Ours to LoveA Wicked Lovers novel featuring billionaire brothers
The Future of Us
I can’t break up with Graham today, even though I told my friends I’d do it the next time I saw him. So instead, I’m hiding in my bedroom, setting up my new computer while he plays Ultimate Frisbee in the park across the street. My dad shipped me the computer as yet another guilt gift. Last summer, before my dad and stepmom moved from Central Pennsylvania to Florida, he handed me the keys to his old Honda. They just had their first baby, so I got this desktop computer with Windows 95 and a color monitor. I’m scrolling through various screensavers when someone rings the doorbell. I let my mom answer it because I still haven’t decided between a shifting brick wall maze and a web of plumber’s pipes. Hopefully it’s not Graham at the door. “Emma!” my mom shouts. “Josh is here.” Now that’s a surprise. Josh Templeton lives next door. When we were little we constantly ran back and forth between our houses. We camped in our backyards, built forts, and on Saturday mornings he carried over his cereal bowl to watch cartoons on my couch. Even after we got to high school, we hung out all the time. But then, last November, everything changed. We still eat lunch with our small group of friends, but he hasn’t been in my house once in the past six months. I select the brick wall screensaver and head downstairs. Josh is standing on the porch, tapping at the doorframe with the scuffed toe of his sneaker. He’s a year younger than me, which makes him a sophomore. He’s got the same floppy reddish-blond hair and shy smile as always, but he’s grown five inches this year. I watch my mom’s car backing out of the driveway. She waves and honks before turning into the street. “Your mom said you haven’t been out of your room all day,” Josh says. “I’m setting up the computer,” I say, avoiding the whole Graham issue. “It’s pretty nice.” “If Cynthia gets pregnant again,” he says, “you should talk your dad into buying you a cell phone.” “Yeah, right.” Before last November Josh and I wouldn’t be standing awkwardly in the doorway. My mom would’ve let him in, and he would’ve jogged straight up to my room. “My mom wanted me to bring this over,” he says, holding up a CD-ROM. “America Online gives you a hundred free hours if you sign up. It came in the mail last week.” Our friend Kellan recently got AOL. She squeals every time someone sends her an Instant Message. She’ll spend hours hunched over her keyboard typing out a conversation with someone who may not even go to Lake Forest High. “Don’t you guys want it?” I ask. Josh shakes his head. “My parents won’t let us get the internet. They say it’s a waste of time, and my mom thinks the chatrooms are full of perverts.” I laugh. “So she wants me to have it?” Josh shrugs. “I told your mom about it, and she said it’s okay for you to sign up as long as she and Martin can have email addresses, too.”
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