Since freshman year of high school, Adria and I have walked to St. Raphael's together with her sister, Brieanna. Every day we've had the same routine. But this time something is different.
Adria's been giving me signals that I can no longer ignore. A coy smile while biting her lower lip. Gazing at me through long eyelashes as she tucks a stray tendril behind her ear. Linking her arm through mine as we stroll through the avenue of maples, the brilliant shades of autumn foliage illuminated by the sun.
You're not imagining this, Valerie. She likes you, too.
It's amazing Brieanna hasn't suspected anything. Maybe she wants to protect us by pretending not to notice. In this country, we can't love whomever we want.
The American Purist Party has made sure of that.
If anyone makes a move, it's going to be me. Adria's too shy and obeys every rule as though it's God's law. If I wait for her to confront me, I'll stay alone.
It's not my natural inclination to take the initiative, but she's worth it.
Today I'm going to tell her.
I'll woman up and say four perfectly acceptable words. They'll be ambiguous enough to have multiple meanings but direct enough to elicit a reaction.
Adria, I like you.
Mustering my courage, I sling my backpack over a shoulder and readjust my Catholic school uniform, puffing out the shirt so that I don't look too severe. Taking one final look in the foyer mirror, I try in vain to flatten my fiery hair and pinch my cheeks to make them look less pale.
Damn Irish genes. I'd give anything for her features.
There's a gentle rap on the door.