. “Where are you from?” he asks.
“New York City,” I say with pride and a nose lift.
“Me too!” he says excitedly. “Is that a Miss Me? My mom has that one.”
“Yeah! I like your Rock Revival,” I say. I like you! I wanted to scream.
“Did you get your schedule yet?” he asks.
“Yeah, I got it. I’m in 8th grade.”
“Are you serious? Me too!” he was so excitably cute.
“I guess I’ll see you around,” I finish as the bus comes around the corner.
“Want to sit with me?” he asks. “I just moved here a month ago. I have no friends yet. You’re my first one!” He smiled and brushed his hair with his fingers. He stood up and climbed the stairs, searching for the right seat. When he chose seat 16, I sat beside him. He stared out the window, a sad look in his eyes. I guess he misses his friends. He taps his phone and a text with a heart pops up.
Because of that, mine is broken. I looked at the back of Mohawk guy’s head and held the tears in. that is, until I went into the bathroom, wherever that is. How could he? I was in love! But I really couldn’t blame him. No one that hot was ever single. I told myself lies about how I really don’t need him in my life, but I never believe my lies.
As the bus started screeching, a girl with super long blonde hair swayed onto the bus. She was wearing a black mini-skirt with purple stripes and a black shirt with the words “Do you Miss Me?” in purple swirly font. She was wearing purple TOMS. That was the cutest, most adorable outfit I’ve ever thought of. She stares at me with sparkly, jumpy brown eyes and asks, “Is anyone sitting here?”
“No, I think. Hi, I’m Bethany. And you are?”
“I’m Megan. Are you new?”
“I know this group that would love to take you in. Let me see.” She taps on her phone. “Let me ask Alex. She’s the leader of the crew and she’s the only one that can admit you in. She’s very nice. Now pose!” she snapped a photo. Megan can sure talk a lot, and fast. But she’s the only friend I have right now, except for stab-my-heart Nick, who was probably giggle-texting with his girlfriend about how stupid I was. I feel so upset and lifeless, like Bus Lady’s hair that a tear rolls down my face.
“What’s wrong?” Megan asks. She stares at me with wondering eyes and dries hem off with her Juicy Couture sweatshirt, like the one I have, but in pink. I would have noted that out I wasn’t so sad. I just met him and I feel like I need him in my life. I reply “Um…I just poked my eye with the mascara wand.” I show her my MAC mascara that mother bought me. Then I feel my face turn into a sour look. If it wasn’t for Mother, I wouldn’t be feeling this right now.
The bus screeches to a halt so sudden, my back slammed against the seat. I look out the window to see a huge building. It had plenty of flowers in front for every student, and then some. There were about nine-hundred students in Los Middle School, short for Los Angeles. I grab my Coach purse and my Jan sport backpack and start putting stuff where it goes. Megan grabbed my wrist and fiddles with my charm bracelet.
“I’m sorry!” I say when I notice Nick was waiting for me to move. He smiles and waits behind us. He’s polite, too! I shake off the cute spell and ask him “Do you…” I gulp. “Do you want to come with us?”
“Yes! I want to meet all the cuties!” he says. He pets my hair, or at least that’s what it feels like from behind. “Here,” he says. He hands me a leaf. “This was in your hair. Is your hair really that soft?” He strokes it again. Nick is touching my hair! It took my brain a while to register that.
Then, he lifts his hand away. I feel a tug on my purse and Nick runs off the bus.
“I can’t go with you guys,” he whispers. “I have to check into the office.”He walks away, his face apple red. He likes me! I wanted to fling my arms around him and do a happy dance. But people don’t dance on buses, so I climb off.
“Wait! Bethers!” Megan calls from the crowd. I turn around and try to find her, but all I see are Wal-mart backpacks and Salvation Army price tags. I fling open the cafeteria door and that’s when I saw it. It was the table with about twenty girls. They all had on the clothes I buy and more. They were all blonde but one, with light brown hair that flowed down to bottom of her back. She had eyes as blue as the swimming pool in my backyard and long lashes. She was the girl everyone envied and adored at the same time. That’s Alex.
Megan grabbed me by my purse and snapped me out of my dreams. “I knew you would like Alex. I know someone who likes you, by the way,” she says.
“Who?” I ask. Please let her say Nick, please let her say Nick.
“Nick, obviously,” she says, rolling her honey-brown eyes. “Bethers, who could you not see that Nick loves you!” she finishes the last part shouting so everyone, I do mean everyone, stared at us.
“Yeah?” I say, sounding more like a question. “I love my daddy, too.”
I see that Alex was staring at us. She snaps her fingers and points at the seat beside her. Megan grabs my wrist, yet again, and pulls me over.
Should I wave hi? Or should I shake hands? Will that make me look too East Coast, too prissy? Should I fist-punch like Mohawk dude said Los Angelians do? Or should I…
“This is Bethany,” she says, sounding proud. “Bethany Henderson, also known as Bethers.”
She stares at me weirdly. I notice she’s giving me an once-over, seeing if my clothes are okay. “Are you in P.E or athletics?” she asks.
“P.E” I say.
“Okay you passed that. That means no BO for you!” she says. “Now, take this questionnaire here with us, so we know you’re not cheating on it. You have ten minutes. Ready, set, go!” she says.
In her loopy handwriting it said: From one to ten, how important are friends? How am I supposed to answer that? Was the number 10 good, or bad? I just wrote 7, to be on the safe side. The rest was easy, so I finished in three minutes flat. “Here you go,” I hand her my test.
“Bethers,” she says slowly and carefully. “You are…in!” she says with a squeal. She throws her arms around me. She blows on a pink whistle so loud, I could have gone deaf.
“Everybody listen! This is our new member, Bethany Henderson!” she screams. There is a roaring scream and people are chanting BETHANY! BETHANY! I was looking for one person only, the only person that I love. I see Nick in the chanting crowd, smiling and letting his adorable dimples show.
Suddenly, I was jerked up onto the table. Alex and I started dancing and the crowd got louder. Even the teachers were cheering! Then, out of the blue, someone shouts, “Bethany, you’re hot!” Everyone start laughing instead of cheering. I glance to Nick and see his face fallen. He’s jealous!
“You know it!” I shout. Nick stands up and claps again, love in his eyes. Then, a sudden chirping Riiiiiiiiiing! Mostly everyone leaves, but Nick. He stands there, all alone with a schedule in his hand. He mouths Bethany and wiggles his finger for me to come over.
“I took this out of your backpack,” he says, his dimple going in deeper. “I wanted to know your schedule and I took it. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay. Did you do that-” he cut me off. “When I was playing with your hair,” he finishes off.
“So, shall we go?” I ask him.
“We shall,” he says. He holds his arm out so we could link. We ran around, bumping into strangers we didn’t know and laughing. I just wanted to do this together forever, but I never get what I want. He jerked me into a balding man talking to a teacher.
He grabs my purse and pulls me closer to his face. He has a big sticker on the front of his shirt that says: Hi! Welcome back! I’m Principal Binger?. I gulp louder than necessary and scream.
Nick comes and tries tugs me back. I try to tell him not to, but boys will be boys who don’t listen. “It’s the principal,” I say. He grabs Nick’s backpack and pulls us over to a room. Everyone stares at us as Principal Binger shoves us down the hall while the teachers watch us with pity for being bad on the first day of school.
He opens the door and points at us to sit in two chairs with apples and notebook paper stitched on them.
“What were you two doing?” he asks with anger in his voice.
Nick stands up and says, “It was my fault, Principal Binger. I wanted to walk with Bethany to class and I wanted to shove her. I’m sorry.” He looks down at his at his Jordan’s and tries to make him look like sad puppy eyes.
Principal Binger sighs and says, “Your Bethany? The new girl? I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to yell. I didn’t know you were new. Please don’t sue us,” he pleads.
“I’m not that rich!” I say, stunned. I’m only upper middle class!
“If we compared you to everyone, except Mr. Jordan’s guy over here, your spoiled rich!”
I look at him and stare into his old eyes and say, “I suppose I won’t if, and only if, you don’t give Nick a detention. He’s new and rich, too.”
“Fine, go. Now scram, I have lots of papers to look over,” he says, opening the door for us.
After we walked out, Nick’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “We have the same math class!” he says, color in his cheeks. “Please, pretty please, can you sit with me? Remember, I have no friends.”
“With your trouble issues, you won’t have any,” I try to copy Principal Binger’s voice.
He whacks me in the head. We walk until we get to Mrs. Child’s class. We were ten minutes late when we walked through the door. Mrs. Childs was talking to the class about restroom breaks when she looks up and says, “Hello!”
She was extremely tall and skinny. She wore dark blue jeans stuffed in Steve Madden boots and a ruffled baby pink strapless shirt under a halfway buttoned gray blazer. Teachers were supposed to be dressed in Old Navy light wash flare jeans and tennis shoes, not adorable clothes I would wear. Her hair was black and curly and her skin the perfect light-olive tone. With big brown eyes and small nose, it was a no-brainer why all the boys were drooling over her.
“Are you Bethany?” she asks me. She grabs an attendance sheet with her perfectly manicured hand and looked at Nick. “And are you Nick?”
“Yes we are,” I say. I kick Nick so he could talk, instead of stare. I felt a bit of jealousy.
“We were just talking about how I do not ACCEPT TARDIES!” she screams. I stare at her with my mouth open. Nobody, not even my father ever yells at me.
“Is my birthday on August 22?” I ask.
“It doesn’t say on your record,” she shuffles through her folder stuffed with paper.
“Then why are you treating me like I was born yesterday!” I shout, satisfied. Then, 48 eyeballs turned to look at me. And then a loud laugh came from the back, and everyone erupted into laughing. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw Nick wiping away a tear and laughing. He ran to me and gave me a high-five. When our hands touched, I felt a zap of lightning go right through me.
Mrs. Childs tried to catch her breath and said, “Thank you Bethany, now you may go sit.” Her face was still red while she talked about notebooks.
Pop! I felt something hit my back. I was preparing to say something mean to the person behind me when I saw a piece of paper on the floor. A fat girl with glasses and braces passed me a note. I reached down to pick it up when I saw that Nick did.
“This is for you, I guess,” Nick said. He handed me the note. On the outside of the Hello Kitty square it said, TO BETHERS, in big bold letters. Just like her. I unfolded it and inside it said, Jennifer wants 2 no ur fone #. Jennifer is one of Alex’s friends. Standing at 6 foot 3, she was the tallest girl in the school. She wore a gray sequins Delia’s dress and black TOMS. She has long curly platinum blonde hair with a bow in it.
I looked back at the note and wrote my number. I asked Nick, “Do you like throwing paper?”
He nods yes and stares with confusion. “Why do you want to know?”
“So you can throw this at Jennifer,” I say.
He grabs the note from my Someday by Justin Bieber- perfumed hands and threw it to the very back of the room. He looked at me and said, “You need to return the favor. Meet me after this class.”
During the rest of the period, I wondered what he wanted. Did he want me to ask out someone for him? I hope not. Maybe he just wanted help in math, because we already have homework. The period went by so fast; I didn’t even notice the bell rung. I grabbed my stuff and bolted out the door. Nick was standing there, looking as cute as he did before class ended, maybe even cuter. His hair was shaggier.
“Hi!” he shouts. He bends his finger for me to come over. As I do, I trip on my shoelaces and fall flat on my face.
He laughed. Not a laugh, more of an OMG-I’m-going-to-die laugh. I felt the tears right on the brim of my eyeliner. I couldn’t cry because my mascara would run. So I stood up and asked him, “Were you born on the highway?”
“Because that’s where most accidents happen!” I shout.
I feel depressed, heart-broken, and mad all at the same time. If Nick, the sweetest boy ever, was this mean, then the world is full of jerks. But he does come to pick me up. I feel a shock of energy in me before I find out what’s happening.
Nick is kissing me. Oh my Bieber! It feels like someone put my Justin Bieber limited-edition Just Beats on my ears. I couldn’t feel anything but that moment and that kiss. He pulls back before we can get SOMK (to Jenna, sl*tty open mouthed kiss)
“I can’t do this,” he says. He looks as happy as he sounds, which is not much. His eyes look accused and guilty. “I’m sorry, I meant to tell you but I,” he gulps. “I’m going out with Alex!”
“What!?” My insides were dying. “Then why did you kiss me!”
“Because I…” he gulps again. “I love you”
“Then why are you going out with Alex!” But I already knew the answer. It happened a year ago when Taylor, our leader, went out with Conner. To make a long story short they kissed, he dumped her, and she got so mad that eventually Conner had to transfer schools. He couldn’t take the bullying, the “accidents” and the rumors about him. And Nick didn’t want that to happen either.
“So dumping her isn’t an option,” I say, wiping my mascara smudge. “We could, you know, simply date behind her back if you want to. Since I’m in love with you too,” I finish with a sigh. I can’t believe what I just said. Do I seriously want to date the popular girl’s boyfriend behind her back? No one said love was simple.
He shook my hand. “It’s a deal.”
He gave me a quick peck and ran off into the next class leaving me feeling like the luckiest yet stupidest girl in the whole world.
I walked to next period when I saw Principal Binger. Oh shoot! I was ten minutes late to my Language Arts class. As I walked around, my finger got a paper cut on the posters. I could pretend I had a nosebleed! I grabbed a tissue from the restroom, wiped my finger off, and held it to my nose.
When I got to class, there was a teacher already talking about a Christmas play field trip. As I opened the door, forty-eight eyeballs gave me a once-over I was so used to. Every single boy was giving me the flirt-eye. But none of them looked as nice and cute as Nick does.
“Hi! I’m Beth-” I get cut off when the teacher finishes.
“any Henderson. We were waiting for you,” she finishes for me. Her name was written on the board
“Hi Ms. Martelli!” I say. She looked nice, maybe in her late thirties. I could tell this would be my favorite class.
“Take a seat, anywhere you like,” she points to Alex who was waving her hand like crazy. “I think she wants you to sit by her, and I know your nose wasn’t bleeding,” she whispers. As I go sit down, I get a sick feeling in my skinny stomach. Her boyfriend was cheating on her with me.
The whole class, she let us talk and text. I talked with Alex as she braided my hair. We laughed so hard our sides were burning, and not the dance stretch burn I was used to. “I meant to tell you, but I’m going out with the new hottie, Nick Hamilton,” she says. And just like that, the bell rang.
“Walk down the hall with me,” she says. “I know you’re good friends with Nick. I saw you walk in with him. So I want you to be one hundred and ten percent honest. Do you like him?”
Now’s my chance! I can tell her how in love with Nick I am! All I have to say is yes. I look over to her. She looked like a little kid on Christmas. She has bright, jumpy eyes; cheeks so perfectly rosy that women could spend hours putting on blush just to get that same color. “No,” the words slip out of my mouth before I can catch them. “I don’t like him.”
“Well, then I’m officially going out with him. Eek!” she finishes with a squeal and a happy dance. I started dancing too, so she doesn’t know I like him.
As I walk to P.E., I see Nick. What he does next is so shocking; it’s hard to explain it. He grabbed my arm, shoved me into a janitor’s closet, and closes the door. Just as I’m about to ask him what he was doing, he turned off the light and kissed me again. I was so shocked, I pulled back. It was a light and gentle one, just like him. He pulled me back in, and I didn’t pull back that time. We actually went into SOMK and he gives me one final hug before he runs to the gym. As I run in late (again!) I see girls and boys are in partners. Nick was standing in a circle without anybody else.
“Are you Bethany Hamilton?” a coach yelled at me. He was 20-something, with dirty blond hair shaved off. I nod. “Go stand next to that kid,” he points to Nick. “He’s your sit-up partner. Go!” As I walk over, I see Nick’s dimple go in as deep as the Grand Canyon.
“Hi, sit-up partner,” I say. He grabs my hand for a millisecond, and I feel the warmth rise up to my cheeks again. He points for me to walk to a blue mat.
“You can lie down to do sit-ups first, if you want,” he says.
“Ok, I’ll go,” I say as I sit. He grabs my feet and we wait until the coach blows the whistle.
“So, did you see Alex?” he asks.
“I had her in my last class. She braided my hair, as you can see,” I say, flouncing my hair. “Nick, I feel bad. I feel like I’m hurting her.”
“You only will if she finds out. And nobody needs to tell her, now do they?” he says.
I nod, the guilt getting bigger and bigger in my heart. I felt so bad, I could cry right there. But I looked over to Nick, and I remembered why I’m doing this. I’m doing it for a sweet, cute, and funny boy.
After we do fifty push-ups a piece, we sit and text while the coaches talk about running shoes. The conversation was very awkward:
Nick: Do you really lollipop me?
Nick: Look at the first two letters. Look at me. What does it mean?
I mouth like? He mouths back love. I nod yes. Then, the bell rings out as it echoes across the gym. He holds his hand out to help me stand up. As I do, I see he has the cutest nails ever.
If I had any doubts about going out with him, I don’t anymore. I’m going to go out with him behind Alex’s back.
2 weeks later
I wake up the next morning with special-day butterflies in my tummy. I roll over to check the calendar on my phone. I donated Natalie’s phone and bought another iPhone. It is my birthday. I didn’t know until I saw my messaging was full of “happy birthday” texts. I had texts from people I didn’t know! I looked at the one I wanted to see the most and smiled. Nick sent me a text saying Happy Birthday, my lollipop?. I stood up and got ready for school.
When I opened the door, Nick was standing outside with some five-hundred roses. And I’m not exaggerating.
“One rose for every time I thought of you,” he said, on his knees. That was the sweetest thing any of my boyfriends have ever done, and I’ve had twenty. “Shall we go to the bus, my lollipop?” he stretches his hand out. He looked at me with big, bulging eyes and said, “Oh my, you look hoter than you did before! You better not cheat on me.”
The bus came to a halt as I got to the stop, with Nick in front. As I walk on, I see I made the right clothes choice. A Delia’s shirt that says “Free Hugs” makes it look like I’m giving the people a present on my birthday. My hugs are worth a lot; just ask Nick. A quarter-calf black ruffle skirt made my hugs worth a whole lot more. My feet were in silver flats with sparkles. All the boys were staring at my curled blond locks and I felt Nick’s hand tense up. It was perfect. I guess what really made mouths drop was my face. I wore lots of makeup mom bought me while making it look natural. Smoky eye shadow, penciled and liquid eye liner, mascara, foundation, blush, liquid foundation to hide my nose pimples and I highlighted my cheekbones. I looked like an airbrushed model.
“All the boys are staring at you,” Nick whispers.
“Be jealous,” I say. Then I laugh a little giggle.
As we sit together, I realize my skirt is short; too short. So short that my panties dropped in to say hi, if you know what I mean. I pinched him so he could see the problem. His eyes popped open like a bug and his shoulders shook with a stifled laugh. He shrugged and stared, a bit too long. I smacked him, and that’s when he burst out laughing. He was laughing so hard, his eyes started dripping.
His tears ran down his face, and it left a streak, a makeup streak.
“Are you wearing male makeup?” I asked.
“What?” he said, almost whining. “I needed to dress up for you.”
I smile with satisfaction as I plug in my headphones to my iPhone. He grabbed a headphone and went through all my songs. He always had one rule, and that was “Absolutely No Justin Bieber!” but since today was my birthday, he played one song. We sat silently, bopping our heads to Justin.
After we got off the bus, he gave me a good-bye kiss.
All I can say is that kiss ruined my life.
“How could you?!” shrieked Alex. Tears were running down her face, her face red. She did not look happy. She walked very calmly, and that made me relax.
Smack!! There was a noise, and I realized Alex slapped me! My face was burning, my mouth was bleeding, and so I got up and did what any mature person would do. I walked up to her and pulled out her clip-on extensions while shouting, “Look at this fake! She’s so fake she makes Barbie jealous!”
She tackled me to the ground, and went to kick Nick. I was crying, bloody, and grass-stained. I got up and sprinted full force at her. I grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “Look Alex, I know what I did was wrong, but Nick had nothing to do with it. I forced him to do that. Punish me instead!” I finish shouting.
“Bethany, no!” Nick shouts. Then, the world went black.
“Seems to be a minor concussion,” says a voice, one I’ve never heard before. I couldn’t move. I felt trapped. Then the fight came back in my head. I shiver, and that’s when they crowded me. I opened my eyes to see two doctors, my parents, and Nick holding a teddy bear bigger than him.
I screamed. This was just too confusing. Why am I in here? Where am I? I want answers.
“What happened?” I ask. My head hurts so bad, I can’t even sit up. Then, instead of answering my question, they ask me theirs. What my name is, my birthday, blah blah blah.
“I want to talk to Nick,” I manage. “Privately.” Immediately, everyone walked out as Nick sat on the corner of the bed.
“I know you want to know what happened after. Here it is, every single word by scary word. Alex ran to you, and slammed you to the concrete. You were bleeding, I was crying, and that’s when Alex realized I cared about you, you know, more than friends. So she came at me and told her group of friends to help her. No one walked forward. Not even Megan. During the school day, almost everyone said you were the next leader, and Alex was more out than a winter coat.”
“You’re in the hospital because you got a concussion. A little one,” he tries to show with his fingers. “You know how they say, things happen for a reason? She dumped me. I was so glad. I thought ‘I could finally be with her’; a little tear came out. If this didn’t happen, I could never call you mine.”
“But I’m scared,” he says. “What if I just end up falling in love with someone else and I end up being one of your exes?”
“Yeah,” I say. “I will love another boy, and he’s going to call you, ‘daddy’.” I finish, winking and red.
He grabbed my head and pulled me in for a kiss. That’s the first time I could do that without feeling guilty. We stayed there for three minutes, until my dad came and shooed him out.
“Mommy, let’s go!” Alex said, pulling my arm towards the car. Alex is turning four, and you don’t need to ask him twice to go shopping for cake. His little boy arms threw me into the car.
“Bye Nick!” I shout as I drive away. “Take care of Megan!”
As I look at the hats, I see a woman. She was pretty, with dark brown hair and she looked about my age.
Alex came back up to me. “Mommy, come on! If we don’t go, I’m calling you by your long name only.”
I told him to shush, because everyone at the store was staring at us.
“Fine, I’m calling you that, Bethany HAMILTON!” he shouts. The pretty woman’s head popped up.
“Did he call you Bethany Hamilton?” she asked me. I nod. “I think I know you. And I hated you.”
“Oh my gosh! You’re Alex!” I scream, remembering her.
“Yeah, I kind of want to apologize for giving you a concussion,” she said.
“It’s okay. Come on, Alex,” I say.
“I’m busy,” she says.
“Not you! I meant my boy. I named him after you.”
We hug goodbye, but not before I give her my phone number.
When I come home, Nick comes and we have a long talk about what we’re about to. It breaks our hearts, and it’s going to break his even more. He has so many preschool friends.
“Sweetie, I know what we’re about to say may hurt, but be nice,” I say.
Nick and I look at each other and say, “We’re moving to New York.”
Terrible twos; more like forbidden fours. He threw a tantrum and hit me and Nick.
“You never know,” I say. “This move might make your life…perfect.”
Nick and I kiss, knowing what I meant. Knowing what my mom meant the time she told me we were moving. He says ew, and who knows. He might have a little sister coming soon.