20- Let's Not
“You really went big,” I breathed as I took in the scene before me.
“Well, I only have one first date with you, I was hoping to catch your eye.” Rye replied. After paintball, he had taken me to a little restaurant—but that wasn’t the impressive part. The back area where customers could normally sit in the outside yard was lit up by lights strung overhead. A table set for two was in the middle, the tablecloth white and looking almost like it were glowing with this lighting. The waiters were dressed in black and awaiting our arrival, towels draped on their arms like in the movies. Once they helped us sit (pointlessly, I might add), they took our drink and food orders and retreated back into the building.
“So, tell me about yourself. Got any siblings?” Rye started the conversation.
“Oh, no.” I snorted shaking my head. “My parents wouldn’t be able to handle that much sass. You see, it happens to run in the blood.”
“And I suppose you have this sass blood too?” he questioned, leaning forward on the table.
I matched his movements. “Coursing like a fire.” I sat back. “So what about you, any siblings?”
“One, a sister.” The first image that came to mind was Rye running around a green yard, chasing a little girl with bows in her hair. Giggling, her petite face was glowing with innocence and joy.
“She must be adorable,” I commented.
It was Rye’s time to laugh. “I wish. She’s 23 and chooses to remind me everyday how much she ′woves her whittle bruver.′ It’s madness!” He didn’t fail to include air quotes on the baby talk section.
“I bet that got annoying quick,” I said.
“You don’t know the half of it,” he said. Then his face turned more serious. “But I really do love her. She’s been through so much, stuff I wish wouldn’t have happened, but I guess I can’t prevent everything.”
“No one can. What matters is that you stay by her side through it all; that’s all anyone in a hard time can ask for, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Now cheer up champ, looks like I’m the one bringing you down.” I pulled away from topic before I got too far invested; I didn’t want to relive those bad days. Fortunately, my comment got Rye to smile and soon enough our food came along to help boost the mood even more. Rye and I spent the rest of the night in pleasant conversation, his wit nearly matching my own.
Saturday came. A day of relaxation. A day to drown in the art of nothingness. I was finally done with Stage One, a fact I was perfectly okay celebrating by myself. Get some ice cream, I’ll cut up a piece of construction paper for make-shift confetti and boom, celebration. Keyword: alone.
Amanda, however, had different plans. The doorbell rang around noon as I was eating my lunch consisting of a sandwich and a side of cut up peaches. Man, I love me some peaches.
“Well hello, Amanda,” my mom said as the girl didn’t wait for an answer before barging right in. I guess that’s what we get for being close friends.
“Hi Mrs. T,” she replied dutifully before snapping her fingers at me. “Remember the party tonight? Come on, grab your stuff and let’s go.”
“Let’s not,” I said frowning.
“Let’s do. If you’re in this ’til the end, you just have to go all or nothing.”
“Then I choose nothing,” I told her. “There’s the door, bye.”
“Thera,” my mother spoke up in her I’m-warning-you-even-though-you-know-I-won’t-do-anything-but-listen-to-me-anyway voice. I heaved a huge sigh.
“Fine, but I’m finishing my lunch first. Food before rude.”
She tried to rush me, which just resulted in it taking longer. If I had to keep stopping to reprimand the child, how ever was I expected to keep eating? That, and the fact that I ended up making two more sandwiches. (They were small. Don’t judge me when I’m hungry.)
When I finally threw away my plate, Amanda jumped up from her chair and dragged me all the way to my room.
“Whoa, chill!” I told her, but she wouldn’t have it. I guess she was tired of waiting on me.
“Put on something nice,” she demanded. I looked down at my clothes.
“Hey! What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
She scoffed like I was one of those delusional people and she was the queen of style coming to help her subjects. “Just pick something else, dear.” I rolled my eyes when she wasn’t looking and did as I was told. Running to the bathroom quickly, I changed into what I hoped she would consider ‘better’.
“You know what, just wait. I’ll get you dressed at my house.”
“No way!” I protested. “You made me wear a dress last time, it’s not gonna happen again.”
“Silence!” Amanda frowned at me, disapproving.
“Alright, you win. Wear your jeans,” she finally agreed after a tense (yet not) stare off.
I became even more grateful for my clothing victory when we arrived at her house and I saw that there were some games set up outside.
“So what is this party even for Amanda?” I asked.
“To celebrate the end of Stage One of course,” was her response. “Also, today is the day we start making the videos! I’ll be interviewing each person tonight.”
Oh joy, I thought as I began to sulk. I didn’t want to be in any stupid videos. Especially if I have to talk about all of the dates. I mean, isn’t the point of a date so that it’s in between two people and not the rest of the world?
“Well, we’d better hurry and finish setting up before the first guests get here.” Amanda hopped out of her car and scurried toward the house with a smile on her face.
“Yeah, wouldn’t want to disappoint them,” I mumbled.