“Hey.” Whit punches my shoulder playfully. “You’re always the one who stays in the right frame of mind so I can let loose. It’s about time I returned the favor. Besides, you never know who might be at this little swaree.”
Blood rises to my cheeks. I’m blushing. And I’m thankful that it’s dark out because I’m certain I look like a ripe tomato. “He probably won’t be there.”
“Oh, I’m gonna bet he will be,” she teases. “He’s in college. It’s a college party. And from the way you’ve described him in the past, he doesn’t sound like you and he have the same agenda when it comes to fun.”
Whitney knows so much about Drake I’m sure she feels like she knows him already. I tell her anything and everything about him. Every time I saw him in the past years I called her. Told her what he did. Asked her what his actions meant. I’m clueless when it comes to guys and their flirtations or hidden innuendos.
“So. Even if he is there it doesn’t mean he’s going to talk to me. Or maybe he’s finally forgotten me all together.”
That’s a lie. I know he hasn’t forgotten me. Last summer I actually spent time with him. Like apart from me seeing him at random and him calling me “kid.” He still called me “kid”, but last year he actually stuck up a conversation with me a few times. One of the times, I had gone into town to the local CD shop and he brushed past me as I was walking through the door. He stopped mid-step when he saw my and spun around. “Fancy meeting you here, kid.”
He flashed me a brilliant smile and my heart hammered against my ribcage. I could feel it beating everywhere. In my throat. In my ears. Even in my temples. And then I bashfully looked at the floor. “Yeah…eh. Fancy.”
My insides were a mess. Finger paints. Red, blue, and green on a toddler’s hands smeared on the wall mess. I couldn’t even mumble coherent words.
When I lifted my head. He glared at me with a puzzled look. A look I had memorized over the last three years because it was one of my favorites. I loved his puzzled look. Where he’d scrunch his eyebrows together and bite his bottom lip just the slightest bit. “Huh?”
I swallowed hard and fidgeted with my fingers. “Nothing. Never mind.”
“So.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of his board shorts and rocked back and forth on his heels. “You enjoying your vacation so far?”
“Yeah. It’s vacation. What’s not to enjoy?”
He smirked. “Very true.”
Sydney appeared next to him and gave him a peck on the cheek. “I’m ready to go, babe.”
He smiled at her lovingly and my heart sank. Sydney flashed me a sincere smile. “Hi again. Having a good summer?”
I nodded, but didn’t respond because I was afraid if I did Sydney would hear the fractured emotion in my voice.
During that moment all I wanted to do was run to one of the corners in shop, crouch down, and cry. And I couldn’t help but despise, Sydney. I knew I had no reason to because she was so nice. It wasn’t a fake nice either. She was genuinely nice and I’d witnessed her kindness on a few occasions when she’d help an elderly person across the road, hold doors open for people, or even cover an extra for shift for another one of the lifeguards. Mom always says that genuine people are hard to come by and it’s because of that, that I couldn’t hate her all-together.
What I didn’t like the most about Sydney is the fact that she was perfect, too perfect. With her shiny, black patent leather hair, proportional symmetrical smile, clear olive skin, and her perfectly applied Ruby Roo MAC lipstick. More than anything I was jealous because girls like Sydney; the perfect girls, seemed to always get everything. Once, just once I wanted everything.
And to me, that everything was Drake.
“I am thanks.” I smiled back, trying to be genuine, but inside I’m shrieking at the top of my lungs and thinking about how I’d like to claw at Sydney’s face, damaging her Neutrogena clear, skin.
“I’m sure we’ll see you around, kid,” Drake said.
“Bye,” Sydney said, adding a small wave.
Just as they turned to walk away I watched Drake lean in and plant a kiss on the side of Sydney’s head with his full pink lips. At that moment, I had to look away. Witnessing that loving gesture between them was more than I could handle.
For the longest time after he saved my life, I thought about the way his lips felt against mine. The soft, gentle brush of warmth that followed him pumping life back into me. I remember how the heat from his mouth seared through me like shishcabob’s being cooked on a charcoal grill. I never forgot the way his lips felt against mine because that memory was the only thing that got me through that moment outside the CD shop in one piece.
Whit nudges into me and the flashback returns to a nook in my brain. “So the party tomorrow? Yay or nay?”
“Yay,” I mumble softly.
It’s about time that I stop with all the wall-flower bullshit. I’m a shadow lurking in the darkened corner of a crowded gymnasium. I’m always waiting and watching. I’m always hovering against the wall praying that someone will ask me to dance while some other random person is having their moment.
And I’m getting sick of it.