The Flip Side

The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson

Book: The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Shawn Johnson
isn’t a date, Zoe,” I remind her.
    Her grin gets mischievous. “Could be.”
    â€œIt’s not. It’s because of student council.”
    â€œGetting to go out with Bobby Singh makes that C- so worth it.”
    With a sigh I slip into some ballerina flats. “Not really. I still have to type up the minutes from the meeting.”
    â€œDon’t you have some heels?” she asks.
    I do. But I’m not willing to risk turning my weak ankle and causing a sprain. It probably wouldn’t happen, but one misstep could ruin my chances of making the Olympic team. “That’s too dressy. We’re just going to the roller rink to check out space for prom. We’ll probably be doing a lot of walking.”
    â€œI just don’t see the harm in putting in some extra effort.”
    I can’t do anything to turn this night into more than it is. I hear the rumble of a car. I look out the window, and my heart speeds up like a locomotive. I quickly move back to stand in front of the monitor. “He’s here. I have to go.”
    â€œHave fun!”
    â€œBye, Zoe.” I disconnect our video chat, close my laptop, take a deep breath, and head out of my room.
    By the time I get downstairs, Bobby is standing in the foyer talking to Mom, Dad, and Josh. Bobby seems completely at ease. Probably because for him this isn’t a date; it’s simply a ride. He’s just being nice.
    Bobby says something, and Josh laughs a little too long, a little too loudly, like he’s trying to be cool, trying to impress the wrestling champ. My brother, who always seems so comfortable around people, is acting like a lunatic. And I know it’s because he sees Bobby as someone popular, someone he’d like to hang out with.
    If people at school knew I was an elite athlete with Olympic aspirations, they’d be acting the same way around me. They wouldn’t show me their real selves. The sad thing is that I think Bobby would probably like Josh if he weren’t working so hard to be likeable.
    Josh is saying something about someone in their math class asking the stupidest question of all time. Bobby is nodding like he cares, but his gaze shifts past Josh and lands on me. He grins. The dimple forms.
    I’m wishing I’d gone with the contacts, my hair up, and heels.
    â€œHey,” Bobby says.
    â€œHi.” Do I have to sound so breathless?
    Josh is still talking. Dad’s large hand lands on Josh’s shoulder. Josh goes quiet, looks at me. I can tell he’s not happy that I’ve arrived.
    â€œI didn’t realize I know your brother,” Bobby says, tipping his head toward Josh.
    â€œSmall world,” I say, wondering if I could sound any more lame. “I guess we should go.” Before my brother embarrasses himself any further.
    â€œTen o’clock,” Dad barks. Mom looks like she’s trying really hard not to laugh.
    â€œIt’s not a school night,” I point out.
    â€œYou’re fifteen,” Dad reminds me.
    â€œMaybe ten thirty,” Mom says, and Dad glowers at her like she’s a traitor.
    â€œTen thirty,” Bobby says with a grin, as though he was in on the negotiations and wants to lock it down before Dad says, Ten fifteen . “Nice to meet you all.”
    â€œWe know each other,” Josh reminds him, clearly unhappy to be included in the just-met category.
    â€œSorry. I just meant it was nice to meet your parents,” Bobby concedes, reaching over and opening the door for me.
    We walk out, but he can’t shut the door, because my parents have followed us and are now filling the doorway. As we continue on, I pretty much want to die.
    â€œSorry about all that,” I mutter once we move beyond earshot.
    He gives a low chuckle. “Not a problem.”
    â€œSo do you really know my brother?” I ask.
    â€œNot know know. I know who he is.”
    â€œHe’s not usually quite so exuberant.

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