I appreciated Ben's concern and everything, the guy could be very sweet when he wanted to be, I just wasn't ready to open up to him right now. Something was stopping me, something I wasn't overly familiar with... It confused me.
After first lesson, we met up with Char, Candice, Taine and a group of other people that liked to tag onto us in hopes of being "popular". I didn't know what the big fuss was, being popular was so not that great.
'Hey Char, um, sorry about earlier,' having to say these words made me cringe inwardly; I wasn't used to apologizing, but I felt I should in order to maintain peace within our friendship group.
'Hey no worries,' she didn't look up from her compact mirror. 'I get it. You're stressed.'
'Yeah,' I sighed.
'Listen!' Candice announced, pulling away from Taine's needy hands. 'We should all head to the beach after school, I'm in serious need of a tan...'
'Candice don't be silly you're gorgeous,' Taine complimented. She looked at him, one elegant eyebrow arched.
'Babe you do not understand do you? We have a status to uphold, we've got to look beautiful!'
'I'm in favor of the beach,' Char agreed.
'Me too!' A guy I recognized as Jack chipped in. It was so obvious he had the hots for Char, he was like a little lost puppy.
'Why not,' I smiled. Anything to stay out of the house as long as possible....
'Great! So it's sorted yeah? We'll meet there around half four? What do you think?'
'Fantastic!' she clapped her hands together. 'Come on then babe, we're gonna be late for our next lesson.' She took Taine's hand and headed off.
As our group slowly dispersed, I looked up at Ben.
'I need to talk to you,' I told him.
'Sure, what is it?'
'Do you have a free period next?'
'Yeah, only half an hour though.'
'Come on then,' I took his hand and led him out onto the school's balcony which overlooked a good majority of the city. He sat down opposite me and took my hands in his, waiting for me to begin.
I didn't know where to start though. Where could you start with something like this?
'You can trust me you know,' he urged.
'I know,' I sighed. 'It's my parents.'
'What about them?'
'I'm worried they're going to get a divorce. They were fighting pretty bad last night, it's why I was crying earlier. Poor Maddy's not getting any sleep, she's just as anxious as I am, it's not healthy for anybody.'
'Oh,' he exhaled slowly. 'Well, have you talked to them about it?'
'What good would that do? They'd just tell me to stay out of it.'
'Don't take this the wrong way Zo, but maybe it'll be good for them to get a divorce. I mean, if they're not happy it's not doing them any good staying together is it?'
'I guess so,' I frowned, not knowing whether to take offense at his words. 'I just don't want them to split. I want a normal, happy family.'
'Look, parent's split up all the time; it's not uncommon at all. Look at Char's parents, they split up long ago and look at all the stuff she gets out of it! She gets spoilt rotten cos they're both so guilty about their divorce,' he snickered. I stared at him incredulously.
'This isn't about how much I'll get out of it! Don't you see?' I was beginning to get riled up, but I couldn't stop. It was like I'd broken a seal and all of my emotions just came flooding out. 'Why is everybody so concerned with material things?! I couldn't care less about what they give me, how much money I'll get! You're all so goddamn shallow!'
Tears were streaming freely down my cheeks, people were staring at us. Ben looked absolutely gob-smacked and as soon as I finished shouting, I realized what an idiot I had made of myself.
'I'll forgive you for that outburst Zoey because you're going through a lot,' he whispered. 'But I really think you need to get a grip. I'll leave you to cool off. See ya later.'
He stood up and left me, completely embarrassed, an absolute wreck and utterly heartbroken.