There was one more class I had for the day at Crescent High. After class, I’d get back into my car and go home. I would’ve been more positive about entering my last class, you know since Silvia was in it, but there was nothing positive about creative writing class when you had so many dimwits crammed into one room.
Beth tried to redeem herself on the second day of class and went at another insult directed at Silvia, but no one was paying attention to her. It was sad, if you think about her intentions. She saw Silvia as a threat, and with Pierson in hearing range, she saw it as a perfect opportunity to drag Silvia in front of him.
So far, it wasn’t working in her favor. If anything, it was making her look worse. For Beth, it’s pretty hard to get worse than rock-bottom.
And this is Beth Giller I’m talking about here. Pierson didn’t like her after she pretended to be Silvia last semester. And who could blame him? If the tables were turned, Pierson would be the one being disassociated with for taking advantage of a drunk girl. But because Beth did it, most people didn’t believe Beth would’ve forced herself on to him. Some even went as far as to say that he probably wanted it.
Now, once again, if the genders were flipped, it would be a whole different story.
Fucked up, but true. To me, Beth was the scum of the earth for taking advantage of someone. I hated Pierson, but he was still a human being
Or maybe a leprechaun. I don’t discriminate.
Ronnie didn’t treat Beth any better than I did, and since Ronnie hated her, Finn did his best to show dislike towards her as well.
Mr. Adrian’s rules from the first class were reestablished to us every time we entered class, reminding us that we needed to put the past behind us and focus on working together as one. However, Beth wasn’t listening to his instructions.
Frankly, she wasn’t alone.
Even though he did that big speech at the end of the first class, there was still a tension building up in the room that could only be described as fucking awkward. During the whole first week, I’ve been patiently waiting for Beth to say some lame ass joke to piss off Silvia and eventually cause Ronnie to shank her into next week.
Heath would be nearby, ready with his phone to film the entire fight and I would commentate in the background, giving the audience a play by play of the action. We had it all planned out. And it wasn’t like we were the only ones who sensed a fight brewing.
There were a couple of guys in our class who had their money set on a fight, betting on who would win if fists did start to fly between Beth and Ronnie. Unsurprisingly, people thought Ronnie would win - hands down.
“Beth comes from a family full of doctors and politicians. She wouldn’t do any fighting. She’d do some shady things or have someone else do it for her. People with money don’t always go for violence first.” Heath concluded. The discussion about a possible fight was brought up on our way to class. He nodded slowly, completely making eye contact with me, as if he was hinting to something that was only a secret between us. “If you know what I mean.”
Voicing what he actually meant wasn’t necessary. He was suggesting Segg would help her—similar to what she did to Silvia to show her dislike towards her. There was no likely possibility that Finn would let someone mess with Ronnie though. If anyone was going to make her feel like hell, they’d have to take it up to Finn first.
Heath didn’t admit it, but I knew the reason why he wasn’t all that bummed out when he stopped being with Ronnie. It was because he didn’t want Finn or one of his friends to catch wind of what was going on. Because Heath went to our school, it would make Finn’s job easier.
Considering the fact that Heath was placed in our creative writing class, I had a hunch that Finn already knew though. The looks Finn was giving Heath now, while walking into the class room, confirmed my suspicions.
Ronnie waved Heath over, pointing to the vacant seat next to hers.
In a different circumstance, I wouldn’t have allowed Heath to take the empty seat beside Ronnie. But nothing compelled me to stop Heath from taking that seat. He made eye contact with Ronnie, but settled with the seat directly across from her. Heath wasn’t stupid.
He nudged me, bringing out a pen from his backpack. “Hey, is it just me, or is that guy giving me the flirt eye? He’s had his eyes on me since we got in.” He was talking about Finn.
“I don’t know. Give him a little wink and see if he flirts back.” I dared.
Unbelievably, Heath took me up for my suggestion and gave Finn a flirtatious wink, opening his mouth and then pouting his lips at him. To make matters worse, he made a phone with his hands and started to mouth the words: ”I’m lonely. Call sometime.”
Alright, I take back what I said earlier. Not only was Heath stupid, but he wanted to die today, too.
“Quit it.” I prodded him with my elbow. “I was kidding.”
“Yeah, and so am I,” Heath chuckled loudly. “He can take a joke.”
“Not from you.” I rested my backpack on my lap and brought out my pencil. “That’s Ronnie’s ex.”
“I know. I don’t get the big deal though. It’s not like Ronnie and I were in a relationship. We hung out a few times. She’s my friend, and nothing else. Finn isn’t going to do anything.”
I stared at him for a beat. His cheeks had brightened when he said her name, and his voice had raised up two octaves. I’ve seen Heath date girls in the past, but he rarely got this nervous while talking about them.
I titled my head. “You sleep with all of your friends?”
From the corner of my eye, I saw Finn twitched in his seat, sitting up right with a scowl taking over the relaxed expression he was wearing earlier. Was Finn really ever relaxed though? It was either a blank face or a pissed off face with this guy. He had no in-between looks.
The color that drained from Heath’s cheeks told me that he had seen this change in Finn as well. “Do you want to say that any louder? I don’t think the people in the back heard you.”
“I thought you said you weren’t worried about Finn doing anything to you.”
“Yeah, but that was before you blasted my information. The guy is fully capable to detach my genitals from my body. And I, unlike you, don’t want to be left in a body bag by graduation.”
“Since when? You were all up for starting fights the other week.”
“I did say that, but I never implied that you should start a war against Finn. Start small and work up.” He gazed up to the entrance, watching someone walk into the room. “Or you can start with him.”
I turned in my seat to see what he was gawking at. Gabriel had snuck into the class room. Silvia was ahead of him with her back to me. They were deep in their conversation, but I wasn’t close enough to hear the details. And matter of fact, I tried to act like I didn’t care. I really, really tried to act I didn’t care when his hugged her goodbye, holding on a moment too long.
Despite the fact that Gabriel was younger than most Juniors, he still towered over Silvia. After I had first encountered him last semester, I decided to figure out who this irrelevant theater guy was. What I had learned was fairly impressive.
He had skipped a grade in elementary, so he was about fifteen. One thing about him that I already knew was that his dad was the sheriff of the Crescent Heights Police Department. I had talked to his dad a few times in the back of his cop car.
They weren’t my greatest moments, but I did talk myself out of the mess I made fifty percent of the time. Other times, I was too drunk to even form a coherent sentence, let alone cover my ass for my mistake.
Like I said. Not my greatest moments. Junior year was a collection of blurry days and countless attempts to string together the mismatch memories.
His dad being a cop was partly why I hadn’t done anything to him. I was pissed, watching him clearly flirt, and I didn’t know how much I could endure before pouncing out of my chair.
Take it slow, my thoughts rang.
Sailing a punch into this guy’s face and causing his glasses to fall off wouldn’t get what I wanted. Well, correction. It was what I wanted, but it wasn’t what I needed. What I needed was to get Silvia back, and that need was far stronger than my impulse to rush this Junior like a linebacker.
I shrugged it off and sat forward in my seat. “I don’t know what you mean.”
Heath’s brows knitted together. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Didn’t you punch Pierson last week because of something he said about Silvia?”
“I still don’t understand what you’re trying to say, Heath.” I balled my fists into my jeans and leaned back, focusing on the carpet underneath my feet. There was chuckling that boomed from behind me. You couldn’t pay me to look around.
Heath tapped my shoulder. “Dakota, I would look if I were you.”
“You aren’t me. I wouldn’t get mad about something like that.” I said threw my gritted teeth, but the unknown was killing me from the inside. I wanted to know what he was staring at now. Apparently you couldn’t pay me to look around but you could convince me with a cautious look like the one on Heath’s face.
They had walked further into the room, a few feet away from my seat.
Why don’t you just stab me already, my thoughts pleaded.
Gabriel had stopped her from taking a seat and his hand remained on the crook of her arm. A burning lump lodged into my throat as I narrowed my eyes on the contact. I didn’t give attention to Silvia’s body language or the way they were grinning at each other. What really caused the sour taste in my mouth was that she was wearing my sweatshirt.
You’re overreacting, my voice of reason echoed.
I was overacting, but realizing that didn’t make the heat building up in my lungs disappear. The consuming dislike toward this interaction overshadowed my voice of reason. It was only a small whisper in the background, unacknowledged by my annoyance at Gabriel, and partly at Silvia for letting him touch her.
They were close enough to me that I could hear what they were talking about.
“I’m doing something around that day,” Gabriel said. “It would be better if we just met up on Sunday.”
She wouldn’t. She couldn’t.
Not that long ago, she had told me that she planned on asking Ronnie to help her with her math homework.
Silvia answered right away to Gabriel’s questions. “That works for me. I’m not doing anything this weekend.”
Everything I thought we had worked on last period instantly crumbled, pushing us several steps backwards. There wasn’t room for a voice of reason after I heard that. The warning bell rang, which was Gabriel’s cue to leave, but he wouldn’t budge.
I cleared my throat. “You should get to class, Gabe. You don’t want to miss finger painting, now do you?”
His bug-eyes blinked at me through his foggy glasses. “Uh, I should go. I’ll see you later, Sil.” He darted out of the class and entered the room across from ours.
“Sil,” I coughed. “Fucking Sil. That’s so romantic.”
Beth, who was a few seats over, started to laugh. “It’s so closed to the word syphilis.”
“No one asked you to join in, Betty.” I snapped a look at her. “Please return to your usual programming of staring at Pierson and doodling his name in the margins of your journal.”
Her face dropped when I said that.
Silvia either didn’t hear us or chose to not hear us as she went over to Ronnie.
She looked like she was floating on fucking cloud nine when she crashed into her seat beside Ronnie, gushing about a paper she had in her hand. She handed it over to Ronnie, and after looking over it, she handed it back and high fived Silvia.
Mr. Adrian tumbled back into the class room. He had walked out for a short moment when Heath and I entered. Mr. Adrian had our journals stalked up on his desk in a sloppy pile. We had given them to him during our last class so he could see our work.
He took off his wire-framed glasses and began to wipe the lenses with his black tie. He was among the small minority of male teachers who wore a tie to class and made sure he was clean shaved.
Mr. Adrian quieted us down as he gaited around the room, handing out white pieces of paper. I snuck a look at what was on Heath’s paper and it wasn’t the same as the paper I had in my hands. The print out was a copy taken from someone’s journal, like Heath’s handout, but they weren’t the same handwriting as the one on my handout.
“I thought it would be a nice exercise to look at each other’s work. I scanned a copy of one of your latest piece of writing in your journal and handed it out. Each of you have a different piece of work than the person next to you. I made sure to cross out the names so no one will know who wrote what.” Mr. Adrian explained, but it didn’t help ease the tightening forming in my throat. “Please bring out your pens and read the work. That’s the first step. Make sure to add notes or critiques on the side. After that, if you want to read the piece, we’ll read them out loud and then discuss it as a group. But only if you want to.”
My eyes strategically mapped out my escape route if someone decided to read my stuff out loud for everyone to hear. I had a vague reconciliation of what I last wrote in that journal, but I couldn’t remember what it was exactly about.
Who was I kidding? It was most likely about Silvia. It was most likely cheesy as fuck. It was most likely so cringe-worthy that I’d have to jump out of the window before hearing the second stanza. It was most likely going to be so bad that I’d have to legally change my name to Juan Carlos and move to Wisconsin or something.
Okay, scratch that last one. It wasn’t going to be that bad.
It was, however, going to be awful.
I didn’t know what it was Silvia did to mean when it came to writing. I’ve always been more vocal with my writing and music than anything else. Yet I had never gotten to this extent of corniness until I started writing about Silvia. It’s almost like, whenever the topic is centered around her, my mind went into overdrive and the small ounce of masculinity in my work was edited out.
It was mushy and it was floury –two things I simply wasn’t. It was a complete juxtapose once you compared it to my actual personality.
Because I wrote so openly in that journal, I thought Mr. Adrian was the only one who would read it. I was fine with having some fifty-year-old man –who wheezes when laughs and wears polyester like it’s worth a million bucks – read my work.
However, I wasn’t as comfortable with a student to read my work. Especially in this class. There were nine students who hated me in this room, and that’s not including that new girl.
If by chance, Silvia was handed my work, she’d notice my handwriting and hopefully not go up to read my work. But there was far more likely of a chance that one of the three stogies, their stage manager, or the Devil himself (a.k.a. Finn) would read it. I was praying that Finn wouldn’t be the person who found my poem.
“You may now begin, Dakota.” Mr. Adrian said from beside his desk. I just realized that I was staring out in space whereas my fellow classmates were already starting on the exercise.
I took the cap off of my pen and flipped over the paper I was given. The writing was neat, easy to read, and there were even spaces in between each line.
This wasn’t Silvia’s.
She swirled her words into each other. Kind of like cursive, but less legible and sloppier than intended. She always capitalized the letter T in her words, no matter where it was placed in the sentence. There could be a T right in the middle of a word, and she’d stop to capitalize it. Her writing was a total act of rebellion.
I read over the poem one time without making any notes. The second time around, I started correcting their spelling and grammar. It was an all-around okay poem, but I didn’t understand why they had to rhyme in each line as if they were a reincarnation of Doctor Seuss.
I liked rhyming in poetry, like anyone else, but I didn’t think it was necessary in every line. As long as there was an obvious rhythm within the placement of the words, that’s all I cared about.
I was writing my last critique when Mr. Adrian told us to stop and put our pens down.
He rolled over his chair and squeezed himself into the circle. “Who wants to go first?”
Finn raised his hand, along with Faye, and Silvia.
“Alright, Finn.” Mr. Adrian pointed to him. “Would you like to just read it or would you like to add in your critiques?”
“Both,” Finn replied, grinning ear to ear. He brought the paper up from his lap and started to read.