Max's Redemption(6)

By: L. Wilder


I leaned forward, examining my face in the mirror. “It doesn’t cover this monster zit I have on my chin. It’s so big I’m going to have to name the stupid thing.”

“How about Pip ?”

“Shut it, Nat.” I walked over to my bed and fell back on the mattress. As I stared up at the ceiling, I asked, “What about a hoodie? I could pull it over my head.”

“Would you give it a rest already? You look great. There’s no reason for you to be acting all weird right now. I’d kill to have a body like yours, and it’s just a zit or two. They’ll be gone in a few days.”

“Okay! Fine! At least, we have some classes together this year.”

“Yeah, except for Ms. Crider’s class. I’ve heard she’s a real b .”

“Yeah … Brody had her last year and almost failed her class, but she’s not as bad as Mr. Holt. I’ve got him this semester and next.”

“It’s not like you have to worry about it. You’ve aced every class since kindergarten,” she scoffed. “You just have to keep yourself from getting distracted.”

“Distracted?”

“Luke Mansfield is gonna be in there with us.”

“I’m not going to be distracted by Luke, Nat.” Luke was one of the better looking guys in our sophomore class. He looked older than he really was with his height and build along with his scruffy beard. All the girls were crazy about him—all of them, and I wasn’t even on his radar. “Besides, I’m not exactly his type. I’m not a size zero with double d’s .”

“Whatever. I saw him checking you out at the bonfire last week.”

“You did not!”

“I did! He was totally checking you out. I think he likes you.”

“I think you must’ve been in the sun too long or something. There’s no way Luke would ever be interested in me, especially with my sidekick, Pip , sitting on my chin like a volcano that’s ready to blow.”

“You could always put a Band-Aid on it and tell everyone you cut yourself shaving.”

I heard her giggle as I replied, “My chin? I cut myself shaving my chin ? Seriously?”

“I’m just kidding. Besides, I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think.”

“I doubt it.”

“Harper!” Mom called from downstairs.

“Hey, Nat, I’ve gotta go. Dinner’s ready.”

“Okay. Call me back later,” she said before she hung up the phone.

As I headed downstairs, I called, “I’m coming.”

When I got to the kitchen, the whole crew, including Max, was standing at the door waiting for me. I knew immediately something was up. My mom looked practically giddy, smiling and antsy, and Brody and Max were grinning like a bunch of goons. Dad, on the other hand, had a pained expression, like he’d just stubbed his toe. “What’s going on?”

Mom stepped towards me. “We have a little surprise for you.”

“Oh.” My tone wasn’t one that was filled with excitement, mainly because Mom’s surprises weren’t normally what I considered a good thing. She always had good intentions, but buying me a pushup bra or new acne medication and calling it a surprise didn’t exactly set well with me. “What is it?”

Brody motioned his head towards the door. “It’s outside.”

I was suddenly intrigued. “What’s outside?”

“Your surprise, silly,” Mom answered as she led me towards the front door. “Go see.”

I was completely baffled as I followed her outdoors and towards the driveway. When I spotted a white, two-door sports car, I was stunned. My parents had never mentioned buying me a car—not even once, so it took a moment for it to register in my head. I turned to my dad and asked, “Is that mine?”

“It is, but with conditions.” He offered me the keys and added, “You have to keep your grades up.”

“Seriously? I can’t believe you bought me a car!” I shrieked as I took the keys. I rushed over to the car and opened the door. I couldn’t have been more excited as I sat in the driver’s seat and placed my hands on the wheel. I had no idea what kind of car it was, and I didn’t care. It was perfect. “This is awesome!”

“Why don’t you take her around the block?” Mom suggested.

“Seriously?”

“Yes. Just be careful and put on your seatbelt.”

After I buckled up and started the engine, I asked, “Anyone want to go with me?”

Brody shook his head. “No way I’m riding with you.”

“I’ll go,” Max volunteered as he opened the passenger door. He was so tall I was afraid he wouldn’t fit, but he managed to get in and shut the door. “Let’s roll, Half-pint.”

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