Chapter 6: Shooting Star

I returned home and had a nice dinner with my parents. I got to tell them about meeting Aden, and my mother wouldn’t stop teasing me about it. When I was finally able to escape to my room, I read through all of Aden’s old letters.
Just to make sure I remembered everything he told me. And also to confirm that he never told me about sketching.
But I wasn’t without my secrets either. I hadn’t told him about dance, but it hadn’t been on my mind at the time. I didn’t dance competitively like Carry, so I was taking a break.
“You can’t learn everything about a person just from their letters,” I mumbled to myself as I replaced the letters in their envelopes. I put them back in my jewelry box with a lock. My nosy parents didn’t need to read what went on between us.
I fell asleep dreaming about Aden’s hand in mine as we frolicked through a candy field, fighting off assassins.
Dreams are weird.
The next morning, I chose jeans and an off-shoulder peasant top. Hurriedly eating a breakfast of cereal, I barely made it to school on time. I slipped into my designated desk as the bell rang and I sighed in relief. I pulled out my phone to check and see if I had received any texts.
Mr. Pen Pal isn’t here today -J
I looked around myself, confirming Joshua’s observation. To say I was surprised was an understatement. I suddenly remembered that I had his phone number, but I hesitated. Would he think that I was sounding desperate?
I decided that I didn’t care, so I sent him a quick text. He replied almost instantly.
I’m fine, there’s just some family stuff going on -A
I told him I understood, and I didn’t get another text. I went about my day, trying to not think about him. Ballet with Carry was as fun as always, despite the difficulty. I wasn’t aiming for pointe, but I was getting to the point where that was the only next step I could take. It was something I would have to decide on my own.
I was relatively successful with not thinking of Aden until I got home for the day. Out of habit, I checked the mail. Flipping through the useless advertisements, I grinned when I saw a postcard from my older sister who was travelling while taking a break from college. I read it slightly envious as I looked at the Roman Coliseum pictured on the front. I added it to my wall of her cards and worked on my homework until my parents came home.
I was in the middle of doing a complex calculus problem when the doorbell rings. I make my way downstairs, yawning. I open the door without looking through the peephole, thinking it’s one of our neighbors.
“Hey,” Aden waved shyly. I internally groaned, knowing my appearance was less-than ideal.
“Hi! What are you doing here?” I asked lightly, allowing him into the house. He removed his shoes and followed me to the kitchen.
“I had an interesting day,” he rubbed the bridge of his nose, sighing heavily. “Is it okay that I came over?”
I shrugged, “Sure. Carry and Joshua show up unannounced all the time.” I smiled and handed him a glass of water. “Do you want to talk about your day?”
“Can I?” He asked hesitantly. I nodded, leaning against the counter as he pulled himself on to a barstool.
Aden swirled the ice in his glass, “My parents sprang an interview with Harvard Law School on me last night. I Skyped with them today, with my parents hanging just outside of the screen so they couldn’t be seen.”
“I think you need to tell them how you feel,” I said when he paused. “If you don’t want to be a lawyer, you don’t have to be.”
“I just don’t want to disappoint them,” Aden said, sounding sad. “Never mind, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” He said and I choked on the words I wanted to say, to try and comfort him. Instead, I brought him to the living room and put on an action movie. We didn’t watch it much, choosing to talk more.
I finally mustered up enough courage to ask if he sketched. He seemed surprised by my question but answered that he, in fact, did sketch.
“What do you like to draw?” I asked and he avoided my eyes.
“Flowers, mostly,” he answered, but there was something off about his answer. Almost as though he was hiding something.
“I dance,” I blurted out and he chuckled.
“What do you dance?”
I told him about ballet and jazz, and my dilemma with taking the next step of ballet. Before he could answer, my parents returned home.
“Honey, there’s a strange car in the driveway!” My mom called out and I rolled my eyes.
“I know Mom, the driver is currently in our house.” Aden and I laughed as my parents peered into the living room.
“You must be Aden!” Mom smiled and Aden stood to shake her hand. He did the same with Dad and I blushed at Mom’s blatant ‘thumbs up’ about him.
“Would you like to stay for dinner?” Mom asked and Aden looked toward me.
“You can if you want,” I smiled. “I think we’re having meatloaf.” Aden smiled back and answered that he would love to stay.
We had a nice dinner. My parents didn’t roast Aden with too many questions, but he didn’t seem bothered by them. When it came to the question about where he was going to college and what he was thinking of studying, he hesitated and I jumped in to say he was still deciding. Aden and I did the dishes after, flicking water at each other and laughing like we had known each other for years instead of only a few days.
Or a couple months. It depends on how you look at it.
As I walked him out to his car, we gazed at the night sky glittered with stars.
“Your parents are so nice,” he said, leaning against his car door. “It must be nice to have the support.”
“It is,” I agreed. A shooting star soared across the sky, “Aden, look! Make a wish!”
I squeezed my eyes shut, like I remember doing as a kid and made my wish. I opened them one at a time to see Aden smiling softly at me.
“What’d you wish for?” I asked and his smile grew bigger.
“If I tell you, it won’t come true,” he retorted and I rolled my eyes.
“Goodbye,” I pushed him into his car, making him laugh.
“See you tomorrow!” he called as he backed out.
“You better be there!” I yelled back and he drove away laughing. I looked back up at the sky, my heart fluttering as I remembered my own wish. With one last sweep of the inky black sky, I returned inside, smiling to myself.
I hadn’t ever wished for a person before.
But it seemed like he would be worth it.

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