Meet Me

82 14 23

Uncle Greg and his crew
don't stay long after
we're done eating,
having other places to go
and other people to see
for the holiday.
Before long, I find myself
hugging cousins goodbye,
and promising my Aunt Tina that
I'll keep Euni out of
trouble in the future
(Mom had filled her in
on the incident that was
Natalia's party).
Before stepping out the door,
Addie makes sure to remind me
that Euni has her number -
"So if you ever need to talk,
you know how to reach me."
It's not long after
that we watch them pull
out of our driveway
and back onto the road again.

The next day,
I find myself wondering
what will occupy
the rest of my winter break.
Euni is grounded, so
she can't see any
of her friends,
and neither can I;
she's taken to sulking in our room,
occasionally barging into Thias'
to request use of his laptop
in order to message
whichever friend she fancies
getting ahold of.
I don't know how,
but Thias doesn't seem to mind.
He hasn't minded much
since Sara, at any rate.

Natalia is still grounded, too,
as far as I know -
but unlike my sister,
she still retains the use
of her cell phone, and
hasn't stopped texting me
since this morning.
Her Christmas went horribly,
she claims, as her parents
were away all day
doing who knows what.
It was almost worse than
them being on the phone
at home with her,
she tells me -
but I'm not so sure.
It has to be worse
that they skipped out
on spending time with her
when they obviously don't
see her all too much.

Still, she isn't allowed
to leave her house, apparently.
She makes sure to complain
about that to me
plenty of times
before I attempt (and fail)
to change the subject.
Finally, she takes my hint
and changes the topic
of our conversation
rather abruptly.

Has Seth asked you
to the winter dance yet?
she asks me;
I can almost hear
the smirk behind her words.
Because as soon
as he does, we need
to go dress shopping.

You're still grounded,
I remind her,
so how will that work?
After a second, I
catch myself smiling
down at my phone screen
and forcibly force my lips
into a blank expression,
confused by my own reaction.
And no, he hasn't
asked me to anything yet,
I add.
Maybe he forgot about it.

I know I'd forgotten
about our school's winter dance.
It was supposed to be
before exams, but due to
some poor planning on
the part of the student council,
it had been postponed
to the week after Christmas -
the Monday after,
to be exact.
I've never been one
for dances of any kind,
so I hadn't paid
much attention to it all.

He HAS to ask you,
she insists,
shooting me a response in
no time flat.
I'm sure he wants to,
you know.
He's just a chicken.

And how would you know?
I retort -
but after waiting for
a few minutes, she
doesn't answer my question.
Maybe her parents had
finally come home to her.
Sighing, I start to my feet
as, from the kitchen,
Mom yells for us to
come and get our dinner.

My parents have a
fairly strict rule about
not texting or using our phones
at all during dinner.
They have these really rigid
sentiments in general
when it comes to
spending time with family
that we, as their kids,
have never attempted to break.
So when, after we have
all sat down to eat,
my phone goes off
in my pocket, my first
reaction is to stiffen
and keep my gaze down
on my plate as Mom
squints around the table.
She, however,
says nothing.

A second later, it
goes off again,
startling me.
Beside me, Euni casts me
a slight glare that I know
means that she still envies me
to possession of my phone
when she doesn't have hers.
Across the table, Eddie
starts imitating my ringtone
around a bite of his food.
But even as I try to
switch off the ringer without
actually pulling my phone out,
it still buzzes insistently.
Natalia must be
really impatient for me
to respond if she's
texting me so much.

"Matty,"
my mom says at last,
looking stern.
Guiltily, I glance
up from my plate at her.
"Turn your phone
off, please."

"Sorry..."
I mumble, pulling out
my phone long enough
to switch it to silent.
As I do, I notice
the texts displayed on
my lock screen.
A bunch from Nat,
as expected -
but also a couple from Seth,
who I imagine Natalia
has pestered into messaging me.
After we're done eating,
I again pull my phone out to
read them all.

The gist of Nat's messages
are telling me that Seth
is being stubborn and
won't agree to do anything
she asks of him.
She doesn't say exactly
what she's trying to
force him into this time,
but I shoot back a
quickly reply, regardless.
Seth's are somewhat the same,
complaining about Nat and
asking why I'm friends with her.
He's only kidding, of course.
It's kind of funny to me
how easily my two friends
get on each other's nerves.

But even as I'm reading
his messages, another one
comes through.
Is there any way
you can meet me at
the park near my house tonight?
he asks out of the blue,
with no preamble or
forewarning of his request.
He gives no reason for it, either,
and I'm left staring in confusion
at the screen of my phone.

Why?
I ask at last.
Is something wrong?

No,
he quickly assures me,
I just need to
talk to you about something.
It's important.

And important though it may be,
I can't help but feel
a bit nervous as I respond.
Sure,
I tell him.
I'll be there soon.

×

This chapter wasn't very significant, oh well. Foreshadowing of things to come, I guess. Fun times.

If you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and leave me some feedback!! It would be much appreciated! <3

UnparalleledWhere stories live. Discover now