The next day was the closest thing to hell I personally have ever been through. I had never enjoyed the thought of everyone being interested in my personal life, especially to the point where everyone knew if I had been sexually active with my partner. After the rumor had started, part of me was hoping that since most students had believed the rumor, maybe they’d stop paying attention to Connor and I.
My hopes shattered as soon as I entered the schoolyard. Every girl was asking questions along the lines of ‘how was it’ or ‘was it worth it’ or ‘I thought you were going to wait’. Not to mention, all the guys’ reactions. They wouldn’t stop checking me out because lord knows what Connor may have told them when he was on his meds. They were high-fiving Connor once I saw him hobbling through the hallway towards me.
I was only mildly disgusted by how well he was playing along.
We went about our day, as normally as possible. When we got to lunch was when I let it all out.
I sat at my usual lunch table with Connor, Elijah, and even Ellie. Ellie was mostly there because she wanted to figure out this rumor issue we were having. She was probably pissed off because she didn’t know the details, and she wanted to be the one to start a rumor.
I sat there with my head laying on the table, not even feeling up to eating. Connor sat to the left of me, his hand intertwined with mine while resting against the inner part of my thigh. Under my breath, I just mumbled to no one in particular, “I can’t do it anymore.”
Connor heard my voice, but not what I said. He leaned down, more curious than before. “What was that, baby?”
I held my head up for a few seconds, just to get out these next few words. “I don’t know how much longer I can go without this bothering me as much as it really is. Or at least not showing how much it’s really bothering me.”
I set my head back down, letting out a long sigh. Connor pulled his hand back, going to rub my back gently. “I know, babe. But how would you stop the rumor? No matter what we do, someone is still going to fight what we say. That’s just how these rumors work.”
Elijah and Ellie stayed quiet but nodded in agreement, even though I couldn’t see them.
“I know, I just- How are you so good at not letting it bother you? I mean, I feel like a slut. No offense to all the girls that slept with you for real.”
Ellie let out a quiet, “No offense taken, I understand.”
Connor let out a quiet laugh, “I don’t know how I do it, I just go with it I guess. I understand how it’s hard for you, you’ve never actually slept with anyone. I’ve had this label for the past year or so. It just takes time.”
I let out a quiet whine, “How do I stop thinking about it? What do you do when it gets to be so overwhelming and just becomes all you can think about? I’d literally do anything.”
Connor shrugged, glancing at Elijah and Ellie for help. “Sometimes, if there is one at the time, parties can be a good distraction.”
My head shot up, “Are there any parties going on tonight? I’ll go to any.”
Elijah and Connor exchanged looks, as though they were consulting one another about if they should tell me. “I know Luke may be holding a party tonight.”
“Oh, that asshole from English? How big of a party?”
Connor’s hand returned to mine and he gave it a small squeeze. I looked up at him questioningly. “Elizabeth, you have a soccer game tonight. You can’t skip that.”
I nodded, knowingly, “Obviously, I was thinking about afterwards. Would y’all want to go with me?”
Ellie was definitely in for any party, but Elijah and Connor had their concerns. “You know we have school tomorrow, right, Elizabeth?”
I shrugged in return, not exactly caring at the moment.
Elijah spoke up quickly, “I can hold a party Friday if you’d want to wait until the weekend, you know that.”
Connor nodded, “I think that’d be a better option, Liz. You shouldn’t go out after the game tonight. Especially if you’re going to be actually drinking.”
I sat up, lightly hugging Connor’s arm. “If you two are worried about me, then come and look after me. But if you don’t want to go, Ellie and I will go by ourselves. Isn’t that right, Ell?”
Ellie nodded, a large grin plastered on her face. Any party was Ellie’s ideal situation. Connor and Elijah rolled their eyes, knowing they were going to this party tonight for my safety. They knew I was planning to drink away this rumor, whether that meant I was going to drink until I was dead or something a little less harmful.