Read Don't Even Think About It Online

Authors: Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It (10 page)

Just Ignore Me

We didn’t wait long to use our ESP to take over the world. Domination began during gym class.

At BHS, the gym classes were made up of two homerooms. We were combined with 10A.

The girls were playing volleyball inside the gym. The boys were playing a New York version of touch football in the park.

Even though we were matches in physical strength and coordination, they weren’t exactly fair games. Not once we figured out how to position ourselves properly to minimize interference. Here’s how volleyball went:

Leora from 10A prepared to serve. She looked across the court and tried to psych us out.
I guess I’ll serve short to Olivia. She’s the weakest.

Ah! She’s shooting it to me!

I’ll get it!
Jordana was our best player.

Leora served.

Jordana swooped in and popped it to Courtney, who slammed it back over the net.

One of them:
I’m hitting it to the open area between Brinn and Courtney!

I got it!

Hit it back to the area between Shoshana and Jill!


Tip it!


Cut shot!


We kicked ass.

Our boys did just as well. We knew all of 10A’s plays and kept intercepting the ball.

And sure, football was just football. Volleyball was just volleyball. Gym volleyball, and gym football, so even more irrelevant. But still. Our dominance over our opponents continued after school.

The BHS chess team had a match against Stuyvesant.

Pi’s opponent was a senior named Rick. He was their best player.

Let’s try a pirc defense,
he thought, moving his pawn to the middle.

I don’t think so,
Pi thought. She laughed inside her head. Since she was the only one from 10B on the chess team, no one could hear.

Her opponent didn’t stand a chance. Pi was able to block all his moves. She knew what was coming.

She won three games in a row.

Nick kicked ass at baseball practice.

Brinn kicked ass at fencing.

Dave and Daniel kicked ass at their wrestling practice. It was easy to block moves when you knew what they were. But when they had to wrestle each other, they ended up standing still, eyes locked, in a stupor.

I’m going for your legs.

Then I’m going for a whizzer!

You suck at whizzers.

You suck at takedowns!

You’re ugly.

No, you’re ugly!

I’m kind of hungry, actually.

What do you think Mom is making for dinner?

Mackenzie and Tess didn’t have extracurriculars on Thursdays. Instead, they’d crossed the West Side Highway and were sitting on a bench in Battery Park sipping chocolate milk shakes from Shake Shack and gazing at the Hudson River. They could kind of see the Statue of Liberty from where they were, but it required some twisting. And they were too tired to do much twisting.

Tess took a big gulp of her shake and sighed. “This is not going to help me look good in my dress at your Sweet. It’s already a little tight. You are a very bad influence.”

Mackenzie took a long sip. “I’ve practically forgotten about my Sweet with all the insanity going on. So I think we earned these today.”

“That was a rough lunch,” Tess said, shivering. “This whole thing is crazy.”

“I know.”

“I’m glad you’re going through it with me, though,” Tess said. “We’re lucky to have each other.” She tried to imagine what it would be like if she had no one to talk to about what was happening. No, it would be too horrible.

“It really would be,” Mackenzie said. Her phone buzzed with a text.

“Who is it?” Tess asked.

“Cooper,” Mackenzie said. “He wants to know what I’m up to.”

“Tell him to meet us.”

Mackenzie shook her head. “I can’t deal with him right now. Not in person. It’s too stressful.”

“I know what you mean,” Tess said. “That’s how I feel about Teddy.”

Mackenzie sighed.
Not exactly the same thing.

Tess felt like she’d been slapped.
I didn’t say it was the same thing.

Instead of answering, Mackenzie typed a text back into her phone. “I’m telling him I’m busy with you.”

Poor Cooper,
Tess thought.

“That doesn’t help.”

“Sorry,” Tess said. “Are you going to tell him about Bennett?” Tess’s feelings were still hurt that Mackenzie hadn’t confided in her. Tess always told Mackenzie everything. About how weight-obsessed her mom had gotten since her dad dumped her. About how Tess had been bulimic for about ten minutes back in eighth grade. About how she stalked her dad’s new girlfriend on Facebook.

I’m sorry. You like to share. I don’t.
“I guess I’ll have to tell him,” Mackenzie said eventually. “He’s going to find out anyway.”

“Not if he doesn’t get it,” Tess said. Maybe his gluten allergy had blocked it from appearing at all.

“Maybe. But with so many people knowing …” She stared into the water. “He’s bound to find out.”

“What do you think he’ll do?” Tess wondered.

“I think he’ll break up with me.”

Tess thought.
I guess so.

Mackenzie flinched. Her phone buzzed again.

Tess heard Mackenzie read herself the message:
Are you guys in Battery Park? I think I see you.

He saw them?

Mackenzie stiffened.
Damn, he’s here.

They both turned and spotted him waving from the other side of the grass, near the apartments.

Mackenzie waved back.
So much for avoiding him.

He jogged toward them, a huge smile on his face. “What’s up, laaaaadies?” he sang.

Tess felt suddenly out of place.
Do you want me to go?

Please don’t,
Mackenzie thought. “Hi.”

He kissed her on the lips. “Mmm. You taste like milk shake.”

Mackenzie offered him her paper cup. “Want?”

“Yes, please.” He took a big slurp. “Hey, Tess, what’s shaking?”

“Besides the milk? Not much,” Tess said. “Just enjoying the weather.” It was a beautiful evening. But still, she felt awkward.
Mackenzie, are you sure you don’t want me to go? Now would be a good time to tell him.

Mackenzie’s eyes widened.
No! Don’t go! I can’t tell him now!

Okay, okay, I won’t.
Tess leaned back on the bench just as her phone rang. She looked at the caller ID. “It’s Teddy.”

“Tell him to come meet us,” Cooper said.
Of course she will, she loves him.

Tess’s heart stopped.
How does he know that? Mackenzie, did you tell him?

Oops. Will she know if I lie?

Tess flushed. The phone rang again.

Tess ignored it. She wished Teddy didn’t exist. She would not call him back. She was done with him. She looked at Mackenzie.
What should I do?

Mackenzie leaned her head back against the bench.
Maybe he’d feel differently if he knew how you felt.

I doubt it.

“You ladies are quiet today,” Cooper said. He lay down on the bench and put his head on Mackenzie’s lap. “Speaking of which, what was up with everyone in homeroom this morning?”

“What do you mean?” Mackenzie asked. She turned to Tess.
Why don’t you just tell him that you want to jump him?

I’m not going to do that!
Tess cried. Well, she cried it inside her head. She picked up her legs off the ground and hugged them into her chest.

“Seriously?” Cooper asked. “You didn’t notice everyone was acting weird? There was a lot of staring going on.”
It was like a zombie invasion.

“I didn’t notice anything,” Mackenzie said.

Tess thought,
if I jump him, then he’ll know I like him. What’s the point of that if I know he doesn’t like me?

“Then you’d know for sure,” Mackenzie said.

Cooper blinked in confusion. “Then you’d know what for sure?”

Tess wailed.

Sorry, sorry.
“Just talking to myself,” she said.
This is too confusing. I can’t keep up two conversations at the same time. Can we discuss this later?

Tess sighed.
Whatever. I should probably go.

“No!” Mackenzie yelled.

Cooper blinked again. “No, what?”
What is up with her today?

Mackenzie shook her head. “No, I didn’t realize what time it was. I have to get home.”

“Already?” Cooper asked. “It’s only five.”
She’s definitely acting weird. Maybe she has her period?

Tess rolled her eyes.
I hate when guys blame weird moods on periods.

Mackenzie sighed.
They’re usually right, though. I’m a bitch when I get my period.

You can be bitchy even when you don’t have your period,
Tess thought.

Mackenzie blinked.
True. I didn’t know you thought so, though.

Tess bit her lip.
I didn’t mean that. You’re not bitchy. Only a little bitchy. To everyone. Including me. Crap. I didn’t mean that either. Yes I did. No, I didn’t. All right, I did. I just didn’t want you to know I did.
“I’m starving,” Tess said, desperately wanting to think of something besides Mackenzie’s bitchiness. “I think I’m going to go back to Shake Shack and pick up a cheeseburger.”

That’s not going to help with the dress,
Mackenzie thought.

Tess froze.
See? Bitchy.

I really did not mean to think that out loud.

Tess shook her head.
You just meant to think it to yourself? Best friends aren’t supposed to think you need to diet.

You said you were having trouble fitting into the dress! Eating a cheeseburger isn’t going to help! That’s not a secret! And a best friend isn’t supposed to call you a bitch either!

I called you bitchy, not a bitch!

We agree. Like cute and cutie, bitch and bitchy are not the same thing.

“I’m going to finish this unless you stop me,” Cooper said. He took the top off the milk shake and downed what was left, giving himself a milk shake mustache.

“I’m off,” Tess said.
This whole conversation is upsetting.
“I have a ton of homework,” she lied.

“Me too,” Mackenzie said quickly.
I’m a horrible person.

No you’re not
, Tess thought.

Cooper sat up. “I’ll walk you both back. Unless you want to watch the baseball game with me?”

“So much homework,” they both said.
they both thought. They looked at each other and smiled.

“Where’s your team spirit?” Cooper asked.

“I have to finish an English essay.” Mackenzie said.

“When’s it due?” Cooper asked.

Mackenzie shrugged. “Yesterday.”

Cooper laughed.

Tess knew Mackenzie wasn’t kidding. Mackenzie handed in everything late. Even when Tess offered to help.

All three stood up. Mackenzie put her hand on her friend’s arm.
Tess, I’m sorry. Let’s both get cheeseburgers. My treat.

I’m sorry I called you bitchy.

I am occasionally bitchy. But you’re not fat.


Yes! You’re not skinny, but you’re not fat.

The thought felt like a kick to Tess’s stomach. But could she blame Mackenzie? She wasn’t wrong.

I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to think that! You’re very pretty! If you went to the gym twice a week, you’d be gorgeous! Shit, shit, shit. I’m sorry! I can’t help it!

Tess knew that Mackenzie was gorgeous. Everyone knew that Mackenzie was gorgeous. But Tess had always hoped that Mackenzie had thought Tess was gorgeous too. As is.

Mackenzie looked straight at Tess
. I’m sorry. Really. You’re a much better friend than I am. I don’t deserve you.

“I said, where’s your team spirit?” bellowed Cooper.

When did I ever have team spirit?
Tess thought.
Go home, Cooper!

Mackenzie giggled, which made Tess start giggling too.

Cooper took Mackenzie’s hand and smiled.
Now she’s in a good mood. Maybe she doesn’t have her period after all.

Which made Mackenzie and Tess laugh harder.

Sweet Whispers in Your Ear

Mackenzie’s phone rang at eleven-thirty. She was fast asleep. She’d made sure to go to bed and shut her eyes long before her parents even started looking sleepy.

“Hello?” she whispered.

“You’re not going to believe what just happened,” Cooper said.

“New York lost?” Mackenzie asked.

“No. They won. Three to two. Go Yankees. It was something weird. Really weird.”

Mackenzie jackknifed in her bed. “What?” Mackenzie prayed it was something innocuous
Like his TV wasn’t working.

“Ashley woke up and came into my room and I walked her back to bed. She kept talking about which princess she should be for Halloween—Cinderella, Belle, or Aurora—but her mouth wasn’t moving. It was like I was reading her thoughts. I’m losing it, huh?”

She didn’t know what to say. She had to tell him. She had to tell him about the telepathy. She had to tell him about Bennett. She had to tell him everything and pray that he loved her enough to forgive her.

She couldn’t tell him part one without part two, could she? No. Because if she told him part one, about the telepathy, he would want to know why she hadn’t told him to begin with. He had called her as soon as he noticed something strange. He’d wonder why she hadn’t called him.

He would hate that their whole homeroom knew about Bennett. Everyone but him.

He wouldn’t be mad. He would be hurt.

She had to tell him. She opened her mouth to tell him.

Then she closed it.

She didn’t want to be the one to hurt him. She didn’t want to be the one to burst his the-world-is-wonderful bubble. She was thankful that thoughts could not be heard over the phone. She said, “Yup. You’re losing it. But I’m impressed you know the names Belle and Aurora.”

“Of course I do. I have a three-year-old sister. She’s obsessed with them. Also with trick-or-treating.” Mackenzie heard him take a short breath. “So what do you think about the fact that I hallucinated hearing my sister’s thoughts? Do you think my neighbor was smoking pot in his bathroom again and the fumes were leaking into my room?”

She forced a laugh. “That guy is such a stoner.”

“It’s like I was in a science fiction novel or something.”

“I can tell my mom,” she said, trying to keep her voice light. “It sounds like a perfect TV show.” Mackenzie’s mom was an exec at NBC.

“Prime time?”


“Will I get a producer credit?”

“Greedy, aren’t you?”

“Did I wake you up?” he asked. “I know I said goodnight an hour ago.”

“Yeah,” she said. “But I don’t mind. Are you in bed?”

“Not yet.”

Since Cooper wasn’t dwelling on his newfound power, Mackenzie assumed he didn’t believe it had really happened. He didn’t know the truth yet. He’d find out—but not tonight. “Wanna fall asleep on the phone?” she asked. They hadn’t done that in a while. Since before the summer. This might be their last time. She felt a tightening in her chest.

“ ’Kay,” he said. “I just need to brush my teeth. Should I call you back in five?”

“No,” she said, afraid of losing the connection. “Don’t hang up. I don’t mind hearing you get ready for bed.”

“Then here we go,” he said.

She heard the water run and then the sound of his electric toothbrush.

“ARGH ARGH ARGH,” he said.

She laughed. “Am I supposed to understand that?”

“I ran out of toothpaste the other day and found an extra tube under Ash’s sink. It has Cinderella on it and is bubble gum flavored.”

She laughed again. “Is it delicious?”

“Very. Frankly, I don’t know why anyone uses anything else.”

“I like my Crest with Extra Whitening.”

“And you do have a beautiful smile.”

“Why, thank you.” Would he still think she had a beautiful smile the next day?

She heard the sound of tinkling. “Are you peeing?” she asked.

“Why, yes I am. You said you didn’t mind if I got ready on the phone.”

“I didn’t realize that included peeing.”

“It’s part of the bedtime routine.”

She could still hear the tinkling sound. “That is the longest pee in the history of mankind,” she said. Maybe it would go on forever. Then they’d never have to go to sleep, and they’d never have to wake up and face the rest of the world.

“Ashley and I had to have our glass of warm milk before bed. It’s also part of the routine.”

“What’s the rest of your routine?” Mackenzie asked.

“Milk, potty, teeth brush, change into pajamas, book, bed. Well, that’s Ashley’s. Mine is just teeth, pee, take off pants and shirt, bed, mind read.”

There was another opening. She took a deep breath. “Maybe you really can read minds.”

He snorted. “Yeah, right. Hallucinating seems more likely now that I’ve said it out loud. What’s your bedtime routine? Wait. Let me guess. Change into sexy lingerie, teeth, pee, bed?”

Opening closed. She felt a whoosh of relief. “You forgot face wash. Don’t you and your sister face wash?”

“No, we do not. I wash my face in the shower. She washes hers in the bath. We have good skin. We’re lucky.”

I’m lucky,
Mackenzie thought sadly.
Lucky to have you.

“Are you ready yet?” she asked.

“One sec. Turning off lights. Getting into bed. Finding comfy spot. Okay. Ready. Hi.”

“Hi,” she said. She felt a weight on her chest. This could be their last phone call. Unless he didn’t really have telepathy. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe he really was hallucinating. Maybe he hadn’t really heard his sister.

Poor Mackenzie. Now she was the one hallucinating.

She knew she should tell him. She had to tell him.

She didn’t tell him.

“Love you,” she said instead.

“I love you too,” he replied.

Mackenzie fell asleep with the phone in her hand.

*  *  *

When she woke up the next morning, the phone was dead.

It was late already—after eight.

She got out of bed, her heart thumping. This was the day. She knew this was the day. She charged her phone while she showered.

She had to talk to Cooper. Why hadn’t she told him the night before? She should have told him everything the night before.

We can’t help but agree. She should have told him everything when she had the chance. Could have, should have, didn’t.

Mackenzie’s cell only had a few bars, but she called him anyway. It went straight to voice mail.

His phone had died too.

Shit, shit, shit.

She had to get to him before he got to homeroom. Where should she find him? Should she sprint to his apartment or find him at his locker?

She ran the five blocks to school. She’d meet him at his locker. Then she’d tell him. She’d tell him everything.

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