Book Excerpts

The Weekends (Snippet 1)

“Hey.”I said walking in the door after school. “Why are there boxes all over the place?” I was so confused. I hated not knowing things. I had no idea what was going on and was hoping my dad would fill me in. “It’s my stuff.”My dad said. “Mom finally convinced you to take all your knick knacks to a storage?”I smiled. “No.”Dad said. His eyes looked so sorry. “Oh. Redecorating?” I asked. “No Eden.”My dad said. “Then why are there boxes?”I asked. “Your mom and I are getting a divorce sweetie. I’m sorry.”He sighed patting my shoulder.

“What?”I asked. “Some time ago, I discovered I-I wasn’t who I thought I was. I can’t live a lie any longer Eden.”He said. My dad, standing there looking down at me, felt like such A stranger right now. “What do you mean living a lie?”I asked. “I’m gay Eden.”He sighed. “How?”I asked. “I don’t know. It’s who I am.”He shrugged.

“Mom.”I sighed as she walked out of the bedroom. She looked so angry, so hurt. She had her arms crossed over her chest. “Sweetie, I’m sorry.”She said. “I’m sorry.”I said. I couldn’t think of what else to say. “No Eden. This is not your fault. Don’t. The kids always think it’s their fault when their parents get divorced but it’s not. It’s between the people in the marriage only. We love you Eden, we just fell out of love with eachother.”My dad said giving me a hug.

“You about done packing your stuff yet Albert?”My mom asked my dad. “Yes Cheryl.”My dad said. “You mind helping me Eden?” My dad picked up a few boxes and began lugging them to his Infinity qx56. I grabbed one, it was labeled movies, and carried it to his car. My dad has a lot of stuff. Our house is going to be so empty with him gone. He filled a lot of space, not just with all of his things but with his bubbly personality and loud voice.

“Looks like that’s everything.”My dad said looking around the house. He had on a backwards baseball cap, a white t-shirt, ripped jeans, and converse. He looked so different. In a way, he looked relieved. “So, this is it?”I asked. “What do you mean honey?”My dad asked. “I mean, sixteen years in this marriage and you just pack up and leave. Leave your daughter behind, leave the house behind for good.”I said angry. “No Eden. God no.”He shook his head. “Come on. Let’s go for a drive.”He said. I wanted to say no, but I hopped in the passenger seat anyways.

“So, why?”I asked. “You’re going to think I’m a terrible man, but I cheated on your mom. I had a boyfriend on the side for a year.”He said. “What?”I whispered shocked. “I’m sorry baby.”He said looking over at me as we drove down the road. It was Friday. There was tons of traffic. People going on a weekend vacation, teenagers going to parties, couples going on dates. i would be the unlucky one stuck in the car discussing my dad’s adultery with a man.

“How could you do this to mom?”I cried. “Sweetie, please don’t cry.”He said pulling into the parking lot of Pit Stop. “Take me home.”I cried. “Eden, I don’t want you to hate me.”He sighed grabbing a tissue out of his glove compartment and handing it to me. “I don’t hate you. I’m just really mad at you.”I said dabbing at my eyes with the tissue. “Sorry. How many times do I have to say it before you forgive me?”He said. He had guilt in his eyes. “Sorry isn’t enough.”I said looking out the window hoping he’d get the point that I don’t want to talk to him right now. “Fine. I’ll take you home.”He said. He put the car in reverse and headed back to my house.

Our house, the one story beautiful house in the cul-de-sac, was no longer a home anymore. It was a mere reminder of memories. It meant nothing to me anymore but a place to sleep until I leave for college after this school year. I’m ranked number two out of my class, my best friend is ranked number one. I got a full ride scholarship to Stanford University. I have three months left until I leave and start a new chapter in life.

“Eden.”My mom said coming into my room. Her brown hair was pinned up behind her head, she had on eyeliner that made her brown eyes stand out, and her skin looked tan. She had on a beautiful blue strapless dress that went a little above her knees and black heels. “Yeah?”
I asked. “Can you put this bracelet on for me?”She asked. She held out her plain gold bracelet for me to put on her tiny wrist.“Hot date?”I laughed. “Yes, actually.”She smiled. It’s only been a week since the divorce and my mom is already back in the game. I think she just wants someone because my dad has a boyfriend.

“Who’s the lucky man?”I laughed. “Someone Susan set me up with. He’s a policeman.”She smiled. “Wow. What a change.”I said. “What do you mean?”She asked examining herself in my mirror. “I mean, dad was a karaoke club owner. That’s loud and fun. This is a police officer. That sounds more sophisticated and strict.”I said. “A job doesn’t define a person.”She shrugged. “Yours and dad does.”I said. “Oh really?”She said crossing her arms over her chest. This was her signature gesture when she was upset. “Yeah. Dad is loud and outgoing and loves to sing, even though he’s horrible at it, like his karaoke place. You’re sophisticated and intelligent and you’re a college English teacher.”I said. “Whatever.”She said leaving out of my room.

“I forgot to mention, your dad and I have a meeting over custody tomorrow. You have to be present.”She said walking back to my door. “Okay.”I said. I haven’t talked to my dad since our talk at the PitStop last week. I was curious to see how things go. “So, have a nice night.”She smiled. She kissed my forehead then I heard her heels click clack all the way to the door.

I grabbed the keys to my 2008 scion tc, a birthday gift from my parents last year, and called my best friend George. I desperately needed to hangout and clear my mind. “Hey.”I said as he picked up the phone. “What’s up?”He asked. I immediately called him last week, after my dad dropped me off after the Pit Stop talk we had, and told him all about the divorce. “Can you meet me at our spot?”I asked. “Of course.”He said. “Thanks.”I sighed. “See ya soon.”He said. “Okay. Bye.”I said hanging up.

I met George freshman year. He was used to being the top student at his elementary school. When we got to high school and he found out one person beat him for being ranked number one, he had to meet the person. We ended up having a lot in common and have been best friends ever since.

We made this coffee shop, called Java Frenzy, our place. They have the best coffee I have ever tasted. They’re open twenty four hours. I guess for those people craving coffee to help them stay up and do homework or something. We go here to do homework, study for test, or just to vent about our problems. Some nights they have events like: karaoke, poetry recitals, musicians, movie nights, and an assortment of stuff. It’s a nice place.

It was eight and pretty empty for a Friday night. I walked inside and the smell of coffee beans filled my nose. It smelled magnificent. “Hi Eden.”The cashier Brandy smiled. “Hey.”I said. “Want the usual vanilla bean and chocolate chip muffin?”She smiled. “Yes please.”I said. I went into my brown messenger bag and pulled out a crisp five dollar bill. I paid and then let her keep the fifty cent change. “I’ll bring your order to you.”She smiled.

I took a seat over by a window. I could see George pulling up in his Jeep Liberty. I waved at him through the window. He nodded. He had his hands in his pockets. He looked tired like I might’ve interrupted him from sleep. He ordered his usual, a latte with caramel and whipped cream and a cheese bagel, then came and sat next to me. He had to be sleep. He had on blue plaid pajama pants, and a Stanford t shirt. He’s going to attend their law program.

“Hey.”He said. “Sorry for waking you.”I said. “It’s fine. It’s the weekend, so I’m fine.” He shrugged. “Guess what.”I said. “You’re pregnant?”He smiled. “That’s impossible.”I laughed. “Unless you’re like a virgin Mary or something.”He shrugged. “Thank you for making me laugh.”I smiled. George is one of the only people that knows how to cheer me up when I’m down. That’s what I’ve always loved about him. “You’re welcome.”He smiled. “Anyways, before your insane prediction, I have to go to a meeting with my parents tomorrow about custody issues.”I said. “Wow.”George said taking a sip of his drink. “That’s good they’re trying to compromise though.” I picked a few chocolate chips off my muffin and popped them into my mouth. “Yeah. I’m still a little shocked though. It’s crazy.”I sighed. “You’ll be fine.”George whispered as I rested my head on his shoulder. We were so close that people always thought we were dating, but we weren’t. He’s just my best friend.

“I should head home.”I said looking down at my phone. I ended up falling asleep on George’s shoulder. He didn’t wake me though. He knows how crazy my life has been lately. “Me too.”He said raising up. “I’ll tell you how the custody battle goes.”I smiled. “Okay. Good luck.”He chuckled. He gave me a hug then we parted ways.

I got home and my mom was back. She was sitting at the kitchen counter, still in her dress but barefoot, eating something out of a to-go tray. “How was your night?”I asked. “Great. He was a gentleman. We have a second date planned for next week.”She smiled. “That’s good to hear.”I said. “How about your night?”She asked offering me some of her leftovers. It looked like Italian. “Me and George just went to Java Frenzy.”I said. “Oh of course.”She smiled. “I should head to bed since we have that important meeting tomorrow.”I said. I headed over to my room and flopped in my bed.

I woke up in the morning and showered. I didn’t know the proper attire for the occasion, so I just put on a white v-neck, khaki short shorts, a black cardigan, and black converse. I combed my hair up into a ponytail and waited for my mom in the living room. She came out of her room in a plain long sleeve maroon shirt, jeans, and brown boots. “Ready to go?”My mom asked. “Yeah.”I said. I grabbed my brown messenger bag, this is the only purse I carry, and we hopped into her honda crv.

We got to the office and I didn’t see my dad sitting in there. I opened the door and slowly walked in. “Hi.”My mom said to the attorney. “Hello Ms. Rogers.”The attorney nodded. It was so different hearing her called by her maiden last name. I guess I have to get used to it now. She’s always had my dad’s last name, Jones, but not anymore. “Have a seat.” We sat across from the attorney and waited for my dad.

A moment later, my dad bursted into the room. “Sorry we’re late sir. Our navigation system gave us the wrong directions. “You’re here now so let’s get to business.”The attorney said as my dad sat down. “Hi Eden.”He nodded at me. “Hello.”I said staring at the man that sat next to him. He had the Aryan, blonde hair and blue eyes, look. He was pretty cute I guess. “I thought this was private, who’s the guest?”My mom asked rudely. It was obvious it was my dad’s boyfriend. She was just being a sour puss. “I can go, it’s no problem.”My dad’s boyfriend said sweetly. He seemed so innocent and sweet that it was hard to hate him even though I desperately wanted to.

“No, stay.”My dad said to him. “Cheryl, have some goddamn respect! This is my boyfriend. He has a right to be here. He is her stepdad.” My mom looked at him with wide eyes, but didn’t say a word. “Okay.”The attorney said awkwardly. “Back to business.”He handed my mom and dad both a contract. “So, which parent do you want to live with?” My mom asked. “I think it’d be best if I stayed with mom since I grew up there and all my things are there and school.”I said. “That’s fine. I expected that.”My dad nodded.

“You’re here because you also want custody right?”The attorney said to my dad. “Yes sir.”My dad smiled. “Okay, what’s the best arrangement for you guys?”He asked. “How about you being with your mom during the week and with us on the weekends?”My dad asked me hopeful. “Sure.”I shrugged. “Okay, so it’s an agreement.”The attorney said. “Great.”My mom said with an attitude. “What about holidays?”My dad asked. “I should get her on holidays.”My mom said. “Cheryl, I’m her parent also. I deserve to have her on holidays too.”My dad said. “How about we all spend holidays together like one family? If you guys can stop acting immature and be civilized.”I said. “Do you both agree to spend holidays together?”The lawyer asked. They both nodded yes. “Sign the contract to finalize it. If the agreement is broken, you’ll have to come back to me.”The attorney said handing them pens. They quickly signed then we were free to go.

My mom stormed out as soon as the lawyers let us go. “Cheryl.” My dad yelled after her. “What?” She snapped. “Let’s be civilized like Eden said. I’m sorry this happened, but it did. Now all we can do is move on and forgive.” He said looking into her eyes. “You’re right.” She said relaxing her shoulders. “Thank you.”My dad said. “You’re welcome. We may be divorced, but we still have a daughter together. We’re going to be involved with eachother the rest of our lives, so might as well get along.” She smiled. “Okay.” He smiled. “Besides, I’ve been dating again. Moving on and forward with my life.” She smiled. “Great!” My dad smiled patting her shoulder. He gave her a hug, then went back to Peter and headed towards the car.

I looked over at my dad as we stood in the elevator. He was smiling at his boyfriend. It was so weird looking at my dad now. Looking at him though, he does look happier. I can’t hate him for wanting happiness. That’s what life is about. I look just like him with the green eyes, red hair, and white skin. “You alright?”My dad said when he noticed me staring at him. “Yeah, I’m fine.”I smiled. “So you forgive me?”He asked. “Yes. I can see you’re happy, so I’m fine.”I said. “Okay. Great.”My dad smiled kissing my forehead. “I’m glad you two kids are civilized now.” I laughed. “Me too. It’ll make things a lot easier.” He said.

“By the way, I didn’t get to properly introduce you to my boyfriend.”My dad smiled. “Hi.” I smiled at his boyfriend. “Hello.”He smiled back shaking my hand. “His name is Peter.”My dad smiled looking at Peter like he was the most fascinating thing he’s ever seen. I could feel the chemistry in the elevator. They’re in love, I can tell. “Nice to meet you.”I smiled. “Wonderful meeting you too.”He smiled. We stepped off the elevator and headed to our cars. My mom was waiting in her car for me, resting her head on the steering wheel.

“I can’t believe your father had the audacity to bring that homewrecker to the meeting.”My mom said as we drove home. “Mom, if it wasn’t Peter it would’ve been another guy. Dad is gay.”I sighed wishing my mom would take the divorce easier like my dad did, but I guess she just wasn’t ready to let go. She’s never been into change. “He’s horrible.”My mom said. “Peter was actually a nice guy, and I could tell they really love eachother.”I said. “Oh, so you’re siding with them?”She said looking over at me. “Mom, it’s not like that. I love the both of you equally. You’re my parents.”I sighed just ready to get home and be done with this conversation. “I’m sorry. I said I’ll be nice, so I’ll be nice.” She sighed. “Thank you.” I said.

“So I guess you go to your dad’s for the weekend.”My mom said. “Yeah.”I said as we pulled up to the house. I got out and headed inside to pack a few things for the weekend. “Bye mom.”I gave her a kiss on the cheek then headed out. I felt bad to be leaving her alone, but I’m still my dad’s daughter and he should be allowed to see me too.

Every weekend I will be making a thirty minute trip from, Richmond, my house with my mom, to my house, in San Francisco, with my dad and Peter. I predict this is going to be tiring.
I plugged my ipod into my stereo and blasted The Daisys to make the time past quickly.

My dad was always the colorful loud person, so I had no idea what to expect when I pulled up to his condo. It’s beautiful. It’s a bit elevated on a hill, with curled stairs that lead to the door. It’s big and brown with a garage, that has a big patio on top of it, and plenty of luscious plants and trees. I love it. My dad must’ve been waiting for me to pull up. He walked out the door with a white bulldog on a leash. “Welcome to mi casa.”He smiled walking down the steps. “Your house is beautiful.”I said climbing up the stairs with my suitcase in my hand. He gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Now time for a tour of the casa.” My dad yelled mimicking a drum roll as we walked inside the door.

As I walked into the house, it was like I fell inside a rainbow. It’s huge, modern, and colorful. The kitchen is black and white checkers, the living room has a huge television on the wall, pictures everywhere, a book shelf, a big dark blue sectional, a fuzzy green carpet, and it was decorated colorful stripes. I walked into the bathroom and it was blue and green polka dots.

“Now, time for your room.” My dad smiled. He opened one of the three bedroom doors and there was nothing in it but a queen size mattress and headboard, a dresser, a built in bookshelf that covered a whole wall, and a desk. I had my own balcony and bathroom too. “I left it empty, so you can decorate it how you like. That’s our plans for tomorrow.” He left me alone to get used to my room. I looked around thinking in my head how I plan to decorate it. After I settled in, I went downstairs with my dad and Peter.

“So later, we’re all going to eat with the neighbors.” My dad smiled. Him and Peter were on the couch watching Gay Talk. “Apparently, they’re gay too!.” Peter smiled. “They have a son your age too.” My dad smiled nudging my side as I flopped down on the couch. Their bulldog Porkchop jumped on me and started licking my face.
“You ready to go?” My dad smiled walking down the stairs. He looked nice. He was wearing a black blazer, a white v-neck, cargo shorts, and black converse. Peter was wearing a white polo and jean shorts. I felt underdressed in my sweats and t-shirt, so I went upstairs and changed. I put on a cute floral print romper, beige sandals, and I combed my hair into a side ponytail. “Beautiful.” My dad smiled. We grabbed the grilled chicken salad he made and walked next door.

“Hey neighbors!” The lady said happily. She was a dyke with a short black haircut. The other lady was more feminine looking with brown hair and green eyes. “Hi guys.” My dad smiled as we walked in the door. “This is my daughter Eden, and my boyfriend Peter.” We all sat at the table. “Nice to meet you.” She smiled shaking our hands. “This is my wife Cindy, and our son Ryder.” I looked over at Ryder. He was texting on his phone and singing to himself. He has a beautiful singing voice. He’s hot, but intimidating looking. He noticed me looking, and raised his eyebrow at me. “Watch out for this one, he’s a little heart breaker.” Betty laughed pointing to Ryder.

“Nice.What’s your name?” He asked the dyke looking one. “Betty.” She smiled. “And yours?” Betty and her wife are very friendly. “Mine is Albert.” He laughed. We started passing food around the table. Along with my dad’s grilled chicken salad, we had spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. “The meal is lovely.”Peter smiled taking a small bite. “Thank you. It’s a family recipe. I’m half Italian.” Cindy smiled flattered. “It’s marvelous.”My dad said stuffing a meatball into his mouth. “Yeah, I was just telling Albert how I want to take cooking classes.”Peter smiled. “That sounds wonderful.”Cindy smiled.

“So, is she your real daughter, or adopted?” Cindy asked. “Real. I used to be married, but we recently divorced.” My dad said. Unlike my mom, he wasn’t pissy about the divorce. He seems happier now, than he ever was with my mom. “We adopted Ryder when he was about three. His mom and dad were abusive alcoholic drug addicts. They neglected him too.” Cindy said patting Ryder’s shoulder. “Damn. Isn’t that personal?”Ryder asked a little annoyed. “Calm down.”Cindy said.

Ryder looks like a total bad boy. He has so many tattoos. His arms were full of tattoos, and he even has a tattoo around the edge of his face near his ear and one near his hairline on his forehead. Through his muscle shirt I could also see tattoos on his chest and stomach. He has big gauges, long brown hair that’s a bit curled at the end, white skin, and green eyes. Even though he has rebel written all over him, he’s one of the most gorgeous guys I have ever seen. I’ve always been into preppy guys, but Ryder caught my eye somehow. Which is weird because I usually find a lot of tattoos disgusting. Maybe it’s just his scent. I bet every girl finds him attractive, and I bet he takes advantage of it.

“Yeah, he’s kind of a lot, but in our house, we try to express individualism.”Betty said popping a meatball into her mouth, then taking a bite of bread. “So, tell us about yourself Eden.” Cindy smiled.

“Well, I’m seventeen, I go to SunnyView High School, that’s about it.” I blushed when I noticed Ryder staring at me. “Wow. Ryder dropped out as soon as he turned sixteen. He was smart enough to get a GED though.”Cindy laughed. “Eden over here is a genius. She’s ranked number two out of her class and she got a full ride academic scholarship to Stanford. She’s going to their law school. She’s a good girl. Always making her dad proud.”My dad smiled at me. Ryder’s eyebrow went up again when my dad said this about me. He looked amused, or shocked, like he wanted to laugh. “How great!”Cindy said. “Yeah, you guys should become friends.”My dad smiled patting my shoulder. “Yeah, Eden is a good girl. She might rub off on Ryder.” Betty smiled. “No one is rubbing off on me or changing me, but I’ll hang.”Ryder smiled at me with a mouthful of food.

“How about you guys hangout tonight?” My dad suggested. “Us adults are going to this gay club, Pride, but you guys can hangout.”Everyone else agreed with my dad. He‘s always been very persuasive and a leader. “Besides, you have every weekend until you’re eighteen here anyway, might as well make some friends.” I felt weird. Like I was a loner and my dad was helping me get friends. “Good idea.”Betty smiled at Ryder. He was attacking his second plate of spaghetti. “Sounds fun right?”My dad smiled. “Sure.”I shrugged. “Great, it’s set.”My dad said clapping his hands together.

We finished up dinner, then the adults were leaving. “You kiddos be good.”My dad smiled ruffling my hair. “That’s a challenge.”Ryder laughed. “Behave and do the dishes please.”Cindy whispered to Ryder kissing his cheek. “Bye.”I said as my dad gave me a quick hug. “See you back at the house tonight?”My dad asked. “Of course.”I said as they left out the door.

“Hi.”I said joining him in the kitchen.Since I was volunteered to be Ryder’s friend, I decided to help him with the dishes. “Hey.”He said staring at me as he scrubbed spaghetti sauce off of a plate. “I’ll dry them for you.”I said grabbing a dish rag from off the sink. “Cool.”He said. With two people, we quickly finished up the dishes and put them up.

“So, what are you doing tonight goodie good?”Ryder smiled as we went to the living room and relaxed on the couch. “Don’t call me that. I’m not a goodie good. There are many characteristics to my personality besides just being smart and good.”I said. “Are you bad?”He laughed. “I don’t know.”I said. “I don’t believe you.”He smirked. “Fine. Don’t.”I said. “Wow. Frisky.”He laughed. “Shut up.”I said. “I’m not good at taking orders.”He said. “I bet.”I said. I was ready to go home. Ryder and I are two very different people. I think a friendship between us is impossible.

“I’m going to go change.”Ryder said raising off the couch. He left his phone sitting on the edge of the coffee table. It said he had nine unread messages. He must be very popular. I yearned to read those messages, and get a little information about Ryder, but I restrained myself. It’d be too risky. Plus who knows, a picture of a naked girl could pop up if I opened a message.

I sat there on the couch silently waiting for Ryder. He came down the stairs later looking amazing. I couldn’t help but to stare. He has an amazing style. He had on a denim cutoff shirt, khaki skinny jeans, and black Dr. Martens. “Like what you see?”He smiled walking over and standing in front of me. “Please move. I don’t like your genitalia being leveled with my face.”I said. “Whatever. You like it.”He smiled flopping down on the couch. “No, but I will admit you have an amazing fashion sense.”I said. “Thanks.”He smiled.

“So what did you get dressed for?”I asked. “I’m in a band. I have a show in an hour.”Ryder said. “Cool.”I said. “So, let’s go.”He said raising from the couch. “Okay.”I said. He helped me from the couch then I grabbed my bag and we headed out the door. I should’ve known he was in band. The tattoos, the long hair, the amazing unique style, the singing…it all makes sense now.

“This is your car?”I asked as I got into the passenger seat of a lifted 95 black Ford Bronco. “Yes mam.”He smiled. “I saved up and bought it when I was sixteen and fixed it up myself.” Before I even got my seatbelt on he sped off. He’s a crazy and fast driver.

“This is a long ride, so we might as well talk to pass the time.”He suggested. “Okay.”I agreed. “So, what kind of music do you like?”He asked. The light turned yellow, but he sped up so he wouldn’t miss the light. “I like classical, pop, contemporary, and alternative. What about you?”I asked. “Every genre.”He smiled. “Everything?”I asked shocked. “Yes.”He smiled. “So if I tell you to play pop on your stereo right now you would?”I asked. “Yes.”He said. “You do not look like you’re into pop.” I laughed. “I like to sing it.”He smiled. He braked hard when the light turned red. He was blocking the crosswalk.“ I love singing.” “Play pop then.” I said. “Well my speaker is blowed out, so I can’t right now, but if it was fixed I would. I’m telling you my iPod is filled with thousands of a variety of songs.”He smiled.

“Fine. How old are you?”I asked. “Nineteen.”He said. “How long did it take all of those tattoos?”I asked. I had to admit, Ryder was a pretty interesting person. I liked getting to know him and even though I made assumptions about him based off of his tattoos and edginess, I could see myself being friends with him. “A while.”He laughed. “Do you have any tattoos or piercings?”He asked. “Of course not.”I laughed. “Why not?”He asked like it was wrong for me not to have them. “Because they’re permanent and could interfere with my career choice.”I said. “What do you want to be?”He asked. “A lawyer.”I smiled. “Of course.”He laughed. “What do you want to be?”I laughed. “A singer.”He said. “of course.”I smiled sort of mocking him. “Are you mocking me?”He laughed. “Yep.”I said. “Yeah, we’ve been doing gigs for about a year now, nothing has happened yet though.”He said. “Someday your dreams will come true. Trust me.”I smiled. “Maybe.”He smiled staring at me.

He made a sharp left turn making me hit my head against the window. I was so focused on Ryder the whole, long, trip that I didn’t even pay attention to my surroundings. We were in Richmond at Java Frenzy. “Dude, you’re doing a gig here?”I smiled. “Yes, why?”He laughed confused. “This is my hangout. I love this place. Me and my best friend George come here all the time. They know me by my name.”I smiled. “Awesome.”He laughed. “Now let’s go.” He turned the car off and hopped out the truck. I followed behind him. There was actually a crowd, so his band must be good. Past bands and musicians that have been booked weren’t that good and never had their own songs, only did covers of songs. With sucky performers there’s usually only an audience of two or three people, usually the usuals who love hanging here so much that they just tolerate the music.

“Yo!”A skinny, tall guy with curly blonde hair , pale skin, and blue eyes yelled as Ryder and I were about to enter the shop. “Hey Nick.”Ryder said ruffling the guy’s hair. “Who’s the pretty lady?”Nick smiled at me. “Her name is Eden. She’s the new neighbor.”Ryder said as two more guys walked up behind Nick. “Hot date for tonight?”One of the guys with dark skin, a big afro, and brown eyes laughed. “It can’t be a date. He never takes girls on dates, just bangs them and that’s it.”Nick said. “I know bro, how many one night stands will this make seventy?”Another guy with curly brown hair, brown eyes, and light brown skin laughed. “She’s my fucking neighbor guys, but if she was a date you would’ve totally ruined it by saying that I hook up a lot. Dumbasses.”Ryder said. He seems like a very hotheaded person. “Calm down we have a show.”Nick laughed. They reacted like his attitude was nothing, so he must always be easily agitated. “Anyways, Eden, these are my other friends and band members David and Josh.” Ryder sighed. The one with the short brown hair, brown eyes, and light brown skin is Josh and the one with the big black afro, brown eyes, and dark brown skin is David.

“Now let’s head inside. We’re scheduled to start in ten minutes and we don’t even have our equipment set up.”Nick said. We followed into the store behind him. “Hey Eden!”The waitress Brenda waved as we walked inside. “Wow, you really are a celebrity at this coffee shop.”Ryder whispered in my ear chuckling. “If you would’ve believed me, maybe I would’ve got you free coffee.”I smiled. “Aw. Oh well. We get one free drink and snack each for performing anyways.”He shrugged. “But you’re working for it. This would’ve just been for being friends with a celebrity of the place. It seems more cooler that way.”I laughed.“Wow. You called me your friend. I didn’t think I was your type.”He laughed. “Your type usually isn’t my type, but I’ll make you an exception.”I smiled taking a seat in the front by the stage. “You guys just get a free drink and snack, no money?”I asked. “No. The people who perform here do it voluntarily. They’re aspiring musicians so they’ll do it for free just to be heard and discovered.”He said. “That explains the sucky bands that usually play here.”I laughed. “Hopefully we can break the cycle.”He smiled hopping on stage.

Ryder hopped up on the stage and started positioning the microphone. They huddled and whispered together, then went to their positions on stage. Nick startled me when he began to bang on his drums. “What up coffee drinkers!”Ryder yelled into the microphone. Before he even began to sing, girls were crowding around the stage admiring him. “We’re Friendly Takeover!” Ryder began to sing. The song didn’t sound familiar, and noone in the audience sang along, so it must’ve been one of their songs. Thank god it wasn’t a cover.

“I’m a fighter, not a lover! But baby you make me change my mind. That bod, those eyes, girl you just blow my mind. I’m not into relationships, but I’ll be your lover!” Ryder sang. He looked like such a rockstar up there. I know somone will sign him sometime soon. He fit the rockstar image. He has the long hair, the tattoos, the style…his friends look like a high school band. They make good music though.

After about six songs, their show was over. “Thank you for having us, hope you enjoyed the coffee and our music. Find us on!”Ryder yelled into the microphone before he jumped off the stage.

“So you still think my dreams of becoming a singer are possible?”Ryder smiled, passing through a crowd of swooning college girls, walking over to me. “Definitely. You guys are amazing. They love you.”I smiled. “Thanks.”He smiled giving me a hug. He smelled so good like cologne and apple shampoo. “You’re welcome.”I said. He didn’t let go of me. He sounded out of breath, probably from all the jumping around on stage, so I figured he just wanted to lean on me until he caught his breath.

“Am I interrupting something?”Nick smiled looking at us. “Of course not. He was just giving me a victory hug.”I said finally breaking the long hug. “Let’s go get our frees stuff.”Ryder said to the boys. “Alright!”Josh laughed.They crowded over at the cash register. I ordered a vanilla bean, then decided to save us a table. I found one over by the stage. I took a seat. “I love free stuff.”Ryder smiled coming over and joining me at the table. “I can tell. You look like a kid in a candy store.”I laughed. “Taste this.”Ryder said stuffing a big bite of cheesecake into my mouth. I can’t believe he just fed me. It was a total surprise. I am usually a very independent person, I would never let someone feed me. Even though he just stuffed food in my mouth, all I could think about was that delicious pie. It was so good that I didn’t even get mad at him for feeding me. I’ve been coming here for years and I’ve never tried anything but my usual. This cheesecake is delicious though. “This is so good.”I sighed after swallowing the mouthwatering bite. “Duh. I wouldn’t have force fed you if it wasn’t.”He laughed.

“Are we interrupting?”The boys said in unison joining the table. “Like I said earlier, no.”I laughed taking a sip of my drink. “Ryder never said we weren’t interrupting something. He didn’t earlier and he didn’t right now.”Nick smiled. “Shut up.”Ryder said downing his free bottle of water. He was so different with other people than he was with me. It made me feel good. He was happy and sweet with me. With others he was definitely not sweet and only happy sometimes. My mind conjured this crazy thought that he was sweet and happy with only me because I’m special. Normal guys have never stuck around me long once they found out about my intelligence. I guess guys just aren’t really into smart girls. I have the looks I guess, but my brain turns them off. I’ve only attracted guys with the same intelligence as me or smarter, never a guy like Ryder.

“It’s getting late.”I said looking down at my watch. It was midnight and my coffee had no impact on me. I was tired, and as much fun as I was having with Ryder and his friends, I was ready to go home. “I’ll take you home.”Ryder whispered to me. “You had no choice since you brought me over here.”I laughed. “Technically, you told me you live a few blocks from here so you could’ve walked if you wanted to.”He laughed. “No, I’m at my dad’s on weekends.”I laughed. “Gosh, I can never win with you.”He smiled. “That’s why I make a perfect lawyer. You should stick to singing.”I teased. “Oh harsh.”He laughed. “Let’s go.”He grabbed his keys and we were going to head out.
“Leaving so soon?”David asked. “It’s midnight. I’m ready to get home.”I laughed. “Ryder looks like he’s not.”Nick laughed. I looked over at Ryder. He was standing by the door talking to one of those swooning college girls. She looked like the typical ditsy, slutty, popular girl. She had big boobs and a very exposive shirt, long blonde hair, green eyes, tanned skin, a lot of bright red lipstick, and big high heels. “He’s obligated to take me home since he brought me out here.”I said still looking over at Ryder and the slut. She whispered something in his ear then wrote something, most likely her number, on his hand and walked away.

“Ready to go now?”Ryder smiled walking back over to me. “You can stay if you want. I can have the guys take me home.”I said. “Nah. I’m ready to get out of here.”He said. “You seemed like you weren’t. You just met another hook up and all.”I said. “Oh Heidi? I’m picking her up after I drop you off.”He smiled. “On your hand it says her name is Hayden.”I laughed grabbing his arm and looking at it. “Oh, whatever. I’m not good with names.”He laughed as we walked to the car.

“See you guys!”Nick said driving off. He’s a slow driver. He drives a gray van. I couldn’t tell if it was his, a car to lug their band equipment around, or if it was his mom’s that he was borrowing. A van isn’t usually popular among teen boys.

“So what number hook up is this?”I teased as we drove down the road. “Oh god, the guys rubbed off on you.”He laughed. “Just making conversation.”I smiled. “Truth is, yes I bang a lot of girls. I have commitment issues.”He said. “Why is that?”I asked. “I don’t know.”He shrugged. “There’s got to be a reason.”I said. “Why can’t I just freely be a man whore, why do I have to explain myself?”He laughed. “Because I said so, and I can not believe you just called yourself a man whore.”I laughed. Now there’s two people who can easily make me laugh and smile- George and Ryder.

“Well, I guess I have commitment issues because I don’t like relationships.”He said. “Well duh, but why don’t you like relationships?”I asked. “Because it’s easier that way. No feelings attached. No fighting or feelings or trust or lies or dates or anniversaries, just meaningless sex and then I never have to see them again.”He said. “Wow.”I said. “I don’t know why I’m like this. I guess the girls I’ve met have meant nothing to me but one night stands. That’s all they wanted too, sex with a rockstar I guess. Groupies can be a handful. I just never found a girl in the past that I’ve wanted to try to change for. One that I wanted to stick around for more than a few hours. One that I wouldn’t just bang and kick to the curb. A girl who’s name I’d care to memorize. I’ve never ever loved a girl before. I don’t even know if I know what it feels like to love a girl. ”He said. “When you meet the one, you’ll know.”I said. “Maybe.”He said intently staring at me.

“I can’t believe I just opened up to you.”He laughed as he pulled up in front of my house. “Well we’re friends.”I smiled. “I don’t do this with my other friends. I’m different with you.”He laughed. “Because you guys are guys.”I laughed. “Plus you’re pushy, I feel like you’ll snap if I don’t tell you the truth. You’ll totally make it as a lawyer.”He laughed. “Thanks.”I laughed hopping out of the truck. “Adios.”He said. “Buenas noches.”I smiled. I took Spanish my sophomore and junior year, so I’m pretty fluent in spanish. “Okay calm down now. I only know basic words, not buenas noches.”He laughed. “It means good night.”I smiled. “Oh, well then buenas noches. Watch your step.”He smiled as I climbed the stairs. “Have fun with your groupie.”I laughed as I got to the door. He waited until I got inside before driving off.

“Fun night?”My dad smiled as I got into the door. “Yes, we actually hit it off really well.”I said. “That’s good.”My dad smiled. Him and Peter were sitting on the couch sharing a bowl of popcorn watching Midnight Bite. “How was your night?”I asked sitting on the couch. “Good, but short.”My dad said grabbing a handful of popcorn. “Yeah, Cindy’s a light drinker and had a little too much and got sick.”Peter said. “Oh, that sucks.”I said. “You still want to do your room tomorrow, or should we wait until next weekend?”My dad asked. “Tomorrow.”I said. “Okay great. We can go to that furniture store, House Things, in the morning.”My dad said. “Okay. I’m going to head to bed.”I smiled. “Goodnight.”They said in unison.

I got up to my room and climbed in bed. I had a great night. It was so different from my typical nights back at my mom’s house. I can already tell being with my dad and Peter on the weekends is going to be a whole different world from my world at home with my mom.

I woke up to my phone buzzing on my nightstand. It was a good morning text from Ryder. I replied good morning in Spanish, then headed downstairs. “Morning.”Peter smiled. “Where’s my dad?”I asked. “He went to get breakfast from SunnySide Up.”Peter said. “Oh, cool.”I said. “Yeah.”Peter said. He was putting a leash on PorkChop getting ready to take him out to use the bathroom.

“Can I ask you something?”I asked nervous he might not want me to ask him a question. I wasn’t sure if he liked me or not, just like he probably wasn’t sure if I liked him. “Sure. Ask whatever you like. It’s good for us to get to know eachother since I’m pretty much your stepfather.”He said sweetly. I could tell he was deeply in love with my father. He wasn’t after my father’s money, only his heart. I feel so dumb. All these years I thought my parents were soulmates and we were a perfect happy family. I guess I was wrong. My eyes were too blind to see that my parents weren’t really in love.

“How did you and my dad meet?” I asked. “Oh, sweetie.” He said. “It was about a year ago. Me and a group of coworkers had went to Sing Along to celebrate my birthday. He came over and gave me a cupcake on the house and wished me a happy birthday. We got into this whole debate about who sells the best cupcakes in town, then we just talked the whole night. He won me over when he sang Hey Baby by The Pinkies on the karaoke machine. He was a horrible singer, but it was so sweet.” It sounded pretty cute to be honest. “Oh, that’s nice.”I smiled.

“Yeah, I’m sorry about the divorce. I had no idea that he had a family. I found out, the day you found out.” Peter said a little ashamed. “Its okay Peter. You’re a good guy, plus you make him very happy.” I smiled. “So, we’re cool?” He asked. “Of course.” I smiled. “Good, I don’t want my boyfriend’s daughter to hate me.”He giggled. “I don’t.”I smiled. I walked over to give him a hug. He smelled like citrus.

“Want me to take Porkchop out?”I asked nicely. I wanted Peter to know that I don’t hate him and I’m fine with him being with my dad. “Oh you don’t have to. I can do it.”He smiled. “No, it’s fine. I’ll do it.”I smiled holding my hand out for the leash. “Thanks Eden.”He said sitting back down on the couch.

I petted Porkchop then walked him outside to use the bathroom. I looked over and I could see Ryder’s one night stand Hayden leaving. Her friend was picking her up. He didn’t even offer her a ride home. Her heels were in her hand, her hair was a mess, and her make up was smeared. She tried to give Ryder a kiss goodbye but he avoided it by turning and putting his head down. She got the point and left.

“Hey.” Ryder smiled hopping over the small fence and walking next door to my house. He looked like he just woke up. He had on gray sweatpants, a white wife beater with a hole at the collar, and socks with no shoes. His hair was messy. You can tell he tried to rub it down with his hands. I looked like I just woke up too. I had on light pink ruffle capris, a black wife beater, and I slipped on my sandals to take Porkchop out. My hair is in a messy braid.

“Fun night?”I smiled keeping an eye on Porkchop. “She was alright. Annoying though. I had to let her sleep over too. That never happens. As soon as I’m done I have them leave. But she had to wait for a ride and her ride couldn’t get her until morning.”He said. “Wow.” I said. “God. She talked too much, and she was clingy and trying to kiss me.”He laughed. “She looked like it. Maybe that’s a sign to calm down.”I laughed. “Nothing will stop me. No girl will stop me.” He laughed. “You never know. You’ll meet her one day.”I smiled. “Maybe.” He smiled. “What are you up to today?” Porkchop ran over to him and started messing with his sock. “Decorating my room. Yay.”I smiled. “Fun.”He laughed. “It’s going to be so fun. Picking colors and furniture and decorations and comoforters.”I laughed. “Sounds like a blast.”He smiled. I could tell he was being sarcastic. I wonder how his room looks. Probably messy and plain.

Porkchop finally used the bathroom so I was going to head inside. “Want to come in?”I asked. “Uh, sure.”He shrugged. He followed closely behind me on the stairs. I stopped when Porkchop stopped to sniff on a plant and he bumped into me. He makes me feel so short. He’s kind of tall. Probably 5‘10. I’m 5‘5.

“So colorful in here.”Ryder laughed as we got inside. “My same reaction when I first got here yesterday.”I smiled. “Hi Ryder.”Peter smiled. Porkchop had ran over to him and jumped in his lap as soon as we got inside. “Hey.”Ryder nodded. “Have a seat, don’t be shy. We don’t bite.”Peter smiled. “I’m not shy.”He laughed flopping down on the couch. I sat next to him. Peter was watching Prison Diaries.

A second later, my dad busted into the house with his hands full. Peter jumped up to help him. “I got breakfast!”My dad said cheerfully. He must’ve already drank his morning coffee, he was in a great mood. He was always a morning person though, I don’t know how. “Ryder is here.”Peter smiled. “Oh crap. I wish I would’ve known to get him something.” My dad sighed. “No, it’s fine. I’ll share mine with him.”I said grabbing the take out tray. “The only rule we have about eating is no eating meals in the bedroom. The only food in the bedrooms is snacks that don’t involve dishes.”Peter said. “Okay, Ryder let’s go onto the patio.”I smiled.

He followed behind me out the door onto the front patio above the garage. They have it set up already. There’s two yellow and white striped couches with beige pillows on it. There’s a brown smooth wooden coffee table in between them. It’s surrounded by plants. Peter must be into nature.

“So what’s for breakfast?”Ryder smiled as we sat on the couch. “Sausage, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, and bacon.”I said opening up the tray and sitting it on the coffee table between us. “Smells so good.”He said taking a fork, I got us out the kitchen, and sticking a small piece of everything on it. Then he stuffed it into my mouth. Feeding me like at Java Frenzy yesterday. “This is so good.”I said after chewing and swallowing the big bite he fed me. “I thought since it was your food, you should get the first bite but now it’s my turn.”He smiled. Sticking a big fork full of food into his mouth. “Delicious.”His mouth was full of food. “Is it safe for me to share a utensil with you?”I laughed. “What do you mean?”He asked. “I mean, with all your sex partners, is it okay for me to share a fork with you or can I catch something?”I smiled. “Oh, that is so cold.”He laughed. “Well, just checking.”I smiled. “I use protection. I’m not stupid. I’m clean.”He laughed.

“Just curious, what happens after the one night stand?”I asked. “Nothing. I find another.”He laughed. “The past ones don’t bug you?”I asked. “No. I never give them my number. They never find out where I live either. Hayden did because she’s from out of town so I won’t have to worry about her stalking me.”He laughed. “Wow, being a manwhore has a lot more knowledge to it than I thought.”I smiled. “Yes, so don’t underestimate my intelligence just because you’re a nerd.”He teased.

“Nerds are cool. I like being a nerd.”I smiled. “To be honest, I’ve always been really good in English class. Reading is an embarassing pleasure of mine.”He smiled. “Oh no, not anti-nerd Ryder.”I gasped joking. “Yes, Ryder is a closet bookworm.”He laughed. “I love reading, and my mom is a college english teacher so that’s my best subject also.” I laughed. “Wow. I never thought I’d have so much in common with a nerd.” Ryder smiled. “I never thought I’d become best friends over night with someone like you.”I smiled. “Who can resist me, I’m awesome.” He smiled. “Whatever.” I laughed.

“So are you going to accompany me to the furniture store?”I smiled. “Sure, I have nothing better to do.”He shrugged. We were sitting there passing the fork back and forth eating breakfast. “Wow. No hook ups for today?”I laughed teasing him. “You’re so cold.”He smiled grabbing the last piece of sausage, with his hand, that I was just about to stick the fork into. “That’s why I get the last piece of food.”He stuffed the sausage into his mouth and taunted me. “Meanie. Chew with your mouth closed.”I laughed. “I can’t help it. I have no manners or etiquette.”He smiled. “You’re a loser.”I laughed. “No, I’m a winner.”He smiled. “Let’s head back inside.”I laughed. I grabbed the food tray and made sure we left no mess before we headed back inside.

“Fun breakfast?”My dad laughed as Ryder went to the bathroom to wash his hands. “We watched you guys.”Peter smiled. “Stalkers.”I smiled. “You two totally dig eachother.”My dad smiled. “What are you matchmaker now?”I teased. “No. I just know true love when I see it.”My dad shrugged. “I saw the chemistry too Eden.”Peter smiled. “You’re just siding with him because he’s your boyfriend.”I laughed. “It’s good you two are getting along well.”My dad smiled. “Yeah, we had a little heart to heart when you went out for breakfast.”Peter smiled. “Wonderful.”My dad said rubbing my shoulder.

“What did I miss while I was cleansing my dirty hands?”Ryder smiled walking out of the downstairs bathroom. “Nothing.”I smiled. He flopped down on the couch next to me. “So Eden says you’re joining us to go get stuff for her room?”My dad asked shocked. “Yeah, I have nothing better to do.”Ryder shrugged. “Wow. How sweet. Betty and Cindy depicted you as a badboy with no soft part to you.”Peter said. “Well, Eden is my friend. I’m different with her.”Ryder shrugged. “Are you two dating?”My dad asked. “Nah.”Ryder laughed hard. “So she’s just your friend, but you’re different with her than with everyone else?”My dad asked. “Yeah.”Ryder said. “I’m special.”I smiled.

“Damn, after I got arrested for that big fight last year, I didn’t think I was going to go through interrogation again.”Ryder laughed. “Sorry, we were just curious about the status of you two.”My dad smiled. “Yeah, we could’ve sworn you two were dating.”Peter said. “No, Ryder doesn’t do dates or girlfriends.”Ryder said. “Don’t talk in third person. That’s creepy.”I laughed lightly hitting his shoulder. “Sorry grammar nazi.”Ryder laughed. “Yeah, totally just friends.”My dad said sarcastically. “We are!”I smiled. “Yeah, I’m not going to lie to you even though you’re adults. I’m a whore. I don’t date or have girlfriends. I just have one night stands.”Ryder said. “Too much information.”My dad laughed cringing. “Now if that doesn’t clarify we’re just friends. I don’t know what to tell you.”I smiled. “You never know, it’s possible for a player to change once he’s found the right girl, his true love.”Peter smiled. “I doubt it. Maybe when I’m thirty I’ll try to settle down and give myself to only one girl.”Ryder laughed.

“So shall we go to House Things?”My dad asked. “Yes, I’m ready.”I smiled excited. “Should we take two cars?”Peter asked after my dad locked up the house. “My car is pretty spacious if we need to take it.”Ryder suggested. “Great idea.”Peter smiled. “Okay so me and Albert will go in his car and Eden and Ryder will go in Ryder’s car.”Peter said. I can tell he’s very organized and into planning things. We all nodded then parted ways.

“Where’s this store at?”Ryder asked as we drove down the street. “It’s about ten minutes from here. Keep going straight until you reach the Fiesta plaza and make a left.”I said. “Okay.”He nodded. “When are you going to get your radio fixed?”I asked. “It’s my speakers messed up, not the radio.”He laughed. “Whatever.”I said. “I’m going to get them fixed as soon as I get the money.”He said. “You don’t get paid for gigs?”I asked. “Yeah we do. Just not the latest one, and I don’t like asking for money. I don’t like feeling like I have debts or owe people something.”He said. “Oh, wow.”I said.

“Is this the place?”He asked as we pulled up to a store in the Fiesta Plaza. It had a big gorilla in front of the store that was holding a sign that said big clearance sale. We came on the right day. I love clearance sales. I like being able to get an abundance of things for a cheap price. “Yeah, this is it.”I nodded as he parked in front of the store. Of course we beat my dad and Peter here with Ryder’s fast driving, so we just waited in the car talking until I saw my dad’s Infinity pull up.

“How’d you guys get here so fast?”My dad asked as we got to the front of the store and were about to walk in. “Reckless driver.”I laughed pointing at Ryder. “You mind if we go get groceries?”Peter asked. “No, go ahead.”I shrugged. “Okay great. Here’s my card. We can meet back at the house.”My dad said digging into his wallet and pulling out his debit card. “Okay.”I nodded. “Have fun. Love ya.”My dad smiled kissing my cheek before him and Peter walked off to the grocery store, Food and More, next door.

It was interesting how my dad and Peter could kiss or hold hands in public. In San Francisco they’re really open about sexual orientation. I love how my dad found a place and a person he can be happy and himself with.

“Grab a cart please.”I smiled at Ryder. I took my list out of the things I was looking for. “Get in the basket and I’ll push you around like a queen.”Ryder smiled. “No thanks.”I laughed. “Fine, I’ll get in.”He shrugged hopping into the basket. “Queen Ryder, how adorable.”I laughed. “The hottest queen ever.”He smiled flipping his hair. I’ve been into photography for as long as I can remember. I pulled out my Nikon camera, that I carry everywhere in my messenger bag with me, and snapped a picture of Queen Ryder in the cart.

“Push me around peasant!”Ryder joked. I was actually able to push him around in the cart. I thought he’d be heavy. “I am not your peasant. Just a cart pusher.”I smiled. “Fine. Push the queen around cart pusher!”Ryder smiled.

I, along with Ryder in the cart, went over to the bed area and picked out cute colorful striped sheets, a black and white comforter, and about ten little plush pillows for my bed. “Damn. That’s a lot of pillows.”Ryder said as I handed him the stuff to put in the basket. “My room, my choice.”I smiled. “You can’t talk to the queen like that.”He said. I had no idea such a bad boy could be such a fun and dorky guy. He‘s way more down to earth and cool than I thought. Or maybe he‘s just like that with me. “I just did your majesty.”I said sticking my tongue out. “Stick your tongue out again and see what happens.”He said. “What?”I said sticking it out again. He hopped out the basket and grabbed me. “I warned you.”He laughed holding on to me and tickling me. “I hate being tickled!”I laughed. He picked me up and sit me in the basket. “Now you’re in jail.”He smiled starting to push the basket to the lamps.

I picked up this beautiful plain blue floor lamp and I got a pink desk lamp, then we headed to the carpets. “Why do you need a carpet if your room is carpet?”Ryder laughed. “Wow. I bet your room is so ugly. You sound like you don’t have anything in it.”I laughed. “I do, just not a thousand pillows and a carpet on top of a carpet.”He smiled. “Whatever.”I laughed. I picked out a pretty circular colorful floral print rug.

“Where to next prisoner?”Ryder said looking around the store clueless. “I want a living chair or two.”I smiled. “I don’t think that’ll fit in the basket. I mean, you’re small but those chairs are big and probably heavy and I don’t feel like carrying them.”He rambled. “Calm down. You don’t have to. They’ll do it for you.” I laughed. “Oh, good.”He said. We went over to the chairs and I picked out two cute black and white floral print ones. I have everything I want for my room almost. All I need now is a few wall decorations and bathroom stuff. I picked out the traditional rubber ducky stuff for my bathroom.

“To the decorations section queen.”I smiled from inside the basket. I was surrounded by tons of stuff for my room. “Alright prisoner.”He laughed. I picked out a few signs and that was all I wanted for my room. “I think that’s it.”I said going down my list. Everything was crossed out except for paint. “Double check your list to make sure.”Ryder said. “I forgot paint, sorry.”I laughed. “Come on prisoner, think.”He laughed teasing me. We strolled over to the paint section and I picked out this olive color paint. Ryder put two cans in the basket and then we headed to the counter.

“Did you get everything you wanted?”A cashier with brown eyes, a bald head, and tattoos asked. He looks like he hates his job. “Yeah.”Ryder said. “Actually, I was interested in those floral print chairs. The black and white ones.”I said. “Oh, okay.”The worker said. His nametag is pinned to his navy blue apron way down at the bottom. His name is Wesley. He rung up all of my stuff and then I paid with my dad‘s card. I was so focused on getting my room set up that I barely even looked at prices. Hopefully my dad doesn‘t kill me for spending so much money.

“So, the chairs?”Ryder said with a tinch of attitude. “You have to fill out a form. Then put a down payment. They’ll be delivered next week.”Wesley sighed ready to get us out of his hair, even though he doesn‘t have hair. “Well can I have the form.”Ryder said. “Here.”Wesley sighed then he walked away from us. I quickly filled out the form and paid the down payment for my chairs, then we headed back to the house.

“Oh god, we have to lug your stuff up the stairs. I can’t believe I volunteered to do this.”Ryder sighed grabbing a few things and starting up the stairs. “You’ll get paid for it somehow.”I laughed. “What will I get paid in?”He smiled. “A hug.”I laughed. “Fuck a hug. I want money or food.”He laughed. “You volunteered so nope.”I smiled unlocking the door and dropping the things I was carrying down in the house.

“What took you two so long?”My dad smiled. I could tell he was teasing me more than he was concerned. He still believes Ryder and I like eachother. “Slow poke over here.”Ryder said pointing at me. “Looks like you got some nice stuff.”Peter smiled raising from the couch. “Yeah, by the way. My chairs are coming next week, so be on the look out.”I said. “Let’s hurry and do your room so you can head back to your mom’s.”My dad said. “Oh yeah, I forgot I’m only here weekends.”I said. “Only on weekends?”Ryder asked. “Yeah.”I said. “Oh.”He said. He grabbed stuff from by the door and started lugging it to my room.

We painted my room. It took a few hours. “Sweetie, you should head home. Peter and I will set all your stuff up for you tonight. Next time you come, you’ll have your room.”My dad smiled. “Great, thanks.”I smiled. “Also, I decided to go out shopping for you clothes so you don’t have to lug a suitcase back and forth.”My dad said. “Thanks.”I smiled. “See you next weekend. Be good for mom.”He said giving me a hug. “I’m always good.”I laughed. Ryder and I walked out the door.

I locked the door with the key my dad got me made. “So, I’ll only see you on weekends?”Ryder asked as we got to my car. “Yeah.”I said. “I might actually miss you.”He laughed. “You will.”I smiled. “See ya next weekend. Weekend buddy.”He smiled as I started up my car. “Before I go, tell me my name.” I laughed. “Eden.” He smiled. “Congratulations. You remembered a girl’s name.” I laughed. “You’re different than my one night stands though.” He laughed. “Bye queen.”I smiled. I backed out of the driveway and started my thirty minute drive home.

It was such a different world back at my mom’s house. The house was quiet. All you can hear is the sound of the television on in her room. “Eden?”My mom yelled from her room. “Yeah.”I said walking over to her door. “Did you have dinner?”She asked. “No, we worked on my room all day.”I said. “Of course he didn’t feed you.”She snorted. “Mom, you need to forgive him one day. You said you were going to be civilized now.”I sighed. “I don’t need to do anything young lady.”She said. “Sorry.”I said. “I had dinner already with Warren.”She said. “I’ll just stop by Burger Town and grab a bite.”I said. “Yeah, it’s only seven you have time.”She said. “Okay, I’m going to shower then head out.”I said shutting her bedroom door and going to my room.

I took a quick shower and just changed into a white wife beater, black yoga pants. I let my hair fall down my back. I slipped on my converse and called George.

“I thought you were dead.”George laughed.
“I was at my dad’s for the weekend.”I said.
“You still could’ve called. Brenda said she saw you at Java Frenzy with some hot bad boy and his band.”George said.
“Yeah.”I said.
“I wasn’t invited?”He asked.
“George, stop it.”I said.
“Fine, so what’s up?”He asked.
“Meet me at Burger Town?”I asked.
“I can’t. I’m finishing up procrastinated work.”He said.
“Okay. See you at school tomorrow.”I said.
“Okay bad boy lover.”He laughed.
“Shut up. He’s just a friend.”I laughed.
“Bye.”He said.
“Bye.”I said hanging up.

I guess I was going to be eating alone tonight. I drove to Burger Town. I decided to go through the drive-thru and take my food home and eat it.I ordered a plain cheeseburger with pickles, a small curly fry, and a vanilla milkshake. It was sunday, most families cooked on Sunday, so it was pretty empty. My food was ready in two minutes. I checked my bag to make sure everything was there, then I drove home.

This time my mom was in the kitchen making coffee. The only time she drunk coffee in the night was when she needed to stay up to grade papers. “Hey.”She said. “Hi.”I said flopping down on the couch. “So I was thinking, we should move.”She said. “When?”I asked. “I’ve looked at condos all weekend. Maybe next weekend we can move.” She said. “I’m not here on weekends though.”I said. “It’s fine. Warren and I can handle it. With paid help.”She said. “Oh, okay.”I said unwrapping my burger. “Why move though?” My burger looks so delicious and cheesy. I took a bite and it was so mouthwatering. “This is a family house. There’s just two of house now. In three months it’ll be just me. I want a fresh place for my fresh start. Also, I want something smaller. We don’t need all of this space.” She said. “Okay. I approve the move.” I said. “I’m going to try to finalize a deal sometime this week.” She said. “Okay.” I said. “Yeah, I need to go grade some papers, so goodnight.”She said. She kissed my forehead then left to her room with her gigantic cup of coffee.

I only ate half of my burger and a few of my french fries then I was stuffed. That iced tea must’ve got me full. I wrapped my food up and stuck it in the refrigerator then I went to my room to head to bed. I stuck my charger into my phone and sat it on my nightstand. As soon as I turned over and was about to shut my eyes, it started buzzing. The caller id said Ryder…

“Buenas Noches.”He laughed.
“You called me just to say that?”I laughed. I always loved goodnight and good morning text, but I tried not to show too much emotion over the phone.
“Si.”He laughed.
“How sweet.”I laughed.
“So Buenas noches Senora.”He said. He sounded sleepy.
“It’s senorita not senora. Senora is for like an older woman.”I said.
“Oh sorry. I’m a beginner spanish speaker.”He laughed.
“You’ll learn.”I said.
“Okay. Buenas noches Senorita.”He laughed.
“Goodnight.”I laughed.
I hung up then shut my eyes.

George was waiting for me in our spot, behind the library, when I got to school. He had a smirk on his face. I knew I was going to get teased about Ryder. “Nothing is going on between us.”I sighed. “I was just going to say happy Monday.” He laughed. “Mondays are never happy. I hate adjusting back to school after having two days off.” I said. “I got you breakfast.” He smiled. George was an early bird. He would stop by The Scrambled Egg everyday and get us both a Sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with orange juice, and we would split a hash brown. We always got to school thirty minutes early to eat our typical breakfast and chat. They have the best food. “Thanks.” I smiled. I flopped down on the old bench next to him. I remember Freshman year we made this our spot and carved our initials into the bench to make it official.

“So, are you sure this Ryder boy isn’t your boyfriend?” George asked. “Positive. We only met two days ago.” I laughed. “Good.” George nodded. “Why?” I asked. “Because. He doesn’t seem like your type.” George said. “What’s my type?” I laughed. “Someone smart and handsome, with a future.” He smiled. “Ryder is actually pretty intelligent, he’s just lazy.” I said. “You don’t need someone lazy though.” George said. “Why are you being so protective?” I asked getting a bit annoyed. “Because. I want you to have the best. I’m just looking out for you Eden.” He sighed. “I’m going to be eighteen in a month. I can look out for myself.” I said angry. “Calm down Eden. You’re getting angry for no reason.” George said getting a little annoyed with me. “Sorry.” I sighed. “We have only a few minutes until the bell rings, so I’m going to head to class. See you at lunch.” George said raising from the bench. He tossed his trash into the garbage, then walked off to his Advanced Calculus class.

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