♠ 01: Lake-party third wheel
Nikitta and Gunther are at it again— making out; that is. Their lips have been glued to each other for what feels like an hour now. Specifically, around the time the three of us arrived at this lake party.
And Nikky promised me we'd go swimming. Instead, my butt is stuck on a beach towel, longingly watching the the water and kids flocking around in it.
"We promise not to make you feel like a third wheel this time," they said. "Its going to be fun." They said.
Liars, that's what they are.
It's been weeks since my best friend and my brother got together. The initial weirdness I felt about the whole thing had been quickly replaced by frustration. Its not that I don't appreciate that Nikky is doing her best not to make me feel left out— like making sure to hang out with me every chance she gets— but in times like this, I can't help but feel that way.
The dynamic between the three of us has changed. Gun no longer owns the role of the third wheel— it's mine now.
So yeah, I'm kind of jealous. And maybe a little envious, too.
Because as much as its frustrating that I constantly feel like a third wheel to the lovey-dovey couple, I want what they have for myself too. And I have a particular boy In mind for that.
Only said boy is currently making out with a girl who isn't me.
My brother's best friend, our neighbour, and the boy I grew up with.
He's the reason why I summoned the courage to wear the two-piece bikini underneath this loose shirt. Because I want him to notice me. I want him to see me as more than his best friend's geeky sister. I want him to realise that I can be sexy, too..
I even let Nikitta gather my long light brown hair up into a messy tail— because according to her it would give me a sensual look. She wanted me to put on contacts instead of glasses so my "gorgeous deep green eyes would pop." But since I have every intention of swimming in the lake, I refused.
But how can Rodney take notice of my efforts when his attention is being monopolized by Paris Sydney? Freaking Paris with her gorgeous blonde hair and equally gorgeous face and perfect body.
Seriously, she looks perfect. Its the main reason why she's one of the FFB's, aka Fantastic Four Blondes, the hottest and most popular clique in Horizon High.
At first I thought she was nothing but a fling. Rodney only ever had that, after all. Like my brother used to be, he's not the type to get into serious relationships. Except maybe in middle school when he dated Phoebe Sky for all of three months.
But it seems like Paris shares a similarly with Phoebe. By "similarity" I don't just mean the first letter of their names. I'm also talking about the fact that she's the only girl he's been with for the past two weeks. And it seems to be getting more and more serious as days go by.
My hope of him ever noticing me is starting to obliterate. The truth is I haven't always felt this way about Rod. My feelings for him started from being platonic.....until it morphed into something more.
The day he stole my first kiss.....
"What are you doing there Snookie?"
Startled, I glance up from my artwork, my gaze connecting with a pair of azure eyes.
It's our neighbour Rodney. He must be playing with Gunther in the backyard again because he looks sweaty and his dark blonde hair is plastered to his forehead. His spider-man shirt even has grass stains on it.
I scrunch up my nose at him. "You stink."
"I do?" He raises his arm and smells his armpit. "Oh well, I'm just gonna take a shower later."
I make a face. Boys are gross.
"So is that a hotdog?"
I blink at him from behind my glasses. "What?"
He points at my paper on the dining table. "You're drawing— is it a hotdog?"
A scowl breaks across my face. "Its not a hotdog dummy. Its a caterpillar."
Yesterday, Ms. Bugsey tasked the whole class to draw the life cycle of a butterfly for our homework assignment. Even though its only Saturday, I've already decided to work on it. I don't want to be like some of my classmates who love waiting until the last minute to finish their assignments. Like Patrick Star who never does his homework at home. I don't want to be like him— I want to be a perfect student.
"Well, it looks like a hotdog to me." Rodney laughs and pulls out the chair next to me, flopping down on it. "Here, let me help you."
I roll my eyes but slide the paper toward him. "Fine. Do it yourself."
"Oh, come on Snookie. I'm just going to show you how its done."
"Whatever. And stop calling me, Snookie." I glower. He started the stupid nickname on my seventh birthday when I started wearing a Snookie, well, aka a Beanie hat but he preferred calling them Snookie hats. Its been two years already and he hasn't stopped calling me that. Ughh.
Although to his defence, I still wear one.
"That fast?" I gasp, impressed. But then I glance down to look at his work, and the scowl is instantly back on my face. "What's this?"
His drawing isn't even close to a caterpillar. Its just a freaking stick figure with numerous hands sticking out on either side. Rodney is just messing with me. Argghh.
"Thanks for the help, Rodney." Glaring at him, I grab the paper and crumple it in my hand.
"Anytime, Snookie." He winks.
Ughh. He's so annoying. Boys are so annoying.
The girls in my class always talk and giggle about boys. Honestly, I don't see the big deal. Boys are gross and annoying. Why would anyone put up with that? With an eye roll, I get up from the table to finish my assignment in my room where there isn't any obnoxious boy to bother me, but Rodney grabs my hand to stop me.
"Wait, ughh, I have something to give you."
I fold my arms over my chest. "If its another frog, I don't want it."
Weeks ago, he and my brother put a dead frog— which they'd found in the garden— on my bed to mess with me and my best friend Nikitta, who came over to hang out. Nikky and I had screamed so loud we got my mom's attention. She grounded Gun for a few days. It should have lasted a week.
"Its not a frog, scouts promise." He says, holding three fingers up. "But you have to close your eyes first."
I shake my head, my ponytails whipping my cheeks. "Then I really don't want it."
"Fine," His eyes gleam in that mischievous way they always do. Then before I know it, he leans forward and presses his lips against mine.
My eyes are wide open, staring in shock at his closed ones. I freeze for a moment, so it takes me a couple of seconds to push him away. I'm breathing fast, my fingers trembling on my lips as I gape at Rodney. "You– you kissed me!!"
"Yep." He smirks then walks away like he didn't just turn my world upside down.
He never realised it, but that kiss had changed everything. It made me realise him as more than the boy who loved getting into my nerves. Because of that kiss, I developed romantic feelings for Rodney Jackson. Feelings that seemed to grow over the years.
If only he knows.
But how will he ever know if you're doing squat about it?
Pulling my bottom lip between my teeth, I glance over at Nikky and Gun—not even surprised to see them all wrapped around each other.
Which means if I want to take a dip into the lake, I'll have to do it by myself.
"Fine," I grumble under my breath. Then with a deep breath and shaking fingers, I grip the hem of my shirt and pull it over my head.
Hoots and whistles ring out as I make my way toward the water, blushing hard from the attention I'm suddenly getting. I resist the urge to cover my chest, holding onto the confidence that I don't have and mentally talking myself out of rubbing back to where I came from.
It's okay. You can do this.
"Looking good, Lawrence," One of the guys by the deck hollers at me.
Cheeks reddening even more, I shoot a faint smile their way and wade into the water until it almost reaches my chest.
"Thought you'd never leave the lovebirds alone." An amused voice says behind me.
I turn around to see Rodney smirking at me. "Well, I thought they had plans to swim."
He chuckles. "Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen."
I don't respond to that. Instead, my eyes track the water dripping from his dark blonde mop of hair to his face and down to his bare shoulders and chest.
Rodney is an athlete. Which means his body is toned and filled in all the Right places. Which means I try not to drool every time he sheds his clothes— despite the fact that most of his body is currently submerged in water.
Its his fault for looking soo good.
Pink staining my cheeks, I clear my throat. "I know. That's why I'm here you."
"I'd ask you if you want to try the rope swing Snookie, but I don't think you're dressed up for it." His eyes flicker down to my chest for a split second before shifting them back to my face.
"I'll have you know," I huff, "I'm always up for the rope swing no matter what I wear."
Rodney smirks. "Prove it then," he's wading toward the rope swing at the dock, shooting a shit-eating grin over his shoulder at me.
I just shake my head and laugh, following after him. I still have a huge smile on my face when my eyes suddenly land on Paris Sydney.
She's with her clique, but her eyes are on me. And she doesn't seem to look happy than I'm trailing after Rodney.
In fact, she's glaring hard.