Here's what I learned about Vicodin:
Three pills are enough to make you barf. And stale corn chips are not a preventative remedy.
I did manage to hold off until I was out the front door, until Adam had closed it behind me. I took a few stumbling steps down the sidewalk, then I turned and booted in the neighbor's bushes. At least, I thought (as I heaved up partially-digested corn chips and what must have been the remains of my lunch), I didn't mind that I was throwing up. At least I didn't throw up in front of Adam.
I hadn't felt sick until I stood up and tried to walk. Adam kept asking me if I was okay while I was lying on his bed. That was funny to me. He must have felt responsible for my good time, considering he'd been the one to drug me.
The last time he asked, I was getting up to leave.
"I'm fine," I said. My head still felt fuzzy, so what I really wanted to do was go home and lie down on my own bed.
"Well, okay," Adam said. "I'll see you at school."
He walked me to the front door and we lingered in the doorway a while, just staring at each other. I thought he'd bust out laughing or I'd bust out laughing, but we just stood there. Eventually, I nodded and left.
Then, you know, there was the vomiting.
But I immediately felt better. I thought walking would be hard considering how much I'd wanted to just lie down, but once I got started it wasn't so bad. My mom was right about Blue River: it was a nice neighborhood. Just maybe a little homogenous and repetitive. After a few blocks, I stopped looking at the houses watched the sky instead. I watched the blues and greens of nightfall surface and swim together all the way home.
Mom was on the couch when I got in, in her bathrobe with her hair sticking up at a few odd angles like she’d forgotten to brush it. She barely looked up when I opened the door, just gave me a little wave. How I Met Your Mother was on. All I said to her was "Hi."
I supposed I should be grateful to have a mother who didn’t interrogate me when I came home late. Who understood how great it was to be a couch potato sometimes. I was opening the door to my bedroom when the phone started to ring, but I stopped with my hand on the knob when Mom muted the TV to grab the phone. I was sure she'd let the machine get it. But the apartment was Richard-free at the moment., so maybe she was expecting a call.
I took one step into my bedroom then froze.
"Yes he is," Mom was saying, "May I say who's calling?"
Crap. I turned back to peer around the corner.
"Oh yes! Yes, it's been ages." Mom was smoothing down her hair, smiling into the phone. "How are you liking the new school? And how's your mother doing?"
There was only one person my mother would make that kind of small talk with. I cleared my throat loudly and she looked up, still smiling. "Oh, he's right here," she said, then took the receiver away from her ear to shake at me. "It's Ken." When I didn't take it, she covered the mouthpiece and added. "From junior high? Ken Ikeda."
"Oh, thanks," I said. What else could I say?
I took the phone from her hand, then immediately pressed the end call button. Mom gawked at me when I tossed the phone back on the side table and turned to head back for my room.
"Dillon!" Mom was on me before I could round the corner. "Dillon, that was so rude! Why would you do that?"
I shrugged at her. "I didn't want to talk to him." Before she could say anything else, I'd slipped into my room and pulling the door closed behind me. Dropping my bag to the floor, I went to sit on the foot of my bed, to wait for her to bang on the door with more questions for me. I stared at my blank walls, feeling both pissed off and sick to my stomach. I waited until I realized the TV's volume was back on and she wasn't coming after me.
And when I came out later for some Easy Mac, she didn't try to bring it up.
Again, I figured I should be grateful.
Teek had a date. She told me during lunch, while we were sitting in the grass under the shade of Courtyard's largest oak. It was a coveted spot when the neighboring gingkoes weren't dropping their stinky fruit. I wrinkled my nose as if they were.
"Don't make that face!" Teek said. "I didn't even tell you who with!"
"Let me guess," I said, swirling my spoon around my mostly-empty JELL-O cup. "Jacob Saddler?"
Her face fell a little. "How did you know?"
"Uh, because you' can’t shut up about him? Honestly, I don't see the appeal."
"I'm not dating him because he's your type." Teek said, socking me in the shoulder.
"So when are you going out? I mean, you are going out on an actual date, right? This isn't middle-school style dating where you just say 'hi' to each other in the hall and sometimes have lunch together?"
Teek rolled her eyes. "Yes, it's an actual date. He's a senior, you know—this isn't middle school. We're going out next Friday to see a movie and go bowling with some people."
"Bowling! Teek, that's so normal!" I pretended to be horrified. "So not you!"
"How would I know?" A look of genuine irritation crossed her face. "I've never been. Neither have you."
"Not true," I said, "I went in middle school. A bunch of times."
"Ugh, can we stop talking about middle school?" Teek poked her fork into the remains of her potato.
"Fine," I said. "Tell me more about your date. When did he ask you out?"
Teek turned pink.
"Or," I added quickly, "Did you ask him?"
"Um... it was kind of mutual. Are you going to drink that?" She was pointing to my Capri-Sun, which was lying in the grass. You know, that goofy juice drink that comes in a foil packet like space food? It was not my drink of choice, but I'd found a box of it the back of the pantry after we ran out of Sobe. Mom hadn't made it out to go shopping, but I figured I'd cut her some slack.
"Take it," I told Teek.
"Thanks," she said, "But yeah, like I was saying, it was mutual. We were talking online after the soccer game yesterday and I asked him really vaguely, you know, if he wanted to hang out some time. And he said, well, how about a movie this Friday?" She stabbed the straw into the Capri-Sun and took a tiny sip. "Why'd you want to know? Are you jealous?"
"Totally," I said. "What's he got that I don't have?"
"Ummm." She said that with her mouth still around the straw. "An actual desire to get into my pants?"
I made a face. "That's a good thing now?"
"Well, being a virgin is great and all, but I don't want to do it forever." She laughed suddenly, embarrassed. "Whatever, it's just a date."
"I know, I'm just giving you a hard time."
She nudged my shoulder again. "You're actually in a good mood. What happened at the soccer game last night? After I left, I mean. You never called me."
"Yeah, sorry." I picked up the remaining half of my sandwich and considered taking a bite. It was bologna—that's what was left in the fridge. "I left too. I went over to Adam's. And... um... "
Teek was waiting for me to continue so I bit into my sandwich to stall.
"And how was that?" she asked.
I looked at Teek's face through the dappled shadows of the tree. Teek smoked pot—she'd even smoked with her mom—so I knew I shouldn't have felt weird about telling her about what we did. I swallowed.
"We took Vicodin and played video games."
"You took what? Vicodin?" The way she was looking at me made me feel uncomfortable; it was like she was trying to play my mom or something.
"Yeah, 'cause remember? Adam hurt his ankle and... " I wondered if I should push up my shirt sleeve and show her the enormous bruise I got from falling over in Adam's living room yesterday, like that could justify it.
Why was I even trying to justify it?
"Stop looking at me like that," I told her.
"Vicodin, though?" She went back to sipping the Capri Sun, which I would take away from her if she continued acting like this. "Isn't that super addictive?"
"If you take a lot of it." I tried not to sound annoyed. "Anyway, you're a pothead."
"I am not! I smoke like maybe twice a month. Not even that much!"
"Pothead," I repeated.
"Plus, weed is natural! It comes from the earth! Vicodin comes from some scary laboratory!" She punctuated this sentiment by waving her arms. "Plus... " she said, then paused. "Why are you hanging out with Adam all of a sudden? If you'd taken Vicodin with me, I wouldn't have minded."
"That's what this is about?" I almost laughed—I hadn't seen it coming. “And you accused me of being jealous?"
"That's totally different. I just don't see what there is to like about Adam. He's a jerk."
"He's not a jerk," I said, like a reflex. "Well, not any more than most people."
"Uh huh, right." Teek started stacking her trash on her tray.
"It's okay if you are jealous," I said, not very nicely.
"I'm not jealous! God! And it's not like with Jacob. Unless you're dating Adam or something. Is that it? Are you dating him?"
"Yes, Teek, I'm dating him."
"You're turning into a jerk too," she said, scowling. “I think you used to be nicer."
"I don't see what the big deal is here."
Teek flailed her arms some more, like, don't you understand?? Like, isn't it obvious??
I didn't. It wasn't.
"Dillon, can I ask you... "
"Ask me what?"
"Do you like... like him like him? Is that what this is about?"
I waited for her to crack a smile, to give me some indication she was kidding. But no, she was serious.
"Is this some weird girl thing?" I asked. "You have to ask me questions like that?"
"Oh, forget it." She shot me a sour look as she rose to her feet, tray in hand. "I should've known you'd get all defensive."
"Well, it was a stupid question."
"Right," she said, "because you're anti-dating. Because you don't believe in love or whatever."
I didn't like the way it sounded when she put it like that. "Because it's Adam," I said. "We're friends."
"Like I said," Teek said, and this was her way of getting the last word: "Forget it."
"Fine," I said. I hated arguing with her, the way it seemed to hang in the air afterwards.
This is why you should have more than one friend: so you're not left sitting finishing your lunch alone when she decides to stalk off.
Up next Thursday, Chapter Ten: Ken Ikeda