My stomach was filled to the brim with butterflies as I leaned against the locker next to Dawson’s, attempting to look casual. He had invited me to come over to his apartment after school! That’s practically asking me out on a date! Once he had finished putting away his books, we joined the stream of students shuffling out of the building. “Wanna stop at Starbucks on the way?” He raked his fingers through his messy mop of dark brown hair. “Sure!” It was impossible for me to inhale fully, I was positively giddy with excitement.
We stopped at the crowded Starbucks on the corner of Wrentham boulevard and Massapequa way, a couple of blocks from school. “Whatcha gonna get?” He nudged his head in the direction of the enormous chalkboard menus. I bit down on my lower lip. What was I going to order? I wanted to impress him, but I didn’t want to come off as snobby. I wanted something unique, but not anything too exotic that the barista would look at me weirdly. And I most definitely couldn’t order anything that would make my breath smell. Before I knew it we were at the front of the line and she had already taken Dawson’s order. “Um… Tall hot chocolate with hazelnut.”
“That actually sounds kinda good” He smiled as handed the cashier enough money to pay for both of our drinks. How chivalrous! “I’m glad you approve of my beverage ordering abilities.” I smiled back at him, twirling a chunk of hair around my finger. By the time we had wandered over to the pick up window our order was already sitting there. He picked up his green tea and a delicious-smelling oatmeal cookie. “Here, I got this for you.” He handed me the cookie. My heart skipped a beat.
On the way to the 1409 bus stop I alternated between sips from my hot chocolate and nibbling at the cookie. “Oh, and I have this box set, it has every single record The White Stripes ever put out, you’ll love it.” “Ahh! Seriously? That’s fucking rad.” Dawson and I had originally bonded over our shared taste in music. We were both obsessed with The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Green Day, and The Ramones. Not to mention the fact that we were both rabid Beatles groupies.
We reached the bus stop just as the westbound 1409 pulled up. Once an elderly man muttering about healthcare reform had exited, we stepped inside and swiped our metrocards. After some difficult navigating we found the last empty seat on the bus. “Wanna sit on my lap?” Dawson asked, half joking. “Sure!” I giggled and sat down ever so daintily on top of him. I took another bite of my cookie and grinned when I noticed a prudish-looking lady that could have been our librarian’s evil twin giving me the stink eye.
The bus arrived at our stop far to early in my opinion. I would have been content to sit on Dawson’s lap for the rest of the afternoon. We hopped out of the bus however, and walked down the block towards his apartment. Dawson lived in the artsy area of the city, where there were more art galleries than grocery store and cafés sold all sorts of hip delicacies I had never heard of.
“Here it is!” He pulled out his key and unlocked the front door of the white-brick building. We quickly passed the lobby and pressed the “Up” button on the elevator. The gigantic steel doors slid apart almost immediately. As we stepped out into the third floor hallway I realized that it was probably the most hi-tech elevator I’d ever been in. My Doc Marten barely made any noise as we shuffled down the hall towards the door marked “319”.
Dawson stepped in front of me, pulling the door open. “My humble abode!” It was almost identical to how I had imagined it would look. We pulled our shoes off and left them with the pile of footwear that had accumulated next to the doorway. We made our way to the kitchen, where his father’s super sleek laptop was sitting. “You can use it if you want, I’m just gonna go grab the box set… it’ll take me a couple minutes anyway.” Shit! He had caught me staring.
I sat down at their kitchen table, taking a second to admire the silk tablecloth. It was embroidered with a fantastical pattern made up of dragons, lotuses, and butterflies. I had always known in the back of my mind that Dawson was half Chinese, his mom had probably brought the tablecloth back from one of her frequent trips to her homeland. It was quite possibly the most exquisite thing I’d seen—it belonged hanging up in a museum somewhere, not just thrown haphazardly on top someone’s kitchen table.
After taking a couple if seconds to run my fingers over the intricate designs, I opened up the laptop. It purred to life with a noise that reminded me of some SciFi movie that Zooey had dragged me to. Without a second though I pulled up Facebook and logged in. My fingers flittered over the keyboard at top speed. A minute or so passed before I suddenly came to a full stop. I had stumbled onto Brielle McKenzie’s page.
“Cassidy Noelle English is big fat whore. She slept with Mr Sullivan and gave handjobs to the entire hockey team. She’s ugly as shit and she’ll fuck anything that moves. She thinks she’s going to be Freshman Formal Queen? Really? Someone should probably tell her that they don’t give out crowns for being a nasty slut.”
My eyebrows shot up and my jaw fell open. “DAWSON! You have to read this! NOW!”