The Boyfriend Games

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5- The Message

Into the living room, Graham and I went. All of the participants were slowly pulling various chairs into a semi-circle around the two girls that stood at the front. Amanda and Hope.

“I wonder what she’s going to say,” Misty appears from no where and whispers to me.

Probably something not worth my time.

Was I being rude? Most definitely. Was it the truth though? Absolutely. I ended up sitting on one of the ends of the semi-circle, closer to Amanda and Hope. That meant that more people could see me, a fact I wasn’t pleased with in the slightest. The alternative option, however appealing, would be to move now which would only cause a scene and draw attention at a beeline towards me. So, let’s not.

I leaned back in my chair as if that could possibly move me far enough out of people’s view. Can’t hurt me for trying, okay? Amanda cleared her throat once everyone was settled, and I prepared myself for an annoyingly long speech.

“So,” she started, sounding much too peppy in my ears. I cringed slightly. “I hope you’re all excited, because I sure am!”

Some of the guys smiled, while the girls giggled and looked around excitedly. As if they were getting ready to pick a present. Disgusting. Guys were certainly no presents to girls, and I could probably say the same about girls to guys unashamed.

“We really can’t wait for this to kick off, so it starts tomorrow!” Hope added with a huge smile.

“In case we forgot to mention it to some of you during recruiting, I have a big plan to make videos out of this project. The Boyfriend Games will be posted on YouTube, and hopefully become a hit! We’ll take everything from personal interviews with all of the cast, to little snippets we can sneak of each of your dates. It will turn out amazing!” Amanda sure was excited about this whole thing. Her face stayed lit up, a smile always on her lips.

“Aaand,” Hope dragged. “Speaking of dates, let’s go over the protocol and guidelines for those. Stage One, to put it easily, is when everyone must complete one date with each of the other gender. No more than one, no less than one.” I felt a strange sense from my left side, as if someone was staring at me. I looked through the mini crowd of people only to catch eyes with Ian. I would have to suffer through a date with him. I rolled my eyes and turned back towards Amanda and Hope. I only promised one week, maybe I’ll just go on other dates and then never have to talk to him. Yes, that sounds like a good plan. I’ll quit before I am forced into another date with that imbecile Ian.

“To make things easier, Hope and I will be arranging who must complete a date with who on each day. The schedule is almost complete and will be texted out to all of you by the end of the night. Stage One is simply so that everyone gets a chance to get a feel for all the others, so it’s night after night until it’s complete. Ten straight days of meeting great people!” Great people? Did Amanda even know who she was talking about?

Ian definitely was terrible. Graham was good, but not great. Rye was the closest to great and I’m not sure even he can receive the title of being ‘great,’ at least not yet. Now don’t think I’m being a self-righteous jerk—I can admit even I could not be considered a great person, especially around these nuts.

“After Stage One, obviously, comes Stage Two!” Hope’s voice brought me out of my thoughts. “Stage Two allows the boys to choose which dates come next. You boys can choose as many girls to re-date as ten, and as little as one. You’re now allowed to go on more than one date with the same person. Stage Two gives you two weeks, unless you start early on Thanksgiving Break. Girls, you are not allowed to say no to an offered date.” Not allowed to say no? Not allowed to say no!

I raised my hand but didn’t wait on them to call on me. “I’m sorry, but I forgot the part where I moved to a Communist country where my friends dictated my life and took away choices. Mind explaining to me when that happened?” Amanda glared at me and harshly whispered a "Not now, Thera.”

Hope ignored me, keeping a smile on her face. She put her hand on Amanda’s back as if to draw her attention towards their previous conversation. “Stage Three!” I swear I’m about to leave if this stupid message doesn’t end soon.

“Stage Three,” Amanda said with her mega-watt smile reinstalled. “Is the girls’ turn. You girls choose which boys you re-date, again not really a limit on how many boys or how many dates per boy. It lasts all the way through mid-term week. And then the final stage. Take it away, Hope!”

“The final stage is Stage Four!” Nah, really? “Stage Four is where we come in to help. Each participant writes down their top three of the opposite gender and we’ll look through to see who’s matches up! Stage Four is a bit of a risky and possibly emotional stage, so we may slightly change it as we go. But our end goal is to have everyone a date for the Christmas holidays.”

“And don’t forget, the last night of each Stage will be a party, right back here. It will be a way for everyone to stay in touch, celebrate a Stage done, and prepare for the next Stage to come. I hope everyone is excited as I am!” Amanda practically was cheering.

“As we are!” Hope added. Everyone started clapping at the end of their message, except me. It seemed I was the only one with reluctance towards The Boyfriend Games. I didn’t need a boyfriend. I didn’t even want one. A boyfriend would get in the way of school, of books. It meant less time for me, more time for ‘us’. It meant that I could get my heart bruised. Again. Because hearts don’t really break. They’re still intact, but just hurt. A boyfriend would simply mess up everything.

But it looks like I’ll be stuck with one.

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