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You Don't Care
You don’t care that Jackie’s not talking to you because you weren’t talking to her first. You don’t want to talk to her again. She’s an egotistical, manipulative jerk. You can’t stand the sight of her. She dresses horribly. You walk out of the door looking like that, you think with pity.
A month-long silence passes between the two of you. In the few classes you have together, you avoid talking, you avoid group work. When you look around the room, you catch her looking at you. You know she stares. You wonder if she’s got a monster-sized lesbian crush on you and that’s why she’s not talking to you.
She claims to have a new best friend: Allie. You know better. She’s jealous because you got sick of her and got new friends. Her jealousy makes you laugh.
Sofie and Daphne are your soul sisters. Your mother tells you that you said the same about Jackie, but that wasn’t real, you say. Jackie used you for a good time until you got sick of it. She ditched you for Kellan; a friend of her uncle’s who is way too old for her and not interested. He’s ugly and awkward in carriage. You feel even more pity before you decide: FORGET her. She’s not your concern. You are your concern.
One night, you go with Sofie and Daphne to Shark, the teen club. You push through the crowd and stand together: dancing to the music, letting go, feeling free. You wave your arms in the air, shake your behind. You’re sweating to death--it’s so hot in there.
Throughout the night, you dance with three guys. The first is a bad dancer, and he’s pretty ugly. The second is a better dancer, and okay looking. Daphne likes the second guy and dances with him. It doesn’t make you upset, though. You’re having a great time. The third guy, who approaches you from behind, is a great dancer. Daphne’s entertaining the second and Sofie’s staring at the stranger behind you. You move towards her ear and ask if he’s cute.
He’s gorgeous, she says/mouths. You twist around to get a look at him. Sofie didn’t lie to you. He’s amazingly gorgeous and he’s dancing with you! You’re tall and you usually don’t meet guys that are taller than you; he’s a full foot taller. Dear Jesus, you want to scream.
He smiles and you check to make sure you haven’t melted away. You dance through the next three songs, alternating between facing him and dancing with your back against him. He puts his hands on your waist and you hold them there. Sofie is dancing alone and you pull her between you and your dance partner. He dances with her for a little while, but stares at you the whole time.
How you could have captivated this guy, you wonder. You decide not to question it too much. After dancing half a song with Sofie, he pulls you back in. There are only five minutes before the club closes. You’ve got to get your jacket at coat check. It’s freezing outside.
“You’re a great dancer,” he says when you are all outside.
You laugh. You don’t think you’re all that great. You tell him “I had a good time.” A blast of frigid air hits your bare arms and collarbone. You shiver. The hottie, whose name you still do not know, helps you put on your coat in a very gentlemanly manner.
“I didn’t catch your name,” you say to him.
He laughs. “I’m Brando.” He asks you what yours is, but you’re too busy deciding if he does in fact resemble Marlon Brando to hear him. Your friends tell him your name is Roma. He tells you that the name is almost as beautiful as you are. You blush.
He pulls his phone out of his pocket and asks for your number. You think why not? before type it in. He puts his phone away. He steps toward you and hugs you. He puts his hands on your butt. You go with it.
You squeeze him tight and Sofie and Daphne ask you if you’re coming. “Yes,” you say. Brando pulls away and you two smile as you say goodbye. He promises he’ll call. You can’t wait.
You all spend the night at Sofie’s house. You can’t stop smiling and giggling. You don’t think you will ever get tired after tonight. Sure, your body aches, but your mind is racing. You’ve got two best friends who love you and make time for you. A hot guy danced with you, complemented your dance skills, said you are beautiful, and promised to call. You couldn’t be happier. This was just thing to help you forget about Jackie.
Sofie, Daphne, and you are sitting in your pajamas on Sofie’s bed, drinking smoothies that Sofie’s dad made for you. You and Daphne share one. You’ve got brain freeze. Your eyes are sore, and you close them for a second.
When you wake up, daylight seeps into the room. You are the first awake. You tiptoe to the bathroom because you’ve got to pee. You look at your phone and there’s a missed call. You hope it is Brando, but expect it is from your mother because--sugar!--you forgot to call her and tell her you were safe.
You scroll through your calls and find a surprise. Jackie called you around 1 A.M., which is unusual for her. She never would have called that late at night unless something happened. Too bad though. She didn’t have the right to call you that late at night or that early in the morning, whatever. She’s a jerk. You call her anyway.
She picks up on the second ring. She’s breathing rapidly. Her voice is hoarse. You’re not sure if she’s been yelling all night, but it sounds like she’s pretty messed up about something. You feel a fleeting sense of caring. Then you remember how long she’s gone without talking to you. Why does she need you now?
Jackie answers hysterically, “Roma! Oh, thank God you called! I’m going to die!”
You’ve got no patience for her dramatic bull. “Why did you call me?”
“I needed to talk to you! I tried-” Jackie is having trouble catching her breath. “I tried to talk about it to Allie and she wasn’t any help. She didn’t look at it the way you do!”
“What are you talking about?” you ask with some degree of annoyance.
“Kellan has a fiancé! I didn’t even know he had a girlfriend and now he’s engaged to be married! He’s says,” she hiccups. “He says,” hiccup, “they’re getting,” hiccup, “married,” hiccup, “in April.”
You calculate: that’s only two months away. She asks you what to do. You think for a moment before you respond. “My advice is that you talk to someone else. You can’t just call me out of the blue and expect me to be there for you. You’re the one who left me behind all these months for Kellan,” you sing the last part. You’re angry. How dare she?
“I’m sorry, Jackie. It’s your problem and your problems are no longer my problems.” You hang up on her. You feel bad but really, really good at the same time.
You tiptoe back to Sofie’s room. Sofie and Daphne are awake. They ask you what happened. They overheard some of the conversation. You relay the situation to them and they say they would have done the same thing. The slight guilt you felt slips away as you bite into the blueberry pancakes Sofie’s dad whipped up.
* * * * *
Brando calls you that night to arrange a date.
You live happily ever after.