Even to Rosemaria and her best friend—blond, blue-eyed Priscilla Lovett—who had also grown up in the oppressive heat of Simi Valley, this spring day was unbearable. They sat outside Garden Grove Elementary School, having found a bit of welcome shade under a tree on the lawn near the parking lot. They were dressed in thin T-shirts and shorts, but perspiration shone on their faces, nevertheless. Both were drinking from plastic water bottles. They spotted a boy who was a year older than them a few yards away. He smiled at them and kept walking toward the street.
“There he is, Cory Lauderdale, Mr. Unreachable,” Priscilla sighed.
“Big deal,” Rosemaria responded.
“Boys like you. Why don’t you care?”
“I have other things to think about. My parents expect me to get into college, so I can’t think about boys.”
“I know all that, but don’t you just feel like you’d like to touch him. Stare at his beautiful face for an hour? He already has muscles, unlike most of the pathetic boys around here.”
“He’s okay.” Rosemaria looked up and down the parking lot. “My mom was supposed to be here by now. I hope she didn’t forget that we got off early today.”
“Maybe she got an audition or something?”
“She usually gets a day’s notice on those, and she didn’t say anything.”
“Has she worked recently?”
“Not since the play closed.”
“My mother has a friend who’s an actress. I don’t think she’s even in the union yet.”
“My mom’s in two unions, but you have to know somebody to get jobs. That’s what she says.”
“Yeah, my mom too. I’d never go into acting unless I knew somebody important who could hire me.”
“It’s not a job for my mom—it’s her calling. She hates having to do other jobs to earn money,” Rosemaria said.
“You want my mom to take you home when she comes? She said she’d be here by two thirty.”
“Do you think Cory has a girlfriend? He’s always with somebody different.”
“I don’t give it much thought, Pris.”
“Do you still want to be a cop like your dad?”
“Maybe. Or a lawyer. Something where I go to work every day and get paid but it’s still interesting.”
“Yeah, it has to be interesting—and fun!”
“I think I see your mom’s car.”
“Yup, that’s it. I’ll ask her to give you a ride.”
Rosemaria nodded. “Okay.”
A new, shiny black Camry pulled up to the curb and Mrs. Lovett, blond and pretty like her daughter, leaned down and waved at the girls. Priscilla jumped up, ran to the car, opened the passenger door, and said something to her mother. She looked back at Rosemaria, smiling and waving her over. Rosemaria gave one last look around, realized her mom was not coming, walked to the car, and got in.
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