Authors: Amy Sparling
“Uh, what is this?” I say, staring at the new smartphone on the desk.
Bayleigh gives a look to her son and puts her hands on her hips. “You didn’t tell her?”
“Shit,” Jett says, chewing faster to swallow the bite of pizza. “Um, yeah, I forgot. Key, Mom got you a phone.”
“What?” I shake my head. “No. No, I can’t take that. I can’t afford the bill. Maybe after I’ve had a job for a while, but—”
Bayleigh holds up her hand and gives me this sweet mothering look. “No worries. I added a line to the business phone plan. We all have phones on the business account. They’re a tax write off, and since you work here, you get one.”
I lift an eyebrow and turn to Jett. “You did this.”
He grins. “You need a phone.”
“I can’t take this, you know that.”
“You can and you will,” Bayleigh says, taking my hand and putting the phone in it. “Besides, I can’t let a teenage girl walk around without a phone. It’s just not safe.”
“She has me, Mom,” Jett says, reaching for another piece of pizza.
“You’re not as safe as a phone,” she says, rolling her eyes at him. To me, she says, “Don’t you worry about this at all. It’s unlimited minutes, text, and data so have fun.”
“Uh, thanks,” I say, trying not to jump into the air and scream for joy. My own phone.
Jett has me call him so we can save each other’s numbers into our phones. Bayleigh gives me her and Becca’s numbers and Jett has to constantly show me how to use the damn thing. It’s way more complicated than Dawn’s old cell phone. As soon as we’re done playing with it, and the customers clear out, I put the phone in my pocket and say I have to pee.
As soon as I’m locked safely in the bathroom, I take out the phone, and with trembling hands, I close my eyes and hope she’ll answer.
I call my mom and listen while once again, the phone goes straight to voicemail.
I don’t know why people get so excited over Friday night football. Friday night motocross should be everyone’s favorite activity. The track is perfect tonight, the dirt smooth and gritty at the same time. The warm summer air has a gentle wind that keeps you from getting overheated. I pin the throttle and soar over our ninety-foot-long tabletop jump, closing my eyes halfway through so that it feels like I’m flying.
It should be five o’clock soon, and Keanna will be off work. I’d asked her to come out and watch me ride for a little bit. I told her she should learn about the sport since she’s working here and all. But really, I just wanted to show off. I know she already likes me, but if she sees how fast I am compared to everyone else out here . . . I don’t know. Maybe that’s lame.
Still, the thought of the girl I’m crazy about sitting in the bleachers and watching me ride makes my chest swell up in this totally caveman-esque way. I want her to know that I am strong and fast, that I can protect her and keep her safe. I’m not sure how riding a dirt bike would prove that, but still.
I really want her to see me ride.
I pull off to the side for a quick water break and another bike rides up to me. The bike’s number plate is empty so I’m not sure who it is until he pulls off his helmet.
“D’andre, man, what’s up?”
He shakes the sweat out of his hair and climbs off his bike, propping it up against the fence post. “Just realizing how out of shape I am,” he says while he catches his breath.
“You didn’t pay to get in, did you?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “Nah, your dad saw me drive up and waved me in.”
“Cool. Keanna is working the front desk so she doesn’t know everyone who gets in free yet.”
At the mention of her name, his eyebrows rise. “So what’s up with her? You still crushin’ like some kind of teenage loser?”
“First of all, I
a teenager,” I say, holding up a gloved finger. “And secondly, yeah.”
He laughs and shakes his head like he now realizes the amount of trouble I’ve gone and gotten myself into. “What are you gonna do with all the other girls lining up to get with you?” he says.
I shrug and reach for my phone, which I had kept in my pocket even though it’s risky. Of course, I wasn’t planning on crashing so there’s really nothing to worry about.
“Dude, I don’t know,” I say, holding it up like it’s some kind of girl summoner. “They keep texting me. I hoped ignoring them all would make them go away but no such luck.”
“Oh boohoo,” he says, rolling his eyes. “Girls are still flocking to you. How annoying.”
“Shit,” I say, running a gloved hand through my sweaty hair. “Emma sends me naked photos almost once a day. I finally told her to stop sending that shit and she sent about ten more in reply. Do you know how to block someone’s number on here?”
“Block her?” D’andre says it like it’s a curse word. “Shit, man. Figure out a way to forward all those messages to me. No one sends me nudes.”
I shake my head. “I delete them the second she sends them. I’m trying really hard to win over Keanna and if she saw that, she’d never talk to me again.”
D’andre lets out a long breath of air and he’s staring at me like I’ve just decided to sell everything I own and go live under a bridge. “Are you seriously ready to throw away all these hot chicks and settle down with just one of them?”
I grin, not because of what he just said, but because now I’m thinking of Keanna. How cute she is when she smiles, the way she ends all of her texts in an emoji now that I’ve showed her how to use them. The way her body feels when pressed against mine . . .
“Yeah, man. I am.”
“Okay, well I still have to officially meet her if I’m going to give you my blessing,” he says, narrowing his eyes at me like he’s trying to be serious.
“Tonight at the lake.” Now I narrow my eyes at him. “Be respectful and don’t say anything that’ll get me in trouble.
“Like what? How your text inbox is a powerhouse of porn?”
“I delete it all!” I say and then he laughs. I check the time on my phone. There’s still five minutes before Keanna gets off work. “Wanna hit up the track again?” I ask, nodding toward our bikes.
“Yeah, but go easy on me,” he says, grabbing his helmet. “Like, if you stay in second gear, maybe I’ll be able to keep up.”
We get back on the track and although I try going slow for D’andre’s sake, it makes riding so boring. Eventually, I let him pull in front of me and then I tail him, urging him to go faster. It sounds mean but the best way to ride faster is to have someone on your ass making you work harder to stay ahead.
I keep glancing over at the bleachers, hoping to see Keanna. On my fifth lap around the track, someone waves to me from the bottom bleacher bench. Ugh. It’s Emma.
I try to ignore her but she jumps up and yells out my name and I realize that Keanna will be off work soon and the last thing I need is for her to see another girl calling for me.
So I pull over and ride up to her, keeping my bike on and my helmet over my head. She doesn’t get any special treatment.
“Yeah?” I call out over the rumbling of the engine.
“Turn that thing off,” she says.
I shake my head. “I don’t have time. What do you want?”
She puts a hand on her hip and her lip-glossed lips turn down in a pout. “You never thanked me for my pictures.”
“That’s because I didn’t want them. You need to stop sending shit like that to me.”
She scowls. “Why the hell wouldn’t you want them?”
“Because I don’t.”
Her nostrils flare. “Okay, look. I heard the rumors and I figured they weren’t true, but you’re being a really huge ass right now so maybe they are true.”
“I don’t give a shit what rumors you’ve heard about me, Emma.”
I rev the throttle and shift into first gear, making it clear I’m about to take off.
She steps in front of the bike. “I heard that you’ve been spending time with some bitch who isn’t even from here,” she says, her eyes squinting so she can try to garner something from my expression. She always did that; always went on and on about how my eyes would tell her what I was really thinking.
“Okay, well, since you asked,” I say, pulling off my goggles so she can see me better. “I am dating a new girl and it is none of your business. And if you’d like to keep some of your dignity, stop sending me pictures cause all we do is make fun of them.”
Lies, of course. Like I’d ever show some other girl’s naked photos to Keanna. Still, I know the very idea of it should piss off Emma, and judging by the look in her eyes, it’s done just that.
“You’ll be back,” she says, flipping her silky blonde hair over her shoulders.
I shake my head. “I won’t.”
“You will,” she says, glaring at me. “I know you better than anyone, Jett Adams.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” I say, sliding the goggles back on. “You don’t know a thing about me.”
As soon as the last client leaves the office, I shut off half of the lights and lock the front door. Then I go through the closing procedures and log out of the computer, turn off the coffee pot, and power down the credit card machine.
Jett asked me to meet him on the bleachers after work, so I head into the bathroom and do a quick hair check, then put on some powder to make my face seem less stressed. It was a pretty good day at work, but standing and dealing with people all day had made my face all shiny and less radiant.
When I’m finally as cute as I can possibly get, I say goodbye to Park who is doing work in his office and then I slip out the front door, locking it behind me at Park’s request.
The bleachers aren’t a long walk from here and I gaze out, wondering which loud dirt bike on the track is Jett’s.
Then I see him, sitting on his bike in front of the bleachers. I stop in my tracks and watch as he talks to some girl. No, not some girl. That same girl he was making out with in Becca’s art closet. She’s wearing short shorts and a flimsy sheer top that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. She grabs his arm and tilts her head up at him and although I have no idea what they’re saying, it’s pretty obvious she’s still into him.
My heart flip flops in my chest. Warm tears sting at my eyes and I curse to myself.
Why are you so stupid, Keanna? Stop getting sad over a guy you knew would cheat on you.
But it’s not really cheating, is it? We aren’t exclusive. We’re just a fling, I’d said as much myself. I’ve spent every single night lying in bed, telling myself not to get too attached to this guy.
So why does this hurt so bad?
Drawing in a deep breath, I turn and head back to Becca’s house. I need a shower. A hot, scalding shower. And a good cry.
I do exactly that. Since Becca is out of state and Park is still working, I don’t even care when the tears start flowing the moment I walk in the back door. I walk up to the guest bathroom and turn on the water as hot as it’ll get and then I just stand there, crying into the shower. Like the loser that I am.
I told myself not to get attached. I knew he was bad news. My whole life lately is like a Taylor Swift song and the most pathetic thing is that I let it happen.
I’m supposed to be smarter than this, stronger than this. Jett was supposed to be the hot guy I messed around with this summer. No strings attached, no feelings to hurt, no heart to break.
So why are my feelings hurt and why is my heart broken?
Why am I so stupid?
When I’ve been in the shower long enough to feel guilty about all the hot water I’m wasting, I get out and throw on some pajamas. They’re also a gift from Becca. Black leggings with hot pink diamond print and a pink tank top with a massive black sparkly diamond in the center. They’re really cute and kind of ironic because nothing about how I feel is cute.
I towel dry my hair and then crawl into bed and pull the comforter up to my chin. It’s only six in the afternoon on a Friday and I’m in bed. Maybe when Park gets home I’ll ask if he’ll take me to get some ice cream and then I can truly wallow around in self-pity.
I grab my phone and try calling Mom again, but it goes straight to voicemail as if her phone isn’t even turned on.
I don’t remember what the five stages of grief are, but pretty soon I sit up in bed and feel nothing but pissed off.
How can I just sit here and cry about some stupid boy? What is wrong with me?
I throw the covers off and I climb out of bed and walk over to the window, my hands clenched into fists at my sides. I am better than this, dammit.
You know what? I deserve an explanation. I should walk right up to Jett’s stupid gorgeous face and ask him why he told me all those lies about wanting me when really he’s still dating other girls.
I’m sure he’ll just tell me another lie, but it’ll be pretty awesome to watch him squirm.
I swallow and straighten my shoulders, feeling braver by the second. I’ll just go ask him. I deserve an answer. We’re friends first, right?
I slip on my flip flops and catch a glimpse in the vanity mirror. My hair is tussled and half wet, my makeup is all washed off and I’m wearing pajamas.
I’m going over there now.
The long walk between the Parks’ back yard to Jett’s house starts making me calm down. I start thinking maybe it was all some misunderstanding. I mean it could be, right?
I know the chances of him saying something that’ll make me feel better are slim, but I figure Jett at least owes me an explanation.
I cut through the Track’s parking lot on my way to Jett’s house and there’s still a few people in the parking lot which makes me a little insecure about my clothing. But screw what everyone else thinks. I need to find Jett and get an explanation from him. At the very least, maybe he’ll apologize.
A car door opens as I’m walking past it and someone steps out. “Man,” a girl’s voice says, “I am exhausted.”
I turn to the right and see the same blonde girl who was talking to Jett on the bleachers. Her hair is tousled and her lip gloss smeared off.
I keep walking.
“Wait,” she says, walking up to me. “Are you going to see Jett?”
Before I can say anything, she gives me this lopsided smile, like she’s about to confess to a crime. “You might wanna wait a little bit,” she says, giggling. “You’re that other girl he’s sleeping with, right?”
Again she doesn’t wait for my reply, not that I can think of one right now if I wanted to. She clutches her chest and gets this dreamy look in her eyes as she gazes off into the distance. “We just hooked up a few minutes ago so if you’re looking to get laid, too, you might want to wait a bit.” She touches my arm like we’re friends and gives me a wink. “Let him get his energy back, sweetie.”
And then she turns and gets back into her car, waving at me while she drives away. I’m stuck in the middle of the parking lot, wondering what the hell just happened.
Jett just hooked up with her? He’d said sex wasn’t everything and that he wanted to wait with me. My jaw clenches. I guess waiting is easier when you’re sleeping with someone else.
I swallow the lump in my throat and turn around. There’s a hollow pain in my chest and I tell myself to ignore it. There’s really no point in talking to him now. No explanation for him to give me. He’s sleeping with that girl and he’s stringing me along as well.
I make it all the way back home and I haven’t cried yet. I tell myself I am strong and that I’ll get over this.
And then I turn off my phone and crawl back into bed.