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3.11 Day Five: Parker

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PARKER

Before, when I came down the stairs and met Lizzie's eyes, the heavy cannon ball sitting in the middle of my chest detached and plummeted to the floor and rolled into my father's shoes. Lizzie owned the only map to find the place inside of me that hid away my reset button. Her presence recharged my existence.

"Ah!" Lizzie released a rattling yell as I doused her head with bath water. "I'm drowning! I'm definitely drowning!"

"Drowning people can't talk," I informed her as I moved my laptop a little further from the tub. It streamed the Hamilton Soundtrack because there was nothing that could possibly hype us up more (also, it was the perfect way to avoid brief spouts of awkward silences. If we couldn't find something to say, it was guaranteed we both knew all the lyrics and could sing instead).

Somehow, we already soaked the dark blue bathmats. She shook her head back and forth as she leaned underneath the faucet. My Stepmom permitted us to use the big bathroom with counter space and enough room for one of the kitchen chairs.

Peering at her, I said, "Maybe I should have given you a towel first."

Lizzie yelled again.

With a laugh, I reached into the towel cupboard and grabbed one of the older towels Debbie used to dye her hair. I turned the water off and Lizzie gasped, making a series of groaning noises as I tried not to laugh more than necessary. She sounded like a dying cat caught in the rain. I carefully moved her hair and slid the towel around her shoulders. The lump in my throat swelled.

Somehow, I had become more aware of Lizzie than ever before, the way she constantly rolled her shoulders and cracked her back, the way she curled her lips and concentrated on the words she wanted to say next. Just her mere presence gave me a ticklish feeling in my stomach.

When she took my hand in my bedroom, the tears nearly leaked out. I haven't talked about leaving New York to anyone since I sat in a car for hours with my Dad. We had tried moving as much of my stuff as we could, but I could list all the things left behind. Including mom. I must've dried my eyes out on that car ride.

I could still feel the shape of Lizzie's warm hands on mine. Her hands were calloused around the edges and worn from playing music. Every curve, every edge was like the deckled pages of a book and I wanted to discover every page. I wondered if our books could sit together on the shelf, if that would work, if that would make sense.

Lizzie flipped her head up, lashing me with her wet mop of hair.

"Watch it!" I cried, shaking off the droplets from my arms. Luckily, I was wearing an old T-shirt, underneath a huge plaid thermal and my most comfortable pair of leggings. She groaned, her shoulders high and perpetually cringing. Flopping down on the chair, she sighed and moved the rebellious wet strands from her face and spit some out of her mouth.

"So," I started to say, slipping a few hairbands around my wrist, "you have thick hair. I think I need to make a couple of ponytails."

My hands hesitated as I debated how much Lizzie would let me touch her hair or her skin, which was a ridiculous thought being I just kissed her cheek. My face rewarmed like a frozen meal thrown into a microwave. In less than ten seconds, Lizzie had a steaming, burn your mouth because it was too hot helping of Ashley 'the idiot' Parker's lips.

What was I doing? Was I a chaste maiden from another century? Next thing you know, I was going to call Camille and ask her to chaperone all of Lizzie and me's date and I'll need to ask Lizzie's father for permission to take her hand in marriage.

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