Phoenix was already in bed by the time the police came by the house that night, and with no evidence of a disturbance the officer had no choice but to turn back around and dismiss the complaint.
The next morning all Phoenix had to do was make sure to tidy up the house before his mom got home and she would be none the wiser.
Paulie was sure to to remind Phoenix that he told him so when they ran into each other at school on Monday, "And I should've known that you knew what you were doing with that chick," he added, "Really, you're a genius, 'Nix."
"What are you talking about?" Phoenix wondered what his friend was going on about.
"I'm just saying that if I had realized that nerd girls were so easy, I might've tried to snag one myself," Paulie explained, "I mean, it makes total sense now that I think about it. They must be desperate really, since no guys would ever want--"
Phoenix had heard enough.
"I don't like Sadie because I think she'll put out," Phoenix spat, disgusted, "I like her because she's actually a decent human being, unlike you."
"What the hell? How can you say that after all I've done for you? If it wasn't for me, little miss brown-noser would still be ignoring your dumb ass," Paulie defended himself.
Phoenix snorted derisively, "You've never done anything for me. Everything you do is selfish and for your own good. You didn't invite Sadie to the party because you wanted to help me, you just did it because you knew it would get me to go along with your stupid idea. You're always doing shit like that and I'm sick of it!"
"Yeah, you can say you're only after her for noble purposes, but I know you never acted like such a pathetic loser before some girl started opening up her legs for you," Paulie taunted.
Phoenix wanted nothing more than to punch him right in his stupid face, but he knew that was exactly what Paulie was hoping for. He was trying to provoke Phoenix, daring him for an excuse to turn this into a fight; Phoenix wouldn't give him the pleasure. Instead, he balled his fists, clenched his teeth, and walked away.
Paulie started snubbing him after that, but Phoenix didn't care. The school year ended a short while later and Paulie graduated out of high school. It was just Phoenix and Sadie now, and that was just fine with him.
The two officially started going steady and spent the whole summer together. The months flew by, though, and soon it was time to return to school and start thinking about more important things.
*ahem* More important things.
"Ugh, this is pointless," Phoenix lamented as they finally got started on their homework.
"What do you mean?" asked Sadie.
"I just can't seem to care about any of this stuff when I have no idea if it's even going to be relevent to my life," he threw up his hands, exasperated, "It just seems like a bunch of useless busy work, otherwise."
"Hmm, I guess that makes sense," Sadie replied.
"What about you, Sadie? Do you have any idea what you're going to do once we graduate? How do you even figure something like that out?" Now that they were in their senior year, Phoenix was feeling more pressure than ever to find something he could do.
"Well, I always heard that you should follow your passion. I've been reading about ancient Egypt lately and it's really fascinating with the Pharoahs and the pyramids and everything, so I was thinking about maybe doing something with history. If I don't end up working at the shop with my dad, that is," Sadie's father ran a little used book store in the city. Phoenix had only met him once or twice, as he seemed to spend even more time at his job than Rachel.
Follow my passion? Phoenix thought as they turned to their work. He wondered what his passion could be. He did spend a lot of time with the telescope in the back yard, but he had already considered science and decided that it was too clinical a vocation for him.
He also enjoyed being in the debate club, which would probably transfer well into politics. Phoenix was certain he wouldn't be able to stand the corruption that he knew he would encounter working for the government, though.
The only other thing he could think of was photography, which he had dabbled in ever since he received a camera as a present on his sixth birthday. He thought he was getting pretty decent at it, but he couldn't for the life of him figure out a way to turn this skill into something that would be helpful in the way he wanted to be. So, once again, he was stumped.
Meanwhile, Rachel had been busy working on her own passion. Her recent foray into painting had paid off, earning her a promotion to become a sketch artist for the forensics department.
At the same time, she was learning how to slow down a little, and turned her martial arts skills toward teaching herself how to meditate.
But above all, she wanted to make sure that her work and training wouldn't come between her and her son again. She made it a priority to be home for dinner with Phoenix as often as she could now, even if all she had time to make was canned soup. She realized now that her presence and guidance were the most important things she could give him; Phoenix might be quickly growing into a young man, but he still needed his mom.
When I wrote that Phoenix and Sadie spent "summer" together, I of course meant "Sunday". xD I just like throwing things like that in to make it seem like more time has passed.
Also, I really loved how that one picture of them watching the stars on the beach came out, except:
"Yay! Let's watch the stars!"
"Um, Sadie, the stars are behind us..."
"...you're just looking at a clump of weeds and an old crane."