As soon as I opened the front door when I got home from Sunny’s house, I regretted coming home. “Where have you been?” Sandra asked angrily. “You were supposed to come straight home after school. I tried to call you over and over again.”
“My phone was off,” I said as a shrugged my shoulders.
“Your teacher called me again.”
“No. It isn’t.” I ignored her and walked past her toward my room. “I’m talking to you!”
“I know,” I said. As I got to my room, I could still hear Sandra complaining about my “immature behavior”. Just as I shut my bedroom door behind me, I saw right in front of me my aunt’s dog. His name is Sweetie Pie but I call him Pudge because he is the fattest dachshund I’ve ever seen. He was staring at me. As usual. For some reason, Pudge always stares at me. Every time I’m near that dog, his eyes are glued to me, and not in a friendly way at all. I guess Pudge is how my hatred of dachshunds began.
“How did you get in here?” I asked him. “How did you open my door?” I looked at him as if, for some stupid reason, I was expecting an answer. Pudge kept staring at me. I slid to the floor in front of the door and stared back at the dog. Pudge stared. I stared. But staring at fat dogs gets boring after a while so I looked away.
My acoustic guitar was laying a few feet away from me where I had tossed it this morning. I picked it up. I played a few chords, then got bored of that. I sat the guitar back onto the floor and stared back at Pudge, who hadn’t looked away from me once since I had entered my room.
“Dinner’s ready!” I heard my aunt call, but I didn’t want to move. I sat there for a few moments trying to decide whether or not to get up.
My door started opening and I guess my decision was made for me. I stood up. “What do you want?” I asked my sister as she got the door opened.
“Sandra told me to tell you that dinner is ready,” Destiny said. “I told her I was positive that you heard her the first time, but she insisted that I come tell you.”
Sandra’s cooking is horrific. But after everyone got their meatloaf down, with a bit of gagging from everyone, Sandra ruined my day even more. “For getting in trouble at school, I want you to clean the kitchen.”
My uncle Dan looked up from the TV. “Fate can’t wash the dishes. That’s a woman’s job.” If Dan’s sexist comment got me out of washing the dishes, why argue? “Make him clean the gutters or something.”
Then again, what harm has cleaning a few counters ever caused?
“I think I’d rather wash dishes,” I said.
“You’re cleaning the gutters and that’s final,” Dan said.
That trip to Florida was starting to sound pretty nice about now.
While Dan and Sandra were distracted by the television, I sneaked into the kitchen to clean. I was putting away the last few clean dishes when Dan slumped in through the door and grabbed a beer from the fridge. “What’re you doing?” he asked.
“Cleaning the kitchen. Like you told me to.”
“I told you to clean the gutters.”
“No. I’m pretty sure you said, ‘You’re cleaning the kitchen and that’s final,’” I lied.
“I’m pretty sure you’re wrong,” Dan said. “You can clean the gutters tomorrow.” I didn’t plan on it.
After the dishes were all put away, I spent the rest of the night listening to music and researching Walt Disney’s frozen corpse on the internet.
The sound of my name cutting through the darkness of the room woke me up. I opened one eye. The only light was from the moon pouring in through the window. “What?” I asked Destiny sleepily.
She hesitated before replying. She sat on the edge of my bed. “I had a weird dream.” Her voice wasn’t louder than a whisper. I looked at my clock. It was three in the morning.
“A premonition?” I asked mockingly. Ever since we were little, Destiny had strange dreams. Sometimes the dreams actually happen. She calls them premonitions. I call them coincidences.
“I don’t know.” She hesitated again, then said, “I dreamed about Sunny’s brother Cameron. The one in Georgia. I don’t remember everything that happened. All of us were driving somewhere—me, you, Sunny, and Cameron. But all I remember is he was standing in the middle of the road, trying to get a car to stop. I think the car hit him and he died.”
“And you think, somehow, this dream is going to happen?” I asked sardonically.
“It’s just a dream. A normal dream. The kind of dream any person on this planet could have had on any night.”
Destiny looked at me and said, “You say that all the time, but they always happen anyway.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m going back to sleep.”
“Do you mind if I sleep in here tonight?”
I opened my eyes. “You’re that worried about your dream?”
“No,” she said.
“Then why do you want to sleep in my room?”
“There’s a spider in my room.”
“So kill it.”
“I can’t,” she said.
“Sure you can. Just whack it with a book before it even sees what’s coming.”
Destiny sighed in exasperation. “Just let me sleep here.”
“Fine. But you’re sleeping on the floor.”
She looked down to the carpet. Or, where the carpet would have been if clothes, trash, books, and all kinds of junk weren’t covering it like a blanket. Destiny turned her icy stare to me. “Where, exactly, am I supposed to sleep? Because I don’t see whatever floor you’re talking about.”
“Just move some stuff around,” I said. “You’ll find it eventually.”
“Move over,” she said.
“Fine.” I moved over to the end by the wall and Destiny laid down beside me. I closed my eyes and let myself drift back to sleep.
I awoke again to the sound of my name. It wasn’t even six in the morning yet and Sandra was shouting my name from across the house. The door to my bedroom swung open and Sandra’s voice bellowed, “You cleaned the kitchen last night, correct?”
“…Yes?” I said.
“You did a horrible job. The counters are not clean, you didn’t sweep, you didn’t wash the coffee pot, and I’m sure that if I go back in there and take a closer look, I’ll find more things you failed to do.”
“It’s only five fifty-two,” I complained. “I’ll fix it later.”
“No. Now.” Sandra looked like she would explode. If only she had.
While Sandra stomped away, I slipped on my sneakers and snuck outside without her noticing. I grabbed my skateboard from the yard and skated down the street away from my aunt. The sun wasn’t even up yet and she thought I was going to clean? Does she even know me?
I left my skateboard by Sunny’s porch. The front door was locked so I went around to try to back. I turned the knob and the door opened up into the kitchen.
I turned the light on and rummaged through the refrigerator for something to eat. I drank orange juice straight from the bottle and put it back in the fridge.
I was sitting at the kitchen table eating a Pop Tart when the door swung open. Sunny’s dad stood there in his scrubs, holding a baseball bat. His expression of fear faded to exasperation. “What are you doing here?”
“I stayed the night,” I shrugged.
“I didn’t see you,” Robert said. “Where’d you sleep?”
“Excuse me?” Robert said with his eyebrows raised. I thought the veins in his neck were about to burst.
“I’m just kidding. Chill,” I said. “I didn’t even sleep here. I got here three minutes ago.”
His glare slowly faded but he couldn’t hide his annoyance. “What are you doing here?”
“Eating. Drinking. Chilling,” I said with another shrug. “What did you bring a bat for? I thought by now you’d automatically assume it was me if you heard someone in your house uninvited.”
He ignored my question and gave me one of his own. “How’d you get in? I locked the door.”
“You should have locked the back door too.”
“Right,” Robert said. He gave me his you’re-the-reason-for-all-my-headaches glare. He took a glass from the cabinet and filled it with orange juice. I debated with myself for a few moments about whether or not to tell him I had drank straight from that bottle earlier. I decided against it. I watched him innocently as he emptied the glass into his mouth.
“I’m going to work now. Don’t break anything,” he pleaded.
With the bottle of orange juice, I collapsed onto the couch in the living room. I flipped through the TV channels looking for something to watch. Just as the channel switched, Dora and Boots appeared on the screen asking me where some mountain was. I pushed the buttons on the remote, trying desperately to change the channel, but nothing happened. Not that I like this show, but Dora the Explorer is better than nothing. I kicked off my Converse, leaned back, and gulped down some orange juice.
I was just thinking about what Dora and Boots would look like with each other’s heads when Sunny’s voice broke through my thoughts. “Dora, huh?” She sat down beside me, still wearing her blue pajamas. “Good morning,” she said.
“When did you get here?” she asked.
“A while ago. Sandra woke me up to clean the kitchen and I decided I’d rather be here,” I said. “And for the record, the batteries in the remote died. That is the only reason I am watching this.”
Sunny laughed and rolled her brown eyes. “Sure.”
She looked me over and giggled. “You were in such a rush to escape that you didn’t get dressed. Or comb your hair. Your hair is a mess.”
I ran my fingers through my unkempt hair. “I like it this way.”
“What do you want to do today? Let’s go to the beach. I’ve been wanting to go to the beach for a while. Do you want to go to the beach with me?” Sunny’s words were speeding out of her mouth just as quickly as her mind could think of them.
“No,” I responded.
“Please? Pretty please?” Her lip curled into a pout and she blinked her eyes at me. How could I say no to that?
“Fine,” I sighed.
“Yay! I’ll go get Dylan.” She ran away and up the stairs before I had the time to decide whether I wanted to complain about Dylan coming or not.
Most people love the beach. The soft sand. The cool water. The smell of the salty sea. The calling of seagulls.
Sunny and Dylan walked barefoot while my Converse filled up with sand and my pajama pants dragged in the sand. Sunny picked up nearly every seashell she saw and stuffed them into her pockets and Dylan chased birds and crabs. I felt like a baby sitter, trying to keep Dylan from eating the crabs, and waiting as patiently as I could for Sunny to tell me she was ready to go back home.
A crab crawled passed my feet and I picked it up by one of its legs. Dylan ran to me excitedly. “You’ve got a crab!”
“Good observation,” I said sarcastically. I swung it back and forth by its leg and laughed as it tried to pinch me.
“That’s not nice!” Sunny exclaimed with a look of horror. “Put him down!”
I looked at the crab, then back at Sunny, then back at the crab, then back at Sunny. “Fine,” I groaned. I tossed the crab into the sand and it scurried away. Why is it so hard for me to say no to this girl?
“The crab surely thanks you for letting him go,” Sunny said. She smiled her sweet smile at me.
Oh, yeah. That’s why.286Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡskZ4vrYDiy