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   Chapter 20 A Love...Something

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 13399

Updated: 2017-12-05 19:04


Dad rubs his eyes, straightening the crook of his tie. He peers over my shoulder at the boys on our couch. "Monet," he says. There are dark circles under his eyes. "This is the third boy." He drums his fingers to his crumpled collar. "I“m starting to worry."

And believe it or not, after two cups of coffee and a deep-fried twinkie, I can“t even smile.

Chip sits up, a paper cup of cream-swirled coffee pinched between his forefinger and thumb. His hands are shaking. Kai tends to him, asking him what went wrong, cooing to him that everything will be alright, brushing out the boy“s hair with my wooden comb as if Chip is his personal plastic pony. Finn presses his face in his hands, reddened skin peeking through his fingers.

"They“re just friends."

Dad crosses his arms, his voice steadily rising. "I just want to know why, when I wake up, there“s a blonde passed out on my couch. This can“t be normal. I called two of my colleagues, and they agree, this isn“t normal. What are you up to?"

"Dad, I“m sixteen."

"Exactly."

"Do you know any sixteen-year-olds with a harem?" My foot taps. Getting snappy with Dad isn“t usual for me. I am more coffee than girl, now, and any second my sinuses will explode. I am fried with caffeine, and all I can think about is last night.

"The only sixteen-year-old girl I know of, beside you, is Mayweather“s niece. Who“s pregnant."

I stand up. Father-daughter talks don“t happen in this house because both father and daughter respectively suck at them. Last time Dad tried to explain the delicacies of baby-production and my flourishing womanhood, we both sat in collective awkward silence, silently begging for the merciful release of death. He got my aunt—the one I don“t even know the name of—to explain them instead.

"Dad, we can talk about this later. I gotta go to school." I“m hoping in Trig, I“ll come to an epiphany. Staring at the squiggles of numbers, the clues will snap together. I“ll “Aha“ and my brain will light up like a Christmas tree. Dad presses his mouth into a hard frown. "And the carnival."

"Your mother said—"

I told her not to say anything to Dad. And what did she do? I punt my backpack clean across the room with a single kick. "It“s nothing," I say, just as the bag slams into the shelves. Ancient books crash to the floor in a heap of yellow pages. "She wasn“t—"

"She wasn“t what?" Dad regards me calmly. Under his relaxed gaze, I feel all shriveled up, like a little kid. "What aren“t you telling me, Monet?"

A blush rises to my cheeks. On the couch, the three boys are staring. Dad intends to have it, right here, right now, no matter what it is. And it makes me angry, all at once, that my parents say I can tell them anything, and then they spread my secrets. That they encourage me to be uncompromisingly honest when they intend to embarrass me with that honesty.

I clench my fists at my sides, then let them fall loose. "Persephone Jamison," I say carefully, pronouncing the name slowly to emphasise the delicacy of it, the whispery “S“, the soft second “p“, the way the “e“ lingers. It“s a nice name. "And I have been meeting in private. I kind of like her, you know, she“s, uh, she“s cute."

Finn snorts. "I thought you liked Max." Chip stares down at his lap.

"I do!" My hands fly up. "I think Max is cute and I like like him. I just, you know, like Percy too. And I don“t know if she likes girls, so..."

He laces his hands behind his head. "Well, Monet, you aren“t just any girl." His eyes are such an intense green, they remind me of Percy“s. The words, too, make my hands sweaty. Finn being nice to me is too damned weird. I turn away, toward my dad.

This not the way I planned to explain my sexuality to my dad or to my friends. Actually, I don“t think I planned to explain it at all, but this, this hiding my superheroness with it, it flushes me with shame. But the secret is kept, and no one cares, which isn“t surprising, because Kai likes dudes and Dad“s been pushing for more fund

graces, slips the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack into the disc-player and we belt along, because if there“s anything I love, it“s a little chill-fi, a little rock, and cheesy cheesy broadway. With the window rolled down, we blast it.

The car pulls into the parking lot by the time I get to screaming "Sing, my ANGEL!" and Kai is choking on the random notes that follow. I jump the white strip on the parking lot, fists pumping at my sides, phone clenched in a sweaty ball of fingers. And I run the stairs as well, hoping Finn brought the suit, and a mask, too, one with a lot of sparkles and feathers so I don“t look like me when I“m Onyx.

I don“t recognize the boy leaned on my door, not at first. The tight high ponytail, the sideswept gold bangs. The crooked blue bowtie and the carnation pinned on the lapel of the stiff black suit.

His eyes, a beautiful, striking green. The deepest shade I“ve ever seen, round and gem-like. He offers me a nervous smile, clenching the bouquet of little white flowers in both hands. It“s only the blue dress draped over the crook of his elbow that tips me off.

"Finn." My voice cracks. My heart slams in my drumming fingertips. "Wow, uh, you look pretty...neat."

And all I“m thinking is, wow, not only am I perpetually surrounded by crying boys, but I“m perpetually surrounded by hot ones as well.

"Yeah." He blinks a few times, probably getting used to the contacts. "Um, Monet?"

I“ve taken steps back against the railing, the radiance blinding. "“Um?“ Did Finn—Our Finn—“um?“"

He collects himself. Straightens up, and holds out the bouquet toward me. It doesn“t hit me what“s happening until I look into the little white petals, into his big eyes, which look wider and less guarded than ever before. For the first time, he looks more than half-awake.

"Will you go out with me tonight?"

The question hits me like an anvil to the heart. I stare at him, panicking. The trainwreck gushes on and on. I can“t stop it. "I-I can“t. I“m going with Max. I mean, I guess we can dance a few times, if you want, I don“t know exactly what a date means in this c-context—I—"

He nods, leaning back with an awkward shrug. "Yeah, yeah, it“s cool." He squints at a palm tree in the distance, and it“s the flash of expression on his face that cuts me even deeper than broken ribs.

Some part of me knows that tonight will mean a lot of changes. That something has just shifted between Finn and me. That I“ve made some seemingly inconsequential choice that like the wingbeats of a butterfly, will change everything for us.

But when I push the door open, all I can think of muttering is, "A love quadrilateral. Whodathunk?"

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