THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 198

Gary’s House

I arrived at Gary’s house
for the party.
All the windows are circular,
the walls covered
with dormant wisteria.
It is not far from our school.
As a matter of fact,
I could see our school
from his house.
One light inside the band room
was on, winking at me.
Before I walked up the steps,
Gary rushed out the door
and threw his arms around me.
“For a minute there,
I didn’t think you’d show up,”
he whispered against my neck.
I smiled,
my lips free of gloss.
I hadn’t dressed up
and he didn’t care.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 197

None of Your Business

Guilt roved over
Lindsey’s face
in a nervous tic.
She shoved the key
back under her shirt,
repeating,
“None of your business.”
She flicked hair out of her eyes
and said,
“So what are you and Gary
gonna do at the party?”
How does she know?
“None of your business.”
I couldn’t resist smiling
as she stormed off.
I swore I could almost hear
the key jingling against
its metal chain,
bouncing in time
with her frustrated footsteps.
How does she know
about the party?
Will she be there?

I crumpled the
lip gloss–stained paper towel
and tossed it away.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 196

Paper Towel

Oddly enough,
I had just been thinking
the same thing.
The lip gloss
didn’t really suit me.
It felt so slimy
and artificial.
Lindsey stood
behind me,
and we looked in the mirror
together.
I took a paper towel,
folded it into thirds
along its creases,
and pressed it against my lips,
leaving a perfect lip print
on its rough brown surface.
“You aren’t going to question me?”
Lindsey asked.
“No,” I said. “Why should I bother?”
Lauren started to play
with the key
on its chain around her neck.
“What’s that key for?” I asked.
“None of your business.”

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