Also appearing in the story:
Latricia never cooked in her life and she was totally lost as she trotted around an empty kitchen as if some invisible voice would tell her what to do. That didn’t happen. She opened the fridge and saw some fresh vegetables. She concluded a salad wouldn’t be too hard and got to chopping.
The meal didn’t turn out half too bad, sure she should have eased on the olive oil, or the pieces could have been more regularly cut but she was proud of herself.
She even left some for Branden and he didn’t complain, but he never did, he was the happiest little child she had ever seen, the prospect of salad for breakfast excited him.
Latricia knew her mother worried leaving Branden alone with her while she and Rosie were out in Bridgeport but she thought she had done well as she looked upon that smiling face. Once they ate she got dressed, and it was time to call the babysitter but Latrica hesitated as she flipped her cell phone in her hand.
Her mum and sister weren’t coming before tomorrow, so why bother going to school? If she had any luck they would never find out she skipped… “Hey Bran? She told her little brother who was sitting on the living room floor playing. Want me to play you a song?” “Yes!” The boy exclaimed raising his little hands in the air and Latricia couldn’t help smiling. He loved music, their mother played for him often and Latricia couldn’t rival her but Branden liked it enough, and it sure beat going to school…
She dreaded going to school ever since prom night, two days ago… She really wanted to invite Mikha’il Kerrie but she kind of chickened out the last minute. Even Vanessa, her best friend, was against it but Latricia really liked him, which was strange, even for her. He was the weird kid at school, he had no friends, and always sat in the back drawing skulls, if he wasn’t so weird and withdrawn Latricia wouldn’t know he existed.
But everything change one night when and she and Rosie were out, just strolling with Brendan and without her noticing they walked right before his house. “Hey Latricia! I’m a bit grounded, can’t get out of this lawn, want to keep me company?” She turned around and there he was sitting on the lawn, Mikha’il Kerrie.Latricia was raised to be polite so she returned the greeting. “Hi Miha’il how you’ve been?” She pretended not to hear his suggestion but Rosie was there to ruin everything… “Stay with you friend, just don’t be long, I’ll take Branden home.” And they were off just like that. Little Branden turning over his shoulder, waving. “Bye Tricia!”
She scowled and turned to Mikha’il. She didn’t know what to say, it would be rude to leave now so she just stared at him. He smiled. “Tricia, that’s a nice nickname. Can I call you Tricia?” No. She wanted to say, that’s how my little brother calls me, it’s our thing but she just shrugged, not like Mikha’il would have a chance to call her anything, they didn’t exactly hang out, like ever. “Come sit. Tricia.” He said still smiling and she reluctantly sat next to him on the grass in front of his house. “It’s a nice night.” She said trying to brake the silence and inside her head counting minutes until it would be acceptable to leave.
She was looking at the night sky but out of the corner of her eye she could see the boy looking at her. There was something in his look that made her feel weird, she thought she should be creeped out but somehow it just made her hear beat faster. And when she turned to look at him and smiled she noticed him blushing slightly. “Look I can’t invite you inside, I’m grounded and shouldn’t have people over but…” His voice was shaky and he seamed nervous. “We could talk, or…Look at the stars! They are very bright tonight.” His nervous voice made her nervous as well but she kept her smile on. “Sure. Fire away.” “Ok.” He replied and smiled back. “That up there that is a…flaming wagon!” She laughed. “No it’s not.” “What are you an amateur astronomer?” He said teasingly and they both smiled at each other Latricia feeling some warmth inside raise inside her.
The rest of the night turned out pretty fun with Mikha’il making up names of stars and constellation and Latricia laughing out loud, she forgot about counting minutes and remembered she had to go home when her phone rang and it was her worried mother. “I would have walked you home…” Mikha’il said sadly as she got up hastily. “No problem.” She said, she didn’t even think of that because she knew she would end up grounded if she doesn’t carry her ass home right this minute. “See you.” She yelled and waved at him and he just stayed there, that same sadness in his eyes.
Back in school he hardly said a word to Latricia and she couldn’t figure out why that hurt or why she couldn’t seam to get him out of her head. Not until the day of the prom at least. She called Vanessa that day when she was back from school. “I think I like Mikha’il.” She said as soon as Vanessa picked up. There was silence on the other end. “Mikha’il Kerrie? Ahmed’s brother?” Vanessa asked, obviously confused. “I’m going to ask him to prom…” She said in a voice barely stronger than a whisper. She didn’t know why she was telling Vanessa all this, she had already made up her mind. “I’m not sure… Why?” Vanessa was still shocked. “I have to do it. I’ll call him right now.” Latrica said. “Thanks Vanessa.” And she hung up. Vanessa texted her the same minute. “ARE YOU OK?? WHAT’S HAPPENING? DID YOU LOSE A BET?” Latricia ignored her and tried to call Mikha’il but then decided against it. She wasn’t able to form words. She heard her mother yelling from inside the house. “Latricia! Get in here! I need to do your makeup.” She quickly texted the question to Miha’il and put the phone away, not even looking at any more.
All the texts she got that afternoon, along with a few missing calls were from Vanessa. They went to prom together, of course Vanessa was meeting Walter, her boyfriend there and Latricia would be all alone but she didn’t want to think about it. “Wow you look great!” Vanessa told her when she saw her. Latricia smiled faintly and just shrugged. She felt uncomfortable with all that make up on and was hoping Vanessa would not mention what she told her today, she wasn’t strong enough to talk about that unanswered text. Thankfully the ride to the school wasn’t long enough, and just as they were about to enter the building they heard a voice calling them. There were two boys in the bushes in front of the school, older boys, Latricia recognized one of them as Oliver Gradle and went to say hi. “Look girls, we are mixing some juice vodkas, wanna try?” He asked with a smile. The other boy with him frowned. “They are only going to rat us out Ollie.” “They won’t, won’t you?” He asked. He was cute, and Latricia wished they weren’t related… She promised they wouldn’t and they had a glass each. Feeling drunk already they thanked the boys and went inside.
The rest was a disaster Latricia didn’t want to think about, and the reason she couldn’t show her face in school… She and Branden had a wonderful day together and she didn’t think about any of it until that afternoon when Walter called. “Hey Prom Queen!” He said as soon as she picked up. “Where have you been this whole day? Nessa and I were worried.” She smiled faintly. She was glad at least the two of them noticed her absence. “Nothing to worry about Walt, I just didn’t feel like coming in, I’m home alone so I pull the shots.” “Sweet. And you didn’t think to throw a party? Is this all because of that dweeb Mikha’il and the whole prom thing?” She sighed. People didn’t forget about all that…”Listen to me Latricia, you need to let it go, that guy is a real loser here, everyone knows it. Just forget it. And if you think he needs a good beating just say it. I mean it, just say the words.” She laughed. It was nice that Walter was being supportive, but she knew all of it was her fault, not Mikha’il’s. “It’s fine Walt. I’ll forget about it, you should too. Tell me what did I miss.” Now it was his turn to laugh. “You know I’m not a fucking gossip, so if that’s what you want call Nessa, if you want to know what lectures you missed, then I’m your guy…”
The conversation with Walter did make her feel better, reading Branden to sleep did too but when she was all alone in the big house, doing laundry the memories returned…
She doubted you could really get drunk from a glass of juice vodka but that night she felt drunk so not long after they met and greeted Walter and she saw him and Vanessa together she felt sad. She couldn’t ask anyone about Mikha’il so she looked for him herself. She didn’t know if she hoped he was here, or if he wasn’t but she looked for him the same. He was standing alone, which wasn’t unusual, everyone around him was chatting or dancing but he was just looking at his hand, as uninterested in everything as possible so she decided to walk over to him, and then she felt he would go away so even though she was in heels she decided to run. She saw him see her and then try to get lost in the crowd and she ran even faster and then slammed into someone. To make things worse it was her cute neighbor who thought middle school, Mr. Prentiss. She blushed as he warned her about running like that with a strict voice.
She spent the rest of the night silently sulking and barely got up until she was called on stage to be crowned Prom Queen. She was shocked, and even though she wanted nothing better than to go home she climbed to the podium to accept the award. Vanessa smiled at her from the audience, Walter was clapping and cheering, and so did many people. She smiled herself and without even thinking about it she scanned the crowd for Mikha’il , he was in the back clapping as well and she smiled even more. “So.” the announcer said. “Who will The Queen invite for her coronation dance?”Without skipping a beat Latricia leaned into the microphone. “Mikha’il Kerrie.” She smiled at him but she saw him tense and leave the room. The announcer, called for him but he never got up to the stage and Latricia was left there standing alone and humiliated.
The night before after doing laundry she made some mac and cheese and she even had some leftover for the morning. She ate it alone, Bran was still in bed. Today she felt even worse, she knew she risked getting caught but she really couldn’t face everyone, and it was Friday, if she made it trough today… After the weekend it would all be better…
She didn’t get lucky that day, her mother came home really angry, apparently they called her from the school too ask why Latrica missed two days in a row… At least she didn’t have much time to yell, because today was Bran’s birthday and she only sent her to her room to get dressed for the party.
Latricia took out her bass and played, she wasn’t in the mood for mingling. Her mother and sister seamed to doing fine anyway, and everyone else looked like they were having fun as well.
Later Walter showed up and they danced together a bit, he seamed to still be in a cheering up mood and it worked. She only hoped her mother’s punishment wouldn’t be too severe…