Someone To Love
“But it’s the same you,” Sam argues. “Nothing would be different.”
“Hell no,” Antonia says. “Isn’t that immoral? Killing people to teleport them? Nope. I won’t support any technology that makes you die to use it.”
“I don’t think it’s immoral at all if you’re just as you were,” he says. “It’s not like you’d see anything gross. Your old particles would just be gone. Replaced with new ones.”
“Immoral,” Antonia says. She’s obviously joking, but I can tell she’s pushing his buttons. He’s looking down at the kitchen tile. Something’s definitely bugging him. I try to think of the situation from his perspective and start to feel guilty.
He probably wouldn’t have liked going to the party anyway—Sam’s not a big party kind of person—but now I feel like a jerk for at least not inviting him.
“Want to watch something?” I ask. “I need a break from all this studying.”
“It’s hard to rationalize immoral,” Sam says, “when you two were hitting some swanky boat party last weekend. I’m sure there were lots of important people.”
“You told him?” I snap at Antonia.
“You were probably drinking too much to remember,” Sam whispers so Mom doesn’t hear from the living room, “but you told me you were going to a party. It wasn’t that hard to figure out which one. The whole school had been talking about it.”
“Who said anyone was drinking?” Antonia says, feigning shock. “That’s your assumption. I’ll have you know I was queen of the dance floor.” She points at me. “I can’t speak for lovergirl though.”
“Me?” I say defensively. “I didn’t do anything. You rescued me anyway.”
“From who?” Sam asks, alarmed. “You okay?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I say. “You don’t need to protect me.”
He looks down at his lap. I automatically feel bad for snapping at him, but I don’t want him to know about Jackson. It would make the whole situation worse. Sam has never liked Jackson. He’s too flashy, too full of himself. I think Sam is jealous.
“Don’t worry, Sam,” Antonia says to him. “She handled herself... Once I walked up, anyway.”
“It wasn’t anything like that,” I say. “I was ready to go.”
“Uh-huh,” Antonia says.
“I hope you weren’t too drunk,” Sam snaps.
I start to feel even guiltier. Not because of the drinking, but because Sam must really be hurt that I didn’t invite him. He never talks like that. But I’m not backing down.
“I can handle myself,” I say back. “You don’t have to fight my battles for me.”
“You two need to find your chill.” Antonia stands up, looking for something around the room. “Speaking of drinking. You don’t have anything in your bedroom we can...do you?”
“Are you serious?” Sam asks, leaning back in his chair and looking down the hallway to the living room to see if Mom is near. “Right now?”
Antonia’s eyes are wide, matter-of-fact. “Of course I’m serious. Never been more serious. Maybe you should lighten up.”
“I’m chill,” he says.
“I might have something.” I give them both a mischievous grin, thankful that Antonia derailed the conversation. I really don’t want to fight with Sam. “Let’s go look.”
Sam holds up his textbook. “What about the chemistry test?”
Antonia is the first to get up. “Like you’re even talking chemistry, quantum leap boy.”
I nod my head. “I think I’ve had all the chemistry I can handle for tonight.”
“I guess you’re right,” Sam says.
He follows us up the stairs to my room. I push open the door, wait for them to come in, then shut and lock it. “You never know,” I say.
“Better safe than sorry,” Antonia agrees. “Wow, your room hasn’t changed one bit,” she adds. “It’s still so dark.”
She’s always teased me about how little sunlight I let inside my room. The walls are painted navy, but I’m not a total vampire. There are twinkle lights under a white canopy over my bed that gives the room this dreamy atmosphere. It helps me sleep.
Besides the framed Frida print, there’s a giant chalkboard leaning on the wall next to my bed where I doodle and write my favorite quotes. The bookshelves are stuffed with diaries, art books and old records. A pale green chair sits next to my easel. Art supplies are scattered on the floor around it. Drawing tools mostly. Some paints. And a big stack of art pads of all sizes.
“Same place?” Sam asks.
I nod. The familiarity of our friendship makes me feel better. Our fights have never lasted long. It feels good to be reunited with both of them. All three of us haven’t hung out together since the beginning of summer. Antonia was traveling. Sam was working. I was helping Mom with her literacy campaign. Though Sam and I have known each other since elementary school, we formed our trifecta with Antonia at the beginning of high school in world history when the three of us were assigned a research project on the Middle Ages. I never thought any of us would have been friends with each other, but I guess we can thank Vlad the Impaler for bringing us together.
As Sam walks into my closet and reaches behind one of my shoeboxes, I notice how tan and muscular he’s gotten over the summer. Maybe he doesn’t need to fill out as much as I thought. He brings out the vodka, twists off the cap and offers the bottle to me.
It’s almost empty.
“Damn, Liv,” Sam says. “How much have you been drinking this summer?”
“Shut up. Just give me the bottle.”
I take the first pull. The alcohol burns its way down.
“I have a confession to make.” Antonia grabs the bottle. “Better give me a drink first.”
“Confession?” I ask. “What’s this about?”
Sam takes a double shot. After all his talk about immorality and swanky boat parties. “Maybe she’s willing to teleport after all,” he says.
I look at Antonia. She looks like she’s about to burst with secrets. Is there something she hasn’t told me about what happened during summer vacation?
“Nothing like that,” she says. “It’s this girl.”
“Girl?” Sam and I say at the same time.
“Yes, a girl. I’ve been talking to this girl from the track team.” Antonia fidgets with her front pocket. “I’m pretty sure we want to hook up with each other.”
“Are you serious?” I ask. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
We’ve talked about guys before, but Antonia always turned the subject back to me. Though she has a flirtatious personality, I guess I just thought she wasn’t interested in dating people in general. She seemed to always be able to have fun on her own.
“I wanted to make sure I really knew before I told you,” Antonia says.