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“I just want to know my position so I can play it to the best of my ability,” she gushes to her friend Ellery before first period. “Are me and Rico just friends? Are we more than friends? WTF are we?
“As soon as I see his stupid-a** smile that makes me smile, the notion that I could ever distance myself goes out the window.
At times I want to yell at Rico, “Oh, my God! Haven’t I made it obvious? I’m so damn into you!”
“So why don’t you?” asks Ellery. “I’m going to class, but Rico is right over there.”
Except that the halls are the worst for Jeriann, and the hardest place to conceal her “not love.”
As he walks towards her, Jeriann’s last resort is to look him in the eye, muffle her smile and say, “I effin’ hate you, Rico.”
“Yeah, yeah. I love you too.”
“Yuck,” she thinks. Then she makes the most put-off face and walks into their mid-morning hug, retaining her nonchalant demeanor.
As the hug ends, his usually playful personality turns solemn. “J, we have to talk. I kinda sorta read your journal.”
“The part about you wanting to be with me.”
“You read that. Oh, Okay, I’m gonna go over there.”
“No, wait.” He grabs her wrist, stopping her.
“We need to talk about this. After tomorrow our lives will change. We’re gonna graduate, and we won’t see each other. In September you’re going to be away at school and I’m still going to be in the city and—”
“Like, seriously,” Jariann interrupts. “Just forget everything you read because you weren’t supposed to know that.”
“Why didn’t you say anything? How long have you felt this way?”
“Well, umm, first of all I never said anything—period. You read my journal, remember? And what would it have solved? I think I made the way I feel about you pretty damn obvious. You were hella preoccupied with your groupies to take time to notice.”
She stumbles away through a sea of students excited about the coming vacation.
Just as she thought she was free, she felt his hand again.
“J, I really wish you had said something to me.”
Before he could say more, “it” flocked towards him: a groupie, ready to steal his attention the way groupies usually do.
“They are always right on schedule.” Jariann turns to leave.
“WAIT! You think I’m interested in them? I don’t want anything she’s offering. There is nothing going on between me and her.”
“Well, if it’s not her, then it’s one of the others. So we can end this conversation right here, ’cause I really and truly don’t give an eff anymore.”
And with that she walks away and never looks back.
The very next morning as the senior class files into a packed auditorium in their green-and-gold gowns, Rico finds Jariann again. He looks her in the eye, and in a solemn voice he says, “Before we walk across that stage, please listen to me. My intensions were never to invade your privacy. You know I’m better than that. I just wanted to know what you were thinking. You can be so private. I thought it was the only way to know if you felt the same way as I did.
“I love you, J. I really and truly do. But now it’s too late. All I think about is what could have been. I’ve spent three years trying to figure this out, and now I regret knowing the answer.”