Adao had big plans for his future. Very big plans. But only part of those plans included what he was working on in the basement. His invention was the second love of his life. He had been working on it for three years, and it was still far from completion. However, it was only a matter of time, he knew, before it would be ready, and the world would discover that Adao Rocha-Morinho was not just a geek, but a real genius.
His other big plans had to do with the first love of his life – Ivy Malik. “I’m going to ask her out,” he told Grayson. “I’ve decided that it’s time to stop being a baby and just call her.”
“Well yeah,” said Adao. “But this time is different.” He really meant it, too. The moment he got home, he dialed Ivy’s number, as he had a half dozen times before. It rang twice before he chickened out and hung up, as he had also done a half dozen times before. He groaned. It was hopeless. He was never going to find enough courage to ask Ivy out on a date.
But the next day, he had an incredible stroke of luck that changed everything. While he was working at his grandma’s thrift store, Ivy’s parents walked in. Adao recognized them right away from photos on Ivy’s Facebook wall. This was his chance! He cleared his throat. “Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Malik,” he said. “I’m Adao. A—uh—friend of Ivy’s from school.”
Mrs. Malik smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Adao.”
Adao took a breath. “Well—I uh, heard that you sometimes give horseback riding lessons at your farm?” Another fact he’d learned from Ivy’s Facebook. “I was thinking about maybe giving it a try.” Not true. He hated horses. They scared the hell out of him. But he would do anything to get a chance to hang out near Ivy.
The Maliks gave him their address and told him to stop by anytime to meet the horses. It was all Adao could do not to leap in the air and shout for joy. The moment his shift had ended, he hopped on his bike and rode four miles to the Malik farm. It was still and quiet when he arrived. He walked around to the side of the house where one of the family’s horses stood, chewing on hay. Adao shuddered. There was nothing in the world that could convince him to climb on that animal’s back. It would probably go crazy and buck him off. Or bite him.
“Oh – uh, your mom and dad said I could come,” he said, pointing feebly toward the horse.
Ivy let out an exasperated sigh. “Well, they didn’t tell me,” she said. “Well, do you want to build a snowman while we wait for them to come home?” Not bothering to wait for an answer, she started walking toward her house. Adao floated along behind her, barely believing his luck.
“Yeah, well.” Adao’s face grew hot. “It’s kind of a new thing, I guess.” He focused on building while Ivy fired off one question after another. What’s your favorite music? How many people are in your family? How long have you lived in Hiver Park? Do you speak any other languages? He answered every question as honestly as he could, though some of her questions were kind of strange. After an hour, Ivy’s parents still hadn’t returned, she knew practically his whole life story, and the world’s coolest snowman stood in her front yard.
“Well, I’d better go,” said Adao reluctantly. “But this was really fun.”
Ivy shrugged and gave a half-smile. “Yeah, I guess so.”
Adao paused, then took the plunge. “Hey—um…would you like to go out this weekend? I know this great place where they do country line dance lessons.” He had never done country line dancing, and would probably trip on his own feet. But he knew from Ivy’s Pandora station that she really liked country western music.
Ivy pressed her lips together and didn’t answer for a long time. Then she sighed and said, “Okay. Sure. Let’s go country line dancing.”
“Really?” Adao’s mouth dropped open. “I mean, great! Terrific! Then…I’ll see you next Friday night. I mean…I’ll see you at school, too, but then—” He could not stop grinning. He grinned as he watched Ivy walk inside her house. He grinned as he headed across the yard to his bike. And he kept grinning as he rode all the way home. He was going to go out with Ivy Malik.