“Welcome to Conti’s. I’m Lia and I’ll nguhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
I froze. Directly facing me was Olympic swimmer, Jay Morningstar…and I just made an idiot of myself.
The rest of the table looked up to see my standing there with my mouth practically gaping. His coach, who I recognized from TV interviews, and even two other swimmers from the Olympic team. They didn’t say anything, they didn’t even blink.
I couldn’t even put together my words and Jay Morningstar was just staring at me with that Wheaties box smile and those icy blue eyes.
What was I supposed to say? Sorry I just made a weird noise, it’s just that I have a poster of you on my wall where you are wearing nothing more than your gold medals, a smile, and a pair of man panties?
The weather report said that we were supposed to get significant snowfall, but I told Jay that the weatherman was usually wrong so there was nothing to worry about.
This was one of the first times that Jay was going to hang out at my house and nothing was going to ruin that for me.
Or so I thought.
I’d cleaned everything from top to bottom a million times over and made sure my parents would both be at the restaurant along with Sonny.
Jay was just coming over to watch a movie, but I couldn’t wear my usual “lounging” gear of sweatpants. It took me forever to figure out what to change into after school and put on extra deodorant.
Staring at myself one last time in the mirror, I thought I could pull off looking half way decent. I smoothed out my sweater and touched up my lip gloss.
Okay, so maybe I wasn’t a Christy Quinn with a great fashion sense, but hey, a sweater and jeans weren’t that bad.
The doorbell rang and I bolted down the stairs only to feel something warm and squishy underneath my sock-clad feet.
I winced, not wanting to look at what I stepped in, but as soon as Nonna’s goat walked into the foyer, I knew it was exactly what I thought it was.
“Nonna! What is Capra doing in the house?”
Nonna shuffled into the foyer and looked down at my feet then at Capra, swatting him on the butt and swearing in Italian. Capra snorted and turned around, dropping another big pile of little pellet poops on the ground before she sauntered toward the living room.
I put my hand on my head and looked between the new pile of poop, the one on my foot, and the door where Jay was standing behind the stained glass door.
I didn’t even have any time to panic. I whipped off my socks and turned, cracking the door open slightly, trying to put on my biggest smile. “Um, hey, Capra had a little bit of an accident, so I’m just going to clean it up before you come in. Okay?”
Jay raised an eyebrow. “Um. Okay?”
I shut the door again and then raced my socks to the laundry room, throwing them in the wash then moved as fast as I could to clean up the new piles.
I let out a deep breath before I opened the door again to see a smiling Jay. He always found a way to look better than me, no matter what he was wearing. His hair was still wet as if he just got out of the shower, or maybe the pool, and he smelled of soap and cool mint. I tried not to let my eyes wander at the way his thin black t-shirt clung to him with moisture still on his chest, but there is only so much a girl can resist.
Or maybe he was freezing and I was the jerk that didn’t let him in because I was cleaning up goat poop.
Vernon has been living off of reader tears since she wrote her first short
story in 2004. She now spends her time killing off fictional characters,
pretending to plot while she really just watches Netflix, and she tries to do this
all while her two young children run amok around her Texas ranch.