Girl Code(7)

By: L.D. Davis

“Thanks, Tacky,” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I can’t say that I am looking forward to it,” I replied with a tight smile.

He shrugged his shoulders, flashed me a devious grin, and walked out of my room.

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and closed my door.

One week later, Leo and Leslie started officially dating. I was happy my friend got the boy she wanted. I told myself that over and over again as I felt the slightly sticky spot on my neck from the candy moistened by Leo’s lips.

Chapter Two

Even as a well behaved teenager that stayed out of trouble and brought home straight A’s—even in math, thanks to Leo’s help—I did not have a good relationship with my parents. I didn’t have a bad relationship with my parents, either. I just didn’t have any relationship with them. I never went without. I always had food, clothing, and a roof over my head. If I wanted money for a movie or to go roller-skating, I asked for it and I received it. We always had cable and computers, a finished basement complete with a pool table and video games. I was allowed to have friends over and I didn’t have a curfew or any rules really, but then again, I didn’t need any. I didn’t go many places or do many things. I had a lot of possessions to make the life of a teenage girl comfortable, as if possessions were all that mattered in the world.

My father worked hard, long hours at a plant not far from our house. He had no idea what to do with a teenage girl, what to talk about or even how to talk to me at all. So, he didn’t. He knew how to talk to my brother though. They had long conversations about football, basketball, soccer, cars, and colleges—and even sex. My mother had a vagina and breasts, so one would think that since she and I at least had that in common, we would have a foundation for a relationship. Throw in some common DNA and we should have been well on our way to a beautiful relationship. Should have…but didn’t.

My mother doted on my brother as if he were a king and she was his lowly servant. Theodore “Tack” Tackard was a big ball of energy that my mother orbited around day and night. He was a star athlete, president of the student council, a scholar, and an all-around good guy. He even volunteered his time as a big brother and as a counselor at a junior football camp during the summers. He had sandy blond hair that swept across his forehead in a way that drove the girls crazy and his blue eyes twinkled when he flashed his deep-dimpled smile. My brother was the epitome of the All American Boy and my mom loved every bit of it.

When Tack was just a little kid, Mom was the football mom, the soccer mom, the baseball mom, the hockey mom. She didn’t mind carpooling the other kids, she never missed a practice, nor did she ever miss a game. She saw every touchdown, every home run, every pitch, and every goal. She knew about every paper he had to write, every test he had to take, and thought he was the smartest kid in the world when he brought home a C plus.

Our parents also took Tack at his word for everything he said, no matter what it was. He wasn’t drinking, he didn’t smoke pot, he didn’t have sex with a girl behind the football bleachers—even though the vice principal claimed to have caught them in the act.

They especially listened to Tack where I was concerned. It didn’t happen very often, but if Tack told my parents not to allow me to do something, they listened to him without even considering my argument. At the beginning of spring break of my freshman year of high school, Tack was threatening to tell my parents on me. I wasn’t afraid of my mom and dad, but Tack was ready to go to extremes and have them ship me off to my cousin Emmy’s for the weekend to prevent me from going to a party. My cousin was cool, but her mother drove me bananas, and even though they were a welcoming bunch, I always felt out of place there.

Rico Havarez was having one of the biggest parties of the year, and even though dozens of people would end up crashing it anyway, he had given me a personal invite. Rico was a senior, like my brother. We had an art class together and we had shared the same table since September. Naturally, we became friendly. There were always rumors flying through the halls about Rico, but rumors were an ever-changing animal. What was rumored to be true on Monday usually warped into some other version of truth by Wednesday. I typically gave people the benefit of doubt, but I had to learn the hard way that particular weekend that I couldn’t always do that.

Tack had forbidden me from going to the party. Usually, I obeyed my brother. I loved him, respected him, and looked up to him. As I said, I was a pretty good kid, but I really wanted to go to that party. I knew it would be a crazy time and I wanted to do something crazy. I always colored between the lines, but I was feeling a little rebellious. Leslie had branched out, made new friends and gone to a few parties throughout the year. She wouldn’t be at that particular one because she was going away for the break, but I thought it was a perfect time for me to begin to venture out on my own.