All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Winter (Chapter Two)
Monday, November 22nd
“Pass the pepper,” Mark says. I hand it to him.
“Pizza is perfect without pepper,” Meg scoffs. “I don’t know how you two do it.” I grin as Mark hands me back the pepper, and I purposely put more on it to spite Meg. She scowls. “Seriously. Pizza is an American classic. It consists of sauce, cheese, and bread. Nothing else.”
“Except pepper,” Mark says, laughing.
“And sausage,” I say, rearranging the meat on my slice. Meg wrinkles her nose and takes a large bite out of hers.
“You people are crazy,” she insists, eating in silence. Me and Mark share a knowing grin, and follow her example.
The bell dings as someone walks in, and I see Kyle, coming in alone. He brushes the snow off his black jacket, and when he sees me, he smiles and waves. I wave back.
“Who’s that?” asks Mark, instantly jealous.
I laugh at his reaction. “That’s Kyle Nickolson. He just moved into the tiny house on the same road as me. We met not that long ago.”
“Oh.” Mark watches Kyle as he orders his pizza at the counter.
“He’s cute,” Meg notes, staring at him.
“I guess,” I allow, looking him over again. “Not really my type, though.” Mark smirks and leans back in his chair.
“I’m gonna go say hi,” Meg decides, standing up, but Kyle is coming over to us.
“Hey, Sara James,” he says. “Hey, Sara James’ friends.”
“Nice to meet you,” Meg says. Mark nods in his direction and gets up to get himself another slice of pizza.
“That’s my brother,” she adds, watching him go. “I’m Meg, Sara’s best friend since second grade.”
“Long time,” Kyle notes, staring at me. “Still wanna get together this weekend?” he asks me.
“Oh, yeah,” I say. “Definitely.”
“Cool,” he says. “See you then.” He walks up to get his pizza, and Mark comes back.
“Is he gone?” he jokes, taking his seat across from me again.
“Oh, shut up,” I say, grinning at him. “No reason to be mean.”
“They have a date this weekend,” Meg blurts out. Mark looks at me, furious.
“It’s not a date!” I tell her. “We’re just gonna hang out.”
“Which,” Meg points out. “When you’re seventeen, is a date. And the way he said it, it sounded like you guys were going on a date this weekend, not having a play date.”
“There’s no more play dates, Sara!” Mark says angrily. “There’s dates, and then there’s girls having sleepovers. And I see the way you looked at him.”
“I don’t like him!” I insist, but Mark gets up and leaves, his half-eaten slice of pizza sitting on his plate. “I don’t!” I yell as he slams the door. Then he whips it open again, fury written across his face.
“And forget being my girlfriend. You don’t deserve me.” Then he runs.
I glare at Meg. “See what you’ve done?” I choke out, then run after him, but he’s already biking away. I immediately pull out my cell phone. ‘Mark, I’m sorry. It’s not a date, really.’
I get on my bike and slowly pedal home. When I get there, my mom’s waiting for me. “Did you guys get into a fight?” she asks.
I frown. “Who? Why?”
“You and Meg,” she says patiently. “She called and asked if you were home yet. She wanted to talk. Sounded upset.”
“Yeah,” I snarl. “She should be upset.”
Mom raised her eyebrows. “Why?”
“I finally got Mark to ask me out, but then Meg acted like this new kid Kyle and me were going out this weekend, and really he just wanted to see the inside of this house! We’re just friends, and Meg knows that, but she had to go and ruin it for me. Probably because she didn’t want me to spend more time with her brother than with her.” I sigh, having let it all out, but I’m still mad. “I’ll be in my room.” I start to head up the stairs.
“Meg wanted you to call her back.”
I turn and face her. “I’ll think about it,” I say, and close my door, falling onto my bed and staring at the ceiling. I send Meg a text, ‘You just had to ruin everything.’
‘I’m sorry! Call me.’
‘No. I’m very mad at you. I’ll call u if u tell mark what really happened.’
Several minutes later, I got a text from Mark. ‘Is it true that your not really dating tht kyle guy?’
‘Does that mean you forgive me?’
‘Will u go out with me?’
Forgiven, I pull out a book from my bookshelf and settle down to read undisturbed. I was supposed to read at least three chapters from The Outsiders over winter break, and I’m hoping to get that done today. I’m a fast reader. I can do it.
Then the doorbell rings. Thinking it’s Mark, I jump up and run to answer it, beating my mom. But it’s not Mark. It’s Kyle.
“Hey,” he says, almost apologetically.
“Hi,” I say. “Couldn’t wait until this weekend to see my house?” I joke.
“I heard you got into a fight with your friend,” he says without preamble.
“How’d you hear?” I demand.
“Megan told me.” He shuffled his feet. “She also asked me out.”
My mouth drops open. “She did what? What did you say?”
“I said no.”
“Why?” I ask, shocked. I didn’t think anyone had ever said no to Meg before. She was pretty, with long, flowing blond hair and long lashes, not too tall, not too short.
He shrugged. “She’s not my type,” he said, leaning against the frame. His eyes scanned the house behind me. “It’s not disappointing,” he says. I glance behind me. He’s admiring the framework around the wide entrance to the kitchen.
“I’d let you in, but the house is a mess,” I say, shrugging. “My mom would have a fit.”
“Our house is empty,” he says. “So a house with anything in it at all seems wonderful to me.”
“Where are you staying?” I ask curiously. He gives the name of a hotel in town, probably the cheapest one within twenty miles. “Ah,” I say. “So why’d you stop by?”
“Just wanted to make sure you and your friend were okay,” he says. “And if you ever need anything…” He stretches his arms out wide, an inviting gesture. “I’m here.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“No prob.” He glances around again. “Well, I’d better be going. You still up for this weekend?”
“You’ve asked me that three times in the past two hours,” I say, laughing. But he stands there, deadpanning me, until I sigh. “Yes. I still want to get together this weekend.”
“Cool.” He gives me a warm smile, which I return without thinking. I watch him leave, and suddenly realize how happy his presence makes me.