Chapter Nine: Girls Are So Ridiculous

Walking down the hallway after rolling out of bed is never a pleasant thing- but walking down the hallway after rolling out of bed and having to listen to yourself sing is even worse. I can hear my voice coming from Isaac's bedroom.

I stand outside of his room and lean in towards the crack where the door isn't completely closed. "Lucy" plays from Isaac's speakers. I cringe at the pitch of my voice. I push the door open a tiny bit- just enough to peak inside. Isaac is laying on his floor listening to the music and looking over sheet music. I cannot help but smile. It's nice to hear us sing together again.

Isaac sorts through the sheets and sheets of music, his brow furrowed and concentrating carefully. Isaac is the type to make many facial expressions. When he is happy he smiles this big toothy (and dorky might I say) smile. When he's upset his eyes squint and his eyebrows come down. His look of concentration is equally expressive.

I make my way down the hall to the girls' bathroom. Taylor is in ours- trying to get rid of his terrible hang over with hot water.

I swing the door open and hear a scream. I slam my eyes closed, "Not looking!" I yelp

Avery shoves me out and closes the door fast. "I was halfway naked!"

"I didn't see anything!" I insist, honestly.

"Learn to knock Zachary Hanson!"

"Well get out. I want to brush my teeth." I tell her, holding my toothbrush at my side.

"Why where are you going?"

"Nowhere? I'm just a normal human being who enjoys having good hygiene?"

She opens the door and stands there with a towel wrapped around her body, eyeing me suspiciously. She looks me up and down and walks off to her room.

I walk after her, "What was that look supposed to mean!?"

She slams her bedroom door in my face. Girls are so ridiculous. Them with their creepy looks. I remember Ellie used to have the most obnoxious looks. She would always look at me like I was doing something I shouldn't be doing. She looked at me with this very disapproving look and then when I thought she was mad at me she would wonder why!

I remember one time Ellie gave me a look that led to a big argument. It was the most ridiculous thing…

Taylor, Ellie, me, Jessica, and our neighbor named Kyle (who was my and Ellie's age) sat around our kitchen table with a stack of playing cards.

Ellie held hers fanned out in front of her face, hiding them. She was always convinced people were peeking at her cards.

Taylor set down two cards, "Two jack's." He said, putting his hand over his mouth and looking around at the rest of us nonchalantly.

"Bullshit," I pointed at him.

"Stoppit, Zac!" He said, grabbing all the cards and pulling them to him.

"I can't help it! You're a lousy liar!"

"You're calling everyone on bullshit! And you're always right!" He exclaimed

"I am good at noticing lying I guess," I shrugged, "one queen."

Everyone examined my face and once Kyle had decided not to call me on it, he put down a card. "One king."

"Were you lying?" Ellie asked me.

Yes I was, but I was not going to tell her that. I was not stupid enough to announce it like Taylor did every time so everyone could notice what I did when I was lying. "No."

Taylor nudged Ellie, "Eloise, go, Jess already went." Taylor addressed her, using her full name.

She glared at him and tried to look mad, but a grin tugged at the corners of her mouth. She put down a card, "One five."

We all stared at her for a second. "Ellie," I say, "You're on Ace's."

You could see the panic in her face. "That's what I meant. One ace."

We all threw our heads back in giggles. "Bullshit!" Taylor yelled at her and shoved the cards at her.

She laughed, "Wow. I'm an idiot. I said the card I put down, not the card I was supposed to put down." She nudged Taylor, "Jordan, go." She gave him an innocent smile.

"Hey now…" He said, sorting through his cards.

"Oh you started it so don't hey now me!"

He grinned and pulled some cards out of his hand. He has most of the deck at this point. "Let's see if I can find a 2 in this deck…" He said sarcastically, pulling out 4 cards and placing them on the place. "Four 2's! Anyone want to call me on it?"

We would be idiots too. No one ever puts down four unless they have it.

"Yeah, bullshit!" Ellie exclaims.

Taylor looked at her shocked.

"I'm joking!" She laughed.

"NO! You called me on it!" Taylor laughed, pushing the cards to her.

"I was joking!" She said, anger tingling in her voice. She's very competitive.

"Nope. You said bullshit." He insisted

She looked around the table at the rest of us. "I was joking guys! Tell him to stop!"

Annoyed at her for flirting with Taylor (which although they had been doing it for a couple months at this point it still bothered me) I nodded with Taylor. "You said it."

She threw her hands up in the air is disgust and pulled the cards in. "Fine, I'll kill all of you at this game anyway." She looked directly at Taylor, "Mr. I have the entire deck in my hand."

I put down two threes (without lying!) and Ellie looked at me. "Call me if you want," I told her.

She didn't give a suspicious look but a really mad look. She raised her eyebrows, stared for a second, and then shook her head slightly before looking back down at her hand. I sat there racking my mind why she would give me that angry look. What had I done?

The whole rest of the game all I could think about was why she gave me that look. When Kyle won, I got up, put my cards down, and went outside. I walked over to the swing set and sat on a swing.

I pumped hard out of confusion. The whole thing with Taylor and Ellie flirting had been weird for me, but when she was giving me angry looks on top of that it was even harder. Taylor and Ellie weren't even dating yet- but it was still weird to see your two best friends interested in each other- especially when they leave you out sometimes.

After a couple minutes Ellie appeared outside. She ran over to me- her loose curls bouncing against her back. At age 15, she was really looking like a teenage girl. I on the other hand, with my limp hair that rested on my shoulders and my body too small for my now huge shoulders, felt gawky and awkward compared to her.

She stood in front of me for a second, just looking at me, being careful not to get hit by my feet.

"Why are you mad at me?" She asked, her hands on her hips.

"I'm not. Why would you think that?"

"Because you're pumping faster than it takes Isaac to decide if he is going to have sex with a girl." She grinned, making a common crack at Isaac. In truth, Isaac really didn't have a lot of sex. But he was 19 and I think he had it with two girls at that point. It was enough to tease him about. I didn't laugh at her attempt to make me smile. That would be losing and I was very angry.

She got on the swing next to me and rocked along, running the tip of her sneaker into the oval of dirt underneath the swing.

"Well seriously, what did I do?" She asked

"What do you think?"

"You're mad at me for showing an interest in your brother?"

"No! I'm not! He can have you Ellie. I certainly don't want you when you're making stupid, angry looks at me."

"What are you talking about?" She frowned

"That mad look you gave me at the table!"

"Zac, you're being delusional. I didn't give you any look." Delusional was her new word. She loved using it.

"Oh so I guess you and Taylor touching each other the entire game was also another one of my delusions!" I jumped off the swing, catapulting myself into the air, and turned to her. Wood chips dug into my feet but I didn't care.

"No, that actually happened," she said smugly.

I wanted to kick her. Unable to take it any longer I walked off finding a spot on the grass to sit on- my back to Ellie. A couple moments later I could hear the grass swishing.

"Zac," She said a couple feet away from me, "I think you're just jealous that Taylor and I are spending more time together." She sat down close to me. I glared at her. How dare she? Me? Jealous of them? Hah!

"Yeah right. I don't care who you date or who you spend time with. It's when you start treating me like crap that I get mad."

"Jealous…" She sing sang.

In my fury, I ripped a fist full of grass from the ground and chucked it at her face. "Shut up Ellie!" I exclaimed. It was pretty juvenile. I admit it completely. But it was the only thing I could think to do.

She gasped at me and wiped the grass from her eyes and mouth. "What the hell?"

"Sorry…" I said quietly, feeling instantly ashamed of my immaturity.

"What is going on with you Zac?"

"Nothing! Nothing…It just sucks."

"What sucks?"

"You and Taylor! I don't care if you date. I don't want you or anything El, I just don't like being put at second place for Taylor. We always made fun of Taylor!"

"Well…he's proven himself to be more than just your annoying big brother, Zac. Just cause he's number one it doesn't mean you can't be number one too. I still spend more time with you."

"Yeah but for how long…"

"I promise I won't neglect you for Tay. I swear."

I looked at her, searching her face for sincerity. "Okay," I nodded. "Sounds good." The truth is it didn't sound good. I didn't want to share first place with Taylor. Ellie was my friend first. I had to share everything else with the kid- friends, video games, clothes, fans. I didn't want to share Ellie too. But I kept my mouth shut.

"Zac? You're not jealous at all? Sometimes you don't wish it were different between us? Because you can tell me if you feel that way."

I thought carefully before shaking my head quickly. "No way, Ellie. You're my best friend and that's it. Why, you don't wish it were do you?"

"Nah. The thought of kissing you make me feel nauseas."

I laughed at her joke, since that was the point of it. But inside I felt angry. I didn't want to kiss Ellie. But nauseas, Ellie? I didn't realize I was that revolting.

We laid back on the grass together and looked at the sky. I grinned and tapped her, "Oh, and I don't think I was pumping as quickly as it takes Isaac to decide about sex. I was pumping as fast as the length of his actual erection." We lay there laughing, our whole bellies going up and down from our chuckles. Ellie imitated the scene in our minds and tears flowed out of our eyes from laughter. Ellie was certainly no more than just a best, best friend.


Chapter Ten