The Good Sister
The first time Seth Johnson invited himself over to my house, I could feel the butterflies racing between my chest and stomach, but I told him I would be out of town.
He’d been wearing that look. A partial smile. Soft eyes moving from my gaze to my lips. Head slightly tilted.
The second time he asked, I told him I would leave the door unlocked.
Only my sister would be home.
When he texted me that he was here, I went downstairs to where he had already slipped in through the glass sliding door, and I led him up to my room. Along the way, we passed the living room where my sister was sitting on the couch. She gave us a passing glace, her gaze lingering a moment on Seth.
“Hey Cassie, this is Seth. He’s my project partner.”
He gave her an awkward wave.
“Hey,” was all she said in reply, then she turned back to the TV.
We went to my room, and Seth shut the door behind us. I sat on my bed and opened the book. Seth sat close to me, way closer than necessary. When I began reading the prompt, his fingertips brushed over my leg and my hand as he pointed at the words to follow along, even though his gaze predominantly remained on me. The touch sent chills up my arms.
There was a slight knock, and Seth moved away, half panicked.
“Hey is my charger in here?” Cassie stepped in and moved around the room, looking behind bags and under papers.
“Yeah. Sorry, I borrowed it.” I unplugged it from behind my dresser and tossed it to her.
When she left, the door didn’t quite close.
Seth stared at me, that soft look in his brown eyes gone, but I stayed looking at the pages.
“Where was I?” I mumbled before reading again.
Seth moved closer, but not as close as before.
The second time Cassie came in, it was for her migraine glasses.
“Getting a headache?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ve been staring at the TV too long.
This time, she left the door halfway opened.
A frown was firmly planted on Seth’s face. His features were so sharp, each one like they’d been carved in stone.
The doorbell rang, and Cassie announced that her boyfriend Tyler was here.
Seth seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. He glanced at me with a sideways smile as he got up to close the door. He’d no sooner shut it when Ty gently knocked and opened it to invite us to watch a movie with them.
Seth almost spoke up, but not before I slammed the book shut and said, “Sure!”
Seth looked at me.
“I thought we were going to study?”
“We can study during our free period tomorrow.”
In the living room, I sat in the armchair on the left side, leaving Seth to sit on the couch next to Cassie and Ty. He seemed to pout at first when Ty tried to make conversation, but he eventually warmed up and even smiled a bit.
When the movie ended, I walked him back downstairs to the sliding door he’d come in. We made small talk, and he gave the suggestion that next time he come over when no one else was home.
I smiled, keeping my lips closed.
“I’m not allowed to have boys over when I’m alone.”
He shrugged, still smiling, and said, “That’s too bad.”
Later that night, as I washed my face, Cassie came in to return the charger that she agreed to continue loaning me.
“That Seth boy seems nice.”
“Mmm.” I shrugged.
“He likes you.” She leaned against the wall of the bathroom and crossed her arms. Her eyes were slightly narrowed. “You know how dangerous that is.”
“Cassie, nothing is going to happen.” I laughed, and seeing a spot on my teeth, I wet my toothbrush and began to scrub it.
“Not if I’m here,” she mumbled, leaving. “I just know what happened last time. You lose control sometimes”
“I won’t kill him, I promise. But, did you see how cute he was?” I grinned.
Cassie laughed, revealing her own teeth.
“He’s not as cute as Ty.”
I’ll never understand how she manages to have a human boyfriend. Then again, she was always the better sister.
Photo by Marlon Alves