I bolted out of bed the next day. I had hardly slept, not being able to contain my excitement. All morning, I bounced around the house, humming and dancing. At eleven, I was back up in my room, deciding what to wear. I could not afford to mess this day up. Butterflies were already in my stomach. This is stupid, I thought. It’s not a date, so why am I so nervous?
With an hour left to go, I paced back and forth in my room. Suddenly, from downstairs, I heard my mother call, “Kelly, can you come down here for a minute?” I found her in the kitchen, working on some paperwork. “Are you doing anything today?” she asked.
“Um, yeah,” I said. “I’m going to be hanging out with some friends this afternoon. Is that okay?”
My mother frowned. For a moment, my stomach clenched. What if she didn’t want me to go? “Well, I’m going to have to do some errands, and your father is away right now. So that’ll leave David alone at home.”
“David’ll be fine alone! He’s 9, and can take care of himself.” This can’t be happening, I thought. There is no way I’m going to have to give this up for David.
She paused for a moment. Then she said, “Alright, as long as you do your homework when you come back. I’ll see if I can get Suzie to babysit for a while.” Suzie was 13, and had babysitted David in the past.
“Yes, that’s a good idea.” I said, relieved. Thank goodness.
I went back up to my room, where I stayed until one. When the clock’s hands finally turned, pointing to the moment I’d been waiting for, I dashed out of the room, down the stairs, and out the door. I slowed a little when I stepped outside--I didn’t want to seem too eager, after all.
I had barely finished knocking when the door opened. “Hi Kelly!” Ashton greeted me. “Come in.” As I stepped in, I heard shouts coming from down the hallway. “Oh, Sam and Adam are over too. Whenever they come over, they insist on playing all of my Xbox games. And, as you can hear, they’re very competitive.” He smiled. “But we won’t be staying here for long, I think. We’re going to be visiting a few places this afternoon, if that’s okay with you.” He then grabbed my hand and led me down the hall.
“Oh yeah,” I said, a bit distracted. I was just so caught up with the sight of him that I had a hard time thinking of anything else.
Needless to say, the afternoon was a blast. We stayed at Ashton’s place a bit longer than planned, but I had joined in with the video games, and was doing better than I had expected. I even managed to beat Ashton a few times. But the best thing was, there was no stress. No one was expecting me to be anything I wasn’t. I could just be myself. And I was glad that I felt like I belonged.
After an hour had passed, Ashton sat down on the couch next to you. "So," he asked, "What's it like being Kelly Huston?"
"It's okay, I guess. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but I do have some great moments." I responded.
"Oh yeah?" Ashton inquired, eyebrow raised. "Name some of these 'great' moments."
I laughed. "Well, there was that one time in middle school gym class when we were running the mile. I was actually doing pretty well. Just when I passed the end line, where half of the class was standing, I managed to trip and fall flat on my face..."
And so the conversation continued.
When I returned back home five hours later, I found the house a mess. My mother stormed up to me when she heard the door open.
“What happened?” I asked, frowning.
“Well, Suzie seems to have lost her babysitting skills, because while we were all away, David managed to destroy the whole house. I needed to get groceries, and going shopping with David is impossible.” She held up a couple of glass shards, which I recognized as the remains of one of her antique vases. “I shouldn’t have let you go today. Out of all days, why did you hang out with friends today? This wouldn’t have happened…”
I stood there, mute. Oh, so it’s my fault? I thought.
My mother continued, “So the next time you make plans, check with me to see if the timing works out or not.”
I nodded numbly and headed upstairs.