FOREVER AND ALWAYS
I was sitting in last period, anticipating the ringing of the bell. I just wanted to get out of school, but I don’t exactly want to go back to my aunt’s house. At eight o’clock, I’d be on my way back to school for homecoming. I’m not exactly excited for it. I barely know Maddox, and he doesn’t seem very fond of me. However, he hasn’t cancelled on me and I have a feeling he would’ve by now if he felt like he wasn’t going to show up. Unless he wanted to wait until the last minute so I’d feel like absolute and utter crap. Then again, if he said he didn’t want to go, I wouldn’t be that sad. I guess I just don’t want to spend four hours with him, especially because I’m depending on Vivica for a ride home, and if she sees that I’m having a bad time, she’ll refuse to take me home until the school staff kick us out at eleven o’clock. She’s still mad at me for many things, most of which I’m unsure about. I stopped caring after Wednesday. As long as she brings me to school and back, I’m fine.
Even if Maddox ditches me, I’d still have to go. My aunt bought me a dress and shoes and as far as she’s concerned, I really like this boy. To put it simply, it’d be embarrassing if he cancels on me. He could’ve already canceled without telling me. He’d probably just not show up. I bet he won’t show up. We haven’t talked since Tuesday, and he didn’t seem very happy with me then, probably because I led him on an unintentional wild goose chase to my house on Monday. Or maybe it was the fact that I bumped into him.
Once the bell rang, I immediately began packing up my stuff. Everyone else was doing the same. Mrs. Reanna is the type of teacher to yell at you if you make a move to put something back in your bag before the bell rings. I jolted in surprise when a voice spoke in the quiet classroom. And it was directed towards me. “Are we still on for tonight?” Maddox asked in a strained voice.
I turned around as I swung my bag over my shoulder. Cassidy and Winona stood behind him, staring at me with a grin. “Yeah,” I nodded, giving them each a confused look.
He groaned and Winona elbowed him in the side. Through gritted teeth, he spoke: “Do you need a ride?”
I thought about it. Would I rather sit through a tense, awkward ride with Maddox or a loud, obnoxious ride with my cousin and her friends where they’d make fun of me and I’d have to refrain from ripping the door off its hinges and slapping them all across their faces with it? It isn’t much of a competition, to be honest. “Yeah,” I responded.
“What’s the address again?” he asked me and I had a feeling Cassidy was pinching his side because he was cringing away from her.
“I’ll write it down,” I told him as I reached for my bag.
“Or she’ll just text it to you,” Winona snapped.
“Or you can text it to me,” he blurted and I was cringing for him. The two girls were using him like a puppet, poking and pinching him to get him to speak.
“I don’t have your number,” I responded.
He dug into his pocket, grabbing his phone and I guess Winona pinched him because he tossed it at me as he let out a girlish squeal. I shuffled to catch it, almost dropping it several times. He had a terrified look on his face as he watched me fight gravity to grab the phone.
I noticed that his phone didn’t have a lock on it. Huh, unusual. “Don’t touch anything,” he told me in his normal, threatening voice. I glanced at him and his back arched as Cassidy pinched him. “Or touch whatever you want.” His voice rose with each word he said.
I took my time adding a contact, glancing up at him judgmentally every so often to give off the idea that I was reading his messages. I honestly did look up at him judgmentally once when I saw that he had several different female contacts. He had four Emma’s and five Jessica’s, if that gives you an idea of the list he had. When I finished, I handed him back his phone and he snatched it, earning a pinch from Winona.
“I’ll just text you when I’m going to leave my house. Reply with the address then,” he told me. Winona and Cassidy dropped their hands and he sighed in relief, hunching over.
“I’ll see you later,” I responded as he left the classroom. He didn’t bother to acknowledge my farewell. Cassidy, Winona, and I exited the classroom and began walking in the same direction. “What was that about?”
“He didn’t want to talk to you about your plans,” Winona explained. “So we had to use some force to get him to.”
“Oh,” I muttered. If he didn’t want to go with me, why didn’t he just cancel? I’d rather go alone than go with someone who would constantly complain about my presence, which is something Maddox would do.
Vivica was waiting impatiently in her car. She muttered something about not waiting on me again when I buckled my seatbelt and I sighed. Halfway home, I turned to look at her. “I don’t need a ride to homecoming.”
“Why? Did he cancel on you?” she smirked.
I rolled my eyes. “No, he’s bringing me.”
She didn’t bother to respond and only continued driving in her angry, dangerous manner.
I got ready much quicker than the other girls, who arrived at the house at four thirty. I started getting ready at six and was completely prepared at 6:30. Given, I showered at 3:30 and curled my hair at four o’clock, but I wasn’t in my dress. It wasn’t until six that I got into my outfit, put on perfume, and then packed a small purse. I didn’t put on makeup, mainly because I never learned how to. I only have an older brother and a younger brother, and my mother never wore makeup. There was no one to teach me. And I don’t want to try and end up looking stupid because I followed a professional YouTuber’s tutorial.
I planned on watching a movie until 7:30 or so, when I thought Maddox would come and get me, but he came a lot earlier than I planned. At 6:40, I got a text message from him, telling me that he’s leaving his house and I responded with the address. I grabbed my jacket and put it on, walking down the stairs with my purse over my shoulder. “You look so pretty!”
I smiled at my aunt. “Thank you,” I told her.
“Red is your color,” she smiled at me.
I heard a car honking outside and she quirked an eyebrow. “That for you?”
“Yeah, I got to go,” I told her.
“You’re to be home by twelve!” she called. My eyes widened. My mother and father would’ve given me until nine. Of course I was never home by nine, but I usually gave them the satisfaction of setting a time without me arguing in response. I nodded at my aunt and exited the house, walking down the stairs.
As I walked towards Maddox’s car, I was surprised to see him in an actual tuxedo. I don’t know what I was expecting him to wear, but it wasn’t a tuxedo. It was probably all black and leather, because he seems to be fond of that. His uniform is always accessorized with the two. When I got into the car, he glared at me. “Don’t say anything.”
“A tuxedo?” I asked. He glowered at me before he pulled away from the curb and began driving. “Do you live far from here?”
“I’m not telling you where I live,” he responded.
“I probably won’t know where it is, anyway. I was just assuming because it took you barely ten minutes to get here,” I muttered. We were silent as I continued to think. We never really introduced each other. I knew his name thanks to Vivica and he knows my name… “Wait, do you even know my name?”
He looked at me. “Yes, I’m not stupid.”
“Oh, really, what is it then?” I inquired.
“Olive,” he told me.
“It’s Olivia,” I corrected him.
“I know. But Olive is better. It’s a food,” he muttered as he stared at the street, taking a left turn. Unlike Vivica, he turned normally, not with too much force.
“I don’t like that nickname,” I told him.
“It’s not a nickname,” he retorted. “You have to like the person to give them a nickname.”
We fell into silence again as he continued to drive towards the school. “Why’d you say yes?” I asked him.
“You talk so much,” he sighed.
“Answer the question and I won’t talk again until we get to school,” I told him as I pulled at the end of my dress, yanking it down. I forgot how uncomfortable these things are.
Instead of responding, he reached for the radio. When I went to speak, he looked straight at me and turned up the music, rudely silencing me. I didn’t bother to speak to him again.
My question about why he came so early was answered as we drove in an unfamilar direction. Rather than heading to school, we took a detour. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at a cute, blue house. It was tiny and had a neat front yard and plants hanging from the porch. Two familiar girls emerged from the house and I couldn’t help but smile. Cassidy and Winona slowly walked to the car, yelling out swear words when Maddox honked the horn. I swore I saw him grin at that. I waited patiently for them to get into the car before we were off, but not without loud music, yelling, and terrible singing.
When we arrived at school, we went to the event hall after handing in our tickets, which were free thanks to a recent fundraiser. I was grateful; I only brought ten dollars in case we stopped for food. Barely fifteen minutes after Maddox, Cassidy, Winona and I arrived, Vivica and her friends showed up. I was standing off to the side with Maddox, watching people silently. Speaking was awkward because Maddox rarely replied. Sometimes, if I was lucky, he’d nod. Other times, he’d outright ignore me. It’s quite aggravating- all I wanted to do was make this event fun for the both of us but it’s not going to work unless he cooperates. And every time he ignores me, my attitude towards him becomes sharper and sharper.
Giving up on conversation, I allowed my eyes to wander around the event hall. I noticed a group of people making their way over to us. Leading the group of five or six was Winona and Cassidy. I recognized a few people. I know one of them was called Nicholas, and the other was called Jackson. However, I didn’t know the two people in the back, a girl and a boy.
“Olivia!” Winona greeted me before turning and pointing at people, listing off names. “Nicholas, Jackson, Parker, Raven,” she introduced.
Okay, so Nicholas is the one with the boyish smile and surfer blonde hair. Jackson has brown hair, which rises up in the front, and bright blue eyes. Parker, like Jackson, has brown hair but his eyes are brown. He was at least a foot taller than me and I stand at 5’6”, which is a bit tall, I guess. Raven, the only girl of the four “new” people, wore her brown hair down to her shoulders and had bright green eyes, like Maddox’s. She was a good three or four inches shorter than me. She was grinning and her teeth were white and straight. I noticed that she had a nose ring as I stared at her.
Catching me by surprise, Raven walked over to Maddox and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her lips to his. He returned the kiss as he put his arms around her waist and I awkwardly looked away, shooting a look to Cassidy and she laughed loudly. Nicholas, Parker, and Jackson, who all wore disgusted looks on their faces, excused themselves.
“Don’t worry, they’re not dating,” Winona whispered to me. My eyes widened.
“Uh, good to know,” I muttered. I honestly don’t care whether or not he’s dating her.
“You look so…okay with it,” Cassidy added as she examined my expression.
I shrugged. “It’s not like I like him.”
“So…why’d you ask him?” Winona inquired, furrowing her eyebrows.
“I was dared to by my cousin,” I confessed.
Winona blinked a few times, as did Cassidy. “Oh,” they both blurted. I simply nodded.
They talked excitedly about all the cute boys amongst us and I agreed. I nodded appreciatively when I saw a group of cute guys all having a conversation. I smiled as couples danced to the song that was playing. “Who is that?” I muttered curiously when I saw a tall, blonde haired boy saunter across the room.
“The blonde one?” Winona responded from beside me. I nodded. “Adrian Warhol. He has a girlfriend.”
“Well, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s cute,” I shrugged. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to go over there and try to talk to him.
It took me a minute to realize that Maddox had joined the conversation. Hearing his scoff, I glanced over and he rolled his eyes. “If you want to go up against his girlfriend, be my guest. She does kickboxing,” he added.
I curiously looked at him. “Do you know him?” I inquired.
“Nope,” he replied. Raven was leaning her head on his shoulder.
“Then how do you know all this?” I inquired.
“I’m very observant,” he excused.
“So… you’re creepy?” I quirked an eyebrow. Winona and Cassidy laughed.
He glared at me before looking around. “Call it what you want.”
“You like gossiping, don’t you?” I smirked. He set his narrowed eyes on me in the form of a glower. Instead of being intimidated like I should’ve been, I simply laughed. He looked away with a scowl and refused to acknowledge me.
After being dragged to the dance floor by the two girls I was talking to, we danced for barely thirty minutes before Cassidy asked if we could go back to where we were standing before. We returned to the area where Maddox and Raven were with smiles on our faces. I cringed when Raven pecked Maddox’s lips and I immediately turned, joining Winona and Cassidy’s conversation. Once the conversation died down a bit, I felt the urge to announce something. “I’m hungry.”
Winona immediately turned to Maddox and I knew I had made a mistake telling Winona that small fact. Maddox was talking to Raven, who had a large grin on her face. “Maddox! Your date is hungry!”
“That sounds like a personal problem,” he responded as he turned around with an annoyed look on his face.
“Take her to get something to eat,” Winona retorted. My face was red as I stared at Winona. How could she?
Maddox groaned as he pulled away from Raven, kissing her one last time, and began to exit the event hall. Winona shoved me in that direction when she saw that I hadn’t moved. Shooting her a glare and earning a laugh in return, I quickly jogged after him.
I followed with my head down, staring at my shoes as they slapped against the linoleum. As we walked by a fan, I was hit with the smell of cologne. I inhaled deeply, unsure of whether or not it was Maddox. I slowly began inching closer to him, trying to see if it was him or not. When my face was close to his back, he whipped around faster than I expected.
“What are you doing?” he asked. I immediately jerked my head back, coughing awkwardly as I felt my face heat up.
“You smell good,” I blurted.
He narrowed his eyes at me before turning away.
Gee, now I’ve made things awkward.
We got into an argument in the car about which fast food restaurant to go to. I wanted to go to Burger King but he wanted to go somewhere else. For some reason, he was so against going to Burger King that he threatened to change the route of our drive so we wouldn’t come in contact with any of the restaurants. “Come on! I have to pee! Can we at least stop at Burger King so I can go?”
“We’re not going to this one,” he retorted as we approached one of the fast food chains.
“I really have to pee!” I told him. “I’ll pee myself if I don’t go now!”
“Don’t you dare,” he snapped in annoyance. I smirked as I stared out the window.
“I can’t help it. My bladder feels like it’s going to explode. I shouldn’t have drunk all those sodas,” I complained as I pressed my hands over my stomach and crossed my legs in the seat.
“Fine, we’ll stop!” he barked. “But I’m not going in.”
“Are you banned from Burger King or something?” I asked.
“Something,” he responded mysteriously. He’s a very open person, I’ve noticed.
“Well, I’m going to run in and out,” I told him as he slowly pulled into the plaza. I sighed and exited the car, entering the restaurant. I walked up to the lengthy line and stared at the overhead menu. About ten minutes later, Maddox burst into the restaurant with his hoodie up. When he saw me in line, he walked over and began to whisper angrily at me.
“I thought you had to pee,” he hissed.
“I want Burger King,” I replied with a shrug.
“Welcome to Burger King, how may I help you?” a guy’s voice asked. Maddox immediately looked down at the tiled floor. “Maddox, is that you?”
Maddox grunted and glared at me. I quirked an eyebrow. “Maddox! I thought you vowed never to come to my place of employment!”
Upon further inspection, I realized that they guy behind the counter looked very similar to Maddox- the same full lips, dark hair, and green eyes. Except, the guy behind the register, whose nametag read “Abel,” looked a lot happier. His eyes were wide and glowing, unlike Maddox’s, which were usually narrowed and cynical. It’s very, very likely that the two are brothers.
“And who are you?” Abel asked as he turned to look at me. Rather than saying it rudely, he seemed curious, amused almost.
“Oh my God,” Maddox muttered through gritted teeth as he glowered at the floor.
“I’m Olivia,” I told Abel with a small smile. Though I wouldn’t mind this introduction had it been planned and anticipated, I couldn’t help but feel awkward and tense. Maddox obviously hadn’t wanted me to meet his brother and I see why he wanted to avoid Burger King. This was the first one on the road we were taking and I’d demand we stop here to get food.
“I’m Abel, you could probably tell by my nametag,” the guy grinned. “So how do you know Maddox? Are you his girlfriend?”
With a bright red face I shook my head quickly. “No.”
“I should have assumed so. My brother can’t get a real girlfriend to save his life. Isn’t that right, Maddie?” he asked with a smirk. I could tell that Maddox was getting angry by the clenching of his jaw.
Abel leaned over the counter, allowing his legs to flail around behind him, and unzipped Maddox’s hoodie, revealing the tuxedo. He then glanced at my dress. “Isn’t homecoming today?” he inquired.
I nodded and he grinned. “Did you guys go together?” I nodded again.
“How cute,” he cooed as he examined our matching outfits. Abel yanked down Maddox’s hood and grinned at his brother; I’m not sure who’s younger. Abel is shorter and immature but Maddox rarely shows any sign of emotion, so you can’t exactly compare personalities and height doesn’t exactly clue me in on much.
Maddox’s hair was ruffled and his eyes looked as if they could turn someone to stone, however, Abel didn’t look even slightly fazed. “When did you plan on bringing her home to meet mom and dad?”
Maddox didn’t speak; instead he stood there with clenched fists. His brother continued to pick with him. Eventually, I decided to speak up. Though it’s not my place to talk, I couldn’t help but feel the need to stop the arguing before something goes wrong. “Uh, Maddox and I were just leaving.” I stepped out of line and the lady behind me immediately took my spot with an annoyed look on her face, obviously not amused with the introduction.
When I saw that Maddox wasn’t moving, I tugged on the sleeve of his sweater, not surprised when he yanked his arm away from me. He stormed out of the restaurant and I followed behind him, sighing quietly.
And I thought that the night couldn’t get any more awkward.
How do you guys feel about Raven?
The following Monday, I had a feeling that whatever Maddox and I had going on, which was barely anything, by the way, had come to an end on Friday night when he sped to my house and wordlessly told me to get out of the car. I was barely on the sidewalk when he sped off again, leaving me to stare at the car in the darkness until it disappeared down the street. I was home by ten thirty. At least Vivica hadn’t seen the sour end to a supposedly fun night.
I was right, to put it simply. Maddox didn’t even spare a glance at me in class, nor did he bother to wave at me whenever we had a few seconds of uncomfortable eye contact, not that he ever would before. I felt bad for some unknown reason. Maddox isn’t the nicest person, but then again, we all have our flaws. One of my major ones, unfortunately, is that I’m a people pleaser. I’m trying to change that.
When Wednesday sped around, I was content with the idea of eating alone and walking to and from school. It’d take me forty five minutes, give or take, but I’d manage. I don’t want to have to depend on anyone, especially not Vivica. So when I arrived at school ten minutes before the first bell rang, I decided to go to the bathroom to freshen up. The walking will take some time getting used to.
It wasn’t until sixth period that I was assigned the first partner project of the school year. I would’ve been excited had I actually liked the project, and had I had someone who was willing to partner up with me. Instead, I was sitting in the front of the classroom like an idiot while everyone else was getting partnered up behind me. The teacher began calling out students names, asking who they were partnered with so he could write it down to keep record.
“Jessica Fay?” Mr. Herman called out.
“Aaron,” Jessica responded. I glanced at her as she brushed her hair out of her face.
“Aaron, are you okay with that?” Mr. Herman called out and Aaron nodded his head.
I asked the teacher if we could work alone and he said no, that this class requires a lot of group work. It’s American Literature- there are plenty of authors who write their stories alone. Why can’t I be one of them? It’s a children’s book, not a textbook. Working with someone else will only make things difficult. Besides, if we have to work on it at home, that makes things ten times harder.
“Maddox Finnegan?” the teacher asked and I stared at the ceiling, hoping that there are an odd number of students in the class so I would be allowed to work alone. But knowing him, he’d force me into an already formed group and I’d be an awkward and unwanted third wheel.
“Olivia,” his familiar voice spoke. I furrowed my eyebrows. Mr. Herman looked to me.
“Is that okay with you?” he asked.
Slowly, I nodded. “Yeah, sure.”
When Mr. H saw that we weren’t moving, he began to speak. “Sit together while I pass out the project booklets,” Mr. H said and I glanced back at Maddox. He was sitting back in his seat with his phone in his hands. When he saw that I wasn’t moving, he groaned and collected his things, getting up.
Mr. H gave us ten minutes at the end of class to discuss potential topics. I took it upon myself to change the direction of our conversation. “What made you decide to actually talk to me again?” I inquired.
“Have I ever told you that you talk so much?” he responded.
“Have I ever told you that you dodge questions often?” I asked.
“Have I ever told you that I didn’t care?” he replied.
“You’re very rude,” I muttered.
“And I repeat, have I ever told you that I didn’t care?”
“I hope you know that this project requires working outside of school,” I murmured as I looked at the packet.
“I’m aware,” he spoke.
“And we’re definitely not working at my aunt’s.” I shivered at the thought of being in the same house as Vivica while Maddox is there. She hates the fact that Maddox actually agreed to go to homecoming with me. Seeing me and him together after will only strike another fuse.
“Is this you begging to go to my house?” he asked with something of a smirk. I stared at him before raising an eyebrow. I guess he’s awkward in situations where he’s guilty of doing something bad. In this case, it’s treating me like garbage and not apologizing. Rather than manning up and saying that he was sorry, he simply ignored me.
“Was that supposed to be a joke?” I asked him. “Is this your way of trying to apologize for getting mad at me for something that wasn’t my fault? And being an overall jerk to me when I was just trying to be nice?”
He sighed and looked the other way. “I’m not going to apologize, if that’s what you’re asking of me.”
I stared at him and shook my head before turning back to the packet on my desk. So he’s just working with me because I’m the only one he can “tolerate”, not because he actually wants to work with me.
When the last bell rang, I got up and took my time walking to my locker and putting away my books. I even used the bathroom, putting my hair up. Once I was ready to leave, I exited the school and noticed that many cars were missing, including my cousin’s. I told my aunt that I would be walking back and forth from school from now on so she wouldn’t yell at Vivica. When she asked why I would be doing this, I told her for exercising purposes; I was too embarrassed to tell her that her daughter hated me.
Maddox’s car was still outside and he was leaning up against it with his phone in his hands. I know he’s not waiting for someone, but he’s still here. Zipping my jacket up, I walked into the parking lot. Because Maddox parks his car near the entrance of the parking lot, I had to walk past him, and as I was doing so, he called out to me.
“They left,” he stated.
“I’m aware,” I responded.
“So what are you doing?” he asked me.
I motioned towards the exit of the lot. “Walking.”
“To your house?” he asked, his eyebrows rising.
“Yeah,” I nodded.
“Do you want a ride?” he asked me after a few seconds.
“So you can kick me out of your car again? No thanks,” I retorted.
“I didn’t kick you out of my car,” he stated. I stopped walking and turned to look at him with my hands tucked in my pockets.
I miss home, I truly do. I miss my room and my bed. I miss my dog, Alfalfa, and my brother, Charlie. I miss walking him to school in the mornings; even though he would sing the Go, Diego, Go! theme song on replay until we arrived. This is going to be the first year I’m not going to be able to bring him trick-or-treating. I’ll truly miss that.
Even though I’ve only been gone for two weeks, it’s dawned on me that I’m going to be here for the remainder of the school year. And who knows if my parents will have me back for the summer? And by the looks of it, this year isn’t going to be so great. I love my aunt, but school isn’t looking good, and with Vivica around, “home” isn’t looking so great either.
I ended up getting a ride from Vivica, like my aunt told me. When I arrived back at my aunt’s, my brother was already waiting on the front porch for me. It took me a minute to see that it was him, mainly because he was dressed up as a tree and he blended in with the planted shrubs aunt Gen keeps on the porch. Vivica simply walked around him as he was propped up on the portico.
“Olive!” he shouted as he came running to me. I smiled and hugged him tightly.
“Hey, Charlie,” I smiled at the seven year old. “Did you miss me?”
“I’ve missed you this much!” he exclaimed as he extended his arms out as far as they could reach. I grinned at him.
“I missed you this much!” I responded, holding out my much longer arms.
“Come on, mommy’s inside!” he told me as he grabbed my hand. I allowed him to lead me into the house and to the living room. My mother was there on the couch with a smile on her face and a cup of coffee in her hands. She stood up, put the coffee on the table, and hugged me.
“I’ve missed you, sweetie,” she whispered.
“I’ve missed you, too, mom,” I told her. I felt a lump in my throat form once she pulled away from me. “How’s dad doing?”
“He’s good. He said he loves you. He wanted to come visit but he couldn’t drop his shift,” my mother told me with a smile. I nodded as I stared down at my shoes. He probably didn’t want to drop his shift. He’s still mad at me, I can tell. He hasn’t talked to me in two weeks, not a call or a text. I haven’t tried texting him or calling him either, to be honest, but I thought that he’d try at least once. I apologized repeatedly before I left but he just didn’t want to hear it.
We sat down and talked until five o’clock. I played with Charlie while my mother and aunt discussed many different things, including me in the conversation occasionally. It was starting to get dark out and my mother sighed. “I feel like we should get going. I promised Charlie that I’d stop a few houses so he could get candy on the way home,” my mother explained.
I stared at her, not quite wanting to say goodbye just yet. “I can bring Charlie around here.”
“Would you like that, Charlie?” my mother inquired.
“Yeah, can I, mom?” he asked our mother eagerly. She nodded and I stood up, watching him run to get the bag that my mother bought for him. It had a rock on it. I guess it went with his costume in some weird way. Dusting off my pants, I opened the door.
“What time do you want him back?” I inquired.
“6:30,” my mother replied with a smile. I nodded and grabbed his hand, walking down the steps of the house.
At 6 o’clock, my brother asked the question I’d been thoroughly avoiding. “When are you coming back, Olive?” he asked me.
I stared at him and sighed. “Uh, I’m not really sure, Charlie.”
“Today?” he asked me with a hopeful smile. I shook my head. “Next week?” I shook my head again and he frowned. “Turkey day?”
“I’ll probably visit you guys,” I told him. I’ll have to ask my mom if she’d come and pick me up on Thanksgiving. “Look, Charlie, there’s a house!”
He looked at the house with a small frown on his face. It was the last house on the street and then we’d have to turn around. “Can this be the last house? I don’t want to trick-or-treat anymore.”
I stared at him with a sad look on my face. “If you want it to be, it can.”
He nodded and I followed him up the steps to the house. He rang the bell and we waited patiently on the illuminated porch. A few seconds later, the door opened and my brother put on a smile. “Trick or treat!”
“You’re a tree, right?” a familiar, velvety voice spoke. My head snapped up immediately.
“Maddox?” I stated when I saw him standing in the doorway.
“Olive?” he narrowed his eyes at me in confusion.
“Olivia,” I corrected him absentmindedly. I was too busy looking at the house I was standing in front of. So this is where he lives…
“Charlie!” my brother called out with a grin. Maddox looked at him with furrowed eyebrows.
“Oh, uh, Charlie, this is Maddox. He goes to my school. Maddox, this is my brother, Charlie,” I nodded as I introduced the two. For the first time, I saw Maddox smile. He offered my brother a small, unabashed grin and my brother beamed back. He happily laughed when he noticed that Charlie’s two, top front teeth were missing, as well as one of his bottom teeth. I was too busy staring at a seemingly happy Maddox Finnegan to speak.
He dropped candy into my brother’s bag and I managed to snap out of my daze. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Maddox,” I nodded at him once my brother yanked my hand, muttering about being cold.
“How are you getting home?” Maddox asked me.
“Walking,” I told him simply.
“I was going to make another candy run,” Maddox spoke as my brother and I began descending from the steps. “Do you want a ride?”
“Yes, please! It is so cold out here,” my brother exclaimed with a sigh.
“Here,” Maddox said as he dumped the remaining candy, almost half a bowl, into my brother’s bag.
“Thanks! You’re cool; I like you!” my brother grinned.
I scoffed. “That makes one of us,” I muttered.
Maddox glared at me before backing into his house. “One second, I’m going to go get money for more candy.”
My brother and I waited patiently for him. If he was like this all the time, maybe I’d like him. If he’s not always so rude and mean, he could be a good friend. However, he’s only acting this way because of Charlie. If Charlie wasn’t here, he’d call me creepy and demand I get off his property before he calls the cops or beats me in the face with a coathanger.
“Where are you going?” yet another male voice asked.
“We need more candy,” Maddox responded. I saw him jumping around the living room as he put shoes on.
“We just had half a bowl! What are you talking about?” Abel responded. Maddox was silent as he jogged towards something on the other side of the doorway.
“I’m talking to you!” Abel called as he went to follow Maddox but stopped in the middle of the hallway. He turned and grinned, jogging over. “Olivia!” He was shirtless and dressed only in orange plaid pajama bottoms.
My brother was standing beside me and Abel looked at him. “Are you a tree?”
“Yep!” my brother grinned.
“They ran out of Superman costumes?” Abel asked as he kneeled down and smiled at my brother.
“No, I’m an environmentalist!” my brother responded with something of a frown on his face. I snorted as Abel’s eyebrows knitted together. “Protect the earth! Don’t litter! Where’s your recycling bin? I demand to see it this instant!” Abel looked at my little brother with an amused look on his face. He then pointed to something at the bottom of the stops and my brother nodded. “That’s what I like to see!”
Maddox came out onto the porch and he shoved his brother back into the house. “Go inside.”
“I see why you’re leaving,” Abel called as closed the front door. I could already feel my face burning red as my mind processed what Abel had said. Maddox glared at the door, despite the fact that his brother was probably already in the living room.
“Come on,” Maddox nodded as we followed him down the steps. While I stared at all of the children laughing and smiling in their costumes, my brother brought up the topic of recycling to Maddox. He asked if Maddox was an environmentalist and Maddox shrugged. “I guess I am.”
“Answer me this, if you make a mistake on a printed sheet of paper, do you reprint it? Or do you fix it by yourself?” he asked Maddox. Maddox sheepishly looked away. “You have the nerve to call yourself an environmentalist!”
My brother managed to calm down as he crawled in the backseat of the car. “How old is he?” Maddox asked curiously.
“Seven,” I responded. With a confused look on his face, Maddox got into the car. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Maddox dropped us off at my house and my mother was outside, along with my aunt. As my brother got out of the car, he ran to the two women. Maddox managed to convince him that he was definitely an environmentalist and even promised to change his paper-wasting ways, so my brother seemed very fond of the teenage boy now. “Thanks for the ride,” I muttered as I unlocked the door.
“Wait, about tomorrow,” he began, “since you know where I live now, you should have no problem getting there. Be there at three o’clock. If you’re even a minute late, I’m locking the door and you’re not coming in.”
I gave him a flat look before shaking my head. As I got out of the car, my mother was approaching me. “Charlie just told me that a boy named Maddox brought you guys home. The same boy that you went to homecoming with?”
With wide eyes, I slowly began to shake my head. “What? No, of course not!” Before my mother could say anything, Maddox pulled off from the curb and made his way down the street. My mother simply smirked before turning around. I sighed in relief. Thank goodness.
I had to see my family off. My brother insisted on splitting his candy half and half with me, because he said it’d remind me that he cares about me. My mother urged me to so he wouldn’t be any more hyper than usual and it’s less candy that she has to monitor his intake of. I didn’t complain, though I felt bad because he didn’t get much candy as it is. He gave me most of the chocolate, because he doesn’t really like chocolate, and he’s allergic to peanuts, which most of the chocolates contained.
He hugged me tightly when my mother announced that it was time for them to leave. “I’ll miss you a bunch, Olive,” he whispered as he pulled away from me.
“I’ll miss you, too, Charlie,” I told him. “Call me whenever you want.”
“When are you coming home?” he asked me.
I smiled down at him. “Soon enough, Charlie.”
I entered my house and refused to eat dinner, which was on the table for me. I excused myself and went to my room, not bothering to change or shower. Instead, I just went to sleep because it was the only sense of comfort I had.