Chapter 7: How It All Started (Part 1)
~A Year Later~
“Do you really have to be gone all summer Mickey?” she pouted letting out a small whimper. My heart broke. I hated lying to her and was already keeping enough secrets as is, but I had no choice. This one I had to keep to myself.
“I’m sorry Minnie. I promise that I will text you every chance I get. You’re not getting rid of me that easily. You think the first year was bad, wait until the second one.” I joked trying to cheer her up and get a smile. The corner of her lips turned up slightly. It was small, but it was something. “I’m going to miss you too Minnie.” I whispered, pulling her into a tight hug.
“Not as much as I’ll miss you.” She whispered back a small sniffle following after. We stood like that hugging for what felt like forever and when my dad came to pull us apart I pouted myself. I didn’t want to leave her as much as she didn’t want me to leave, but I had no choice. As we pulled away she smiled sadly, waving goodbye and flashing her bracelet. I smiled seeing as my hand went up to the chain around my neck.
We were marked forever...or at least until they were removed.
It felt like I couldn’t sit still. Nearly a month was far too long to be away. Although we had spent most of the night texting, and I should be tired, it wasn’t the same as finally being able to see her again.
“Someone’s excited.” teased my dad with a knowing look crossing his face.
“Please don’t start teasing me.” I whined. All summer he was relentless. It was kind of embarrassing. Mostly because he was saying all the stuff I was still trying to prove to myself wasn’t true. I didn’t feel for her like that and I may be better now, but I still wasn’t good enough for her.
“I’m just saying son, the first two weeks were cute and all, but that last week or so was something else. It was like you would explode if you didn’t get a chance to talk to her. That’s called-”
“We’re just friends Dad. Please, leave it at that.” I begged hoping this would work this once.
“Mom and I were just friends once upon a time too, but whatever you say Jr.” Then they both laughed. It really should be against the law to tease your kids like this.
“I’m surprised you’re even up honey, I heard you giggling all night.”
“I. Don’t. Giggle. Mom.” I deadpanned shocked that she would even say it.
“Pretty sure what I heard was giggling.”
“You did not!” I was yelling and getting defensive. I knew this would only make them laugh harder, but I couldn’t control it. I don’t even know why I was so defensive. I knew we had an unnatural type of clinginess to each other, but that didn’t mean I was in love with her. I was in love with the fact that I could be me again. I couldn’t afford to confuse the two. That kind of confusion already caused drama once.
“We’re just teasing Jr, but seriously, it’s only nine in the morning. Don’t you dare go wake her up. You’ll survive a few more hours.” he chastised.
“I promise you dad, if she wakes up before ten it will not be because I woke her up.” Now it was my turn to laugh. It would be because of me, but it won’t be me that actually does it. For the past year we’ve had a new kind of alarm. It took a minute to get used to, but it got the job done.
… … … … … …
I was lying in bed watching the clock. At any moment my phone was going to ring and I couldn’t wait. I was trying everything I could do to get their attention, but nothing was working. I even went and started my truck with the lame excuse that it had just been sitting there for the past month. Just when I was about to give up I heard it. The sweet and beautiful sound before her annoyed voice came through the phone. As if knowing I was laughing in anticipation my phone began to ring.
“Good morning Sunshine!” I chirped happily as she groaned. There’s no words to describe how much I’ve missed this.
“Micky I hate you, why didn’t you warn me that you’d be coming home today? I would’ve gone to bed earlier instead of being on the phone with you all night.” she spat teasingly as I rolled my eyes.
“You love me. Besides, I always forget just how much I actually do rile them up.” I whined trying not to laugh. Forget… yes, expect… always.
“I’m pretty sure that you can hear them now. So raise your window and let it sink in. may you never forget again!” I couldn’t help it. I snorted.
“Well dramatic, want to meet in your backyard in thirty? I missed them, you and your bedhead.” I teased as she gasped. I could see her now covering her head with her hands. It reminded me so much of a year ago.
“Jerk, I’ll be down then.”
“I’ll see you then.” I laughed before hanging up. I always had to be the first to hang up. I didn’t like the way it made me feel the one time she did it. Anyways, I was less antsy now that I heard her voice, but I was also more eager to see her now. I didn’t want to wait another thirty minutes to see her, but what could I do? I couldn’t rush her, could I? No, that’s rude. I could…
Letting a huge smile take over I practically ran over to my window and leaned out of it.
“Maria! Maria let down your hair!” I yelled trying hard to keep my composure and not burst out laughing. I could see her scrambling towards the window and that only made it harder. Her eyes were wide open as she stared me down.
“Idiot you scared me!” she yelled as soon as the window was open and I lost it. “You’re such a goofball Mickey.”
“It’s one of my best qualities and I’m sure it’s what you love most about me.” I teased.
“The only thing that I love about you Mickey is that you buy me pizza.” she teased back. I know it was a joke, but part of me was really hurt by that.
“Ouch! You wound me bad Minnie. You wound me bad.” I smiled to myself hearing her little giggle. It was perfect like she was. Nothing could sound better. Before either of us could say anything, the dogs were back and a whole lot louder than before. I already knew where this was headed. This too had become part of the routine for the past year.
“Caterpillar, Butterfly and Cocoon you know better!” she yelled at them. “Use your inside voices or you’re going to live with him!” she threatened and not even a second later she was ready to take it back and whispered apologies to them. “I’m sorry babies.” she cooed as I laughed and shocked my head at her. I missed waking up to this more than I cared to admit. “Oh shut up.” she whined sticking her tongue out at me only making me laugh harder.
“You’re all jelly when it comes to them loving me. Anyways, since this is partly my fault, how about I make it up to you all. Instead of meeting up in your backyard, we can take my truck for a little drive and get some food. My treat. My little way of apologizing for making them so rowdy.” I watched her for a second as she thought about the offer. Her eyes seemed to glisten. It made me wonder if she still got sad when I wasn’t around and learned to hide it better when I was. I didn’t want to think of her as feeling that way without me being there to comfort her. I made a promise.
“Who am I to pass up free food?” she shrugged laughing. “Meet you in an hour? I can smell your road stink from here.”
“Fuck off.” I spat rolling my eyes and flipping her the bird. She was such a sarcastic ass sometimes. “By the way, you’re gorgeous with bedhead.” I laughed before closing my window, followed by my blinds. I laughed seeing as I stunned her. If every year with her was going to be like this, I knew I was going to love it. For now, time for a shower. I smelled like sweat.