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Summer Nights

By:J.M. Sevilla

on.

The following Tuesday I do it again, watching them like a stalker, but I can't stop. I watch them play tag; I watch them tackle each other; I watch them sit under the trees and talk.

The boy I believe is named Maddox, is telling a story. He uses his whole body to do it, which frequently results in an arm hitting whoever is next to him, but none of them seem to mind. Every so often my crush smirks at whatever is being said, sending my little heart racing. The twins are always arguing and using language I would never dare use, but I like hearing it from them. One of them, the one that intimidates me the most because he is so much broader and taller than the rest, is always messing with the girl, irritating her. He seems to always find an excuse to play with her hair or make her squeal. The last two are smoking, mostly laughing at everyone around them.

I don't get caught for being out late that day either, and after a few more Tuesdays I realize my mom is so busy she doesn't even notice. On my next Tuesday, I leave for Mrs. Fraser's earlier in order to be done sooner, and when I would normally leave my hiding place at the park to get home, I stay. I want to see how long I can be out before getting in trouble; how long I can pretend to be a part of this group that is so full of life. I need to be near the boy who keeps me awake at night with his smile and his eyes that shine with amusement from the shenanigans going on around him.




My mom doesn't notice the longer time, so the next week I boldly do it again.

I'm so busy watching my crush that I don't see the girl hop on her skateboard and head my way.

"Hey!" She shouts.

It startles me and I jump, a hand to my heart.

She stops right in front of me, popping the skateboard up and resting a hand on top to hold it in place. Her hair is wild all around her like she hasn't brushed it today. She smacks the gum in her mouth while she talks, "You gonna hang with us or just keep staring?"

I nervously shrug. Over her shoulder I can see the group watching us and I want to disappear.

"Come on," she nods towards them.

She gets back on the skateboard and for about a millisecond I consider not following her, but I have to. Even if it's just for today, I have to see what it's like.

I get off my bike when I hit the grass and pull it along with me. It's nerve-racking having all of them watch me. I feel exposed and I become self-conscious about the clothes that cover my arms and legs, and my braid I have tucked behind my shirt so it won't get in my way when I ride. I pull it out and play with the end behind my back.

"Hey," one of the boys greets, the one who's always picking on the girl. He nods in further acknowledgement, his smile welcoming. I like his eyes. They're warm and friendly, and although his size intimidates me, his easygoing posture and smile put me at ease.

The girl motions toward me, "This is … "

She waits for me to answer.

I try saying my name, but it comes out so soft they can't hear. I clear my throat and try again, "Hannah." It's not much louder, but that's all I can do at the moment.

"Hannah?" She confirms.

I nod, my cheeks a bright red from having so much attention.

She points to the boys one by one. First is the boy who's always messing with her. "This is Tag. He's kind of a jerk."

My eyes get wide from her using that word so freely.

Tag shrugs and gives a nod of agreement.

She gestures to the next two, "Those are the twins, Tripp and Price. They can also be jerks, but they're harmless."

Price has a weird looking thing in his hand I've never seen. Some kind of glass with swirling colors in it. He lights the end and it blazes like the end of a cigarette. He puffs it in and holds his breath, nodding his chin at me and extending his hand out in my direction.

I'm not sure what he wants me to do. Take it? Why's he holding his breath like that?

Then he starts coughing as he waves the smoking device at me. He's coughing hard enough I think he might lose a lung.

The other twin smacks him behind the head, "You're scaring her you dipshit."

He ignores his brother, still holding that thing out to me, "You" – cough – "smoke?"

Price gets smacked again. "Of course she doesn't, you idiot. Look at how she dresses."

I turn as red as a tomato and my eyes sting from embarrassment. Why did I come over here?

The girl rolls her eyes, "See? Jerks. Just ignore them."

I want to leave, but she keeps talking so I stay, not wanting to be rude.

She points to a boy next to the twins, who has freckles covering every part of his skin that's exposed. His eyes are bloodshot, almost to the point of matching his hair (that I've noticed is always tucked under a newsboy cap, red curls randomly sticking out). "That's North. We named him that cause he can't ever find his way around."

"That's because he's always too stoned," one of the twins jokes.

North just lets out a grunt of a laugh.

She then points to the guy next to him, whose body is lanky and has a crooked nose and big ears. "That's Jerry. He's always high too so don't expect to hear much from him, but he's a great listener."

She gestures to the boy who looks like he belongs in the movies, "This is Maddox. He's not just a jerk, but he's a douchebag as well."

Maddox grabs his crotch and jiggles his hand, "But I have the biggest dick in town."

She rolls her eyes, "See what I mean? Douchebag."

I try to hide my shock that some boy just grabbed his privates in front of me and used the d-word.

"And lastly," she says, gesturing to the boy I dream about all night and think about all day, "The biggest jerk of them all. My brother, Danny."

Another chin nod. He has his baseball cap on so it shades his face. I'm glad, or I'd be even more nervous.

I do one long wave in the shape of a rainbow, then I want to die at how lame that is.

The girl points a thumb

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