My mother digs into her purse and produces a small case with a Superman logo on it.
“Clever,” I laugh. “I bet Clark Kent had the same case.” I put the glasses inside and secure it shut. “If you wear these all the time, you’re gonna make yourself dizzy. Only wear them when you need them.”
“But they make things look weird,” Max says. “It’s funny.”
“It’ll be funny until you trip walking down some stairs or straight into a wall… and they aren’t cheap, Max. You need to take good care of them. Okay?”
“Okay.” He immediately takes them back out of the case and puts them back on.
“What did your brother just tell you?” Mom asks.
“I’m gonna go read!” he argues, grabbing the unopened letter and running out of my room.
“Is that from Livvy?” My mother looks away as she asks.
“Yeah,” I say, getting up. I’m not afraid he’ll read something he’s not supposed to. He’s not used to cursive writing, and most of Livvy’s letters were written with such emotion that her penmanship seemed rushed, and messy.
“I met Audrey,” she adds, moving aside to let me out of my room.
“Yeah?” I don’t really want to discuss any of the women in my life with her.
“I didn’t realize you had a date tonight.”
“She was so good with Max. Really sweet. And so pretty.”
“I’m glad you approve,” I say, not really caring one way or another. I find my brother hidden on the side of his bed in the next room. The slurping of his milkshake gives him away. When I hold my palm out, he returns the letter to me, unopened. “Glasses?”
He hands me those, as well, after putting them in the case. “Are you gonna kiss Audrey?”
“Max, come on.” I turn around to see my mother sitting on Will’s bed. I blush, embarrassed by his question. I’d been wondering that myself all day. “Some things aren’t any of your business. Livvy’s letter? None of your business. What I do tonight? None of your business.”
“What are you doing tonight?” Will asks, joining us in the room but lingering in the doorway.
“Going out with Audrey from the glasses place. Remember?”
“You gonna have sex with her?”
“Will!” my mother tries to reprimand him, but he just rolls his eyes, ignoring her.
“You still mad at me for asking her out?” I challenge him.
“What’s sex?” Max asks.
Mom takes that as her queue to leave, but urges my youngest brother to go with her. “He didn’t say sex,” she lies. “Will said Chex… like the cereal. ‘You gonna have Chex with her?’ That’s what he said.”
“You can’t have Chex at night! It’s for breakfast,” he says before he’s yanked from the room.
“Actually, you can have Chex any time of the day, Max,” I yell after them, happy that my mother may actually need to step in and teach my brother something. It’s about time.
“Whatever!” she calls back to me. “I would hope that you would wait to have Chex with this girl!”
“Whatever,” I whisper to myself, glaring at Will. “What was that about? If you have something to say to me, do it. Don’t try to make things uncomfortable in front of Mom… don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing when you take your long showers. I was your age once. I could point that out to her, if you really want to compete.”
“Shut up.” We both take a seat on opposite beds.
“You can’t be mad at me for this. She’s the one who made the suggestion to go out on a date, Will.”
“You didn’t have to ask her out.”
“I’m interested in her. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t take her out…”
“I liked her.”
“I promise you, Will, if she was some seventeen-year-old girl that you’d known for any reasonable amount of time, I would never have asked her out. Even though that’s an incredibly unrealistic expectation for you to think some senior in high school is going to want to go out with you, I know there are some lines you don’t cross. But face it, she showed you some sunglasses for five minutes.”
“But she said I was cute!”
“Her job is to sell glasses, Will. She gets paid to make people feel better about themselves.” I know by saying that, I’m likely making him feel pretty crappy about himself. “The truth hurts,” I add. “But I’m sure she wasn’t lying… you favor me, and she’s interested in me, so… of course she thinks you’re cute.”
“You didn’t even let me have a chance.”
“You want to come with us tonight? We’ll fight it out. We’ll make her pick. I mean, is that what you want?”
“I just don’t want you to go with her.”
“What… if you can’t be happy, I shouldn’t be happy, either? That’s pretty selfish.”
“She can’t make you happy,” he says. “You can’t be happy without Livvy.”
“Livvy is not my girlfriend anymore.”
“But you’re still holding her letter in your hand.”
…to be continued…
Dear Jon (Choisie 3) ©2014 Lori L. Otto