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Ryan and Me
I was actually really happy for Brianna when she and Justin had gotten together. They were a cute couple, and their names sounded pretty good together. But there were downsides. One; I was extremely jealous. Brianna and I had known each other for three years, ever since she moved here from Colorado. We'd agreed that we would do everything together but, apparently dating wasn't included in that agreement. She never seemed to have time for me anymore! So yeah, I was pretty jealous.
Two (I guess this counts in the jealousy bit), Brianna talked nonstop about Justin. It was just Justin this, and Justin that. “Oh, Jaz, do you think that Justin will ask me to the dance?” Or, “Hey Jaz, if Justin says ‘I'll call you later,’ will he really? Should I be the one calling him? What if I don’t answer my phone? What if I do?’ It got annoying pretty quickly.
Three; I had a huge crush on Justin's friend, Ryan, and every time I was with Brianna, and she was with Justin, Ryan was there too. So this was both good and bad. Good because I saw Ryan often (like every time Brianna had to stop and talk to Justin), and bad because I am the shyest girl ever and I couldn't ever admit that I liked him. Besides that, Brianna had a little grudge against Ryan. She thinks that he was trying to persuade Justin to break up with her.
One day, a few weeks ago, I went over to Brianna's. We were talking about Justin, or rather, she talked, while I sat and pretended to listen. I was actually surfing the internet with her new computer; that she had gotten for her birthday. Call me a terrible friend, but I’d heard it all before. We all have a conversation that makes our brains fuzz out.
"Why are you so shy around Ryan?" Brianna asked me out of the blue. The mention of his name made me jump but I tried to cover it up by coughing. Not obvious whatsoever!
Think I told myself! I’m a shy person by nature, but even turning purple in the face, and hiding in the bathroom is a bit far for me. How to cover up?
"I don't really know, I guess I just don't know him that well." I lied smoothly. People say I'm good at lying. A weird talent, especially for a shy girl, but if I lie so well, why can't I make myself believe the lies I told Brianna? I couldn’t make myself believe that I was in over my head in water that I'd never even swum in before.
Brianna, seeming satisfied by my answer, was eager to go back to the subject that we had been talking about before.
“So you know how Justin…” After that I excused myself to get a glass of water.
One Friday afternoon, we went out for pizza. Brianna and I had no activities after school, but Justin and Ryan had a short soccer meeting. We would meet them at the pizza place around the corner from school. It’s got amazing pizza, fluffy, and always fresh. I hate cold or reheated pizza.
I felt really good today! It was a Friday, my lucky day. I don't know why, but good things always happen on Fridays. They seem to click. So, of course I was counting on another Friday to work its voodoo magic. So far, this Friday hadn’t let me down. When I woke up, my hair wasn't a poof like it usually is in the morning. My best jeans were just out of the wash, so of course, I’d pulled them on a soon as I’d woken up. My “frenemy” Sara (long story), fell flat on her face in volleyball (I felt really bad afterward when she had to go to the nurse and got sent home later). Sometimes my luck on Fridays scares me.
Well, after this perfect day of school Brianna and I walked to the pizza place. Actually, here’s a more appropriate description of how we got there: Briana was trying to run while I was dragged to the pizza place. We sat down at our usual booth by the window. Brianna checked her hair (I’d gotten her to slow down finally by telling her that her hair would get messed up). I stared out of the window, peering for Ryan, even though I knew he would be a few minutes behind us.
"A lemonade, and a diet coke," Brianna ordered as soon as the waiter got to us, not even bothering to ask me. We knew each other well enough.
We sat, sipping our cold drinks, and waiting for the boys to get there. My lemonade was really good. It was sour. Of course it was sour, it’s lemonade! I mean on that day it was really great. I like especially sour lemonade. OK, enough rambling about sour lemonade.
Finally, they got here. I might have been just a bit hyper and giggly, what with all the sugary lemonade I had just polished off. We ordered two pizzas, and of course Brianna and Justin had to share one, just to be all gooey and romantic, so I shared a pepperoni with Ryan. Did you know that pizza can be a really messy food? I mean first of all, you have to cut it then pull it apart with your fingers, while it falls apart on your plate. Then there’s the cheese which gets stretched and falls onto your chin, and there’s the pepperoni that refuses to stay on the cheese even though its maker told it to. I was super self-conscious as I ate my pizza. Ryan kept smiling at me, but we didn’t talk much. I did notice an annoying high pitched giggle coming from the perfect haired wonder named Brianna next to me.
Nothing happened at the pizza outing. Nothing bad thank goodness, but nothing wonderful either. At least I didn’t burp, or spill or get pizza on my shirt or anything like that. We all said our goodbye's and I thanked Ryan for adoringly taking the bill for my pizza. Because I was going to sleep over at Brianna’s, I ran home to pack my stuff, and say hi to my mom.
With my bag in hand, I walked the couple blocks to Brianna's. At her house, we quickly got absorbed by whatever it was we were going to do. Tonight it happened to be manicures. Girlie Time! My phone rang as I was about to try out a new fancy pink nail polish. I let it ring for a few seconds, to put away the polish, but also to let myself and Brianna sing the first bit of my ring tone, “Black Eyed Peas.” When I glanced down at my phone and saw the caller, I jumped at it, song forgotten.
"Uh, hi, Jasmine?"
"Yes, that's me, Ryan?"
"Yeah. Hey, that was fun today..."
"Uh huh." I pretended to inspect my nails, as Brianna was looking like she was going to burst if she didn't hear our conversation this minute!
"Well, I was wondering…” Long pause “Do you want to go out for pizza again sometime?”
"Oh." I sound like a dork! "Yeah, that would be fun! We can invite Brianna and Ryan, yeah?" CHICKEN! I silently yelled at myself. Although, this could be set up by Justin as a prank call I told myself. Who knows, boys hang out too.
"Oh, sure, um yeah, I'll call Justin." He hung up.
"Who was that?" Brianna asked, though of course she had heard me say hi to Ryan.
"Just Ryan, He invited us for pizza again next week. He was with Justin," I twisted the truth a bit, maybe.
"Justin should have just called me," Brianna pouted. "Ryan is such a weirdo."
"I think he's fine," I countered.
“Why, do you like him?" She accused me, as though how could I have the nerve to like a guy! I tried hard to think of a good answer, but luckily the phone rang in time for me to escape interrogation. It wasn’t my phone this time, so there wasn’t any singing as Brianna lifted the phone to her ear.
"Oh, hey," it was Justin. I could tell by the way her eyes immediately softened, and she glanced at me guiltily. I stepped out of the room to give them some privacy.
I walked down Brianna's steps looking at the various pictures of Brianna's family in the many countries they had traveled to. I've never even been out of the United States, and here was a picture of Brianna with a baby crocodile on her head, while she was in Sri Lanka. Sometimes I was so jealous of her awesome life! I got myself some water from the kitchen (more pictures), and walked back up the steps. I figured that was enough time for Brianna’s phone call.
I reached the top of the stairs to hear Brianna yell "FINE!" and something slammed into the door. I jumped. Cautiously, I walked into the room; I saw that her cell phone had been the unlucky victim of her fury. I was lucky I hadn't walked in sooner. I barely realized that, though when I took in Brianna's face (super angry), but beginning to decompose into a sob.
"He's gone," She said, and that's when tears began leaking down her face. She angrily wiped them away, embarrassed. I walked over to her and gave her the warmest hug I could muster. We sat down on her bed and she grabbed my hand and squeezed. We sat like that for a while, until she got control of her tears.
"I hate him," her voice was all creaky and bubbly, “Justin and his stupid friend Ryan.” I would have disagreed, but she sure didn’t need that right then. We used so many tissues and nail polish; eyes and nails, tears and simplicity. I went and got us some Ben and Jerry’s.
School was dim. Brianna stalked the halls walking face down. She made a Herculean effort to look happy, but if you said one wrong thing, her composition would collapse. I stuck by her side, and defended her if she looked close to tears. She got better as the week crawled by, but we hadn’t run into Justin yet. I was waiting, peering around every corner, sure that if he appeared Brianna would collapse on the spot. My plan went pretty well, as Justin kept out of our way too.
“I never want to speak to him again,” she said one day after school. I didn’t need to know who, but she told me anyway, “him or Ryan.”
I cautiously asked her the question I’d been dying to ask forever, “Why’d you two break-up anyway?”
“I said that Ryan invited us to pizza, and he was like, no he didn’t.” She let me process this for a minute. I felt something in my gut. Bad feeling.
“I said if you wanted to surprise me, you could have done it a bit more discreetly. Then he was like, I wasn’t going to ask you out this Friday. Then I was like, Ryan’s just a creep then, to make up all of that junk. Then he was like, what does Ryan have to do with this? I told him that he’d invited us. He got all defensive about Ryan saying he hadn’t done anything, and I yelled at him and told him that I couldn’t stand Ryan. So, he said if you can’t like my friend, then I can’t be with you.” Brianna was practically in tears by this time.
SHOOT! My tiny lie about Friday’s pizza outing had been the trigger to all of this sadness. “Brianna,” I probed, trying to fix things, “it might have just been a misunderstanding.”
“You’re taking his side?” She demanded.
“No! I just don’t think it was Justin’s fault,” At all I added to myself.
On Thursday, I ran into Ryan at school. This was only to be expected. Being Brianna’s loyal friend and all, I tried to keep out of the way best as I could, but when someone’s in the same school you can’t avoid them forever. Also, when someone I know says hi to me, I say hi back. No matter how big a grudge I’m holding. Although, I guess this wasn’t so much a grudge as trying to avoid talking to Ryan or Justin for a friend’s sake.
“Jasmine!” I heard him call and I cringed.
“Hi.” I replied, turning around to find him closer than I thought he was. I was shocked for a few seconds, but then I decided, it’s not my fault. I might as well enjoy him being close while I can.
“I know we probably shouldn’t be talking,” agree with that buddy, I thought. “Justin’s so mad at you and Brianna. But I wanted to tell you that, um, I still would like to have pizza tomorrow. Just don’t bring Brianna; otherwise she’ll blow a gasket!”
His words made me laugh. Brianna would do just that! I smiled at him, “Sure, I guess. See you tomorrow.” I waltzed away, and the rest of the day I was yelled at for not listening in class.
Later that day, Brianna called me.
“Hey, Jaz, what're you doing now?”
“Homework, I missed a bunch of stuff at school,” I chuckled to myself.
“Oh, OK. Do you want to come over tomorrow?”
Once again for the second time in the week, I lied to my best friend; I really needed to learn a lesson.
“I was going to clean my room tomorrow, maybe move my bed around,” I have random urges like that, and it wasn’t the first time I had gotten this one into my head. Brianna and I both knew that once I got started, I could clean my room for hours, and when I’m finished, it’ll look almost the same as when I started. I just do it for fun.
“OK. Have fun,” I could hear her chuckling on the other end.
“Thanks! I will.”
The next day, I’d completely made up my mind that I would meet Ryan. I was pretty excited, to tell the truth. Friday again. It had only been a week since the last time I was here, but this time I was walking in alone.
Ryan was sitting in a different booth than my favorite. He smiled and waved when he saw me. I went over to the booth, and awkwardly tried to figure out how I wanted to start conversation.
"I noticed that you ordered lemonade last week, I ordered you one." How sweet was that! There was lemonade sitting on the table across from him so I sat next to it. In this seat, I was looking right across at Ryan.
"Thanks, it's my favorite," I checked what he had; glass of water.
"I'm not really here for pizza," he said.
"Me neither," that's when I went to myself DUH! I mean, I guess it was kind of obvious, what with asking me to the pizza place, at the risk of losing both our best friends. Ryan liked me. He had probably liked me all along; I was just too thick to realize it.
"I'm going to say this now then," he started, "I like you. I don't really know you, but you're funny, you're cute, and I probably would have asked you out if Brianna and Justin hadn't broken up. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do now." If I didn’t like this guy I’d be really creeped out by now, but luckily this was the guy of my dreams talking, not some stalker.
"I guess I like you too," we sounded like dorky preteens. Now that I thought about it though, sometimes I forgot how close we were to that age. Ryan raised his eyebrows.
"So what do we do?"
"I dunno," I shrugged. "I really do like you. Maybe we should wait a little until Brianna and Justin cool off, then we can get together." Jeez, I'd never said "get together" to a guy before. It felt kind of cool and again dorky at the same time. I didn't really want to wait, because the one time Brianna and I fought, I waited a whole month until she would even talk to me again, and friends are way different than boys. Way different.
I think Ryan felt the same way, because he said, "Justin might be mad for a long time. What if we kept it a secret until they cool off? We'll see how it goes, and when they do 'cool off'" he said it with quotations, "then we'll tell them."
“Can I take your orders?” A voice that said What am I doing here? floated into our conversation. I looked up at a pretty college girl, who probably worked here after school to get some money.
“Two pieces of white cheese pizza,” Ryan looked at me for reassurance, and I nodded smiling, “Thanks.”
In the end we decided to “date,” although to me sneaking around isn’t really dating. And I wasn’t even hiding it from my parents like normal people; I was sneaking around my best friend! I did tell my mom about it one night when I couldn’t keep my excitement in.
“Jaz, honey, why don’t you just tell Brianna about the misunderstanding?” My mom asked. I had told her the whole story top to bottom. But sometimes, although it’s nice to talk about your problems, I guess my mom forgot that Brianna doesn’t wait to hear your excuses. She takes it and interprets it however she feels that day. And lately she’s been feeling pretty down.
“She won’t listen to me, Mom. I know Brianna.”
“Well Ryan sounds like a nice enough boy. But you’re so young!”
“Mo-om!” I complained, “Some girls have had boyfriends since they were 11! And I’m 13, nearly 14!” I’m not stupid, Mom.
“I know, it’s just that you’re so grown-up!” I really don’t like that voice. And didn’t she just say that I was “so young?” Make up your mind! “And, be careful, won’t you! No kissing.” Ew, I thought.
“Mom!” I blushed, staring at the patterns on the wooden floor, “I haven’t even really been on a date with him yet.”
“Well…” That ended that conversation.
I went up to my room, and got onto my computer. Ryan was online. So was Brianna. I went to my homepage on Facebook, and typed “is confused” in my status.
Why? Ryan typed to me.
Me: Why what?
Ryan: Ur confused?
Me: Oh, no reason. Just the whole secret thing.
Ryan: Oh, yah, wat’r u doin this wkend?
Me: Not much, u? y?
Ryan: Not doin anything. Did u wanna go c a movie?
Me: Sure, wat’s playing? I rly wanna go c The Painter…
Ryan: Sounds gud. I’ll c wat time it’s playin.
Ryan went offline. I played around on my computer for a little. Then Brianna started chatting to me. AHH!
Brianna: Watcha doin?
Me: Not much.
Brianna: I’m bored… were we sposed 2 finish that essay?
Me: The one abt the civil war? Yeah.
Brianna: Shoot… ok, I’ve gotta go then. bibi. :) O, ya, y’r u confuzed?
Woah, even more confusing! First Ryan, then Brianna, then Ryan again.
Ryan: Movie’s @ 3:30 on Sun, Ill pick u up at ur place, k?
ME: Yup, mine’s the 1 with the dying tree in the yard on George St. Bye.
I quickly got offline before Brianna could come back online, and ask me what plans I had this weekend. That was the last thing I needed!
On Saturday, I was a nervous wreck. I tried on probably ten outfits, from shorts, to cute dresses. Of course, in the end I decided on casual jeans, with a pretty spaghetti strap shirt. I went to the closet, and mom stood by the door watching me.
“Why does it really matter?” She asked, as I tore through the shoe shelf. I had the mantra Find My Blue Flats… Find My Blue Flats… Find My Blue Flats running through my head.
“Mom, you can’t talk. Remember how long it takes you to decide what to wear whenever dad takes you out for dinner?” I pointed out.
“True,” she didn’t have another argument, “What time is the movie?”
“3:30,” I answered as I pulled on my Converse, blue flats forgotten, “Makeup, or no makeup?”
“Jaz, honey, you look beautiful. Now calm down! No guy is ever going to like a girl who bounces off the walls!” She reassured me, and I went out of my room, to the mirror. I did look pretty good, if I was going to be honest with myself. I calmed down a bit as my brain told my body that today’s mission was accomplished. I took some deep breaths. Of course, I tensed right up again when I heard the front door open.
“Are you girls still up there?” My dad called out from downstairs. Slowly, once again, I went through all my muscles and told them to relax. Then the doorbell rang.
I jumped past my mom, out of my room, and bounded down the stairs. Calm, I told myself. I pulled the door open, and Ryan was standing there, looking perfect. What was I worried about?
“We have a last minute problem,” he told me, “We have no ride. My dad had to run to the store to get something for my mom. ‘Urgently’ he said. And my older sister took my mom’s car to go to her friends’ house. Her friend lives pretty far away.”
“Oh, umm,” I hadn’t really thought about a way to get there, thinking he had it covered, “My dad can drive us there, that just means you’ll have to meet him. Don’t worry; I’m sure my mom’s informed him on the secrecy.” Oops, didn’t mean to bring that up. He looked ok though.
The car ride was awkward. Maybe not for Ryan, he leaned over from the back seat, happily chatting away to my dad about sports, and his dad’s job. I was sitting in the front seat fidgeted with the radio dials, and I could feel my ears getting hotter and hotter. They do that when I’m embarrassed.
“Thank you for driving us here,” Ryan politely said as we got out of the car in front of the theatre.
“No problemo. Be good Jaz, have fun.”
“Goodbye dad,” I said pointedly, “I’ll call you when the movie’s over.” We shut the doors, and my dad drove away.
I really like this movie theater, it’s got nice comfy, plush seats, and it’s really big, big enough that it almost never gets crowded. Ryan and I got our seats, and with our big bags of popcorn in our laps, the movie started.
At one part in the movie, about half-way through it, I jumped at a surprising moment, and Ryan reached across to grab my hand. It was warm, and feeling a hand, I jumped again. When he realized he had scared me, he quickly pulled his hand away, and a sudden flash of light on the screen proved to me that he was blushing. In the darkness of the next few minutes, I reached over and took his hand.
We just sat in the theater like that, holding hands. It seemed so normal, natural. I couldn’t believe how much I’d stressed about hand holding, or more. All the way through the movie, as we watched each scene unfold, I relaxed, more than I had all day. This was how it was supposed to be.
After about a week, Brianna was back to normal, and I was on top of the world. I uh-huh’d and paid attention in all my classes. Whenever I saw Ryan in the halls, he would wink at me, and I’d twitch a smile. Brianna never caught our secret game, because she still made a great effort not to look at Ryan, especially Justin. One time though, she did ask me why I smiled to myself randomly.
“You’ve been really quiet lately,” she commented on Wednesday, in Social Studies. We were chatting behind our text books.
“No, I haven’t,” I thought for a moment, “Oh, I guess I have been, a little.”
“What’s been going on? You haven’t called me for a while, and you don’t talk much. Is everything ok?”
I wanted to tell her so badly. More than anything in the world I wanted to tell my best friend that I had a boyfriend. A boyfriend who was kind, fun, and romantic. But I couldn’t, especially if I wanted to keep that best friend much longer.
“Everything’s great. Hey what’re you doing tomorrow? Do you want to come over? We just got a new game for the Wii, and I’ve been meaning to ask you if you wanted to try it.”
“Sure, let me just check my schedule,” she ruffled through her notebook, “yeah, I got nothing planned for that day.” We both giggled, a little too loudly because Mr. Basa quickly told us to “quiet down girls.”
On Thursday, Brianna came over. We played with the Wii, trying out the new game I had told her about. Then mom came up with drinks, and told us that we’d better get started on our homework. My mom’s really responsible about stuff like that. She didn’t want Ms. Gregory (Brianna’s mom) to get mad at Brianna, or me. We reluctantly agreed.
In the middle of asking Brianna what a pronoun was, and don’t worry it had only slipped my mind for a second, my phone started to ring. I didn’t wait this time. There were only a few people who it possibly could have been, one of them was in the room with me, and one was downstairs.
“Hi!” I said really loudly, just for fun.
“Jaz?” Ryan had finally gotten into the habit of using my short name.
“This is she,” I smiled. I resisted the urge to scream, Ryan’s on the phone!
“Yeah, I could tell,” I could imagine his eyes smiling, bright blue. “Did you wanna hang out after school tomorrow? We could go to the park, or the arcade.”
“Sounds like fun! And remember to finish your science homework.” He laughed with me.
“Brianna’s there?” He asked.
“Yeah, page 213, good luck.” I said, smiling, as hung up.
“Who was that?” Brianna inquired. I remembered her asking that last time as well. Before all of the mess started.
“Sydney, in our science class, she forgot what homework we had. And she was talking about her family going to the beach tomorrow,” I felt so guilty. Like a bump was stuck in my chest. We finished our homework, and for the first time ever, I let out a sigh of relief as I waved Brianna out the door.
“Jasmine, its hard isn’t it?” Mom asked as we were eating spaghetti that night.
“Yes,” I felt like I was about to cry, so I ran upstairs and turned on the TV to distract myself.
The next day, I waited after school for Ryan. Brianna had already gone home, because Mr. Gregory’s mom was sick in the hospital, and Brianna had to go visit her. I said goodbye and sent her with the best wishes for her grandma.
“Ready?” Ryan’s voice asked from behind me.
“Ready Freddy,” I replied as if I was five.
We walked down the street, to the arcade. I didn’t have much change, but Ryan’s pockets’ stitches were practically coming undone with the weight. I laughed when he won me a silly stuffed elephant with a bow from the crane game. Unfortunately, arcades have this really annoying way of sucking at your pockets until all your money is gone, and you’re left feeling lonely and guilty. Even Ryan’s endless supply of change ran dry.
“What now?” He asked me. We had all the time in the world
“I don’t know,” I answered, “we could go to the playground.”
“Sorry for using up all of your money. Although it was fun.” I smiled, tucked my elephant under my arm, and we walked to the park. It was quiet and kind of mysterious in the park. Ryan grabbed my hand and we swung our linked arms back and forth.
“Tell me something about yourself,” Ryan demanded.
“Well, there’s not much to tell. I’ve lived here my whole life. But it’s pretty big, so I don’t get bored.”
“What about your family? Do you have siblings? Pets?”
“I had a cat when I was younger. His name was Sammy. He ran away after two years. That was sad.” I grinned at the memory, although it was a sad one. “What about you?” I asked.
“I have an older sister, Magda. She’s absolutely obsessed with her friends. She’s almost never home. I think she’s trying to stay away from our parents. They fight a lot.”
“Oh,” I sympathized.
We got to the playground. No one was there. It was Thursday though, so I guess that all the parents were still at work. It wasn’t too surprising. I went over to the swings, which I had loved since I was a baby, and couldn’t even sit in one without parent protection. I sat down on the first one, and Ryan walked over to sit on the blue one next to me.
“I love the swings,” I told him.
“They make me feel like I’m flying,” he agreed, and then we were silent for a few moments as I watched an ant creep across my shoe. “This is gonna sound weird. Uh, Jaz, have you ever kissed anyone?” He blushed a bit. “You don’t have to answer that.”
“Well, I don’t mind really,” I replied, “and to answer, no not really, unless you count my parents, and relatives.”
“No, I guess you don’t.”
He leaned in towards me across the swing. I kicked off my legs and started to swing, to rub away the funny air around us. I didn’t go that high though.
“Bet I can beat you,” he laughed.
“Never, I am queen of the swing!” I yelled. We started to swing really fast. “Jump!” I shouted. I let go of the swing and flew forwards, for a minute I thought I would never stop flying. But I landed, jarring my ankles. I straightened and laughed, as I watched Ryan tumble off of the swing onto the ground.
“You win,” he groaned as he brushed dirt and sand off his pants. I stuck my tongue out at him. I laughed, and then we were both laughing and running around the playground, acting like kids. Sometimes I wish I could always be a little kid.
Finally, when I’d spent all of my energy, I plopped down on one of the benches that surrounded the playground. Ryan came and sat next to me. We were both laughing, and my sides hurt. When I came to a gasping stop, Ryan stopped laughing to, but he didn’t stop smiling.
“That was really fun,” I said.
“Definitely,” he agreed. He took my hand. Then, so fast I barely even saw, he leaned in to me, and gave me a sweet, short kiss right on my lips.
“Sorry,” he said as he leaned away cross-eyed, “I just wanted to know what it was like.”
I heard a gasp behind me. I shot around, and Brianna was standing there, staring at me, with tears in her eyes. “Brianna,” I gasped, almost to myself. Her eyes swiveled between Ryan and me. She gave another little gasp, then turned into the park, and ran away.
“Brianna!” I yelled after her, but she kept running. “Ryan, I have to go,” but he was already up, completely understanding.
“Run,” he told me, “I’ll bring your bag to your house.”
Boy, did I run. I ran so fast, but Brianna was too far ahead of me. I was gasping, and yelling her name over and over. I finally stopped, because I realized that she would outrun me every time. She was far too sporty for me to even think of catching up to her. I put my hands on my knees, and panted for a few minutes, and then speed walked home. My bag was waiting for me on the front porch.
I ran inside, and got my phone out of my pocket. I charged into my room, as I dialed Brianna’s number. It rang hollowly. I knew she wouldn’t answer, but I needed to try. I was starting to get a little annoyed. She had overreacted, for sure. But I wanted to talk to her, explain to her.
Next I tried her home phone. Her mom answered.
“Ms. Gregory?” I asked
“Yes,” her voice sounded a little stiff almost like she had been crying, or was really stressed.
“I need to speak to Brianna.” I demanded.
“Brianna,” she called half heartedly, and a few seconds later replied, “She can’t come, I’m sorry Jaz. She says she’s really busy with homework, and doesn’t want to lose her train of thought. Maybe later.”
“Wait, Ms. Gregory, is everything ok?”
“No,” she sniffed, “Bill’s mother died in the hospital today.”
“I’m so sorry.” I meant it. For everything. For Brianna’s grandma, for her family, for being responsible for Brianna’s breakup, for lying to her. I knew now why she had reacted so strongly.
“Well,” Ms. Gregory said, “goodbye.” She hung up on me.
I had to do something! Now! I ran downstairs, and got out my rarely used bike. I made sure I had my helmet, and then I started pedaling down the road to Brianna’s house. It was pretty far, but I made good time. I was glad I hadn’t walked.
I dashed up her front steps to the door. I knocked really loudly. “BRIANNA!” I screamed. Ms. Gregory opened the door. She looked sad. “I’m so sorry, but I really need to speak with Brianna. I don’t have time to explain. Please?” She held the door open a bit wider, and motioned past her, into the house.
“Brianna needs her best friend,” She told me. I ran through the house but slowed down as I came to Brianna’s door. I looked at the poster we had put up on it together. It informed anyone who cared that losers, strangers, boys, and haters were not allowed. I really hoped I wasn’t in the last category now.
“Brianna,” I called out softly, “I need to talk to you. I know you’re in there, and I know you aren’t doing your homework.” No one answered, so I tried again. “Brianna, I’m really sorry. I was an idiot, and I shouldn’t have lied to you. Come out here. Please.” I heard life inside her room. Quiet sniffles came closer to the door. The knob turned under my hand, and Brianna’s tear stained face peeped out.
“Bri,” I said, sucking in a deep breath. I’d never really seen her cry I realized suddenly, except in the last month.
“Go away,” she blubbered.
“No, I’m gonna stand here until you give me a chance to apologize, and I know you’re gonna have to come out eventually.” I told her. She came out, and I collapsed. “Brianna, you can’t imagine how sorry I am. Really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, sorry.” Her eyes softened for an instant, then hardened and filled with tears.
“You can’t even imagine, Jasmine,” she spat my name, “what it was like. I got to the hospital, and my grandma died. I was looking right at her, and she died, staring at me. I came to look for my best friend who’s mother told me she was in the park, to tell her, and trust her. And what do I find? I find my best friend, who I trusted,” I noticed the past tense of the verb, “in a playground, with my second most hated person in the world, KISSING HIM!” She screamed the last words.
“Brianna, if I’d have known,” I started but she cut in.
“Known what? That my Gran would die? That I would catch you? How long have you been kissing him? Were you never going to tell me?”
“Of course I was, but it was never the right time,” by this time we were both crying freely, but both trying to hide it, “and now is the worst time of all! I’m sorry. Sorry, sorry.” I kept saying it, over and over as if it could take away all of the lies, and all the tears.
“She seems to have forgiven me,” this was on the phone the next day. “I think she understood my explanation.”
“I hope so,” Ryan said, “I guess it’s my turn. Yesterday after you ran off after Brianna, I called Justin. I explained where we were yesterday, and that I was with you. I told him and he said well finally!” He laughed, “I think he was glad he finally understood why Brianna’d broken up with him, and he realized that it was a huge misunderstanding. On the whole, I’m glad he didn’t rip my head off. He’s been miserable for the last few weeks!”
“So has Bri,” I said, inspiration dawning, “we should get them back together again!”
“Yeah! Totally! Tomorrow after school, at the entrance, I’ll get Justin to bring flowers.”
Two weeks later, I was sitting in the pizza place down the road from the school. I was eating a delicious white cheese pizza. Ryan’s hand was intertwined with mine, so my eating abilities were severely impaired. I smiled at him, and he smiled back, as he stuffed a whole piece of pizza in his mouth, which looked hard to do while smiling, and having only one hand.
“Hey, Justin,” he called, turning to his right. I looked as well. “Think fast,” Ryan shouted and threw a little bag at Justin. Justin turned to Brianna sitting across from him, and said very cheesily, “My dearest, my hearts’ desire, will you be mine?” and handed her the bag. Brianna blushed and giggled softly as she pulled out a necklace with a heart charm on it. Ryan and I both gagged and then decided to make kissy noises.
“It’s not Valentine’s Day you idiot,” Ryan informed Justin.
“Who cares?” he asked. We all laughed, and I felt as if my heart was smiling.