Just An Ordinary Day
Saturday morning 8:09 a.m.
The Land family and Chester were enjoying a breakfast of thick cut bacon and scrambled eggs beside a slice of french toast. A light chatter filled the room as they discussed their plans for the day. Reeve and Quinn mostly listened with a smile on their faces.
They had been active teens in their youth and would have hated seeing either of their children stuck at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Taking a rainy day or two is fine but there was just something wrong with never going out into the fresh air.
"Tony and Chip invited me over to their place to swim; the weather man said it's gonna be warm today." Ai swirled his bacon through the whipped cream globbed onto his syrupy French toast. "His dad said he'd take us mini-golfing too."
"I figured the arcade would be a great place to start, then go-karts at Funcoland, and after that, a triple scoop in my cupcakes favorite ice cream shop." Chester made it sound as though his day was unstoppable by far.
Teasing his friend's rant, Yakusoku said, "Chester, you know I hate when you use pet names at the table."
"Whatever." He chuckled.
Chewing his eggs, Reeve asked. "What about you, son?"
"I'm um..." Yakusoku felt his cheeks burning at what he planned to say. "I promised Maria I'd spend the day with her."
Around the table, forks froze mid-bite.
"You didn't tell us you were dating anyone." His father raised an eyebrow. He then took his airborne bite of food.
"I'm NOT!" Insisted the accused. Man, he was really getting sick of defending his dating status of non-existent.
Shaking his head, Chester said, "I don't know, Yaku', a whole day with one person, sounds like a date to me. I could see if you said maybe fifteen minutes out of the day, but the whole day... sounds like a girlfriend to me."
"Don't you chime in. You know I don't like her." Setting his fork down, appetite good and lost, he said in an attempted calm. "I felt guilty for blowing her off Thursday when she wanted to hang out with me. I approached her to become friends, not the other way around."
"I still think that was a stupid mistake." Chester continued muttering.
Yakusoku rolled his eyes- even though he was starting to think it was true. This girl was seriously trying to eat away at his time.
The three other diners listened to the conversation like the speakers were using their own personal code, wondering exactly what was going on, and who this Maria was.
Recalling, his mother asked, "Maria? She's that girl that was here the other night, right?"
With a shrug, his mother commented. "She seemed nice."
"Oh I'm sure she's nice," Chester chided. "Nice and friggin crazy." He added the last part under his breath.
"What about this girl?" his father pressed.
"Nothing, NOTHING." Yakusoku stood. "So... Chester, Mom, Dad, Ai-"
Flabbergasted, Ai asked, "What did I do?"
"Drop it, okay?" Though his words should have sounded on the line of begging, he seemed more vacant than anything. "I'm just being nice." Rounding the table, he kissed his mother's cheek, then exited the kitchen after excusing himself.
His phone rang the moment he got upstairs- a foreign song that he chose for the ringtone. He wasn't sure what caused it, but his mood was brightening and he danced to the closet. Sliding the doors apart, he eyed his wardrobe removing a dark blue t-shirt and a pair of light-wash jeans that hung from the bar. Changing in the center of the room, he discarded his clothes anywhere they chose to land. His phone didn't seem to wanna quit ringing so, in mid-dress of one pant leg up and half his body covered by a shirt, he grabbed it from the dresser and answered it.
"Hi Yakusoku," greeted a familiar voice.
"Hey Enid, you're calling early." He took note of the time with a quick glance at the clock. "What's up?"
"Paintball with my dad, wanna come?"
"Yeah! Oh, wait," His eagerness faltered quickly, and the words fell from his mouth like one would fall down a flight of stairs. "Can I take a rain check for the next time you go?"
Enid Aarenstrup knew that Yakusoku usually hunted for any reason to get out of the house, otherwise his mother had him on yard work. There was no way the boy is gonna pass up this easy out.
Figuring there was no sense in lying about it because Chester would no doubt spill it to them over lunch or in gym class- Yakusoku cleared his throat when he felt it tighten. "You see," he began to explain. "I felt bad about blowing her off-.."
Cutting him off, Enid groaned out, "Maria again?! I should have guessed. You know Yakusoku, she's not the only one that likes you around here."
The line went dead.
Taken aback he dropped the phone onto his bed. Scrunching his face in confusion, he wondered out loud. "What's her problem?" After another thought, he questioned also. "And what did she mean by, "she's not the only one-"?" He mocked, in his best Enid impersonation.
It didn't matter right now, he supposed. Fully dressed, he wandered back downstairs and out of the house. He'd gotten to the STOP sign when he realized that he didn't exactly know where she lived. Sure his father dropped her off that day but, Yakusoku hadn't paid attention to the street they took or anything. He'd been spacing out! Remembering that she has his number, he decided to walk to the park and wait it out. She'd call, right?
The weather was cloudy and slightly warm, with the occasional cool breeze. A bunch of other guys are at the park, even at this early in the morning. It's 9 o'clock for Pete's sake! Kids with footballs, lobbing them back and forth to one another, girls playing jump rope or Barbie. One kid seemed to be digging a hole.
Taking a seat on a nearby bench, Yakusoku cocked his head as he watched a child digging a hole beside a tree. The boy reminded him of himself at that age. He would sit outside at the park for hours... wait... maybe he did? Why on earth does it feel like that is something he'd done? But it wasn't digging exactly. What he'd been doing? Why the hell would he just be sitting in the park? His childhood below eight was non-existent but sometimes images trickled to him. Shaking off the weird feeling, he closed his eyes and tilted his head to lay over the back of the bench.
In the distance, Maria spotted him. Her face lit up with joy as she strolled over, quietly, ever-so quietly until she was directly behind him. Smiling down at his passive resting face, she reached her fingers slowly out towards him, his unkempt bangs the object of her reach. The tips were just a breath away when his eyes opened. His dual gaze- covered by brown-color contacts locked onto her icy stare. For the briefest second, Yakusoku's eyes scrunched in anger before he put on a more passive expression. But he frowned when Maria didn't move to straighten up and instead smiled.
"What are you doing?" He asked, glancing at her hand.
"I was just wondering if you were ok? You looked so peaceful."
"Hmmm?" He thought suspiciously but shook it off. "Lesson learned, never sleep outside." Straightening up in his seat, Maria finally moved away to join him on the bench. He asked. "So what are you up for today? I'll do anything except skateboarding."
Giggling, she touched his arm lightly. "I'm not sure myself."
Yakusoku was bored already. 'I wish I could spend the day playing paintball with Enid, or going to the arcade with Chester and Sophie. And they're going go-karting afterwards. Lucky fucks. And they get ice cream! I could kill Chester for telling me their plans.'
"How 'bout..." She paused to think for a moment then said. "How about we go to the arcade?"
Shocked that a girl would actually want to go, he looked almost slapped in the face with the way he reacted to the suggestion. "Okay."
Standing, she then paced back and forth, placing her arms behind her back resembling a wise old man out on a stroll. "Then go-karts... I mean, boys are still into that right? I've always wanted to try it."
"Yeah." He had cheer in his tone, but his dark brows started to knit.
"And it feels like it's gonna be hot today so we should get a smoothie." She smiled at the idea.
Yakusoku couldn't explain why, but he felt so damned relieved that Maria just said 'smoothies' rather than 'ice cream', but his victory was short-lived.
"Naaah, I'm more in the mood for ice cream- my aunt knows this great place." The girl continued speaking but it went unheard by the addressed.
'That's so weird, that's exactly what Chester planned on doing with Sophie today.' He unconsciously chewed his bottom lip. "That sounds fine."
Touching his arm lightly again, she slid her fingers down it until she reached his hand. She took it with such ease you'd swear they've been together forever. "Doesn't it?" She tugged him up from the bench. "We'd better get going, though if we're gonna be on foot."
"My house isn't far, we can take my bike- well," He backpedaled, thankful that he'd caught himself before he went on with his stupidity. He knew how that statement must have come across. "I meant to say that I can ride my dad's bike and you can take mine. Is that okay?"
The teens headed back to the Land home and came across Chester and Sophie, who were just departing. The girl waved at her friend, scowling when her greeting was returned to her by that blonde weirdo, Maria.
"Where are you heading?" Chester asked with a knowing look.
"Arcade," replied Yakusoku. "We just came to get some wheels." Lifting the white door of the garage, he ducked himself beneath it as it continued on its way to the ceiling. Grasping the handlebar of a red dirt bike, he passed it over to the waiting girl. "Here, Maria, take this."
The girl took his bike, climbing on readily. Yakusoku mounted his father's bike and rode it out of the garage, down the driveway, and to the sidewalk.
"Maybe we'll see you guys there?" the Land child said to Chester.
'Not if you know what's good for you.' thought Chester with a pinched expression. "Hey bitch, watch it!" Taking a quick leap backwards, he yelled at the blonde girl who nearly slammed into with a bike.
In a panic, Sophie waved her hands to dismiss the word from the air. "Chester, mind your words in front of women."
Tone full on in complaint, he barked out, "What women? That weirdo nearly ran me down with a bike."
"Yeah, with a bike," she inflected, as if that made a difference to him, "how hurt would you have been?"
"It doesn't matter if I'd be hurt or not; she doesn't know me well enough to think she can be rude like that."
Patting his arm lovingly, Sophie said, "I know that. And I know that she's a weird ass girl." Her cruel tone lowered. "But we also don't know her like we know each other..." She smiled when her boyfriend's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Now, if Yakusoku likes her... we should give her of a chance. Maria really could be nice."
"...I know, I know. But we should still hunt for friends for her."
"Okay." Leaning over, she planted a kiss on his lips. Climbing onto her bike, she cocks her head to the side ordering him to get on.
Chester held her shoulders, then stuck his feet onto the screws sticking out of the back wheel and he was carted to his house to retrieve his own bike.