Someone To Love
“I didn’t think you were going to think it was that big of a deal.” She puts a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t get so jealous. He just said he forgot to tell us.”
“Him? Likely not,” I say. “He’s been acting weird lately. Did you see how jealous he got when you started talking about what happened at the boat party with Jackson?”
“He’s definitely not the same guy.” Antonia curls up her arm like she’s lifting a weight. “Did you see those biceps? Those surf camp babes must have been all over him.”
“That’s not what I meant,” I say, dragging her toward class, though I have noticed that Sam has begun to fill out the last few months. “Let’s talk about something else.”
“Wait a second,” Antonia says. “Zach Park might have a thing for you, but secretly you actually have a thing for Sam, don’t you? Since when? All along?”
“Don’t be stupid,” I say. Antonia has teased me about having a crush on Sam ever since I told her about the one time we kissed on the bench last year. “I mean Sam’s a great guy, but I know him too well. There’s no mystery there.”
I think there was maybe a chance for us once, but after I cried on his shoulder after Ollie dumped me, I felt too awkward to let myself think about Sam that way. My feelings about our friendship were confusing. It felt natural to share the details about my relationships with him, but Sam would get hurt and never say anything. I couldn’t figure out where I stood with him. In some ways, I guess I’m still trying to solve that problem.
As Antonia and I enter the building, Jackson passes by with one of his friends. He doesn’t stop to talk, but as he walks by us he says, “Looking good, Liv.”
I roll my eyes at Antonia, hoping that I don’t look completely awkward. After the way he acted at the boat party, I feel like I’d better steer clear of him for a while. I definitely don’t want Zach’s best friend to think I’m into him. So I pretend not to hear Jackson, but Antonia notices him slapping his friend’s arm and laughing after they pass.
“What was that about?” Antonia asks.
I shrug. “Guys being guys, I guess.”
“Terrible excuse,” Antonia says. “What a creeper.”
“Yeah,” I sigh. “Sam has never liked him. Maybe he has something there.”
“I have a theory,” she says. “About Sam.”
“I can’t think of any reason he’d ever join speech and debate unless it’s for a...”
“...girl,” we say at the same time.
“Sam doesn’t do extracurricular stuff,” Antonia says. “He’s too busy studying or surfing.”
The greasy feeling in my stomach is getting worse. I want to ditch class, curl up under my blankets at home and fall asleep with my Frida painting watching over me.
“I’m guessing you want me to ask you more about your theory,” I say.
I can’t not ask. If I try to change the subject again, Antonia will really think something’s up with me and Sam, and Antonia is the worst about prying things out of me.
“Well,” Antonia says, “just by chance I saw him talking to Nina Jaggia outside the cafeteria on Tuesday.” She leads us past the school’s chapel and toward the off-white arches at the entrance of the classroom building. We’re on our way to US history.
“So?” I ask.
“So, Nina’s on the speech and debate team.”
“Well you weren’t there. You didn’t see their body language.”
My pulse starts to speed up. It’s not entirely because of Sam, even though I am kind of hurt he hasn’t said anything to me. We’re about to cross paths with the school’s trio of most popular girls, including Cristina. Felicity and a girl named Amy Hernandez, a former Disney Channel dancer, are walking on either side of Cristina. This is about to be trouble.
I haven’t talked to Cristina beyond seeing her in the bathroom at the yacht party, but you can’t go to Eastlake and not know who she is. Her parents work for an Italian car company bringing in imports, and let me tell you they have millions, and even sponsor two Formula One cars and a portion of the privatized space industry—some kind of experimental engine called the X-Change.
And Cristina is really smart. Her robotics team won some major student competition last year, and all this was before she started dating Zach and snagged that major modeling campaign. She may have been following him around on the yacht, but I’m sure that was a one-night thing, because any guy would be following her around.
With her signature long red hair, Felicity completes the trio with her contacts in the art world. Her father works as a major collector for an international luxury goods conglomerate. They know everyone. If anyone is always going where I want to be, it’s Felicity. Only she doesn’t want to be an artist herself. She just wants the limelight.
Antonia hates them.
“Don’t look now, but here comes the Hydra,” Antonia says under her breath as we stop walking. They’re literally blocking our way through the archway into the building.
“Hi, ladies,” Felicity says.
“Be careful what you call them,” Amy says. The way Amy talks makes you wonder if she’s trying to be sarcastic or if she actually hates you.
“Hi,” I say, trying not to take offense.
“I heard you and Zach had quite the conversation on the yacht,” Cristina says. “He told me you were like a little puppy dog, following him around when I wasn’t in the room. That must have been annoying.”
I’m trying to like Cristina, but she’s not giving me much of a reason to—especially the way she was actually hanging all over him at the party even though, according to Zach, they had already broken up by then.
“I was talking to him about the show,” I say, trying to add to her jealousy since she obviously thinks she still has some kind of ownership over Zach. “I’ve seen every episode of Sisters & Mothers. It’s so addicting...”
Cristina suddenly cringes, looking at me strangely when I use that word, which I actually didn’t plan to say. Now I know she’s just as afraid of my revealing her secret about snorting up in the bathroom as I am of her revealing mine.
“You watch that show?” Amy laughs. “It’s terrible. Zach is way better than that role. Everyone knows that he’s going to be a big star someday.”
“I watch all kinds of shows,” I say, sensing Antonia’s blood boiling. I’m hoping she doesn’t go for Amy’s throat.
I pinch her discreetly so that she won’t say anything.
She lets out a little squeak.
“What’s that?” Amy says to Antonia. “I didn’t hear you.”
I pinch Antonia again. Harder.
“I didn’t say anything,” she says, squirming. “But we have to go study the Lake of Lerna.” That’s the lake where the Hydra lives. It’s also the entrance to the underworld.
“Lake of Lerna,” Amy repeats stupidly. “Sounds fascinating.”
“Should I ask what’s in that lake? Maybe we should test you,” says Felicity.
Antonia pops her gum. “Water serpents,” she enunciates slowly.
“So?” Felicity says.