When I got home, it was only four o’ clock. I went up to my room and set my backpack by my desk. I pulled out my math binder, and began working on some geometry stuff. I didn’t understand why we needed to know the ratio between the area of a circle to the length of the tangent coming off of it. I thought math was rather pointless, but I did it anyway.
I spent an hour working on my math, and when I was finished, I pulled out my Spanish flashcards.
“Lo siento is… I’m sorry,” I said to myself. “Cabeza is… head. Yo tengo is… I have.”
I continued through the vocabulary words that I need to know by Wednesday. Once I knew them fairly well, I was done with my homework. I looked at my clock and saw that it was almost six, so I went downstairs. I expected to smell my mom’s cooking, but no one was in the kitchen. I went back up, and walked down to my brother’s room. My mom was hooking up a portable DVD player so that he could watch a movie. Ethan was lying on his bed in the same position as earlier.
“Still not feeling well?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“Do you think some fresh air might help your stomach ache?”
He shrugged. I looked to my mom and she gave me the okay. I carefully helped my brother out of bed, and got him safely down the stairs. We went out on the front porch, and sat on the swing out front. He laid down with his head on my lap, and closed his eyes. I rocked the swing back and forth.
“Are you gonna be okay?” I asked as I rubbed his back.
I felt his head nod, and I bent down and kissed him. I hated seeing him like this. He is usually so lively and funny. He hardly ever acts lethargic. I continued rubbing his back and I felt him go limp, and I knew he fell asleep. I just continued to rock back and forth, hoping the fresh air would help him. I watched the birds fly around the trees, and I saw the bugs swarm around the people running on the sidewalk. I waved to my neighbor, Mrs. Allen, as she started her evening jog. I checked my phone that was in my pocket, and I saw that it was seven already. Normally we would be eating dinner right now, but I just now heard my mom moving around in the kitchen. I was still swinging when my dad pulled into the driveway.
“Hey kiddo!” he said as he slammed his car door.
“Is Ethan still not feeling well?” he asked.
“Not really, but I thought that laying out in the fresh air for a while might help.”
My dad walked in the front door, and went inside to greet my mom. I watched through the window as he gave her a kiss. Then he sat down at the table and began rubbing his temples. I couldn’t read lips, so I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I could guess. My dad probably had an awful client who could hardly keep money in the bank, and know he has to sort out all kinds of issues that he shouldn’t need to. His job had less hours, but a lot more stress than his old one. I saw my mom walk back into the kitchen, and I knew dinner would be ready soon.
In the mean time, I rested my head on the chain of the porch swing, and began to think about how much fun the dance class is going to be. I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, but now I was really excited. The girls in the other class looked like they were having a lot of fun, and they looked gorgeous as they glided across the floor.
Suddenly, the lighting outside went dark, and I noticed a big, gray cloud slowly moving towards where I was. The clouds had come out of nowhere. A few minutes ago, the sky was blue and sunny. I watched as the rain started falling, and soon turning into sheets of water. The sound of thunder was in my ears as I saw the lightning flash across the sky. This was the most sudden storm we had had in a while. I was waking up Ethan to get him inside, when I saw someone walking on the sidewalk. Ethan walked inside, and I called out to the figure in the distance.
“Do you have an umbrella?” I shouted over the wind.
The person didn’t say anything. I grabbed an umbrella off the porch, and ran out into the rain. I waved to the person, and it waved back. As I got closer, I realized Ryan was standing outside my house.
“Do you want to come in to get out of the rain?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said.
Once we reached the porch, I saw that we he was completely drenched.
“Ella?” Ryan said.
“Yup. That’s me,” I responded, a little confused why he said my name.
“I couldn’t tell who you were out there. The rain was too thick. I just hoped you weren’t some crazy axe murderer that was going to kill me once I got inside,” he said as he smiled.
I smiled, too.
“Well, why don’t you come inside for dinner.”
“Oh, I don’t want to intrude or anything,” he said.
“Just for a little while, so you can dry off a bit.”
I led the way inside, and introduced him to my parents.
“Mom and Dad, this is Ryan. He was out in the rain without an umbrella or anything, so I invited him in so he could dry off. I hope that’s alright.”
“I don’t mind,” said my mom with a smile. “You can eat dinner with us if you’d like. I made spaghetti.”
I could tell he was about to refuse, but after one whiff of the garlic tomato sauce, he just nodded and thanked my mom for letting him stay. I went and sat next to Ethan at the table, who had a piece of plain toast on his plate.. He looked a bit perkier, because he was sitting up straighter. I kissed his head as I sat down.
“Feeling better?” I asked.
“A bit,” he said.
Ryan sat down across from me, and my dad started interrogating him.
“So do you know Ella?” he asked.
“Yes. I met her at church yesterday, and we have the same bus stop.”
“Oh, so you go to the same school?”
“Okay. I figured Ella knew you, otherwise she probably wouldn’t have invited you inside. I’m just happy you’re not some crazy axe murderer or something.”
Ryan and I looked at each other and laughed.
“Did I say something funny?” my dad asked.
“No,” I said. “Don’t worry about it.”
Just then, my mom brought over a huge dish of spaghetti and meatballs. I let Ryan get his first, since he was the guest. I dished up mine next, and put two meatballs on my large pile of noodles. After my mom and dad had theirs, Ethan prayed over our meal.
Dear God, thank you for the wonderful day you gave us, and thank you for the meal that is in front of us. Thank you for blessing us with such wonderful food, and thank you for helping me to feel a little better. Amen.
I picked up my fork, and began to eat. Not much conversation was exchanged while we ate. All I could hear was the sound of spaghetti being slurped, and forks twirling against the plates. After everyone was done, my mom cut a slice of chocolate pie for all of us, except Ethan. She gave him a banana. She didn’t want him throwing up later if he ended up getting sick. Ryan ate his pie quickly; he looked like he enjoyed my mom’s cooking. Most people do like her food. My mom cleared the dishes when we were done, and I went to go sit on the front porch with Ryan for a minute before he left. It was still pouring when we walked outside. I sat on the swing and he sat next to me.
“Thank you for letting me eat dinner here,” he said.
He looked at me and smiled.
“I’m very glad that it was you, and not some crazy axe murderer. And, not just because I got to live. I enjoyed getting to see you.”
I blushed, and looked down at my feet. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that.
“Anyway,” he said as he ran his hand through his black hair.
After he ran it through, he started to smooth it back down. I surprised both him and myself, by grabbing his hand and stopping it.
“ I like it better messed up a little,” I said.
Then I blushed even harder. I had just made a fool of myself, and a big one at that.
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
I then realized that I was still holding on to his hand, and I quickly dropped it. I put my hands between my knees and looked at my feet again.
“That’s alright,” he said. “I’m glad you were honest.”
“Your hair was curled yesterday, but I like it better like this,” Ryan said..
The butterflies in my stomach started fluttering more than ever. He remembered what my hair looked like yesterday. He paid attention to that kind of stuff. My heart melted at how cute that was.
“Well, I better get going.”
“Okay,” I mumbled.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said.
I nodded. He was about to step out in the rain, but I handed him the umbrella I had used earlier.
“Here. You can give it back to me whenever you get the chance.”
I watched him walk out into the pouring rain, and went inside when I couldn’t see him anymore.
“So is he your boyfriend?” my dad asked.
“No,” I said. But, my giddiness leaked into my voice, and he didn’t accept the ‘no’ as an answer.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, dad. I’m positive.”
I tried my best to keep my tone serious, and I guess it worked. He dropped the topic and went into the living room to watch television with my mom. I walked up the stairs, and into Ethan’s room. I sat on his bed next to him.
“Do you like that boy?” he asked me.
“I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that I do,” I said.
He sat, and looked like he was deep in thought for a minute.
“Are you going to get married?” he asked.
I laughed at the same time that a loud peal of thunder sounded.
“He hasn’t even asked me out! I don’t think we are going to get married, though.”
“Okay. Just wondering.”
I gave him a hug and a kiss, and walked into my room. My phone was laying on my bed, and it had one text. It was from Ryan.
Thanks again for dinner. I needed to get out of the house for a while…
Curious, I asked him why he wanted out of the house. He responded:
My little brother got in major trouble at school for lying to his teacher. My mom goes insane when my brother acts up. She didn’t stop yelling since he was home.
I told him I was sorry, and that he could come over anytime he needed to. I felt like I had known him for a very long time, but I realized that I had only known him since yesterday morning. We texted back and forth for a few minutes about our families, and then I told him I had to go. I needed to get ready for bed and have my quiet time, and it was getting late. I didn’t realize how late it actually was when we ate dinner.
Ryan said goodnight, and then I put my phone on the charger like I do every night. I brushed my teeth, put in my retainers, slipped on my pajamas, and picked out my clothes for the next day. Then I got into bed and opened up my Bible. I didn’t really know what to read. I couldn’t really focus on what I was reading. My mind was still on what happened out on the porch. When I had grabbed his hand, It was soft, and I wished I could have kept holding it. I snapped my mind out of thought’s of Ryan, so I could actually understand what I was reading.
I decided on reading Song of Songs, because I liked the romantic, poetic feel of it. When I finished reading, I turned off my light, and went to sleep.
In the morning, I wet my hair a little and scrunched it so it didn’t look slept on. I put a headband in again, just like yesterday. I put on my denim skirt and a blue tank top, with my cream, crocheted, short-sleeved sweater. I went downstairs to eat breakfast, and I saw my brother sitting at the table.
“You look like you’re feeling better,” I said to him.
“I still feel tired, but my stomach doesn’t hurt as much. Mom said I can go to school today.”
“Well, I’m glad that you don’t feel so sick. I’m sure you will be even better by tomorrow.”
He nodded. I searched the cupboards for my box of Cheerios. There was enough in it yesterday for one more bowl. I couldn’t find it, and looked over to what Ethan was eating. He shrugged.
“It was the most plain food I could find,” he explained.
I ate a bagel instead. It wasn’t my favorite breakfast, but it’s what I could have until the Cheerios were replenished. My mom walked downstairs in her pajamas, and she looked half asleep. She told Ethan to get in the car, and she would drive him to school. I gave them both a kiss before they left. I looked at the clock, and saw that I still had about twenty minutes before I had to leave. I grabbed my backpack and purse from upstairs, and went to go sit on the porch.
The storm from the previous night had left leaves and grass in the road, and branches strewn across people’s yards. I saw our trashcan knocked over at the end of the driveway, and I went to go clean it up. Only one of the bags had fallen out, so I put that inside after I had turned the can right side up.
I looked at the time on my phone and saw that I still had about ten minutes. I decided to walk to the bus stop anyway. When I got there, I found out that I wasn’t the only one there.
“I forgot what time the bus came,” Ryan said. “I’ve been sitting her for the past twenty minutes.”
He was sitting down on the pavement.
“Well, I’m ten minutes early, because I got ready fast this morning,” I said.
I sat down next to him, and smoothed down the back of my hair with my hand. Ryan’s hand stopped it.
“Your hair looks fine this morning,” he said.
I blushed slightly, and smiled. I felt like I was having déjà vu. It was almost exactly like what happened last night. I started to pull my hand away from his, but he gripped it just a little bit tighter. He wasn’t planning on letting go. My heart started beating faster, and I felt the butterflies in my stomach go crazy.
I saw Grace out of the corner of my eye, as she walked to the bus stop. For some reason, I felt embarrassed for her to see me sitting next to Ryan, holding his hand. Ryan seemed to think the same thing, because he let go of my hand and stood up. I stood up as well, just as the bus pulled up to the corner. Grace ran up the street, and took her seat next to me. Ryan sat in the back again, and I wished I could sit there with him.
“So guess what?” Grace said.
I took my mind off of Ryan, and answered her.
“Umm, I don’t know.”
“Parents are going to let me start driving to school soon. I talked to them last night, and told them that I had a car, and I was perfectly capable of driving it to school. So they said I can start driving as soon at the beginning of October. We don’t have to ride this bus anymore!”
I smiled, and told her I was excited. But, I still wanted to ride the bus because it meant I might get a chance to sit with Ryan. I didn’t tell Grace that, though. She would be devastated that I didn’t want to ride with her. I tried not to focus on that now, because I wouldn’t have to tell her for a while.
When I got to school, my mind was so full of thoughts, that I couldn’t comprehend what anybody was saying. I started feeling bad for not telling Grace about Ryan, and everything that had happened. She wasn’t going to be on the bus this afternoon, but I would call her once she got home.
Somehow, I made it through the day with my thoughts crowding my head. I wondered if Ryan would sit with me since Grace wasn’t going to be there. I wondered if he would ever hold my hand again. I was thinking these things as I walked on the bus. He wasn’t on the bus yet, so I just took my normal seat. I was rather disappointed when the bus started moving and he wasn’t there. I guess he was staying after school for something. I sighed and just looked out the window until I was at my bus stop. The sky was cloudy, and it looked like it was going to rain at any minute.
I walked home from the bus stop and went upstairs to do my homework. Ethan was laying on the couch sleeping. I guess he was still a little sick, because school had really worn him out. I didn’t think third grade was that tiring.
When my homework was finished, I skipped downstairs to eat the fish tacos my mom had made. They smelled delicious. But, when does her food not smell good?