Amber returned from lunch and came in and sat across from me.
“Do you love her?” she asked. She reached over and brushed the hair out of my eyes. I wondered who took care of whom sometimes.
“Charly. Do you love her?” I stared out the window. “You know, it’s just an observation, but did you ever notice what a label whore you’ve become?” This wasn’t on topic at all. But, it did give me the opportunity to avoid the original question.
“I’ve watched you. Since you’ve started hanging out with Charly you’ve bought fifteen Tommy shirts. Did you know that? You’ve started wearing Nautica. Did you ever do that around my sister?”
“It was different.”
“I was. . .Sara was just. . .” I was fumbling. No words were rushing out offering to be the pace car for a complete sentence. Little eddies of them were scrambling around begging for order and logic.
“Always there?” I looked at her.
“You mean, like I took her for granted?”
“No. I’m not saying that at all. All I’m saying is, and I’m not saying don’t explore everything with Charly–believe me–I love the girl–she’s great. But, what I’m saying is, all this time you’ve been looking for that On Golden Pond love you were all puddling up on–and maybe you’ve been swimming in it for twenty years, treading water. It’s possible.” She probably made more sense than I wanted to admit.
“A label whore, huh? Is that in your book?” She dug in her back pocket and flipped pages.
“It comes right before lack-a-nookie,” she said, peering at the page.
“Is there a picture of me next to that one?”
“At least you know what the beast looks and smells like.”
“You’re only sixteen.”
“And probably the only virgin left in my class, you do realize that, right?”
“Well, I’m proud of you.”
“I’m touched beyond belief. Let’s get back to your sex life, not my non-existent one. I’m not about to give up the goods to any of the McDumbasses at my school. I’ll just wait for the right guy, thank you very much.”
. . .from the forthcoming novel. . .Dreamers on the Rise