“Pass me that brush, will you?” Charli chucked the sparkly pink hairbrush at Demi and she started brushing her curly red hair.
“Should I wear this flannel or leave it with just the stripes?” Emi asked.
Charli looked her over. “You should wear the flannel, and grab your little charm that says ‘Love’ on it too.”
“Oh that would be a nice touch, thanks.” Emi smiled and grabbed the necklace from her closet.
“Charlie will you help me get this bandana in my hair?” Demi was struggling with hair ties, bobby pins, and her brush, as her wild hair flew around her head in a tangled mess.
Charli and Emi laughed. “Sure, hang on Lioness.”
“So,” Charli spoke around the bobby pins she was holding in her mouth. “Which of the guys’ is driving, again?”
The three girls were about to go on a group date with Peter, Jacob, and Bobby. First to a Chinese restaurant, and then to a chick flick which the girls were forcing them to watch.
“I’m pretty sure it’s Peter and Bobby are each bringing their cars.” Emi responded, looking in the mirror while she put on mascara.
“Alright, Demi, that should work.” Demi thanked Charli and then grabbed her shirt and jeans off of the bed to go change.
A voice called up the stairs. “Girls, your dates are here. Don’t forget your purses.”
“Thanks mom, we won’t.” Emi called back down. “Hurry up, you guys.” She grabbed their purses off the floor and tossed them in the general direction of the other two, bot really caring where they ended up.
Charli glanced at her reflection one last time.
Perfect. “Hey guys, wait up for me!” She ran to catch up with the twins, and the three of them walked down the hall to where the guys were waiting.
“Heyyy.” Peter hugged Emi tight. “Nice shirt.” She blushed.
Demi squealed and hugged Jacob. “Oh, you got a hair cut!” She patted his head awkwardly.
“Hi Charli.” Bobby hooked arms with her and they walked out to the car.
When they got to the restaurant, the boys pulled out chairs for the twins and Charli, they all placed their orders, and everything was doing fine, until Demi leaned over that is.
“Don’t look now, but Josh is here with Liz.” She whispered in Charli’s ear.
“What where?!” Charli spun around in her chair. Demi smacked her.
“I said don’t look!”
She wrung her hands nervously. “What should I do?”
Emi leaned over to listen. “Come on, lets go to the bathroom and talk it over.”
“We’ll be right back.” Charli touched Bobby’s shoulder to get his attention. He nodded, and went back to talking about football with Peter. The girls rushed to the bathroom, bumping into tables the whole way.
As soon as they got there they checked the stalls to make sure no one was listening, before they all turned to each other with wide eyes.
“Should I talk to him?” Charli whispered.
“Not unless he starts the conversation!” Emi warned. “You don’t want to seem like you miss him at all.”
A few minutes of planning later, the three of them walked back to their table. As she sat down, Charli leaned over and kissed Bobby. Surprised, he kissed her back.
As Charli sat back down, Demi leaned over and whispered, “Good job, Josh was looking right at you.” She turned back to Jacob.
Charli felt a hand on her shoulder and turning, she saw Bobby’s blue eyes looking into her own.
“Why did you kiss me?” He asked quietly so the others couldn’t hear. “I thought we were just pretending…”
“We are,” She whispered back. “It’s just that…Josh is here. And he saw me kiss you. Our plan worked! He is soo jealous.” Smiling, she gave Bobby a half hug, then went back to her orange chicken. Bobby frowned, but went back to his meal also.
Only a couple of minutes later, Josh and Liz finished their meal and walked over to say hi.
“Charli, Emi and Demi, how are you ladies? Boys, how are you?” Josh asked coolly.
“He sounds like a grandpa.” Emi whispered to Charli who laughed. Josh looked at them and Charli cleared her throat.
“We’re fine, how are you?”
“I’m great, having a wonderful evening with Liz.” He paused. “Have I met all of you guys?”
A perfect opportunity to brag about her new boyfriend. Charli smiled and said, “This is Jacob, Peter, and I think you actually have met my boyfriend, Bobby?”
“Ah. Yes.” He looked shocked but was trying to cover it up. “We have met, you used to be the awkward third wheel on all of Charli’s and mine dates.” He laughed nervously.
Bobby laughed coldly, and said, “Looks like you are the third wheel now, Josh.” But although he smiled while saying it, he seemed slightly put off about something.
Liz covered up the awkward silence as best as she could and hurried Josh out of the restaurant looking embarrassed.
The rest of the evening Charli’s date seemed kind of out of it and rarely joined the light hearted conversation at the table. On the drive home he didn’t speak to her at all. Once they got to Charli’s house, Bobby walked her to the door and hesitated, but then started to leave without even saying goodbye.
“Bobby!” Charli hurried down the steps and turned him to look at her. “Bobby, what’s wrong? Why won’t you talk to me?”
“It’s…nothing. I’m fine.” He patted her arm reassuringly, but she brushed his hand off.
“No you are most certainly not okay. What’s made you so mad?”
He sighed heavily. “Okay, to be honest, I’m feeling a little used.”
Now Charli frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that we go out, and we even kiss, but it doesn’t really mean anything, and we aren’t best friends anymore. You’ve…boyfriend zoned me, but you have also friend zoned me! How that works out, I don’t know. But…” Bobby shook his head sadly. “I can’t do this anymore, it hurts too much, to be with you but without you at the same time. I’m sorry.” He turned and walked back down the steps.
Charli was too frozen with shock to do or say anything. As Bobby was climbing into his car, he looked back up at her, opened his mouth to say something, but then shook his head and drove off.
Charli walked back in the house and up to her room in a daze. She was half changed before she realized that Avalon was laying on her bed, reading. Charli screamed.
Avalon looked up, irritated. “Would you not? I’m trying to read here.”
“Dreadfully sorry,” Charli rolled her eyes. “But you scared me!” Sighing, she sat down in her directors chair and covered her face in her hands. “Now, can you just leave me alone for awhile?”
“I guess.” Avalon stood up and gathered her books.
Charli held up a hand. “Wait. On second thought, you are the only one I can talk to about this. Come back.”
She and Avalon sat on the bed and talked for hours, discussing the problem at hand. They only paused when Avalon scurried to her room to bring back some secret chocolate. Then they sat in silence eating Symphony Bars until Charli rolled over and waved Avalon away. She was too emotionally exhausted to say anything else, but Avalon understood, and for the first time in years, she gave Charli a hug and a kiss goodnight.