Chapter 2 | Evil Toaster
“Liam! How many times do I have to tell you to refill the toilet paper roll when you use the last of the old one? This isn’t even your bathroom and I still have to clean up after you!” I shout with a glare before I slam my bathroom door shut.
It’s the first day back to school after Thanksgiving break, and I already want to call in sick.
If there is anything I hate more than empty toilet paper rolls, it’s school.
Most girls excel in school, you know because we’re obviously smarter than boys, but me? I will be lucky to graduate high school at this rate.
My grades are decent, but they could be better. I’m definitely not applying to Harvard or Yale anytime soon.
“Quit whining, you baby!” I hear Liam shout as he passes my bedroom and continues down the hall and down the stairs.
I roll my eyes, but continue getting ready anyway.
After my shower, I blow dry my hair. It’s 6:30 in the morning, and I’ll be damned if I walk outside in this weather with wet hair. Even having the sniffles is enough to put me on edge, seeing as how that’s what started with my mom.
Not wanting to participate in life today, I settle for a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and a white sweater. After I pull on socks and my white pair of Converse, I snag my phone from the charger and head down stairs.
After walking into the kitchen to find Liam struggling with the toaster, I went over to my bag on the table and pulled out my tube of raspberry Chapstick. Nothing is worse than chapped lips.
“Would you like some help, brother dearest?” I tease with a raised eyebrow.
“God, yes!” He sighs while stepping away from the toaster. “That thing is evil.”
“Maybe.” I say while looking at it. “Or, you know, you could try plugging it in.” I smirk as I hold up the unplugged toaster cord.
Liam’s blue eyes turn to slits. “Whatever”, he mumbles before placing two pieces of toast into the toaster and pushing the lever down.
“I believe you mispronounced the words, thank you.” I laugh.
“No trust me; I got it right the first time.” He sarcastically smiles.
“Hurry up, I’ll be in the car.” I say while grabbing the car keys from the key hook next to the door.
“Not having breakfast?”
“Well I was going to ask you for some toast, but then we would be here all day and would miss school.” I smile warmly, though I’m sure Liam didn’t find it charming in the least bit. “Actually, go ahead and make me some toast.” I smirk, realizing that missing school wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
“Just go get in the car.” Liam sighs before his toast pops up and causes him to jump slightly.
I would say goodbye to dad, but he’s already gone for work. He leaves every day at 5am sharp. He’s so punctual it scares me sometimes. He doesn’t even use a planner or anything.
By the time Liam makes it outside and into the car, the heat is going full blast, which I’m sure he’s grateful for.
“I can’t wait for spring and summer. This winter cold is driving me insane.” Liam comments as he carefully balances his napkin of toast on his leg, while trying to pull his seatbelt on.
“You’re vacuuming this car tomorrow.” I sigh while pulling out of our driveway.
“What? The car is spotless.” He scoffs while taking a bite out of his toast.
“The crumbs on the floor, would beg to differ.” I roll my eyes as I start to head down the deserted road.
“You’re such a neat freak. I wonder where you get that from.” He says, though I already know who he’s thinking about.
“You’re right, and she would turn in her grave at the sight of your bedroom right now.” I joke lightly, causing Liam to smile.
“I know where everything is in that room, thank you very much!” He proudly states just as I make it to the last house on our street.
I stop beside the curb and honk the horn to our jeep wrangler.
The dark haired boy walked out of the front door and down the driveway to our car. Just as he pulled open the back door to climb inside, I noticed another figure standing at the front door.
I waved with a smile and the wave was returned before the front door closed shut.
“Hey Ethan. Your brother is still here for break?” I ask while looking at Ethan in the rearview mirror as I carefully pull away from the curb.
“Yeah, he was supposed to fly back to school yesterday, but he decided to take an extended vacation and just stay through Christmas break. I know it’s because he took the semester off, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to rat him out to the rents yet.” Ethan casually replies while pulling an apple out of his bag and taking a large bite.
Ethan Hart is Liam’s best friend. Ethan is to Liam, what Lexi is to me.
The four of us have known each other for a while now, having grown up in the same neighborhood. It’s a small town, so it’s natural for everyone to know everyone.
“No Lexi this morning?” Ethan asks while glancing at me through the mirror.
“Nope, she wanted to drive herself to school. She’s excited about finally having her first car.” I smile at the thought.
I remember when mom and dad gave this jeep to Liam and I. They made us promise to share it equally, but sometimes Liam takes control over it more so than I do. He claims it’s because he’s older, but I don’t see how a minute and twenty-two seconds really makes a difference, if you ask me.
“Well, I can’t blame her there.” Ethan sighs. “Not that I don’t love riding around with you two, of course.” He quickly redeems himself.
“Nice save.” Liam mumbles.
After another few minutes, we finally pull into the school parking lot. I notice Lexi’s red Toyota Camry, and pull in next to her.
The three of us get out, and greet Lexi who is already standing beside her car.
“It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?” She beams at us. “No go ahead, it’s okay. You can agree with me.”
We all smile at her but shake our heads at her not-so-modest greeting.
“Yes Lexi, it’s gorgeous.” Liam says sarcastically. “Isn’t it just perf, Ethan?” He playfully looks to Ethan who gives a blank stare in return.
“Yes, so hot. Now, can we go inside? I’m freezing.” Ethan rolls down the sleeves of his green jacket and stuffs his hands into his jacket pockets.
Lexi glares at Ethan while we all follow him inside the large, evil building of scholastic torture.
“By the way, I love how you dressed to match your car.” I laugh while studying Lexi’s red Hollister top and black skinny jeans. She has a red coat over her arms and a red beanie over her long, dark hair.
“Why thank you.” She smiles as she takes the beanie off her head and places it into her bag.
“Here, you’re going to need this.” I say while reaching into my bag and pulling out a small comb.
“I knew I kept you around for a reason.” She smirks while combing her hat hair smooth again.
I tell her to keep it for today, and I say goodbye to Ethan and Liam as Lexi and I make it over to our lockers. We specifically begged the admin office to give us lockers close together this year, because every other year we were on opposite ends of the school. Surprisingly, it worked. Our lockers were right next to each other this year.
My thick blonde hair feels heavy against my back, so I go to reach for a hair tie that’s sitting at the bottom of my locker.
Before I can grab it, Lexi’s hand shoots in front of mine and takes the hair tie.
“Uh, I was going to use that.” I deadpan.
“Nope. Your hair is much prettier when it’s down. Leave it.” She demands.
“Oh come on, I wasn’t going to do a bun.” I lie.
“Nope, don’t believe you.” She sings while grabbing a textbook and tossing my only hair tie into her locker before locking it shut.
“You’re evil and I hate you.” I mumble while shutting my own locker.
“Love you too, see you in third!” She smiles victoriously before heading in the opposite direction as me.
Little did Lexi know, I always keep a spare hair tie in my bag, so it’s safe to say she was a little annoyed when I showed up to third with my hair in a bun.
I give her my best smile as I sit down in the desk beside hers.
“You’re ridiculous.” She sighs, while pulling out a notebook from her bag.
“I know.” I shrug, before doing the same.
We get ready for the lesson and after an annoying amount of time, the bell rings for lunch.
“Finally, I’m starving!” I exclaim while rushing out of the classroom and into the hallway. Lexi is quick to follow me, and we both head for the cafeteria.
We spot Liam and Ethan sitting at our usual table, so once Lexi and I get an unhealthy amount of food, we join them.
“Wow, did you not have breakfast?” Ethan laughs while looking at my full plate of French fries and pizza.
“No. Someone spent half the morning fighting with the toaster, and the toaster would have won, had I not stepped in to assist.” I turn my attention to Liam who pretends he has no idea what I’m talking about.
He only shrugs and continues stuffing his face with pizza.
“Dude. A toaster? Really?” Ethan shakes his head at his best friend.
“I was still half asleep, give me a break.” Liam sighs while finishing his last bite of pizza crust.
“You people need to invest in a Keurig machine.” Lexi comments. “They’re magical.”
“We have a fully functional coffee pot.” Liam states with half a French fry sticking out of his mouth.
“Yeah, except we never use it because we hate having to clean it. Plus we never need a full pot of coffee anyway.” I shrug.
“Exactly. A Keurig machine makes one cup at a time. Plus there are so many different flavors, it’s unreal.” Lexi gushes as if we’re talking about some boy.
“She’s not wrong.” Ethan chimes in. “We have one.”
“Does everyone have a dang Keurig machine but us?” Liam pouts. “Dal, get us a Keurig!”
“Why do I have to get it?” I argue. “Besides, you’re the one with a job.” I smirk.
“Yeah but, I’m still always broke.” He complains with a frown.
“Well stop spending your money on Xbox games and shoes.” I retort.
Liam lets out a fake gasp. “Dallas, how could you even say that to me? Your own brother!”
I roll my eyes while Ethan laughs.
“Maybe Santa will bring you one.” Lexi smirks. “Christmas is right around the corner.”
My mind wanders off again, bringing up old memories of Christmas with my mom. I try not to frown, but it’s no use. The holidays are going to be the worst part of the year now without her.
“Crap, what did I say?” Lexi looks worried as she glances between Liam and Ethan.
I finally snap myself out of it.
“No, sorry, I’m fine. Just spaced out for a second.” I smile while shaking my head.
Lexi eyes me wearily but nods anyway. I ignore Liam’s stare and look over to Ethan.
“You gonna finish that chocolate milk?” I smirk.
“Well, I was... but here.” He slides the small carton over to me and I take it gratefully. I know he only did it out of empathy for my mom. That was the plan.
“You could have said no.” I say after I open the carton and take a drink from it.
Ethan sends me a glare before getting up and heading back to the lunch line.
“Well played.” Liam smirks.
“Thank you, brother.” I smile back before the bell rings signaling the end of lunch.
After school is finally finished for the day, I head outside to the parking lot.
My phone vibrates and I see a text from Liam.
Liam: Ethan & I are getting a ride with the guys. See you later.
I give Lexi a hug goodbye before we both get into our cars and head home.
As I am driving down the road, one of my tires starts to feel funny. I pull over just before my street and get out of the car to take a look.
Sure enough, a flat tire.
I try to dial Liam’s number, but it eventually goes to voicemail. There’s no use in calling Ethan because he’s with Liam. I could ring Lexi but she’s probably watching her younger brother by now. Next up, dad.
“Hey sweetie, what’s up?” He answers.
“Dad, my tire is flat. Send a rescue squad and cheddar pringles!” I playfully exclaim into the phone.
“Very funny Dallas. Sorry hun, I’m still at work and can’t leave yet. Are you close to home? Where’s your brother?”
“He’s with Ethan and they’re out somewhere. I’m literally right before our street. Should I try to push the car?” I genuinely ask.
Moments of silence go by before I hear a loud laugh.
“You? Push the car by yourself? Good lord, that’s hilarious!”
My eyes turn to slits, though he can’t see.
“Thanks for the boost of confidence dad.” I mumble. “What do I do then?”
“Honestly, all I can say is leave the car and walk home. We can handle it later.” He says and I agree before hanging up.
Thankfully, I pulled over far enough on the side of the road not to disrupt traffic.
I dropped my keys into my bag, and grabbed my jacket out of the back before locking the jeep and beginning to walk home.
As soon as I turn onto our street, I hear a voice.
“Hey Dallas, car trouble?”
I look up to meet the heavy eyes of Ethan’s older brother, Jeremy.
“Of course. Help will be on the way shortly.” I sigh with a light laugh.
“Want to come inside? I got hot chocolate going?” He invites me in with a large smile and I wasn’t about to turn down hot chocolate in this weather.
Though, I probably should have.