Fiction

The Ides of March

It was the best and worst day of my life.

I join Carmine by the tires, which are stacked up high. We’re quiet for a moment. I lean against the tower of tires and think about summer camp and floating down rivers. I think of bathing suits and mosquito bites.

“Thanks, Siwan. You’re like my knight in shining armor. Or knight-ess.What’s the word for female knight? Lady?”

I shrug.

I am looking at my sneakers. All scuffed and dirty. All old and worn-in. His shoes are new, crisp, clean, hip. I am looking at the ground and Carmine is looking at me. He’s staring. I can feel it. He’s boring a hole in my head.

“Car’s ready,” the mechanic says, coming over to us.

What was I thinking? There will be no adventure.

Carmine and I shuffle over to the convertible and get in. I take the driver’s seat without asking permission, and he doesn’t say anything. He just settles in and puts his seatbelt on.

I can take us wherever I want to go. We don’t have to go to school. Forget about school. What do I want to do?

I want to go fool around.

But it would just be for today. I mean, it’s not like we’d get to school tomorrow and suddenly be in each other’s lives. I can’t stand his friends. I would vomit if I had to talk to them. And I can’t see him, in his perfectly ironed shirts, hanging with my crowd. No. We have to break up before anything happens.

And besides, I could never tell. Mia loves him too much. I could never ever fool around with Carmine Dejena.

I put the car in drive and head toward the school.

“Turn left here,” Carmine says.

“School’s that way,” I say, but I take the left, kind of excited that he’s taken the lead even though I’m the one at the wheel. I drive into Griffith Park. I park the car. I turn to Carmine.

I’m going to end this now.

“Pop the trunk,” he says.

“What?”

He leans over me and pulls on the button to release the trunk. Then he puts the top up. I follow him out of the car. He’s pulled out two tennis racquets and some balls and starts walking toward the courts.

“The courts are free during the day,” he says. “Let’s play.”

He hands me a racquet and goes to the other side of the net.

“I don’t really know how to play tennis,” I say.

“Just hit the ball with the racquet.”

So I do. I keep hitting the ball back over to him. Over hamburgers Carmine tells me that I am not that bad a player.

“You’ve got good instincts,” he says.

“You’ve got ketchup on your chin,” I say.

His cell phone starts ringing. I wish they all could be California girls.

“Gabby Gabby, hey!” he says.

I try to make like I’m not listening to him talking to Gabrielle Slotnik, queen bee of La Plascencia High. But I am.

“I’m at the garage.”

He’s a Liar.

“Couldn’t find anyone to help me.”

He’s a Liar.

“Am too into you.”

He’s a Liar.

He hangs up. Stares at me. I take another bite of my hamburger. We have to break up. Carmine is not my friend. This has got to stop.

“Wanna go see a movie?” he asks.

“I need to get to school.
   I really shouldn’t be cutting.
      I cut too much.
        I like cutting school.
          But you know, with my friends.
            Not you.
              No offense.
                We’re not really friends.”

“Just say, ‘Sure would, Carmine!’” he says. He’s already checking movie times on his phone. He’s making suggestions for movies that I really want to see. He’s not letting me end this.

Carmine got the popcorn and I got the chocolate. We decided without words to share a large soda. Before I know what I’m doing I put my arm over his shoulder. Carmine leans into me. The movie is terrible. But he’s snuggling, and I like the way he smells.

If this were a teen movie, we’d start dating. But we can’t start dating, because I can’t hang out with him past 3 PM, because someone might see us. Because Mia is in love with him. Because she has first dibs. Even though she’s never said a single word to Carmine in her life. Even though he never kissed her knuckles in a closet in seventh grade.

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34 Comments

  • soviet_kitsch February 27th, 2013 11:12 PM

    OH MY GOD CECIL CASTELLUCCI!!! (*ノ´□`)ノ

    I WANT TO READ THIS EVERY DAY 10/10

  • InProgress February 27th, 2013 11:20 PM

    Wow. THIS is REALLY good. I can totally see this happening. Best thing I’ve read in a LONG time. Kudos

  • lydiamerida February 27th, 2013 11:31 PM

    Ahhhh this was so good

  • Cass February 27th, 2013 11:38 PM

    I WAS SO INTO THIS STORY A PART OF MY SOUL DIED WHEN IT ENDED. This was beautifully written and perfect.

  • marineo February 27th, 2013 11:38 PM

    this is so awesome :D

  • chloegrey February 27th, 2013 11:47 PM

    holy shiiiittttt this is so good and, like, painful, like that was three pages and I feel like I just went on an emotional roller-coaster and that sort of thing does not usually happen to me!
    *brief internet rummaging*
    WAIT SHE WROTE PLAIN JANES? I LOVE THAT BOOK! aaaah

    http://oboebonobo.tumblr.com/

  • gr-ass February 27th, 2013 11:55 PM

    loved this so much

  • thefilmrookie February 28th, 2013 12:04 AM

    OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD! This is kind of how my life feels like right now, actually. There is this one boy who around his friends is a total robot and conformist, but when its just me and him he can be super sweet and funny and nice and DIFFERENT. I relate to this.

    http://www.pink-lantern.tumblr.com

  • Jessica W February 28th, 2013 12:49 AM

    This is flawless. This captures young love/crushes so well. I feel like everyone can relate to this. The teenage love, where everything is so intense, yet so easily dismissed…
    Thank you <333

    The Lovelorn

  • FlaG February 28th, 2013 12:52 AM

    “Leg. Calves. Butt. Back. Head. Watching him is like taking sips of water in a desert.”

    Oof, what a sentence <3

    • Abby February 28th, 2013 10:18 AM

      Totally know a guy like this… mmm!

    • raggedyanarchy March 1st, 2013 9:16 AM

      I know! I think we all know someone who can be described like that. My favorite sentence in the whole story.

  • unicornconnect February 28th, 2013 12:59 AM

    This is awesome. It kind of reminds me of pretty in pink, except for the fact that this story has way better names and she doesn’t get the boy.

    But man, it was awesome

  • Special_Snowflake February 28th, 2013 3:39 AM

    Wow, this was a really great read *____*

  • MabelEnchanted February 28th, 2013 4:52 AM

    I actually turned off Frasier because I was so engrossed in this. Love this story.

    http://mabelsmind.blogspot.co.uk/

  • flapperhatgirl February 28th, 2013 8:06 AM

    Wow, that was good. I want to print it out and read it over and over and over again.
    http://thepseudo-intellectual.blogspot.com/?m=1

  • limegreensunset February 28th, 2013 8:09 AM

    i love this.

    http://limegreensunset.blogspot.co.uk/

  • gnarlyelixir February 28th, 2013 10:50 AM

    LOVED IT!!! Having the same problem unfortunately /:

  • ♡ reba ♡ February 28th, 2013 1:12 PM

    love love love this!

  • LuneSirene February 28th, 2013 2:01 PM

    I love that the sexy school stud is not good with cars and is described as having a body that’d be fitting of a dancer. Everybody has to be a teenager, and based on all these ridiculous teen books these days, you’d think the only guys that teen girls ever find attractive lift weights, work on carburetors, and play football. Yay for a story that doesn’t stick to that! I always liked guys who were into math, science, time travel, and music. Also, this story is so descriptive that I can definitely imagine myself sitting right there in Siwan’s shoes, feeling nervous.

  • mollyw00d February 28th, 2013 2:02 PM

    wow. wow. wow. i really really dig this story.

  • Lauren Hartnett February 28th, 2013 4:14 PM

    Interesting writing style- it really did make me feel like I was in the mind of a slightly disturbed teenage mind.

  • fromanotherearth February 28th, 2013 5:03 PM

    This is AMAZING! I love the style and the way it’s written. I’ve always wanted to be cool enough to pull of this kind of prose and this was done perfectly! Sometimes short sentences seem forced but this was flawless, not to mention I appreciate the lack of a ‘happy’ ending.
    Definitely going to check this author out!

  • Sharon February 28th, 2013 10:07 PM

    ahhhhh amazing.

  • double-fantasy February 28th, 2013 10:32 PM

    soooooooo good *_*

  • emilycarolina February 28th, 2013 10:50 PM

    This is beautiful in an odd way. I love it!!

  • lizzyheinie March 1st, 2013 1:01 PM

    This is amazing. Thank you. You guys have the best taste and I’m so glad I got to read this. I literally laughed out loud once and by the end I was tearing up.

    I need to stop reading rookie in public because these things happen.

  • Lascelles March 2nd, 2013 10:22 AM

    Ana + Cecil = Awesome!

  • barbroxursox March 2nd, 2013 8:31 PM

    This is SO BEAUTIFUL. Oh my god, you need to post a sequel. :) This story is so badass, and I want more!

    http://lizard-onawindowpane.tumblr.com

  • maureen7 March 3rd, 2013 6:07 PM

    kinda in love with this.

  • Laryssa March 3rd, 2013 7:18 PM

    Wow! This was amazing ! While reading this I totally fell into the “teen movie” kinda vibe. She brought me back down from the cloud when she said “are my eyes still red from crying?” I relized this girl isn’t some super hero like I thought she was in the beginning of the story. But she is just a regular girl and this can happen to anymore. Great story .

  • Cactus Woman March 6th, 2013 9:30 PM

    Cecil is 100% awesome. I’ve met her in person a few times, and we clicked right away. She’s the ultimate nerdy artsy girl, in my opinion, and the perfect representative for nerdy artsy girls all over the world. :D

  • meels March 21st, 2013 4:38 AM

    Can you please make a book out of this!! This shit is amazing!!!!

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica June 15th, 2013 12:05 PM

    WOW THIS IS PERFECT AND AMAZING WOW WOW WOW I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS