Chris and Jake met us outside of the rink. Jake grinned when he saw us. “Helloooo.”
I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t resist a smile. “Hey, Jake,” I greeted. “Chris.”
“Artemis,” the boy greeted formally. He and I weren’t close. For some reason, we never really tried to get close, be better friends. It just seemed better to us that way.
For a moment we stood there, but then Jake broke the silence. “Well, what are we waiting for? Lets go in!”
Everybody agreed. We went in and got our skates. Sam, who was still learning, stuck to the sidelines. Chris went with her and helped her. I would have went with her myself, but Jake said he wanted to talk to me and I figured now would probably our best chance.
“So what is it?” I asked.
“Did you know the school’s holding a dance?” he asked.
“No,” I said. “Where did you hear about this?”
“My mom is on the PTO, remember? I know about everything that goes on in this school. It won’t be announced until tomorrow over the announcements.”
“Then why should I care until then?” I asked. “And why are we even having a dance?”
“For the Fourth of July,” he replied. “There’s going to be fireworks and everything.”
“Okay, so what? I still don’t see how this has anything to do with me.”
“Dude, you are so missing the point!” Jake said, exasperated. “Your going to miss your chance! You-”
“Don’t call me dude,” I interrupted. “And what chance?”
“Some genius you are.” He stopped and grabbed my shoulders, shaking me hard, like he was hoping to shake some since into me. “Ask Sam to the dance!”
“What? No! Sam and I are just friends, nothing more.”
“Oh come on,” he complained. “You like her, don’t you? Admit it! Come on, do it!”
“No! If you like her so much, why don’t you ask her?”
He looked appalled. “Me? I barely know her! That would just be awkward. But you two do know each other well, and heck, I mean, you even live with her. I could just see it; you would be perfect together!”
“No,” I said firmly, pulling away from him. “And that’s final.”
“Artemis, come on! At least ask her. There’s no guarantee she would even say yes,” Jake said.
She would, I thought. Just for the simplicity of not having to answer to anyone else, and because she wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings. But I didn’t say that outloud.
Jake was still talking. “Come on! I’m not going to stop pestering you until you say yes!”
I sighed. For some reason, I didn’t doubt that he would actually keep asking me until I said yes. “If I say yes, will you leave me alone?”
“Yes,” Jake said. “But you have to swear that you’ll at least ask her.”
I sighed, admitting defeat. “I swear. Are you happy now?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “When are you going to do it?”
I groaned. “Whenever I get time! Now, can you please leave me alone?”
He shrugged. “Okay.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”
He smirked. “What’s wrong, Fowl? Huh? Tender subject?”
“Oh, shut up,” I said through gritted teeth. “Come on. Let’s go find Sam and Chris get something for lunch.”