Title: The Aftermath Of A Half-Hearted Break-Up
Intended Length: Short Story? Novella? Novel? Anything we can get, really?
Genre: Semi-Romantic Teen Drama
Narrative Mode: Third-Person Limited Omniscient
Rating: R / Mature (18+)
The following writing may contain mature subject matter that some readers may find unsettling: drugs, sexuality, vulgarity, nudity and other mature themes.
This writing is fiction. Names, characters, settings and events are either used fictitiously or are products of the writers' imaginations. Any resemblance to real events, settings or people, dead or alive, is coincidental unless stated otherwise.
Montane High, officially known as Montane Secondary School of the Arts. It served a quiet suburban neighbourhood. However, its Regional Arts Program had an extended service boundary that included the whole town, and what few rural dwellings there were nearby. Thus, it had a mixed population of students. However, because it was a school of the arts, it had a high female-to-male ratio. This was directly because of an increased female interest in dance, vocal music and, to a lesser extent, visual arts.
Shortly after the fifth bell had rung, the cafeteria was nearly deafening. It was the first of two bells that were paired as the beginning of third period. On alternating days, students' schedules reversed order and thus, occurred backwards. However, since the day only had five periods of class, the third period always began at the same time.
A senior student in loose-fitting blue jeans and a black t-shirt sat down at an empty table. The same table she had occupied weekday after weekday, weak day after weak day. However, because her friends were still at their lockers or in line for food, she was awkwardly alone.
The young woman had a bagged lunch, which she ignored for the moment. That was why she had not been in the line-ups. She had a translated volume of Japanese manga, Gravitation, opened in front of her. And nothing seemed capable of diverting her attention away from the pretty men whose homo-erotic lives spanned the pages in stylized silhouettes.
Finally, someone took the chair across from her. He was a senior, with short hair, though long for a man, which fell over his eyes like a veil. Yesterday, it had been green. Today, it was jet black.
"I'm seeing someone new," the quiet tone, an attempt at false modesty, was barely audible over the deafening roar of the cafeteria's other occupants.
"Oh, you switched hands?" She did not even look up from the comic. And her tone was dry, unforgiving. It's been a day, and already he's playing that card. Hah.
"No, you douchebag."
"It's not news to me. She's been staying at your apartment for a week and a half. I'm not dumb and I'm not blind, Ray." The book closed, a piece of paper marking her page. And she reached for her backpack, beside her oboe case. From inside it, she withdrew some extra food.
"I may be on welfare, but I don't need or want your pity!"
"You're going to starve through half of school just because you can't keep your horny hands off other women?"
"Yeah, Erin, that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Tell your Mom to stop packing food for me to take home, or an extra lunch. I don't want your help."
"What happened to remaining friends, Ray?"
Ray groaned, and looked the other way, ignoring her. I don't understand how she can be so cold! She flips back into friendship-mode like some kind o' fuckin' machine. Screw you, and your monogamous ideals! God damn it, screw you... hah. Hah, I'd love to... but it's too late for that.
The awkward silence that followed was broken by the ringing of the sixth bell. It signaled the official beginning of third period, and meant that the cafeteria had likely reached its periodic peak in noise volume.
Then, three chairs pulled out of the table, and three people sat down, with simmering cartons of large fries. The smell was insidious, taunting.
Ray's stomach grumbled, quite audibly, and Erin rolled her eyes.
Sarah, beside Ray, offered him some fries. Reluctantly, he declined. So, she decided to break the awkward silence. However, Jack, across from her, beat her to it.
"So how did it go last night? Did you two do anything fun? I was gonna stop by, but I had an essay to finish, man." Jack paused, unsure of why Ray was staring blankly at the pillar at the table's edge and Erin was almost digging her nose between two pages of Gravitation. Unfortunately, Jack continued, "And how was that Julie girl - Julie, right? - how's Julie?"
"Oh, Jules is great. We had a great time last night, didn't we, Erin?" he grinned smugly, "Man, Jules loves to--"
"Shove it down her throat 'til she's staring at your jewels!"
Jack frowned at Erin quizically, "Either you've developed a very crass sense of humour, or I'm missing something."
Sarah spit out one of her fries, "Please, no more references to Ray's 'nads."
"Oh, they've been sleeping together for about ten days now, I'd have to reckon."
Jack and Sarah stared blankly at Erin, as another girl, Emily, took a seat beside Sarah. They seemed to be waiting for a punch-line, as if she was kidding. And it never came.
Then, eyes turned towards Ray's chair. It was empty.
"Losing your parents is hard to go through. So is being left alone on welfare in a city like Montane. Dating him, these past few months, I've learned - and seen - some very disturbing things."
Baffled, Jack and Sarah listened intently, wondering why their friend was not more disturbed by this.
"He's bipolar, and not medicated. He's experimented with several illegal substances, and several ladies. And I'd reckon, at least one man. When he fell out of contact with us, for the year and a half after his mother died, he changed, guys. He's not the same sensible person I harbored a crush on."
"Why aren't you in tears, Erin?" Sarah asked, "You're calm, even just now - with him present!"
"Because I saw this coming. I knew from the start that he had started living a bad life. I thought enough of the old him was still there, inside him."
"Isn't Julie-err.. Juules. Isn't she twenty-eight?" Jack was still puzzled.
"Do you really want me to answer that?" Damn, Emily, go away! I don't want to have to explain this to you of all people.
"Nothing, go away!" Jack and Sarah told her.
Distraught, Emily got up from the table and walked away.
"Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who hates her," Erin said. "I was beginning to think I was mean."
"We only tolerated her presence back when she was dating Ray. And since he left, she stopped sticking around. But now that he's been back, she's around us like a bee after pollen." Sarah explained.
"That makes perfect sense."
"And besides," Jack interjected, "Her boobs are fake."
And, remembering the month Emily tried to please Ray with implant surgery, the three laughed at her petty expense; as teenagers are apt to do.