“Hey man, you still coming to the Gecko after school?” my friend, Braxton yells to me as we reach the parking lot.
I don’t respond right away and start thinking about whether I can blow them off again. I quickly throw that thought from my mind and reply with as much enthusiasm as I can. “Yeah, I’ll be there, but I have to go home first.”
I quickly get in my truck and drive away, so I don’t have to talk anymore. I’m not a big fan of going to the Green Gecko Diner. It’s always too crowded. It seems like everybody just follows my friends and I wherever we go. I mean sure, I am the captain of the soccer team and all of my friends are on the team as well. That doesn’t mean you have to stalk us.
It was fun at first. Having all the chicks surround us, offering themselves up. But it got old fast. Now I just want a break, and I guess that is what I have had for the past week.
After driving for around 10 minutes, I pull into my driveway. I grab my school bag from the back and make my way up the front steps of our cottage. The house isn’t exactly a cottage because it has two stories and a modern feel to it. But it suits our family well.
I open the door and place my school bag on the chest just in time to pick up the child that comes flying at me.
“Hey Robin, how was your day?” I say to her as I twirl her in the air.
“It was really good Corby!” she says right after giggling. “I made a new friend today at school.”
“That is great. What is their name?” I ask her with a grin on my face. I love spending time with my sister. It is very hard because we are both so busy.
She giggles again before responding. “Ryan. She is four just like me!” she starts to squirm in my arms, so I let her down. She quickly takes off into the living room to play with her toys. Robin is in grade primary. She is one of the youngest in her class because she started a year early. She was bullied in preschool because she was so young, but that stopped when the other kids found out how smart she was.
I walk into the kitchen and see my Mum typing away on her laptop. I quietly walk up to her and kiss her on the head. “Hey Mum, what are you working on?”
“Oh, hey, Sweetie. I didn’t hear you come in. I’m just replying to some fan mail. How was your day?” she asks me without looking up from her laptop. I just shake my head. Mum is an author. She mostly writes mystery, and sometimes she does romance. I read a few of her books, and they are really good. Seeing how she writes full-time now is saying something.
“It was okay. I will leave you to it. Brax want’s me to meet him and some of the guys at the Gecko.” I tell her.
She nods her head at me, so I see that as my cue to leave. I jog up the stairs and into my bedroom. I grab a black shirt out of my dresser, pull off my sweatshirt, then pull the shirt over my head. I walk into my bathroom and look into the mirror to make sure I look okay. I fiddle with my light brown hair and nod at myself before running out to my truck.
I hurriedly make my way to the Green Gecko and park in front of the bright green and blue diner. When I walk in, I say a greeting to Mack, the owner of the Gecko than make my way over to our usual table.
“It’s about time you showed up, Corbin. I thought maybe you ditched us again.” Braxton says to me in a playful tone. I slide into the seat next to him and say my greetings to Preston and Micah.
“Do you really think I would do that?” I ask him. All three of them reply with a “yes.” I just roll my eyes at them. When my eyes set on the strawberry smoothie in front of me, I lick my lips. “Is this for me?” I ask while pointing at it. Micah nods his head at me, so I pick it up and take a large gulp. I let out a tiny moan which makes the guys laugh at me. “Oh, how I’ve missed you,” I say before taking a smaller sip.
I look around the diner and notice it’s not as busy as it usually is. A small grin appears on my lips because of it. I zone back into the conversations at hand just to hear the end of Brax’s bragging. “...of course it was good. Have you seen her? She looks like a goddess. Don’t even get me started on her legs.”
“Who did you bang this time?” I ask him because I wasn’t paying attention.
“Zara,” he says with a smirk. “She finally gave in to my charms at the party on Saturday.”
“Is that what you call it nowadays? Your charms? And why are we just hearing about this now?” I just shake my head at him. We have these conversations a lot. Mostly it is Braxton’s conquest, but sometimes Preston, Micah, and I pitch in. Sometimes Brax tells us to much. He just has no filter.
I slurp up the rest of my smoothie then signal to Mack that I would like another one. He nods his head at me and throws everything in the blender. I hop out of the booth and start to make my way to the counter so I can give him my glass.
Before I get too far, Preston calls out. “Where are you going now?” I just lift up my glass, showing him I am getting a refill.
When I get to the counter, I place my glass there just in time for Mack to fill it. “Thanks, Mack,” I say while handing him a ten dollar bill. “Keep the change.” he nods his head at me and goes back to cleaning the bright green tables.
I turn around, ready to head back to the tables when someone comes into the diner and almost knocks me over. “Sorry,” I say to her, but she just keeps walking. Maybe she didn’t hear me. I head over to our table and place my drink on it. I turn around right away and walk over to the girl’s table.
What happens when I get there is something I have always tried to avoid. I sit down across from her and watch her shoulders shake with silent sobs. I always try to avoid my Mum, Robin, and Micah’s sister when they cried. I just not very good at counselling people. I always seem to make things worse. But when I take one look at this girl’s petite frame that is all I want to do.
“Are you okay?” I ask her in a quiet voice. Her head shoots up so fast, I fear she got whiplash. Her bright green eyes go wide when she looks at me.
When I look a little closer, I notice that one is slightly darker than the other. She quickly wipes away her tears and utters the words that I know aren’t true.