Flirt | Teen Ink


August 1, 2016
By anonymous06 PLATINUM, Northbridge, Massachusetts
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anonymous06 PLATINUM, Northbridge, Massachusetts
35 articles 5 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison

     Fiona Weathers. Blonde hair, blue eyes, tanned skin. Rich. Athletic. Smart. The girl every guy wanted and every girl wanted to be. But not me.

     Jenna Lyons the name, my jeans are to blame. Not my genetic genes- though that’d explain my poop brown eyes and dull hair. No, I’m talking about those stupid, size twelve, worn-out jeans. Why jeans, you may ask. Well, take a good look at me. Follow that tear in my eye down past the thin scar on my chin all the way to where a shattered heart lays. If you look even further you’d find what the doctors call “childhood obesity,” a fancy word for fat. And right past all that are those dumb jeans that cover years upon years of muscle damage and scars.

     Why am I telling you all this if I myself can’t stand it? Well, take a seat and be prepared to enjoy what I consider “a mishap of events.” You probably call it life.

     “Pink or green?” I turned from the mirror to look over at my best friends, Bethany and Georgia. The Spring Formal was right around the corner. Okay, okay -it was actually in five months, two weeks, six days, fourteen hours, and thirty-nine minutes, but that was no reason to dwindle. A perfectly tailored dress had to be exactly that- perfectly tailored in advancement. Of course, that meant I’d have to stay exactly one hundred and eleven point two pounds with absolutely zero inches of fat over the next five months, two weeks, six days, fourteen hours, and thirty-six minutes, but looking drop dead gorgeous when the crown is placed atop my head would be worth it.

     Oh no! The campaigning! I had been so caught up finding the perfect dress that I had forgotten entirely about the whole thing. I dropped both dresses and whipped out my phone. I was short by twenty-three days- that’s would cost me fifty-one votes already. Unless I worked my magic at lunch tomorrow...It had to work. There was absolutely no way I was going to lose.

     I looked over at the dresses again. “Pink or green?”



     Of course they answered differently. I looked back in the mirror. Damn, I did my makeup perfectly today! I got so distracted in my own eyes that I didn’t hear Bethany’s response.

     I turned, “What was that?”

     “Just buy both. Afterall Daddy’s got the money for it, right?”

     Right. I looked over at Fabio, my personal tailor. “Fabio, work your magic!”

     Georgia’s phone went off. It never went off- only I was allowed to send and receive hundreds of messages (it’s kind of a unspoken treaty amongst the group). She stood up and squealed. “OMG!! I just heard from Brittany who heard from Natalie who heard from Jessica that Nate just broke up Kylie! You could so go with him, Fifi.”

     Fifi. I hated that nickname, but I loved G, can make the assumptions from there.

     Bethany smiled. “Yeah, I’d see you two together.”

     I smiled. “Well he does look pretty good in a swimsuit.”

     But so did Jeremy, Mike, Stevie, Billy, Liam, Johnny, James, the other James, Brandon, Brenden, Tim, and Tom. Yup. All of them could be swimsuit models with those abs. I smiled the more I thought about it, but then it faded. Who in hell was I supposed to go with? Who was supposed to be that king?

     Fabio looked up. “What do you think, Miss Weathers?”

     I glanced in the mirror. Well, I needed to definitely work on my tan. And I needed a manicure for sure. I looked at my hair- were those split ends?! I felt my tofu salad in my mouth just thinking about it. I was becoming a peasant! But despite that, the dress was amazing. I loved it in its entirety.

     Bethany looked at me through the mirror. “Needs to be a little tighter.”



     I looked back in the mirror. It hung loose on the bottom half and flowed past my knees. But she was right, Fiona Weathers would never wear a dress like this. I raised my nose and brushed my hair back, admiring myself once again.

     “Fabio,” I demanded. “This will not do. What is this lazy day! You’ll be lucky if you even get half a decent recommendation from me next time. And don’t get me started about the tip!”

     He bowed his head. “Where shall I fix?”

     “All of it!” I turned to look at him with that “look” in my eyes. Heidi, my maid, constantly said that I get this “look” at times. I knew this was one of those times.

     “It needs to be shorter, tighter, and more flashy!”


     “‘But’ what?!”

     He nodded and continued to sew. I looked back in the mirror at Georgia and Bethany who nodded with approval. Then I looked back at myself. Were those bags under my eyes?

“Can anyone tell me why the sky is blue?” Mr. Geoffrey stood in front of the projector screen with that goofy bow tie holding his giant head on. I’m not to speak, but, I mean, seriously a polka-dotted bow tie? No one was paying attention to him, no one ever did. I’m guilty of it myself. How can we concentrate on things like water droplets reflecting UV rays when his voice drags on and on. It’s like that scene in Ferris Bueller and he’s just standing up there waiting for any answer he can get.

I’m half expecting to hear him say, “Anyone? Anyone?”

But he doesn’t. He just stares at us. Jim and Abby are in the corner having a makeout session. Natalie and Bethany are reapplying makeup. And right smack in front of me is Fiona Weathers waving around her perfectly manicured hands as she dupes yet another guy.

Nate Dawson. Five-eight. Brown, buzz-cut hair. Green eyes. Star quarterback of the football team. About a B- average. Filthy rich, but still less than Fiona. In my opinion, he’s a complete idiot. Last year he was suspended for having booze in his locker. And not even the good kind at that. He told reporters over the summer that he was completely clean as he spent the past few months at a ‘sanctuary.’ Whether that meant he got help or got Kylie, I don’t know. In fact, more than half the student body wasn’t sure. And Kylie sure as hell wasn’t saying.

Either way, he’d moved on to his next victim- and so did Fiona. That girl worked magic or something. She knew what to say, how to say, and when to say it. I, on the other hand, didn’t. But did I care? No. Like I said, those stupid size twelve jeans and everything before it.

I slumped back into the palm of my hand and was just drifting off to sleep. Watching populars flirt was not exactly all that entertaining. She smiles. He looks at areas. She imagines him naked and smiles again. He smiles. They laugh and plan a date. And so it goes from there. Now, watching them crash and burn, well that’s amusement. But no one (other than Kylie, who was mysteriously absent today) was crashing and burning. So, I took sanction in the elbow of my baggy sweatshirt that smelt heavily of cigarette smoke.

Right before I fell asleep asleep, the door opened. The door never, ever opened during class. Anyone that wanted to enter this classroom was either mentally insane, suicidal, or forced by the Department of Education to sit in the desks for an hour and a half. It sure as hell wasn’t to get an education. Even Principal Peters refused to walk in.

I turned to Joe, the band kid who never really talked to no one, before the stranger walked in. “Who you think it is?”

He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and continued to read over his sheet music. Geek. I turned back to the door.

I saw his feet first. Two steel toe boots caked in mud. Then came his legs. His jean coated legs. Not khakis. Not sweats. Jeans. And then entered the rest of him. A loose black tee hanging over his flat stomach. No abs. No letterman’s jacket. Just a plain black tee. And then came his face. A couple pimples, a squished-in nose, poop brown eyes, and floppy, but neatly trimmed, dull blonde hair.

I sat up straighter in my seat, not because I wanted to get with this kid or anything, but because, for once, I was looking at normal.

You know that moment when you know your whole life is about to change? Well, as I walked into that school, I felt everything but that. This was just another school with the same snotty cheerleaders and the same sickly-looking nerds all existing in a single space put together by the crazy thing called fate. And the only thing worse than fate is, well, high school. I looked around. Stairs above. Tile floor below. Backpack slung over my shoulder. Today was not my lucky day.

I met up with Principal Peters, an aging man, who I am quite sure is wearing a toupee. He sat me down in a chair and gave me that speech I heard so often. It’s that no-funny-business-is-accepted-here-but-we’re-glad-that you-are-here speech. But never had anyone ever gotten up in my face about it. Like right up in my face. So close I could smell the skunk-scented coffee on his breath. Then he handed me a schedule and sent me on my way.

This school had some serious issues already. I’d seen rich kids and I’d seen poor, but this was a clash of both. You got some girl wearing hand tailored miniskirt standing next to a boy in rags. Literally-rags. I hated to judge, but one whiff of the boy and I could tell you why he was in rags. Stupid. Auntie T told me before that this world takes all kinds of kinds, but man! Did this school need to have all of them coexisting in this one space?

Anyway, I continued until I found Mr. Geoffrey’s classroom. This took quite some time no thanks to no one. Sorry, no thanks to anyone. The man, who I presumed to be Edgar Geoffrey, was standing in front of projector with the light shining at his face. Was everyone around here stupid? And that bow tie! A plain one would be fine, but polka dots? And he was just talking to himself. The class was doing pretty much anything known to man. Makeouts to reading to sleeping.

The one that was sleeping looked up with pitiful eyes as soon as I walked in. No one else really paid attention. Even Edgar Geoffrey didn’t stop talking to introduce me. He just kept talking. I looked around before taking a seat.

Starving girls with fake faces. Jock boys trying to get with them girls- sorry, those girls. A couple of pale gamers. One or two geniuses speed reading a textbook. And that sleeper. I couldn’t pin her exactly. She was definitely not the athletic type- no muscle build. And not a popular, as she sat behind them, but not in the way back. Not a druggy- her skin was too clean. Not a nerd. Not a drama queen. Not musically inclined. What was she? I looked where she was sitting in the room. Dead center.

She was a normal. I took the seat beside her.

We never get a new kid. Yeah, I saw him too, but I was too busy tying Nate around my finger to stop and say hello. When walked over and sat next to Jenna, I instantly regretted not greeting him. He was decently cute, but nothing G or Beth would go on about. He had no muscles, nothing really intriguing. I couldn’t even imagine him naked. But there was something about him. A darkness? A secrecy?

I swallowed hard knowing exactly what it was. He knew something. Something about me. Something only Jenna ever knew. When he smiled- it wasn’t shiny even- as Jenna introduced herself, I decided to turn around.

I sat up on his desk and stuck out my hand. “Fiona Weathers.”

He looked completely appalled that I was sitting there.

I smiled. That usually worked. “And you are?”

The stranger rolled his eyes and turned back to Jenna, who was staring daggers at me. I knew that look, but this boy was unclaimed territory- cute or not. I brushed back my hair and leaned forward slightly.

“I know who you are. You’re my next boyfriend!”

He rolled his eyes and apologized to Jenna. Why apologize to that bitch anyway? She was worth as much as the piece of gum in my mouth. But then he turned to me and stuck out his hand. “Brian.”

There we were. Brian. But only his last name mattered. Daddy might know him or it would need to flow with Fiona. I couldn’t get it out of him. He just turned right back to that stupid Jenna. Come on, you can see the desperation in her blemished face! I was a hundred times better than that girl- everyone knew it. Jenna was never going to mount to nothing. I don’t know why she even shows up anymore. Unless she really enjoys eating lunch in the bathroom stalls… If she shows up tomorrow with that Brian kid by her side, that bitch will be going down.

I drew a cigarette and stuck it between my chapped lips. That new kid, Brian, just stared at me as I lit it. I threw the pack at him, but he didn’t even try to catch it. They fell into a puddle and I stared at them longingly for quite some time. Another two bucks down the drain. Eventually I caught back up to him. Damn, he walked fast.

“Thanks for nothing.”

He looked at me. Like really studied my face. “Those can kill you, you know.”

“Yeah, I read into it. Twenty kinds of cancer or something.”

He kept walking. “You say it like it’s nothing.”

“It is nothing.” I study the plumes of smoke in front of my face. “I’d take my chances battling lung cancer than battling them guys at school.” It was true, since the incident, nothing has been the same there. Everyone’s completely against me now. Especially Fiona Weathers.

Brian turned to me again with something in his face. Sorrow? Disgust? I couldn’t place it. “You smoke a lot?”

“Three packs a week.” I never wanted to start, but life happened. I was weak, tantalized, and in the wrong places in my life. A single kid putting a roll between my quivering lips and single deep breath was all it took. One cigarette a day turned to two and so on and so on.

I traced the outline of his face with my eyes. His jaw was tight and his neck tense. Was he trying not to cry? I dropped the butt and crushed it under my worn out sneaker before talking to him again. “You ever try one?”




“So, you tried some harder stuff?”

He looked at me again. “You think I’m a druggy?”

That’s not what I meant. Not by a long shot. I shook my head. “Well, you’ve got to have tried something by this point.”

“What do you mean ‘got to have?’ The decision is completely mine and I choose abstinence.”

I looked at him. “Are we still talking about cigarettes?”

He shook his head and walked off. I stopped and followed him with my eyes. I blew it. Fiona Stupid Weathers can claim him now.

It had to be at least three in the morning. And I still couldn’t fall asleep. Part of it could be my bed. It’s under Bobby, a kid that believes strongly in gravity- and by that I mean he uses gravity to get rid of his trash. In fact, a trail of what I hope is pudding was inching its way down the wall now. And the floor. It was a minefield of stinky socks and leftovers. The kid could become a world-renowned scientist based on the looks of some of this stuff. It was amazing that the house wasn’t condemned yet.

But it wasn’t Bobby, his mess, and restless sleeping that kept me awake. No, it was something else. Someone else. Why did she have to smoke? Why couldn’t she have just been an ordinary girl with no flaws whatsoever? Yeah, guess that’s not possible. But smoking. You know how hard it was not to catch that pack and light one up?

Yup, used to smoke too. But I didn’t exactly lie to her when I said that I didn’t. Brian Wilcox has never touched drugs, alcohol, tobacco. Nothing. Brian Wilcox was clean. Antonio “Toni” Martins, on the other hand, was a different story.

I was born Antonio G. Martins. Don’t ask me what the G stands for. My parents were great. The picture perfect parents. My dad was a CEO of a bank. My mom was a teacher. I had three little brothers all who looked up to me. And I was the picture perfect kid all the way up. Spelling bee trophies from grade school. Straight A average. Manners and sincerity. Athletically stable. I loved basketball above all of the other sports. And I even had a pretty good girlfriend.

Sarah. God I missed her. She wasn’t exactly beautiful, but she sure as hell wasn’t plain. In fact, she was voted “most likely to succeed” back in our grade school years by student body. Involved in pretty much everything she could get her hands on, but never too busy to help someone out. Especially me. She had warned me straight out not to get involved. Did I listen? And now she’s gone. We don’t talk. Don’t even look in the others direction. She showed up my first time in the slammer. Not sad. Not happy. Not angry. Not even snotty. Sarah was just being Sarah. Understanding the situation to the best of her ability before she acted on it.

And she did act. Subtly, but she did. I remember having an overpowering headache and this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even today I can’t place it. But, I can say that I ask her for some bail money through drunken slurs. Sarah just turned around, stared at me with tears in the corners of her eyes, and then told me to find someone else to take pity on a flipping high drunk. I never saw her again. At least not the Sarah I knew. God I miss her.

But, as you can tell, my picture perfect childhood disappeared. It was the beginning of eighth grade. At that point I was playing varsity sports. Soccer had just ended and I had a slightly sprained ankle. No biggy. Then basketball tryouts came. Starter on varsity. They invited me to a party and I denied as I had plans already that night with Sarah. She was in over her head with the Winter Carnival planning. But she told me to go. So I did. They gave me this drink- an orangey-green mix- it looked gross. Yet I drank it. To prove my manliness- I later claimed. It gave me this eerie buzz in the back of my head and floating me up three feet. Those parties became regular. So did the drinks. I didn’t have a problem.

The season went by fast. Not before long we were at our last game right before playoffs. Billy Hags was his name. Number five. Personal foul. I was going for a game-winning layup. I was on the ground bawling my eyes out instead. Tore the ACL of my left knee. Surgery. Crutches. Cast. Out for the playoffs. Sarah was there every day helping me out. Coaxing me through the pain. It didn’t help. The painkillers did.

I began living in a haze. One day blurred into another. Only the painkillers helped. Schoolwork slipped. Couldn’t do any sports for at least three more months. I pushed everyone I needed away. Became friends with the wrong people. Sold some things I shouldn’t have. Smoked some things that could have killed me right then and there. Stole alcohol. Broke into convenience stores for lighters and cigarettes. Occasionally the register. Seven times in correction facilities before the end of sophomore year.

My parents eventually disowned me. I went to a better correction facility where everyone treats you like glass. It’s stupid. But after a year there, I became Brian Wilcox. Drug tests every other day. Mandatory schedules. Community service require. Monthly state check-ins. Everything I do is being watched. Including hanging around with Jenna.

Why did she have to smoke?

I wanted that crown more than anyone. More than Fiona stupid Weathers. More than any of those girls running around trying to prove that they are royalty. But I’ll tell you this. I deserve that crown. QB, point guard, star pitcher. I hold this school together. Not stupid- gorgeous- Fiona who prances about flashing that flirty smile. But it works. I’ll tell you that too.

Maybe that’s why I invited her over here tonight. Because of that smile. She really knew her way around us men. A bit too well, actually. She’s gotten with twelve guys the past two and a half months. And they say I’m bad.

Yeah, yeah. I’ve got a rep too. But have you looked at the girls in this school? Well, except for Jenna Lyons. She’s just messed up. I heard a rumor that she was rejected for a modeling agency when she was younger, so as a statement, she became fat and ugly bitch. I think she was always fat and ugly. That’s why her mother died- she looked at her daughter.

That was the doorbell. Fiona was here. Along with many, many other guests of course. Parties aren’t just made for two.

“Hey!” I greeted each and every one of them. Then I wandered over to Fiona.

She smiled. Stop smiling!



I grabbed her waist and pushed her against the wall. She smiled again, but gestured the crowd. For someone that flirts so openly, she sure as hell hates make outs in hallways. I took her hand and led her to my bedroom.

She sat on the edge and looked at me. “What do you know about that new kid Brian?”

I took a couple beers from my closet. “Why the hell do you care?”

She took one and popped the can open. After a long swig, she smiled with glossy eyes. Fiona could not handle alcohol well. Yes, I knew that before I gave her one. “I...I don’t really know.”

I laid back next to her holding my t-shirt in my free hand. “Good. Because you’re mine.”

She didn't lay back. She just kept drinking and drinking. I joined her. Why not? Might as well have some fun. Before long we ran out of booze, so we became drunk on each other’s lips instead. Eventually, she was fast asleep and I laid beside her. Whether she was or was not dressed when I did, well I’ll leave you that to figure out. Hey, don’t blame me. Fiona doesn’t handle alcohol well.

“Good evening, Miss Weathers.”

I cringed. I knew that voice, from where I wasn’t sure, but I knew it. I turned. “Mom?”

The woman chuckled and put an arm around me. “Let’s get you to bed.”

I don’t quite remember it all, but I felt my hands push her aside. I remember hearing her struggle as the glass shattered against the floor. I cringed again. Everything was so loud. Then I remember it all. Nate. The booze. The kissing. The night. Who was on the floor. I began sobbing.

I remembered those scared chocolate brown eyes with the flashing lights and the eerie wailing of the siren. I sobbed harder.

It was the day of the Northwestern Junior Olympics. Only two people from Greensville Gymnastics actually made it in. Me and this little brown haired, brown eyed girl. My best friend. I was powdering my braced hands while she was getting her hair braided back by her mother. A woman I knew as Gloria. Gloria didn’t try nearly as hard as all the other women, but she was simply beautiful in some way. She looked between me and the other girl and smiled. “Remember that you two got here, nevermind if you win or not,” she told us before the competition began. Then she took her seat, right next to 43A and 44A. Yes, I knew those seats. I bought the tickets to those seats. And they were empty.

The uneven bars was the first event. A perfect run on my behalf. The seats were still empty. Then the beam. A perfect run by the brown-haired girl. She was the queen of the beam. She had more strength in those legs than I had in my entire body. Beautiful too, almost in the same manner as her mother. Then the vault. Another perfect run by both of us. The seats were empty. Lastly the floor. Two slightly imperfect runs, but still top. Empty. The girl and I stood on the podium. Me first. She second. A trophy for Greensville Gymnastic.

Gloria decided to take us out for celebratory ice creams. It was dark. The roads were wet. One second I remember laughing with the brown haired girl. The next my head was smashed against the window and the metal of the door pushed into my stomach. The screams from the other girl. The fear in her eyes as the sirens wailed and took us from the fiery car. Twelve years old.

I sobbed harder. I should be dead. Like Gloria. I shouldn’t be drunk every other night. I was choking back on my tears now. I should be dead. I’d be better off. The impact of the crash should have killed me. That’s what the reports said. I should have gotten off with a severed pancreas, a couple broken ribs, and severe concussion.

I sobbed as I walked up the stairs. Even harder as I laid back on my bed. I saw it every time I closed my eyes. Tomorrow was picture day. I couldn’t have bags under my eyes again. I reached for the bottle, popped off the top, and swallowed one tiny pill.

“Hey, Dad, I’m home!” I hollered out as I closed the door. No response. I peered around the corner into the living room.

He was in his normal way. A bottle of whiskey in one hand. The TV remote in the other. Staring at the screen with glossed-over eyes. Still in the wrinkled clothes he wore last week. Unaware that I was even home.

It’s been like that since the lawsuit. Since Mom died. He was once successful surgeon. Top recommended since I was seven. But then the accident happened and he lost his mind. Declared he was sane enough to operate the day after receiving the news. Stupid. He messed up and put the patient in more peril. Fired. Sued. Taken to court. Sued more. Started drinking to drown the memories of Mom. Been drinking ever since.

“Hey, Jen.”

I spun on my heels and nearly smacked my brother in the face. Justin Lyons. Twenty two years. The looks every girl crazes about. Not really the brains. Dropped out at sixteen with Mom’s death. Worked at the local deli. You might have seen him there before.


“Why are you here, Justin?” He had moved out three years ago to live with his girlfriend, who had finished high school. She was nice enough, but so stupid that she gave up her life for Justin. She should be in Penn State, not in stupid Greensville.

“I have a problem.”

“A problem?”


I stared at him. “With what?”


I might have got a bit too excited. “She finally left you! Good for her!”

His face dropped and I knew I had said the wrong thing. He sat down at the table. I pulled out a chair waiting for him to continue. He spilled his guts.

“Dana and I celebrated our ‘anniversary’ three and a half weeks ago at the spa her Dad owns. Then we went around town before watching the sunset atop Greensville Peak. Last night, she became really concerned and ran some personal tests. We’re having a kid, Jen. And I have no idea what to do.”

I stared him down. My brother capable of caring for a child? The thought of it flipped my stomach. So, I did what I was good at. “Well, I suggest seeing a doctor.”

“Seriously, Jen.”

“I don’t know. I’m younger than you, remember?”

He opened his mouth, but the phone rang cutting him off. I grabbed the receiver and scowled at the number. Why in the hell was Fiona calling me? But answering the call was better than hearing my brother talk about his baby problems.


It was a woman. A frantic Russian woman. Spitting out the words I heard only once before in my life: she’s dead.

Damn my head killed. It wasn’t anything like a hangover either. I sat up and grabbed my waist without even opening my eyes. Why was it so hard to move? And where was the insulin?

“Relax, would ya?”

My eyes opened. There they were: two chocolate brown eyes. Scared no longer. Harsh. Brutal. Angered. But concerned.


“Just lay back and eat a flipping doughnut.”

I couldn’t believe her. Thinking I’d just eat a fat-filled doughnut.

“Quit dilly-dallying and eat already. Your sugar’s low.”

My sugar. Is that why I was here strung to an uncountable amount of machinery? I grabbed the doughnut. Powdered sugar. Just like the powder before the competition. It all fled back to me. And of course I sobbed.

“You still haven’t eaten it?”

I wiped my face with the back of my hand and picked apart there doughnut. “Thank you,” I muttered.

“Why are you thanking me? I wouldn’t be here if you weren’t idiotic.”

I stared at her carefully. Why was she here? Where was my father?

“You seriously think alcohol and sleeping pills mix?”

I sat up, finishing the doughnut. “I needed sleep!”

“Well, you got it. In a coma.”

“Coma?” God, oh god.

“Yeah, congrats Princess.”

Then it struck me. “Why aren’t you at school?”

“Come on, you think I’d let you have fun without me.” She laughed and then her face turned to stone. “I’m covering your flipping ass.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I don’t want to, but that Russian told me to come.”

Russian. Viktoria. My maid. “And you came?”

“Shut up and eat another doughnut.”

I didn’t. I stared at her. “Why would you come here?”

“Why did you have to change?”


“It’s a serious question, Fiona. Or Fifi. Whatever you want to be called.” She stared at me for a while before shaking her head and hobbling to the door.


She turned with a glimmer of something in her eyes. Hope. It hadn’t been there for a while. And seeing it brought me back to that day. I must have cringed because Jenna turned back to the door.

“You have to live with it, what- every time you’re drunk?”

“And when I close my eyes,” I added sheepishly. Something about her intimidated me. It always has.

Jenna shook her head and stared at me like I was a hopeless case. The way everyone stares at her at school. “You think that’s bad? I deal with it when my eyes are open. When they’re closed. High or low. It haunts me, Fiona. I have to live with that emptiness. The guilt brought upon by ice cream. And you don’t see me going into comas over it.”

With that, she left. I sat there with a crushing guilt in my chest. Maybe she was right. I didn’t have to live like she did. Actually, no, she was wrong. I lived the same life she did.

“Hey, you are alive!” I smiled. I don’t know why, but I did. The smoker girl, Jenna, was in the same clothes I’d seen her in before hobbling down the driveway with a trash bag slung over her shoulder. It reeked of booze and vomit. Unfortunately it turned me on.

“What do you want?” she was trying so hard not to be happy. At least I thought so. Until I caught a glimpse of her face. Dark rings sat under her eyes and a frown a couple inches lower.

I saw the basketball in the corner of her garage. Not that I was scoping the place out or anything. I just kinda found it there. It called me in a sense. I picked it up. “You play?”

She shook her head. “Brother.”

“Was he any good?”

“You ask him.” She nodded in the direction of the rusty pickup pulling into the drive. He was tall, strong, but not all that intelligent. You could see it in his eyes. The scary part was that I could have passed off as him in a couple years.

“Hey, who’s this?” he asked Jenna instead of me.

“A big fan,” she rolled her eyes and began to head inside.

Gotta love her sarcasm. Anyway, I shook his hand and tried to stroke up conversation. He didn’t say all that much. Just that Jenna was able to outscore him in any scrimmage. I nodded and then asked him to bring her out.

She hobbled out. “What the hell do you want?”

I threw her the ball. “One scrimmage.”

She shook her head even though her eyes were bright for once. “I don’t play anymore.”

That was about when I made the mistake. I pointed out her legs. “You don’t walk good either. What happened?”

In a matter of seconds, that stupid basketball hit me square in the forehead. I must’ve fallen back because I woke up in the living room of her house with this woman, who I assumed was her mother at first, over me tending to a giant scrape on the palm of my hand. She was hot. I mean. Drop dead gorgeous. I even had thought for a second that I had gone to heaven. Then I laughed. Laughed in her face just at the thought of someone like me ending up in heaven.

She jumped back when I laughed. That boy, the basketball’s brother, he held her. I laughed harder. How the heck had I thought that was Jenna’s mother? Anyway, they must’ve thought I was a nutcase. Well, except for that man across from me. He didn’t seem to even notice me there. Actually, none of us.

Jenna came out after I was all bandaged, but she refused eye contact. She walked in the direction of the man and lightly coaxed him to stand up. He threw up. All over. Drunken vomit. But not once did he strike her. I had something to learn from him.

Then she came over to me. Not staring at the bandages or my eyes. In a sense, it was intriguing. Jenna muttered her apologies, threw a hood over her head, and then hobbled back outside. Buying another pack. Two dollars and eighteen cents spent to fix the world she lives in.

I was way behind now. One week in the hospital and another at home had set me back one hundred and thirty two votes. Bake sale? Nah. Too old school. Help out the kindergarteners? Too loud and sticky. Kiss a couple babies? Too presidential. Kissing booth? Too flirty. Wait a second, I am the flirt. I pulled up the school website and hacked into the editing mode. Don’t act so surprised- I had my nerdy secrets too. I typed in the message under Principal Peters’ announcements. That hippie could never figure out who put it there. In fact, he might even believe that he put it there.

Now, I had to come up with an excuse for Beth and G. Not once had they stopped by to check how I was doing. Infuriating? A little. But, it gave me time to come up with a reasonable excuse. Vacationing in Fiji? Did that last year. Meeting with the president? Nah, he was in Tahiti. Was every flipping excuse already used?!

A knock disturbed my thoughts. “BUSY!”

Still the door opened. I recognized the hooded sweatshirt first. The combination of vomit and tobacco shortly followed. It was the stupid bitch- chocolate-eyed Jenna.

“I said I was busy,” I spat out the words. But, honestly, it was nice to have a visitor. Daddy didn’t even know that I was in the hospital, nevermind in bed. Nate only texted about sex. And, like I said, Beth and G never showed.

“Yeah, well, I need help.”

Jenna Lyons was coming to me for help? I knew she’d turn around one day. I smiled and closed the laptop. This would be good.


“You want to get with him? Well, I suggest that you lose the sweatshirt and jeans. Wear something tighter. And add a couple highlights and maybe curls.”

She took a step back. I could see her considering to walk out right then and there. Instead, she closed the door and took a seat at my desk. Dusty and unused. It was the only thing I had of my mother. Jenna must’ve realized that because she quickly moved to the floor.

“What’s it like?”

I was more confused now than when I was drunk last week. Hell, more than when I woke up from the coma.

“Not knowing your mother,” she clarified.

No one had ever asked. No one even cared to. I had no answers for her. “I...I don’t know.”

“Does it help?”

I shook my head. “It never helps to know that your mother gave up on you before you could even walk.”

She nodded. As if she understood!

“Some days I wish I never knew Mom. It would make everything easier.”

Something inside me hurt as she spoke of Gloria. Jenna Lyons, the girl I’ve been nasty to since the accident, was sitting on my floor confessing to me about the death of her mother.

“Some days I wish I was never in that car. That she wasn’t in the car. That you weren’t in the car.”

She cared? No. She was playing me. She had to be playing with me. Jenna, at the time, was the most fortunate out of all of us in that accident. Gloria died. I was unconscious. And she was up. Wedged under the front seat with no feeling whatsoever from her waist down. But she saw everything. I didn’t.

“You were crying, Fiona. Sobbing. And bleeding. I...I thought you were going to die.” Jenna was staring at the carpet in her own trance. “But you didn’t. You-”

“Became a bitch.”

She nodded and looked up, straight into my eyes. “A big one.”

I shook my head. “We were talking about Brian.”

“Right.” She stared at the carpet again. I knew what she was thinking about. I was thinking about it too. Gloria’s funeral. I didn’t show. Jenna called me ninety one times that day. I swore and cussed and pushed Jenna against another wall. A lonely little orb.

Jenna looked up at me again. “What do you know about him?”

Brian. That was it. His first name. And I knew he smelt of bar soap. And that he loved Jenna. I couldn’t tell her though. Not quite yet.


“Me either.”

“What does this have to do with me?”

Jenna stood. Her legs were getting stronger every day, but not enough to ever be the gymnast she once was. “You’re a flirt, Fiona. You can get something out of every guy.”

“Usually sex.”

“Information this time. Where he went to school, his last name, hobbies, background check, anything.”

“I can’t-”

She put the hood back over her head. “I know you’re capable.”


“If you do this for me, you get my vote for the Spring Formal.”

The vote was tempting. I was down a lot. I sighed. “Fine. Shake on it?”

“That’d be too professional.” She hobbled out, but popped her head back in. “And your ad for the kissing booth with Principal Peters was great. Everyone wants to make out with the balding school principal.”

As soon as she left, I flipped open the laptop. Sure enough, the message read, ‘Principal Peters: Kissing Booth for your vote. Make me your queen on Friday during all lunches!” I smiled and stared at the door. Had I underestimated Jenna this whole time?

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