I want to take that brick and smash his face in, Tamsin thought as the neighborhood bully continued to exert his reign of torment on the younger kids. The summer had just begun. Tamsin was a new kid to the neighborhood. She was 15, pretty in an unconventional and exotic sort of way and deadly smart. Her cunning and wit got her into as many scrapes as they got her out of them and now her mind was working in over drive as she watched Kyle-an obnoxious 16 year old wrestler with an ego the size of Russia and a brain that rivaled a goldfish-oversee a game of touch football in the cul de sac where they both lived.
Kyle wasn’t tall, but he wasn’t short, either. He was stocky, solidly built with a thick neck and meaty arms and legs. He wore his signature basketball shorts and muscle tee and basketball sneakers with no socks. He was the captain of the high school JV wrestling team, a football player, and he was a cocky little shit. His voice was deep, loud and commanding, with a touch of cruelty that became more prominent when someone caught his attention and they appeared younger or weaker than him. Tamsin sat back on her porch steps and continued to watch him over the top of her book. How was it he had become so damn mean, she wondered. She shook her head and sighed to herself. Thank goodness she didn’t have younger siblings. They would have to put up with his obnoxious attitude anytime they went outside. That would be miserable.
“Hey!” Kyle’s deep voice was loud again. “Hey…what’s your name again?”
Tamsin looked up from her book. Kyle was standing at the bottom of her driveway facing her. She had only lived next to him and rode to school on the same bus as him and sat in a few of the same classes as him for the past two months. But she was also quiet, so maybe he hadn’t paid much attention to her. She looked at him a little more closely. He looked nervous. Awkward. Something about the way he kept shifting his weight from one foot to another.
“Tamsin.” She called back to him.
“That’s right. I’m Kyle. So…um. Hi.” He started to walk towards her. Tamsin noticed more about him as he walked the length of the driveway. His hair was dark, cropped short and close on the sides and back. He looked almost terrified under that mask of feigned confidence. His eyes were bright blue and shy. He would glance at her then away quickly, always before their eyes met. Tamsin glanced to her left…the brick was still there. If he started acting like an asshole, she would pick it up and drop it on his head, she told herself.
“Hi.” she replied. Kyle had reached the steps by then. She could see his face better now. His cheeks were flushed-from running around outside or from embarrassment, she did not know- and he was smiling wide. He had a nice smile, she decided.
“What are you reading?” Kyle asked her, propping a foot up on the bottom step.
Tamsin blushed slightly. Her book wasn’t what she normally read, but it was different and it was a nice break from all of the classics she normally buried herself in for hours. “It’s some romance smut book I found. I think it’s my mom’s? Anyways, it’s mindless reading. I’ve finished all my other books.”
“A sex book?” Kyle laughed,”My mom reads those, too. I’ve looked at them some.”
They both looked down. The silence was awkward. Tamsin shifted on her step. Kyle took a deep breath, climbed the stairs, and sat down next to her, exhaling forcefully.
“So…” he said. It was obvious he was trying to make small talk. Tamsin closed her book, not even bothering to mark her place. She turned towards him until their knees were almost touching.
“So.” she echoed. He looked up at her and at once their eyes met. Tamsin held her breath. His eyes were beautiful. Long, curly lashes. Bright blue eyes that were deep and sparkling. Okay, Tamsin thought to herself, he’s kind of adorable. Kyle smiled again and she found herself returning the smile easily.
“I was wondering” He began, his voice a little shaky,”if you liked ice cream. I mean…of course you like ice cream. I saw you eat it in the lunch room one time. I mean…I wasn’t watching you I was just…um…I mean…wanna go get some ice cream with me?” The last bit tumbled out of his mouth and he held his breath and looked away.
“Sure.” Tamsin said.”I could go for some ice cream. When?”
Kyle looked back at her, astonished. “Really? I mean…you do?”
“Yeah, it sounds like fun.” Tamsin smiled. “I’m new, ya know. I don’t know where to get ice cream that’s good. When do you wanna go?”
Kyle stood up quickly. “Let me go change. I’ll be out in 20 minutes.” He took off down her steps and to his house next door.
Tamsin watched him run in the house. As soon as the door slammed shut, she bolted into her house. She brushed her dark auburn hair, threw on a pale green sundress, slipped on her sandals, and smoothed on some lip gloss. Her skin was already bronzed from laying in the sun after school and on the weekends so make up wasn’t really necessary. She sprayed her favorite body spray and walked into the mist. The fresh, light scent of jasmine kissed her skin. As she was walking out her front door, she saw Kyle walking over, freshly showered and in a nice polo and cargo shorts.
“You look nice.” He said and offered his arm. Tamsin smiled.
“Thanks” she said, “So do you.” and took his arm. They walked together to the ice cream shop down the road as Tamsin thought to herself, glad I didn’t use that brick.