The ward of castoria, p.32
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       The Ward of Castoria, p.32

           Robin Silverglate


  “It feels so nice out here,” said Bryn. “It was getting too hot in there for me.” Bryn, Nicole, and Chris, who was Nicole’s potential boyfriend, all sat together on the front steps of the party house. Loud music and laughing voices could be heard coming from inside. They had spent most of the evening indoors, but had just moved outside to get a change of scenery.

  “It seems like your cousin is having fun in there,” said Chris as he nodded toward the window. Bryn glanced over and saw that Nick was indeed having fun. He was sitting on the couch and kissing a girl that he had met only an hour earlier.

  She smirked and said, “Nick is definitely not shy when it comes to making new friends.” Bryn thought of the pleasant day that she has spent with Nick as they explored the Georgetown campus. “He even convinced some girl on his college tour today to give him her cell phone number.”

  “Excuse me,” interrupted a voice from behind them. Bryn turned to see a tall blonde girl standing at the top of the steps.

  The trio moved to the side in order to let the girl pass. “It’s only ten-thirty, Maisey,” said Nicole. “Why are you leaving so early?”

  Maisey sighed and said, “My parents just called and told me to come home now.”

  “That sucks,” said Nicole. “Are you okay getting home?”

  She pointed down the road and said, “I’m fine. I just live at the end of this street.” Then she turned to walk glumly toward her house.

  “Goodnight Maisey,” said Nicole politely. She deliberately placed her hand on Chris’ shoulder and asked, “How do you say goodnight in German?”

  Chris gave her a shy smile and said, “Gute Nacht.”

  “That’s so cute,” laughed Nicole brightly. “I love how you talk. How do you say party in German?”

  Bryn rolled her eyes and realized that Nicole’s obvious flirting could take a while. As Chris answered her friend’s questions, Bryn occupied herself by watching Maisey walk down the road. When she finally disappeared into the darkness, Bryn turned her attention back to her best friend. Nicole’s hand was now firmly planted on Chris’ knee. She could see his dark brown eyes sparkling in excitement.

  “I love your real name,” said Nicole in an overeager manner. “I’m going to call you Cristoff from now on. Did you know that his real name is Cristoff?” asked Nicole as she turned back to Bryn.

  “No,” admitted Bryn in an amused tone. It was fun watching her overly flirtatious friend.

  Nicole looked down at her empty drink and said, “I need a refill.” She stood up and held out her hand. “Will you come with me, Cristoff?”

  The German exchange student grabbed her offered hand and Bryn noticed that he did not let go even after he was standing.

  Nicole wore an unabashed smile on her face as she told Bryn, “We’ll bring you back another drink.” Bryn watched the two walk hand in hand back into the house. Just before the door closed, Nicole’s head popped out and mouthed, “Oh my God!”

  Bryn couldn’t help but laugh. Even though she was officially now the third wheel at the party, she was still having fun. She enjoyed listening to the music emanating from the house. They were playing one of her favorite songs and she quietly hummed along as she waited for Nicole and Chris to return with her drink.

  She heard the door behind her open and Nick sat down next to her on the front steps. “I don’t know if you are aware of this,” he said casually. “But there is a party going on just on the other side of that door.”

  “I know,” she said with a smile. “I’m hanging out here with Nicole and Chris.”

  Nick made an exaggerated display of looking around. “Um… I don’t know if you are aware of this, but there is no one else out here.”

  “Very funny. They just went in to get more drinks. They’ll be back soon.”

  “I actually saw them kissing next to the snack table, so they might be a while,” he said with a chuckle. “Never fear though. I’ll keep you company until they return.”

  “What did you think of Georgetown today?” Bryn asked out of curiosity.

  He took a deep breath and said, “I like the campus and I like the courses that are offered. But what I like best about Georgetown is its location.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “I like that it is about as far away from San Francisco as I can get.”

  Bryn was confused. “Don’t you like your home town?”

  “I do,” said Nick putting his arm around her shoulder. He pulled her close to him and said quietly in her ear, “It’s my father that’s driving me crazy. He has to get in my face about everything. We fight almost every day. I just want to get as far away as possible from him.”

  Bryn thought about her Uncle Mark. She had never been close to him. He was very cool, reserved, and basically unapproachable at family gatherings. While Nick’s strained relationship with her uncle was new information to her, she was not surprised. “I’m sorry,” Bryn said sympathetically.

  “It’s okay,” said Nick. “He doesn’t hurt me or anything like that. It’s all mental with him.”

  “How does Aunt Janet feel about you possibly coming to school out here?”

  “She’s all for it,” he said happily. “In fact, it was her idea for me to apply to Georgetown. I think she believes if Dad and I have a little bit of a break from each other things will get better for us. Eventually. Part of me wants to go to a California school because that’s where all my friends are going, but I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do is come to Georgetown.”

  Bryn’s excitement caused her to hug her cousin tightly. “I’m so glad. You’re going to love it here.”

  A sudden loud noise caused Bryn to pull away from Nick. It sounded like it came from a few houses down. She hoped it wasn’t an angry neighbor coming to break up the party. Bryn did not see anything, so she turned back to Nick and smiled. “Have you told Aunt Janet of your decision?”

  “Nope,” he said cheerily. “You are the first to hear the good news.”

  “It’s going to be great having you nearby. I’ll only be an hour away,” added Bryn.

  A loud knock from the window suddenly interrupted them. Bryn turned to see the girl that Nick had kissed earlier was watching them with open suspicion. Nick waved confidently back at her and motioned that he would be in in a moment. The girl seemed appeased as she sat down on the couch.

  Nick shifted his gaze back to Bryn and said, “It’s obvious that your friends are not coming back for a while. Why don’t you hang out with me and Emma?”

  Bryn shrugged and said, “I think that I will. I’m just a third wheel with Nicole and Chris so I might as well be a third wheel with you instead.”

  As Nick opened the door for her, he said, “If this Dane-guy were here, I doubt you would be the odd woman out. In fact, you would probably be canoodling with him next to the snack table too.”

  Bryn shoved his arm and laughingly called him an idiot. However, a few minutes later, when she was sitting on the couch next to Nick and enduring Emma’s icy stares, she wondered what it would be like if Dane were at this party.

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