"You can't just go up to him, Emma."
"Yeah. Why not?" I stare at my best friend, Alexis. We're sitting at the outdoor, picnic tables our school provides, eating our lunches out of brown paper bags.
Alexis takes a bite out of her turkey sandwich, and while still chewing, she says, "Because he's popular, and we most definitely are not."
She's right. Alexis and I are the only ones sitting at our table. It's off to the side, under the shade of a large oak tree. It's not like we're weird or losers or anything- we just don't like mixing with the bigger crowds. I'm happy with my small handful of loyal friends. I'd rather have them than a horde of mindless followers, like the idiots that follow around Jordan Miller. Every day, a tangle of blonde bimbos trail behind him, desperate for his attention, clinging to him like he's some sort of demi-god.
Honestly, I just don't see the appeal.
Sure, Jordan is tall, at least six feet, and he does have that shaggy dark brown hair that always falls into his blue eyes just right- but really, that's all he has going for him. It ends with his looks. Past those baby blues, he's just a stupid, chauvinistic idiot who thinks he's in charge of the entire school. And the worst part is that most people go along with it.
"Anyways," Alexis continues, snapping me out of my thoughts, "Talking to Jordan wouldn't help. It's not like he'd listen to you. If the noise is bothering your parents that much, just tell them to call the cops."
Okay, I guess there's a tiny detail about Jordan that I forgot to mention. We're neighbors. Next-door neighbors. We used to be friends. Our families would always hang out together, barbeques and swimming and game nights, you know how it is. But then sometime around seventh grade, I grew boobs and Jordan grew a foot taller. That was basically the end of our friendship. It's not like there was some big fight or anything- we just drifted apart until one day it's suddenly our senior year of high school and we don't even nod to each other in the hallway.
I sigh. "I'm not going to call the cops on the Millers. I'll just politely ask Jordan why they've been playing loud music until three in the morning, and then ask him to stop it."
"Why don't your parents just talk to his parents?"
"They don't really talk much anymore. Besides, you know how my parents are. They wouldn't want to be rude. Instead, they'll just silently fume for weeks and hold a passive aggressive grudge for months."
"Fine," Alexis says. "It's your social suicide. If you want to talk to Jordan, go talk to Jordan."
"Fine, I will." I put down my carton of chocolate milk and stand up. Jordan is down the yard from us, sitting on top of a table, crowded by a group of sleazy admirers. I bite my lip. Maybe I should wait until he's alone. But that's a stupid idea- Jordan is never alone. It's fine. I don't care what these people think of me. I'll just go up to him and ask to speak in private. No sweat.
People start staring at me as I approach. Lisa, a tall blonde who I've seen hanging out at Jordan's house very frequently, gives me a very obvious stink eye. Conversation falls silent. I'm sure everyone is wondering what this 'nobody' is doing at their table. Jordan looks up, and he seems more than a little surprised that I'm standing in front of him. The last time we talked in school was when he asked to borrow a pencil in the ninth grade. "Emma?" He asks.
See? He's polite. This isn't some stereotypical high school nightmare. No one's going to dump milk on my head or write loser on my forehead. "Hi, Jordan." Why am I nervous? Why are my palms sweating? Why did I forget how blue his eyes are, especially when they're staring straight at me? "I need to talk to you about something."
Lisa's eyes narrow. A taloned-hand rises to rest on Jordan's shoulder. "Sure, what?" Jordan asks.
"Well, I was hoping we could maybe talk in private."
My cheeks burn. Now everyone really is staring at me. Jordan's best friend, Grant Andrews, nudges Jordan in the arm, a smirk on his face. "You hear that, Miller? She wants to talk in private."
"Yes," Lisa says. "I wonder what- I'm sorry what's your name?"
"Emma," I say, trying to stand my ground.
"Yes, I wonder what Emma here wants to talk to you about."
I refuse to look at anyone except for Jordan. I came here on a mission, and I'm not going to let these vapid idiots distract me. "It'll just take a minute," I say.
For a second, I think he's going to say no, laugh me off and tell me to go away. After all, why should he be nice to me? I'm not one of them. I'm not even on his radar anymore, and before he started playing loud music to all hours of the night, he wasn't on mine. But then, to my relief, Jordan shrugs his shoulders and stands up. His dumb friends catcall and holler as we walk off.
I take him to the far side of the lawn, away from prying eyes and ears. My fingers twist together, and I look at the dry grass. Why am I nervous? This is so stupid. "So," Jordan says. He tucks a strand of dark hair behind his ear, and my eyes follow his long fingers. "What's up?"
No introduction. No 'how have you been the past five years.' Just a simple, what's up? I can handle that. "Well, here's the thing," I begin. "You or your parents have been playing really loud music until like three in the morning every night, and it's bothering the hell out of my parents, but they're too polite to say anything." I take a breath and keep going. "So I guess I'm asking you to keep it down."
"Oh, okay. No problem." He glances back towards his crowd of friends, and I can tell they're all watching us with eager eyes. "Anything else?"
"Not really." But I want to say something. These are the first words we've said to each other for years, and for some reason, I don't want to conversation to end. "So like, your parents don't mind you playing that loud music?"
"My parents aren't home."
"Yeah, they went on some three week cruise to Alaska or something."
My parents would never ever leave me home alone for three weeks. Hell, they won't leave me alone for a weekend. But Jordan gets three weeks to himself. "That's awesome," I say.
He shrugs his shoulders. Again. "I guess. So that's it?"
His blue eyes are distracted, and even though he's been polite enough, he obviously doesn't want to be standing here with me. I'm probably bad for his reputation. Or whatever. "Yeah, that's it."
"Cool. See ya." I watch as he walks away, hand tucked in his back pocket. Wow, he has a nice butt, I've never noticed that before. I shake my head. I shouldn't ever notice that.
Alexis is watching me expectantly as I head back to the table. "So?" She asks. "How'd it go? What'd he say? Are you guys like friends now?"
I laugh, rolling my eyes. "It went fine. No, we aren't friends now. I asked him to turn it down, and he said he would."
"Oh." She looks disappointed. "That's really unexciting."
"Alexis," I say, leaning forward. "Our lives are unexciting."
"How was school today?" My mother asks. She offers me the bowl of pasta, and I scoop out large portion of spaghetti. My mother's cooking skills are pretty limited, so we usually stick to pasta, burgers, and salad. Simple things.
"Fine." I say.
My father and mother give each other The Look. You know the one- the silent agreement, the 'we're on the same wavelength' look. "And," my father begins, "We were wondering if you had a chance to talk to Jordan."
"Yeah. He said he'd turn it down."
My parents exhale simultaneous sighs of relief. Sometimes it's scary how similar they are- the same person split into man and wife. They were high school sweethearts. Even worse- she was a cheerleader and he was a football player. The Quarterback. I know. Gag me now.
"That's great, honey," mom says. "Thanks so much for doing that."
"Did he happen to say what the noise was? I didn't know the Millers liked such loud music."
"Oh, well, the Millers aren't home. They're on a three week cruise or something."
Why did I say that?
This is not going to end well.
My parents stare at me. I avoid their gaze, and stuff my mouth with a forkful of pasta. "Honey, did you say Jordan's parents aren't home?" My mom asks.
"For three weeks?" Dad continues.
"Uh, or something like that. You know, to be honest, I'm not sure exactly what he said. I kind of zoned out. Don't worry about it."
Jordan is going to kill me. I shouldn't have said anything.
"Jordan can't just live without parents for three weeks," my mom says. "That's unacceptable."
"Irresponsible. I can't believe the Millers would do that." My parents turn to each other, and they have another look. And then, I know exactly what words are about to come out of my father's mouth, I know exactly how much I've royally screwed over Jordan and myself. "We should have Jordan come stay with us. He shouldn't be by himself. I'll contact the Millers, and tomorrow night, he'll start living with us."
My mother smiles and pats my father on the back. "I think that's an excellent idea. I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm sure Jordan will be happy to have some good, home cooked meals and people to come home to. No kid likes being left on their own."
My parents are the devil.
And I am an idiot.
A/N – New story! Do you like it? Should I continue?