“Oh, hey, Kyle,” said Jerry with a sneer.
Kyle was putting things in his locker when Jerry spotted him and approached him. How could he miss a perfect opportunity to harass Kyle, right?
My brother embarrassed me more than anything else I could possibly think of. I’d always wanted a tough, cool, popular brother, one that everybody would envy me for—basically, the complete opposite of Kyle.
We went to the same school (of course) and everybody knew we were siblings. His hair always looked like Jim Carrey’s in Dumb and Dumber and he wore Milton glasses. Couldn’t he at least have gotten a better haircut and thinner lenses or worn contacts? Or gotten Lasik surgery even? Well, I supposed that was off the table because he didn’t have any money for it.
He always wore ill-fitting jeans and the most out-of-style clothes he could find, such as paisley patterned shirts. They didn’t even sell them in stores anymore. I seriously wondered how and where he managed to find those. I supposed that was sort of his skillset—let’s just leave it at that.
But the most embarrassing reason of all—and the one that tortured me the most—was that he had a crush on Sophia! Yes, my Sophia! Why did he have to choose her? Not that there were a million choices in this town, but he could still have chosen someone else, someone who wasn’t my BFF, couldn’t he have?
Jerry Harris, Jr. was a senior in high school and the son of County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Jerry Harris, Sr. He was a quarterback (typical, right?) and popular. He was also a jerk, but he knew how to manipulate the girls. He could be coolly romantic on the first date. Then he’d go back to being his true self, aka a jerk, but a lot of girls stayed with him anyway, at least until he moved onto the next one. After all, a lot of girls liked assholes in high school, didn’t they? He had good looks and six-pack abs. He dressed cool, walked cool, and talked cool.
He was also Sophia’s ex.
They’d dated briefly when she was in eighth grade. They got intimate and went all the way but it was only for a mere second because his thingy was way too big for her to bear. When he demanded to try it again and began to force her like an ass, she broke up with him. Nobody had ever dumped him before her, so he didn’t take that very well. He was a dictator in his relationships and always the one who decided when to call it quits. So he called Sophia disgusting names publicly, leaking false information to embarrass her. All the nasty stuff. Sophia couldn’t hate him more.
Kyle hid his crush for Sophia for a long time until I finally insisted he confess it. I suspected it long before but I was too scared to confront the truth. I just wished he’d change his mind before I had to deal with it. God knew how long he harbored that secret crush. I thought his only crush was Candy!
After his feelings toward my best friend surfaced, I became so aware of it, it made me very uncomfortable whenever he saw me with her. I couldn’t help but notice his eyes blinking unnecessarily or shifting abruptly. His face would often turn red like an overripe tomato. Heck, I could even see his heart beating so fast, his shirt would tremble! I could not ignore all the details I saw to the point that I felt superhuman, just like Bella in Twilight when she was turned into a newborn vampire.
There was no way Sophia would go out with Kyle. He should have known that. He should have known better. But that was the thing about nerds like him, they didn’t know any better.
When she came to my house to drop off a movie she borrowed, Kyle answered the door, and there she was, the love of his life, standing right before him. It was still a mystery what was going through his head, but either he had an irrational, impulsive, adrenaline rush to appear thick-skinned, or he simply couldn’t hold back his feelings any longer. Whatever the case, he had to tell her. When I rushed to the door, it was already too late. The damage was already done. I saw my best friend’s eyes shifting uncomfortably.
“Hi,” Kyle answered Jerry, keeping it brief.
The thing was—the rumor had already spread throughout the school and now everybody knew Kyle liked Sophia. Sophia had told Zoe—what did you expect? Girlfriends didn’t keep anything from each other, not even something as embarrassing as the habit of eating an apple while pooping.
Of course Sophia told Zoe to keep it strictly between them. So how did it leak? Zoe must have told someone else, after saying, Don’t tell anyone, and that person must have passed it on to another, saying, Don’t tell anyone. Then another, and another. That was how rumors were spread, wasn’t it?
When the rumor got to the ears of Jerry, he found it very amusing. He was so bored he was glad to finally have some real entertainment.
“So you like Sophia, huh?” asked Jerry with the same sneer.
Kyle and Jerry had nothing in common and certainly nothing to talk about—not until then. Now they shared Sophia in common.
Not that Kyle didn’t know the rumor was out, he simply didn’t want to talk about it. Especially with Jerry. So he decided to just leave the premises.
“Hey!” Jerry hurried after him and grabbed Kyle’s shoulder, turning him around to face him. “Nobody ignores me.” His sneer changed to anger.
Jerry had lots of muscles. Kyle had none. No one got muscles by sitting all day and playing video games. Jerry played tackle football and lifted weights at least two hours a day.
Kyle stuttered as he repositioned his glasses with his index finger. “What do you want me to say…?”
“Shouldn’t you be picking someone from your own nerdy circle of friends?” said Jerry. He was still gripping Kyle’s shoulder tightly as he continued, “You know I dated her, right?”
Of course he knew. Who didn’t know? Jerry used to advertise it as much as if he were running a political campaign in town.
“Yes…” Kyle’s eyes avoided Jerry’s.
“Well, I fucked her. Did you think you can fuck her? Did you ask her that?” Jerry’s voice became unnecessarily loud.
Kyle didn’t like the direction the conversation was going. “No,” he replied, then he repeated, “No, no. Of course not.”
Kyle was an introvert. He wasn’t used to talking in that fashion out loud. Nor did he want to.
“I have to run,” Kyle replied before he fled from him.
“Hey!” Jerry chased after him and came to where Sophia, Zoe and I happened to be.
What a show.
“Oh, this is interesting,” sneered Jerry to us as he caught up with Kyle and grabbed him.
“So, Sophia. Are you going to let him fuck you like we did in my bathroom?” Jerry was being a pure jerk. Sophia’s face turned red, mad and embarrassed, as she looked around nervously to see if anyone had overheard what he’d just said.
“Stop it right now!” Sophia demanded as she jabbed her index finger in his chest.
“Oh, are you defending this guy?” Jerry’s voice rose, and his anger was evident. After all, he still wasn’t over Sophia dumping him. Nobody ever dumped Jerry Harris, Jr.
“You’re not saying you actually like this geek, are you?” He leaned over, giving her a threatening look.
“Just go away, Jerry. This is too messed up. You’re nothing to her. She dumped you. Remember?” Zoe cut in. She wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything.
“Was I talking to you? Shut your pie hole,” Jerry rudely replied.
“Don’t talk to my friend like that. You’re being a total ass.” Sophia was strong, too.
“What?” Jerry closed the distance between him and Sophia, trying to intimidate her.
“Hey, stop.” Kyle pulled Jerry’s shoulder, trying to get him away from her.
I supposed love did make people strong. Kyle would have never done that if he weren’t so much in love.
“Do not,” just as the words emerged from his mouth, Jerry turned around and punched Kyle in the face.