Lisa gets in trouble for ditching school and gets ready to spend her night at Joe's.
"Uh, what do you mean by 'what was I doing in school today'?" I asked my mom with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I had a very bad feeling that she somehow knew that I had skipped school. But how could she have known that? I mean, it wasn't as if anyone had even paid attention to Joe and I sneaking out of school.
My mom narrowed her eyes at me and took a step closer to me. Getting right in my face, she said, "Don't you give me that, young lady! You know exactly what I mean. I know you ditched school so don't even try to lie to me because it's just a waste of time. So are you going to tell me why you ditched school or not?"
Still puzzled about how my mom could possibly have figured out about me ditching school, I asked in bewilderment, "But how did you know I...uh...took a break from school? It wasn't even for the whole day. It was just for a few hours. Besides, it wasn't like me spending the rest of the day at the school was doing me any good. I'm never going to see that school again you know."
Mom sighed and took a step backwards from me, shaking her head in annoyance, "Yeah, I know, but that's not what I asked you, was it? I wanted to know what you did after you ditched school, not why you ditched school. And I figured out that you skipped class because I came to pick you up early from school so you could help us with the packing. I just about had a heart attack when I couldn't find you anywhere in the school. For a moment, I thought someone might've kidnapped you!"
For the first time that day, I started to feel kind of guilty. I hadn't meant for my mom to start worrying about me. Hanging my head in embarrassment, I apologized, "I'm sorry mom, I guess I just wasn't thinking. I've been kind of 'out of it' lately. This whole moving thing has been really sudden and stuff. And anyways, I wouldn't have gotten kidnapped since Joe was with me."
"Joe was with you?" my mom raised an eyebrow. Oops, I had slipped there! I had forgotten that my mom didn't know that I had skipped school to be with Joe. Now that she did know, she was probably going to be a lot more suspicious.
Frowning, I nodded ever so slightly, "Yeah." My mom was silent for a long time. A small part of me thought she might possibly be done with her lecture. Hoping to escape, I sneakily started edging towards the stairs. Just as I thought I might have avoided her oncoming speech, my mom stopped me, "Wait a sec there, Lisa."
Making a face, I stopped with one foot on the stairs and turned around to face her. When my mom spoke, her voice was surprisingly gentle and her eyes looked rather tired, "Honey, I know this is really hard on you, but you can't just leave school because you're feeling insecure. I'm sorry for bringing this all on you so soon. I wish you could've had more time to get used to the idea of moving. But in reality, we're moving in three days and I need you to be ready for it. Let me just ask you one more question, then you can escape upstairs: what did you and Joe do this afternoon?"
I yanked the romance novel that Joe had bought me out of my back pack and held it up for my mom to see, "We went to the bookstore and then we stopped for ice cream. We had a really nice time." My mom took the book from my hand, looked it over, and then gave it back to me with a sad smile.
"Did Joe buy you this book?" she asked curiously. I nodded, feeling a lump rise in my throat. My mom continued, "That Joe really is a nice boy. I'm so glad you had the opportunity to meet someone like him. His parents are very nice too. Your father and I are really going to miss Mr. and Mrs. Perry. But Lisa, I don't think it's a good idea for you to spend so much time with Joe right now. It's only going to make it worse when we leave."
That was probably true, but there was no way that I wasn't going to spend every last minute possible with Joe before we left regardless of what my mom said. I knew she was trying to be helpful, but sometimes she needed to learn to just keep her thoughts to myself and let me live my own life.
"Hm," I just replied, thinking of nothing else to say. My mom rolled her eyes at me and retreated back into the kitchen, "I know you're not going to listen to me, but it really is a good suggestion. Keep it in the back of your head." But I was already up the stairs with my mind on Joe and with everything else going on in my life in the back of my head.
~ ~ ~ ~
"Bye honey, have a nice time tonight! Don't stay up too late!" my mom called as she dropped me off at Mandy's house the next afternoon. The plan was that I would hang out at Mandy's house until nine tonight and then I would head over to Joe's. I was starting to feel really guilty about lying to my mom about tonight's plans, but I didn't really have a choice. I had to lie or else she would probably forbid me from going to Joe's.
So I pasted a fake grin onto my face as I slung my two bags over my shoulder and slipped out of the car. Before shutting the door, I called to my mom, "See you tomorrow! I'll be home pretty early tomorrow morning since I know you need help with the packing. Thanks for dropping me off." Then I turned and ran up the driveway to Mandy's door. I pounded on the door and waited for a reply. Two seconds later, the door burst open and Mandy smile at me, "Come on in!"
Before going inside, I turned and waved to my mom one last time as she drove off and then I stepped inside Mandy's house. Mandy had a really big, fancy house. Her dad had started his own business that had been really successful, so money was always plentiful in her house. Everything around me was exquisite and so unlike my plain, threadbare living room.
I dropped my bags to the ground with a loud clunk. Mandy started to pick them up, asking, "Should I put these upstairs in my bedroom for you until you have to leave?" I was about to shake my head when Mandy dropped one the of bags abruptly and stared at me incredulously, "What the hell do you have in here? This weighs like fifty pounds or something?"
"Oh...nothing!" I said lightly, trying to brush the subject off. "So why don't we go upstairs-" I didn't bother to finish my sentence because Mandy had already unzipped my bag and was rummaging around in it to try to find out what was so heavy. I tried to pull the bag away from her, but it was already too late.
Mandy was holding up two glass bottles of whiskey and was staring at me with big, fish-like eyes, "Where did you get these from? You didn't steal them from your parents...did you?" I shrugged uncomfortably and looked at my feet. I had never tried alcohol before, but I thought tonight would be the perfect time to try it. Joe and I were responsible. It wasn't as if we were going to drink until we were crazy drunkards or anything. Unfortunately, Mandy had a different view on the subject.
"Lisa, this is serious," Mandy said, still staring at one of the bottles in dismay, "You're not allowed to drink until you're twenty-one. That's seven years from now! If you got caught, you could get into big trouble with the law or something. Seriously, have some common sense, will you?"
I rolled my eyes. Sometimes Lisa could go overboard with some of these things. I mean, it wasn't as if we were going to get caught drinking since Joe's parents would be gone. The light padding of approaching footsteps sounded from a distance. I put my finger to my lips and motioned for Mandy to put the bottles back into my bag. Mandy yanked my bag back open and threw the bottles back inside before tossing the bag to me. I caught it and held it protectively against my chest just as Mandy's mother appeared from the hallway to our right. She looked at my flushed cheeks and at Mandy's nervous smile and frowned.
"Hey girls," she said tersely, "What are you up to?" Mandy looked at me and shrugged. I saw the big screen television flashing from the left side of the room and pointed at it, "Uh, we could watch TV for a while?" Mandy nodded, glad for a good excuse and we toppled onto the couch in front of the TV together.
Mandy's mom took one last look at us, shrugged, and walked back down the hall once more. As soon as Mandy had turned the TV on and clicked the volume up to max, she turned and whispered in my ear, "I don't think you're making a good decision tonight, Lisa. Sex and alcohol don't go well together."
I bit my lip; she was probably right, but tonight was my last night to have fun before my whole world flipped upside down and everything changed. And more importantly, tonight was my last chance to be with Joe. I stated these reasons to Mandy, "But tonight's my last night here in Vermont! Who knows when I'll come back here?"
Mandy bit her lip and kept her mouth shut. I could tell that I had pretty much won her over. We both settled back on the couch and got lost into the world of the soap opera that was playing on TV. Just when I had completely forgotten about our previous conversation, Mandy poked me.
I jumped slightly and turned too see her staring up at me with concerned eyes. I raised an eyebrow and said, "Is something wrong, Mandy?" Mandy just shrugged and pleaded, "Just be careful tonight, okay? I don't think you realize what you're getting yourself into."
Mandy was really starting to irritate me at this point. I had already made my mind up about tonight and her repetitive warnings that I was "making the wrong decision" wasn't doing anybody much good. Taking a deep breath, I turned and explained to Mandy for the very last time, "Mandy, I have this taken care of. Let's not talk about it anymore. But really, you shouldn't worry. It's not like I'm going to end up pregnant or anything." I laughed awkwardly.
Mandy didn't laugh though. She just grimaced and muttered under her breath, "How would you know?"
Confused, I asked, "How would I know what?"
But Mandy just shook her head at me and said, "Never mind. You're right; let's not talk about it anymore."
At this point, curiosity egged me on and I protested, "No, I wanna know what you were going to say. You can't just say something random and then not explain it to me." I stared at her pointedly and waited for a response. After all, I did deserve an answer. Mandy rolled her eyes and said with annoyance, "I meant, you don't know whether or not you'd get pregnant unless you're using protection. But I don't want to talk about this anymore so..."
Mandy quickly switched topics, "Hey Lisa, look outside! It looks really sunny out. Maybe we should go outside?" I shrugged and followed Mandy as she got off the couch and started towards the door. Meanwhile, my mind was busy thinking about Mandy's previous sentence. I hadn't remembered to buy condoms or anything. I would just have to cross my fingers and hope that Joe would have some. And if he didn't...well...I would just hope for the best.