“Can you pass the red pepper?” Mollie asked. I passed her the red pepper shaker and watched her cover her entire slice of pizza with it. She looks up at me staring. “May I help you?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Even though my day was absolute shit, Mollie always knew what to do to make it not that shitty. I pointed at her slice of pizza covered in red pepper flakes.
“You might as well just buy a jar of red pepper flakes,” I teased. Mollie wasn’t even phased by my joke.
“How long have we’ve ate pizza after-school, Milo?” Mollie said as she took a bite of her slice of pizza. “For years,” she answered herself with a mouthful of pizza. I handed her a napkin to clean her mouth.
“I guess old habits die hard,” I answered Mollie.
“You gotta stop hanging out with your dad and Jennifer. Your jokes are so 1990’s,” Mollie stated. I rolled my eyes, sipping my soda. Mollie puts her slice back down on her plate and wipes her hands with her napkin.
“So, our vocal class is… interesting,” Mollie started.
“Our vocal class is just Beverly Junior High all over again,” I said, annoyed at the subject. “Like, how the hell am I suppose to go through that class with everyone knowing that the vocal teacher is also my dad?”
“People will get over it,” Mollie responded. “We have four years to get over it.”
“I barely could get through it today, Mol!” I complained. Mollie started to laugh and continue eating her pizza. I was annoyed that she found my pain funny. “How would you feel if one of your sisters or your parents were your teacher and everyone found out?”
“Milo,” Mollie began. “This is high school. You don’t have to be the middle school Milo version anymore. Fight them! Beat them up! Establish yourself as a tough guy in Waverly! That’s what I would’ve done.”
“I’m not you, Mollie,” I said, feeling defeated. Sometimes Mollie forgot that not everyone handles problems the way she does. It’s times like this that make our friendship not the easiest to handle.
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I took it out and read the notification on my screen.
leesophie: After-school ritual?
I smiled at my phone, and I guess Mollie noticed.
“Is that your girlfriend-that’s-not-really-your-girlfriend?” Mollie said. I looked up at her and rolled my eyes.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” I stated, which was probably the 100th time since Mollie found out that Sophie and are still friends even after middle school. Mollie wasn’t happy when she first found out. For a while, Mollie and I argued about it since she kept saying I was replacing her with Sophie. First of all, I can’t not be Mollie’s best friend; we are practically family… well we are family since my dad married her older sister, Jennifer. I try not to think about the fact that Mollie is technically my aunt… “best friend” is the better title.
Secondly, Sophie’s friendship is so different than Mollie’s. With Sophie, we can talk about different things for hours, go around the neighborhood and always find something fascinating about it. I like hanging out with Mollie, but I enjoy hanging out with Sophie every time we do.
I began to get money out of my bookbag and place it on the table. Mollie rolls her eyes. I sighed, knowing I needed to make sure Mollie was okay.
“Mol, you know we’re best friends for life, right?” I said. Mollie doesn’t answer. I tried again. “And even if you wanted to escape me, you can’t. We’re bonded for life.”
I guess what I said makes Mollie smile and laugh. She sighs before she said anything.
“Just remember that I’m your best man at your wedding with Sophie,” Mollie teased. I threw my paper ball from my plastic straw at Mollie, who then laughs. I put out my fist, in which Mollie gave me a fist pound back.
“I’ll text you later,” I said before leaving the pizzeria.
I finally arrive on the block that my grandparents live on. I saw my grandma water the flowers in her front yard. She stops when she sees me walking closer to her house.
“Milo,” my grandma happily said, kissing me on the forehead. I tried to quickly step back, just in case anyone would see me. “It’s not Thursday; what are you doing here?”
“My friend and I are going to hang out in the treehouse,” I answered. My grandma didn’t say anything back; she just raised an eyebrow. “My friend Sophie.”
“I know which friend,” she said. She started to water the flowers again. “Does your dad know you’re here?” I don’t say anything back. Technically, I’m still with Mollie. My grandma sighs.
“Please tell your father you’re here,” she demanded. I nodded my head as I began to climb the treehouse.
I don’t tell my dad.