Chapter Three

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29/08/12: This chapter has been edited.

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“Mom, I’m ill.”

            I’m standing in the middle of my bedroom, trying my best to master the expression of a genuinely sick person, instead of just someone who wants to avoid a humiliatingly awkward dinner with their ex-best friend.

            If there’s one thing I’m determined to achieve today, it’s getting out of this meal. However, with a mother like mine, that’s going to be nothing short of a challenge.

            “Really?” Her voice contains undertones of sarcasm, due to which I suspect she’s not falling for my visibly transparent lie. “What’s wrong, then?”

            In hindsight, it probably would’ve been better to come up with an incredibly convincing and incurable illness beforehand. At least that would’ve avoided me standing here floundering like a complete idiot. But, as usual, I’m not exactly the definition of well-prepared and for that reason, I have to rack my brains quickly for an answer that will entitle me to spend the rest of the evening in bed.

            Oh God, why didn’t I Google it?

            “Uh... cramps?”

            “I’ll get you some Tylenol.”

            “Sore throat.”

            “Don’t talk so much.”

            “I feel sick.”

            Mom gives me a flat look, obviously getting bored. I probably should’ve been a little more discreet about it, seeing as I want to keep her under the illusion that Connor didn’t act like a complete jerk to me yesterday, but I kind of got a little bit carried away.

            And as the clock edges gradually closer to the five o’clock mark, my desperation only increases.

            “I don’t care if you go to the trouble of making fake vomit,” she states, “you’re still having dinner with us.”

            Fake vomit? Damn, why didn’t I think of that? Oh, brilliant. My own mother’s outsmarted me in coming up with excuses. Maybe I should start consulting her on ways to get out of gym class.

            “Why are you so desperate to get out of it, anyway?” she asks, studying my expression intently. “Don’t you want to see Connor again?”

            I want to tell her truthfully that I’d rather endure ten consecutive hours of algebra homework – which, I’ll add, is a class I’m currently flunking – than suffer a conversation with my former friend, but I can’t really find the words to. Instead, my weak response is, “Uh... I don’t know. I’m just thinking it’ll be kind of awkward...”

            Understatement of the century.

            If Connor recognizes me as the clumsy girl who tackled him in the street yesterday – and undoubtedly he will – I’m kind of screwed. I’ll probably suffer a painful death through awkwardness and harsh glares. I can only hope the presence of our parents will tone down his attitude a little.

            “It’ll be fine,” Mom assures me. “You haven’t seen each other in eight years, so obviously it’s going to be slightly weird. But I’m sure you’ll get talking soon enough. And hey, a little bit of reacquainting and who knows? Maybe the marriage plans will be back on.” Her sentence is punctuated by a wink.

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