You Don't Know My Name(5)

By: Kristen Orlando


I dig my nails into the palms of my hands and watch helplessly as Dad climbs the back staircase. His pounding footsteps tell me this conversation is over. We’re leaving. And there is nothing more I can say.





ONE

“Reagan, everyone is going on Saturday,” Harper says, in between bites of overcooked meat loaf and runny lunchroom mashed potatoes. “You’ll be, like, the only senior not there.”

“I’d rather eat glass,” I say, taking a long swig of Vitaminwater. I ran six miles before school and my body is in dire need of electrolytes. I can feel it. I hate getting up early to train, but it’s a million times better than waiting until the afternoon. I’d much rather be hanging out with Harper or studying with Luke, but skipping is not an option. I made that stupid mistake only once and that was enough for me. My parents were the kind of pissed that bypasses the yelling and screaming phase and goes straight to the silent treatment and punishment. They gave me a training session the next day that made my legs shake for an hour. A twelve-mile run followed by five hundred push-ups, a thousand sit-ups, and two hours of Krav Maga. Pure hell. In most households, I’m pretty sure that’d be considered child abuse. But what was I supposed to do? Call Child Protective Services? Tell them my parents forced me to work out for six hours because they’re operatives for a part of the CIA the world, even most of the US government, doesn’t know about and I’m training to be an operative too? I don’t think so. So every morning, I pull my butt out of bed at five on the dot to train before school.

“I don’t understand why on earth you would want to miss one of Mark’s parties,” Harper counters, tucking a loose strand of her long, wavy blond hair behind her ear.

“You know my two party rules,” I reply, counting them down on my fingers. “Number one: Drinking Mad Dog 20/20 will make you sicker than eating at a strip club buffet. Number two: No good ever comes from attending a Mark Ricardi party.”

Mark’s gatherings at his parents’ estate outside the New Albany Country Club community were sort of famous. I’ve only been to one of his parties and left before things got totally out of control, but the stories that come out of that house … my God. People always end up going skinny-dipping in the pond or losing articles of clothing (or just their dignity) during tequila-induced twerk-offs. Someone always gets into a huge fight or breaks something or cheats on their girlfriend. People always leave Mark Ricardi parties with the taste of expensive liquor and regret in their mouths.

“We’ll take a vote when Mal gets here,” Harper says and takes a swig of her pop.

“I’ll take a vote right now. All those in favor of not holding your best friend’s hair back while she throws up in the master bathtub, please raise your hand,” I say, throwing my hand straight up into the air. Harper narrows her hazel eyes at me then smiles, exposing the tiny gap in her two front teeth that I love and Harper hates. She says she wishes she would have gotten braces back in middle school when everyone else’s teeth were jacked up. She’s thought about getting one of those clear plastic retainer things to fix it, but I continue to talk her out of it. I think the gap makes her look like a supermodel.

“Hey, that was the easiest party-fail cleanup ever,” Harper says, reaching across the gray laminate table to slap down my hand.

“It was disgusting,” I reply, my arm still high in the air. “I almost threw up next to you and I was stone-cold sober.”

“You’re so the good little mom of the group,” Harper says, batting at my hand again. “I totally H your G’s right now.”

“You totally what my what?” I ask.

“H your G’s,” Harper replies and rolls her eyes. “Hate your guts.”

“No way, you totally L my G’s,” I say and laugh. Love how we both do that. Abbreviate things to the point people don’t know what in the world we’re talking about. We have some regulars, like RTG, which means “ready to go.” PITA means “pain in the ass.” SMITH means “shoot me in the head.” Those are probably the favorites, but we both come up with ridiculous new ones every day that make our friends roll their eyes. But whatever, it’s our thing and we like it so WGAS? Translation: Who gives a shit?