After class Josh catches up with me.
"So?" he says. "What did you think?"
"Of what?" I say to irritate him, I know he's talking about the cartoon and the rose.
Josh just smiles, his nose crinkling at this simple action and changes the subject. "My parents are away this weekend."
"Good for you."
His smile doesn't waver, not for a second. "I'm having a party tonight. Are you coming?"
I look at him, I've never understood Josh. Or at least I haven't understood him in years. We were super close when we were little- technically I suppose he was my best friend as well as my first kiss- but as soon as he hit middle school, he started getting weirder and weirder. Since freshmen year he has been sporting this lip piercing and this grey beanie of his that he insists on wearing atleast twice a week. He wears the same scuffed-up black-and-white checkered keds everyday and his hair is always perfectly tousled, even when he doesn't appear like he's trying. But I guess the real deal breaker is that girl pants that he insists on wearing everyday.The worst thing is that he could be cute. Believe me when I say that he has the face and body for it. He also has this tiny heart-shaped mole right above his lip. "Not sure what my plans are yet," I say. "If that's where everyone ends up..." I let my voice trail off so he knows I'll only show if there's nothing better to do.
"It's going to be great," he says, still smiling. Another thing infuriating about Josh: he acts like the world is one big, shiny present he gets to unwrap every morning.
"We'll see," I say. Down the hall I see John ducking into the caferteria and I start walking faster, hoping Josh will get the picture and back off. It's pretty optimistic thinking on my part. Josh has had a crush on me for years. Possibly ever since our kiss.
He stops walking entirely, maybe hoping I'll stop too. But I don't. For a second I feel bad, like i was too harsh, but then his voice rings out after me, and I can tell just by the sound of it that he's still smiling.
"See you tonight," Josh says. I hear the squeak of his sneakers on the linoleum, and I know he has turned around and started off in the opposite direction. He starts whistling. The sound of it carries back to me, getting fainter. It takes me a while to place the tune.
The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow they'll be sun. From Annie, the musical. My favorite song-when I was seven. I know no one else in the hall will get it, but still I'm embarrassed and can feel heat creeping up my neck. Josh is always doing things like that: acting like he knows me better than anyone else just because we used to play in the sandbox together a hundred years ago. Acting like nothing that's happened in the past ten years has changed anything, even though it's changed everything.
My phone's buzzing in my back pocket and before I go in to lunch I snap it open. There's one new text from Dakota.
Party @ Josh Farro's 2nite, In?
I pause for just a second, blowing out a long breath before I text back.