CHAPTER 1: JUST A DATE
“This Saturday.” I decide, dropping my bag in front of Andy’s plate, “Let’s go for a date.”
“Umm...” he starts, his cream cheeks turning my favorite shade of red.
“So am assuming that you don’t have any plans then.” I settle in the chair in front of him, “Oh come on, don’t look so offended. It’s Thursday today, you have enough time to clear your schedule.”
“Chirs...” he says with a nervous look, his fingers fumbling with the hem of his shirt, “Um... like a, like a- not our regular hangout, like a proper-”
“Proper date. Yes, is there a problem?” I ask, stealing his fries.
“Shouldn’t we talk about this first?” he asks. Asshole always makes me work.
“Don’t you think it’s time? We have known each other most of our life. I have been saving your ass since playschool-”
“Things are different now,” the red in his cheeks darkens. Boy, I love it!
“Okay. But I have been your bodyguard up till middle school. You at least owe me one free meal.” I justify.
“Hey, guys.” Hazel chirps in softly, “What’s up?”
“Andy and I are going out this Sat.” I declare to which he sighs but doesn’t oppose. I hide my smile.
“That’s great, finally! Don’t screw it though,” she warns.
“Hey! I think your cousin Chris needs that advice more. I hope she doesn’t end up picking up a fight on the date at least.”
“Just so you know I am right here.” I wave my hand in front of Andy.
Hazel continues, completely ignoring me, “I know. That’s the very reason I am asking you to be the responsible one. I have zero expectations from Chris.”
“And I am still here.” I interject, “Thank you guys, that wasn’t offensive at all.”
“Aww Chris, I am sorry.” Hazel starts with an apologetic smile, “You know we love you.”
“Sureee.” I drag but end up breaking into a small smile. Bitch is making me soft. “Andy, I promise I won’t cause any scene and embarrass you.”
“Chris, you never embarrass me,” he says sweetly. “I am just worried about you.”
“Oh, look at you cuties! How aren’t you married yet?”
“Hazel, do not call me cute. Ever.” I try calmly. Trying to hold back a major outburst and breaking the promise I made to Andy seconds ago.
“Well, I have some good news to add.” she tries changing the subject.
Letting you off the hook this time girl. She pauses receiving a blank look from me and a curious smile from Andy encouraging her to continue.
“Grace is coming back in town!” she exclaims, still very softly but with a broader grin this time.
“She is one lucky bitch. I wish my parents would buy that crap and let me travel and home school so that I can find my ‘calling’. New states almost every month. She’s living my dream.”
“Chris, firstly, aunt Mary and uncle Joe are great. And do you really think that life is fun?”
“Grace doesn’t seem to mind it.” I retort.
“When is she coming?” Andy intervenes, the flush from his cheek gone.
“I’ll pick her up from airport on Saturday, after piano. She’ll be staying at my place the whole time! You can hop in during the weekends, Chris and we can have movie marathons-”
“Come on, you enjoy watching The Shinings with us, and Grace is a great company.”
“That’s only because your shrieks make me crack up. And about Grace- well I don’t know her enough to have any opinion about her.”
“Chris, stop being mean. You are joining us.” Hazel brings in her puppy eyes.
“That’s who I am, and I am busy this Saturday, right Andy?”
“I’ll pick you up at 7 a.m.”
“I thought we were meeting for dinner.”
“I have a place I want to take you. We’ll picnic there.”
“You know picknicks are not my thing.” I sigh.
“They will be from now.” he smiles slyly.
I pull the bag and sling it over one of my shoulders, giving Hazel a two-finger salute, then turn to Andy. A devil grin wins on my face, “Bye, boyfriend.”
I laugh at both their appalled looks. Just the reaction I was hoping for.
“I thought it was just a date,” Andy calls back.
“It is.” I laugh.