“The girls are whispering again,” Joran said to Aiden. “Why do girls do that?”
Aiden shrugged, not paying much attention to his love-struck friend. Joran had been in love with Lessa for ages, but he was far too shy to say anything to the petite blonde.
Joran punched Aiden’s shoulder. “Listen, see if you can tell what they’re talking about.”
Aiden rolled his green eyes, but leaned in as his friend asked. He tried to listen without giving anything away. The girls must have figured out his trick, though, because all he could hear was gibberish.
When the three girls giggled and turned their heads to look at the boys, Aiden knew he’d been caught. He blushed furiously as the blonde Lessa, brunette Arla, and red-headed Genna sashayed past.
“Well? What did you hear,” Joran demanded.
“Nothing. It was all gobbledy-gook. I think they knew I was listening, Joran. Why don’t you just talk to Lessa?”
This time, it was Joran who shrugged. “Eh, I … I don’t know. I just don’t think she even notices me.”
The boys turned away from the park bench where the girls had been gathered and strolled into the skate park. Neither one had any intentions of boarding, but they wanted to be seen in the area.
They lingered near the bowl, watching the younger kids just learning how to control boards and skates, talking quietly about girls, school, and home.
A tap at Joran’s shoulder startled both boys. The golden-haired object of Joran’s affection stood behind them, tapping a small foot.
The dark boy gulped, uncertain when or why his luck had changed but grateful it had. “Lessa. Umm, I mean, yeah, I’m Joran.”
Blue eyes sparkled with laughter. “I know. We have biology together. I was wondering if you could come to my house and help me with the homework Mr. Lonnigan assigned. I’m not quite sure I get it.”
Joran swallowed hard once more. His voice cracked, “Sure. I can help.”
Lessa smiled a small, satisfied smile and turned away, striding out of the skate park. Joran followed, forgetting his best friend altogether.
“Hey!” Aiden was irritated. But he shrugged it off, knowing he’d never be able to pull his love-dumb friend away.
The next day at school, Aiden tried to find Joran but his friend seemed to be avoiding him. It wasn’t until study hall at the end of the day that Aiden found his love-struck friend, sitting at a small table with Lessa and her friends.
“Joran! What happened yesterday and where have you been all day?”
The girls all giggled, covering their faces with their hands and peering at Aiden through delicate fingers.
Joran stood up, moving to meet his friend. Behind him, the girls began whispering to each other.
“Aiden, what’s wrong? I’ve been here all day. Are you alright?” Even though his questions seemed concerned, the tone of his voice seemed uninterested, almost bored, with whatever Aiden had to say.
“I…I’m fine. But, Joran, I think there’s something weird going on with those three,” Aiden’s voice shook with outrage and frustration.
Lessa’s voice grew louder and the other girls’ laughter seemed to echo her rise in volume. Joran smiled and patted Aiden’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m fine, Aiden.”
Then the dark boy returned to his seat beside Lessa.
Aiden’s ears burned with anger. He started to walk over to confront the still-giggling girls when he saw Joran lean into the group and whisper. The giggles erupted, louder than ever, and the whispering continued.
Aiden clenched his teeth, intending to insult his friend enough to make Joran chase him down, but the whispers intruded. This time, the gibberish was in Joran’s voice and it seemed menacing. Aiden was sure it was about him when all four turned to stare at him.