At least my mum’s done yelling. What a shitty day. It was supposed to be about me, but now it’s about Serena. All afternoon my mum asked questions about her. What does Serena like to eat? Is she allergic to anything? Blah. Blah. Blah. I don’t care.
My phone blinks at me.
Serena: Yello drss k? Or does ur mum prefr anthr colr?
What does my mum have to do with what Serena wears? God. I swear, women are so confusing. Just wear whatever you want. I don’t know what my mum likes.
“You better be wearing that collared shirt, Max!” Mum yells.
Me: Yello drss k. Cme in 1 hr. U dnt need 2 brng n e thng.
Serena: Ok. Thx. CU thn.
“I am,” I yell out my door.
I put my phone down and change my shirt. I lied. I’m not wearing the collared shirt, but I know damn well not to piss off my mum. She’s already mad at me for this dinner. Life sucks.
“Is this okay?” I ask.
My mum tilts her head and eyes me up and down. I see the right side of her facelift. A smile. Thank you upstairs. She’s happy. Life is wonderful. I miss being happy.
“Yes. Just tuck in your shirt,” she says.
The doorbell rings and I get a text at the same time. It’s Serena. She’s here. Early. I tuck in my shirt and pat down my hair. My mum looks over at me and gestures her head towards the door.
“Be right there,” I say.
I open the door and find Serena in a yellow summer dress with purple sunflowers printed like polka dots over the dress. She’s like an angel with the low summer sun behind her.
“C-come in,” I say.
“I thought you said this wasn’t fancy,” she says.
Shit. I’m already a goofball, and I’m making mistakes left, right and centre. Why does nothing go right for me? I’m an awful person, aren’t I? She’s so pretty, and I’m just… Me.
“I think you look cute,” Serena says. “Sort of like if a baby goat and a panda got it on.”
“Okay,” I say. That sounds a bit weird. Not sure if I’m a panda or a goat.
I step out of the way, and Serena walks in. She slides off her white shoes and walks around barefoot. I lead her to the kitchen where my mum is busy cooking.
“Thank you again, Miss… Josie for inviting me. It was so kind of you.”
“Not a problem,” Mum says. She stirs a pot and smiles at Serena. “You look beautiful. I like your dress.”
Serena smiles. “Thank you. I really like your dress too.”
Seriously? My mum is wearing just a normal black dress that she wears almost every day. There’s nothing fancy about that. I don’t know why she’s being so nice.
“Can you set the table, Max?” Mum asks.
“Fine,” I grumble.
I fetch the knives and forks while Serena and my mum make small talk. Both of them are way better than me. I suck at being human. I don’t even know how to say ‘come in’ properly.
“Done,” I say.
“Have you…” My mum starts.
“Yes,” I cut in. I know what she’s going to ask. I roll my eyes and gesture to Serena to follow me. She smiles at my mum and grabs onto my left hand.
Why is my palm sweaty? Wait, now my foreheads going at it too. I can feel my whole body oozing smells. I give up. Just as life was on the up, this happens. Kill me now.
I wipe my palm against my jeans, careful to avoid my collared shirt.
“Everything okay?” Serena asks.
“Yeah,” I say. “It’s just hot in here.”
Thank God she saved me there. She’s not sweating. It’s only me. Sometimes I think it’d be easier being a girl. There’s not as much pressure to talk to guys. Guys just come to girls.
“So, do you want to see my bedroom?” I ask. Dinner is still like an hour away. I’d rather be away from my mum before she starts talking about when I was four.
“Sure.” Serena smiles and lets me lead the way.
We walk upstairs, and I show Serena into my bedroom. Dumb idea! Shit. Why didn’t I clean before she came? I race around the room and pick up random pieces of paper and throw them into one corner. Now there’s space to sit.
“Cosy,” Serena says. “It smells a bit in here though.”
“Just a sec,” I say. I rush out to the bathroom and snatch the odour remover. As I return, Serena’s standing by an open window and staring out into the street.
I spray all around the room. Every inch. Serena turns and smiles. I’m not sure what’s so funny, but I laugh. Serena joins in, and we fall on the floor next to each other laughing.
“Your foot’s bleeding,” Serena says.
I look down at my foot. Blood has soaked through my socks. Bloody sock prints litter the hallway and my bedroom.
“It’s nothing,” I say. “Just from the other day.”
“It’s not nothing. I’m calling your mum. You need to see a doctor. That’s way too much blood.”
Shit. Probably my last night with Serena and I’m seeing a doctor. Bloody hell. Why does nothing go right for me?