Whatever It Takes

October 15, 2009
Jessica had been his world. From the second her lips brushed against his, Josh couldn't think of anything else. When they were together, they would see movies, go skating, dance (Jess loved to dance), or just relax inside the tube thing at the playground. In fact, that was where they first met. Jessica was babysitting her niece while Josh was walking his dog. While her little niece chased after Josh's dog, they sat down at a bench and talked. And then they talked that night on the phone. And then they talked the next day when they bumped into each other at the mall. But for some reason, the only place they liked to chill at was the little tube bridge at that playground.

When school started, Josh was disappointed that his fledgeling girlfriend wasn't in any of his classes. Nor did they have the same lunch. The first semester of school seemed like forever because he couldn't spend even a second of it with his sweet Jessica.

There was someone that helped ease some of the pain, though.

“Hi, my name is Stacy.”

Josh had been working on an art project in his first period math class. So he hadn't heard Mr. Wells announce they were working in pairs on a special project about trigonometric functions. Nor had he heard that he was paired with a girl named Stacy. Of course, Josh had known who she was. She was a junior, one year ahead of him. She was quite short for her age, but very beautiful. Josh thought Indian girls were very beautiful, and Stacy was no exception. Not by a long shot.

“Hi”, said Josh when he finally looked up.

God, she is hot, Josh thought as he looked at her. Piercing green eyes, a perfect little nose, full lips, and gorgeous black hair flowing down her shoulders and back. Today she was wearing a green sweater (must be her favorite color, Josh thought), a jean mini-skirt, and black high-heels.

Not only was she pretty, Stacy was very intelligent.

“How are you a junior if you're only 16?” Josh asked.

“I went to schools in India and Canada. Somehow I ended up as a junior a year early,” she said with a smile. They had finished well before anyone else, so they just sat back and talked. Stacy had crossed her legs and one of them was partially resting against Josh's leg. Josh didn't notice.

About a week later, Jess and Josh were sitting in front of Dairy Queen, enjoying dipped cones.

“You have some ice cream on your lip.” Jess said. “Let me get it.”

Jessica didn't get it with her hand.

Josh just sat there stunned after their sweet kiss.

“What's wrong, sweetie?”

Breaking out of his momentary trance, Josh smiled and said, “Nothing, Jess. I just think you missed a spot.”

Jess smiled and leaned in again.

Later, after Josh dropped Jess off, he went to the park to think. He didn't want to tell Jess what really had stunned him. During their make-out session, Josh had slipped for a second. He had a little doubt, but he was positive that for a moment in Jessica's arms, he had thought of Stacy.

During math class, Stacy would always come and sit next to him.

“No one else in the class is as interesting as you”, she explained.

And every day after school, he would meet up with his girl and they would take off to wherever.

One day, Stacy asked if Josh could help her out with a dance project. Stacy was ranked one of the best dancers in the school, so Josh thought it would be fun to see her move and maybe not look like a fool at the same time.

After school, he called Jess to tell her he was busy today.

“Oh, great! I also have to be somewhere. See ya tomorrow, sweetie.”

As Josh walked into the old dancing room, Stacy was already changed, stretching. As soon as she saw him, she said, “Catch me” and threw herself at him. Josh knew enough about dancing from Jess to successfully catch Stacy, spin around, and let her down softly. What Josh didn't expect, though, was the sound of clapping behind him.

“Good job, sweetie, but you have to remember to keep your back straight,” Jess said.

Josh didn't expect what came next, either. He heard a little scream from behind him and then saw Stacy run up and hug Jess. As it turns out, Jess and Stacy had been best friends for about two years now. Which was quite strange, because Jess and Stacy were about as different as day from night. Stacy was athletic, funny, talkative, and held a street swagger. Jess was quiet, extremely smart, and enjoyed contemporary or even Latin styles.

Stacy had asked her friend Jess to help out her dance project and decided she needed a guy in the routine. Since she thought most guys in the class were jerks, she asked Josh. All Josh would remember from that day is falling on his face, back, and rear as he tried to keep up with Jess and Stacy, constant laughing (mostly directed at him), and his last thought before he fell into a merciful slumber that night.

“C***, I'm falling for my girlfriend's best friend”, he exclaimed into the darkness.

In a few weeks' time, Josh found himself on stage with two beautiful girls dancing a strange routine based on a “contemporary hip-hop” (he didn't know what else to call it). After the routine, Stacy came up and jumped into his arms shouting, “I passed! She loved it! Thank you so much, Josh. I couldn't have done it without you and Jess.”

After Stacy and Jess stopped jumping up and down (it counted for Jess' grade, too), Jess said she was going to get changed and they could go out for drinks.

Josh was putting away the props behind stage, when he heard Stacy behind him say, “You did really well. You should take up dancing.”

And as Josh turned around to say thank you, he was cut short as Stacy's lips fell on his. They stood there, embraced, until Josh heard a crash behind Stacy. He opened his eyes and felt like he was in a soap opera. Jess was standing there, half covered in shadows. Her backpack was lying on the ground, papers flying everywhere. Her eyes were full of tears.

“You...” She could barely make a sound. “How could you.....”

She ran out of the auditorium, leaving her bag on the floor. As Josh tried to stop her, he heard a small crinkle of paper under his foot. He looked down and saw a small envelope labeled “Jess”. It was a poem he had written to her after their first date. He didn't know that Jessica had carried it everywhere with her. He picked it up and looked back at Stacy. He couldn't tell exactly, but he sensed she was stuck somewhere between confusion and regret.

“I'm....... sorry”, she whispered.

Josh walked out quietly. From Stacy's point of view, he looked like a shadow as he slithered up the aisle and out of the building.

Later that day, Josh went and did the only thing that helps him to relax. He went to the gym and started a pick-up game with some guys. Josh had never played more horribly in his life. His passes were off target, he kept losing control of the ball, and couldn't sink a single shot. After the game, Josh sat on the bench in the corner, away from everyone else.

“What's wrong, kid?” he heard a voice say.

Josh wiped a tear away from his eye and looked back at X. Everyone knew X. He was a basketball genius in Tucson and made friends with everyone who came by the gym. X had played ball with Josh plenty of times and it was obvious to X that something was wrong with the guy.

“Nothing”, Josh mumbled.

“Yeah, like I'll believe that. Its about a girl, ain't it?”

Josh's dumbfounded look confirmed his suspicions.

“Look, man. Don't worry about it. Way I see it, you got three options. One, you can find someone else. Two, if you really love her, go to her and do whatever it takes. I've broken up with my girl three times and we're still together. Or three, you can mope around and let your game suck. I'll give you some advice: Don't pick the last one.”

Josh watched him walk off. A girl came up to X and they walked out of the gym hand in hand. And like that, Josh was alone again. But worse, he still had no idea what to do.

A few weeks passed. To Josh, it was hell not talking to Jess. He had also managed to avoid Stacy, which left him very quiet and bitter. The only person he really talked to was his best friend, Tony. They were sitting at a bench, talking.

“I don't know what to do, man”, Josh exclaimed.

“Its been almost two months, dude. You either need to get over her or kiss and make up”, Tony answered.

“That's the thing. I want her so much, but she can't even look at me.”

“Then make her see you. Do whatever it takes”, Tony said.

“Do whatever it takes”, Josh half-mumbled to himself. X had said the same thing. A couple walked by talking about their plans tonight. The empty feeling in Josh afterwards was enough to help him decide what he was going to do.

Over the course of two weeks, he did everything from incessant phone calls to sending flowers and more. He even took a quick class on guitar so that he could serenade her from her yard. After being soaked by the automatic sprinkler system (he hoped it was automatic, though he couldn't blame her if it wasn't), he went over to the park where they first met and crawled inside the tube. And for the first time since their break-up almost three months ago, he cried.

“Why was I so stupid?” he yelled into the night. He laid there whimpering, cold and alone.

He laid there for a while, repeatedly questioning his stupidity and dreaming of the days that he thought would last forever. He couldn't stop thinking of her soft skin, her warm smile, hazel eyes...

He didn't even notice Jess leaning over him until she cleared her throat to get his attention.

“Jess, I'm....”, Josh tried to say.

“Its okay”, Jess interrupted. And then she smiled.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

dramaqueen224 said...
Nov. 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm
O my goodness!!!! this is sooo great!!!! I wish my boy would share something like this with me!!
halo<3XOXO This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm
That was really amazing! I really liked it because it was from a guys side of the story! That something a little more rare! Great job!
Ren-P. said...
Nov. 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm
That is so cute, and such good writing! Great job!
alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 21, 2009 at 11:38 am
aww, that's so sweet! great writing! it's nice to see that guys can write sentimentally, too. (assuming, of course, that you are a guy)
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