“No, Nikki! Don’t pull it out!”
“Katie, you’ve been complaining about this tooth for two weeks now! It’s practically falling out of your mouth!” She could be so frustrating sometimes! Her tooth has been loose for almost three weeks and it’s finally ready to come out. It’s about time too! Katie has been driving us all up the wall with her non-stop tooth-wiggling! Problem is she’s too scared to let me pull it out.
“I’ll tell you what,” I said, exasperated. “Let me just tie the floss around it, and then you can pull it out. Deal?”
She looked me over—distrusting me. Finally she agreed.
“Okay, but you have to promise to let me do it. Not like the last time!”
I chuckled at the memory. I had told her the same thing, and pulled her tooth out anyways.
“I promise, Katie. Now open up!” I tied the floss around her tooth—man, was it ever loose!—and tightened it. “Just let me make sure it’s tight enough—“ And with that, I yanked the tooth out.
“OUCH!” she cried, clutching her mouth. “Nikki! You promised!”
I showed Katie my crossed fingers, laughing at the shocked expression she wore. I gave her some gauze to stop the bleeding and handed her the tooth.
“I’m not going to let you near my mouth, ever again!” she yelled.
I turned my back on her and walked away. “That’s what you said last time,” I chuckled. “And the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that!”
I shut the door to my room, Katie’s shrill voice screaming, “MOM!”
I opened my eyes to the sound of my cell-phone vibrating. Groaning, I rolled over to look at my alarm clock. Who the hell is calling me at ten in the morning? It’s Saturday! Angrily, I answered the phone, internally cursing the caller to the fiery depths of Hades.
“What do you want?” I croaked.
“Nikki, honey, get up!” my dad ordered.
“Dad?” Okay, now I was confused. “Why are you calling me? Aren’t you at home?”
“Yes, I’m upstairs. The refrigerator guy is here. Get dressed and get your butt upstairs.”
“He’s very good looking, sweetheart…”
Sighing, I rolled out of bed. This is just like him, I thought, thoroughly irritated. Waking me up, just because I apparently need a boyfriend.
After taking a quick shower, getting dressed, and brushing my teeth, I went upstairs. Dad was right: he was cute!
“Hi.” I said.
Oh, great, I thought. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep! Gay-dar alert! Why is it always the good looking ones…
My dad’s voice interrupted my train of thought.
“Thanks so much for installing the fridge for us!”
“Oh, it was no problem.” He opened the door to leave, when my dad decided to fully embarrass the both of us.
“You know, as soon as you leave, Nicole here is going to go on and on about how good looking you are!”
Turning bright red, I yelled, “DAD!”
“Umm, actually, I’m taken.” He replied awkwardly.
No dad, please for the love of all that is Holy, don’t!
He did. “Well, she must be very lucky.”
“Yes, he and I are very happy together.”
As soon as the door shut, I hit my dad. “How, could you embarrass me like that?!” I cried. “He was so obviously gay!”
“Sorry, I guess my ‘gayness-radar’ isn’t as good as yours.” He laughed to himself.
Shaking my head, I sighed. There were just some things he would never get right.
“Please, don’t do this to me.” I could hear Sarah begging with someone. Oh well, I thought. I can’t fall asleep anyways. I crept out of my room and saw Sarah talking to someone on the phone. She was…crying.
“Dante, don’t,” she sobbed. “I love you.” After a pause, she hung up the phone and broke down.
I rushed over to Sarah and wrapped my arms around her. “Sarah, what’s wrong?” I asked.
She replied between sobs. “Dante…broke…up…with…me!” she wailed.
“Oh Sarah.” I felt so bad for her. Dante was always such a jerk. I was glad that she wasn’t dating such an asshole anymore, but my heart still broke for her. I knew I couldn’t say anything to make her feel better, so I just held her and let her soak my shirt with her tears. After all, what are little sisters for?
“Here, Nicole, try this one on!”
I groaned. I swear, I think that my mom takes me shopping, just because she knows how much I hate it!
I picked up the dress that had flown over the change room door and resisted gagging.
There was no way in Hell that I was ever going to be seen in something that had so much pink! And worse, more frills than a carnation! Ugh! It was a monstrosity!
“Mom,” I whined. “I can’t wear this! It’s horrible! I sooo don’t like stuff like this!”
I opened the change room door to see my mom pouting. “You just don’t like it because I picked it out.” Of course: the guilt card. She always knew exactly when to play it. She knew that I was powerless against it.
“Fine.” I sighed. I would put on the…dress…just long enough for her to see it. Then it would be out of my life for good.
As I slipped the thing on—eww, silk!—I cursed myself for being so weak willed against my mother’s wishes. I checked myself out in the mirror before opening the door. It was repulsing! I looked like a brunette Barbie!
“Oh, honey, you look adorable!!” my mother crowed. Well, as long as she’s happy…
Before I could slink back behind the door, a couple of boys from my class walked by, noticed me and the horrendous pink…thing…I was wearing, and snickered at me. It was mortifying!
Why does my mom have to have such horrible taste in clothes? I asked myself.
Closing the door behind me, I shrugged off the dress and savored the sensation of putting my jeans back on. Denim; it was just like therapy to me.
I was dancing around my room in gym shorts and an old shirt, singing ACDC’s “Back in Black” at the top of my lungs into my hairbrush. Yes, this is normal for me.
In the middle of an especially epic air-guitar solo—if I do say so myself,—Leo barges into my room. Immediately, I stop what I’m doing and try to look normal.
“H-hey Leo,” I stammered. “What’re you doing here? I thought you were over at Nathan’s.”
Giving me a weird look, he demands “Why did you stop?” Pulling his drumsticks out from behind his back, he smiles.
With Leo on drums and me on guitar, we made a pretty good air-band.
I felt a twinge of happiness at these memories. But I was still too overcome with grief to crack even the tiniest of smiles. Of course, I couldn’t only remember happy times. So many times of sadness, anger, hurt, and envy ran through my mind. I also remembered fights I had gotten into over stupid things like boys and who gets to pick the movie we watched. One particular fight played on repeat in my mind.
“Arg! You stupid phone!” Thump! Sarah’s shouting and the sound of something hitting the wall woke me up. I looked at my clock; 1:43am. Why was Sarah still yelling at her phone?!
My door burst open and I cringed at the light that seeped in. “Nicole, give me your phone,” Sarah ordered.
“What? Why?” I croaked
“Because mine isn’t working and I need to talk to Evan.” Of course. Evan. Sarah’s newest guy. I wasn’t about to give her my phone though. I was almost out of minutes.
So I lied. “I can’t. It’s dead. But you know,” I started, “there’s this new thing I invented called a land-line. Why don’t you call him on that?”
“Fine!” she cried. “You don’t have to be such a bitch about it though!”
“I’m the bitch?!” Sure, I’m a bit cranky, but I’m tired! I thought. She’s the one waking me up at quarter to two in the morning and demanding my phone!
“What’s that supposed to mean?!” she hissed.
“You woke me up at this hideous time in the morning, on a school night to boot, and call me a bitch for telling you to call your stupid boyfriend on the house phone! You are such a hypocrite!” Sarah opened her mouth to talk but I wasn’t finished. “You push me around all the time and I’m sick of it! All I do is support you! Remember when Dante dumped you?! I was there to pick up the pieces. But not anymore. Go find someone else to boss around!”
Sarah stormed out of my room. She looked so…hurt. Maybe that was harsh, I thought, but she needed to hear it. I did the right thing…I think.
Sarah didn’t talk to me the next three days. I thought about apologizing quite a few times, but I was still angry. I wanted to hear her say “sorry” first.
On the fourth day, I wasn’t angry anymore. Now I just felt bad. I was brushing my hair when I decided to make things right. After dinner, I decided.
“Come on Nikki!” my brother called. “We’re leaving!”
“Coming, Leo!” I yelled back. I finished brushing my hair and ran out of the house. “Why are we going to Mr. and Mrs. Chase’s house again?”
“I’m sorry, Sarah,” I whispered.
“I am so, so sorry.”