Conner didn't really know how to break this to Bree. Actually, he didn't want too.
It was just one night. The Christmas formal and some girl who was a senior asked him to the dance.
"It was actually decided before..I had anything to do with it." There. It was the truth. "My parents know her parents." He squinted, wishing he could stuff the homemade chocolate chip cookies, that Bree brought him, in his mouth..instead of having this conversation after school.
They'd met up at the library. There was a movie showing in the YA room. It wasn't a date, but it could be.
She was quiet, as if she might be in coming down with something. He ate a cookie as she went to put the plastic container back in her backpack.
"You're getting really good at making these." He finally said. But their walk was beginning to be slower as they walked down by the baseball field.
"Look, you know, this thing..with my brother." He sighed. "Its just I dunno what my parents are trying to prove. Everything is not OK."
But she said nothing for the longest time as they shuffled through the snow covered sidewalk.
"OK. I get it. You're a Freshman. I'm just an eighth grader." She finally looked up at him. "You're going to go out with somebody in high school."
He wanted another cookie.
"I don't want to go out with anyone who's older than me." He confessed.Conner started thinking of all the ways he could act sick. He doubted it would work. All he had was the "doe in the headlights" look going for him. He suspected, and of course, being Jared's little brother which was something he wished he didn't have to hear. Ever again.
He liked this with Bree. It was quaint to be at her house. He loved the suppers there, and he'd never been able to talk to anyone like Bree.
He wanted to look at her, but he kept focused on her pink snowboots. Just as they got to the corner, there was a slick spot, unnoticeable, but he could feel it coming.
Conner grabbed the sleeve of her coat. He landed first into the snowbank and Bree fell next to him. Conner was sure this was going to be better than any Christmas formal. He laughed and so did Bree.
"I'm so excited for you!" Essie set in the floor of Syreeta's room hemming her shiny dress for the Christmas formal. "Keith sounds..well, like a real Prince Charming."
She'd made time to do this. To be here for Syreeta. After all, she did get her phone back and had sat a couple of hours with her mother..in her mother's kitchen, talking about Brother Caleb. But nothing about what she had to do with him.
A part of her felt she had no time for friends or anyone as of late. But she really didn't want to think about the last few months.
She'd called home, like Scott asked her too... to find out that Caleb ditched the church. Had vanished in fact, with the church savings. Thankfully, her parents were relieved she hadn't ran off with him. A reprieve perhaps, but she hadn't exactly gone home..just yet. And her family was OK with that. It was as if they didn't want her at church right now, anyway.
It was a strange tale that she really didn't want to go into detail with anyone. Her whereabouts. She told them not to worry. She was staying with a friend. She just didn't mention Scott.
Essie wasn't sure she could go back to her parents. She told them she was looking for a job. It was time for her to be on her own. Except, she wasn't. She still needed time to think this through. She didn't know what to tell them about her pregnancy. She didn't mention it to Syreeta, either.
No, this was Syreeta's night and it felt golden. Possibly, a moment Essie would never quite know, but she could at least find some joy in it when she watched Syreeta get ready for her big date.
"He must really be amazing." Essie sighed. Of course, she was thinking of Scott. She slightly teared up. Damn, if everything didn't make her emotional these days. She knew she should not be thinking of him. He was only a friend.
"I dunno..about that." Syreeta seemed to be on pins and needles as if she, herself, was moving very carefully through this fly by night romance that happened only a few weeks ago. "I mean, he calls. Keith shows up at school. He has this..this irresistible smile."
"Yeah, I can see that. I can see he makes you happy." Essie told her. Wasn't that what everyone was searching for? Someone who could make you smile just at the thought of them.
Essie didn't want to think of Caleb. Especially, since he had taken all the church's money with him. A part of her hoped no one would ever know who her baby's father was.