“How are you?” he asked both of us, smiling at Elle’s pajamas. “I feel like we haven’t talked since Christmas! How come neither of you talk to me when I’m at school?”
“You never talk to us,” Elle said bluntly, which made me laugh and him shake his head furiously.
“No, it’s not like that,” he insisted. “I’m just really busy.” He sighed at our identical expressions of skepticism and shrugged, rubbing the sleepiness away from his face. “I have the worst hangover,” he muttered, which made Elle jab him with her elbow. “Hey it’s legal!” he told her. “We waited until midnight.”
“That’s right!” she ohhed. “So. Weird. You’re an adult!”She grabbed some of his stuff and they followed me to the car, chattering the whole way. Jake had to fill us in on everything that had happened since Christmas. His girlfriend of last semester dumped him, he told us with a shrug. But he had found a new girl, a lovely girl, who liked to play guitar…
My thoughts were not entirely there as I drove home. Jake and Elle were laughing and talking and I was focused on the road, making a comment or smiling every so often. Jake was half turned around in his seat so he could look at both Elle and me, and his hands flew everywhere as he told story after story. He had had quite the night- or early morning rather, and there were not words to describe how hyper on exhaustion he was now. I felt stupid, sitting there not saying anything, but Elle was filling in the necessary ‘Oh!’s and ‘What happened next?’ and I didn’t know what else to do. Finally the drive was over and I jumped out of the car.
“You okay, Vee?” Jake asked, hurrying after me and catching my elbow before I could go inside.
“Yeah,” I said, but he still stood there looking at me expectantly. “I’m fine,” I elaborated. “Just tired. I hope I’m not catching Elle’s cold.”
“Ugh, that would not be good,” he said, his face clearing. “I have to get my stuff so I’ll meet you inside k?”