Chapter 5: The Ride Home
“You killed it with the ladies, saved my handsome ass, and implied to an entire room full of people that we’re gay as fuck… I’d say that’s enough for one night.” Pulling away from Win, I wink at him as he pouts. It’s seriously too cute so I pinch his cheek lightly and coo adoringly. “Ready to go home, Sweety?”
“Cut it out, Per. That’s creepy.” Shoving me away, Win rolls his eyes at me and I can see a faint blush stain his skin in the glow of the streetlights.
“Saucy!” Grinning, I step closer to the curb and wave down a taxi. “Come on, Loverboy. Let’s get out of here.”
I open the door and let Win slide in first before I follow and give the directions to the driver. The car pulls into traffic and we return to talking about the adventure tonight. Win shudders as he’s reminded of the gorilla that was ready to beat the crap out of me so I switch the conversation to some of the funny shit that happened at school today to distract him.
“The freaking band sign-up was crazy today.” As buildings and bright lights flash by the car windows, I tell Win about my afternoon with the Band Club. “It started off boring as hell. We had been sitting around forever and no one was showing up. P’Ohm almost fell asleep.”
“Seriously? I thought the band competition was a popular event.” Win stares at me, wide-eyed.
“It is.” Laughing, I shake my head. “Which is why, just as P’Film was about strangle me…”
“Wait. Why was P’Film angry with you?”
“I kinda was poking him with my drumsticks.” Win folds him arms and raises one eyebrow, making me feel the need to defend myself. “What? I told you I was bored and he was sitting next to me, not paying attention.” Okay, not exactly the best defense but whatever.
“Uh huh.” Win smirks. “Where was P’Noh? Isn’t he the Band Club’s President?”
“P’Noh skipped school. Heard he went on a trip with P’Phun and their girlfriends to the beach. P’Ohm was not happy and was cursing P’Noh’s name, especially when all those guys came running into our club room at the same time.” The taxi we’re in pulls over on our street, interrupting our conversation. After paying him, we climb out and I walk Win to his gate. “All these guys from first years to seniors crowded around the table and were waving their entry forms in P’Ohm’s face. P’ yelled at them to quiet down and line up, which worked… for about half a second. It was so fucking noisy as they asked question after question, everyone talking at once. P’Ohm finally flipped when one of ‘em started asking him about how to get their cat to eat tuna.”
“You’re joking, right?” Win is laughing so hard he has to lean against the fence for support. “Someone asked for advice about their cat?”
“Seriously. Don’t know what the dipshit was thinking. Why would we care what the hell his cat is eating?” Shaking my head, I wonder at the weirdness of some people. “P’Ohm lost it after that. He screamed bloody murder with his hands clutching at his head. I swear I saw bits of hair clinging to his fingernails when he pulled them away.” So, really this part is the tiniest bit exaggerated but, Winnie is laughing so hard, I can’t resist. “You should have seen him, Win.”
“Wish I could have. You’re club is always so fun.” Win sighs and I can hear the slight hint of longing in his voice. It’s a shame his dad won’t let him join my club. Win doesn’t play any instruments but he’s good at singing. His dad says music is a waste of time and that Win needs to concentrate on his studies. Ridiculous really since Win is one of the top students in our class.
“You can come visit anytime you want.” I know he can’t join but that doesn’t mean he can’t hang around with us. “Why don’t you come watch the auditions this next week with me?”
“Are you sure that’s okay? I’m not a club member.” Win asks hesitantly, a sparkle of hope in his eyes.
“It’s cool. P’Noh and P’Ohm said it’s fine to invite guests.” I give him my most handsome (I think) smile and wink. “Plus, you’ll get to see me rock out with my band.”
“Okay, I’ll come, but I may be a little late. I think it’s my turn for classroom duties.” He agrees with a wide grin which quickly disappears when the porch light by his front door is suddenly turned on. His eyes quickly dart to the door and back to me before he continues in a subdued voice. “I better go inside.”
“Are you busy this weekend? Want to hang out sometime?” I don’t like the sadness that shadows his eyes now that he has to go inside.
“I can’t. We’re going to visit my grandmother tomorrow and won’t be back until late on Sunday.” Shoulders slumped, he opens his gate and walks through. Seeing my look of concern, he puts on a determined smile which worries me more. “I had a lot of fun tonight, Per. Thanks for taking me.”
“Anytime, Win.” Leaning over, I pet the top of his head. The contact comforting both of us. “Have a nice visit with your grandma. Don’t get into too much trouble without me.”
“Shouldn’t I be saying that to you, Per?” Win teases back and I can’t help but laugh.
“Me? I’m always good.” I wiggle my eyebrows at him and back away as he tries to smack my arm. Walking backwards towards my house, I wave my hand. “See you Monday, Mawin.”
“See you Monday, Pepper.” Waving back, Win smiles a real smile before walking into his house.
“Be safe, Winnie.” The whisper leaves my lips but only the wind can hear me. It’s quiet in our neighborhood, thankfully, and the silence coming from next door is reassuring. Alone, I turn away with a sigh and head into my home.
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