I hated movie beginnings. That was the most boring part. I hated the endings when the credits started to roll in. I adored the middle part. The part where the boy and girl fell in love, where they ran off into the sunset before the said boy screwed up and made the girl cry. Or vice versa.
Before everything went to shit.
I liked happy, too-good-to-be-true stories that made my eyes water from how cheesy they were. Unfortunately, my life was anything but that. Boys could be pigs, girls could be backstabbers and nobody knew the true definition of loyalty. There was nothing in this world that was as sweet as the middle part of a movie.
If only my life had been a movie...
“Ava,” I felt a hand on my shoulder before I heard the voice itself, snapping me out of my reverie. I took the earphones out of my ears, letting the music blast loudly as I stopped in the middle of the hallway and looked at my best friend. Lily always looked the same; her dark brown hair was always let down and curled, her face completely natural and she only wore sustainable clothing.
The thing about Lily was that her entire family tried to live their lives in the most eco-friendly way. Which was often the reason why Lily wore unusual clothes and developed her own unique style.
Her skin wasn’t perfect but she didn’t care if other people saw. She had always been confident in her skin and didn’t want to cover up her flaws. I loved her attitude and she had inspired me on a daily basis to love myself the way she seemed to.
“I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” Lily said, pulling her bag higher on her shoulder as she fell into step with me. We were heading to my locker. “Rubie and I are going to Elfie’s after school. We hear the football team is planning on going. Wouldn’t hurt for us to rest our eyes for a bit.”
“Aren’t you over your stalking tendencies yet?” I asked, poking fun at my best friend. She loved everything about sports - especially the sweaty hot guys. I, on the other hand, was completely unsure of the whole situation. It’s not that I didn’t like them, it’s just that I didn’t have the fever everybody else seemed to have.
“Not for Elijah and you know why,” Lily brushed off my attempts to mock her newly-found love for the school’s most popular guy. I hated to say this but Elijah was a walking cliche. Everything about him was unoriginal. Even the way he flirted with other girls.
“Sis, you know that Elijah probably texted the same thing to everybody, right?” Rubie appeared just as we reached my locker and put her arm around Lily’s shoulder. “I’m not saying anything against you but he’s playing and you’re falling for it.”
“I know,” Lily sighed, admitting to her faults. “I just can’t help it. Which brings me to why I need both of you with me. Because I’m weak and I need backup.”
“Here’s an idea. Let’s just not go,” I suggested to which Rubie laughed and looked at Lily expectantly. I opened the locker to put in the books I held in my hand when a picture of the three of us caught my eye.
Everything about us had always been different. We had different clothing styles, different ways of living and different opinions about most things. But what first brought us together was my ability to embarrass myself, Lily’s charm and Rubie’s fearlessness.
We officially became friends on a school road trip when we were eight. Jenny Linz pushed me into a Cory Woods and he fell into the mud. His friends made fun of me for being so clumsy which made me cry. Then Lily came to drag me away from them while Rubie called them names for being so mean. It’s a strange story but we’ve been friends ever since.
“We have to! I already told him we’re going anyway,” she muttered the last part so quietly I almost didn’t hear. I took the rest of my things out of the locker and slammed it shut.
“You did not!” Rubie said, outraged at the idea.
“A terrible decision, really,” I told her and glared.
“I had to! I just made him think we had pre-made plans otherwise he’d think I was stalking him or something,” Lily spoke shyly, avoiding eye contact. I could’ve sworn Rubie was about to roll her eyes had I not interrupted.
“Aren’t you, though?” I asked. “Isn’t he the only reason we’re going in the first place?”
Lily stuck out her tongue at me before Rubie ended the discussion. “Whatever. At least I’m getting my daily dose of sugar.”
“That’s the spirit,” Lily said with a smile and then turned to me. “Come on, Ava. It’ll be fun.”
“Fine but you owe me,” I said before turning and looping my arm through hers, with Rubie on her other side. We passed the aforementioned Cory Woods and I tried not to squirm at the thought of that day.
We walked to the last class of the day and I didn’t feel the need to rush. The conversation turned to lighter, funnier topics as both girls enjoyed some celebrity gossip. The latest on actor Jaxon Whitmore was that he broke up with his girlfriend and thus ending the Hollywood’s favorite it couple. Meanwhile his rival, Ryder Coleman, landed a brand new role on America’s hottest TV-show Get The Girl.
I never knew which one I liked more despite the fact that both of my friends had clear favorites. Rubie preferred Ryder. He was the leather-jacket-wearing heartthrob every girl had a picture of on their bedroom wall. The thing that separated him from Jaxon was the fact that Ryder had an attitude and a stream of celebrity scandals. Which is why Lily preferred Jaxon - the golden boy. The guy who did everything right and was loved by all.
I watched as my two best friends swooned over two people they had never met in their lives before returning back to reality which had been anything but charming.
We were all desperately single and alone. Our standards were higher than the tallest building on the planet so it was truly no wonder we never had anyone to spend our Valentine’s Day with.
I thought about all the roses I missed out on and chocolates I never got. The hopeless romantic in me curled up in a ball and tried to ignore my body’s deepest desire - to find my special someone.
Shit happens, I guess.
Laughing it off in my head, I turned sharply and awkwardly at the tug of my two best friends when I heard a crack, then felt my foot become wobbly. I looked down at my shoe and realized that my heel had broken off.
“Shit,” I cursed and assessed the damage. “I won’t be wearing these anymore.”
There was evident sadness in my voice as I had been staring at broken heel of my favorite black high boots. What a waste, I thought to myself with disappointment.
“Yikes,” Rubie commented and I knew she felt happy she hadn’t been in my skin at this moment.
“I have an extra pair of shoes in my locker that you can borrow,” Lily offered. “But we have to get to class. I can get them for you afterwards.”
“That’s fine, thanks,” I replied and continued to walk more on my toes rather than on my heel. It had been just my luck to have this happen to me today.
We reached the classroom a few moments after the incident and I took my seat in front row, dropping the books on it and prepared myself for class.
People were talking to each other and I was once again completely invisible to most of them - apart from Rubie and Lily. The entire concept of high school always fascinated me. People only paid attention if you talked to them or did something to draw the attention. You could pass them on the hallway, be in their class and eat at the table across from them and most people wouldn’t have known you existed. And I preferred it that way. I didn’t need everybody to know that my heel broke and I was a walking disaster. Literally.
I didn’t realize how loud people had been until the teacher came in and people started to quiet down. She set her things on the table and waited for the bell to ring. Two seconds before it did, Elijah and three of his friends barge in, laughing their asses off. Cory Woods was with him and ruffled Elijah’s hair roughly, the two of them tripping over each other’s feet and drawing everybody’s attention.
If Lily had the ability to turn into an emoji, she would become the heart-eyes one. Rubie kicked her under the table, glancing over to me while doing so and I stifled a giggle.
The four boys walked right past us to the back as the teacher glared, not amused at their dramatic entrance. They were obnoxiously loud and childish as they made fun of each other for one thing or another. Boys, I shook my head and turned the attention to the front of the class.
I’d very much like to say that I paid attention the entire time but alas, that was not the case. I zoned out right after the teacher noted I was in the classroom and started to teach the lesson. It was the last class of the day so I couldn’t really feel guilty about it.
My thoughts were focused on the fact that it was Friday and I’d spend the rest of the weekend having a Tom Hiddleston, Jude Law, Chris Hemsworth and a Benedict Cumberbatch marathon. The perfect way to spend time, if I did say so myself.
I pretended to take notes so the teacher wouldn’t call on me but I was actually writing affirmations to remind myself of my worth. It was something I started to increasingly do out of habit and to chase away boredom. I absentmindedly decorated the pages with flowers and doodles as I pretended to listen to the teacher who didn’t pay attention to me at all. Instead, she had been more focused on the boys in the back and the popular girls.
The minutes passed and soon enough, the class ended with the ring of a bell. I grabbed my things and followed my friends out of the classroom, completely forgetting about my broken heel. I was so occupied with catching up to them and not losing them in the crowd of people, I made my way to the stairs and called after them. They stopped at the bottom and waited for me while I tried to avoid bumping into people.
Damn, everybody was so eager to go back home.
I walked down the first set of stairs and turned, passing a guy filming his friends with his camera. No doubt for his Instagram or Snapchat.
All that had been currently on my mind was reaching my friends and getting out of this school. I tried not to lose my books in the process.
Almost there, I thought to myself, watching the last five steps. I lifted my foot up, confidently and stupidly unaware of a big problem, then set it down with a force too great on a step too low that made me slip and tumble down miserably.
I don’t remember much except for my books flying, my papers in the air and my hands twisting awkwardly. The pain in my butt and back as I hit the floor and slid down the rest, trying to grab a hold of anyone... that had been my awkward, painful experience followed by laughter and lots of pointing. I had reached the bottom.
And my friends were waiting there to pick me up.
“Are you okay?” Lily asked as her and Rubie helped me sit up.
“Fuck, Ava, you fell... hard. Maybe you should just sit for a while and wait for someone to get the nurse,” Rubie offered and everybody seemed to stand still, watching me with curious eyes as if seeing me for the first time.
The ones who had just witnessed what had happened were either laughing or staring in shock. Others whispered to their friends to find out what everybody had been looking at.
Nobody picked up my books or papers.
“I’m fine,” I got up and laughed it off, trying to hide my absolute fucking embarrassment.
Everybody stared for a moment or two... until they came to their senses and decided I wasn’t interesting anymore. As if the spell had finally broken, they forgot all about me and moved on with their lives. Lily picked up my books as I lifted my right arm up to the back of my head, feeling a sharp pain and moisture.
“You’re bleeding,” Rubie examined my hand and the scratches on it but hadn’t yet noticed the traces of blood on my fingers.
“It’s just a scratch,” I replied, moving out of the way as the students now began shoving, in their hurry to leave this place.
“Come on, we should really get you to the nurse,” Lily said and Rubie agreed, neither of them not taking no for an answer. I let them drag me there and waited patiently as the nurse checked me out and bandaged my wounds, giving me clear instructions that I should rest for the entire weekend and take it easy.
Which was exactly what I had been planning to do.
It hadn’t occurred to me that despite my heart-wrenching fall, I was still expected to fulfill my promise and go with my friends to Elfie’s. With the burning embarrassment still destroying my insides, it had been the last place I wanted to visit right now.
“Come on, you poor thing. Coconut Hot Chocolate is on me today,” Rubie said and pulled me closer to her in a cautious hug before Lily handed me the spare shoes she promised to lend me. I pulled down the boots with a struggle. My entire body was screaming in pain. I had no doubt my ribs and my back would be bruised this time tomorrow.
Lily helped remove them and then tied the shoe laces for me before we slowly made our way out of the nurse’s office and to Elfie’s where I had yet to make a fool out of myself.
If the universe was kind, I wouldn’t have been the victim of its practical jokes.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
And unfortunately, shit definitely did happen.
But why did it always have to happen to me?