At 11:30, Mom and Dad were both sound asleep. I knocked on Evelyn’s door to make sure she was still awake (and she was). And then the two of us both walked to Eric’s room together, making sure our footsteps were silent. We grabbed a few things before I looked into Emmanuel’s room. I was thankful that he was asleep and then made sure his door was closed silently.
“We can go,” I said in a hushed voice. We walked through the house quietly, me behind Eric. Both Eric and I turned around when Evelyn hit her leg on a chair, and she cursed under her breath. Neither one of us even asked her if she was okay or not, and then we left the house. As I got into the passenger seat and Evelyn got into the back.
“No, I’m fine,” she muttered, annoyed. “Thanks for asking, guys.”
Both of us ignored her as Eric began turning down the street that I usually would take to Delcan’s. I paused for a minute before turning to my brother. “How do you know where Delcan lives?” I asked him.
Eric stopped for a moment before he looked at me, and smiled. “Though I could give less of a ⟴,” he began. “It becomes a habit for me to find out where anyone you hang out with lives, and that includes your...whatever you two are.” Eric looked over to me when I realized he didn’t think we were boyfriends. “You didn’t seem to have a problem with me knowing Haven’s address.”
“That’s because Haven and I never-” I stopped myself before I could continue. Already, I’ve said enough stupid things to ruin my entire life. Unfortunately, Evelyn caught on quickly.
“So…” she said, already laughing. “What do you and Delcan do that’s considered ‘physical?’” She burst into laughter as I purposely hit myself in the stomach.
“Knowing Ezra,” Eric added on. “Probably nothing.” He was laughing now, too, and I wasn’t able to hit him because of the fact that he was driving. I felt myself begin to blush, and I was hating my brain for reminding me of Delcan and me kissing.
“Could we stop?” I asked.
Eric had pulled into Delcan’s driveway as the motion lights came on. “You’re lucky that we’re here,” Eric said in response, turning off the car. Evelyn got out from the front seat, still laughing to herself as I closed the car door behind me, trying to make it seem obvious that I wasn’t bothered by it. I stood by the car door for a few seconds, trying to think of some way I could pull Delcan to the side and have a normal conversation with him.
I guess that my younger sister saw me standing by myself because she came by my side and looked up at me. “Earth to Ez,” she said, giving me a light hit on my shoulder. I looked over to her and nodded, keeping myself from smiling.
“Yeah,” I said, pushing myself off the car. When I began walking, I felt a hand come around me and wrap me in a hug. I didn’t resist it like normal, but I let Evelyn hug me all the way until the front steps when we met up with Eric. He gave me a reassuring nod before knocking on the door silently. I really hoped Mr. and Mrs. Heslop wouldn’t wake up - because that’d be quite the conversation.
About three or four seconds later, the door finally opened. I guess it shouldn’t have been such a shock to see Callie there, but it was. She was in pajama leggings and a T-shirt from some dance competition. Her brown hair was down, but I still couldn’t look past the differences both Delcan and Callie shared in their facial expressions, especially confusion.
“Ezra,” Callie said, making the word sound like it was some kind of death wish. I tried being nice and giving a smile, but she ignored me. Callie looked over to Evelyn and gave her a huge smile. “What’s up, girl?”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPYj0TgHbTN
“Oh, ya know,” Evelyn said, giving Callie a hug. “Late night sneaking out to see my brother’s crush who he’s dating, but who isn’t exactly his boyfriend.”
“Even though they want to be,” Eric added in under his breath.
I hit both of them with my hands, hitting Evelyn right on her arm. She winced but didn’t turn to me to fight back. Callie smiled as she let all of us come inside. She glared at me for what felt like thirty minutes before I sat down and turned myself away from her, feeling a sudden emptiness whenever I realized my phone wasn’t in my pocket. Then, it was like all of a sudden, her entire mood changed.
Callie put her hands on the back part of the couch I was sitting on and leaned into me. “Is everything okay?” she whispered. I nodded like it was while my brother watched his phone with interest. He wasn’t impressed by anything in the Heslop house, even though it was ten times more expensive than our things. She gave me a nod before turning back around and leaving to get her brother. It took a few minutes, assuming that he’d been “doing homework,” but after about five or six minutes, Callie returned downstairs with Delcan, who was wearing sweatpants and a faded shirt. He didn’t look tired, but he had the same careless look as always.
Delcan moved away from his sister and sat down next to me, giving me a certain look. I knew the look because I’d seen it countless times before. Why did we have to do this tonight? He was asking with his eyes. And what the ⟴ is going on with you? I ignored his glare and looked over to my brother, who began the conversation in the worst way possible.
“Ezra has something he isn’t telling us,” Eric pronounced to the room. I rolled my eyes. He always has to get right to the point of everything.
Delcan raised his eyebrows. “So you expect me to play the messenger or something?” he asked. He shook his head as his arms crossed over his chest. “Not into it.”
Both Evelyn and Eric paused for a few seconds before Callie cut into the conversation. Sitting next to Evelyn, Callie seemed short regardless. “I’m just confused,” she said. “Why does it matter? Let the teen keep his secrets if he wants to. Plus, it’s not like Delcan would tell you. He doesn’t trust people.”
“To an extent,” Delcan said.
Eric was about to continue talking before Evelyn cut him off. “I’ve got this,” she said. She sat back on the chair and looked at us. “I have no clue what any of this is about. What I do know, is that something happened between Ezra and Haven and that he...didn’t seem to happy about it when he got home. All we’re trying to do is help him, and you’re really the only person he talks to, Delcan.”
Delcan didn’t take the compliment if it was one as I mouthed to my sister for her to stop. She rolled her eyes back to me. “I don’t care,” he said. “You know, I thought this would be something about me. You know, something interesting.”
“Thanks, Delcan,” I said.
“Not everything is about you, Delcan,” Callie said. “You should come to terms with that by now.”
Delcan looked over to her and then smiled. “You’re right,” he said. “Most things aren’t. But let’s face it: the majority is.” I didn’t want to say anything in response, because though he was sort of right, he was wrong in the aspect that majority was. When it came to liking people on my end, yes. But when it came to personal issues, not exactly.
“Seriously, Delcan,” Evelyn said. “He isn’t going to tell any of us but you.”
Finally, Delcan allowed the compliment to affect him. “Time to put on the charm,” he muttered. Turning towards me, I backed away a bit, because with him charming sometimes meant kissing. It was fortunate enough for me when I realized his eyes weren’t amber. “I’m not gonna kiss you.”
“Oh thank goodness,” I said aloud.
Delcan ignored me and moved closer, then going on to putting his hand on my leg, and pulling himself up to my ear. “What is it?” he asked sympathetically. Every time I could hear the sympathy in his voice, I hated myself for falling for it.
“It isn’t important,” I responded, feeling everyone’s eyes on us. I moved his hand off my thigh and made sure it was far away. “We don’t need to talk about it, honestly. I’m fine-”
Before I could even finish my sentence, Delcan dragged me away from everybody else by my hand, using more force than normal. I heard Evelyn and Callie whisper something to each other before laughing, and then Eric said; “That’s disgusting.”
Delcan pulled me into the dining room, which I’d actually never been in before. There were pictures of Cuban flags and things from their culture on the walls or shelves, along with some African artifacts. This time, Delcan used a different path to get to me. And because there was an uneasy feeling of us being alone together, it worked.
When he looked up at me, his eyes were a mixture of green and blue. He put his hand into mine as he maintained eye contact, making me feel weird on the inside. “We swore to each other,” he said silently. I sighed, knowing how right he was. A few weeks after we’d kissed for the first time, I decided it’d be smart to tell him about Haven. He told me I was dumb to think that he wouldn’t know since he’d internet stalked me, but he also made us make a promise. Yeah, I know how childish and kind of girly it is to hold hands the way Delcan was holding mine, but it symbolized something we both understood quickly. On that day, our hands together meant that it was the one time we had to be honest with each other, knowing the past and present that both of us have now. Delcan had (usually) kept his side of the promise up, and it was time for me to keep mine.
I clutched onto his hand tighter, and he grinned. This time, he leaned close to me, but I knew it wouldn’t be a kiss.
“How personal is it?”
“Very,” I said, remembering Haven as she screamed at me at the top of her lungs. I’d kept my eyes away from him until he pulled away and nodded. Then, I tried to think of some kind of way I could tell him about what happened between Haven and I. After a few seconds, I finally thought of a simple answer.
“Haven and I broke up,” I said.
Delcan pulled himself off of me and his nose scrunched up in disgust. When I had no clue what he was doing after some time and then he said something in Spanish. “¿Qué estoy haciendo con mi vida?” he said. I raised my eyebrows.
“What?”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡzwrbd6mI5O
“Who do you ⟴ like, man?” Delcan said in English this time. “Seriously. It’s like one day, you’re checking out-maybe, I don’t know-someone else, then you’re checking out my-”
“You didn’t let me finish,” I cut in. He closed his mouth, but his entire expression was showing how much he wanted to say more. “I was just saying that I broke up with Haven, and I told her that I was gay. But I didn’t tell her that you were my-that we’re dating. All I told her is that I don’t want to date her anymore. But I don’t think she’ll-”
“That’s awesome!” Delcan said, smiling. I looked at him with a straight face, not finding it to be as pleasurable. “Dang, what happened, though? Did she ask you about something? Or did that Angie girl-” he stopped talking when he looked at my face. “What?”
I shook my head. It was understandable for him to be happy about this. Then again, I’d never been anyone’s side person before, and I especially haven’t been cheated on. “I don’t know if she’ll tell anybody about my sexuality or not,” I said to Delcan, making sure I sounded honest. “But if she does-”
Delcan rolled his eyes before he interrupted me speaking. “I don’t think she’ll tell anyone,” he said.
“Are you lying to me?”
He smiled. “Of course not,” Delcan replied, trying to hide his sarcasm. I shrugged it off but knew on the inside that the mistakes I’d decided to make today could affect my entire life, and possibly ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to hide. And that was when my mind made a decision that probably wasn’t as smart.
“Give me your phone, please,” I said to him. I almost winced from saying please, and he raised his eyebrows.
“I need your phone,” I said. If he would allow it, I’d be able to text Evvie from his phone (she put her number in when Delcan wasn’t watching last Monday). It’d be a lot easier to simply text her in order for me to try resolving the issue to the best of my abilities. “I need to talk to Evvie about Haven. Plus, I don’t have my phone. Remember?”
Delcan looked like he was about to say something again, and then he pulled his phone out of his pocket and gave it to me, unlocked. I went into his contacts and ignored all of the guy’s numbers I saw until Evvie’s name popped up. Clicking on it, I began texting her: (This is Ezra, by the way) Do you have Haven’s number? I gave Delcan his phone back to him. He was looking at me again oddly, but I felt no need to say anything. There were a few moments of awkward silence before Delcan’s phone rang and I leaned into him to read the message that popped up.
Yes, I do. Also, I made the dance team early (yay!). Why are you texting me on Delcan’s phone?
I looked at Delcan, who simply shrugged and then handed me his phone again. “Might as well,” he said. It wasn’t like I could say thank you, so I just let him put his hand on my shoulder as I began texting Evvie back.
I got grounded over the weekend for coming home late and then lying about it to my parents. Could you give Haven’s number?
Um..sure, I guess.
What were doing out late Friday night?
“Delcan”:552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ9ikHvoY63C
Angelica found out. Long story short, I went into panic mode and I didn’t feel like going home would’ve been the best option for me.
Evvie texted me my now ex-girlfriend’s phone number, and I thanked her kindly after saying goodbye and telling her congrats for getting on the team. She said thanks before I gave my phone back to Delcan. I shouldn’t be as worried. My brain was telling me that Haven had calmed down since this afternoon, but it was hard to believe.
Before Delcan could start talking, Evelyn lightly knocked on the door. “Sorry if I was interrupting something,” she said, sounding like she wished that she would’ve. “Could you guys come back now?”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡN0Yl0sLgHp
“When we feel like it,” Delcan said to her. I took his wrist and guided him out of the dining room, not even trying to argue with him. He moved without hesitation as I let go of his wrist the second we were back in the living room with Eric and Callie on their phones.
“Welcome back,” Callie said.
Delcan moved away from me and sat back down on the couch, crossing his arms over his chest. He wasn’t wearing anything out of what I ordinarily saw him in, though his personality was really beginning to change. “I’ll probably need your phone again,” I said to Delcan as I sat back down again. He sighed and looked over to me, his eyes amber.
“Would you like it for the entire weekend?”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡtNP8m9a8od
He gave me his phone before I could respond to him, and everyone was watching me with cautious eyes, wondering who I was calling. Then, I hesitated and realized that it would probably be better to have Delcan calling her instead of me. 552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡrr5k0RQhoP
“Delcan?”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡITeff0raPG
I looked over to him and made sure I was making eye contact. Otherwise, he wouldn’t listen. “Could you stay with Haven on the phone, and ask her if she’s alright? I need to make sure she is before school starts again.”
Delcan sat up. “Why would I care how she is?” he asked me. “I’d be glad if she was in a ball of a mess right now. Plus, if I was here, I would be pretty pissed at anyone who could have relations to my ex being gay.”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgkN4QvT2oc
“All of your exes are gay,” Callie said.
Delcan looked at her. “One,” he said. “I’ve never had an ex. And two, I’ve been with bisexuals before. And pansexuals.”
“Who would date you for your personality?” Evelyn asked. I glared at her, but it didn’t seem like she actually meant the question in a rude way. It just seemed like she wanted an actual answer to it.
“Your brother,” Delcan said.
He’s not wrong, I thought to myself. I could feel the blood rush to my cheeks, and I tried turning away before anyone else saw it. Of course, Delcan did. He smiled and then held out his hand.
“I’ll call her,” he said.
I looked back over to him, and then made sure my face was serious. “Be nice,” I told him. “You’re limited to one sarcastic comment. I’m serious, Delcan. I don’t want to be worse to her than I already have been.”
Delcan rolled his eyes, but I knew it was at an understanding. He took my phone out of my hands and pressed call to Haven, while the entire room went silent. At least, it did after Evelyn was about to yell out something and Eric shut her mouth.
Haven picked up, surprisingly. “Hello?”
“This is Delcan,” he said. “Just called to check in on you.”
Haven’s end was silent for a few seconds, and then I heard her begin to talk. “Why would you of all people call and ask me how I am?”
“I feel like being nice today,” Delcan said. “So I guess you’re fortunate. Round of applause.”
That was one.
I knew that Haven must’ve rolled her eyes. “He told you?” she asked.
Delcan shrugged. “Yeah,” he said. “All I know is that he broke up with you and that he’s putting himself down for it.”
“He should be,” Haven said.
I put my head in my hands and felt the shame that piled over any other emotion I had. I should’ve just given Haven what she wanted. If I did, none of this would be an issue in the first place. But at the same time, it was getting harder and harder to juggle real and fake feelings for two people, plus Haven deserved the truth from me.
Maybe at a better time, but still.
“He can be annoying sometimes,” Delcan said. I looked at him, but he kept his eyes off of me. “But other than Ezra, are you doing alright?”
Another pause. “Yeah, I guess so,” she said. “It just would’ve been nice to know beforehand that you two were more than friends.”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡMp4Z385uXI
This time, I was surprised that Delcan actually hesitated. He made eye contact with me for a split second before he began speaking again, just as Evelyn and Callie were silently laughing to each other again. “Ezra’s not exactly my type,” Delcan lied. “Plus if we were together, people would know about it. I’m not shy about who I date.”
Delcan looked at me when he said the last sentence, and I kept my head down, looking at the pillow that had a crossed design.
“Could you give me a second, Delcan?” Haven asked from the other end.
“Sure,” he muttered.
Delcan put the phone on mute and then set it down next to him. When he noticed I was looking at him, he raised his eyebrows. “What?”
“Why would you say that?” I asked him. My voice came out calm, thankfully. He rolled his eyes before turning his entire body to me and making sure I was looking exactly at his beautiful face.
“Let me remind you that if you go down, I’m going down with you,” Delcan said. The entire room went silent, and for the first time in a long time, I felt that wanting feeling again. The wanting feeling that I sometimes had, but always regretted. My eyes went straight to his lips, and I bit back the feeling to kiss him.
He didn’t seem to notice it. “On top of that,” Delcan continued. “There’s nothing wrong with her really knowing. Plus, I can easily make sure someone makes sure they keep their mouth shut. It’s none of her business in the first place.” I looked over to my sister, who was giving both of us this odd, proud smile. Eric wasn’t doing the same thing, but he was studying Delcan’s moves.
Callie seemed to care less.
“Fine,” I said to Delcan. “Is she back yet?” The minute I had said yet, Haven began speaking on the other end of the phone, and I accidentally leaned into him a bit.
“Okay, I’m back,” Haven said.
Delcan rolled his eyes, and I’m sure my ex knew he was. “I thought that was the voice inside of my phone talking to me,” he said.
She ignored him and kept talking. “You don’t have to lie to me,” Haven said. “I know the truth now.”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgMP5yG4IVe
“You don’t have proof, Miss Detective,” Delcan said.
“I don’t need proof,” Haven said. Her voice came out the same way that it did whenever she wanted to get in a fight. It was always after something I didn’t even realize would make her mad, and then all of a sudden, she sounded spiteful and ready for a fight. It was no different - as I realized - with Delcan. “My own word is enough over yours.”
Eric and Evelyn both broke out in laughter, but they caught themselves before I thought anyone else noticed it. Delcan bit back a smile, though. I glared to Eric, mainly, but he didn’t seem to care too much.
“And who’s going to believe you?” Delcan asked. “Sorry to break it to you, sweetie, but I’m a lot more attractive than you are. And let’s face it, looks can get people away with hundreds of things. So...yeah, my word is pretty powerful.”
Haven went silent, and then I heard her say something again. “I thought you were trying to make sure I was okay,” she whispered. I could hear the pain in her voice, and immediately I grabbed Delcan’s wrist and tightened my grip, telling him to stop.
Delcan made eye contact with me before he started to speak. “You can’t out someone if they’re not prepared for it yet,” he said, a sense of gentleness in his voice. I let go of his wrist as he continued talking. “I get that you’re upset, but you need to consider that this is his life.”
“You have no idea-” Haven stopped herself before she even stopped anything else, and I felt more than confused when Haven hung up the phone. Delcan smiled and then set down his phone as he looked over to me.
I gave Delcan a look of concern, ignoring my siblings. “Is she still mad?”552Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡY2Nz7apDho
Delcan shrugged. “Hard to tell,” he said. “But if she is mad at you, then I’ve been added onto her list.”
Evelyn smiled. “She deserved it,” she said.
No, she didn’t. Not the way I gave it to her. Not the way I put it.
“Shut up, Evelyn,” Eric said. He looked over to me, and I suddenly remembered where I was, and who I was desiring. “You would’ve been pissed if you had a boyfriend and he suddenly told you he was gay.”
“Not like I can change it,” I muttered.
Delcan sat up, but I knew that he heard me. “You don’t even know what’s happening,” he said.
“Then how about you tell me what the ⟴ is going on?” Eric asked.
Delcan’s smile was large as he leaned into me. “I suggest not telling him,” he whispered to me. “Because I like this when he’s angry.” I couldn’t help but smile when he said that, and I gave him a look. It didn’t really matter too much to me what my brother was thinking when I looked over to Delcan, and our faces were close. For a minute, I got lost in his eyes.
But I broke it quickly.
“Long story short,” I told everyone else. “Haven and I broke up, I told her that I was gay, and now she’s pretty mad about it. She believes that Delcan and I are-well we are but-we’re-that’s beside the point. I just don’t want her to think about something in the fact where it’ll ruin everything I’ve worked for, and for her to tell everyone.”
Delcan had moved away from me, and I felt bad. Eric and Evelyn had looked at each other for a second before Evelyn looked at me. “But why?”
“Let me guess,” Callie began. I looked over to her, but that was all she said before raising my eyebrows as if that was a cue for me to continue.
I decided to talk. “She wanted me to do something I didn’t want to do,” I said, feeling myself blush from embarrassment. “I-I couldn’t do it anymore, so I simply told her. She just-she continued asking me why, why, why, and it wasn’t like I could hold it in anymore.” The sound of Haven and her yelling at me was in my head, but I couldn’t focus on anything else other than the fact that we both had our first time together, and that I broke her heart.
“Sorry, bro,” Eric said. I knew that he meant it, but I guess the emotion on my face didn’t show at all.
“It’s cool,” I said. Although I felt a sense of panic every three seconds I thought of Haven, I felt relief too. Haven would find out one way or another. Either her sister would tell her, or Evvie would’ve hinted it, or maybe even Delcan would’ve kept his mouth running so much to the point that she realized it. I just had to pray that she would never tell anyone.
Callie shrugged. “Do you want Evelyn or I to talk to her about it?” she asked. I knew how much worse the situation could possibly get if she got involved.
“The last time you talked to someone who had a threat on Ezra’s life,” Delcan said, turning to his sister. “You threatened Ezra’s dad.” I felt myself smile for the weirdest reason, and my eyes were drawn to the ring that belonged to his grandfather. It was a smooth wring, with the initials E.A.H. He never told me what it stood for, but it wasn’t my business in the first place.
“Hang on,” Evelyn said, sitting up in her chair she was sharing with Callie. I looked over to her and suddenly remembered that I never told them about what Dad had said to Delcan. “Why’d you stick up to our father?”
Delcan sighed, pushing back on his seat. “He called me a faggot, and Callie got in his business about it,” Delcan said, and it bothered me by how unbothered he as by what my dad had called him. Behind all of his annoyance and I-could-care-less scenes he was making, I knew that word had to have hurt him in some way. I felt the anger inside of me.
“When did that happen?” Eric asked. I shook my head, feeling horrible.
“A few weeks ago,” Delcan said. When he noticed how upset I must be looking, he smiled at me. “It isn’t that big of a deal. I’ve been called worse by more important people.”
It didn’t matter to me at all. “I’m really sorry for what my dad said about you,” I told him. I didn’t mention the fact that I knew how old his mother was, because it wasn’t important. Whenever I got time to talk to my mom, I’d ask her about it, or Delcan. But this meant so much more. “It wasn’t right, and he was way out of line.” Delcan looked at me for a few seconds before he moved his amber eyes over to Callie.
“She dealt with it the wrong way,” Delcan said. Callie rolled her eyes and sat back in her chair as Evelyn raised her eyebrows. “And it’s nothing we need to talk about.” Callie smiled before she returned to me.
Evelyn started to talk again. “Our dad is a jerk to everyone, especially people who are Latino,” she said.
“What does he have against Latinos?” Delcan and Callie both asked at the same time.
I shrugged. It was kind of a lie when Evelyn said that our dad hated Latinos, he hated almost every race that wasn’t his. He hated people for skin color, money...anything he can nitpick. When I was about to say something, Delcan kept his eyes on Evelyn when he started talking.
“Even though I love when things are about me,” Delcan said. “It’s about Ezra. So, let’s just stay focused on that.” I looked over to Callie.
“Really, Callie,” I said. “Evelyn or you don’t need to do anything about it. I can talk to Haven about it on Monday. I don’t think she’s going to tell anyone else but her sister and her-” I stopped. Her parents.
Her parents. Haven’s going to tell her parents. She’ll tell them every single word before and after I dropped the bomb on her. They’ll probably text my parents and ask them about it. That can’t happen...I’m not ready for any of this to blow over. I didn’t even mean to tell Haven, it just came out. She kept on yelling at me, and it was too much for me to take. That’s the only reason why he screamed it.
What have I done?
“She wouldn’t tell her parents,” Evelyn said. I knew that she was trying to be supportive and nice, but she had no reason to lie. Haven’s a gossip girl. Any news she finds interesting will be spread across the school in under a minute.
I looked at my sister. “Stop lying,” I told her. “Could we just drop it?” I would have to text Haven later on, probably sounding pathetic while I begged for her not to tell anyone about my secret. She’d probably use me to her advantage while kissing me in front of Delcan just to annoy both of us.
It took me by surprise when Delcan grabbed my hand. “You’re gonna be fine. I promise,” I broke eye contact with him and looked down at our hands. It never really happened too much, ever, if I can avoid it the most.
“I know,” I whispered. “You’re always right.”
Delcan had tightened his grip on my hand, and I didn’t reject it. Callie and Evelyn both were absorbed on their phones, though they were smiling at something. I sat there with Delcan’s hand in mine as I hoped nobody had texted me.
“Alright,” Eric said. “Since we’re basically done with this, we need to leave.” Eric stood up, and I could see the look of panic in his eyes.
Delcan moved his hand away from mine.
“Why?” he asked. He had no idea how much I wanted to stay. He had no idea what I wanted to tell him.
Callie hugged Evelyn. “Let her stay,” she said as Evelyn laughed. “Plus, Mom won’t get mad at us for having Evelyn over. Dad would only glare at Ezra, but they for sure would ask Eric who he’s with.” I closed my eyes for a minute before opening them again, realizing how horrible that would be.
“Why do we need to leave?” I asked, ignoring Callie.
“Because,” Eric said. “Emmanuel just woke up. He’ll call for Mom and Dad in a nanosecond if he doesn’t see us in our rooms.” He had said it in a presenting voice, but he was looking at me. Just when he’d mentioned Emmanuel, I knew that he was right. Mom and Dad couldn’t catch me sneaking out again. I’d be in more trouble than I already am in for lying to them. They just didn’t know I’ve been lying since 6th grade.
“Shoot,” Evelyn said. “Yeah. He’ll start whining any minute now.”
Callie and Evelyn had moved off of each other, both of them looking at Eric. “How do you know that?” Callie asked, her face twisted in confusion.
“I put a camera in his room when he was five so that I would know if he was asleep or not,” Eric said, a tone of pride in his voice. Delcan rolled his eyes. “So far, the camera’s worked. It helps when you sneak out of the house.” Smart plan, I thought to myself. That made sense why he was better at it than Evelyn and I were.
It also made sense of why he went to late-night parties so much.
I had started to get up whenever Eric and Evelyn had, but I didn’t move because Delcan had grabbed my arm. I turned around to ask what it was, and that was when he put his lips to mine. The kiss was quick but subtle. When I pulled away from him, it was surprising to see the small hint of blush on his face.
He never blushes.
“I wouldn’t worry too much,” Delcan said, still keeping himself close to me. “Haven’s all bark and no bite.” I smiled, and then kissed him on the cheek before leaving, giving Callie a wave (which she ignored).
When all three of us were outside, I was getting into the front seat when I said something about my kiss with Delcan. “See?” I said. “We just kissed. I do physical things with Delcan.”
The car was silent for a few seconds before Eric spoke.
“Congratulations,” he said sarcastically. The car wasn’t in drive yet, because he was still on his phone.
“Would you like a trophy, sweetheart?” Evelyn asked. Both of them fell into laughter as I sat back in the seat, my arms crossed over my chest.
It didn’t matter. I still kissed him. “Just drive,” I told Eric. He gave me another look before chuckling to himself and then driving us home. ns 18.104.22.168da2