“I didn’t know how to react, so I told him maybe another time.” I described my last encounter with my crush that afternoon.
Distracted by the sound of muffled laughter coming around the doorway, my jaw clenched tight knowing full well someone heard every word.
“Beat it, J!” Izzy threw the closest pillow over my head. “Sorry, go on Brynn.”
“Why does he always eavesdrop?” My eyes rolled in annoyance.
“Why?” Jordan picked up the pillow and tucked it under his arm. “If you could only hear yourself...so pathetic.”
I glared as he made himself comfortable on the bed, laying with one arm behind his head.
“But no one asked for your opinion.”
“I don’t need your permission, Babe. You’re in MY house.” He cracked a wise-ass smile and showed no signs of leaving.
“Alright you two, don’t start again.” Izzy sighed.
It’s inevitable. Here I was undressing my feelings before my best friend and her idiot brother had to sit in and judge me. It made me realize how lucky I was to be an only child. Sometimes I envied their relationship, though I couldn’t understand why he wasted his time on making my life so miserable.
Yes, I’ll admit, I probably did sound pathetic but he didn’t have to stay and complain about it. Izzy wasn’t. And she’s known my secret since day one. It’s the classic tale, girl meets boy. Girl crushes hard. Girl is invisible to boy. Truth is, I like Isaiah but I can’t tell if he likes me back. A torturous fine line between friends. Do I keep quiet or say what I feel? Do I try harder or accept being benched in the friend zone?
“You could say... Hey, I like you, do you want to go out sometime? See how he responds.” Jordan shrugged.
“It’s not that simple. For starters, I’m the one that’s supposed to get asked out! And second, what if I scare him off once he knows that I like him?” I couldn’t risk not having Isaiah at all.
“Well, the way I see it, either he’s playing it super cool or he's just not interested.” He flatted a smile. I hated the thought of Jordan being right.
“Sure, you make it sound so easy.” My head sunk, hopeless. Was there any sure way of knowing without ruining my friendship?
“Gah, I don’t remember being this pitiful when I was 16.” Jordan stared at the ceiling. Mr. Know-It-All.
“I don’t know what you’re gloating about, J, you didn’t start dating till college. Even before then, you obsessed over these girls that wouldn’t give you the time of day.” Izzy shook her head. “Too bad dumbbells don’t make you any smarter.”
“At least I worked hard to change my image and got what I wanted. You can be whoever you want to be in college. . . I see nothing wrong with that.”
“Yeah, you got what you wanted? So you like attracting all the bimbos you’ve been dating?” Izzy crossed her arms.
“Okay, so they’re a little on the easy side, but it’s a win-win. I hook up with them and they show me off to their friends.” He winked.
“Who’s pathetic now? I hope to God I don’t meet someone like you in college.” I felt nauseated just thinking about the fate that awaited me outside my school’s safe haven.
“Hold a sec!” Jordan sat up. “You mean to tell me, making out with a hot guy every now and then doesn’t sound like a good time? And I’d say the majority of the guys in college are just like me and worse!”
He didn’t know the truth about me. Perhaps I was naïve about my fairy-tale romance and choosing to wait for my first boyfriend to have my first kiss with. But only Izzy understood and I didn’t expect the same from her annoying brother.
“Jordan, our Brynn hasn’t kissed anyone yet.” Izzy smiled at me but it felt more like a tiny betrayal. She gave too much information and now he had more ammunition.
“Whaaaat? Oh, Brynn.” He shook his head and I knew I was bound to get an earful of crap. “You have what I like to call, PSS, Prude Shell Syndrome. You’ve got to break out of it before you end up a raisin for the rest of your life.”
“A raisin? Since when did he start diagnosing girl problems?” I asked Izzy as though he weren’t in the room.
“Babe, trust me. I think you need an injection of some college culture, to loosen you up.”
“I hate when you call me that.” My jaw clenched again. I knew he flirted with all the girls and I didn’t want any part of the herd.
“What do you have in mind, J?” Izzy, on the other hand, was all ears.
But Elizabeth didn’t need help, she needed no injections. Her and Jordan, both tan with ash blond hair. He inherited their father’s gray eyes while Izzy had the dominant blue. They had status and fame, both parents worked at a law firm in L.A. With a mansion for a house, swimming pool and cars. Izzy had dreams of singing and acting while Jordan wanted to make a career out of his pastime. Surfing.
Then there was me, Brynn Rael. I had no fancy hobby or famous parents. I did have these awesome braces as of 10 months, provided by my mother the dental hygienist, who had transferred work places 2 years ago. From Seattle to SoCal, my world not only turned but upgraded. Only I didn’t. I was actually lagging and I couldn’t compete with all the plastic girls out here. Mean girls in disguise.
“Now, I’m in a good mood, so I’ll allow you both to join me at The Pit tonight.” Jordan offered and laid back down.
I’m sure he saw this as his charitable deed of the day. I looked at Izzy, question mark flashing over my head, hoping she’d catch on.
“That's where they have bonfire parties down at the beach. All the fraternities and sororities go there. I hear it gets pretty crazy. So, what do you say? Are you up for this, B?”
Was my fairy-tale that hopeless and outdated? So much so, I apparently needed to crack my shell open, PSS, or whatever analogy Jordan used to prove his point. Was kissing some random schmuck supposed to improve my chances with Isaiah or give me more confidence to ask him out? Who knows, but maybe tonight would be life changing. Or not.
I frequently slept over the Brown’s house on Saturdays. My mom had nights out with her coworkers and I’d come home Sunday morning to her suffering through a headache or hangover. Such a great role model of how much not to drink.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to mention this to her since I was already at their house. All I needed were some clothes and I was set for a night of college life, or so I thought. Other than using me as a guinea pig to try out her makeup tricks, Elizabeth didn’t do too shabby. She made me look at least 19 as she passed for 21.
No one told me how much control Jordan had over the evening. When he saw my clothes, he scowled and rushed to his sister’s closet to fix me.
“The whole point of this experiment is to pretend you are someone else and see how it feels for a change, not go as an older version of yourself. We’re not searching for prince charming tonight, just fun.” He explained as though I were a child.
Jordan shoved an outfit in my hands and walked out the door, closing it behind him. I held up what I thought was half of my outfit only to find it was skimpy beach dress.
“Am I supposed to wear this with nothing underneath? Absolutely not!” I refused and placed it on Izzy’s bed.
“Don’t be silly, Brynn. You wear a bikini top underneath, after all, we’re going to the beach. Remember?”
Izzy searched through her drawer and threw me her black bikini set. Was I supposed to wear this underneath a piece of white cloth? This was the first and last time I would dress like a slut. Stupid experiment. I may look the part but I still didn’t know the first thing about ‘loosening up’, so my best bet, mimic the other girls. And pray I wouldn’t die of shame in the morning.
Taking one final look in the entryway mirror, I could barely recognize myself. Izzy did it, transformed me into a college harlot. Honestly though, if it weren’t for the ridiculous low cut on this dress, I wouldn’t mind this ‘new me’. My hair was down in spirals as opposed to the one minute ponytail I always had. This evening sounded promising and full of teenage dreams, with that lingering question over my head. Would I get my first kiss?