“So, are you going to talk to Conrad today?” Desiree asks me as we’re eating lunch, our first meal of the day since we slept until eleven.
“I think so. Now that I’ve had the night to calm down, I think I’m ready to listen. Just last night- it was too much to handle,” I tell her.
“I get that,” she agrees with a nod, “so about last night. Can I ask you how it was, you know, before it all went down?”
I knew she’d ask about this at some point.
“All I’ll say is that it was amazing, you know- before Violet and her stupid confession ruined the whole night.”
Desiree nods in agreement.
“What a bitch. I’m dying to know the rest of that story,” she says.
“Believe me-, I am too. Anyway, I’d like to change the subject a little bit. Harrison asked me to ask you to call him,” I tell her.
I watch Des for her reaction, and I see a hint of a smile touch her lips.
“What?” I ask her curiously.
“Well, we kind of talked last night at the club after you left,” she tells me.
“And he apologized for what happened between us that first night and explained to me what that phone call was all about.”
I don’t speak; I just wait for her to continue. Desiree smiles again, bigger this time.
“He said it was his ex. He said they were together for three years and then she dumped him for someone else. Harrison knew he shouldn’t have answered her call while he was with me, but he said he was curious to hear what she had to say to him in the middle of the night. I got up and left before I could hear him tell her to fuck off for good.”
“Do you believe him?”
“I do, actually. I mean- I cautiously believe Harrison, but I’m going to believe him. He asked me if he could take me out for real, and I told him I’d think about it.”
“Gonna let him stew a little bit?” I ask with a knowing smirk.
“Just a little bit…but not too much. I’ll probably call him later.”
“Well, hopefully, it works out for you Des. I guess that means I should stop being so bitchy towards him.”
“Yeah maybe, but thank you for that by the way. He told me you gave him hell a while back.”
“Well, I can’t have him playing my best friend.”
“And this is why we’ll stick together for always,” she says, reaching for my hand and squeezing it.
I eventually decide to make my way home. I’ve been spending so much time at Desiree’s lately that my family might miss me.
I walk in through the front door, take off my shoes, and I’m stopped dead in my tracks when I get to the living room. On every available surface, are vases and vases of long stem red roses, there has to be hundreds of them. Holy crap! I walk over to one of the vases to check if there is a card. I spot one and see my name on the front of the little envelope. I quickly open it and read the card.
I love you, Syd, I’m so sorry. Please call me.
I’m relieved that he didn’t write his full name, but now I’m sure my parents are wondering what’s going on. I quickly check every vase and pull all the cards out and stuff them in my back pocket before heading for the kitchen. My parents are both sitting at the table. My dad is having a coffee while looking at his iPad, and my mom is drinking her tea, staring outside, looking deep in thought. I clear my throat to alert them of my presence. They both look up at me at the same time.
“Hi,” I say and take a seat at the table.
“Hello, dear,” my mom says to me with a smile.
I know that smile; it means I’m in for a million questions.
“So Sydney, do you have something you’d like to tell us?” my dad asks me pointedly, “maybe about why our house now looks and smells like a flower shop?”
“Yes, honey,” my mom cuts in, “who is the lucky boy?”
I have to keep from laughing at the, boy, comment.
“Well I’m uh, I’m seeing someone,” I offer because it’s a little hard to say otherwise now.
“Is it serious?” My dad asks, “It must be for him to do something like this.”
“You could say that,” I nod.
I’m becoming nervous as I realize I don’t know what to tell my parents. I can’t tell them much about Conrad, not even his name.
“So when can we meet him?” Mom asks.
“I don’t know, mom.”
“Nonsense. I’d like to meet this boy. How about you invite him over next weekend for dinner,” my dad suggests.
“I don’t think he can make it,” I say.
Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!
“Why not?” dad asks with a frown.
I look to my mom, but she stays quiet, obviously wondering the same thing. I look between them both. I wish I could tell them about Conrad. I wish more than anything I could tell them about him, but I don’t think I can, especially right now when I don’t know what’s going on between us. I need to talk to him first.
“We’re kind of fighting right now, I don’t want to talk about it,” I offer.
“Oh honey,” my mom croons and stands up and comes over and wraps her arms around me, “new love can be hard, I understand. Just let us know when you’re ready for us to meet him okay?”
This pleasantly shocks me.
“Really? You’re not going to push for more information?” I ask dubiously.
“You will when you’re ready, dear. I know it,” she says.
I hear my dad sigh loudly.
“Relax honey,” she waves her hand at my dad, “I know it’s hard when your little girl grows up and has a love life.”
“I just want to know who this guy that my daughter deems worthy is. It’s not like she’s ever brought any boyfriends home before,” he says.
I just shrug.
“It’s complicated,” I tell him, “maybe when it’s uncomplicated, I’ll introduce you to him.”
Like in a few years maybe.
“Fine. In the meantime, can you bring some of those flowers to your room or disperse them so I can sit in the living room without being overwhelmed by the smell of roses?”
“Thank you. This boy must have rich parents or a pretty decent job to be able to afford such a show of affection like this. Long-stemmed, red roses aren’t cheap, you know.”
“Okay,” I say before quickly getting up and leaving the kitchen before I have to say anything else.
I’m in the living room, grabbing another couple of vases to bring to my room when my sister walks into the house. She stops and stares at the multiple vases.
“Let me guess. Biker boy?” she states with a knowing smirk.
“Mmm-hmm,” I mumble.
She walks further into the room, and I see her searching one of the bouquets. I make a move to leave the room, but stop when I feel her swipe something from my back pocket. I quickly turn and reach out for the item in her hand, but she pulls it out of my reach.
“Come on, Hailey, give it back,” I protest, reaching my hand out again for the card.
“No way,” she giggles, opening the card as she moves away from me.
“Hailey!” I say more forcefully and put the vases down so I can grab the card.
Her eyes quickly skim the card though.
“Love, huh? Wow, Sydney, biker boy is romantic, huh? No name though…just an initial. I just love a juicy mystery,” she says in a conspiratorial tone.
I rip the card from her fingers and put it back in my pocket.
“Mind your own business,” I grunt.
“Oh come on Sydney. I’m your sister, don’t you trust me?”
“I'm not sure Hailey,” I tell her.
She actually looks hurt by this.
“Have I ever given you a reason not to?” she asks.
“No, I guess not, but I don’t really want to talk about it with mom and dad in the kitchen anyway,” I tell her.
“So let’s go to your room then. I’ll help you take some of these,” she says, grabbing a vase.
I shrug in response, letting her help me, although I’m still not sure I should tell her anything. Once we’ve got all but two vases in my room, leaving one in the living room, and Hailey begged to keep one in her bedroom because she loves roses, we’re done.
“Now can you tell me what’s going on?” she presses.
I want to confide in her, but I’m nervous. However, she is my sister, and maybe this could open up our relationship with each other more.
“Okay Hailey, I’ll tell you, but you have to promise me you will not tell anyone, otherwise people could get into a lot of trouble, and I’ll never forgive you if you tell,” I say.
She claps her hands happily and lays across my bed, ready to hear the story.
“I promise Sydney. I won’t tell anyone, cross my heart.”
Deciding that I’m going to believe that she’s sincere, I lie back on the bed next to her and start telling her about Conrad.
When I’m done, Hailey’s eyes are wide with disbelief and excitement.
“Oh wow Sydney, I was not expecting that. This is so friggin awesome.”
“No, it’s not,” I argue.
“Hells yes it is! Mr. Riley is the hottest teacher ever, and you got him. Do you know how many girls I know that are practically obsessed with him?”
“Is that all you got from this?”
“No, I caught everything. Yes, the situation sucks, but it’s also super hot. I just thought you were dating some mysterious, older, biker guy, not our mega sexy biker teacher. I can’t believe nobody has put it together that he’s the lead guitar of Un-Classic Heroes though, well except for Dane. So what do you think he’s going to do anyway?”
“I don’t know, and I hope nothing, but I doubt it. Dane isn’t going to go quietly with this. I mean, he said he wouldn’t tell, but not without a price,” I explain.
“What price, this is the question,” Hailey says with a nod.
I nod too, and we both go quiet in thought for a moment. I have to admit that I feel a little lighter having been able to tell someone other than Des about what’s going on in my hectic life right now.
“Maybe I can talk to Dane?” she offers.
“No, I don’t know if that would work,” I say.
“Why not? I’ve also known Dane my whole life. Maybe he’d listen to me if I ask him not to ruin your life.”
“It’s too risky,” I shake my head.
“I think it’s less risky than just waiting to see what he’s going to do,” she counters “It couldn’t hurt.”
I think about it for a few seconds. Maybe she has a point. If anyone has a chance, maybe it’s Hailey.
“Okay, maybe we could try that,” I agree.
“You’re actually going to trust me to do this?” she asks.
“Well, I’ve gone so far as to tell you all this, so I hope so.”
“Thank you, Sydney. You know, I’m glad we’re able to talk like this, we never do. I know we’re different, but we’re sisters, and I want us to be able to have this,” she says gesturing between us.
“Me too,” I agree, “I just figured you were never really interested in what was going on with me because you were too wrapped up in your own life.”
“I’ll admit, I usually am, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested in yours. You just kind of avoided me and you’re always with Desiree. I guess I felt like you’d rather just talk to her than me anyway.”
“Well, now we know,” I say.
“Yup, now you can let me in on your exciting secret life. And here I thought you were just a boring bookworm,” she says with a laugh.
“Conrad calls me his sexy bookworm,” I tell her with a giggle.
Hailey laughs at that, and then her face goes serious.
“Call him Sydney. You have to talk to him. Besides, unless you plan on cutting English tomorrow, you can’t avoid him, and frankly, why would you?”
“I know. I will,” I tell her.
“Good,” she stands up, “do it now.”
“And then I’ll be back later to hear the results.”
Hailey smiles at me and then leaves my room. I smile to myself, happy that she and I were able to talk about this together. I wish I had opened up to her sooner, and not just about this, just about anything. I pull my cell phone from my pocket, take a deep breath, and find Conrad’s number. I press dial and wait. He answers after only two short rings.
“Sydney,” he says my name, and I can hear his relief.
“Hi,” I breathe.
“Hi,” he replies softly, “I’m so glad you called.”
“I just needed some time.”
“I know, I understand.”
“Can we get together? I’d rather talk to you about this in person,” I ask.
“Of course, I’d love nothing more Syd. How about I pick you up in ten minutes? I can wait down the street a little way,” he offers.
“Okay, I’ll see you soon then,” I say.
“I love you Sydney.”
“I love you too, Conrad,” I tell him before hanging up.