If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Dad was going to pop the question right now. It only took fifteen years and loads of prayers, but hey, I’d take what I could get.
Mom and Dad grinned at each other, not saying anything. Had no clue what the hell was going on, but it had to be something amazing. Right?
Earlier, we’d taken a family selfie. I was definitely going to frame it because, man, they STILL had that annoying family portrait in our living room of Dad, Mom, Uncle Beau and my goofy anklebiter self. I mean, hello, that was six years ago, people. Time to update. I’m like a giant now. (Kind of don’t like how I inherited all of Dad’s uggo traits like his huge Pongan size and lips to match. I mean, who wants to tower over the boys? Not me.)
I remembered like it was yesterday when Uncle Beau moved out. I kind of freaked because I truly loved him and was upset he was leaving. But after a little while, I liked it. We’d always go on walks right outside our house. We lived by the docks on the bay side. Way cooler than that catlady’s house or the bachelor pad my Dad and Uncle Beau used to live in.
I could tell Mom and Dad were getting close even then, and I wished every night they’d get together one day. Like married together.
Uncle Beau visited for a while from time to time (still did), but things had changed. He wasn’t draping himself over Dad anymore. They didn’t even kiss. Nothing. So yeah.
And then he’d leave and we’d go back to being that typical American family. Okay, well, almost typical. Parents didn’t have rings on their fingers and yeah, they never, like, held hands or anything, but it felt great. Something I needed back then.
And now they were just giggling about something. A secret between the two of them. I figured they’d clue me in sooner or later. Parents lived for making their kid’s dreams come true.
I could wait.
“Oh my God…don’t look now, but your awkward nightmare boyfriend is about to stroll over here,” my bestie, Gabby Cook, said.
Slurping down my delicious rainbow splizz, I mumbled, “He’s not my boyfriend, Gabs.” And he was no nightmare. If you cross pollinated a cinnamon roll with cutie pie actor Ham Tolland, you got Cory Clavane. But I didn’t want to say that to Gabby. She was in her hater phase at the moment. She always got like this after a big break up. Unlike me, she had guys zinging around her like flies. But I get one fly and she was ready to swat him into a pile of guts.
Okay, so I let it slip two years ago what happened in computers. We were Freshman. How did I know goofy Cory who sat by me was going to turn into handsome Cory two years later? I about died one million deaths when our twenty-something teacher proclaimed us “Ship Cexie”.
“Don’t believe me?” he crooned. “All my ships sail. Haven’t lost one yet.”
I whispered to the girl next to me, “Poke a needle in my eye if I ever date someone like Cory Clavane.”
Not a pretty moment in my past. I admit. But what do you expect from a dumb Freshman?
That whole Freshman year, Cory and I got to know each other and became friends. Fast forward to last week, we were hanging out. I liked him a lot because he had a strange family like I did (his mom basically banged a hot boy band guy–forget his name because that was like a gazillion years ago–and took off pregnant with Cory. So he didn’t know his father. I, on the other hand, had parents coming out of my ears. We laughed a lot about it.) And he shared my obsession with anime. I mean, that was like such a game changer. Most guys would never touch it. Too girly? But we both got into this one that was about a class full of superheros. Kind of cliche but it had some kick ass fight scenes.
“So, did you see last night’s episode?” I asked him, pulling up my Anime app. “I like watched it five times.”
Trying to find the latest episode of Your Hero School, I felt a buzz on my skin. You know, when someone was staring at you, it’s like your whole body was set on fire.
But before I could process what was happening, Cory kissed my cheek!
Shocked, I jerked my head up. “You did not just kiss me,” I said without thinking.
God, I was always saying stuff first before my brain could catch up.
“Sorry,” he said, wincing and turning his head away from me.
I was dying inside. My face felt like I’d put it into a fire pit and I couldn’t say anything to make him feel better. It was like I was made of ice. Great. Just call me the Ice Witch of Brindleton Bay. How the hell was I ever going to start dating if I ran off every guy who thought my face wasn’t too horsy not to kiss?
That night was ruined. We didn’t talk about it later either.
Suddenly, my chest squeezed painfully from Gabby hugging the shit out of me. “Oh my God. Is that Wyatt Roth?”
Nudging my glasses up the bridge of my nose, I said, “Uh…yeah. They’re like best buds or something. How do you not know this?”
Gabby whispered, “Let me take it from here, babe. I do NOT want this fish to get away.”
So much for the hater phase. She was now in Hottie Hooking mode. Wyatt Roth, you were about to get snagged. Boy didn’t have a prayer.
She put on her best cute-girl smile and waved. “Hey, guys!”
They both went into some acapella rap about being our best baby boyfriend or some weirdness. They didn’t sound half bad either.
I snorted, laughing. They looked so funny.
Cory said, “What? No standing ovation? We’ve been practicing for the last five minutes.”
“We want to audition for Teen Idol,” Wyatt added. “This shit doesn’t get any better, ladies.”
“Shit is right,” I said, looking them up and down. Could not let it get to their heads. I liked my sweet Cory the way he was–not full of himself like the rest of the male population.
“If you two held a concert, I’d buy tickets,” Gabby gushed.
I rolled my eyes. She was laying it on thick and Wyatt was happily lapping it up.
Cory pulled me away from them and said, “Want to go skateboarding with me, Lexie?”
My stomach did a strange flip flop. And it got worse when I noticed all the cute little freckles peppering his nose.
This Ice Witch just melted. “Yeah,” I said. “Okay.”
When we got to the park, I hopped on his skateboard and was about to go ride when he wrapped his arms around my waist.
I gave him a look. “What ARE you doing?”
“Uh, um…helping you? Wouldn’t want you to fall or anything.”
Oh my God, could he get ANY cuter????
But still…I had to give him shit about it. “You know this isn’t my first rodeo. I do know how to use a skateboard.”
“Oh…okay…” he said awkwardly, pulling away.
But like the spaz I was, as soon as he let go, I slipped, falling backward. “Oh shiiiiiiiit!”
He caught me mid-flail and our eyes locked.
He pulled me upright and asked, “Are you okay?”
My mind went right into that yoga place of zen. Or maybe it was teen euphoria. Whatever it was, I was trapped in a sea of freckles and brown eyes.
He must have felt it, too, because he closed his eyes and inched toward me.
This was it! A real kiss. Not that off guard, awkward peck he laid on me the other day.
But then when he went for it, our classes clinked.
“Oh, God, I’m sorry,” he said, freaking out. “Did I hurt you? Geeze.”
I shook my head, not believing my luck. Awkward kiss number two. Ship Cexie was destined to stay docked forever at this rate.
But then I thought, “Screw it,” and I went for it anyway, laying one on him like I’d been practicing on my pillow for the past three years.
And you know what I’d decided after my first kiss ever?
I liked it.
I liked it a hella lot.