My mom called out to my twin brother who was still asleep. It was seven thirty in the morning and once again, my brother would be getting up, and rushing to get dressed, eat breakfast and go brush his teeth, hence making me late for school since I got a ride with him every morning.
"That's just brilliant Mom! I'm going to be late to first period again and will probably get detention, thanks to slow poke Connor."
My mom frowned and set down Connors bowl filled with warm oatmeal. "Connor! Breakfast is ready!"
My father came out of the bathroom with a frown on his face. "What's with all the hollering Gina?" He asked my mom.
"It's nothing Dad. She's just trying to get your lazy son out of bed. I bet he was up painting or playing video games all night. That or looking at porn online."
My dad flashed me an angry face. "Young lady, that's a very crass thing to say."
I shrugged and laughed. My parents were so uptight sometimes. "Chill out Dad. I was joking."
"Well stop with the jokes Missy," my mom warned. "Connor!" She yelled out again.
I was getting frustrated. I stood up and raced over to my brother's room. I banged on the door like a mad person. "Get your ass up Connor!" I yelled.
I heard footsteps and I stepped back. Connor opened his door. His eyes were still half way closed and his jet black hair was pointing everywhere. "Dang Carrie, what the hell?"
"Didn't you hear Mom calling you like a million times? Are you deaf or what?"
"Shut up!" Connor shot back and passed me up. He headed straight to the bathroom, where I knew he'd take another 10 minutes or so. I sighed and walked back to the kitchen. "See Mom, THAT'S the way to wake him up."
My mom nodded. "That wasn't nice Carrie."
My dad was too busy drinking his coffee and reading the local paper to even notice. I sat back down and finished up my oatmeal and toast. Connor came to join us a few minutes later. He wore what he usually did which was a tee shirt of some type; usually it was something like Super Mario or The Ramones. I swear he had more tee shirts than anyone else around. Today he wore a David Bowie tee shirt and his usual baggy blue jeans and had put a cap on to hide his messed up hair, which was getting a bit too long. His blue eyes met my identical icy blue eyes.
"Thanks for the wake up call. Now, Mom and Dad don't have to buy a rooster." He said in a haughty tone.
I rolled my eyes and drank the rest of my orange juice. "Well, if you'd wake your ass up early, I wouldn't have to make noise."
He mumbled something and began eating his breakfast. My dad got up and said he had to hurry off to work and my mom began clearing the table. I sat there watching my twin brother eating.
"What?" He asked when he caught me staring.
"Hurry up and eat! You're going to make me late ... AGAIN."
He shrugged. "That's your fault for not getting your license. You're the only eighteen year old that I know who can't drive."
"I can drive! I just need to retake the test, Stupid!"
He snorted. "You're calling me Stupid? How many times will that be, that you've had to retake the test now Carrie?"
"Who many times have you had a date this year?" I snapped.
"Alright, you two! That's enough! Jesus Christ, you do this every single morning! All you two do is fight! Can't you have one morning where you actually get along?" My mom called out as she rinsed the dishes.
"Sorry Mom, but he was being a jerk."
"A jerk?" Connor yelled.
"I said that's ENOUGH!" My mom said, sternly.
We got quiet. I stood up to go brush my teeth and as I finished I noticed Connor was behind me waiting for his turn.
"Hurry up." He said, impatiently.
"Oh? Now YOU'RE rushing me?"
"Shut up. Move it." He pushed me aside.
I shoved him back. "Jerk."
He laughed and went on to brush his teeth.
We drove to school fighting over which radio station to listen to, as we always do. Luckily the ride to school isn't so long. It only takes 15 minutes to get there. Once we got to school, we hurried off our own separate ways. I went to meet up with my friends, who were not really popular, but then again, we weren't hated. We were just fun.
I watched Connor go meet up with his buddies. They all wore rock band tee shirts. They wore baggy jeans and Vans shoes. They liked to sit outside during lunch and listen to classic rock, like The Doors or The Stones. No one really paid attention to them. No one, meaning females, girls.
I swear I had never seen Connor with a girl. He'd never had a girlfriend, unless you count the time we were in seventh grade and Kacie Yonder held his hand on a dare. Not that Connor was ugly, he was just ... weird. He mumbled a lot and wore his hair too long, covering his eyes. He loved to draw and paint. That was something my dad wasn't so proud of but let slide, since Connor did some pretty damn good paintings. I watched how he and his friends talked and noticed the pretty girls. I didn't have a clue what kind of girls Connor was into. Was he even into girls? It always made me wonder.
"Hey! Guess what?"
My thoughts were interrupted by Jamie, one of my best friends. She was approaching me, along with my friend, Rachel and our other friend, Patti. "Oh God you'll never guess!" she squealed.
I rolled my eyes and leaned on the stairs rail. "Jamie, just tell us. You know we hate it when you do this."
"Yeah. I'm not in no guessing mood." Rachel spat out. She had just been telling us that she and Ralph, her boyfriend had another fight. They fought more than any other couple I knew.
Jamie gulped. "Ok, since you are all in such sour moods, I got invited to a party this Saturday! Uh, not just ANY party, Lauren Goodwin's party!"
We all did a double take. "Huh? Are you feeling ok?" Patti teased and pressed her hand on Jamie's forehead, pretending to check her temperature.
Jamie frowned and pulled back. "What? You don't believe me?"
I laughed. "Jamie, we believe you, but you know there's got to be a reason why Lauren Goodwin would invite you to one of her most FABULOUS parties."
Jamie looked dumbfound. "You don't think she'd want something from me do you?"
We all laughed. "Uh yeah, duh!" Patti replied.
"What the hell could she want from me?" Jamie asked.
"Hmm ... well ... let's see ... you do have Jorge living with you, right?" I asked.
Jamie blinked. Jorge was from Costa Rica, a foreign exchange student that was staying with them for two weeks. He was really supposed to be staying with Jamie's neighbors the Lamberts. Unfortunately, the Lamberts had a death in the family and had to fly out to Canada. Jamie's parents, being sweet, offered to take in Jorge for the meantime. Jorge was tall, dark and handsome. He looked like a real suave type of guy, except he barely spoke English. When Jorge arrived on campus, every girl must have wanted to throw their panties at him. I myself had to admit he gave me a tingly feeling between my legs, but I didn't find myself wanting to bone Jorge like the rest of the Senior girls.
Jamie nodded. "Yeah so what?
"Duh!" Rachel, Patti and I all said simultaneously.
Jamie looked upset. "Well, that figures. I knew it was too good to be true. She did mention for me to bring him."
I put my arm around her and turned her around. We all began walking into the school. "Don't be sad Jamie. Why would you want to go to Lauren Goodwin's party anyway? She's a total snob and likes to use people."
Jamie shrugged. "I might still go. I'll take Jorge. I've never been to a Lauren Goodwin party. It might be fun."
I shook my head. "Ok Jamie. Whatever you say."
During sixth period Bio, I found myself staring out the window. Lauren and her friends were all practicing their new cheers for the last football game of the season. So far, we were undefeated. Like I really cared.
She wore her long brown hair up in a ponytail. It was like the most perfect ponytail I'd seen. I wondered if she had a stylist who came to her house every morning to do her hair. It always seemed she wore her hair in many different and pretty styles.
She was smiling a bit too much. I wondered if Lauren Goodwin was ever unhappy. How could she be? She was rich, beautiful, popular and had her selection of any guy in the Senior Class. Her teeth were super white and straight. Her eyes were a soft green color and she was tall, at least 5'6", which I read somewhere is considered the perfect height for a female. Not to mention her perfect size 4 body. Must be all that damn cheerleading.
I am a mere 5'4", a size 6, with shoulder length dark hair parted in the middle, which everyone thinks I dye and pale blue eyes. My skin is pale and I have a few freckles. My friends always say I am pretty, but when I've seen girls like Lauren Goodwin, I've often questioned my own beauty.
After school was out, I waited for Connor by the music hall. He took guitar class as an elective. He came out with two of his friends, whose names I don't even remember. One guy was tall and lanky, wearing a black tee shirt that said "I'm awake, isn't that enough?" The other was chubby and short, with a goatee.
"Alright, see you all tomorrow!" Connor called out to his friends. They went their separate ways. He saw me and his smile faded.
"Oh, don't look so happy to see me." I mocked.
He rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Let's just go."
One the drive back home I didn't feel like arguing with him. I let him put on the classic rock station he always liked to listen to. His eyes stared straight out into the road.
"So um..." I began trying to add some conversation to our silence. "Jamie said that Lauren Goodwin invited her to one of her most FABULOUS parties. Can you believe that?"
Connor scoffed. "Yeah, so? Jealous?"
I felt my face get hot. "Jealous? Why would I be jealous? Lauren is obviously using Jamie. It's just because Jorge is staying with her family and Lauren wants Jamie to invite Jorge."
He laughed. "You are jealous."
"I'm not!" I snapped.
"Yeah, you are."
He looked at me for a brief moment. "Why don't you like Lauren Goodwin?"
I moaned. "Do I have to point it out to you? She's a major snob! She uses people!"
Connor turned down the radio. "Has she ever used you?"
I frowned. "No."
"Well then, how do you know she uses people?"
"Uh, hello! I live here! I've seen her do it."
"Well, but she hasn't done anything to you. Is that why you're mad? Because Lauren hasn't used YOU personally?"
I sighed. "What kind of moronic question is that?"
"I'm just saying that if she hasn't used you, why do you have to hate her? Just let her be and you do your own thing. I swear girls hate each other so much, no wonder we don't have a woman president. If a woman ran for president, half of the women in the country wouldn't vote for her because that's the way women are. They are mean to each other."
I gasped. "But I-"
"And you don't even know Lauren. What if she's actually a nice person? Ever thought of that?" He cut me off.
I felt my anger rising. I was mad because, in a way, he DID have a point about girls hating other girls. Honestly, I was sort of jealous of Lauren. "I take it you're one of the stupid boys drooling over her too, huh?" I shot back.
He laughed again. "Yeah so? She is hot."
"You're such an idiot. All guys are idiots. Just because some girl has looks, yet she's a total bitch, you'd still get a boner."
"Aw Carrie, stop hating."
I slapped his arm. He laughed. That only pissed me off more. I reached over and changed the radio station to Country music, which I hated and I knew he hated more. I cranked it up loud.
"Hey!" he shouted and changed it back to classic rock. Jimmy Hendrix blasted through the speakers.
I changed it again and we began to fight, like we always do.
Saturday night came and Jamie called me with a voice full of panic. "Carrie! What do I wear? How should I fix my hair? Should I take anything to the party?"
I sighed. I turned down my Natalie Imbruglia CD and flopped down on my bed. "Calm down, will you?"
She groaned, "I know. I know. I'm just really nervous Carrie! Jorge is already dressed and waiting for me! I haven't even put my clothes or make up on!"
"Jamie, take a deep breath, ok. Just relax."
I heard her breathing softly. I wanted to laugh. "Ok now, it's going to get chilly tonight, so wear some jeans. How about your Juicy Couture jeans you bought last month?"
"Oh and wear that pretty flowery top that you only wear when you go out with us. You know the long sleeve one."
"Ok..." her voice was beginning to calm down.
"Put on your black boots and wear your hair down. Maybe, put some pretty barrettes to hold it back? You know the glittery ones we bought at Trade Secret?"
"Oh yeah ... yeah ... that sounds ... good."
"Then just put on a little bit of blush, some mascara and some lip gloss. You know you were born with perfect skin, you don't need all of that gunk on your face."
She giggled. "Carrie, you are my bestest friend in the world."
I had to smile. "And I love you too."
"Thank you for everything! I got to get ready and I'll call you tonight to let you know how the party was!"
"Cool. Call me whenever. I don't have anything to do Saturday night. Sadly enough."
"Aw, why don't you call Tim Thomas?"
I winced when she mentioned Tim's name. Tim Thomas was a guy I dated for about two seconds before he practically tried to rape me after our first date. He had his hands practically all over me! I had to almost fight him off me! I promised myself never to go out with him again.
"No thank you. Did you forget he has tentacles not arms?"
She laughed. "Well he's the last guy you dated, so he's the first one that came to mind."
"Its ok sweetie, go have fun. Just keep an eye on Jorge. I'm sure his parents in Costa Rica wouldn't want him to impregnate any American girl."
She shrieked with laugher, "You're so bad. Love ya!"
We hung up and I lay down on my bed, staring up at the ceiling. I knew Rachel was out with Ralph and Patti had been asked out by Jordan, a soccer player she'd been eyeing for some time now. Me? Well ... I was going to stay home and watch movies. What else was there?
Then I thought about calling Ryan Gables up. Ryan was in my third period English Class. He was semi-cute and had a really nice smile. He talked to me a lot about the books he's been reading and often suggested books for me to read. I turned out liking every single one he recommended.
I opened up my cell phone and searched for his name. I got his number once because he offered it to me, since we couldn't talk much in class about books. I never did call him though. But tonight, I was lonely and kind of jealous that my friends all had plans without me.
I rang Ryan's cell phone and he picked up within two rings.
"Yeah?" That was his way of answering.
"Ryan?" I asked. For some reason, I was nervous.
"Yeah? Who's this?"
It didn't occur to me that I never gave him my cell number; therefore he wouldn't recognize my number. "It's Carrie. Carrie Watson."
His voice got deep, "Hey Carrie. I'm glad you called. What's up?"
I began to pace my room. "Oh, not much. How are you?"
"I'm good. I was just going to watch a movie."
He paused, "The Lost Boys."
I smiled, "I love that movie."
"Cool. What are you up to?"
"I was just ... kind of bored. I mean ... well..."
He laughed. "You want some company?"
I sighed, "Yes, please."
"I don't have much money..."
"It's ok! I tell you what ... Why don't you bring the movie and I've got some popcorn here and sodas. We also have frozen pizza that I can pop right in the oven for us afterwards."
"Sounds great! What time can I come over?" he said a bit too eagerly.
I checked my clock. It was almost eight at night. "Eight thirty ok?"
We hung up and I stepped out of my blue jeans into some Aeropostale dark blue sweats and an Aeropostale top that went well with the sweat pants. What was the point of wearing blue jeans and a dressy top, when I was just going to stay home and watch some movies with a guy who I was cool with? I didn't see Ryan as a boyfriend, but more of a good pal. I brushed my hair and wore it down, as I always did and put on some mascara and blush. I was going to put on lip-gloss, but figured it was just Ryan. There was no need to get my lips ready, since there would be no puckering up.
I headed to the living room a few minutes later. My parents had gone out to one of my father's business dinners and I almost forgot about Connor. I figured he'd gone out with his friends, but I saw his car parked in the driveway. I went to knock on his door.
When he opened his door I saw he wasn't dressed up to go out. He wore his flannel pajamas and no shirt. I smelled paint and knew he was busy working on another painting.
"What?" he asked, as if I were annoying him.
"A friend of mine is coming over and we're going to watch a movie. Are you going out tonight?"
He shook his head. "Naw, I'm staying in. The guys are all out doing their own thing. I think one of them got invited to Lauren Goodwin's party. Poor guy is being used right now." He made a sad face only to taunt me.
He laughed, "Chill out Sis. So who's coming over? Rachel or Patti?"
He blinked, "Who?"
"Ryan Gables. You know him, right?"
"Oh ... yeah I know him."
I waited for a minute or more for him to say something rude about Ryan. Every time I went out with a guy, Connor had something to complain about. But with Ryan, he seemed speechless. "Well ... have fun, I guess."
"He's kind of quiet, no? I don't think he's your type." Too late. He'd said something about Ryan. I figured it had to be too good to be true.
"How do you know what my type is?"
"Never mind. I won't interrupt your date."
"It's not a date; he's just coming over to watch a movie."
"Yeah ... ok." Connor said. He closed the door and I heard him turn up his music. I don't know if it was my imagination, but I thought I saw some sadness in Connor's eyes?
Ryan arrived a few minutes later. I had some popcorn popped and soda nice and cold for us. We put the movie on and watched in silence. It was nice to have some kind of company. Every now and then Ryan would laugh at a part or say "Oh, dang."
After the movie, Ryan and I went to the kitchen and put a Tombstone pepperoni pizza in the oven. Connor hadn't come out of his room all night. Ryan and I ate and talked about books and school and teachers. It wasn't anything really deep, just a nice conversation.
There were two slices left of the pizza, so I figured I'd offer Connor some, once Ryan left.
"This was nice Carrie. I mean it was just relaxing to be here with you. I enjoyed it." Ryan said, as we stood by my door to say our goodnights.
"Yeah, it was fun. We should do it again sometime. Maybe."
He smiled and his hand touched my cheek. My heart fluttered a little. He leaned down and kissed my cheek. "For sure, we got to do this again. Call me sometime, ok?"
I nodded. He got into his car and I stayed outside until he left. Once I went back in, Connor was already in the kitchen. He was raiding the fridge.
"Hey, I left you some pizza if you want it." I said, pointing to the pizza pan that was on top of the stove.
He looked, "That's not going to be enough to hold me down. I'm freakin' starving!"
He took out some turkey and cheese from the fridge and began to make himself the biggest sandwich I'd ever seen.
"Ok, if you don't want the pizza-"
"I didn't say I didn't want it. I just said it's not enough. I'm going to eat this sandwich AND the pizza."
"Ugh. Isn't that too much?" I said, disgusted.
"Not for me."
I wondered how Connor managed to eat so much and stay so damn skinny. He and I were twins, so why wasn't I born with his fast metabolism? Not that I was always dieting, but I found myself watching what I ate a lot of the time.
"So, how was your hot date?" he teased.
"Once again, it was NOT a date. And it went well, ok."
He shrugged and began to put everything back in the fridge, once he'd built his sandwich. "I was just asking. Chill."
I took a seat at the kitchen table to watch him eat. He ate the sandwich in no time and the pizza slices were gone within a few seconds. He washed it all down with orange Slice soda. He burped loud enough so the neighbors could hear him.
"Ew! Excuse you!" I said.
He rubbed his belly. He looked too satisfied. "That was good food."
"I wish I knew how you stayed so skinny."
He eyed me quietly. "Sometimes I wish I would gain weight. I'm just a scrawny guy."
"You're not totally puny you know. I think you look ... alright."
He smirked, "So do you. Don't tell me you're one of those girls obsessed with her weight."
"Oh, not at all. I'm totally fine with my weight," I lied.
"Good. Guys don't like skinny girls."
I laughed, "Yeah, right. Then why do you ogle Ms. Goodwin? She's like super skinny."
"Yeah, but she's got some nice little curves."
"You pig!" I threw a kitchen towel at him.
He laughed and I got up to leave. As I walked away I felt him looking at me. I had to smile. Connor could be a jerk sometimes, but I wouldn't love him any other way.
"So ... how was the oh so FABULOUS party?" I asked Jamie on Monday during lunch. She hadn't called me all weekend, so I figured it must have gone pretty swell. "I tried calling you like a million times and all I got was your voicemail."
She nodded slowly and ate her baby carrots. "The party was ... ok. I mean when I pictured a Lauren Goodwin party, I pictured dancing and beautiful people, good food and a lot of mingling. Instead, there was nothing but drunken Seniors, hot guys that never even looked at me, and a lot of cliques. Jorge was very welcome though." She rolled her eyes. "I was so bored that I began to drink. I drank a lot and before the party even ended, I was drunk as hell. I threw up twice and couldn't find Jorge. I ended up passing out on Lauren's couch and when I woke up, Lauren and one of Lauren's friends, Carla, were looking at me. Lauren told Carla to drive me home, before I caused more trouble. Carla drove me home, but it was like five that morning! Jorge had gotten a ride from someone else. I got home and you can imagine just how pissed off my parents were. They called me irresponsible and a drunk. They grounded me and all day yesterday I had a massive headache. I can't go out for the rest of the month!"
"Oh Sweetie, I'm sorry. What did Jorge say?"
She sneered, "Nothing. What COULD he say? He just smiled and charmed my parents. This was all on me, because I was the irresponsible one. Jorge was too busy charming the ladies at the party and being funny for Lauren. He was sort of their entertainment that night."
I groaned and took a sip of her water. I looked around the lunchroom and spotted Lauren and her friends laughing and having a good time. Her friend, Carla was with Jorge and was constantly touching his hair and giggling at anything he said. Could she be any more obvious that she wanted to bang him?
"It's ok, the month is almost over. Just two weeks. I promise, once you get un-grounded you and I can go do something."
She agreed, sadly.
"Oh and you know what I did Saturday? I called up Ryan Gables. He came over and we watched a movie. It was ... nice."
Jamie smiled. "Ooh! So I see; Carrie has a new boyfriend?"
"No, no," I protested, "He's just ... a friend."
Jamie studied me. "Hmm, then why are you blushing right now as we speak?"
I giggled. "Jamie! I like him yes, but he's just a friend. That's all."
"Then why does he keep looking over here?"
I turned to see where Jamie was looking and noticed Ryan. His eyes met mine and he waved. He was sitting with two of his friends. I waved back and turned around. I felt my face turning redder.
"Love is in the air!" Jamie teased.
"Shut up!" I laughed and looked slightly to my right where I saw Connor and his friends. My brother looked at me and then looked away.
The next day was almost like a dream, or nightmare I should say. When I woke up, Connor was already dressed and ready to go to school. Only he was wearing a red polo shirt, khaki slacks and dark brown sketcher boots. His hair was cut! I could actually see his eyes!
"Holy crap! Am I in the wrong house?" I said, as I entered the kitchen.
My mom giggled, "Doesn't he look handsome?"
I didn't know how to answer that.
"Um wow! Bro, what's going on?" I asked. I slowly took at seat at the kitchen table.
My father was reading the paper and my mother was beaming at my brother's new look.
"What's going on is that your brother is in love." My father said behind his newspaper.
I gasped, "In love? Oh my God!"
Connor happily ate his cereal.
"Oh, why are you surprised that he's in love?" My mom asked me.
"Because I didn't think he'd be CAPABLE of falling in love."
Connor sighed and got up to leave his bowl in the sink. "Hurry up Sis. I don't want to be late to school." With that, he went to brush his teeth.
I took two or three spoonfuls of cereal and hurried to the bathroom. I needed to know what in the world was going on. I had never seen Connor act this way!
"So ... who may I ask are you in love with?" I asked curiously. I reached over to get my toothbrush.
"My, my. Aren't we nosy?" he said, with a mouthful of toothpaste.
"I'm just curious. I mean this girl must be the ONE; for you to have changed your appearance so much in the last twenty-four hours."
I began brushing my teeth, while he rinsed. M He looked at himself in the mirror to make sure he was good to go. "Lauren Goodwin."
I almost choked with the toothpaste in my mouth. I began to rinse my mouth and tried to avoid laughing. "Lauren Goodwin? Are you serious? You're in LOVE with Lauren Goodwin?"
"I know you and your loser friends drool over her, but c'mon! To be in LOVE? She doesn't even know you exist!"
He stood in front of me and crossed his arms. We were twins, but he was so much taller than me. "Oh, is that so? Then why did she ask me to paint her portrait?"
"Uh, because she probably heard that you paint. Duh!"
He smirked, "Yeah? And why did she ask me to go out with her this weekend?"
I swallowed. "Because she wants to charm you; that way she doesn't have to pay for the portrait."
"Oh, jealous are we?" he asked and turned to get some AXE body spray. "Do you mind? I have to spray this on."
I rolled my eyes. "You think she's going to fall in love with you, just because you use that cheap spray?"
He turned to grab my Enchanting Beauty Cream from the counter. "Hey! Give that to me!" I said; but he held it over his head.
"Enchanting Beauty, huh?" he mocked. Then he began to read the label. "Get more beautiful and radiant, by applying this cream two times a day." He read it as if he were in a commercial. I grabbed it from him. He laughed, "I didn't know they put miracles in a bottle."
"Jerk!" I said and left the bathroom.
On the ride to school we argued again. I told him not to fall for Lauren's tricks, but he's a guy. Guys will do anything pretty girls tell them to do.
"What's your problem anyway? I'm going out with Lauren because, for once, someone noticed me."
I looked out the car window. "I'm sure a lot of girls notice you."
He laughed, "Yeah right. So that's why I've had so many dates, huh?"
I felt bad. "Look, I'm sorry I made fun of you."
"I'm not doing this to get back at you, Carrie, if that's what you think. Lauren is very nice and I think she might like me. I know I like her ... A LOT."
"Yeah, I bet," I mumbled. I was glad we got to school fast.
By second period, the word was all over school that my brother and Lauren were an item. Everyone was shocked, including Rachel, Patti and Jamie. The nerd boys all cheered at Connors accomplishment and the jock boys looked embarrassed because Connor got what they never could.
Everyone was asking me questions, like, "Were Lauren and I best friends now." Hell, I never even talked to Lauren! By lunchtime, I'd had enough. My best friends were not making it any easier either.
"Carrie! Oh my God! I can't believe Lauren is going out with Connor!" Jamie exclaimed.
I drank my soda slowly trying not to listen to her.
"Yeah! I mean he looks even kind of hot now. I like his haircut," Rachel added.
"I like the way he's dressed today. I never really noticed how cute your brother is," Patti put her two cents in.
I slammed down my soda can, making some of it splash on the table. My best friends gasped and got quiet. "Look, can't you all see Lauren is just using Connor? She doesn't like him. I know girls like her. They're up to no good!"
Jamie shrugged, "Well ... maybe. If that's the case, at least your brother got some kind of celebrity status for a few days. That must be worth something, don't you think?"
I couldn't believe she'd said that! "Jamie! If a girl likes my brother, I want her to REALLY like him. Not just give him a high and then just forget about him."
Rachel gave me a pity look, "I'm sorry, Carrie. You're right. Your brother deserves more."
I sighed, "No. I'm sorry. I looked up at my three best friends, who all had puzzled looks on their faces.
"We're sorry too, Carrie." Jamie reached out for my hand.
"It's cool. I guess I just don't want my brother to get hurt." I looked over to where Lauren and her crew usually sat. The new addition was Connor. He was staring at Lauren with loving eyes.
I dreaded for Saturday to arrive. That would mean that Lauren was coming over so she and Connor could talk about her portrait and then go out. Besides, Connor wanted her to meet Mom and Dad. I waited in the living room along with Connor and my parents. We all waited for the little princess to arrive. My stomach was hurting already. Connor looked nice in his black slacks and white polo shirt.
"Why do I have to be here?" I pouted.
"Because I think you should talk to your future sister-in-law," Connor joked.
My parents laughed. I didn't.
"Oh Carrie. What's so bad about this girl?" My mom asked.
"Where should I start?"
Connor shot me an angry look.
"She's a snob and a half and she uses people, Mom!"
"What makes you think she's using your brother? What if she really likes him?"
I turned to look at my mom and tried to talk some sense into her. "Mom, Lauren is like the most beautiful girl in school. She's Ms. Everything. All the boys want her and the girls want to be like her. Why would someone like that be interested in Connor?" As soon as the words slipped out, it was too late.
"Gee, thanks Sis. Thanks for thinking so highly of me," Connor said sadly and walked to the kitchen.
My mom raised a brow. "You better apologize to your brother young lady."
I followed Connor into the kitchen where he stood with his back towards me. "Hey, I'm sorry Bro. I just ... I just worry that's all."
He turned to flash me an evil glare. "Don't worry about me."
"Ok. I'm sorry. I hope you and Lauren have a good time tonight," I lied.
He took a deep breath. "Thanks."
He walked back into the living room with Mom and Dad. I lingered behind thinking things over. Maybe I was wrong about Lauren. What if she really did like my brother? True, she wanted a portrait of herself, but why would she ask him out? It's not like she wouldn't have the money to pay him. Knowing Connor, he'd probably do it for free. I decided to give Lauren a chance just for Connor's sake.
Lauren arrived a little after seven. Connor went to greet her. She was wearing a tight cashmere baby blue sweater and dark blue jeans, with black boots. I saw my dads' eyes widen, as he took in her beauty.
"Mom, Dad, this is Lauren Goodwin."
"Well hello there Lauren," my mom greeted her by shaking her hand.
"Hi Mrs. Watson. It's a pleasure to meet you," Lauren said, politely.
"Hello young lady," my dad said with a squeaky voice. I couldn't believe a grown married man was getting a hard on for a Senior Girl. I was quite embarrassed, but wanted to laugh.
"Mr. Watson. Hi. Nice to meet you. You don't even look like Connor's father. I thought you were his older brother."
That made my father blush. My mom was now looking like she was in a pissy mood.
"Oh and this is my sister-"
"Carrie! Oh, hey girl!" Lauren said in such a fake voice. "How are your classes going?"
I blinked. What in the hell was she talking about? She was talking to me like we've been friends forever.
"They're going ok, I guess," I answered surprisingly.
"Yeah, well mine are hectic! I got such a tough schedule! But hey, you should come and sit and have lunch with me and my friends sometime!"
I blinked again. Was she kidding me?
"Well, we're going to be talking about her portrait that I'm doing for her, so if you guys don't mind ... a little privacy," Connor announced.
We got the hint. My parents and I ambled in to the kitchen.
"Well, she seems like a really nice girl," my dad blurted out.
My mom eyed him suspiciously, "I'm sure you think so, Honey."
"What? She is sweet," my father continued.
"Oh yeah. you sure look like Connor's older brother, why with your balding gray hair. Oh yeah, you'd pass for his brother."
My father groaned, "Gina, c'mon now. Don't be jealous."
"And I thought you said she was a snob and never talked to you," my mom scolded me.
I rolled my eyes, "She is! She's acting! Mom, she's a big time FAKE. I mean c'mon, to tell Dad that he looks like Connor's older brother..."
My dad frowned, "Hey! Let me have some compliments thrown to me, will you? I don't get many of them."
My mom put her arms around him. "Oh, don't be such a baby."
I tuned out my parents' mini spat and peeked over to the living room. Connor and Lauren were busy talking. I wondered what they were talking about. Lauren laughed every now and then and gently touched Connor's knee. I felt myself fuming and I couldn't understand why. It was no longer because of Lauren's pretense.
When Connor and Lauren left, I decided to call up Ryan. I needed to get out of the house fast! He picked me up and we went riding downtown. We talked about movies and books and yet, I still couldn't stop thinking about Connor.
We parked near the beach and Ryan put on the radio. He had it on the classic rock station, the one Connor listened to. That only made things worse. I didn't say anything, though. I just laid back and let Ryan talk.
"Jack Ketchum, now he writes pretty scary books! Did you ever read The Girl Next Door? I swear that one gave me nightmares. I watched the movie too and, oh man that was frightening!"
I looked up at the car's ceiling, wondering what Connor and Lauren were doing. Were they already making out? Were they already in bed? It was too soon. Connor wouldn't be that easy would he?
Ryan snapped me out of my thoughts. I looked over at him and smiled. "Yeah. Sorry. I was just ... thinking."
He turned down the station some, making Mick Jagger sound really faint. "You sure you're ok? You seem a bit distant tonight. I just asked you if you've read any of Jack Ketchum's novels."
I sighed, "Oh. Um, yeah. I read Off Season. I think that was the name of it."
He seemed delighted. "Now, THAT is a freaky one!"
I nodded and was going to go back to my thoughts, when I felt Ryan move closer to me. I felt nervous. I didn't want to turn and look at him, because I knew his face would be too close.
"Carrie," he whispered.
I gulped, "Yeah."
"Carrie, look at me," he urged.
I slowly turned to face him and sure enough, he was very close to me. I wanted to kiss Ryan, but I was still sad because of Connor. Damn Connor! So what if he was kissing Lauren right now? So what if he was even having sex with her? Who cares! He's my brother not my boyfriend! Who really cares?
I inched closer to Ryan and our lips met. I'd only kissed two guys before Ryan. Every single kiss is different. Ryan parted his lips too fast. His tongue was desperately searching for mine. He didn't waste any time.
We began kissing hardcore. It was feeling pretty good, until images of Connor came to me. His blue eyes identical to mine, his sweet smile and his gentle way of talking ... I grabbed Ryan and pulled him towards me. I heard him gasp. I kissed him harder. My tongue was so deep inside his mouth. I felt him moving his hands up my shirt. I should have stopped him, but I couldn't. I wanted him ... well not really him. I wanted Connor! Oh God! What in the world? Why would I want Connor? He's my sloppy brother. He's my twin. He's my own flesh and blood! What's wrong with me?
I pushed Ryan away. He was breathing hard and so was I. "I'm sorry. I can't do this," I apologized and looked away. I felt so embarrassed. I felt dirty and yet, I was still turned on.
"Carrie? You ok? I'm sorry if I came on too strong."
I nodded. I wanted to cry. I wasn't jealous of Lauren because she was popular or beautiful. I was jealous, because she was out with the love of my life!
"It's ok. Can you just take me home? I'm sorry."
He didn't say anything else. He cranked up the radio and drove me home. Once we pulled up to my driveway, he turned off the car. I felt him reach over and touch my hair. "You sure you're ok?"
I was holding back the tears, "Yeah. I'll call you ... sometime."
I got out of the car, filled with guilt. I hadn't meant to use Ryan. I just wanted someone to kiss me and touch me for a moment. What the hell was wrong with me?
The next day, Connor was up early. He usually slept in Sunday mornings, but not that morning. He was whistling some Led Zeppelin song, while he poured himself some orange juice. Mom and Dad had gone to church that morning.
"Good morning, my dear sister," he said, as soon as he saw me.