East Side Academy

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Chapter 13 - Lucky

“Early morning, she wakes up / Knock, knock, knock on the door / It’s time for make-up, perfect smile / It’s you they’re all waiting for / They go / Isn’t she lovely, this Hollywood girl? / And they say / She’s so lucky, she’s a star” – Lucky, Britney Spears

Arya

The whole morning at work I was thinking about my date with James. Now that I am at home, trying to do homework, I look at the time periodically, thinking, “Should I get ready now?” or “What do I need to do before he gets here?“. And then I remind myself that he’s not coming until 4:30 pm, so there’s not even a point in thinking about getting ready until 3:30 pm, but the afternoon drags on. I work on my history project because at least it’s interesting and will keep me distracted and not constantly checking the time. Once I finish all the proofreading of my paper, I check the time. 3:12 pm. Close enough to 3:30 pm, let’s round-up! I close my laptop on my desk, twirl around on my computer chair, and head to my closest. He said casual, but what does that even mean on a first date? Is that a hike? Is that a picnic? I have no idea. I pick out a long sleeve blue flowy shirt and pair it with black shorts, placing them on the bed along with undergarments. Happy with the selection, I go have a shower, shaving off any hair that might be visible in the outfit I’ve chosen, because heaven forbid should he finds out that hair grows there! I blow dry my hair out, perfecting it with the straightener, and then head back to my room and throw on my chosen outfit.

“Arya!” I hear Mia’s voice call from outside my door, “Dad says James has to come into the house to meet him before you guys leave!” and then she tests my door and upon finding out it’s unlocked comes into my room. “Wow, you look hot!” she says.

I look at myself in the mirror. “I hate it,” I say, not happy with how flowy the shirt is, it makes me look huge. I pull off the shirt and throw it on my bed and put on a loose burgundy V-neck and look in the mirror. “I need to change the shorts,” I say and then proceed to toss the shorts on my bed too and put on a pair of jean capris. I look in the mirror again. “Perfect.”

“Wow.” Mia says, “Only one shirt and pair of shorts on the bed, it’s usually a pile.”

“Shut up.” I smile.

“Just kidding.” Mia says, “You look great. Where is James taking you anyway?”

“I have no idea, he just told me to dress casual,” I say.

“Are you nervous?” Mia asks.

“A little.” I say, “I really like him, I just can’t believe that he likes me.”

“Why wouldn’t he like you?” Mia says, “You’re beautiful, athletic, and smart. Men should be on their knees in front of you. I should know, we look alike!”

“Do you have men falling to their knees in front of you?” I ask, raising an eyebrow at my little sister.

“Not yet,” Mia says, “But it’s only a matter of time.” and she winks at me and I roll my eyes at her.

The doorbell rings. “Shoot! What time is it?” I say as I look for my phone.

“4:27 pm,” Mia says, looking at her phone.

“Why is he early? Who arrives early anymore?” I say, running around my room to throw on my white Toms.

“Don’t worry,” Mia starts, “I’m sure dad will be happy to answer the door for you.”

“Thanks for your help!” I say to her as I stand at my dresser, putting on my gold cross necklace as well as some mascara. “Okay, what else do I need.”

“Phone,” Mia says automatically and I point at her confirming this.

“Where is it?” I say looking around my room. Why is it that I always have my phone on me, but right before I need to leave it suddenly disappears? I look everywhere around the room. Okay, think Arya, when were you using it last? Listening to music when I was doing my hair. I rush out of my room and find the phone on the sink counter, grab it, and put it in my back pocket.

“Lip balm?” Mia says, holding up my lip balm for me as we stand at the top of the stairs.

“Thanks,” I say, grabbing it and putting it on before adding it to my back pocket.

“And maybe some cash.” Mia says, holding up a twenty-dollar bill, “You know, in case you get left on the side of the road, your phone dies and someone is driving by that will only take you home for money.”

“Thank you for the mental image, Mia,” I say, grabbing the money from her hand and putting it in my other back pocket.

“Not that I think it will happen obviously,” Mia assures me, “But on the off chance, you can thank me that you were able to make it home safely.” and she smiles at me.

“Okay, I should head down there and save James now,” I say and turn to go down the stairs.

“Good luck!” Mia calls after me as I barrel down the stairs, turning left into the living room only to find my dad in his chair, talking to James, who is sitting on the couch.

“And your parents know where you are going?” my dad asks James.

“My mom knows where are going, Dr. Secord,” James says and then his eyes look to me as I walk in and a smile spreads across his face. My dad looks over to see what has captured James’ attention.

“Arya, nice of you to join us.” my dad says.

“Thank you for answering the door,” I say to him. “Are you ready to go, James?” I ask, hoping we can make a clean getaway.

“Yes,” James says, slapping his thighs and getting up from the coach. He extends his hand out to my dad, “It was great to meet you, Dr. Secord.”

“Likewise.” my dad says as he stands up from his chair and accepts James’ handshake. “Make sure to be home no later than 11:00 pm,” my father gives a warning glance to James and then to me.

“No problem,” James says before I have a chance to reply and then we finally can make our escape from the house.

“Have a good night!” my dad says as we walk out the door and I wave him goodbye. I grab my dark brown leather jacket from the closet next to the front door before we leave. Approaching his car, James takes the driver’s seat while I go into the passenger’s.

“I hope my dad wasn’t too hard on you,” I say as James puts on his sunglasses, starts up his car, and pulls out of the driveway.

“Nothing I can’t handle,” James says, “He’s just looking out for you. You look beautiful by the way.”

“Even though you told me to dress casual?” I joke with him.

“Trust me, you’ll thank me when you see where we are going,” James says.

“Where are we going?” I ask.

James smiles to himself. “You’ll see when we get there, it’s not too far.”

“If I guess where we are going, will you tell me if I’m right?” I ask.

“Nope,” he says, without even considering it.

“Bowling Alley?” I ask.

“I already told you I’m not telling you,” James says.

“I know, I’m just trying to read your facial expressions.” I say, “Maple Sugar Shack?”

“No, but that’s a good idea.” James says, “Maybe next time.”

“Oh, I’m already excited!” I say, “They have the best pancakes and sausages there.”

“I’d prefer you to be excited about this night,” James says jokingly.

“Oh, I am.” I say, “Drive-In Movie?”

“Would you please stop!” James says and places a hand on my thigh as he’s smiling. “We’re almost there.” His hand is only on my thigh for a moment, but his touch sends a jolt through me and I can feel where his hand was long after it’s gone.

“Fine,” I say, “I’ll stop, but I’m giving you some great date ideas for the future.”

“Maybe you should be planning our future dates then,” James says and looks at me from the corner of his eye.

“We’ll see how you do on this one and go from there,” I say and smile at him.

James slows down the car, putting his right indicator on, and pulls up into a parking lot. I look up through the windshield to see where he has taken me because I didn’t pay attention at all during the ride, and immediately I recognize where we are. He has taken me to St. Paul’s United Church.

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