My name is Jodi. Jo-jo to my friends. I’m in middle school and my life hasn’t been so great this last year. My grandpa, who has early onset Alzheimer’s moved it three weeks ago and all I ever hear him say is “swings and roundabouts.” Whatever that means. My dad remarried eight months after my mom passed away to a woman who I’m sure is a very nice person, but I’ve been working on my own important personal issues to consider what kind of person she really is. I already have to deal with my douche older brother and thanks to her I now have two new twin stepbrothers that irritates the living bejesus out of me, and I finally got my period and boobs. Shopped for my own pads and bras which was a horrible idea because the pads itch and the bras don’t fit. I’ve become a woman and no one had noticed. Not even Jonas Evans, a foreign exchange student from the UK. Perfect blond hair, blue eyes and bod. Dude is the sexiest teen alive since Ruel and he is one of the most popular kid at my middle school.
Anywho, I’d been eyeing this eye candy of a boy since the beginning of the school year. I share three classes with this guy and he still can’t remember my name. A few weeks ago, I dropped my pencil right as he walked into the classroom. Dude picked it up….looked me dead in the eyes and said “it must be my lucky day, aye Julie.” Like dude how hard can it be to remember Jodi or Jojo. If he didn’t have that stupid accent and that beautiful face, I would have punched him in the face and told him to put his face into a horses…you know….where the Sun doesn’t shine. Now, I’m short a pencil.
My mom always pressured me to come out of my shell and be more direct with others. So, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend. I owned who I was and it felt great. Since then, my life has taken a nice little turn. Two week ago, TBH (to be honest) I was so over the drama and had it with life. It all started when my bestfriends Harper and Kendall E both told me they overheard Xander, telling Nathan D. that Kendall C from second period told Jasper that Brittany T asked Jonas out and he turned her down, then she asked him to the eighth grade social as friends and boom slammed her heart into the ground again. Quick victory dance. Rude right. To shut someone down two days in the same week. I laughed historically when my day ones told me that ridiculous LIE. Probably the best laugh I’d had in years. I enjoyed that news so much I even shared it with my grandpa who simply replied “Swings and roundabouts.”
Anywho, hearing Jonas Evans turned down the hottest girl in our entire school. I mean honestly….You go boy! But, to my surprise. Sooo….not what happened. I mean this is middle school half of us can’t even get our homework assignments straight. Why did I have to get overly excited about a story going around that wasn’t true at all. Well, it was sort of true.
Brittany G as in Gregory, had grew the nerves to ask out Jonas Evans and he rejected her. According to Anita B. She’s in yearbook and does not get her gossip wrong, ever. So, apparently Brittany G was in the midst of asking Jonas Evans out when Brittany T rudely eased her way in like Lizzo in Chris Evans’s dms (direct messaging) to ask Jonas to the Eighth grade social. I mean, it’s Brittany G, nerd from history who is obsessed with Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The first time I heard the name Mark Antony, I thought our teacher was referring to Mark Anthony, JLo’s old boo. Yep. Super failed that history report, but back to my amazing victory. Of course, he said no to her. Two days later baby girl tried her luck again, and was shut down, a…gain. Now Jonas and Brittany T are a thing. That Friday, in the same week, during Lunch A invitations for a party at Brittany T’s house went out and you guessed it, your girl truly and her besties were invited. So, me, Kendall and Harper decided everyone should meet and sleepover at my house.
“Can you believe we were invited to Brittany T’s party? I mean, she like live in a mansion.” Harper celebrated as she tilted her panama. “This outfit slaps. I’m ready.”
“Are you really going to sport a fedora to our very first party?” Asked Kendall as she turned to look at Harper then slanted her head slightly to the right.
“It’s a panama. Thank you. And never disrespect my swagger.” Replied Harper rolling her eyes.
“Dang…momma you are hot.” Complimented Kendall.
“Yeah, Jojo you look amazing.” Agreed Harper as I walked out of my closet wearing a not too short red and black plaid skirt with a solid ribbed tank tucked in under a red hoodie I cut into a halter top.
“Dang….I love your kicks. When did you get those? We’ve been sharing shoes since grade K. Why you been holding out on me, Jojo?” Harper complained sucking her teeth. “I thought we were closer than that.”
I smiled as I looked at myself in the mirror. Hopefully, Jonas Evans will notice me tonight.
“Let’s go buttface. I have places to be…people to see.” Interrupted Bradley. My older brother.
“You’re brother is such a douche.” Growled Kendall.
“I think he’s cute.” Smirked Harper. “I always have…I always will.”
I giggled as I threw the scrap of my crossbody clutch over my body.
We arrived at Brittany T’s house and the rumors were right. She live in a mansion. It was a quarter til 7 pm and it seemed as if our entire school has already shown up. Her parents seemed pretty cool as they welcome everyone into their home and escorted us out back to the guest house where the party was happening.
“Don’t forget your glow sticks, ladies.” Brittany’s mom said pointing at a table full of glow in the dark accessories.
As we walked and accessorized our glow in the dark rings, necklaces, bracelets and even had a choice out of a glow in the dark binky or grill. Kendall and I chose the binkies and Harper chose the grill.
“Y’all sis has her own house to party in. This is crazy.” Harper said amazed at glow in the dark theme decor as we all reached for a red plastic cup.
“Wait, nobody said it was a pool party. I didn’t bring a bathing suit.” Hissed Harper.
“It’s a guest house and you know no one really gets in the pool, right?” Commented Kendall as Harper took the first sip of punch.
“Ughhh.” Gagged Harper “What in the sugar free, organic, hello motorcycle is this? This is some nasty punch. Tastes like raisins.”
I took a sip. “It’s Malta.” I confirmed.
“It’s nasty. Who would drink something like that or serve it at a party.” Harper said disgusted.
“Let’s dance.” Begged Kendall as her favorite Drake song began to play.
“You ladies go ahead. I’m going to find something to play.” I shied away.
My girls went to the dance floor where most people were. I decided to go over to what looked like a fun game on the opposite side of the pool and that’s when I saw Jonas and Brittany hugged up slow dancing to Drake. I rolled my eyes after staring for a short while and continued towards the game. It was corn hole.
“Hey Jasper.” I called out. “Do you want to play me?”
Jasper was a pretty cool kid, who also wasn’t bad on the eyes either. He was given a really bad rep after Brittany T pour apple juice in his lap in the third grade and then told everyone, he peed his pants and just like that he earned the nickname PJ for Pissy Jasper. Wrong…right? Jasper jumped up excitedly.
“I’m surprised you’re even here.” I started picking up a glow in the sack and tossing it towards the platform in-front of me.
“Yeah, my mom thought I should be more social and decided this party would be great for me.” Admitted Jasper.
I looked over and our eyes fastened into one another’s. I never noticed until that very second that Jasper was so handsome. It could have been my new hormones making every boy look super sexy. No matter the case, we had a moment.
“Jojo, right?” Asked Jasper breaking the silence.
“Yeah. Jojo. But, my name is Jodi.” I smiled.
“Thanks for hanging with me. I don’t think this party is my scene.” Confessed Jasper.
“Mine either.” I agreed.
“So why did you come?” Jasper asked as we both walked over to the adjacent platform.
“Sad story. I came here to get noticed my Jonas, but that isn’t working too well for me. I began.
“It never does. But, you look very nice.” He complimented.
I swear he looked even better as the night strolled through time.
“Come on we are about to play spin the bottle.” Interrupted Harper grabbing my arm as I began to toss my sack. “Hey, PJ.”
“Uhm, wait. Jasper do you want to come?” I asked as Harper began to drag me away.
“Sure.” He accepted and we all walked over to join the small crowd of teens in the kitchen of the guest house.
“You guys should already know the rules. If it lands on you. You must spend two minutes in the pantry.” Instructed Brittany T.
I’m glad she explained the rules because I never played the games before let alone knew we had to stand in a pantry for two minutes. I just thought if the bottle pointed to you, you kiss the person at the other end of the bottle. You know thinking about it now, it’s a pretty unsanitary games. But, what the hell. YOLO. I glanced over at Jasper then over at Jonas then over at Tommy, Stuart then….uhmmm….Melvin. Why would anyone invite Melvin? I heard he eats sardines and ice cream together…on purpose. His breath can be pleasant.
Dear Lord, please don’t let me suffer such a disgusting fate. Amen. I prayed silently.
Then there was Kendall, Jerri, Harper, and….Joselyn…the vampire. I mean she thinks she’s a vampire. She doesn’t eat people or anything…I heard she prefers squirrel’s blood. Which is even grosser. Even I’d prefer to eat humans. Other than those two…. It was pretty good crowd of folks. I brought my gaze back towards Jasper. He smiled. I smiled. My heart snickered. Brittany placed her hand on the bottle then spun it. My heart beat began to beat so loudly that I knew everyone could hear it.
The bottle began to turn. Then stopped. Kendall and Tommy.
“To the pantry.” Commanded Brittany as everyone else laughed and owwwed everyone. Next was Harper and Stuart, Brittany and Jasper, Kendall and Harper, Melvin and Joselyn, thank goodness. Jerri and Stuart. Then suddenly, the bottles neck pointed in my direction and the tail end to Jonas.
“To the pantry babe.” Shouted Brittany.
I was stuck like a deer in the headlights. Why now…this is my moment. But, I couldn’t move. Not until, Jonas walked over, took my hand and led me into the closet. I felt like a princess in a fairytale. But, suddenly after the door shut behind us and a small amount of light stretched underneath the pantry door. Just enough light for us see each other faces in the dimmed room.
“So you want to make out or what, Julie?” asked Jonas breaking the silence between us.
“Uhm…well….no. And it’s Jodi. My name is Jodi or Jojo.” I replied frustrated. “I can’t believe I liked you.” I confessed. “Wow. You’re such a dork. Get out of the way.” I said frustrated then slightly pushed pass him to get out of the closet. Before turning the knob, I turned to him once more.
“It’s sad, you know. I really liked you and I didn’t care how many times you called me Julie before. You’re a douche and you really should get it together.” I finished then pulled my phone out from my clutch to call my brother as the door swung open to the small crowd, who turned to look at me, awkwardly.
“What?” Questioned my brother on the other end of the receiver.
“Come get me now, buttface!” I hollered back.
I was frustrated to my wits end.
“It was nice hanging, Brit T. Thanks for the invite.” Thanked Harper as she came to my side.
“Yeah, girl. Had fun.” Followed Kendall. “Tommy, call me.”
As we reached the threshold, Jasper called out to me. I turned to meet him.
“Uhm, do you have a date for the eighth grade social?” He asked nervously.
“Of course, you and you should coordinate she will be wearing midnight blue, so you should wear something black.” Answered Harper before I could.
“Okay, well. I guess I’ll see you at school on Monday.” Jasper concluded.
“Yeah. I’ll see you then.” I smiled feeling relieved.
Bradley was already waiting outside when we walked through the main house’s front door. We all climbed into the car quietly. I could feel my brother looking over at me. I stared down to the floor not having time for his corny jokes. Instead, he patted me on the back, then leaned in.
“Anyone you need your big bro to make piss their pants?” He whispered.
I stayed silent and shook my head.
“If there ever is, you just let me know.” And we left things as that.
The ride home was quick. Brittany only lives about two and a half blocks away. We all exited the car and met at the front door as my older brother unlocked it. I always forget my house key. Kat and my dad were already in bed. I could hear my grandpa’s tv on. I peeped in on the twins, they were already asleep.
“Joshua and Jacob, you guys really sleeping?” I asked quietly entering into their room. I knew those guys appreciate a good candy bag and I’m actually not a heartless big sister. I placed the candy bags on their nightstand and turned to leave.
“Thanks, Jojo. I love you.” Whispered Jacob.
“Me too.” Added Joshua.
“I love you too, kiddos.” I said before shutting their door.
Kendall and Harper were already dressed and ready for bed when I got to my room. I walked over to open up my top drawer to grab my night gown, there were pads and bras sitting in my top drawer with a note. I’m sorry we are not as close as I hoped we’d be, but I would love to do this stuff as mother and daughter someday. BTW… you looked beautiful tonight. I hope you had the time of your life. - Kat.
I made my way quickly down the hall to my dad’s bedroom, then knocked. Kat opened the door and I wrapped my arms around her and squeezed her tightly.
“Honey, are you okay?” Asked my dad as he shot up from the bed and turned on his reading lamp.
I nodded my head to confirm I was fine then looked up at Kat.
“Thank you.” I whispered.
She cupped my chin then hugged me again.
“You’re welcome.” She whispered back.
“What was that all about?” I heard my dad ask after walking away.
“Just some mother daughter stuff.” Kat replied then shut the door.
I returned to my room and my girls must have had the times of their lives because Kendall was snoring and Harper was blowing air from her puffy cheeks. I looked at my friends and smiled. There was one more thing I had to do. Although, I thought my grandpa was a bit crazy I still needed to check in on him. I opened the door and he sat there on his small couch holding his cane between his legs as he watched his show. I sat down next him and laid my head on his arm.
“How you doing, Grandpop?” I asked. And in unison I joined him in lip sync repeating his usual reply. “Swings and roundabouts.”