I sighed as Matt stood over me. He was making it very difficult to study and so I looked up at him. I tried to make my expression as bored as possible.
“Um, Gail.” Matt said. God, was he always this damn shy? I thought my rejection earlier had killed him.
“What?” I snapped and then instantly regretted it. I smoothed my tone over. “Hi?”
“Hey. What’s up?” He pulled out the chair across from me and settled in it like I had invited him to sit with me.
It was getting hard to lie to him. It took effort. “Do I know you?”
“Yeah.” He said strongly. “Matt. Your boyfriend from a while back. Remember? Yeah so, great to see ya! Glad you’re back.”
“Yeah, I’m back but its not for good.” I told him quietly. I might as well have stabbed him to death or something. Love is one of the worst pains.
“But we were—“
“Look, I really have to study.” I lowered my eyes back to the book in my hands as Matt stood up, embarrassed. Dammit.
I stood up so fast I sent the chair over backwards. “I don’t need this shit, Gail. I can’t believe you are the same girl I loved. Have a good life.” I stormed out of the library, staring down the students staring at me.
Outside, the brisk cold air slapped a little sense in me. What the hell was wrong with me? I hadn’t seen Gail in four years. Why was I being bent? Ego? perhaps.
The bell rang. A wry smile, as I thought, saved by the bell
Van was in my speech class. I waited for him at the classroom door and punched him on the arm when he arrived. “I got a new chapter, on the Matt and Gail soap opera,” I said to him before we found our seats. He just raised his eyebrows. “I’ll tell you after class,” I said.
Speech was the last class for the day. After class Van and I walked to our lockers, and I related the meeting with Gail in the library. Van shook his head. “Why are you even bothering with her. An old flame—in grade school, even.”
After Matt stormed from the room, I felt like breaking down into tears. Why can’t he see right through my lies? Or is he just stupid? I wiped at the few tears that escaped my eyes and put my head down on the table.Feeling like I was about to start sobbing uncontrollable, I gathered all my books and rushed from the library. Running too fast, I ran right into someone, falling to the school’s tile floor.
He bent down to help pick up my books. It was Van. When I realized it was him, I stood up quickly; trying to rush away but he grabbed my arm. “Hey there.” He said silently. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing.” I sniffed. “Let go.” I tugged at his hand but he had a firm grip.“You remember me, don’t ya?”
“Gotta go, Van.”
“Just left my boy back in class.” He said, shaking his head. “Man was a wreck. You got my boy sweatin’ you, huh?”
“Let me go!” I snapped loudly, pulling out of his grasp. “I don’t care about your boy and your boy don’t care about me! So just leave it at that!”
I was leaning over, checking the oil dipstick, when Van clapped me on the shoulder.
He said, “You aughta get rid of this beater; get a good car.”
“Great idea, but with what, my good looks?” I slammed down the hood.
“I ran into your girl, Gail, today,” Van said.
“She ain’t my girl, and hasn’t been for years. You want a ride?”
“No. I gotta meet Zane at the ball field. You know, there reallys is something going on with Gail.”
I shook my head, “And you know this because?”
“I told her you had the hots for her and she teared up.”
The beater door squawked in protest as I opened it. “Why would you tell her that? Her and I are done, over, finished. You get it?”
“Seriously, Matt, something is going on with that girl. I don’t know what, or why she’s giving you the cold treatment. But if you really care for her don’t give up so easily.”
“Van, I love you like a brother, but even I figured out that she just pretended not to know me that first day. I gotta go. See ya.”