An Angel's Job
Author: Lyndsay Noemia

Chapter 7
Growing Up

     Ephraim was tenser when he saw Zander, but relaxed when he walked away. Zander was the same. After Zander was out of earshot, I asked, "Is there any specific reason you look like you want to kill Zander?"
     "Let's just say that we've met before, and we don't get along." The way he said it made me stop asking questions.
     Changing the subject seemed best, "Have you seen Wolfman yet?" I asked.
     He smiled and said, "No, I haven't had time."
     "I heard it's supposed to be really good." I said as we were getting into his car.
     A coy smile played across his lips. "Maybe you'll go to see it with me this weekend?"
     I smiled coyly back, "I'll get back to you on that." We both laughed and Ephraim plugged his iPod into the car. When I got home, Addison was sitting in the living room, shooting at Nazis on his PlayStation. "How are you home so early?" I asked.
     "Early dismissal." He said, not even looking away from the screen. I walked up the stairs and went to my room. After turning up my iPod so it was on the verge of shattering my eardrums, I sat down to focus on math. About two hours later, James walked in.
     "Jasmine, we need to talk." He said.
     Oh, great. One of James' famous talks is just what I wanted. "Can it wait?"
     James sat down at my desk. "No, but it won't take long, I promise." His gentle tone made me shut the book I was reading. He smiled a little and said, "I know I've been a little crabby these past few weeks, but it's because I worry about you."
     I went to interrupt, but he stopped me with a wave of his hand. "And that boy. What was his name? Ephraim- I'm sure that he's a perfectly good kid. Well, I'm sorry I've been yelling at you." He stood up and did something unexpected. He bent down and hugged me. Then he kissed the top of my head, the way he used to when I was a little kid.
    "I'm sorry, too." He was walking out my door, but stopped to smile at me. "Um, one more thing." I bit my lip.
    James' grin faded, "What do you want to do, Jasmine?"
    "Well, you said it yourself, that Ephraim is a perfectly good kid," I rushed on before he could interrupt, "He wants me to go see Wolfman with him this weekend."
    He took a deep breath, like he did when he was about to yell. Then, he stopped and sighed. "Fine, but you will be back by ten."
    I smiled, "Eleven it is."
    He laughed a little and said, "You're getting better at negotiating. Maybe you want to look at that for a career choice."
    "Sure, James." I said, rolling my eyes.
      The next day, Zander was sitting in the seat I had been in yesterday. "Hey, Jasmine." He said with a yawn.
     "Tired?" I asked, with a bit of laughter.
     Zander rubbed at his eyes. "Yeah, I didn't sleep well last night." Another yawn.
     I looked around, not that many people were on the bus. Clarice had gotten me up early, so the bus picked me up before it was on its way to school, like yesterday. "Well we have about forty-five minutes before we get to school. Why don't you go to sleep? I think I might, too." I smiled at him.
     He nodded and leaned back against the seat. "Yeah, I think I'll just close my eyes for a few minutes." After another yawn, he closed his eyes. After about ten minutes, my eyes were beginning to shut also. I was faintly aware of Zander's head on my shoulder. About a second later, it moved, and I felt his arm go around my shoulders. I was on the verge of sleep, so I relaxed against him.
     "Hey, break it up. Come on, we're at Ridgewood." My head snapped up, to meet the eyes of the bus driver.
     Zander spoke before me, "Sorry, ma'am. We, uh, fell asleep."
     She waved her hand, "I don't care, just get off the bus." We both walked around her, heads down. Zander told me that he'd see me at lunch. I was just about to get my locker open, when someone said my name.
     I looked around and saw Ephraim. "Hey, what's up?" I asked, grabbing my books.
     "Eh, nothing much, just hanging out at school." He said, then continued with a smile, "So how's that movie looking this weekend?"
     I smiled and said, "James said I could as long as I'm back by eleven."
     "How's six o'clock sound? Then we could hang out a little more if that's okay with you."
     "Yeah, that sounds great." I said.
     Ephraim went to go get his books. As soon as he was out of my view, two more people appeared. "Hey, you won't guess what we found out like, two minutes ago." Melanie said.
     "What's that?" I asked.
     Blythe took over, "People are going around saying stuff about you and Zander."
     "Dammit," I breathed, "What kind of stuff?"
     Melanie said, "Well, I heard that you guys were making out in the back of the bus. Blythe basically heard that, but worse."
     I felt my face get warm. "That did not happen. We both fell asleep, and I think he had his arm around me. That. Is. All."
     Blythe again, "We didn't say you did. That's just what people are saying."
     "Well, I guess rumors are rumors. I just wish they were directed on whether the head cheerleader is pregnant or not. Again." I said and we laughed. "Oh, and guess what."
     "What?" They chorused.
     "I'm going to see Wolfman this weekend."
     "And?" They both asked before I could continue.
     I smiled, "And, I'm going with Ephraim."
     Melanie smiled and said, "Aw, look Blythe. Our little Jasmine is growing up." We all laughed and I playfully slapped Melanie in the arm.


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