"So what are you going to wear?" Jemima asked me over the phone, her voice taking a suddenly interested tone. What, is the current weather over the Indian Ocean only interesting to me?
"I don't know, something casual. It's just bowling."
She scoffed. "Just bowling? This is your second date! You have to look fierce." I frowned as I walked across the room to my closet and shuffled through the scarce variety in about 3 seconds. I needed to go shopping.
"Since when did you become interested in all of this?" I asked skeptically.
She hesitated, just breathing into the receiver for a moment. "Listen, Jennie, this is the most exciting thing that has happened to me in, like, forever! Guys don't go after me like they do you. It's just harmless fun. Don't you think this is exciting?"
Exciting? Exciting is having fire shoot out of your hands and blast apart a wall. Exciting is losing your last breath of air and then the adrenaline rush that comes after you realize you don't need it. Those things are exciting. Being somebody's arm candy? Not so much.
"Yeah, sure, it's exciting," I replied in a monotonous tone. The doorbell rang then, and I quickly said goodbye and hung up. I didn't have time to change, so jeans and a sweatshirt would have to do.
Then I heard my father talking.
"Nice to meet you, Josh. This is my wife, Linda."
"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael. Is Jenn ready yet?"
"I'm coming!" I shouted from the top of the stairs, already sprinting down them. "Bye Mom, bye Dad," I hurriedly kissed them when I reached the door. I grabbed Josh's coat arm and we were gone, with hardly enough time to catch my breath.
"Whoa, in a hurry?" he asked.
"Just a bit." No way was I letting my parents embarrass me or do something freaky in front of this guy who could ruin my reputation in an instant. I came here to start over, not to ruin my chances at high school. They'd probably start talking about the reproductive life cycle of seaweed or something.
Bowling went fine enough. Josh was surprisingly good and didn't even get upset when I beat him by 60 points. We went to the arcade for a bit, shared a hot pretzel, and then he had me home by 10:30, taking his time as we pulled into the driveway.
When he cut the engine off, Josh turned to face me in the passenger's seat. "So, I had a really good time tonight."
Did I have a good time too? Well, I guess so. "So did I. You're really good at bowling."
He rubbed the back of his neck. "Ah, thanks. But I think we both know who's better." I laughed softly with him, the stillness of the night seeming too fragile to break. I sat there, clueless for another moment, and then the proximity of his face took my by surprise.
"What are you doing?" I asked, startled at his puckered lips and closed eyes.
"Uh, trying to kiss you goodnight?" He laughed self-consciously, but trying to pass it off as arrogance.
"On the second date?" I was incredulous.
"I guess not now, I'm not," he said, retracting. He looked defeated, and though I felt no remorse for stopping it, I did feel for him. He probably wasn't used to this, girls not succumbing to his every whim.
"Maybe you'll get lucky on our third date," I said slyly as I opened the car door. His eyes lit up before I shut the door on him and went into my house. It was only as soon as I was safely in my room that I felt the gravity of what I had just said, and felt terrible for lying to him.