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1.1 Lizzie/Parker

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One week, two days and eleven hours and not a second more was the longest anyone has ever held out to date me. Patience to date me barely lasted a week. Girls never thought I cared about them. Texting just made me anxious. Seeing them made me anxious. I liked staying at home. I liked being by myself... but I guess, technically there was some truth beneath the hurt. If I peeled back their Band-Aid, I'd be able to see a neglect-shaped wound. If it weren't true, wouldn't I try harder?

My car hummed all around me as I kept my foot pressed on the brake pedal. I had turned the corner to find Parker and Camille going at it, slapping and mock pushing each other around. Camille gave Parker one hard push, but with Parker's height and overall physique, she picked Camille off the ground as easily as I picked up a heads-up penny on the ground.

I opened my phone and started an appropriate playlist:

Lizzie's "I hate my friend's friends" Playlist:

1. DVP by Pup

2. What's my age again? by Blink-182

3. Thanks for the memories by Fall Out Boy

4. not ur friend Friends by Jeremy Zucker

5. Etc...

Camille failed to mention anything about Ashley Marie Parker being stranded too.

Parker became Camille's best friend last year to my horror, like making friends with the meanest pimple in the middle of my face. I had always assumed Camille was my best friend, until I saw the way they talked, the way Camille screamed with laughter at Parker's joke and how it didn't matter if I joined their fun or not.

It was lucky to have a cousin my age. It was lucky that our family was close. It was lucky that Camille liked me. I had a friend more instant than microwavable Easy Mac, which was nice for a shy kid like me.

If Camille said Parker would be here, maybe I would've made some excuse not to come. Maybe I would have told Camille that I was too busy sticking my face into a vat of scorpions or waxing my entire body with used strips to bring myself to come. It wasn't that Parker and I hated each other. It was just when I saw her face, her ginger hair and her annoying pretentious hipster clothing, an itch consumed my entire body and I wanted to peel off my skin. I longed to reach for the nearest breakable thing and snap it over my knee. I wanted to spend hours screaming into a pillow before she talked over me or interrupted me again. My heart pounded in her presence, ready for yet another fight. Being around Parker was simply exhausting.

"Let's get this over with," I grunted and just slightly tapped on my horn.



A car horn blared, and I dropped Camille like a goth hot potato. She hobbled a little, walking off her laugh. At the end of the lot, the last Toyota Corolla I ever wanted to see crept towards us. In a sea of Toyota Corollas, I could spot this one. This one with a small dent in the pumper. This one with a Yankee candle air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, alongside necklaces and a dreamcatcher because someone decided to be "quirky" on a boring day.

"Look," I whispered, still out of breath. Not because of the beauty of the car or its owner, but because I am wildly out of shape. I spoke into Camille's ear. "It's someone who's afraid of joy."

That earned me a sharp elbow to the stomach. I groaned and Camille still smacked my arm and snapped at me like a tiny angry Chihuahua. "Stop it. I'll kill you. I'll do it and I'll make it look like an accident."

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