27- A Gaggle of Girls
Wednesday was pretty uneventful, lest you count the zombie apocalypse.
Made you flinch. But really, Wednesday was just a normal school day. In the passing time to seventh period, I walked by Graham and he pulled me over to the side away from the surge of teens.
“Hey Graham,” I greeted.
“Howdy,” he grinned. “Look, I was wondering if you wanted to go out sometime tomorrow?” I looked up in thought.
“I can’t say tomorrow will work. You see, all the girls are getting together and I’m expected to be present.” Graham nodded.
“Not a problem. Well, would tonight be too soon of a notice?” I shook my head.
“Sounds good. Where and when?” I asked. He told me that he would text the information as soon as he confirmed something, then slipped back into the throng of people.
“Best darn burgers or steak you’ll ever have,” Graham argued. I pondered the thought then shrugged, figuring it would do me no good to fight against an opinion.
“’Kay, let’s go in then.” We were seated fairly quickly for such a popular restaurant.
“What’ll it be, darling?” The waiter asked. I scoffed at his flirting.
“Cheeseburger with mayonnaise and onions only. Also, I would like to change the side of French fries to a bowl of peaches.”
The waiter’s eyebrows scrunched together. “We don’t serve peaches here.” I gasped, putting an offended hand on my heart.
“How dare you, sir. That is inhumane. This should be illegal. Thi—”
“Uh, Thera?” Graham nudged me softly. “That ain’t gonna change anything, is there something else you’d like? We can go buy you some peaches after.”
I gave him a firm nod and frowned at the waiter. “I guess I’ll have a baked potato.”
“Very well ma’am. Sorry for the...inconvenience.”
I feel like the waiter tried to avoid our table as much as he could after that. But I was happy because—as promised—Graham took me and bought peaches afterwards. Oh, life is good when I have my fruit.
Thursday. Misery day. “Do I have to go?” I complained out loud to no one in particular. I was, after all, at home in my room, alone. It was getting dangerously close to time for me to leave and I was still laying in bed not wanting to get up. I should at least brush my hair and teeth, I finally decided. With a ‘mighty’ groan, I finally stood and walked to the bathroom.
“Yeesh, did I look like that at school?” I suddenly felt bad for the people who had to look at me, but didn’t last thinking about it for too long. Quickly freshening up, I figured I should at least change clothes and threw on a different pair.
The sooner I get there, the sooner it’ll be over, I tried to convince myself. The chosen destination was the party room of Beef’s. At least I know I’ll like the food. (Any small reason to be happy I was desperately trying to cling to. Not sure if it was working.)
Six pairs of eyes trained on me as I entered the room, but soon most just broke out into smiles or continued laughter and conversation.
“Thera, up here!” someone called. It was Amanda. She had saved a spot to the right of her and I sat down with a small thank you. There were several tables pushed together to accommodate the amount of people we had. Hope was at the head, and Amanda to her right.
“Hey, I don’t think we’ve met,” the girl across the table from me said. She had dyed purple hair and bright eyes. “I’m Cora.”
Her smile was contagious and despite the odds, I found myself reciprocating the gesture. “Thera,” I said as we shook hands. At different times during conversation some of the other girls would turn and say hi to me.
A few minutes after I arrived, Christie and Andi showed up. “So how many still aren’t here?” Misty asked from my right.
“Now that these two have showed up,” Amanda answered, “we’re just missing Maple, Rayna and Barbie.”
On the table, Hope’s phone buzzed. “Uh, scratch that. Barbie said she can’t come.” Did I just let out a breath of relieved joy? Was that me? Oh my.
“Hey all you party people.” Who would walk through the door next but Rayna? Adorned in her black leather jacket and gloves, she probably had ridden a motorcycle here. Her chosen seat was at the opposite end of the table. “Where’s my food?”
Olivia shushed her, saying that she was going to have to wait like the rest of us. The waitress came into the room and got everyone’s drinks. “We have one more coming,” Hope informed the waitress who smiled and said that was fine. Just as she was about to leave, a girl with light brown skin and hair in pig tails came scurrying in.
“Hopefully I’m not too late,” she said, sitting across from Amanda. “It was time to feed up and the cows weren’t cooperating.”
I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Who are you?” The girl blinked once, looking towards me.
“Haven’t we met?” I shook my head no. “Oh, then hi. Maple’s the name.”
“Thera.” She tipped an imaginary hat.
“Pleasure,” she told me before turning to continue conversation with Amanda and Hope.
Later on, after dinner had been ordered, Amanda pulled out her camera. “Since we’re all gathered here, I figured we could get some more footage for the videos!” she suggested. Oh joy, I thought. More unwanted film time.
“So, we’ll go around the table and talk about anything you want,” Hope pitched in laughing, “of course pertaining to The Boyfriend Games.”
“Starting with Maple,” Amanda said with a smile. Pink lit up Maple’s cheeks as she thought of something to say. “Any insight as to which three you might want to choose in the final stage?” Amanda prompted.
Maple shook her head. “Not sure, they’ve all been sweethearts. I did like getting to see Graham’s two horses though.” Annoyance surged through my blood. I’d quite enjoyed the horseback ride into the woods and it made me slightly angry to think that maybe he had just taken all of the girls on the same date. Whoa girl, down Bessie, I tried to coax myself. Where did that come from? It smelled suspiciously like jealously. It stunk like a pig sty.
The interviews continued around the table, each girl taking their turn to laugh and blush a little and tell their secrets (well what used to be secret) as to who they liked the best so far.
When Olivia said she couldn’t decide either, I spoke up. “What about Oscar?”
Amanda’s eyes went wide at me (presumably because I actually spoke up) before she focused back on the camera so the shot didn’t get too shaky. Olivia looked kind of shocked at what I had suggested.
“Oscar?” An awkward laugh accompanied this question. “But he’s like my best friend.”
“Even better!” Destiny squealed slightly.
“Ship,” I said with a nod of my head.
“Same,” she agreed dramatically. “Ship so hard.”
Olivia’s mouth was hanging open, a blush across her cheeks. “Really? Is there something there that I’m not seeing?”
“Obviously,” Rayna said nonchalantly, “or else these crazy chicks wouldn’t be talking the way they are. The dude likes you, and seeing your reaction now, you like him too. Just admit it.”
Olivia tried to brush off the attention, and Amanda moved on to avoid the stalling any longer. By the time she got to Misty, I was getting prepared to bail.
“So Misty, any dates or guys that you liked the best? Go on, we’ve all been sharing.”
“Well Amanda,” Misty started, seemingly not looking towards the camera on purpose. “Let’s just say that I love music. And that one of the guys can play like, anything. It’s really admirable. I’m kind of looking forward to the next date with him, if there is one.”
“Stage Three is girl’s choice,” Hope imputed. “So even if he doesn’t take you out this week, you can take him out next week!”
There was a small smile on Misty’s face. Who was this guy? My first thought when she said music was Graham again. He played the guitar for me. But I felt like I was missing something. Someone else that played lots of instruments. One that, now that I think about it, Misty had been super exited about previously. How had I not guessed this before?
I had a new pairing to write down.
Misty and Rhett.