“Quit your damn pacing,” Dad tosses at me.
“I can’t help it. Sorry. I just pace sometimes.” My legs are too sore to keep still for very long, but when I get pacing I want to stop just as quickly. It’s still early for this date thing, but I’m ready. I got a good pair of dark jeans and a button-up on. Crap. “Dad, is a button-up too much for a double date? Should I wear a belt? Do I smell fine?”
“Quit your damn worrying. You’ll be fine. No, maybe, and sure.”
“She’s just a girl, remember,” Vanessa says, barely audibly. The family is watching some mid-day movie, Rachel asleep, Dad with his feet up and Vanessa sitting on the floor reading something and doodling into a notebook.
“And she’s the kind of girl I want to be with. She’s beautiful and smart and awesome.”
“Okay, just to recall, you’ve never spoken to her before yesterday and you somehow know she’s the God of beauty, intelligence, and awesome in twenty-four hours? Right? The pretty girl who has had her way around the block before-“
“Enough, Vanessa.” Rachel is apparently not asleep.
Eura has had the reputation of having been with a guy or two before, but with looks like that, I don’t blame her. I mean, it sucks, and it hurts to think about it. Especially comparing them to me. Jason, the stereotypical jock who plays every sport and can barely write a page-long essay, was two years older than us. He was six-three and nearly two-hundred and thirty pounds of muscle, but I calm myself with the thought of him after highschool. He was arrested about three months ago for drug possession. So, that kind of makes me feel better. As for the other guy, I don’t know who it is, not at our school, but I don’t want to know either. Vanessa didn’t need to bring this up anyways.
“What’s it to you?”
“Nothing, honest. Sorry- I didn’t mean to come off as rude.”
“Then what did you mean to come off as? Insensitive? Inconsiderate?”
“Berlin, relax,” Dad says. “How much longer you gotta wait?”
“Just waiting for Cam to show up, any minute now.”
But every minute was an hour and the hours barely passed. I kept waiting for something, the sound of a car on gravel, a door shutting, a phone buzzing. Nothing, though, came and I just stood around for fifteen minutes waiting. I pull my phone out and call Cam.
“Hey, where you at?”
“I’m a bit up shit-creek without a paddle, bro.”
“Well, I was making that turn around Matthew’s place and caught ice and slammed into the guiderail. I’m just stuck waiting for the tow truck now.”
“So my date is screwed? It’s not happening.”
“You? You’re worried about you? I’m stuck with Maria and you know how much that kills me.”
… “Aren’t you with her right now?”
“Yeah, didn’t think that one out well.” I could hear ‘Asshole!’ being yelled in the background. “Uhm, I gotta deal with this, so have fun with your issues. Look, babe-“. Click.
Oh, god, what am I supposed to do? No double date, so the pure concentrated awkwardness of us two being together isn’t going to be good. Shit! How am I getting Eura?
“Dad, can I borrow the car?” I explained quickly what happened.
“Maybe this is the Universe’s way of saying ‘don’t do it’,” Vanessa says.
“Vanessa, shove it, you don’t even believe in horoscopes.” Rachel to the rescue.
“Don’t touch the car. Take the truck. Put gas in it, take the emergency jumper, and go.”
This truck is an abomination. It may have been originally made out of rust. It’s kept only as a spare in case something happened to the two cars my parents have. I have to jump-start it two times to get it to go, and this rattling mess is louder than your average jet taking off.
I pull the phone out and call Eura’s number: “Hey, look, Cam can’t make it tonight, but I can just come get you if you’re cool with just us on a date?” I could feel the heart inside of me trying to jump out.
“Yeah, that’s fine. Like, how long are we talking here?”
“Not long. About five or ten minutes, okay?”
“Yeah. See you, Berlin.”
Butterflies in eruption, spring in full bloom.
“See you shortly.”
I back the truck out of the spot and begin the rattling pursuit down the driveway.