“God, Alyssa!” I shouted toward her.
She gave me a slight frown, holding a bright yellow polka dot umbrella over her head. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“Cleaning the windows.”
“But it’s raining.”
No shit, Sherlock, I thought to myself. But then I realized it wasn’t Alyssa’s fault that I was cleaning the windows and she didn’t deserve my bad attitude. I climbed down the steps of the ladder and stared at my friend. She took one large step toward me and held the umbrella over both of us.
“Your mom made you do that?” she questioned with the saddest looking eyes I’d ever seen.
I didn’t reply.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, slightly angered. I didn’t live in the kind of place that Alyssa did. I lived in a shit neighborhood, and it wasn’t the safest place for any person, especially someone like Alyssa. There was a basketball court down the street where more drug deals happened than games. There were the individuals who stood on the street corners from morning to night, hustling each other, trying to make an extra buck. There were the prostitutes who walked up and down the streets, strung out. And there were the gun shots that were always heard, but luckily I never saw them hit any targets.
I hated this place. These streets. These people.
And I hated that Alyssa showed up here sometimes.
She blinked a few times as if she’d forgotten her reason for coming over.
“Oh yeah!” she said, her frown turning into a full blown grin. “Ass-Crack called me! I wanted him to come to my piano recital tonight, but he didn’t call me back, remember? Until now! He just called me and said he could make it!” She squeaked. I blinked, unmoved.
Ass-Crack was known for making these kinds of promises to Alyssa and he always had a way of backing out at the last minute.
“Don’t do that,” she said, pointing a finger at me.
“Don’t give me that, ‘Stop getting your hopes up, Alyssa,’ look. It’s not like I called him, Logan. He called me. He wants to be there.” She couldn’t stop smiling. It actually made me sad for her. I’d never seen someone who was so in need of feeling wanted in all of my life.
You’re wanted, Alyssa Marie Walters. Promise.
“I wasn’t giving you that look,” I lied. I was definitely giving her that look.
“Okay. Let’s do pros and cons of the situation,” she suggested. Before Alyssa and I graduated high school that past June, we were in a history class where the teacher made us make pro and con lists for all of the wars that ever happened. It was so freaking annoying, plus, our teacher had the most monotone voice ever. So since then, Alyssa and I started doing pro and con lists for any and everything, using monotone voices of course.
“Pro number one,” she said, her voice becoming numbingly bored. “He shows up.”
“Con number one, he doesn’t,” I replied.
She wiggled her nose in annoyance. “Pro number two, he shows up with flowers. He called and asked me what my favorite flower was. You don’t do that if you’re not bringing someone flowers!”
Daisies. Ass-Crack should’ve known her favorite flower.
“Con number two, he calls and cancels last minute.”
“Pro number three,” she said, placing her hand on her hip. “He shows up and tells me how amazing I am. And how proud of me he is. And how much he missed me and loves me.” I go to open my mouth and she shushed me, dropping her monotone sound. “Listen, Lo. No more cons. I need you to look at me and be happy for me, okay? Even if it’s a fake happy!” She kept smiling with a high-pitch sound of excitement in her voice, but her eyes and hiccups always told how Alyssa was really feeling. She was nervous, scared that he’d let her down again.
So I put on a smile for her, because I didn’t want her to be nervous or scared. I wanted her to actually feel as happy as she pretended to be. “This is good, Alyssa,” I said, lightly nudging her in the arm. “He’s coming!”
A deep exhale left her and she nodded. “He’s totally going to be there.”
“Of course he is,” I said with a fake confidence. “Because if there’s anyone in the world worth showing up for, it’s Alyssa-Fucking-Walters!”
Her cheeks reddened and she nodded. “That’s me! Alyssa-Fucking-Walters!” She dug into her back pocket and pulled out a ticket that was in a zip-lock baggie. “Okay. So I need your help. I’m paranoid about Mom finding out I’ve been trying to talk to Dad. I don’t want him anywhere near our house. So I told Dad he could pick up the ticket from you here.” Alyssa looked at me with hopeful eyes that her plan was okay. It didn’t go unnoticed to me that she was now calling him “dad” again instead of Ass-Crack. That made me sadder for her.
I really freaking hoped he showed up.
“I’ll do it,” I said. Her eyes filled with tears and she handed me the umbrella to hold so she could wipe her tears away.
“You’re the best friend a girl could ever have.” She leaned in and kissed my cheek a total of six times.
And I pretended not to notice how my heart flipped six times too.
She didn’t notice it, did she? She didn’t notice how she sparked my heart each time she stood near me.
“How was your rehearsal?” Mom asked, when I came back from Logan’s house. Instead of going to rehearsal, I drove over to his place and begged him to give a ticket to Dad. I couldn’t tell Mom that though—she wouldn’t understand. She sat inside of her office, typing away at her computer, doing what she did best, working. She had a glass of wine sitting next to her, along with the whole bottle beside the glass. She didn’t look up toward me, and before I could reply, she said, “Toss any of your dirty clothes into the laundry basket in the bathroom. Then if you could, wash them and fold the load in the dryer.”
“Okay,” I said.
“And I made a lasagna, if you want to toss that into the oven at four forty-five for an hour.”
“And please, Alyssa.” She stopped typing and turned my way, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Can you stop leaving your shoes in the front hall? It’s honestly two steps to the left to put them in the closet.”