“Don’t look now!” the breathless voice behind Charlie warned. “And whatever you do, don’t open that squeaky locker.”
The voice belonged to Charlie’s best friend since first grade, Nicole Bauer. The locker, unfortunately, belonged to Charlie.
“He’s coming!” Nicole whispered.
As if on cute, Charlie and Nicole turned around as one and leaned against the cool metal doors behind them. “Hi, Kyle”s eked out of their throats in a good three octaves higher than normal as the cutest boy in school — make that the whole world — walked toward them.
Charlie’s eyes drank in every perfect strand of dark, wavy hair — the way it hung down perfectly over Kyle’s perfect forehead, drawing her into his perfect blue eyes like a…like a…well, like a little, sixth-grade moth drawn to a perfectly perfect eighth-grade flame. Charlie tried her best to block out the image of the scowling string bean beside him, otherwise known as her older brother, Sean.
As the girls held their breath, Kyle turned to acknowledge their squeaky greeting, then casually flipped his hair out of his eyes and flashed them a perfectly dimpled grin.
“Hey,” he said.
Instantly, Charlie’s stomach flip-flopped. As for the silly grin on her face, she was incapable of controlling it, and didn’t even bother to try.
Out of habit more than anything, a “Hi” tumbled out of her lips in the direction of her brother. But the last thing he wanted was to be caught chatting with his little sister. And that was fine. Sean kept Kyle moving — which meant she and Nicole could turn back around and breathe.
“I swear, you are the luckiest girl in school!”
Nicole told Charlie as soon as Kyle was out of earshot. “I mean, not only do you live on Kyle’s street, but your bother is his best friend.” She sighed a deep, dreamy, oh-if-only-I-were-you sigh. “So, how’s their band doing?”
“You mean the Hot Pockets?”
Nicole frowned. “I thought it was the Pop Tarts?”
Charlie shook her head. “It was, but Sean changed it again.”
“Don’t laugh. They were almost called the Pizza Eggrolls. It was Sean’s favorite food for an hour, I think. Not that he actually tells me anything. And not that he ever lets me anywhere near him and Kyle.” Charlie turned back to her locker and groaned. “He’s probably told him all kinds of horrible things about me. It’s the curse of being his sister, I guess.”