"Guys, I have to do a social norm project," he said.
Kaite and I's eyes light up immediately.
"Your group IS a social norm project," my mom muttered, and we all busted up.
"It has to be epic," he continued. "What're we going to do?"
"Well, it has to be on Thursday because I work every other day," I said.
"You WHORE," Tanner exclaimed. "That's the ONE day I can't."
"Sucks to be you," I said sticking my tongue out.
"We should do an epic break up scene in a store or something," Katie exclaimed.
"OH, that would be fun," I said. "Since Tanner can't be there, we'll have you and Ryan walk into the store holding hands all lovey-dovey and then I'll come around the corner and ask him what he's doing with another girl and then we'll have and epic screaming in each others faces session."
"YES!" Ryan agreed enthusiastically.
So on that rather crazy Thursday, The Family - minus Tanner - piled into Denton - the Car - and headed to the Meadow's in American Fork. We selected the Target as our first stage. As soon as Denton's - the Car - doors opened it was like we didn't knew each other exist - well for me, Katie and Ryan were playing up the whole couple thing so they were all over each other. I walked in separate from them pretending I was there to do some lonely grocery shopping.
I had to methodically follow them around - so that I could come into their conversation at the exactly right moment, but pretend I have no idea they were there. I heard Katie's voice from the other side of the shelf I was 'browsing:'
"So, I was looking at your phone and there were these messages on it from some girl. I think her name was Paige or something. . . she was saying she loved you and all of this stuff. What's going on with that?"
"It's nothing, Katie," replied Ryan, much too quickly - perfectly in character.
"Well, who is she?" retorted Katie. "If it really is nothing you should be able to tell me about her."
"Leave it alone, Katelyn," he said. "I'm serious."
Katie began to retort and I took that as my cue to make my entrance. I meandered around the corner as casually as possible and then gasped in surprise as I saw Ryan there.
"Ryan! Oh my gosh, what're you doing here, hon?!" I said, nice and loud. "I thought you said you had homework!"
Katie stalked forward, her smug smile across her face. Oh, this is going to be fun, I thought as she stuck her hand out for a 'friendly greeting.'
"And who are you?" she asked, in a voice like poisoned honey.
"I'm Paige," I said, letting my expression harden. "Who the heck are you?"
"Paige?!" she asked, rounding on Ryan. "The Paige from the texts?"
"Um. . ." mumbled Ryan.
"Oh well I'm Katie, Ryan's girlfriend," she practically screamed at me. Her expression just daring me to challenge her.
Mentally, I rubbed my hands together - the world was about to experience a legitimate fight between Katie and I - something that even Tanner and Ryan (until this point) had never seen.
"Last time I checked, Katie, he was mine," I said, in a very slow, ice cold tone. "Back off, blondie."
"I'm sorry," she retorted, stepping forward to get up in my grill, "but I've been dating him for six months now, I think hes mine."
"Um, since we've been dating for the past YEAR and A HALF, I'm pretty sure he is mine."
We both looked at him expectantly. Ryan's eyes shifted between us uneasily and I had to force myself to hold in a laugh. They finally settled on me.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"She's one of those girls in my fan club," he told me, alluding to the Family's inside joke.
"Oh!" I said, catching on. "One of the crazies, right?"
"Oh, and who is SHE?" Katie screamed. "One of those desperate girls that can't get a date? I remember you telling me about feeling bad for them."
I looked at him to see where he wanted this one to go. He avoided my gaze and I took that as a prod in the right direction.
"You felt bad for me?" I screamed at him. "And all this time I thought it was me helping you!"
His eyes widened in shock and I saw Katie hold back a laugh. I let my eyes scan the perimeter, trying to see the reactions we were getting, as he decided how to counter. I saw this rather large guy standing directly across from us in the isle with his cart staring at us open mouthed. While Katie continued screaming at Ryan, I glared at the poor man - his mouth snapped shut and he pushed his cart right around the corner and out of sight. I rolled my eyes as I saw his head peak back around the corner to keep watching.
"You have to choose," Katie was screaming at Ryan.
"Yeah," I joined in. "Me or her?"
"Uh. . ." said Ryan, shuffling his feet awkwardly.
Katie waited for a second and then leaned forward, brushing tears out of her eyes and SMACKed Ryan across the face before storming off. A little kid, who was white and couldn't have been more than six years old watched her leave nodding his head.
"DANG girl," he said, and I fought to control my face.
"Wait, Katie, no," Ryan mumbled.
He turned to look at me desperately.
"Good bye," I said coldly and stormed off after Katie.
"No. . . wait, Paige," he said, coming after us.
I ignored him completely and ran to catch up with Katie.
"So he's been two timing us then," I said to her.
"I guess so," she said. "What a loser."
"Yeah, well, we're better off with out him," I said, holding my hand out. "We kind of missed the proper introductions. I'm Paige."
She took my hand and the plotter's smile came out. "I'm Katie - I think we're going to be the best of friends."
We both laughed and walked out of the store - Ryan following us dejectedly. We kept up the act until we had closed Denton's - the Car - doors behind us.
"Why'd you have to smack me?!" Ryan instantly demanded.
"It just fit with the way things were going," Katie said with a shrug.
"You weren't saying much," I said in her defense.
"It was my first time," he defended. "I didn't know what to expect - you guys were tearing into each other."
Katie and I shared a special smile.
"I'll do better next time," he promised.
"Where too next?" I asked.
"Well, I've got to go into Ross, so let's find somewhere near there," Ryan instructed.
I pulled into the Ross parking lot, and we saw a decently occupied Best Buy right next door.
"Is Best Buy okay?" I asked.
Katie and Ryan nodded and we assumed our previous characters. We got into the store and I tried to discreetly stalk Katie and Ryan. Katie used the same starting line and I waited for the best time to intervene.
"Ryan! Oh my gosh! I thought you had homework tonight!" I exclaimed again.
Katie and I went through the same introduction but then this time Katie stormed off and to my character's utter disappointment Ryan followed. He chased Katie across the store, and I chased him. Little did I know, this other group of teenagers was following us around - apparently enthralled by our little drama. This particular break-up ended with Katie really whapping Ryan across the face and storming out as the greeter looked like he wanted to try to comfort Ryan. I just ignored him completely and walked out. Once we all made it out of the store, Katie was the first to speak.
"I really didn't mean to hit you that hard, Ryan, I swear!"
"That one really hurt!" he exclaimed, massaging his face.
We walked into the Ross and began to look for shirts for Ryan. After we'd been in the store for a when Katie busted up.
"Those teenagers that were following us in Best Buy are here," she said. "They came in and gave us some really confused looks."
Ryan and I both looked over our shoulders, and had to hide our laughter when we saw how true her words were. Ryan returned his focus to the rack of clothes in front of us. He pulled out a hanger and showed it to Katie and I.
"You know, I've always wanted one of these hobo jackets," he said.
"Try it on," I said.
"I think it'll look good on you," Katie said.
He forced it on and turned to look in the mirror. "I like it."
"It looks good on you," I agreed.
"Okay, well, I'm gonna get it," he said, pulling at the jacket to get it off. "Um . . . guys, it won't come off."
"Would you like me to help you take it off," Katie said, obviously not thinking about what she was saying.
I busted up, and laughed even harder when I saw the guy's faces from the next isle over. Katie just looked at me with an expression that said 'don't you dare say a word.' Ryan got out of the hobo jacket and ended up purchasing it along with another jacket.
"To Wal*Mart then?" I asked.
My friends nodded and mischievous smiles lit their faces. We dropped by Denton - the Car - so that Ryan wouldn't have to carry his purchases around Wal*Mart while having to deal with Katie and I at the same time. Once we departed from Denton's presence, it was, yet again, like we'd never met each other. I walked in by myself - intent on doing some serious grocery shopping, I guess - and Katie and Ryan were hand in hand strolling along - intent on spending some quality time together, I'm sure.
They weaved in and out of the isles so fast that I lost them. Deciding that it wouldn't be suspicious if I texted them, I pulled out my phone.
Um. . . where are you guys?
I sent the text and began wandering aimlessly. I don't even remember where they said they were, but I headed in that direction. I looked through the section - seemingly browsing for whatever was in that section - checking every isle for them. Finally, I turned the corner to see both of them, on the floor, laughing so hard that tears were creeping up on the corners of Katie's eyes. Playing my part, I shot them an extremely confused and degrading look - as, I'm sure, many other Wal*Mart shoppers were doing - and kept walking to the next isle. I strained my ears so I would know when they'd gathered themselves and continued on with their lives. As soon as they moved, I followed, an isle behind, waiting for my cue.
"So, Ryan. I was looking through your phone and I saw these messages from this girl . . I think her name was Paige. They said some really interesting things. What was that all about?"
Just as Ryan was saying, "It's nothing Katie," I came around the corner.
"Ryan?! Whoa, I thought you had homework tonight, what's going on?" I said all smiley and bouncy - until, that is, my eyes fell on his and Katie's intertwined hands.
Ryan noticed my change in attitude and quickly shook his hand out of Katie's. Katie looked seriously offended, stomped up and shoved her face into mine.
"Who are you?"
"Who am I?!" I spat in her face. "Who are you, holding hands with my guy?!"
"Your's?" she shouted back, throwing her head back as a cackle ripped from her lips. "He's mine. We've been dating for six months."
"Six months?" I asked, Ryan more than her. "What the heck is she talking about?"
"Nothing, Paige, nothing," Ryan said.
"Yes, something!" Katie cried.
"Well, I don't know how you could have been dating him for the past six months," I snapped. "We've been dating for just about a year and a half now."
"WHAT?!" Katie cried, rounding on Ryan.
I looked at Ryan expectantly. Ryan's eyes shifted in between us a couple of times before they rested on me.
"I can explain this, Paige," he said.
Katie looked like she was going to interject, but I cut her off.
"Oh, please do," I said rather coldly.
"Katie is just one of those girls," he said, his facial expression telling me that bad we had 'had this conversation before.'
"OH!" I said, faking comprehension. "One of the cheerleaders?"
Ryan nodded as Katie exploded.
"Oh, and she's that stupid girl you feel bad for?" Katie asked.
"Stupid?" I spat at her. "That's funny when all of you cheerleaders have an IQ of 50 - if you're lucky."
"Excuse me," she said. "I've maintained a four point oh for my entire junior high and high school career."
"You and I both know that that's only because you slept with the gym teacher," Ryan interjected, scathingly.
Katie and I both blinked in surprise - not daring to show any more of a reaction than that.
"How dare you!" Katie cried after a beat. "I did not!"
"I see what you mean," I said. "Definitely a cheerleader."
"Come on, Paige," he said, holding his hand out to me.
I took it, and he led me toward the front of the store - apologizing profusely for Katie's 'misbehavior.' Giving Katie every ounce of credit she deserved, she played her part extremely well. She ran after us, prying our hands apart and shoving hers in, saying, 'No, this isn't over,' again and again. Finally, Ryan threw her hand away.
"Katelyn, we're done," he said firmly - earning a super strange glance from a cashier.
He took my hand once again and we left the store together discussing the deranged girl that was following us out. We all fell into Denton - the Car - once again and Katie instantly rounded on Ryan.
"I slept with the gym teacher!?" she screamed. "I can't believe you actually said that!"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Ryan said, laughing. "It just kinda popped out."
"Oh, you are so going to pay for that," Katie muttered darkly.
"Home now?" I asked, revving Denton - the Car's - engine.
"Yeah," said Ryan from the back seat since Katie was still grumbling to herself in the passenger's seat.
I chuckled as I pulled out of the parking lot.
"That was great you guys," I said, hitting the CD player so that our theme song - Old School by Headly - came on.
Moments Like These