I really need a new name for the story…mystery high sounds so, well, mysterious. It’s really not meant to be–I just couldn’t find a high school that fit my description…anywho. Until there’s a new name, Mystery High it remains….
The idea that I had turned into a fully fledged stalker didn’t escape my notice. To try and catch a glimpse of him again, I lingered in the halls well past second bell so that I was late to every class. And in every class, I took a bathroom break and wandered, slyly looking into every class window I walked by. The guy was nowhere to be seen. I let out a frustrated Argh during my final period’s washroom break. This was absolutely unnecessary. I really shouldn’t have been hunting the guy down like a tiger an antelope. He’d turned out to be one tricky antelope. Arie. Stop. In my last turn of the hall, I bent down to take a drink from the water fountain and heard footsteps approaching.
My heart and imagination leapt into overdrive as I imagined it was he, coming down the hall, because he was looking for me too! And when I stood up I would feel him behind me. In slow motion, I would turn and see that we’re so close that a kiss was the only possible move. His breath would smell of spicy cinnamon gum and his chocolate eyes would gleam in the dimming hall sunlight.
“Hey,” he’d say.
In my most suave moment, I’d smile at him in a heartbreaking way and he’d know it was okay to kiss me. He’d lean in with a dimpled half smile and…
A throat was cleared behind me. I double blinked and realized that I’d been leaning over the water fountain this entire time. My cheeks flared red and I straightened, turning slightly to see my teacher, arms folded behind me. If I didn’t say anything, maybe he wouldn’t know it was me? Or maybe it wouldn’t matter that I’d been loitering for the last, what?..I looked down at my watch, holy crap! I’d been out of class for 20 minutes.
“Miss Huston. I think you’ve had enough water this period, don’t you?” my movements were slow and showed my humiliation. When I faced him, I kept my eyes to the ground and tried to let my wavy hair drape over my face.
“Get back to class.”
But I had a problem following this simple obedience: in my stalk-age, I didn’t even use the bathroom. And as I just drank a gallon of water, and my bladder was the size of a peach pit, I’d actually have to use the restroom soon. Very very soon-or there would be mortification to pay with. It would be just another item to cross off of my “humiliations in high school” list: peed myself in eighth period.
Back in class, I groaned as I resumed my seat and spent the next 7 minutes and 38 seconds shaking my leg to distract my bladder from its function in life. When the leg wasn’t enough, I took to tapping my pencil like an idiot. I was distracting everyone around me but I didn’t dare ask to be excused again. By the time the final bell rang there were tears in my eyes from the sting of a crying bladder. I bolted out of class as fast as my legs would let me and I rammed right into someone. What the hell.
I excused myself without really registering who it was and I was ready to football it through the hordes of teens spilling out into the hallway when the person’s hand grabbed my arm.
“Luke? What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be getting ready for football practice?” I was dancing in place and his blue eyes watched me with some amusement. For a moment, I was lost in those eyes and as he answered me, the volume of his voice faded to mute. The tiny voice of my bladder rose to cover his and was urgently bellowing in my brain. Damn. Couldn’t catch a break today.
“Luke listen, I gotta go pee.” And I ran.
It was the longest pee of my life. The sensation went from pain to satisfaction and kept going. Soon, other girls filled the restroom, their high pitched or snarly voices intermingling with one another. After a few seconds and some exiting, I could discern who it was who was left talking. They were two girls from Tiffany’s cheerleading squad, Ashley and Madison.
“So yeah! I totally heard that Jenny saw Luke, like, all over Arie.”
“Oh my god. No way.”
“I don’t know. Does it matter?” My eyes were wide with the news that Luke was “all over me” and I leaned forward to look through the crack of the door. I watched as Ashley applied lip gloss and Madison fiddled with her bangs.
“What about Tiff?”
“What about Tiff?” In between smacks of her lips, Ashley continued saying, “Tiffany obviously knows something’s up otherwise she wouldn’t have said something to Kayla in aesthetics.” Tiff had aesthetics after lunch. I leaned back in disbelief as I was bombarded with more information and speculation. I listened to them debate on how long Luke was cheating on Tiffany with me and if I’d always had a thing for him, and if he was doing it to pity me. That one hurt. What hurt more was when they said that Tiff was only my friend because she’d known me so long, and it was about time she ‘cut the cord’. I listened as a few tears made their way onto my cheeks and I firmly brushed them away. When they’d left I zipped up my jeans and cautiously stepped out of the blue painted stall.
My eyes didn’t betray me with red rims. I was surprised at that, but I still splashed some cold water on my face to wake me up from self pity. I’d lived with the “no self pity” mantra for so long that I forgot I’d need it when it came to things other than hospital visits and bad news. Self pity could strike even on the best of days, helping add them to your worst. And that’s not where they belonged.
“It’s been a good day,” I told myself, wishing that I actually really believed it.
I was outside, having a staring match with my car. Her name was Daisy. We were in a showdown, Daisy and I. She, a white, ‘95 Accord, and I, a 16 year old brunette. It was a constant battle between the two of us, but I couldn’t help but love her. She was just as damaged as me, and if I couldn’t love something so damaged, how could I expect someone to love me? My dad had sat me down a few times to try and get me to get rid of the car, and he even offered to get me a new one. It was a moot point though-why get one when I wouldn’t need it for long and they’d be stuck paying it off? I couldn’t do that to them. But today, with the heat being 90 and my AC non-existent, I seriously considered the offer.
From across the lot, I begged her silently to start and take me home with no complications. But when I stepped out onto the scorching pavement, I knew there was no way in this infernal heat that she would do me a solid and start. It was too damn hot. I jingled my keys in my pocket and continued towards my car. As I grabbed the handle and swung the door open, a blast of heat escaped, laughing at my misfortune. Dropping my book bag on the cement, I gingerly seated myself in the driver’s seat. Inserting my key, the lights all flashed on and as I turned on the ignition there was a simple whine that told me she wasn’t going anywhere.
I hung my head, letting it touch the steering wheel when I felt the little hairs on my forehead burn away. It was scalding hot, and I jerked my head back, letting the headrest catch me.
I didn’t see him approach so when I heard his familiar voice sound, I jumped a mile into the tiny space of my car.
“Sorry I, ugh, didn’t mean to scare you,” Luke said, a worried frown on his forehead. I scoffed back, “yeah right.”
“You need a ride?”
“Not from you-don’t you have anything better to do? How about football?”
He got intense there, for a second, like there were serious thoughts running through his head.
“Shut up Arie and get in my car.” He was exasperated, from what I had no idea, but I hadn’t heard that tone in a long while so I gave up my fight and said,