Under the Sun

Chapter 1

Ben threw his backpack on his bedroom floor, loosened his tie, unbuttoned a few buttons of his shirt and fell back onto his bed. He silently thanked his mom for having turned the air conditioning on.  Even though it was still technically spring, it was insanely hot outside and it didn't help that he still had to wear his complete uniform to school, the buttoned down dress shirt, slacks, and a tie. If he was in public school, he would have been wearing shorts and a t-shirt but his school administration would not allow it no matter how hot it was outside. Ben was lying on his bed cooling off when his mother knocked on his door.

"Ben! Are you there?"

"Yes, mom."

Ben's mom slowly opened the door and looked inside to see Ben lying on his bed.

"Ben, I am going to the local garden center to get some flowers and things to plant in the backyard, do you think you could come with me and help me out?"

"Oh mom," whined Ben, "do I have to? It's so hot outside and plus what do I know about gardening?"

"Well, I need to get a lot of things so I would really appreciate it if you came along and helped me carry some of the things."

"Mom, it's so hot outside. This can wait a day. Why are you torturing me and yourself?"

"Well, they have a sale," sighed his mom.

Ben groaned. "A sale?"

"Yes, and you can not make fun of me for it. Now come on, we can grab some ice cream afterwards."

Ben closed his eyes in thought then jumped up from bed.

"Okay, fine, but you will still owe me."

"Deal, now let's go."

"Wait, let me change at least!"

"You look fine, let's go"


Before Ben had the chance to say anything, his mom grabbed his hand and dragged him from his room. "I said let's go!"

Ben just shook his head. His mom was mostly easygoing and fun but she was also sometimes really stubborn.

"Why do you get to be dressed in your summer clothes, but I have to go along in my uniform?" asked Ben as his mom drove towards the local garden center.

"You look handsome!"

"And why do I need to look handsome to go to a garden center?"

"Can't I show off my son? Plus, when I drove by there this morning I saw some cute girls working there. And since you need a girlfriend..."

"MOM! Stop right there. I do not need a girlfriend!"

"Honey, you are sixteen and you still haven't dated a single girl!"

"Mom! No! I am not having this conversation with you!"

"Oh sweetie, I am just having a little fun with you!"

"So this is all really just a plot to get me noticed by some girls"

"No, I was just joking sweetie; I really do need some help."

At that time, they reached the garden center that had been put up on one of the corners of a street intersection. Ben's mom parked the car and the two of them got out.

"Okay, I am just going to look around and see what to get," Ben's mom said as she headed towards to the rows of flowers that were outside.

Ben looked around. There was a whole assortment of flowers everywhere along with huge sign visible to all cars passing by that was proclaiming the big flower sale. Ben realized that his mom had no doubt seen the sign and deemed it necessary to take advantage of it. That was his mom. Ben followed his mom around as she pointed to several flowers that she thought would look nice in their yard. Ben just nodded his head or gave some sign of approval whenever his mom asked his opinion.

After sometime of walking around, the two were greeted by one of the workers who was wearing a t-shirt with the name of the garden center and a pair of faded jeans. He seemed to be about seventeen years old and had short dark brown hair.

"Can I help you?" he asked with a smile.

"Yes, Kyle," Ben's mom said after reading his name from the badge he was wearing. "I was wondering which of these flowers would be best for shade?"

"Well ma'am, any of these would ideal," Kyle said pointing to some of the flowers to the right of him.

"Hmmm... these look nice," said Ben's mom as she gave them a closer look.

Ben meanwhile was still looking Kyle. Kyle noticed Ben looking at him and their eyes locked for a second before Kyle smiled causing to Ben look away. Ben then started walking over to where his mom had gone.

"So are you going to get these?" he asked trying to seem like he was interested in the flowers.

"Yeah, I think that these would be best. I think I will get four flats and see how they look and then maybe get some more. Why don't you go put these in the trunk of the car while I go and pay?"

"Um okay," said Ben.

After Ben's mom had walked off, he grabbed one flat and proceeded to carry to the car and put in the trunk. As he went back to grab the second flat, he was accosted by Kyle.

"Want some help with that?" Kyle asked.

"Um sure," replied Ben as he picked up the next flat.

Kyle then proceeded to pick up the remaining two flats and followed Ben to the car.

"Um, you can just put them in here," said Ben pointing to the trunk where he had already put the other two flats.

Kyle put them down and then closed the trunk.

"Thanks," said Ben.

"You're welcome," said Kyle. "My name is Kyle, by the way,"

"I know." replied Ben.

"Yeah, I guess you do," said Kyle with a laugh. "What's your name?"


"Well, it's nice to meet you, Ben," said Kyle extending his hand.

"Nice to meet you too," replied Ben as he shook Kyle's hand

"So do you go to Staten Prep?"

"Yeah, that is why I'm wearing these slacks and dress shirt in this weather."

"That must suck. I go to Kennedy high, not as preppy but still good."

"Yeah, sometimes I really wish I went to public school but my dad really wouldn't hear of it"

"Wow, that's tough"

"Yeah I really hated it at first but now I'm okay with it. I made some cool friends and now it's not so bad."

"Well that's good. So what grade are you in?"

"I'm a junior, you?"

"Senior," said Kyle.                                                                                                                       

"Wow, nice so you will be graduating this year. You must be really excited about that."

"Yeah, I'm so ready to graduate and go to college."

"So where are you going to college?"

"I'm going to the good 'ol state university"


"So where are you thinking of going? I'm sure your preppy school has you starting your applications already."

Ben laughed, "Yeah, I am applying early to Princeton."

"Wow, that's ambitious"

"And also what my dad wants"

"Oh, dude I really hope you don't go to Princeton just because your dad wants you to"

"Well, I'm going to apply to some other places too so hopefully that will work out."

"Well, best of luck with that"


At that moment, Ben's mom came back.

"Okay Ben, ready to go?"

"Yeah mom"

"Well it was nice meeting you Kyle"

"Yeah same here, hopefully I'll see you around"

"Yeah, bye," said Ben as he got in the car.

"So they really gave me a good deal on the flowers," said Ben's mom as she pulled out of her parking spot.

"Really?" replied Ben.

"Yeah..." Ben's mom continued however, Ben didn't really hear anymore of it. He was still looking at Kyle who had picked up a hose and was starting to water some of the flowers.

Finally, when the car had left the parking lot and Ben could no longer see him, Ben let out a sigh, sunk down in the seat of the car, and thought to himself. "All the amazing things under the sun..."

To be continued...

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