Riptide

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Chapter 5

The bell rang as I ran to the band room, hoping to get there before anyone else but it was too late. The line moved incredibly slowly as I waited for my turn to unlock the locker and take my giant instrument home. Once I had it, I carefully pushed my way through the crowd of congratulations hoping not to hit anyone’s knees with the instrument as I weaved my way through the large crowd over to the lunch tables, where I usually sat with Chloe and talked while waiting for the bus to arrive, but this time I dodged questions about Peter the way an ant might dodge a magnifying glass on a summer day. I knew she could tell the one thing I couldn’t even admit to myself. Chloe was the kind of person who jumped right into things, never hesitating or waiting for the right moment. For her, nothing was awkward. It was all just what was happening right then and there and it was all beautiful.

Finally, she gave up and instead suggested we play a game of “truth or dare.” I stupidly agreed, hoping it would take her mind off of it. “Truth or Dare?” she asked.

“Truth,” I said without hesitation and falling right into the open jaws of her geniusly simple trap. I tried to change my idiotic answer which would cause my own downfall but she wouldn’t allow it. I was faced with an inevitable demise of my own making.

She smiled from ear-to-ear at her victory before asking the dreaded question, twirling her curly orange hair around her pointer finger and savoring my terror. “Do you like Peter?” she asked finally, despite clearly knowing the answer.

“No.”

“It’s called truth or dare. You can’t lie.”

“Fine,” I said, beginning to mess with my necklace.

“Do you?”

“Maybe.”

“What do you mean, maybe?”

“I mean maybe.”

“But it’s a yes or no question. Do you or do you not like Peter?”

“Yes, fine. I like Peter. Happy?”

She nodded vigorously as the school janitor walked up to the tables and told us the bus had arrived.

She and I walked onto the bus and sat down where I was faced with the torture of listening to Chloe gossip and squeal the entire ride home.

My mind began to wander. I had looked away for a few seconds before realizing Chloe had texted both her parents and mine and was coordinating with them for a sleepover on Friday. I rolled my eyes and decided it was best to allow her to get this out of her system before she accidentally said something to Peter. Finally, the large yellow vehicle came to a halt and the doors flew open once more as I rose from my seat. I practically ran down the steps before walking quickly home. Chloe yelled her farewells and all I could do was wave back, my face burning with embarrassment. My heart skipped a beat when I could see my large, sunshine yellow house with blue double doors, shutters, and flowers along with roses of every color, tulips, and daisies. I entered my passcode and stepped through the doors where I was greeted by my fourteen-year-old sister, Charlie, who asked me if I had forgotten. I had no clue what she was talking about.

“Forget what?” I asked.

Charlie sighed and held up my swimsuit. “The sailing trip.” I could feel my eyes bulging out of my skull as I idiotically tripped over my own words. “Just put this on and don’t tell Dad you forgot,” she said, handing me the white top covered in every letter of the alphabet. “You know this is the one thing he likes about California,” she finished. I thanked her and rushed upstairs, carrying my instrument and backpack on one side of my body and my swimsuit on the other.

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