The Dancer

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Chapter 2

Tapping my feet on the ground as I held on to the can of soda in my hands made me look a lot less worried than I was. I was in the cafeteria in the sub building, and instead of eating the food I had in front of me my eyes were darting back and forth — watching as Advik and his group of friends moved through the line for food. There was a new person with them — Grace Miller. It’s been a few days since I found out that she was at my university, and since then it’s like my eyes have been prepositioned to find her in the crowd. Since that day, I’ve been seeing her everywhere, in the library, while walking to class, hanging around my residence. She was everywhere.

I was starting to wonder if she could recognize me because even though I turned into a shaking mess around her she didn’t budge or react. I’ve changed a lot since high school, so it wasn’t a stretch to assume that was the case. But then again, I was paranoid. Maybe she was doing this on purpose to get a reaction out of me. I wouldn’t put it past Grace, she could be very sadistic.

My eyes went wide, and I turned my eyes to my phone when I heard it ring. The noise had brought me out of my daze, and I was back to the noisy cafeteria instead of staring at Grace Miller as my heart beat in my ears.

Message from: George.

Hey, I just wanted to check if you were doing alright.

Thursday, 2:03 PM.

I smiled down at the message, typing up my reply quickly. George has been nice regarding how I’ve been feeling lately. He would help me with carrying stuff, and he would cover for me, so that I could have breaks in-between. I felt like a burden because of it, but he assured me that it was fine.

Message to: George.

I’m doing alright, thanks for asking.

Thursday, 2:04 PM.

Message from: George.

I’m glad. Have a great day. : -)

Thursday, 2:05 PM.

I was too preoccupied with smiling down at George’s reply that I didn’t notice the seat beside me being pulled. It was when I saw a hand reach across the table for the salt shaker that my eyes went wide with shock before I looked to the side to find Grace Miller sitting next to me. Her brunette hair was pulled back in a tight bun today, and her lips were painted with a green lipstick. She didn’t say anything, she just sprinkled salt on her food as she ate quietly. I wasn’t sure what to do so I looked away.

From time to time I would look back at her. I was shaking again, and I held my hands. If I stood up I would have to ask her to move, and I didn’t want to talk to her.

Why is she sitting here? I wondered looking over at the table Advik and the rest were on. She should be there with the other music students, not sitting here with me.

“I told them I knew you and wanted to say hi.” The sound of her voice threw me off a bit. It had a subtle crack to it. Was she still smoking cigarettes? It took a while for me to be able to look at her square in the eye. Her blue eyes were covered with green contacts today. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out, so I closed it again. What does she want? I wondered, feeling a bit distressed with the way she was looking at me. Her gaze was plain and bored looking, and I wasn’t sure what that meant for me.

“You like him.”

“What—”

“Advik, you like him, don’t you?” My face heated up a that, and I looked away as Grace laughed. I wasn’t sure what to do so I just stared down at my food. It was cold at this point, but it didn’t matter since I didn’t have much of an appetite to eat.

“I’ve been watching you all week. I got a transfer to this place late in the semester, but it’s worth it since you’re here,” she gave me that creepy smile of hers that made me shiver. I hated it. I really hated it. She was up to something, and I couldn’t pinpoint what it was.

“He’s nice, but he’s a douche,” she said, and I just looked down at my fingers. I wasn’t sure how to reply to that. For the period Advik and I had been friends he had been a laid-back person that liked helping people. That’s why I liked him. He just went with things, and never questioned me too much or probed too far, but I guess being okay with me was not synonymous with not being disgusted by me. Yes, he had been a douche to me, but that had been my fault. If I hadn’t gotten jealous of the girl he was hanging with, and if I hadn’t kissed him that evening he wouldn’t have blown up on me.

My chest was filled with distress again. Gosh, why can’t I just get over it? I asked myself. Casual dating, casual dating. I have to eventually go on casual dates to get over him. He’s over me as a friend, and I’m still a mess thinking of what could have been if I hadn’t been so stupid.

“You always go for the pieces of shit.” I wanted to say something, but Grace brought her index finger to her lips to shush me.

“Just like in high school. If you had just stayed Olivia and dated me, your life would have been ten times better. But fuck it, you’re always going for the douches,” Grace spat. Her voice sounded angry now, and her bored look was now replaced with an angry one. Her eyebrows that never matched her eye color was drawn in a thick frown, and I just sat there and ate her behavior because I didn’t want to cause a scene. I just wanted to leave the dining room in one piece.

Olivia had this ‘nice girl’ persona. She believed she was the walking spit version of a nice person, and anyone who thought otherwise was fooling themselves, or delusional. The thing is, she wasn’t nice. She was an entitled borderline manic. She could be nice to talk to and engage with, but that’s when you’re not her target. For a long time, I considered her my friend. I watched as she tormented other people, and I didn’t do anything because I need to grasp on to the friends I had. I didn’t have many, and losing people was an option I didn’t think I had back then.

Gosh, I’m almost twenty and I can’t get myself out of high school drama that happened two years ago. I thought to myself as Grace stared straight at me. None of us spoke for a while, and Grace just sighed before looking out into the cafeteria. People had started leaving, so it was less noisy.

“Why didn’t you say hi?” she asked me. I shrugged. It’s not like I could say ‘you’re a sociopath that ruined my life and its only common sense that I should try to avoid you.’ Nope.

I looked over at her as she rolled her eyes. “You’re really something Olivia.”

“Oliver.”

“I’m not calling you Oliver.”

There was silence for a while. This was something she did back and forth in our last few months at high school when I came out. It stung.

“O-li-via.” She said it slowly, breaking my dead name into syllables as her thin lips pulled into a small smile.

“I’m pissed at you now, but you’ll come to your senses.” By coming to my senses, she meant to be friends with her again — date her even, and it made my skin crawl. I couldn’t say anything because my lips were sealed shut in fear. Grace’s mood flipped like a switch, pissing her off was not a good idea.

She stared at me with the grin on her face before turning away at the sound of people calling her.

“I’m coming!” she said, getting up before picking up her tray of food. Somehow, she’d finished her food while I had been so paranoid to eat. I watched as she walked back to Advik and the rest who were now standing about or dropping off their plates and trays. My eyes went wide a bit when I saw Advik look over at me. I didn’t look away, and after a while of staring at me with a frown on his face, he looked away.

I couldn’t help wondering what he had been thinking about. Did Grace tell him something?

I was nervous yet again, and I could only look down at the table as they walked past me. I didn’t want to get in Advik’s way. He already told me he wanted nothing to do with me.

They left the cafeteria soon after, and my attention was returned to my now cold plate of food. Grace was already stressing me, and I still had the anonymous asks on Tumblr to think about. I just hoped they weren’t connected to her in any way. If she was playing a game, she should just outright do it and stop making me worried.

But that was what she wanted — to make me worried and on the brink of distress so she could ‘console’ me and get me to like her.

Yes, Grace is a very twisted person.

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