Monthly Archives: July 2015

Morty the Dragon Part Three

This is the most recent installment of a longer short story that I am writing. You can find part one here and part two here.

Already feeling like I could stand up to anybody I begin wondering what else Morty would have in store for me. I honestly felt like I didn’t have that many problems, but if some strange dragon with time jumping capabilities comes out of nowhere to tell you to fix your life, you should probably listen to him. “What now?” I yell over his shoulder, as we have reached a top speed.

“Remember that time back in school when the professor didn’t think you had it in you to complete an assignment so he gave you a C in order to pass the class?”

“It was art. That’s not useful in the real world. The professor was right.”

“No he wasn’t. That was your dream!” He made a sharp turn and there was a bright flash. This time, there was clouds in the sky and it was raining. We weren’t getting wet though, I assumed it was some kind of magical dragon trick.

“A degree in computers with a minor in art? I was a freshman with big dreams. What would I have done with that?”

“Anything you wanted to! Instead, you’re stuck in an office job fixing internet problems dumb people are too lazy to figure out themselves.” We kept flying for a bit. I assumed it was because my college was a bit farther from my home town. I wondered why Morty didn’t just zap us there like before.

“The only thing related would have been game art design. But that has nothing to do with technical work.” I looked around us. I didn’t see any parts of this town that I recognized.

“What did you want to be when you grew up?” Morty’s speed had slowed down.

“I always wanted to work with computers.”


“What do you mean?” I searched my brain hard for what the crazy dragon had been talking about. Ever since I can remember, I did want to work with computers. Even in elementary school my favorite part of the day was getting to browse the web for homework. I wanted to learn everything I could about technology and read every Wikipedia page that I could. That’s when it hit me. “Oh. You mean Ms. Gorganzolla’s class.”

“Ms Gorganzolla indeed.” We landed, the rain still pounding around our dry selves.

“Wait, so where are you taking me?”

“Don’t you recognize this place?”

“No.” I looked around. There was a large grass field and a school building. I never moved in my life so this didn’t look familiar at all. I had gone to school near my house, near that park where Morty and I had just come from.

“This is the school you should have attended.”

“Why is that?” Morty pointed to the sign. It read ‘Gorganzolla’s School for Exceptionally Gifted Students.’ “Oh. Why are you showing me this?”

A flash of light happened again and we were now standing outside of my actual elementary school. Morty was nowhere to be found so I walked into the building. In a classroom I noticed the date. It was the September of my first year of school. Classes hadn’t started yet and teachers were preparing lessons for the year in all of the classrooms. As I kept walking down the hall I noticed the time. It came rushing back to me, I was being interviewed at this time to see where I would be placed. I ran towards the principal’s office.

Once I got there I could see my parents sitting at the desk while the principal droned on about school policy. Little me was at a much smaller desk, playing with an iPad. In the corner stood Ms Gorganzolla.

“His placement test from the preschool show he is exceptionally gifted.” The teacher spoke.

“Yes, but your school is far away. We’d have to move everything. It’s tough finding a job as it is!” My father seemed angry.

“There will be grants and scholarships available to Mike, and the school is located near a big hub city. Plenty of opportunities for you and your wife.”

“Isn’t there a better option?”

“You could homeschool him with the materials from the school.” The principal spoke. Suddenly the room seemed to stand still. My father’s expression was furious, my mother’s hand over her forehead in contemplation. Morty appeared beside me.

“I’m going to stop you right here. It is tough to assess the situation sometimes. What are you thinking?”

“If I go to this school, that’ll uproot my whole family right?”


“So that’s why I didn’t do it?” I looked over to little me, eyes glued to the iPad

“Basically. Your parents would have done everything for you. Your father is just angry because the school also has the art program. So alongside math and science and your precious technology, they also require great artistic skill. You hadn’t been allowed to color at home before. You were raised on that iPad.”

“So why did this lady recommend me?”

“The tests you took at preschool. Your art skill was amazing even then. This plain elementary school didn’t teach you much besides basic colors and doodles for your parent’s fridge.”

“Which they always took down shortly after. Dad didn’t like them.”

“Your mom did, she kept all of them.” Morty spun his finger in the air and time resumed.

“The only other option sir, is that he stays here, leads a normal life like everyone else.” The principal looked over some paperwork sitting on her desk.

“But Morty, if I change this instance, won’t that change the scene from the park?” I thought long and hard about my decision. I did remember loving to color in preschool. Somewhere along my life timeline I figured I stopped loving it so much. I figured it would have been this moment. The moment that decided my future was the one that my father chose for me. He didn’t want to move to a new area, he wanted his son to be like everyone else.

“You’ll see.” He looked at me and pointed to my younger self. I walked over to him and whispered in his ear.

Little me set the iPad down and began to draw with the crayons and pens sitting on the little desk as the adults kept talking. Once he was finished he walked the paper over to my father who stared at it in shock. He hadn’t really taken the time to notice my drawings for my whole life.

“Mike… this is fantastic! You’re right Ms., Gorganzolla, he is great at this stuff. Okay. Sign us up, I start looking for jobs in the city.” My father had a tear in his eye as he looked down at the almost perfect family portrait little me had drawn.


Minus Six Review

Nothing like a hot summer day to enjoy the feel good tunes of Minus Six. Named appropriately for their missing six stringed guitar, the band is made up of piano/vocals (Kevin Carton), bass/harmony vocals (Kameron Rummans), drums (Rob Baner), and saxophone (Matt Sivertsen). Minus Six was founded in Moline, Il in 2003. They have four studio albums and one live album. I had the pleasure of seeing them live a second time on the seventeenth of July, 2015.

If you don’t find yourself dancing to this upbeat rock band it would be because you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the high passionate energy each member of the band portrays. This band truly loves what they do, you can tell by the smiles on their faces. People of all ages come to see them play live where they play mostly original songs with a few covers mixed within the set. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Piano Man by Billy Joel, but I would give up anything to hear Kevin Carton sing it again.

Their original songs are just pure musical bliss. Written by Carton himself, the songs are a journey through life and love and travel. Their most recent album released in December of 2013 titled “Come Out From Where You Hide” documents Carton’s life experiences traveling to France to teach English. But you don’t have to visit France yourself to pick up on the lessons he tries to convey. You can really visualize the lyrics so even if you can’t make their show, you’ll have something to enjoy. My favorite song “Good Days” from their Album “Hidden in the Deep Green” leaves you feeling nostalgic for those days of as a kid, seeing them perform the song live is magical as the whole crowd sings along and children dance in front of the stage.

You can find the band at as well as Facebook and YouTube. Give them a listen and I promise, they’ll have your feet stompin’ like mad.

Kevin Carton, lead singer/piano Minus Six and me

Kevin Carton, lead singer/piano Minus Six
and me


“Okay, how about this… ‘If the whole world was just a figment of my own imagination, you’re the best thing I’ve ever thought of.’” Jordan looked at Emily sitting next to him at the bar. Her hair flowed down to her shoulders and her eyes were a beautiful shade of jade. Any guy would have been lucky to sit next to this goddess draped in a white chiffon blouse and red under layer.

“That’s amazing. Though I’m not quite sure that’s pick up line material.”

“How not!?” Jordan was dumbfounded. He had worked hard on this line and was hoping to use it tonight.

“Well you wouldn’t want to walk up to a woman and say that. You come off too strong and pretentious, although it is beautiful. That is something you’d want to say after the night is over, once you’ve gotten to know her a little better. Any girl can be cute or hot, but you don’t want to make her think you’re just looking at her body. Learn more about her, be attentive, tell her she’s beautiful. Unless you’re just here to find a girl to fuck. Then by all means, go up to the hottest girl you see, pat your pockets and say ‘I seem to have lost my phone number, can I have yours?’”

“Does that work?”

“No. Not on me anyway, it’s been tried.”

“Some guy actually said that to you?” Jordan was in disbelief.

“Yeah, I punched him in the arm.” Emily said as if this was some daily occurrence and punched men for taking a step all the time.

“Well good for you, but what was wrong with that.”

“I was holding the hand of my boyfriend.”

“And your boyfriend didn’t do anything.”

“I broke up with him that night. Totally unrelated actually, but that was like the icing on the cake. I need a man to stand up for me and he just never could.”

“Wow.” Jordan turned back to his beer sitting on the countertop of the bar. How could a guy have a girl like this in his hands and not fight for her? He had just met this girl and already thought she was a great catch.

“So anyway, tell me about yourself. You’re here looking for a date for what now?” She looked at him with a puzzled look and sipped on her whiskey on the rocks.

“A wedding actually. My family expects me to have a date by October so I figured I’d get a head start.”

“But it’s February. You could have several relationships crash and burn by then.”

“Or I’ll find an amazing woman who is beautiful and confident like yourself who’ll stay with me till then.” Jordan smiled at her.

“See, that. You need to say things like that to a woman to get her to not only go home with you, but stay the night and go out to breakfast with you.”

“Truth is, I’ve never gotten this far.” He chuckled at his truth. She was right, he hasn’t had much luck picking girls up at the bar.

“That’s because you’re trying to pick women up at bars. These ones take a good look at a man and decide what their plans are without even saying hello first. And those plans are almost always go with him to his place, get a good hard fucking and leave. Walk of shame at four in the morning kind of girls. You, Jordan, are a breakfast man I can tell.” She finished up her whiskey and waved for the bartender to give her the check.

“I would like to take that as a compliment.”

“Of course. You’re dark and handsome, I assume you’re tall even though I haven’t seen you stand. Your eyes are sapphires and you have just the right kind of 5 O’clock shadow. Any woman in this bar would be lucky to have a catch like you giving them cheesy pickup lines that will never work, but they’ll never know because you give off a vibe that says ‘I want to love you.’” She signed her receipt and stood up and looked at his handsome face as she slid a business card into his breast pocket. “Goodnight Jordan. I hope to see you again sometime.”

“So you gave your number to a guy in a bar? Doesn’t that go against everything you’ve ever believed in?”

“Lucy I told you, he was great to talk to.” Emily sat down at the breakfast nook in her apartment. Lucy standing at the stove adding ingredients for her homemade chicken stock.

“And he sounds gorgeous.”

“Beautifully handsome.”

“And you didn’t take him home?”

“No. Like you said, I don’t pick up guys in bars.”

“So what’s wrong with him?”

“Nothing. But remember. I broke up with George two nights ago.”

“Which was dumb. He was hot!”



“All the money and muscles couldn’t stand up to his uncontrollable problem with not caring about me.”

“He cared. Flowers constantly, jewelry.”

“No, he went with societal norms. Flowers smelled wonderful and jewelry is nice but you remember two nights ago? Holding my hand not paying attention to me while I’m being hit on by a creep! I tell him, hey George this guy wants my number and he tells the guy that he better buy me a drink as well. I need a man who will hold my hand and care that I am there. Care that I belong to him.”

“That’s just wishful thinking.”

“You date him then.”

“No thanks. I don’t want your seconds. That Jordan guy though, if he calls you, you should introduce us.”

“Maybe I want him. Ever think of that?”

“You don’t.”

“I’ll invite him to the party if he calls how about that? Not sure he’d go for you though.”

“We’ll see about that.”

“Glad you invited me. It’s nice to get out to somewhere not in a bar.” Jordan held his red solo cup out to cheers Emily.

“You seemed like you needed a great time. And Lucy wanted to meet you.” She sipped on her bottle of beer and chuckled.

“Lucy, the girl dancing with that guy over there?” He took a hard drink out of his cup.

“A little slutty tonight. Trying to make you jealous, it’s her thing.”

“What did you tell her about me that she’s already trying to make me jealous?”

“Is it working?”

“Uh.” Jordan looked over to Lucy dancing very sexily with her partner. He took another big drink. Although Lucy was attractive, he wasn’t sure he would have picked her out in the crowd.

“So, no?” She smiled.

“I’m not the jealous type. If she wants to dance with that guy, that’s her prerogative. If she wants to dance with me, great. Though if we were dating then I’d be mad, but still it’s her prerogative.”

“Well it looks like she chose her prerogative.” Emily pointed to Lucy, wrapped in the arms of her dance partner with her tongue stuffed into his mouth.

“Such is my luck.”

“Honey, you’ve been talking about this Emily girl a lot. I’d like to meet her.”

“Mom, it isn’t like that.” Jordan handed her a wet dish.

“Not like what?” She took the dish and started drying.

“Just a friend. We aren’t dating, and I know what you’re thinking.” He thought about it. It wasn’t such a bad idea to invite Emily to be his date to his cousin’s wedding. He didn’t have much time left to find someone even though he had already RSVP’d with a plus one.

“She just sounds like she’s a nice girl. You seem to get along with her, why not invite her next month?”

“How do you know I don’t already have a date for the wedding, Ma?”

“Because if you did you would be so excited and so ready to please me that I would have already met her.” His mother was right. She had been pressuring him so much that his need to find a girlfriend was mostly to pacify her.

“Sure, I’ll go with you.” Emily smiled. She was still lying in bed, the phone had woken her up

“Great. Get ready.” Jordan said with excitement in his voice.

“It’s today!?” She was shocked, she remembered the time she met him thinking that it was only a short time ago. He was looking for a date for the wedding that was apparently already here.

“Yeah, short notice I know. But the ceremony isn’t until 5 so you’ve got plenty of time. And I know you’re not doing anything because this is your day off. Netflix will still be there tomorrow. Do you need me to take you to a store and get a dress?”

“No. I’ll be alright. When do you want to pick me up for the wedding though?” She knew his luck finding a date was not great and had purchased a dress a few weeks before.

“Great. How about I get you at 4?”

“Sounds good, see you then.”

“Bye Em! Thanks so much!”

Emily hung up the phone and got out of bed to head for the shower.

“Who was that, babe?” A blonde chiseled man sat up in bed.

“Jordan.” She yelled from the bathroom.

“Ah. Wedding today huh?”


“Such a lucky man, to be with a woman who pities her friends as to ditch her own plans at a drop of a hat.”

“You knew this would happen, honey.” She started the shower and hopped in.

“But tonight’s date was supposed to be special!” He fell back into the pillows. A few minutes later, Emily came out in a towel and searched her closet for the dress.

“How about you tell me what you were going to now?” She smiled at him.

“Uhm. Alright.” He got out of bed and picked his pants off the floor. Out of the pocket he grabbed a small black box and handed it to her.

“He proposed!?” Jordan stared at the rock that was now on Emily’s ring finger. His cousin was now enjoying her first dance as a married woman with her husband.

“Yeah!” She smiled staring at it too.

“Lucky girl!” He held out his glass of wine to toast Emily. “A bit soon don’t you think? I only met you eight months ago, you guys haven’t been dating long.”

“But I love him, you know that! Now. Tonight’s objective, finding you a girl!” She held out her wine to toast to him. She scanned the room. “You just have to make sure to tell me which ones are related.”

Jordan smiled. They had dinner together and danced a few times. Emily disappeared after the dollar dance but he stayed on the floor enjoying himself with his cousins. He forgot to be concerned for her whereabouts.

“Hello.” A soft voice called from behind him.

“Hello?” He turned. This is a woman he had never seen before.

“Emily told me to tell you that she sent me.” She looked confused but smiled.

“Oh she did, did she?”

“Uhm, yeah. Said you needed a date to a wedding?”

Jordan admired his new date. She had guts to listen to a random woman to come meet a guy on a dance floor. He had assumed this is what Emily had disappeared to do. “Care to dance with me?” He held out his hand.

“I’d love to!”

The Body

Early Friday morning I found a body in my backyard. It was charred black and almost shriveled. I had no telling who or what this body could be. Perplexed, I looked at the security footage from the yard. I found nothing, the body just seemed to appear that night. I searched the local papers for reports on missing persons, and I found nothing relevant to the body. I called the cops and my house quickly turned into a crime scene.

“Miss, we’d like to ask you a few questions.” Said a man, standing behind me as I looked out into the back yard from my porch. He was dressed in a suit and tie. I guessed that he was a detective.

“Anything.” I knew I had nothing to hide. I turned around and stared at him.

“We have the lab results back from the autopsy but before we go into detail… Where were you born?” He moved over to the chairs and gestured for me to sit as well.

“I was born right here in Farsville.” Confused by this line of questioning, did they think I had done this?

“What is your birth date?” He began to look at some paperwork I had on the table.

“June 16th, 1989.”

“What were you doing the morning the body appeared?”

“I got out of bed, waited for the coffee, poured myself a mug, and came out to the porch to enjoy the morning air.” I had said this so many times to the other officers, my statement almost came out like a recording.

“Would you be willing to submit to a lie detector test?”

“I’m sorry Officer, but are you accusing me of dropping a body on my own lawn?” I straightened up in my chair, this had become more serious than I had expected.

“Miss, there is a certain protocol we follow when these things happen. I personally, off the record, do not think YOU had anything to do with this. My buddies on the force seem to think something odd is going on. We just want to touch all of our bases.” He stood up. “We would only need you for a few questions, won’t take long.”

I got into the car with the detective and a police officer and we went to the station. There, another detective hooked me up to the machine and asked me the same questions.

“June 16th, 1989.”

“Well Miss, your results are negative.”

“I wouldn’t lie to you guys, honest. That body just showed up out of nowhere. You said that you got the results of the autopsy? Can you tell me who it is?” I looked pleadingly at them in hopes of an answer.

“Miss, the body is yours. It is estimated to be 50 years old.”

Film project: Untitled (Part 1)

I stared out the window to the school yard as the principal and superintendent read from my portfolio. The grass was bright green and ready to be cut. The sill to the window was covered in books about education. One in particular read “Foundations of Education: Where the Hell Do You Start?” It was interesting, this was my cue that the principal was a forward type of guy who would accept my proposal.

“Where do you plan on getting these kids, Nigel?” The superintendent gave me a start. He was leaned up against half shelf bookcase behind the principal’s desk. Legs crossed and arms folded while holding a copy of the portfolio.

“It would be a simple audition, obviously from outside the area.” I looked over at the both of them hoping for approving looks.

“How do you simply audition children for this type of job? Do you plan on paying them?” The principal continued to stare at my work, almost puzzled.

“Of course, they would be paid just like any normal actor. Obviously without the big bill, this isn’t Anna Kendrick or anything. I don’t want to use big names since I want the real life experience. You can’t do real life like reality TV shows, they just end up scripted. The auditions will just be me sitting down with the students, talking to them. More like an interview.” These things were covered in the portfolio, which made me wonder how much of it they had been reading or if they were just skimming.

“But how do you know.” The principal had at least seemed interested.

“I’ll just know. You two can be there to interview them yourselves. I want you just as much part of this. That way, you’ll know a good fit for your school.”

“Ooh, I like that George.” The principal looked at the superintendent.

“Are we also going to be looking at their school records?” The superintendent seemed still uncertain about my proposal.

“That could be arranged. Though I do not want to discriminate a child for their grades.”

“That’s true George, he wants real people for a real project. Can’t just pick the cream of the crop purely for state standard requirements. Nigel, you have my approval. When were you planning on doing these interview auditions and where?”

“Hold on a minute Henry, I have not given my stamp. How do you plan on videoing these kids without their knowledge?” The superintendent slapped the portfolio on the desk and shifted his legs.

“I have funding for what is essentially spy glasses. They’ll be made for the children’s prescription and just look like normal glasses. They will know what is going on, since I haven’t figured out how to do without them knowing. Suggestions welcome.” I laughed. I knew that was an impossibility. These children would be interviewed for an acting job, there was no other way around it.

“You will be contributing to the school right?” Henry suddenly seemed skeptical.

“Of course, though I would suggest not fully until the project is over. I thought about donating some benches or what-have-you until the movie has been released. I don’t want any student being suspicious. That also brings me to another point, if you haven’t read, I would like to be put on staff so I can be where the action is.” I straightened up a little in my chair.

“You’ll have to go through the necessary paperwork for that Nigel.” George stood now arms folded.

“Yes, yes George. I’ll get him the paperwork.”

“Alright then Nigel, I’ll approve this for now, but I will be keeping a watchful eye on you.” The superintendent started for the door.

“Thank you, George. I’ll promise not to let you down.” I went in for a handshake but he continued out the door.

“He’s an interesting fellow. Now, let’s get you that paperwork. How about Janitor? (He leaned into the phone and pressed a button) ‘Nikki, could you get me an application to the janitor position?’ That’s about the only thing we have at the moment. What about camera crews? When would you like to do the interview? The new school season is upon us you know.” The principal flowed, he seemed happy with the project now. I, myself, was ecstatic.

Mexican Vacation

This year’s company picnic spared no expense. What normally is hot dogs in a park with a karaoke band, turned into a warm vacation on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A brief meeting the month before we departed told us that instead of bonus checks, they were giving us a beautiful getaway vacation. My only personal expenses was the entertainment while at the resort so it wasn’t hard to save up.

We all arrived Friday night and settled into our hotel rooms before heading down to the local bars. I hung out with all the good friends I had made since working there and even had some silly conversations with those I hadn’t talked to much in the past. There was even karaoke for those of us missing out on the usual ritual. I even sang a bit myself, in my tipsy state.

Saturday morning was filled with yoga and cycling and around 10AM various team building exercises. As a single girl, the “date” I had chosen to bring was my brother. While I strengthened my relationship with the already close-knit group I worked with, he wondered around the nearby theme park. The different groups of the company cycled through the activities, laughing away at how silly this all seemed to us.

“We’re already trusting of each other, we don’t need trust falls!” Said my closest work friend as she stood in front of me, arms crossed. Our group was on the beach, in the hot sun. It was nearly lunch time and we were all getting a little groggy.

“But Frankie, how else will you know I’ve got your back?” I laughed. I had been through these types of things before and I didn’t mind them. After a few turns with the seven of us there was a loud megaphone coming from the resort.

“ALL GROUPS PLEASE REPORT TO THE CHECK-IN TABLE. YOUR LUNCH TIMES WILL BE HANDED OUT.” Our boss had already gotten our lunch time before we stared our activities, we were the first group.

“Shit, I have to call my brother.” I ran to my bag to grab my phone. I already had a missed call from him and a text message saying he was on his way back.

“Is he meeting us for lunch?” Frankie grabbed her sunscreen out of her bag and applied some to her face.

“Yeah. Know what we’re having?”

“I heard it was hot dogs.” A voice said behind me. It was our other comrade from the department, Greta. We all laughed as this was the typical meal of the picnics.

“I hope not. We’re in Mexico! We need Mexican food!” Frankie droned.

“You were right, Greta. Hot dogs.” I said looking at the buffet.

“Ha-ha I told you!” She said and grabbed a plate and started the line opposite the table from me.

“Didn’t you say this is what you guys had last year?” My brother lined up behind Greta.

“Yeah, these look a little less burnt.” Frankie lined up behind me.

At the table we all sat with our dates. I looked around the room.

“He’s over there.” Frankie nudged me.

“Who?” I wasn’t looking for anyone in particular but she figured I was.

“You know.”

“Naw, not looking for anyone. Just looking. I mean, do you see that ocean view!?” I picked up a fork full of potato salad and avoided the glare of her eyes.

That evening’s plans were up to ourselves. Frankie and her date, my brother and I went back to the theme park for a few hours while Greta spent time with her family. I lost track of the rest of our department and enjoyed myself on a few roller coasters. We had a quick snack of pretzels in lieu of dinner and headed back to the resort to swim in the dusk at the hotel pool. The firework display was set to go off right as the sun disappeared and I looked around for a good spot to watch. My brother had met a girl at the park who was also staying at the resort, not on company reasons. This left me alone as all the others were paired up.

The resort pool had splash landings and slides big enough for adults, and I thought the tallest tower would make for a perfect view of the fireworks over the ocean. I started the climb up the wet stairs, still in my bikini. Afraid of falling I held onto the railing and watched my steps. A pair of feet appeared before me and I looked up at the man Frankie had accused me of looking for before.

“Hey.” I said a little embarrassed I hadn’t noticed him before I looked up.

“Hey, Lady.” He smiled.

“Alone too?” I got up to the same landing as Paul.

“Yeah, Devon said she wasn’t feeling great and decided not to come.”

“Not feeling great for Mexico? I would have come anyway.”

“Didn’t even get on the plane.” He looked a bit sad.

“Wow, I’m sorry. Are you enjoying yourself?” I turned toward the sea.

“Yes actually, so how are you doing?”

“Great. This has been fun.” We sat in silence for a while waiting for the sun to go down. I began to shiver a bit being out of the water, but it was bearable. He began talking about work and though I listened I can’t remember quite what he was talking about. I nodded and said “yup” at appropriate times. I turned back toward him and looked into his eyes. The hint of blue soaked up the ocean. I stood on my toes and leaned in before I realized how close I was. I took a step back with my hand still on the railing. I hoped he hadn’t noticed the look on my face or noticed that I had wished I had kissed him. He didn’t seem to as he kept talking and looking out to the ocean.

“YO NAT! YOU COMING?” Frankie yelled from the sidewalk on the outside of the gate to the pool. I silently thanked her for stopping the awkwardness I was feeling.

“Coming where?” I yelled back.

“WE’RE GOING TO THE BEACH TO WATCH THE FIREWORKS.” She was with her date, my brother and his new friend.

“Oh. Alright, I’ll be down.” Although I wanted to stay there with Paul, being welcomed back to my close friends for the night seemed more comfortable. I turned back to him. “Well, I’ll see you later?”

“Yeah, sure!” He smiled.

“So?” Frankie looked at me expectantly as we sat down on beach towels.

“So what?” I now had my jacket over my swimsuit and wasn’t as cold as I was standing on the stairs in the pool. I don’t know what she wanted since she knew nothing was going to happen, even though she knew how I felt.

“Any news?” She glared at me.

“Nothing significant.” I blushed. I liked Paul, I felt bad for him since his girlfriend hadn’t been able to make the trip. But I wasn’t going to jeopardize his relationship just for my feelings.

“Well just enjoy the fireworks. I hear breakfast is going to be fabulous tomorrow. Tacos!” She smiled and leaned into her date.

My brother looked over at me and held out his fist for a bump. I obliged and smiled over at his date. BOOM. The first firework shot into the sky and was bigger than any I had ever seen. I couldn’t see the boat it had launched from. If this was the first firework, I was excited to see what the finale would turn out to be. As the second pierced the dark sky I felt a warm hand drape across my shoulder. Before I knew it, I was leaning into someone. I looked to my side and there Paul was looking out into the ocean fireworks. A smile from ear to ear.