I Believe in God
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I feel the same way. I have since this whole thing started, but I thought you and Hallie wouldn’t want to hang with me anymore. I know, it’s stupid. I see that now, but as I have no other friends, it leaves me to strange assumptions and I realize I should never have thought you to be that kind of person. I’m glad you value your friends the way you do and I’m only worried about the reaction of our gang.
But changing the subject, I hate Gabriel Gibbs. I can’t be his friend anymore with his new girlfriend in the way. I’ve been avoiding him but how will I do that if he starts trying harder. He makes me so mad sometimes.
Anyway, good for you. I’m very happy that you’ve decided to become more committed to your faith. I still think you should come to our church, but I know the reply to that question. “A church is a group of people gathering to learn about God…I could do that at home.” But, if you want to go, church starts at nine and ends around the time you wake up on Sundays.
I read and re-read and re-read again the note from Max at my house. I was in my room, door locked, sitting on my queen-sized bed reading the letter written in orange ink. She interrupted a reply to things written in my message to bring up Gibbs. I know she likes him, Hallie knows she likes him, he knows she likes him but they never seem to be in the right place at the same time. And I do not mean settings. I daydreamed a bit about what I wished I could do, becoming a PI and finding out who Gibbs new girlfriend was and brining Gibbs and Max together, but decided instead on correcting Max’s mistake.
I wrote a note, first commenting on her reply, then advising her not to stop being his friend for such a silly reason. Besides, we’re all in high school granted he went to a different one, and that they couldn’t last long anyway. I didn’t mention a hook-up, but she would get the gist or form her own mischievous opinions. And I knew Max.
Ready I was then to pray and thank the Lord in my instant relief, and asking maybe for a good way to spill it to Hallie and Craig and Evan of our change of heart. A girl had to try. I knew Hallie almost as well as I knew Max and she was probably gonna freak and crack a few unamusing jokes before becoming serious and changing the subject. However, in the middle of the night’s prayer, my Razr phone rang. I ignored it for a moment, but how can you concentrate when your phone is ringing? I quickly ended it to answer KJ’s call.
“What?” I sighed in answering.
“Come on, Stevee,” said KJ as if everyone was awake at ten o’clock. Okay, it was Friday night, but my house was quiet by nine thirty. My mom was still on the computer only because Grandma wouldn’t let her off the IM until she finished talking about her garden or new husband. “Wanna come hang out with me and some friends? We’re going to Skateville. You can wear your pjs…and throw Skittles at people.”
I snorted and smiled, pleased at the memory of my football glory.
“I’d have to ask Mother,” I finally replied, sliding out of bed, making sure there were no stains on my purple pj bottoms and red tank top.
“I know how Aunt Jesse is,” KJ replied. “I asked her a while ago and she said she didn’t want to interrupt you. Were you seriously reading the Bible?”
“Yeah,” I snapped defensively. In the South, a lot and I mean a lot of people attended church but did not practice religion. “I guess I can go.”
“Great, see ya in a few seconds.”
Great, he was outside already with his skate-boarding pals. I grabbed my potato shoes and my black jacket and my allowance and ran outside to meet KJ in his Ford truck with two guys and Adrian? Adrian’s boyfriend, who he had to he as they were making out, was someone I knew instantly without having ever met him. Blonde, shaggy hair and gorgeous green eyes. Max described Mr. Antagonist in great detail. I crossed my arms and looked from the couple to my cousin.
“Hey, Stevee,” said KJ grinning, putting up his Dad’s phone. “Get in. You know Adrian. This is Gabriel Gibbs and Johnny Carmouche.”
Gibbs broke away from Adrian who was glowing.
“Stevee, Max’s buddy right?” asked Gibbs looking happy.
“Yeah, Max’s buddy,” I replied coldly, remembering Max. How was I supposed to survive tonight?
“Get-in,” KJ repeated and got in front. I got in the bed of the truck with Adrian and Gibbs. KJ drove off to Skateville and I stared at the night sky while Adrian and Gibbs talked. Rather, Adrian talked and Gibbs studied me.
At Skateville, Adrian met up with Mariah and Brala inside, trying to bring in me or Gibbs. We refused. Roller skaters were inside, ‘boarder’s had the cramps outside. I sat on the sidewalk with a Snicker bar and Dr. Pepper while the guys and a girl called Tonya skated.
It became awkward when Gibbs decided to sit by me, sweating in the winter cold. He gulped down his own beer and looked at me.
“So your Maxie’s pal?” Gibbs slurred.
“Yeah, kinda thought you knew that,” I said icily. Whatever happened to my better attitude because it was gone now. Max had been so upset because of him though we both, Gibbs and me, knew it was partially her fault too.
“I miss her. She won’t call me since I told her I was seeing someone,” Gibbs said. “She okay?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “She’ll be much better without you. Though burning down that barn was awesomeness.”
Now my use of made-up words comes into play. It’s a thing I did with friends, not the villain of this story, or rather my life. I frowned, but grinned in spite of myself.
“Yeah, Mother said I was a pyromaniac. Now I’m an arsonist, breaking the law!” Gibbs said chuckling. I tried not to laugh and had success, struggling not to even smile.
“So, what are you doing with Adrian?” I asked curiously, in a much better mood. Gibbs’s smile faded a bit and he glanced at the entrance door before moving closer to me and continued in a whisper.
“Well, I couldn’t keep waiting forever to be with Max. I had to move on. This is no romance novel, babe.”
I took a deep breath and nodded, pulling my jacket closer as wind blew. It had to be close to freezing though the people on the ramps were perfectly fine with flushed cheeks and awesome moves.
“But she’s okay, though?” Gibbs asked me soberly.
I looked at him and nodded. My view on him had changed though I doubt there was any talking sense into Max. She couldn’t get close to him and found some reason to dislike him.
Unfortunately, luck for me was not so good that night. Gibbs brought out his mp3 player and we listened to his collection of songs I loved from “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” by A Perfect Circle and “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada. Had to say, I liked the man’s taste in music. We both liked some of everything though Gospel and Blues were out of the question. We were singing along to a Linkin Park song which I wouldn’t do in front of my friends because they were in choir and said I sucked. Gibbs agreed, but he was cool about it, not demanding I stop singing. He found me somewhat amusing.
That was when Hallie and Max appeared with their cousin Paige. We didn’t know until Paige cleared her throat and I jumped to my feet in surprise. I turned to see Max looked between us in surprise and turned and walked into the building without a word. Paige followed her and Hallie glared at me.
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