was practically a stranger to me, not to mention
three years younger than me. Oh well--at least I
wouldn't have to share a room with her.
When my mom and dad got divorced, the judge
ruled that my dad was an 'unfit guardian' for Cara
(he was more than unfit!). But my mom's job didn't
pay enough for her to keep us both, so Cara went
to live with my aunt in Florida. We kept in touch as
much as possible, but it wasn't much. Long-
distance relationships are never very intimate.
'Maybe it won't be too horrible,' I thought
hopefully as I vacuumed the guest room. 'Maybe
with Cara here me and mom won't fight as much.'
Unlikely, but oh well. I could dream.
Feeling my phone vibrating in my pocket, I
switched off the vacuum cleaner to answer it.
"Hello?" I said, my ears ringing slightly after the
bombardment of sound from the vacuum cleaner.
"Hey," said an amazingly sexy and darkly romantic
voice. "It's me. Uh, Gerard."
"Hi," I smiled into the phone. "Did I ever tell you
that I love your accent?"
"What?" he said, sounding surprised.
"Your Jersey accent," I repeated. "It's, er...sexy."
He laughed a little, and I blushed to the tips of my
"Well thank you," he said. "But I really should try
harder to live up to my name."
"What do you mean?" I asked, sliding down the
wall to sit on the floor.
"Your name?" I repeated stupidly. What the fuck
was he talking about?
"Yeah, my name," he said laughing again.
"What...you mean Gerard?" I asked.
"No," he laughed again. "My middle name."
"Your midd--" Then I remembered his stupid joke,
and I laughed. "Fuck off! Your middle name IS NOT Modesty!"
"Look, I don't know how you expect us to have a
good relationship if you can't even trust me to tell
you my name," Gerard said, laughing a little. And
then it got all quiet.
"Hey...um, can I see you tomorrow?" he asked.
"What, like at school?" I asked, laughing a little
"No, I mean after school," he said.
"Okay. I mean, yes! Definitely," I stuttered,feeling like an idiot. "You wanna come over or
"Not really," he confessed.
"I wanna take you out," he clarified. "Like on a
I grinned so widely it was amazing that my lip
didn't split right down the middle.
"Okay," I said. "Where?"
"Umm..." he trailed off. "I have no idea."
We both kind of laughed.
"But I'll think of something," he added. "I'll
"Okay," I said again. I wanted to say so much
more, but I didn't.
"So I'll pick you up at, like...I don't know, six?" he
said. He sounded really shy. I FELT really shy.
"Okay," I said. "Great."
"So I'll, uh, see you then," he said awkwardly.
"Okay," I said. For about the thousandth time.
I sat there grinning like a complete idiot for about
five minutes. Then I finished vacuuming the room
(okay, I admit, I was dancing around and singing
some lame song that didn't consist of any real
After I was done with that, I decided to clean my
mom's bathroom. Although she hadn't actually
asked me to do it before she'd gone to pick Cara up from the airport, I thought I would do her a favour, since I was in such a good mood.
I wiped down the sink and counter, and I'd opened
the medicine cabinet to put away a few lipsticks
she'd left on the vanity. What I saw there made me
slam the cabinet door, and then the door to the
ensuite, and then the bedroom door, and run
down to the kitchen and start washing dishes
frantically, suddenly nervous as fuck.
Fuck! Antidepressants? That explained why she'd
been acting so weird lately...or did it? I didn't
even really understand what antidepressants
WERE, fuck's sake! The name sounded like they
would make you happy or something, but I wasn't
sure at all.
And also...what the hell! What was MY MOTHER
doing taking antidepressants!? She wasn't
depressed, was she? And if she was, why didn't I
know about it? I mean we obviously don't tell each
other everything (or anything, really), but it's not
like you could miss something like your mother
having depression. Could you?
I needed to stop worrying. But how the fuck was I
supposed to do that?
'Call Gerard,' the thought came. Yeah, right. Like I was gonna do that. Probably freak him out and make myself look like a stalker at the same time? Thanks, but no thanks.
So I rummaged around the kitchen cupboards before I finally found what I was looking for: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. My anti-drug (which I know is a contradiction in terms).
I sighed as my teeth sank into the smooth chocolate. I waited for the endorphines to spread through my body and take away the shaky feeling that had grabbed my arms and legs.But nothing was happening. I didn't feel better.
"Dammit!" I yelled, chucking the package onto the kitchen table. The sound kind of startled me, and I felt a bit stupid, yelling at the candy because it couldn't make me feel better.
"I'm sorry," I said quietly as I picked them up and put them back in the cupboard. And then I heard my mum's car in the driveway.
I ran upstairs into my room. I don't know why; actually, come to think of it, I usually did that when people came over: ran to my room and pretended I was busy until my mom told me to go say hi. This time was no different; I flopped face-down on my bed, and in a matter of seconds my hands and ears had found my iPod and its earphones.
I was listening to a song by some new band that mikey had given me; I think they were called The Used or the Users or something. But I had the volume up really loud, so when someone tapped me on the shoulder I was so started that I screamed and banged my head on the headboard before I even knew who it was. I sat up, thinking about how I'd gone about four years without hitting my head and then hit it three times in one day. Standing in front of me, rather than my mom as I'd been expecting, was Cara.
She looked different that I'd remembered her. The last time I saw her she had long, dirty blonde hair and wore stuff like pearl necklaces and tweed blazers. Now her hair was dark red and cropped short, and she was wearing lots of black and a T-shirt from some band I couldn't even say the name of.
And then she jumped on me. Like, actually jumped, so that I smacked my head on the wall. [Four times, in case I'm not the only one counting.] She was smiling and saying something, too, but I couldn't hear her as my headphones were still in my ears. I yanked them out.
"--and mom again! And are we gonna share a room? And OH MY GOD, you like Iron Maiden now?? Me too! And Nana said to say hi to you, and--"
"Cara!" I yelled. She stopped talking and blinked. I hadn't meant to yell, but loud music always throws my frame of reference (sound-wise) off for a few minutes.
"I missed you," I said quietly.
"I missed you too!" she grinned. "And ohhh, your hair's still black! I was so afraid you'd dye it blonde like you always wanted to! You are SO lucky to have naturally black hair!" She stopped again and looked at me like she was expecting an answer.
"I am?" I said. I was?
She nodded enthusiastically. "But maybe...well if you did it bleach blonde and left the roots black, that'd be cool too," she said, appraising my hair.
Our mom appeared in the doorway.
"Do you girls want to go out somewhere, to celebrate?" she asked, smiling.
"Ohhh, can we go to TGI Friday?" Cara pleaded. I remembered how that'd always been her favourite restaurant. But I didn't say anything, mainly because I was staring at my mom and wondering whether she was really that happy, or if she'd just popped a couple pills before she went to the airport.