Loves Me Not (PART ONE)
I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was really little. Or at least, I wanted to write. My Dad writes books and I look up to him. I used to sit in silence and watch him write. He typed so swiftly and for some reason it amazed me. At dinner one night I concluded that I wanted to be a journalist. “Not one of the ones that talks about celebrity gossip,” I explained with my mouth full, “One of those journalists that reports on the big interesting stories.”
My Mum’s eyes grew wide. “Don’t you think that’s a little dangerous?” She’d asked. My Mum was a huge worrier. She had to know where I was going all the time, and every time I checked my mobile, it was packed with messages from her. How was your lunch? Did you get to school safe? Make sure you come home straight after school. My older brother Brian said that she did that to him too, and that’s why he moved out when he was just eighteen.
At 6:30am I woke up for my first day of Secondary school. I had two hours, and could go back to sleep but I was too excited. My first class of the day was English! What were the odds? I took a quick shower and searched my closet. I needed to be wearing something good for the first day of school. I picked out a light blue button up shirt and jeans. I ran the comb through my hair and checked the clock. Only 7:30am.
The sharp doorbell rang and I jumped. Who was here this early? It rang two more times before I flung the door open. Of course it was George. “What do you want?” I moaned at him. He pushed back his mop of ginger hair and smiled. “Okay so you know how it’s the first day of Secondary school today, well I was on the schools database and…”
“Hold on, you were on the school’s database?” I interrupted. I had known George since we were babies. He had always lived just across the hallway. And as good as I was at English, George was twice as good as most people at Maths and Technologies. He pushed his big glasses back and nodded. “So as I was saying I was on the school database and it turns out that there are excuses to get out of P.E in which they still give you credits.”
I rubbed my forehead. George talked so fast it made my head hurt sometimes. “What’s your point, George?” I sighed. “I need you to break my leg.” I laughed, “What?”
“Preferably before school begins,” George had no smile on his face. He really wanted me to break his leg so that he could pass P.E without actually exercising. I glanced behind me at the clock. 8:00 am. “I’ve got to get going.” I lied, and tiptoed around him, hauling my back pack onto my shoulders.
I arrived at school ten minutes early and took my seat in class. The name of my English teacher was Mr. Reed. I had studied my schedule vigorously. I wondered if Mr. Reed already knew his students names. Suddenly, he walked in. He was startled to see me. “Oh, hello I’m Mr. Reed." Mr. Reed had short black hair and big glasses that almost resembled George’s. He was only about thirty, and he looked like he was new to the school as he fumbled around his desk, searching for a whiteboard pen.
After a couple of minutes, the rest of the class filed in, chatting amongst themselves. Mr. Reed introduced himself then did the register. He started talking about the most famous writers of British history, and I was probably the only one actually interested. Everyone’s heads snapped to the door as a girl stumbled in. I looked her up and down. She was dressed in a t-shirt at least two sizes too big for her skinny jeans, and skate shoes. She had her hair in a messy ponytail, but what really struck me were her eyes.
They were a mixture of blue and green and I couldn’t help but stare at them. She plopped down in the seat behind me. I didn’t normally answer up that much in class. But English was the one thing in school I really was good at, so I wasn’t afraid to answer up. Besides, no one else seemed to know the answer. It was hard to concentrate with the girl behind me ‘accidentally’ kicking my chair every time I put my hand up.
Mr. Reed asked what age William Shakespeare died and my hand shot up. “Yes, it’s Laura right?” He asked, and the girl behind me said yes. I frowned. The skater girl was answering? “Can you repeat the question?” She asked and I rolled my eyes. She was just answering to be spiteful. She continuously said ‘um’, and I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) hold back my laughter. I didn’t suppress it. Two people could play the embarrassment game. Only she hadn’t been successful.
I heard her chair screech back, and I knew she was about to confront me. I stood up to face her. She gave me the death look, before basically threatening me. I flashed a corner smile, but she didn’t seem impressed. The girl had guts. Not that she should’ve been intimidated by me or anything, but she probably would have socked me one if the teacher wasn’t there.
She grumbled and slammed herself back into the chair, still keeping her eyes on me. I crossed my arms and smiled even bigger, wanting to introduce myself properly. For some reason, I just knew we had to be friends. As I tried to find her after school, I wondered how such a beautiful girl could be so rough.
The strangest thing was that through the whole of Secondary school I could say and think that Laura was beautiful and talented, but I didn’t feel attracted to her. Or, at least I didn’t think I did. Laura never bragged about her musical talents, but she wasn’t shy to show them off either. If she was in an especially happy mood, like if we went to Thorpe Park, she would sing her way to all the rides.
Laura loved amusement parks more than anything. I didn’t mind them, but I had a limit. If they had a loop in them she was going alone. My friends didn’t get mine and Laura’s relationship, but why would they? We fought all the time. They were about the stupidest things but we were both so stubborn that they became huge deals that could end with only one of us being right.
Our most memorable fight, (not counting graduation night) was in Year 10. At lunch time on a Friday, the cafeteria served chips. I nabbed one off her plate, and she said “What did you do that for?” I squinted at her, “What do you mean? It’s just a chip.” I scoffed. “You put your hand on my plate, and you haven’t even washed your hands since P.E!” Her voice got higher. A giant sigh spread through the cafeteria, as if everyone was simultaneously thinking, here they go again.
“How would you even know that,” I shouted back, undeterred by the frustrated people around me. “Besides, since when do you care about hygiene?” Her mouth gaped open, and she stood up. “What the- what is that supposed to mean?” She asked loudly, shoving her hands onto the table, and staring at me. I stood up too. “I think you know what I mean, Ms. Only-showers-once-a-week.” I said it quietly and harshly. “That’s not true!” She screamed, and pushed me back, sending me over the bench attached to the table.
“Ouch, what the hell Laura,” I shouted as she stomped her way over to me. I sat up slowly, rubbing my bruised arm. She kneeled down next to me. “That’s what you get for lying, Oliver.” She answered, a little too close to my face. Then she stood up and left.
I wanted to kill her back then, but I can’t help but laugh about it now. We had gotten in a fight because of a French fry! After school that day, George ran up behind me. “That was quite a show today.” He snorted, and I just glanced at him and kept walking. He tried to keep up beside me. “No but seriously, what is up with you two? It’s not healthy to fight so much.” I stopped, “What’s your point, George?”
“Look, all I’m saying is that if you plan on killing her let me know first. I have ways of getting you out of the country.” I rubbed my temples. “I’m not ACTUALLY going to kill her George, because that’s not how normal people settle things.” I told him, “You really scare me sometimes, mate.” George just nodded, and looked like he was considering something for a moment. “Well, I was joking anyways. I was just testing you, to see if you were a psychopath or something.” George fumbled with his lie.
“Of course you were, George.” I smiled and patted his shoulder before I kept walking. Unfortunately, Laura’s punishment didn’t end there. The bruise on my arm started showing at dinner. It was purple and blue, and it spread from my shoulder to just above my elbow. It didn’t help that I was totally stiff in that arm too. If I had noticed it sooner, I wouldn’t have worn a t-shirt to the dinner table.
“Oh my goodness, Olly what is that on your arm?” My Mother screeched. Puzzled, I looked down and my eyes widened. “It’s – I …” I had no explanation prepared. My Dad peered over his glasses. “You didn’t get in a fight, did you Olly?” He asked as he inspected it. I put my hand over the bruise. “No, in P.E we were playing football and I tripped over a guy’s leg.” I was granted the amazing gift of fluent lying. I didn’t want to tell them it was Laura, because my Mum would automatically ban our friendship, and my Dad would think I was weak for getting ‘beaten by a girl’.
In Year 11, things took a turn for the crazy. It was my last year, and I was excited to leave and to start college, which was the final step to being a journalist. One day I was at my locker with George, trying to explain to him that it wasn’t okay to help people cheat on exams for money when the strangest thing happened. Sally Brown was making her way towards us. And she was all alone. Normally I herd of her fans were behind her.
Sally was known as the prettiest girl in school. All the guys wanted her, and none of them got her. I heard that she only dated guys outside of our school. Everyone outside of the popular group hated Sally, although I couldn’t understand why. Sally was pretty, and she seemed nice to me. Not that she ever really talked to me, but whenever I saw her she was always smiling or laughing.
When Sally stopped in front of George and me, George made a run for it. And Laura calls me a wimp. I thought. “Hi Olly,” Sally batted her eyelashes at me. My throat went dry. “Hel-Hi Sally.” I tried to respond coolly. “Well, I was thinking that me and you- we should go out sometime.” Sally said. I looked around. What was going on? “You mean like a date?” My voice was getting a little high pitched so I coughed. Sally was actually blushing! I looked around again. “Yeah,” She looked up and smiled brightly.
At lunch, I couldn’t wait to tell Laura. Actually, I couldn’t wait to tell everyone. As I speed walked to the cafeteria, Sally came up behind me and slipped her hand into mine. It was like I was dreaming. I admit I did pinch myself in Science just in case. Laura’s reaction to Sally was strange. She squinted at Sally and then even as I was trying to talk to her, Laura’s eyes were locked on Sally. I was about to ask what her problem was, when Jess, Laura’s friend, pulled her away from the table.
Sally was nice, but after a few months she got annoying. Everything I said was funny, and it seemed like she wasn’t actually listening. Besides, I hated hanging around her popular friends. Laura’s presence was becoming increasingly scarce, and I decided to break the ice. She was obviously avoiding me. One night, I snuck out of my room and out the door to talk to Laura. Her house wasn’t too far away, so I just jogged there. As I jogged, however, I heard the familiar sound of Laura’s skateboard on the pavement.
There she was, riding to the pub. I checked my watch; it was 8:00pm. What was she doing at the pub so late? I entered the pub and looked around for her. She was on the stage, getting her guitar out. I thought I might as well stay until she had finished. Tom grinned when he spotted me and got me a Sprite. I leaned up against a wall and waited. After a couple of hours, the pub started to thin out, with only a few people chatting. Laura was also almost done, I could tell.
She came to the last line of her song, and suddenly messed up. I looked towards the stage and saw her staring back at me. She quickly gathered her things and walked off stage. I joined her there. She was so vague about everything. I could tell she just wanted to get away from me, and when Tom called her name, that was her perfect excuse. When she left, I just went home. I had no idea how to talk to her.
Only a few weeks later, Laura finally confronted me. It was only three days to graduation, not that Laura cared about that. In English she told me that Sally was pranking me. That she never really liked me. Different feeling rose up with her confession. I of course believed her; I knew that Laura wouldn’t lie to me about something like that. Part of me was relieved. At least I had grounds now to break up with Sally, apart from ‘she’s annoying’.
And besides, I was alright with NOT being humiliated. I did want to know why Laura hadn’t told me earlier. She said she had just found out, but I got the feeling she had known a while. I was still a little hurt that Sally had planned on this, though I can’t say I was totally surprised. Laura then asked me to wait until the Graduation party to break it off with Sally, which was even more suspicious. I wanted to ask why, but she looked so strange, almost teary-eyed.
She looked at me like it was the very last time, like she was taking in my details to keep in her memories. After school I walked home slowly, pondering what to do. I decided I would leave her alone for the weekend, and go to see her after Graduation. I wasn’t planning on staying very late anyway; it would be awkward after I broke up with Sally. The whole weekend long, Sally texted me, wanting to know what I was wearing so that she could match me. I ignored all of them.
On Sunday, my Mum burst into my room excitedly. She made me move off of my bed and she lay down a suit. It was a grey suit, with a waistcoat and a black bowtie. I opened my mouth to object wearing something so fancy, but my Mum fist forced me to try it on. I swear the suit felt like it was custom made, and I was a little freaked out by how my Mum new my exact measurements. The suit jacket was a little loose, and that made my Mum really upset (of course).
She said that I couldn’t wear that jacket, but she couldn’t get it tailored in time for the Graduation. I sat next to her on my bed, where she was starting to tear up. I rubbed her back. “Mum, its fine. The suit is great even without the jacket.” She rubbed her eyes, smearing mascara over her cheeks. “You’re right, my handsome boy.” She smiled, and pinched my cheeks, which I hate.
On Monday evening I got dressed and checked my phone, 37 messages from Sally. I rolled my eyes and groaned. I really wasn’t looking forward to her reaction. Sally found me as I entered the auditorium. She immediately broke away from her friends and ran up to me in her short, pink sparkly dress. “I’m so glad you’re here! Did your phone break or something?” I suddenly felt no need to be polite to Sally.
“Sally, I’m breaking up with you.” Words I thought I would never say. “What?” She looked puzzled, and slightly amused as if I were joking. “I know this was all a joke, Laura told me.” I was feeling really proud of myself, like I was taking a stand. Sally mumbled something under her breath and said, “Oh yeah, well did you know Laura loves you? Yeah, she’s obsessed with you and that’s like the only reason she told on me. She wants you all to herself.” Sally had her arms crossed and a smug look on her face.
I didn’t know what to say back to that. Suddenly, a noise came from the microphone on stage, and I looked over. It was Laura. She made eye contact with me for a moment. Her eyes looked sad, and I knew then that what Sally said was true. I spent the next 30 minutes sitting on a bench, waiting for an opportunity to talk to Laura. The longer I sat there, the more confused I got about my feelings. I went from sad to happy, and I was trying mad out when I noticed Laura had stopped singing.
She walked off stage and disappeared into the crowd, but I had the feeling she wasn’t planning on sticking around to dance. I crashed through the doors and looked around. Laura was making her way to the exit. “Laura,” I said as loudly as possible, and she stopped still. Overwhelming anger grew inside of me. In my eyes, our friendship was over, and it was her fault. I wasn’t the one who was putting some crush in front of our friendship! How could we go back from this?
I’m aware of how terrible I was to blow my top like that. I just couldn’t help it. As Laura screamed back at me, I realised it wasn’t some crush she had put in front of our friendship. I also realised I had hurt her badly. Her mood went from being hurt to just pure hatred, and the venom was directed at me. I looked at her properly for the first time. She looked amazing.
Being distracted wasn’t helpful either. She started to leave, and in one last effort to stop her, I grabbed her arm. She turned around and punched me! My nose started bleeding as I fell back onto the floor. All I could do was watch her run out the door. My nose was dripping all over my suit, but I couldn’t care less. I wiped my bloody hands on my pants and ran out the door after her, but she was gone.
When I got home, I was greeted with my Mother asking what happened, and if a gang had beaten me up. “A gang Mum, why would a gang punch me once and then leave?” I shouted at her, and slammed the door to my bedroom. The next day I knocked at Laura’ door and there was no answer. So I tried again and again for a week straight. Finally, Laura’s Mum answered the door in her pyjamas. “Hi Mrs. Garcia, is Laura home?” I asked as politely as possible.
“No.” She answered quickly. “Well, do you know where I might find her?”
“She went to Spain.”
“For how long,” I asked, taken back by the fact that Laura had never told me of any plans to go to Spain. “I don’t know.” Mrs. Garcia snapped and shut the door in my face. I wondered if Laura’s Mum really didn’t know, or if she was in on Laura’s pact to never see me again. I was guessing the latter.
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