by Galilea Oregon
“So do you always bring cold girls to your little ‘spot’, or am I the only one?” Mia asked jokingly as she played with my lighter.
“This was the only place I knew. Now that we’re here, it’s your turn to tell me a secret.” I laid down in the grass as she watch me intently with her big stupid shiny eyes. God, she was so…she was gorgeous. And it wasn’t even that she was pretty pretty, she just looked interesting.
“You’re funny, Kingsley. You think you can sneak into a high school dance to sweep me off my feet—”
“Which, for the record, I did.” I looked up at her, smiling. From where I was laying down, she looked like she could get sucked up into the sky at any moment.
“Oh my, a little self centered now, aren’t we?” Mia laid down next to me, her cold hand touching mine. And I swear just as soon and her knuckles brushed mine, my entire body went hot and cold then hot again.
“Why’d you ask Travis? Out of all people, why Travis?” I asked, trying not to nudge her hand.
“Why wouldn’t I? Do you even talk to him anymore?” Mia moved her hand away from mine and placed it onto her stomach. She frowned. Even when she got mad she was pretty. I used to tug on her pigtails when we were seven and she’d chase me across the field. And here I was, chasing after her.
“I mean I do-we hang out all the time with Prince and Tristan and Cole.” I pulled out another cigarette slowly, “Are you cold? You’re shaking.”
“I’m fine. Can you stop smoking?” She ripped the cigarette out of my hand and threw it in the grass angrily. But what was her problem? Why did she care if I was slowly killing my insides? She was still as bossy as she was three years ago, damn
“I can, but I decided that I won’t. Problem with that?”
“Whatever. Anyways.” She sat up now, brushing grass off of her hair. “I asked Travis to Sadie’s because we’re friends. I didn’t even make him a stupid poster or anything. I just asked him.”
“Why not ask me instead? Travis isn’t funny or interesting or cool.” I scooted over closer to her. This time, I rested my chin on the palm of my hand, looking up at how one side of her mouth curled up more than the other when she smiled. And when she talked, she’d make gestures with her hands, waving them around like a crazy lady.
“Why not ask you instead? You’re funny, King. Do you even know Travis? Besides, I always hated you. Why would I want to spend all night with you in a sweaty gym?” There she was, doing it again: waving her hands around.
“Point taken, but why Travis?”
“Because he’s cute. Why else?”
“I’m cute too,” I muttered.
“But you have an ugly personality,” she sighed, “and Travis does not.”
“Trav has like, no personality,” I laughed.
She laughed too, because it was true.
“He doesn’t, but he was there and you weren’t.”
“That’s true.” I paused. “So you’re saying that if I was there, you would have asked me?”
“Everything’s about you, isn’t it?” Mia rolled her eyes so far back, I’m almost completely sure she could see her own brain.
“Hell no! You didn’t even answer my question.” Everything about me? If anything, this whole high school experience belonged to anyone BUT me. It was Cole’s and Tristan’s and Travis’s and Princeton’s high school experience too. Anything that happened to me, somehow affected them too. My life was theirs and theirs was mine. As if we were all tangled up in jumbled mess.
“King, you just think because I let you take me out of that dance, that I instantly have to explain everything to you. And about your friends, everyone knows them as ‘King’s Boys.’ They’re not ever just Cole or Tristan or Travis or Prince. They’re part of you. Like your own personal army or something.”
“No, no,” I laughed, “that’s so not what it is. Look, I guess it’s hard for people from the outside to understand it, but we’re all different. Sure we all look alike in a stereotypical way, but we’re each our own person.”
“Oh really? Well, having different family and mental issues I guess, does count to your little entourage’s diversity.” She smirked. God, I hated how she went there.
“You don’t know us,” I said through clenched teeth.
“I don’t have to. You’re all so easy to read.”
“And you’re just some girl that thinks she’s so unique because she’s cool and laid back and ‘not like the other girls’ because she doesn’t wear makeup and because she doesn’t participate in school or any of that shit.”
“Well when you put it that way, I sound just like you.” She smirked. And God, just like that, she caught me off guard and I’d fallen in her trap. And she was right; we were alike in a weird way.
“Whatever,” I huffed, “You never told me your secret.” I changed topics, hoping she wouldn’t realize. But she was looking at me intently like a lion before pouncing on its prey. Every movement I made, she registered with those big shiny brown eyes.
“You want my secret? Fine. Brace yourself, Kingsley. I know something you might want to know. Because you’re a blind idiot.” She crossed her arms over her chest proudly.
“Then it’s not your secret. Tell me a secret about you, not someone else.” I chewed my lower lip curiously. What could she know that I didn’t?
“But this secret is much, much, much better than any old boring little known fact about me. It’s one of your boys.”
My ears perked up at her last sentence. What the hell could she know about one of my boys that I didn’t know? I knew everything about their boring miserable little lives, from the time Tristan got too drunk in the basement on Thanksgiving earlier this year, to Cole’s parents divorcing before we started high school.
“Pfft, please. You wouldn’t know shit about us.”
“What about your little secret admirer?”
“Mia, I have tons of those.”
“Well yeah, everyone knows that. But what about guy secret admirers? Ever thought about those types of admirers?”
“What the hell?” I laughed, “You’re joking.”
She sucked in her breath and I frantically pulled at her arm.
“Please tell me you’re joking. Mia…Mia look at me. Tell me you’re joking.”
“Word gets around quick, King. And it’s beyond obvious.” She sucked in her cheeks and smirked.
“Word from who?” I tightened my grasp on her arm.
“Let go of me, will you?” She wriggled under my grasp. “God, you act like it’s a bad thing. All I know is that not every King needs a queen. Maybe he just needs a Prince.”
“What the hell are you—” Suddenly all the puzzle pieces came together. Everything weird and off that didn’t seem to make sense finally did.
“Oh, shit.” Mia looked at her phone. “I have to go. Don’t tell anyone, will you? I’ll see you at school Monday.” She got up and ruffled my hair liked nothing had happened, like everything was completely fine and normal. I sat there, gaping, staring at her as she ran away, her ghostly silhouette getting smaller and smaller in the distance until there was nothing, just the street lamps flickering and the crickets in the lot.
I sat there all night in my suit. Not every King needs a queen. Maybe he just needs a Prince. Princeton. And it all made sense, why he didn’t fit right in, why everything about him was clean and crisp. And that explained him always looking at me like that, with big puppy eyes. That’s why he was so awkward around me, why he always defended my sorry ass. Oh my God. My best friend was in love with me.