“Yes, mum, I’m with Milo,” I answered on the phone; my mum had called me wondering why I wasn’t home yet. It was getting colder, which means that the days were shorter and 5 o’clock felt more like 9 o’clock at night. I looked over at Milo, who was looking at me. He looked nervous; I know he got nervous every time my mum would call me when I was hanging out with him. “We’re about to get to his house, can I please stay for at least another hour?” I asked my mum. I know she was going to come and pick me up as soon as I told her I was at Milo’s house. To be honest, I wasn’t ready to go home and end my hang-out with Milo; who knows when will be the next time I’ll get the chance to see Milo again.
I hung up the house once I said bye to my mum. I looked over at Milo who was waiting for me to say something.
“My mum said I can stay for another hour and then she’ll come and get me,” I told Milo. He nodded his head as we continue to walk down the street before getting to his house.
“I’m glad she’s warming up to the idea that you have friends,” Milo teased. I nudged his arm as he laughed. “Plus, I know Jennifer wouldn’t mind a guest at dinner today.”
We finally stop in front of Milo’s house. He walks up the front steps to the front door; I trail behind him getting nervous with each step made closer to the door. Milo opens the front door to his house; he waits for me to walk in before closing it behind us. We start talking up the stairs to Milo’s apartment; I’ve only ever been here a couple of times before in the past. Milo’s family never made me feel weird or uncomfortable when I came over, but it also wasn’t always like that at first. Sometimes I feel like Milo’s family is only nice to me when I’m there but once I leave, they say bad things to Milo or disapprove of me.
We finally get to the door that leads to the apartment. Milo opens the front door and walks through it, looking at me to walk in as well. I slowly walked into the apartment, and Milo closes the door behind us before saying anything out loud.
Almost immediately, Mr. and Mrs. Kamalani walk into the main area where Milo and I are standing; they look concerned.
“Milo? Is that you?” I hear Mrs. Kamalani say as she and Mr. Kamalani walk toward us.
“Yeah?” Milo answered; he looked confused. The two adults stop once they get closer to us and they immediately look at me and take a deep breath. Oh no.
“Milo, have you heard from Mollie today?” Mrs. Kamalani asked Milo. Milo took his phone out to check his messages.
“No, the last time I heard from Mollie was last period in vocal,” Milo answered. I look at Mrs. Kamalani’s face; she looks worried as she brushes her red, curly hair away from her face.
“She didn’t text you or anything letting you know where she was going?” Mr. Kamalani asks Milo. Milo shook his head no.
“No? What’s going on?” Milo finally asked. I feel like something was happening that I wasn’t supposed to be here to know about. “Dad? Jennifer?”
Mrs. Kamalani walked away from us and toward a room down the hallway. I look at Milo, who now looks just as worried as everyone else. It’s like he doesn’t remember I’m here.
“Mollie never showed up,” Mr. Kamalani began. “We thought that maybe she was with you.”
“Me and Mollie haven’t hanged out after school for a while now,” Milo explained. “She’s either too busy with her other things or I was busy doing other things.” Milo turns around and acknowledges my presence; for once I wish I was able to disappear.
“But today there was no rehearsal for anything and it’s not Tuesday,” Mr. Kamalani clarified. “She’s not answering her phone when we call her; have you texted her since vocal class?”
“Yeah,” Milo answered. “She never answered back. I figured she was home sleeping or something. Mr. Kamalani sighs and puts his hands on his hips.
“I’m going to check on Jennifer,” he said before he notices me standing next to Milo. “I’m sorry, Sophie; we’re just going through a lot right now.” I felt my face getting hot; I felt weird knowing that Mr. Kamalani was basically telling me that I shouldn’t be here today. I simply nodded my head until Milo jumped in.
“Sophie’s mom is gonna pick her up,” he began to say. “It’s my fault; I told Sophie to hang out after school and lost track of time.” Mr. Kamalani nods his head and walks towards the hallway that Mrs. Kamalani went down. Milo walks me to the living room and sits on the couch, scrolling through his phone trying to figure out where Mollie is.
“This isn’t like Mollie to not text me back,” Milo began. “Like sure, she’ll leave a message on read from her parents, but she wouldn’t just leave me on read.” I looked at Milo, nodding my head as he explained the situation. I felt bad for Mr. and Mrs. Kamalani, especially Mrs. Kamalani. Mollie is Mrs. Kamalani’s youngest sister, and ican only imagine ho worried she is that her and her family haven’t heard from Mollie since school.
“Maybe she’s hanging out with her other friends?” I suggested. I know Milo and Mollie were always together, but it’s only natural that they hang out with other people…
I’m sure that Mollie does.
“Mollie doesn’t have other friends,” Milo confidently said. I looked at Milo, not really agreeing with what he said. I’m sure that Mollie and Milo’s friendship is strong, but for Milo to think that Mollie isn’t capable of having other friends made me feel annoyed. “She literally is too busy to have other friends that aren’t our friends.”
“Maybe you’re wrong,” I blurted out, not really thinking about hat I was saying. Milo tuned his head to face me. “Maybe she hangs out with other people that you don’t have as friends.”
“So now you know Mollie better than me?” Milo spat out; he seemed a little anoyed that I was disagreeing with him. I scruched my eyebrows together, getting mad at Milo.
“No, Milo, but just because you’re able to have friends outside of Mollie doesn’t mean she doesn’t,” I responded. Milo sighed and got up from the couch, walking towards the dining room table to sit. Instead of texting Mollie, he calls her. He sucked his teeth once he realizes the phone goes straight to voicemail.
I got up from the couch and started to walk towards the front door where my belongings were. Milo turned around to look at me.
“Where are you going?” Milo asked.
“I’m just going to wait downstairs for my mum,” I said in a panic. I felt like there were tears forming in my eyes and I didn’t want Milo to see me so upset. But, Milo jumped off of the stool at the dining room table to walk to me.
“Scout, wait-” Milo said as I started to put my winter coat on. I didn’t want to hear it; I felt embarrassed anyway being here during a time where the family was going through something serious. I shouldn’t have gotten on that bus with Milo. I stop once I feel Milo’s hand on my shoulder. I turned around to face him; his face was now more gentle than it was before. “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I didn’t mean for it to come off the way it did.”
“I’m just saying,” I started to say. “I know you and Mollie are best friends but you’re underestimating her. She could simply be with friends that she hasn’t introduced to you yet.”
“Have you seen Mollie hanging out with other people?” Milo asked. I bit my lip, not really knowing how to answer him. If the person as anyone else, I would’ve told him who it was, but how do I tell him that the person I’ve seen Mollie hang out with the most around school is the same person that caused him to lose his dual major status? I know that Milo hates Aaron, and telling him that Mollie has now developed a friendship with him is going to make his blood boil. I don’t want to be the person to break up a friendship like Milo and Mollie’s, but maybe that’s the person Mollie is with right now, and I would also hate to keep a secret like this if it’s the reason why Mollie hasn’t answered Milo or her family.
Before I can say anything, both Mr. and Mrs. Kamalani come walking through the hallway and into the living room where Milo and I were. Milo turns around to face the two adults. They seem a lot calmer than they were a couple of minutes ago.
“She’s home,” Mr. Kamalani said. “Lydia called to let us know she got home ot too long ago.” I see Milo finally exhale the stress that he was keeping inside his body. I also feel at ease knowing that Milo isn’t worried or anxious like he was. I didn’t have to say anything about Mollie and Aaron. Mr. Kamalani puts his arm around Mrs. Kamalani and looks at me. “We’re sorry about tonight, Sophie; perhaps we can invite you over for dinner another night.” I nodded my head.
“Of course, Mr. Kamalani,” I answered. My cellphone started to ring in my coat pocket; I see that it’s my mum calling me. “It’s my mum, I should get going before it gets too late.”
“I’ll walk you downstairs,” Milo insisted. I didn’t say anything back to him. We started to walk down the stairs towards the front door of the house. I wait for Milo to open the front door for me, but he takes a second to look at me before doing so.
“I’m sorry, Milo,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say in that moment, but I felt like I needed to say sorry for getting into his business with Mollie.
“I’m the one that should be sorry, Scout. You did nothing wrong,” Milo emphasized. “Mollie is supposed to be my best friend and… I don’t know; it feels like we haven’t been best friends for awhile now.”
“But you guys have been best friends for years,” I responded back.
“Yeah, but something has changed about Mollie,” Milo admitted. I raised my eyebrows, kinda shocked that Milo was talking to me about Mollie in this way. “It’s like she let high school get to her head or something. She never really hangs out with me anymore so for her to just do what she wants to do without even telling me feels like a stab in the back. We’re suppose to always keep each other posted, no matter what.”
“I understand,” I simply said, not wanting to get too deep in this conversation. I don’t know Mollie well enough to have any type of judgement about her, but I still wonder if Milo is noticing this change because she now spends her free time in Mr. Kamalani’s vocal room hanging out with Aaron.
At that point, I think about telling Milo. If Milo and Mollie are best friends, then he deserves to know that his best friend has been hanging out with Aaron. Maybe Mollie thinks Aaron is a nice guy; maybe he is when he wants to be. But something tells me that if Mollie wanted Milo to know, then Milo would already know. This is making me feel like I’m keeping the biggest secret between two best friends, and I absolutely hate this feeling.
Shortly after, my mum drives up to the front of Milo’s house. I grab my bookbag and look at Milo. He smiles at me. That smile. I can’t help but smile back at him. As I walk don the front steps towards my mum’s car, I stop when I hear Milo call my name.
“Hey Scout,” Milo called out. I turned around to look at Milo. “Thanks again for being here for me tonight. I appreciate it.” I smiled back and turned away, walking to my mum’s car. The smile fades as I turn around and walk away. I’m nothing but a horrible liar.