Out of breath, I finally reached my house. It was a little after five o’clock and I knew that I was going to hear an earful from my mom. I decided against being yelled at, so I made my way around the back of the house. I tried pulling on my bedroom window, but forgot that I had locked it earlier that morning. Annoyed, I walked back around to the front of the house where my mom was now standing in the doorway.
“Oh, um... hey mom. You look amazing, did you do something different to your hair?”
Yep, I was done for.
“Don’t give me that shit. Get your ass in this house.” She said sternly.
I always knew when she was serious because she wouldn’t yell, only give us this very stern voice, as if she was already planning our punishments.
“I don’t know why you’re freaking out. It’s only five. It’s not like I was out until two in the morning slinging drugs or prostituting.” I deadpanned.
“Ha, you’d be one broke prostitute.” I heard Brody say from the kitchen.
“Both of you stop.” My mom said, clearly irritated with both of us.
“Cecil, I don’t care what time it is. You are to be in this house at a certain time every day, because it makes me feel better knowing that you’re home and safe. I may seem strict, but I do it all out of love.” She gave me a fake smile and went back into the living room to watch one of her shows.
Well, that could’ve gone worse. I wasn’t going to argue. I made my way into the kitchen, slapping Brody in the back of the head on my way to the fridge.
“You’ll pay for that.”
“I’m shaking with terror.” I said dramatically.
He suddenly got up and started walking over to me, smiling. Before I knew it, I was on the floor in a headlock. Brody seems to forget how small he is, because I managed to squeeze my way out of his grip, before turning around and kneeing him in the groin. He immediately doubled over and yelled out in pain, calling out for our mom.
“Both of you shut up, I can’t hear my show!”
I smiled with victory as I walked to my room, closing the door behind me. I locked it too, just because I knew that Brody liked to play pranks while I’m sleeping.
I laid down on my bed and pulled out my cell phone. I just held it for a little bit, running my fingers over the spots on the phone where his fingers once were. I kept replaying our afternoon repeatedly in my mind, picturing his beautiful face. His deep, brown eyes were engraved into my mind, almost like a tattoo. I tried to imagine what would have happened if I had let him drive me home. I kept thinking, what if we continued jamming to my tunes in his car along the way? Would he have tried to kiss me before I got out of the car? Would he have had the nerve to ask me out on a date? Would he have asked to come inside and meet my family? These questions were like a tornado, spinning around inside my brain. I couldn’t focus on anything other than the “what if’s”.
I had to stop. If I kept doing this to myself, I would eventually drive myself crazy.
I felt my phone vibrate so I pressed the home button to unlock it, bringing the screen to life. It was a text message from Layla.
Layla: Hey girl! Are u finished with ur chores yet? I’m dying for some company.
I responded saying I was finished, but that my mom probably wouldn’t let me leave because it was getting late in the afternoon and I hadn’t had dinner yet. I hated lying to her but because of my visit to the tracks, and being late getting home, I knew I wasn’t going to be allowed to go anywhere.
Layla: Damn. U can always spend the night & ride 2 school with me in the morning?
Oh my gosh. Spending the night at Layla’s house meant that I would be sleeping directly across from Eric’s room. Despite my negative thoughts of everything that could go wrong, I decided to ask my mom anyway.
Me: Um.. let me ask my mom. I will get back 2 u.
I sent the text and got up, heading towards the living room.
My mom was in her normal recliner, sipping on her glass of wine. This was a good start. Normally drinking wine meant that she was in a good mood. If that was the case, I could easily talk my way into being able to stay over at Eri-, I mean Layla’s.
“Mom...” I began, “Do you think that maybe I could sleep over at my friend Layla’s house?”
Just as the words left my mouth, I remembered that I have not yet told her about Layla.
“Who is Layla? You made a friend? How old is she? Is she nice? Is she into drugs or alcohol? I’ll want to speak with her parents. I’m so happy for you! Well, don’t just stand there, get her on the phone!”
Okay. That wasn’t quite the reaction I was expecting.
I answered all of her questions and quickly darted for my room to get my phone.
“What’s the verdict?”
“She said yes, but...”
“What?” She laughed.
“This is going to sound embarrassing, but my mom wants to talk to your parents about it.”
“Cecil, don’t feel bad. All parents do this.”
“I guess. My mom is just really over-protective. That’s all.”
“I’ll go put my mom on the phone, put yours on.”
I made my way back into the living room and handed my mom the phone. Ten minutes went by and my mom finally hung up the call.
“So, is it okay?” I asked nervously.
“Of course. I hope you have fun tonight! Not too much fun though, you have school tomorrow. Go pack up some clothes and I’ll meet you in the car.”
“Mom, you’ve been drinking wine. I can walk.”
“Absolutely not, it’s getting dark out. I’ve only sipped off this one glass, I’m fine. Hurry up now. Grey’s comes on soon!”
I sighed but went back into my room and packed some school clothes for tomorrow, along with my toothbrush and hairbrush. I also made sure to grab some makeup. I grabbed the good stuff from my hidden stash of Cover girl cosmetics stolen out of my mom’s sample boxes.
I was looking over my pajama drawer, when I realized Eric was going to be there tonight. I didn’t want to grab anything childish or too revealing, as I tend to wear really short shorts to bed. It took me almost ten minutes to finally shove a pair of grey sweatpants with a blue tank top into my bag. These were safe and normal looking.
I texted Layla that I was on my way over, and rushed out of the front door, meeting my mom inside the car.
I turned on the radio to the local rock station, and smiled while looking out of the window.
My mom rolled her eyes at my choice of music, but smiled too. She was happy that I finally made a friend. It’s been forever since I went and stayed over at someone’s house. To be honest, I was really excited. I’ll never say that out loud though. Being a dork is something I’m good at, but I wasn’t going to make myself seem lame at all during this sleepover. I had to be cool.
That’s when I remembered Eric. I could feel the nerves getting to me and I tried my best to push them away. I wasn’t going to have an anxiety attack on my way over to the first sleepover I’ve had in years.
I needed to be normal, just for one night.