IX - Saturday
Saturday. The day where your alarm doesn’t screech at you way too early in the mornings, your house is calm and quiet and you can do whatever the heck you want.
That’s my guess on ordinary students’ Saturdays.
I’ve been an early riser for most of my life, and when eight o’clock morning came by I sat by my window, staring outside and watching the odd car roll down the street, with people on their way to work. My eyes flicked up to Maddox’s house and his bedroom window, his curtain pulled together. He and the rest of the people in his home seemed to be sleeping too.
In the end, I started going over homework and revision, until I heard the kettle boiling downstairs and the running of water. I pushed the books off my lap and went downstairs too, catching sight of my mum sitting at the breakfast bar and running her fingers through her golden-brown hair. She looked up at me and gave me a half-smile.
“Hey, Esme. You okay?”
“I’m fine,” I replied, sitting opposite. “Working late?”
“Yeah. Annoying, right? Though I am getting paid a little more... I was wondering about putting my name in for stuff like TV adverts, and maybe a spot of modelling. You know, how I used to before?”
I nodded, and she nodded back, nibbling on the bottom of her lip in thought.
“Anything to get a bit more money in. Patricia’s lovely and all that, but you should’ve heard the suggestions she was making! I couldn’t stand being cooped up all day in an office. I prefer working in clubs and bars and socialising, you know?” She sighed, resting her head on her hand, then met my eye and gave me a smile.
“Anyway. How’s life going, Es? School okay?”
“Yeah, school’s okay.”
“We’ve got new neighbours opposite us, did you know? I was talking to the woman that lives there. She’s not bad really. Must be around my age, maybe a little younger. She’s moved in with her partner, and they needed a bigger place.” She looked up at me again curiously, and I shifted slightly in my seat.
“I’m sure they’ve got a few children too. There’s a boy around your age, I think.”
I raised my brows, nodding.
“Yes, I’m aware.”
She raised a brow back at me then, interested. “Oh? Did you meet at school?”
Before she could speak again, her phone buzzed and she rolled her eyes and picked it up, getting up from her chair and going off to answer it. I went into the living room and switched on the TV, putting on a sitcom and filling to room with laughter and conversation. I bought my breakfast and laptop in and stayed by myself for a couple of hours, half watching and half typing up revision notes. Then I went upstairs and called up Lavinia, who answered after a few beats of ringing.
“Hi, Lavinia. How’re you doing?”
“Well, you know, fine, except Leroy got put on me and Melissa’s team for the English project!”
I frowned, confused.
“Wait, what? I thought Carmen-”
“She won’t really be here because of football, competing against another school. This weekend’s going too quickly already.”
“Oh, sorry. Do you, like, want to meet up at Mugshotz? Bring Melissa too. I’m done with homework and everything.”
“Yeah, why not. I’ll be there in ten.”
I pushed my phone in my pocket and pulled a sweater over my head, pulling my hair up in a ponytail and slipping my shoes into a pair of Vans. I stepped out of my room, then noticed my parent’s room, the door ajar slightly. I hesitated for a moment, then dared to peek in. Dad was there, lying on top of the bed and staring up at the ceiling. I pushed the door open and sat beside him. He didn’t flinch.
“Hi,” I said, with a smile. “I’m going to Mugshotz to meet up with Lavinia and Melissa.” I looked down at him then, his posture unmoving. “You remember Melissa, don’t you? She used to come out with us on holidays when we were little.”
I sighed lightly, looking back up at the firmly closed curtains.
“The house over the road has a boy called Maddox in it. He’s a bit annoying, but he’s quite fun sometimes. He’s got a really nice friend called Audrey. He tries to get me to have fun and lay off the good girl attitude.” I paused for a moment, then slid off the bed, looking back at him.
“I didn’t really want to at first, but I did. Maybe if you try too, you can have fun again.”
His eyes flicked to mine, lingering for a moment before he looked back to the ceiling. I smiled and left the room, pulling the door shut. It wasn’t a massive response, but it was still something.
“I’m going out for a bit,” I called to mum before leaving the house, closing the main door behind me. Suddenly, the door to Maddox’s house swung open, revealing Maddox himself and a woman’s silhouette in the hallway. He looked annoyed and glared behind him before shutting the door, and his sage green eyes trailed to mine, noticing me watching. Again.
He smirked and I rolled my eyes, starting to make my way down the street. He crossed over and stepped in front of me, and I stalled, looking up at his smug expression.
“I could ask you the same thing, you know,” he answered with his signature smirk. “You know, staring’s rude. And you do it too much.”
I rolled my eyes again impatiently, as he walked beside me.
“I was staring, okay? What are you even doing? The after school thing isn’t on weekends.”
“Well, duh. That’s why I’m going to Harley’s. What about you?”
“I’m meeting friends. You know, we should probably start on the project soon.”
“Yeah, okay,” he said with a smile. “Tomorrow then. After lunch or something. Mine or yours?”
I bit the inside of my lip hard, thinking of my mum and my dad, and Maddox’s possible reactions.
He shrugged and nodded.
“Who’re you meeting then? Melissa?”
“And Lavinia. She really hates it when you call her Lavvy, you know.”
Maddox grinned and shrugged.
“I know. And she’s in a group with Leroy now. I’d pay to watch how that’s gonna turn out.”
“They hate each other. All you’d gain is a headache.”
“They think they hate each other,” he corrected, “but in my opinion, they’re pretty much perfect for each other.”
My mouth dropped open in shock, and I stopped in my tracks, looking up at him in disbelief.
“I’m sorry, what?!”
“You heard me. Come on, they’re so alike. They think they hate each other, but give ’em a few weeks and Lavinia’ll be a blushing state and Leroy’ll be a smirking idiot.”
I couldn’t speak for a moment, then bust out laughing.
“It’s not! See, it’s the same with us.”
I stopped laughing, confused as I looked up at him again.
“Well, you insist I’m annoying and all,” he said, as we crossed the road and Mugshotz cafe came in sight, “but deep down, you know I’m good looking, and you went red when I grabbed your hand yesterday at the bar.”
He grinned at me and laughed as he crossed the road, making his way to Harley’s, leaving me with my eyes wide and speechless. After a few moments, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked to my side to see Melissa.
“Hi, Es. Are you... okay?”
“Maddox,” I said simply, and she nodded and smiled knowingly at me. We both entered Mugshotz and sat with Lavinia, enjoying each others company, walking off together to the park and chatting freely for the day until we parted ways.
I came home in the early evening, going straight upstairs and flopping on my bed. I pulled my phone out and a smile made it’s way to my face as I noticed a text from Audrey.
“Hi Esme! Was gr8 meeting u yesterday. Anytime u wanna meet up or chat, u no who to come to :))”
I typed in a reply and smiled to myself, lying on my stomach after kicking my shoes off.
“Hi Audrey, gr8 meeting u too. I’ll defo keep in touch :)”
She liked my message instantly, and I got up and grabbed my notebook, writing today’s date in the margin and then dithering on what to put. But as soon as I did, my phone buzzed again, and I rolled my eyes and smiled slightly at the screen. It was Maddox.
“School project 2moro, come at around 12pm. Ur doing most of the boring stuff ;)”