[The boy] works at the only grocery store in town and even though I have bigger things on my mind I still feel myself trying to hide behind my sister when we pass him. "Okay," says Piper, surveying the aisle of canned soups and vegetables. "What do we need, what do we need?" She looks at me as if expecting an answer.
"I don't know," I say. Mom always does the grocery shopping and lately I've been avoiding the house enough that I don't know what is or isn't inside the cabinets.
"Yeah," Piper says, pushing the cart in front of her. "Me neither. I just had to get out of that house." We walk down the refigerated section and she reaches past the eggs, pushing a tube of slice-n-bake cookies into the cart. Then she grabs a couple bottles of Gatorade and by the time we get to the register we've got the most unhealthy feast possible: cookie dough, Gatorade, Ritz crackers with spray cheese, and two packs of orange Tic-Tacs.
"Wow," [the boy] says as he scans our groceries. His voice has a hint of teasing in it that Piper picks up on.
"Not right now, alright [dude]?" she says, passing me one of the boxes of Tic-Tacs.
"Oh, is this not a good day?" he asks. Then, looking at me, he grins and adds, "Hey there, you."
I don't say anything.
"You could say that," Piper answers.
"Okay, then I guess now is as good a time as ever to, um, warn you about tonight."
She slides her debit card through the machine. "What's tonight?"
"Everyone's going over to Owen's to watch Jaws, and when I say everyone I mean that [she] will be there."
At this Piper stretches hr face into the most unbelievably fake smile. "Oh, [her]!" she says, feigning happiness. "Well, that's great."
"Oh, so you and [her] are friends now I guess?" he asks, teasing.
She keeps grinning. "Best buddies."
"Yeah, I bet. So are you coming?" Then, pointing to me, he asks, "Are you coming?"
"We don't know," Piper says, answering for both of us as I grab the bags out of the bottom of our cart and Ray hands her the receipt. Outside and away from the embarrassing gaze of [the boy], Piper says, "So do you want to go? Tonight?"
I look at her like she's crazy and she laughs. "Yeah, me neither."
"I don't want to go home either though," I say.
"Me neither. You weren't there this morning, but I feel like Dad decided that since Mom's gone it's time for him to bond with us or something."
I don't want to bond with my dad and I don't want him to think that we're going to. I'd rather be in Cedar Heights, with Mom and Jerome and Lisa, or anywhere, really. Piper starts the car and as we head out of the parking lot, in the opposite direction from home, I ask, "Where are we going?"
"I don't know," she says, and something about her voice makes me shut up. She sounds angry and it makes me nervous, so I turn the radio up to drown out the deafening silence of my sister.
Also, check out my Wednesday post over on the YA Lit Six.