Book Excerpts

Hippie Boy (Title is still in Progress)

I was waken by a loud rumbling noise outside. It’s the first day of Spring Break, and I was trying to sleep in. I crawled out of bed and walked over to my window, almost tripping over a stray high heel that was laying on my floor. My room is still in bad condition from the last day of school two days ago when I couldn’t decide what to wear. I opened the curtain and the sun hit me in the face, practically blinding me.

There’s a big moving van outside. It must be our new neighbor from Arizona. My mom and dad said our next door neighbor, Ms.Green, had a grandson in Arizona that’s coming to stay with her here in San Diego, California. That’s been all our neighbors have been talking about for the past week.As much as my neighborhood talks, the only thing I’ve heard about this strange boy is that he’s a hippie art freak.

I live in a nice, quiet suburb town. Every house is unique because they were all personally designed by the residents. Everyone knows eachother too. If anything was ever happening, this week the news was Ms.Green’s grandson, the whole little neighborhood would know.

“Good morning.” I said giving my dad a kiss on the cheek when I got downstairs. I guess I can be classified as a daddy’s girl, but I’m an only child so I’m a mama’s girl too. “Morning sweetie.” My dad said. He was reading his email on his MePad. He always eats oatmeal while he reads his email before he heads to work down at the studio. He’s a script writer. He specializes in comedy. My dad is a really funny guy. He’s always laughing and smiling, if there is a day that he’s not, he’s either on a major deadline at work, or he’s just upset. Since my dad makes so much, my mom is a housewife.

“You look pretty nice today.” I laughed sitting down at the table as my mom handed me a plate of pancakes. “Pfft pretty nice,”My dad laughed. “my baby looks smoking hot!” He made my mom blush. My dad has his black hair slicked back with a part like he always wears it, his brown eyes have a special glow to them, and he has on a white polo, a black blazer, khaki pants, and black converse. My dad Joseph is 35. My mom Margaret is the same age as my dad. They were high school sweethearts, and they’re still happily together. They had me their Senior year; I’m seventeen.

“Well kiddo, I’m dressed up because today is the first day of production for that new zombie comedy Apocalypse.” My dad said. He put away his Mepad, grabbed the keys to his two-door Maybach and headed out the door.

“Sweetie, Ms. Green’s grandson is your age and is going to be going to your school.” My mom smiled. I knew she was hinting at something by how big she was smiling. “I’d like you to make friends with him please.” My mom has always been the giving and sweet kind of person, the complete opposite of my dad and me. My mom says I’m a lot like my dad. Looks wise and personality wise. I guess opposites attract. My dad and mom fitted together perfectly even though they’re completely different. In a way, I want a relationship like they have. It seems like opposites attract so well, because their traits intertwine with the other person’s, and that makes one whole.

“Sure mom.” I smiled finishing the last bite of pancake. “Where are you going, you’re dressed up too.” My mom had her red hair in a nice tight bun, she had brown eye shadow around her green eyes, her skin was a little tanned, and she had on a cute pink dress. “Well, I’m going to visit your aunt.” She smiled. “Why can’t I go?” I asked feeling rejected. “I like going to Aunt Karey’s house.” My mom just touched my cheek and laughed. “Because, you’re going to go make friends with the new boy next door.” She smiled. She grabbed the keys to her Range Rover off the counter and headed out the door just like my dad did a little while ago. I was left alone for the first day of Spring Break.

I went upstairs and took a shower. I decided to go make friends with the boy next door like I promised my mom. I had no text messages about any parties or any events yet, so I had nothing better to do. After I got out the shower, I combed my long black hair into a ponytail, wiped around my brown eyes, and checked to make sure I look okay in the mirror. Then I put on a pair of black skinny jeans, a white v-neck with my pink and white cardigan, and black converse. I left out the door. I walked next door and Ms.Green answered the door.

“Hi Ms.Green.” I smiled. Ms. Green is a short chunky black lady that’s been living in the house next to ours my whole life. She always reminds me about the day she met my family. I was about two year olds. My dad had just got paid for his fifth movie, and was able to finish paying for our house. Ms. Green had come over. She banged loudly on the door and startled us. My dad grabbed his baseball bat from out the closet and as he opened the door Ms. Green stormed in surprising us all. She had brung over some San Diego souvenirs and booklets along with a big tray of fudge brownies. She had filled us in on all the neighbors and gossip. She‘s been a good family friend ever since.

“Hey sweetie,come inside.” She smiled opening the door wide for me to come in. “What brings you here?” To be 62, she was in good health. She was already at the television by the time she opened the door for me to come in. She had on a old floral print nightgown and she was wearing her around the house wig.

“Well, my mom wanted me to befriend your grandson.” I said walking over by the television. “Oh, Jackson.”She smiled. He must really be something, because when I mentioned him, Ms. Green lit up like a light bulb. “He’s in his room. The last door on the right.” She was deep in the television now watching the news, so I assumed she just wanted me to go right in.

I walked upstairs and down the hall. The door she said was his room was slightly cracked. I could hear music playing as I got closer. It sounded like this old band from when my dad was in high school called Black Neon. There was a sign on the door that said Password Protected Room. I could see inside. The boy looked different. He had wild brown dreadlocks to his shoulders, his eyes were a beautiful green, he was tall and skinny, and white. He was wearing a tie dye muscle shirt, his left arm had a few tattoos, and olive skinny jeans rolled to his ankles. He was barefoot. He reminded me of a hipster or something. He’s definitely not my type of person.

I didn’t understand how he could be Ms. Green’s grandson though. I remember learning in science how some genes and traits are dominant, so there’s a possibility of him coming out white looking, but still.

I softly knocked on the door. He put the paintbrush that he had in his hand-painting his wall-into a bucket and walked over to the door. “May I help you?” He asked looking at me. “May I come in?” I asked. He opened the door and let me in. His room resembled him. There was art, I’m assuming he created all over the room. The walls-that were still under construction-were paint splats, his king size bed had a colorful striped cover on it, he had a bookshelf full of books, there was a laptop on his desk, he had old band posters all over one of his walls, his mirror closet door to his walk-in closet had pictures sticking out of it, everything just looked unique.

“You’re Ms. Green’s grandson?”I asked confused. “Yes.”He laughed. “Were your parents’ genes like dominant or something?”I asked. “ Oh, because I’m white. No, I’m adopted.”He laughed. “Oh, now it makes sense.”I laughed. “Yeah.” He smiled. “So what happened to your real parents?”I asked. “Don’t you think that’s a little personal?”He laughed. “Sorry, I just blurted it out. That was supposed to be a thought in my head.”I laughed.

“I’ll tell you though. They were bad drug addicts and horrible parents. They neglected me, starved me, and abused me. They tried to sell me for a hit, but turns out the dealer was an undercover cop. He arrested them, and I was sent to CPS. Ms. Green’s daughter worked at the CPS and adopted me.” Jackson said. “How old were you?”I asked. “Four.”He smiled. “Wow. I can tell you had a crazy life.”I said.

“So, what did you want?” He laughed. “What?” I asked confused. “Like, what did you come here for?”He asked. “Well, you’re new,so I thought I’d come say hi.” I said trying to be friendly. “Well hi.” He said awkwardly waving. His hand had red paint all over it. If you just glimpsed at it, you’d think his hand was bleeding. “Did my grandma put you up to this? If so, you can leave if you want.” He smiled at me shyly.

“No. It’s fine.” I smiled. Our conversation seemed like it was going nowhere. “Well, I was working on my room right now…” He said. He sounded like he was hinting at me leaving. “Oh. I can help.” I said. I don’t know why I said this when I don’t even like doing work at home. I think it was his smile. Under all that funky appearance, Jackson was okay looking and his eyes and smile were gorgeous. “Great.” He smiled picking up the paint brush. “So, what’s your name?” He grabbed another paint brush and handed it to me. I just copied him and threw splats of paint at the wall. The blue walls were becoming completely covered in tons of big paint splats.

“My name is Alexa.” I smiled. “Nice. Mine is Jackson.” He said. “Looks like the walls are done, so my room is like done.” He grabbed the paint brushes and stuck them back in the bucket. “So, what should we do now?” I asked. “You can show me around.”He suggested. “Great idea. Let’s go.” I smiled. We stopped by my house so I can grab my purse.

Last week, my mom and I went on a shopping spree. We have shopping outings twice a month for bonding time. On our shopping outage last week, we stopped at the mall and I got me three new cute Deadbeat designer bags. Its crazy how a brand with that name is so expensive and so popular.

“Wow. A glass and wood house. Pretty modern. No privacy though.” He laughed putting his hand through his hair. We’ve only been hanging out for five minutes and he’s put his hand through his hair eight times already. “Yeah. It was my mom’s idea. She decorated the whole thing.” I smiled.

“Geez. You drive a audi a5.”He laughed. I guess Jackson wasn’t used to rich people. “Yeah. My family is rich.” I laughed as we drove off. We stopped by Cheesy’s pizza place and got a pineapple pizza, then went to the beach. I always kept a blanket in my car. I grabbed it and laid it across the sand. “I’ve never been to a beach before.” Jackson said biting his slice of pizza. “Wow!” I said shocked. “Well, Arizona doesn’t have things like that.” He shrugged embarrassed.

“So, tell me about yourself Alexa.”Jackson said starting his third slice. To be skinny, he sure can eat. He must be one of those people with a high metabolism because he seems like he’s not into exercising. He complained about the walk from the parking lot to the beach.

“Well.” I sighed trying to think of what to say. Jackson looked at me waiting for my answer. “I’m 17. My dad is Joseph Reyes. I like reality tv shows, I love shopping, I’m popular, I don’t like school much, I watch out for my figure, I’m confident, that’s a summary.” Jackson was staring at me still.

“Typical California girl.” Jackson laughed shaking his head. “Excuse me?”I asked offended. After the little time I spent with Jackson, I learned that he was always honest, even if the truth hurt. “Well,you know,” He said sitting his slice of pizza down and sticking his hands through his hair again. He probably got pizza grease all over his hair. “you’re materialistic, care about looks and money. stuff like that.” He picked his slice of pizza back up and stuffed it into his mouth. “Well, that was rude.” I said a little mad. “I’m just saying. Don’t live life off of society’s expectations. Live life happy. Be unique and your own person.”Jackson said. The more time we spent together, the more I was realizing I don’t like him.

Like my dad, I have a short temper and can be a total asshole. “I think we should head back home.” I slammed the pizza box shut as Jackson’s hand was about to go in it for a sixth slice. I stormed to the car and Jackson followed behind me. I drove home not saying a word to him. I tried to be friends, but I knew we were too opposite to connect. It worked for my mom and dad, but maybe that was just them. Maybe they were true love all along, but just happened to be so different.

I got a call when I got up to my room. I forgot Jackson and I had exchanged numbers. I never wanted to talk to him again. I know what he said was true, but it just hurt to hear it. No one has ever been brave enough to actually tell me that. People always bow down to me because I’m popular, but Jackson didn’t;he’s different inside and out.

I heard someone shouting my name. I looked around and then out my window, I could see Jackson up in his room. Sadly, our rooms are right across from eachother’s. I opened my window. “Wow. Nice room.” He laughed. “Black and white striped walls, furry hot pink carpet, a tempur-pedic mattress with a yellow comforter, a lap top, no books, pictures of you and your friends everywhere, typical.” He was laughing looking around my room. “See. That’s your problem!” I yelled getting pissed off. “Not everyone is a different, weird freak like you. Unlike you, people do care what people think. Why don’t you just do me a favor and go live with your parents again!” I closed my window and shut the blinds. I peeked out the blinds and Jackson wasn’t at his window anymore. I must’ve offended him this time.

“Hey honey.” My mom said walking in the door. She sat her purse down on the couch, then went into the kitchen to start dinner. “How was the new boy?” She pulled out some lettuce,grilled chicken, and vegetables to make grilled chicken salad. “I’m sorry, but him and I can’t be friends. He’s so ughh.” I said pissed off still about earlier. “What happened?” She asked. “Its nothing. Its over now.” I said. I got off the couch and went upstairs to my room.

I called my two bestfriends Taylor and Jennifer on threeway.
“You will never believe how my day has been.”I sighed.
“What happened?” Jennifer asked.
“My mom made me go befriend the new kid. He’s such a freak.” I said.
“Gross.”Taylor laughed.
“Its not funny. He judged me!” I said.
“Wow. He has balls.” Taylor said.
“Exactly. Like who does he think he is. He just barely moved here and thinks he can act like this.” I said.
“Yeah. Should we ruin his social life at school?” Jennifer laughed.
“No. I think he’ll ruin it on his own once everyone sees him.”I laughed.
We talked for a good hour about Jackson, then my mom called me down for dinner.

“So, I saw the new kid today.” My dad said. “He’s quite something. Really smart kid. He can draw too.” He stuffed a big stock of lettuce into his mouth. “He’s a freak! I’m not going to be friends with him.” I said taking a small bite of chicken. “Sweetie.” My mom sighed. “You were raised better than that. I want you to apologize after dinner.” I finished up my food, then went to apologize. I knew she wouldn’t leave me alone until I did. Sucks that my mom has to be such a sweet person.

“What?” He asked coldly. He was in their garage sitting in-his car- an old brown 79’Mustang listening to Death Flower. “Look, I’m sorry if I offended you earlier.” I said. He turned his music up even louder than it already was. Sooner or later, the speakers were probably going to bust. The car wasn’t in the best condition. The outside looked okay, but things were broken in the inside.

“May I sit?” He ignored me, but when he saw I wasn’t going away he threw some wads of paper, drawings he messed up on or didn’t like, in the passenger seat onto the floor for me to sit down. The door opened slowly and squeaked really loud as I opened it. As I sat down, I turned his music down. “What do you think you’re doing?” He asked putting both of his hands through his hair.

“I’m sorry.” I repeated. He just looked at me with those green eyes. “Look, I didn’t know I was offending you. You could’ve just said something.” He said turning the music to an acceptable volume. “Well, no one has just ever been so honest. I was in shock.” I said. “Well, I’m honest. I can’t help it.” He shrugged his shoulders.

“Well then tell me this,” I said. “what did I do to piss you off?” He put his hands through his hair again. I caught him off guard. “If you think its about you calling me a weird freak, no. I’m use to people talking about me. I know I’m different. I just don’t care what people think about me.” He said ready to turn the music up again. “Then what was it.” I said grabbing his arm before he could turn the volume up high again. I stared at him for a while until he finally gave me an answer.

I realized even though he always told the truth, that didn‘t mean he would give you an answer if you asked something. He might just ignore it, and he‘d still be an honest person.“Fine.” He sighed giving in. “You said go live with my parents again. My parents died.”He had the most horrible look in his eyes. He looked like he wanted to cry.

“I’m so sorry.” I said feeling bad. “What happened?” Jackson had to think about it for a second. I knew he didn’t want to talk about it. “Well, it happened a month ago.” Jackson said sadly. “I was gone at the junkyard picking up stuff for this sculpture I was working on…” He gulped hard. It was hard for him to tell the story. I felt bad for asking. “Then what?” I whispered. “I got home and I found them both dead. Apparently robbers came in while I was gone. We lived in a bad neighborhood. If I would’ve been home, I would’ve been dead too. I found them dead Alexa” Jackson looked so ashamed and heartbroken. “I’m so sorry.” I said rubbing his arm to comfort him. “It’s fine. Everyone dies. I just wish I didn’t have to see my parents like that. It hurts.” He said gripping the steering wheel making his knuckles change colors.

“I feel so bad now.” I said as his MeStereo he had connected to the stereo changed to another band I didn’t listen to. He listens to really old music. “Its fine. You didn’t know.” He said calming down. “I’m sorry too. For judging you.” He shook my hand. His palm was sweaty. “I have to go, but I’ll see you around.” I said. I got out of the car, walked across the lawn, and went back home. After the talk with Jackson tonight in his car, I think we’re going to be really good friends.

“How did things go?” My mom asked. She was sitting on the black sectional watching a soap opera. She was probably waiting for me to get home. “Great. We’re cool.” I smiled. I grabbed a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and headed upstairs to my room. I turned my television on MTV. My friends called me again for a three way.

“Hey.” I said more calm than I was in the last phone call.
“So, what happened with that Jackson kid?” Taylor asked.
“He’s actually not bad. I think we’re friends.” I said.
“Wow.” Jennifer laughed.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked getting annoyed by them.
“Because, he’s a freak.”Taylor laughed.
“You’re judging him before you get to know him!” I said.
“Wow. He’s already rubbing off on you. You always judged people. What are you going to start wearing tie-dye too?” Taylor laughed.
“Fuck you.” I said hanging up.

“Morning dad.” I said walking downstairs. I couldn’t sleep last night after Taylor and Jennifer’s starky comments. “What up chump.” He laughed. He had his oatmeal and Mepad in front of him. “What are your plans for this beautiful Saturday?” He was devouring his oatmeal like it was his last supper. “I don’t know yet.” I said as my mom handed me a plate of turkey bacon and eggs. “Thanks ma.” She gave me a kiss on the cheek then sat at the table with us for breakfast.

“Well, your mother and I were going to Vegas for the weekend. Sorry for excluding you kiddo, but you know its our anniversary.” He smiled giving my mom a kiss on the cheek. “Oh yeah!” I laughed. “I totally forgot. Go have fun.” My mom sat in my dad’s lap and gave him a kiss. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”My dad winked. He tried to whisper it to my mom, but I heard him. “Gross. Your daughter is in the room.” I laughed. “Sorry honey. You’re seventeen, you know what happens in Vegas.” My dad laughed. “Gross.” I laughed. “Anyways, happy anniversary guys.” I then finished eating my breakfast.

My parents were leaving right after breakfast. “Be safe honey. We put a couple thousand in your account for food and things you need.” My dad said. “Love you baby!” My mom said. She kissed my cheek then they basically ran to the car. They seemed ready to get out of here. I waved until the car disappeared.

“Home alone for the weekend?” Jackson asked walking across the lawn. “Yeah. They went to Vegas for their anniversary.” I said. “Nice pajamas.” He laughed looking me up and down. I was wearing green short shorts and a big pink Kitty shirt my grandma had got me last year, so it looked like I had on no bottoms. “Like you can talk about wardrobe.” I laughed. “Hey, I’m not like you. I can handle harshness.” He laughed. “So what you got planned for later?” He had a bowl of Fruit Loops in his hand and he was devouring them. “I don’t know.” I said thinking. “We should hangout.” He said with a mouthful of cereal. “I guess.” I said. Jackson and I only known eachother for about a week, and I liked hanging out with him. “We can hangout at my place.” I had the house to myself and felt lonely, so I decided to invite over Jackson. “Okay, I have to run some errands first, so I’ll head over around five.” He said he crossed the lawn and went back into his house.

I went back in the house and got in the shower. It was already two when I got out. In three hours, Jackson would be ringing the doorbell. I tried calling Taylor and Jennifer, but they wouldn’t answer.

“Hey.”I said opening the door up for him. He had two bags in his hand. “I grabbed a bag of Hot Crunchies and some gummy bears.” Jackson smiled as I opened the door to let him in. “Great.” I said. Hot Crunchies and gummy bears was officially our favorite snack. “So, did you eat dinner?” He asked. “No.” I said. “I’ll cook us some. I’m a great cook.” He smiled walking over to the kitchen.

“What are you going to cook?” I asked sitting at one of the bar stools. “What do you think I should cook. Its your house.” He laughed. “How about pasta and garlic bread?” I suggested. “Sure.” He said he looked through the cabinets looking for the ingredients for pasta and garlic bread.

“Wow.” I laughed. “You didn’t lie when you said you can cook.” The pasta was so good. There was the perfect amount of spices and cheese and everything. It was delicious. “I used to be home alone a lot because my parents worked a lot.” He said. He was already on his second plate of pasta. “Well, I guess I’m a spoiled brat. I don’t cook or clean.” I laughed. Jackson cleaned up the dishes and put the leftovers in a bowl. I decided I’d leave it for when my mom and dad return so they can see how good Jackson’s food is.

“We should go somewhere.” I said. “Sure.” Jackson said. He wanted to drive in his catastrophic car. “Where are we going?” I asked as he drove off. To have a Mustang, he drove slow. “It better not be anywhere nice, because I’m totally not dressed.” I laughed.

Within just two weeks of being friends with Jackson, he was rubbing off on me like my friends said. I was laughing a lot, I was becoming honest, I was starting to be nicer, but I was also happy.

He made a slow turn to the left then pulled into this building. “What is this place?”I asked looking around. The place was huge. Jackson left me standing there alone. He switched on a light. It was a warehouse with an abundance of small rooms. It looked like a big office building, but instead of people in business casual clothes, desks, printers, and computers there was art easels, sculptures, and people covered in paint. There was art all over the place. “I rented a art studio here.” He smiled grabbing my hand and guiding me to one of the rooms.

“Cool right?” He smiled. “I’ve never really been into art, but its pretty cool.” I said looking around. “Not into art, what the heck?”Jackson asked shocked. “Yeah.” I laughed. “See that mural on the back wall?” He asked pointing to it. It was unfinished, but the parts so far looked cool. “That’s my piece I’m working on. I call it California.” We walked over to get a closer look. So far, he had the beach on it, and some other things. “Nice.” I smiled. He locked hisroom back up, then we headed back to my house.

“Gummy bears and Hot Crunchies never gets old.”Jackson sighed. His mouth was full of gummy bears and chips and he had more in his hand waiting to go in. “I’m kind of bored.” I laughed. All we were doing was stuffing our faces and watching music videos on MTV. “Let’s play a game.” Jackson suggested. “Truth or dare.” He scooted close to me. “You first.”I said. “Okay, truth.” Jackson said. “Wow. Truth is cheating for you, because you always tell the truth no matter what.” I laughed. I decided to let it slide and just ask him really intense questions. I thought of a question. “What was your first impression of me.” I said. It took a long time for him to reply.

“When we first met, I thought you were really pretty.” Jackson said smiling and looking at me. “I also thought that we would never be friends. I thought you were a stuck up, materialistic, popular girl that cares what everyone thinks.” He was still looking at me. I think he was scared he would hurt my feelings, but I was starting to like his brutal honesty. “Wow.” I laughed. “I want truth too.” Jackson turned away from me like the question he was going to ask was a big secret. “What was your first impression about me?” He asked. “Well. I thought that we would never be friends or even talk at all.” I laughed. “I thought you looked crazy and like a hippie and just I’m not use to a person like you?” Jackson put his hands through his hair.

“Are we both just going to do truths all night?” He laughed. “Actually, I’m pretty tired, so I think I’m going to crash.” I said getting in my bed. “Yeah, me too.” Jackson said stretching out making his shirt raise up. You could see his stomach. He had a little bit of abs and a tinch of happy trail. If I‘m not mistaking, it looks like I saw a tattoo on his hip. “I’ll sleep here on the floor. Your carpet is comfortable enough.” He wrapped up in my extra blanket I gave him. As soon as he turned over, he was snoring. I turned the televison off and went to sleep.

“We’re home early!”My dad yelled busting into my room. “Hey Jackson.” My dad liked Jackson, and he usually didn’t like guys I was friends with or dated. “Hi sir.” Jackson said. “I love this kid. He slept on the floor.” My dad said patting his shoulder. “We ate that pasta too, it was delicious.”Jackson had a look of satisfaction on his face. “Hey sweetie.” My mom said giving Jackson a hug. “Hi Lexa.”She came over and sat on the edge of my bed. “I love that this kid is your new best friend.”My dad said. “I agree.” My mom smiled. By the look in her eyes, I could tell she was proud of me. My parents liked Jackson, but I knew my popular friends at school wouldn’t.

“So, what do you kids do yesterday?” My dad asked sitting in my red polka dot recliner chair. “I took her to see my art piece and we watched music videos.” Jackson said stretching showing his stomach again. “No sex,drugs, or alcohol so great.” My dad laughed. “Marvelous.” My mom said smiling at me still. She was never into my popularity and popular friends.

“I usually cook breakfast for my grandma, so I should head home.” Jackson said. “Bye guys.”Jackson grabbed his beat up converse and walked home barefooted. He was barefooted at home a lot. That was another hippie trait he had.

“I’m so proud of you baby.”My mom smiled. Her and my dad were eating the pasta Jackson had cooked. “I know. He’s actually a great person.”I smiled. “If you ever want to date anyone, I would approve of Jackson.” My dad said. “Eww no!” I laughed. “We’re best friends, but I wouldn’t date him.” I tried to grab a little of the pasta, but my dad wouldn’t let me. “Why, because of those popular kids?” My mom asked rolling her eyes. “They probably won’t want to talk to you after they see you guys at school tomorrow, so might as well date him.” My dad laughed. It was a harsh joke, but he was probably right. “Same thing happened to me in high school.” My mom said. “Yeah. Believe it or not, I used to be a nerd. Your mom was a cheerleader. Opposites attracted.” My dad smiled at my mom. “That could be you and Jackson.”My mom smiled.

I ate a bowl of cereal, then I went upstairs to get my stuff ready for tomorrow. I didn’t touch my backpack once over break. I took out a pink romper and beige sandals to wear to school. Then I called Taylor and Jennifer on three way.

‘‘Hey guys.’’I said nicely.
“Excited for school tomorrow?”Taylor asked.
“Omg yes!” I said excited.
“Yeah. I missed you guys.” Jennifer said.
“Me too.” I said.
“You’ve been busy with weird boy.” Taylor laughed.
“Have not.” I yelled
“Yeah. We didn’t see you all break.” Jennifer said agreeing with Taylor like always.
“Whatever. I’m going to get ready for school tomorrow. See you guys in our spot?” I asked.
“Of course.” Taylor said. Then we hung up.

“Aw! I missed you guys!” I squealed. I ran up to Jennifer and Taylor and gave them a big hug. Jennifer and Taylor looked exactly the same as I remember them before break. Jennifer was still dark skinned with really curly long hair and brown eyes, and Taylor was still tan with blonde hair and brown eyes. “I missed you too.” Jennifer said. “You look hot.” Taylor said. We hung out at our spot under the tree until the bell rang.

“So, how was your break?” Taylor asked. “It was alright.”I smiled thinking about Jackson. “Word around the school is that your crush Devin was waiting for school to start back so he can talk to you.” Jennifer smiled squeezing my hands. “Look, here he comes!” Taylor laughed.

“Hey.”Devin said scratching his head. Devin is the cutest guy in the school. He’s captain of the basketball team. He looks like he got even cuter over the break. His green eyes were beautiful, his blond hair was cut into a faux-hawk, and he looked tan. “Hi.” I smiled as he gave me a hug. “How was your break?”He asked grabbing my hand. “It was alright.” I smiled. “How was yours?” Devin wouldn’t stop looking at me. “It was boring. Wish we could’ve hung out.”Devin smiled flashing his sparkly white teeth. “Aw. Me too.” I said blushing.

“Look at weird boy!” Taylor laughed pointing.I turned my head and saw Jackson pulling up in his catastrophic Mustang. He got out and put his hands through his hair. He was wearing a black hawaiian shirt with cars on it, dark brown skinny jeans rolled at the edges, dirty white converse, and a black bandana around his head. “He does look weird.” Devin said laughing with Taylor and Jennifer. “That’s Alexa’s buddy.” Jennifer smirked. “You know him Alexa?” Devin said with a disgusted look on his face. “No! He’s just a neighbor. He’s a freak, I wouldn’t dare be friends with him.” I said dragging Devin off toward the class.

“I can’t believe you and Devin are a thing now!” Taylor said at lunch. Devin was heading towards us with his lunch. “I know. I’m so happy.” I smiled. I looked over and Jackson was sitting under a tree by himself reading a book. “Hey.” Devin smiled giving me a kiss on the cheek. “Hi.” I said giving him a hug. “How was school so far?”He said opening up his bag of Sun Chips. “Boring.” I laughed as he fed me a chip. “Mine too. I missed you while I was in class.”He said wrapping his arm around my shoulder. I looked over at Jackson again and he looked pissed at me.

When I got home from school, luckily Jackson wasn’t home yet. I don’t have to see him and explain my behavior. I think he’s mad at me too.

“How was your first day back?” My dad asked. He was on his Mepad working on some writing for this new romance comedy movie. “Great. That boy I was in love with asked me out.” I smiled. “What about Jackson?”My dad asked. “What do you mean what about him?” I asked grabbing a water out of the refrigerator.

“Our friendship was just a Spring Break thing. If I hang with him at school, I’ll lose my popularity and my life will be ruined.” My dad looked disappointed in me. “That’s not a good attitude sweetie.” He said. “Is popularity all you care about? You only have half a Senior year left and you’re going to spend it fixated on being popular? Come on Lexa.”He walked over to me and looked sternly at me. “Sorry.” I said. “Think about what you’re doing.”He said. He went back to his Mepad and started writing again. I went up to my room and video called Devin from my phone.

“Hey gorgeous.”He smiled.
“Hi.” I laughed blushing.
“What you up to?”He asked.
“Just got home from school. You?” I said.
“Going to go workout in a little while.” He said.
“Fun.” I smiled.
“Yeah. Have to keep these abs in good condition.” He smiled. He lifted his shirt to show me.
“Wow. They’re nice.” I smiled.
“Yeah. They’re all yours.”He smiled.
“Aw.”I blushed.
“Now you wanna show me something?”He winked.
I lifted up my shirt then quickly put it down, so all he saw was my bra.
“Hot.” He laughed.
“I try.” I smiled.
“I’m going to go, but I’ll see you at the spot tomorrow. Bye babe.” He blew a kiss, then logged out of the video chat.

“Look.”Taylor said pointing at Jackson. He was sitting under the tree by himself working on a drawing. “Let’s go mess with him.”Jennifer smiled. “I’m down.” Devin said raising off the bench. He dragged me behind him. My heart got five beats faster each step closer we got to Jackson.

“Oops.” Devin said wasting his soda all over Jackson’s drawing he was working on. ”Man. That was so uncalled for.” Jackson said raising from the grass. His drawing pad was soaked. All the art in it was probably ruined.

“All my drawings are ruined.” Jackson was pissed, but he wasn’t a fighter, so I knew I didn’t have to worry about a fight breaking out. “Babe. You didn’t have to do that.” I said trying to drag him away. “Why, is he your friend or something?” Devin laughed. Jackson looked at me waiting for my answer. “No.” I whispered looking down. Without even looking at Jackson, I could feel his cold stare.

“Exactly.”Devin laughed. “Let’s just go please.” I said quietly dragging Devin behind me. “Weirdo.” Taylor laughed as we walked away.

Today when I got home from school, Jackson was listening to Avenged Sevenfold in the garage drawing in a new soda-free notepad. The music he listened to usually corresponded to his mood, so the metal was easy to explain. When he saw me, he jumped off the hood of his car and stormed towards me. “Look Alexa,”Jackson said pissed. “I understand that you don’t want to be my friend because of your whole popularity obsession, but it really hurts when you stoop to their level and tease me along with them. I’m used to being teased, but for someone you thought was a good friend to do it too? It hurts!” He had a really hurt look in his eyes. I wonder does he ever cry.

“Sorry.” I said walking away to my house. I didn’t know what to say to him. “So that’s it, our friendship is over?”He yelled to me. I still couldn’t find the words to say to him. “Fine. Enjoy popularity hell.” He slammed his drawing pad down on his car and turned the music up really loud. I could hear his music from my room.

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