All Grown Up - Jordan Silver Page 0,1

got to see her, got to keep tabs on how she was doing. But now that I’m here, so far away, I literally feel like a very vital part of myself is missing.

So these phone calls and the times we spend staring at each other through a screen are now the highlights of my life. And since Mandy’s been put away, my baby had lost that look of doom from her face and sounded more like the girl she was when I first noticed her.

“I sent you something in the mail. Did you get it?”

“I haven’t checked yet; I called you as soon as I got out of the car.” I heard her running back downstairs from her room, then the woot of excitement when she saw the package.

“What is it?” I could hear her shaking it as she made her way back up the stairs to her room. That’s something else we do; whenever we’re talking to each other, we both like to hide out in our respective rooms behind closed doors so that there would be no interruptions.

I get a lot of shit from the others about this in particular, but I pay them no mind. “Don’t shake it, baby, just open it.”

I heard her tearing into the box, then ripping open the wrapping paper that covered the other box inside, and then the squeal.

I had to move the phone away from my ear with a grin. I knew she was jumping up and down with excitement because I could hear it in her voice, and my cheeks hurt because I was smiling so hard. “You like it?”

“I love it!” I heard her turn the key to the specially made musical figurine I’d bought her.

It’s a one of a kind six-inch crystal replica of beauty and the beast dancing to their theme song. “I can’t believe you remembered that I like that stupid movie.”

“Don’t cry, of course, I remember. How could I forget something so important?”

“Where should I put it?” I could hear her moving around her room, looking for the perfect spot. “Did you have a good day, Alex? How are Jace and the others? When are you coming home?” I love the way she rambles when she talks to me all over the place.

“We still have a few more months to go, and then I’ll be there with you.” Yes, but there was a very special occasion coming up soon that I don’t plan to miss, only I want it to be a surprise, so I’m not going to tell her. “As to your question, everyone’s fine; they all can’t wait for you to join us here next year.”

She got quiet for a second. “Are you still sure? You haven’t met anyone?” She asks me this same question at least once a month, and I totally understand her angst because I feel the same way. I still have this fear that someone else is going to see what I see when I look at her and steal her away from me because I’m not there to protect her from asshole vultures.

“I told you that’s never going to happen, so stop worrying about it.”

“I know you told me, but that’s when you were here before you went off to college, where you’re bound to meet other people.”

“Babe, where do we live?”

“That place is like the mecca for all things beautiful, right? So if I didn’t fall for someone else while I was there, what makes you think that that’s gonna change in Pennsylvania?”

I looked over at the nightstand where I kept one of the many images of her that I’d printed and had framed. There’s a different shot of her upstairs on my desk and one on my phone that I look at every day.

“Okay, I believe you.” She didn’t sound so sure, and it sucks that I can’t do anything about it while I’m so far away. “I guess you’re just going to have to wait and see.” I got her off-topic because I don’t like that frightened little girl sound in her voice, not when I’m not there to comfort her.

I know she’s been dealing with some shit at home, things she hasn’t felt comfortable sharing with me yet, but in the last few months, she seems to have been doing much better there. Still, I don’t want to add to her worry or dismay.

It’s tough being this far away from her, not having her here with me, especially since I’m surrounded by lovebirds who