4 - Career Fair
As the bell for class rings, Chasity finds her seat in class trying to settle her nerves of being angry with Tucker and Stormy.
“Today, we will be attending the career fair in the auditorium.” The teacher sounds over the loud room trying to settle the students down. “Leave your things here and everyone line up at the door.”
Excitement heightens in the students as they make their way to the door of the classroom. Chasity feels a warm breath on her ear. “Hey baby! You can walk with me.” Marcus puts his arm around her shoulders.
She throws his hand off from around her as she talks quietly in an annoyed voice. “Did you tell the new girl we made out?”
Marcus smiles down at her in a devilish way. “Well, we did.”
Chasity feels her annoyance intensify at the thought of Stormy being with Tucker. She cannot pinpoint why this girl is so different from the rest. What is it about her that she hates so much? “Why and what else did you tell her?”
“Tucker had walked her to class so, I just asked if she was his new flavor. She acted confused because she thought you and Tucker were a couple. I told her you two were only friends and had been forever. She still seemed to think you two were into each other because she had seen you two playing in the snow the other day so, that is when I told her about our beautiful encounter.” He wraps his arm around her waist pulling her next to him again.
“Stop it.” She pushes away from him. “I told you, I am not interested in you that way.”
“You are just in denial.” He pokes at her teasingly. “Don’t be so stressed about your friend, the new girl seems like one of Tucker’s typical girls. I am sure she will be old news in a few weeks just like all the rest.”
“She is not like the other girls he has dated.” She knows her feelings are showing in her words as Marcus stops her in their path down the hallway.
“Do I detect a hint of jealousy?” His brown eyes search hers with intensity. “You like Tucker!”
Chasity laughs as she walks around his stunned body. “What? No! We are just friends.” She begins to search her feelings wondering if he is right. Shit, do I?
“Then go to his party with me.” She turns back toward Marcus’s words and feels a thrust inside her body to prove him wrong.
“Fine. I will!”
He gets a satisfied grin on his face from her response before continuing their path to the auditorium. “Good.”
She feels her heart beating faster as she moves with him down the hall. As they reach the auditorium, she notices Stormy’s eyes looking at her in triumph as if she has won some contest. She quickly looks away trying to ignore her.
Chasity begins making her way around the tables of the career fair talking to some of the representatives. She cannot help but notice Stormy and Tucker talking directly in front of her as she rounds the last corner of the room. Stormy is obviously flirting and it causes Chasity to feel...what is she feeling? She just cannot seem to pinpoint it. She has never felt this way before and never disliked a girl so much. Tucker’s eyes catch hers and she quickly looks away and catches up with Marcus. She slides her arm into Marcus’s, hoping that Tucker and Stormy are looking. What am I doing? She cannot figure out why she is trying to make them jealous.
Marcus looks at her in confusion for a moment before looking behind them. “I thought you didn’t like him?”
“I don’t!” She slides her arm back away from him as they exit the room. She can tell he does not believe her but he remains silent. “I agreed to go to the party with you, so I was just trying to play my part in dating you.”
“Really?” She tries to ignore his disbelief as they walk back to class.
As the final bell rings for the day, Chasity makes her way to the parking lot to head to the hospital. Before she can make it to her car, she hears Tucker’s voice yelling her name. “Chasity!” She felt bad for snapping at him earlier and she is hoping he is coming to make up.
She turns and sees him running towards her. His jeans are hugging his hips perfectly and his shirt pressing up against his chest as he runs showing the tones of his muscles. The cute expression of excitement on his face makes her heart jump. What is happening? She quickly looks away from him realizing she has never felt attracted to him before. Holy shit! I am attracted to Tucker.
She tries to wipe the shock she is feeling inside from her face as he arrives in front of her. “I had to tell you first.” He adjusts her shoulders towards him as she tries to read his giant grin. “I signed up for the navy!”
She feels her world crumble as she realizes what he just said. “What?”
“At the career fair, there was a navy recruiter. We started talking and I have always wanted to be part of the bigger picture of the world. It is perfect for me!” He hugs her tightly as she still tries to process what is happening. “I am going to be in the navy! I leave this summer after graduation.”
Chasity swallows hard thinking about all their plans to go to college together. She thinks about him being at sea or at war and in harm’s way instead of in Florida safe with her. “Why?”
His smile leaves his face as he looks at her confusion. “I feel like this is what I am meant to do.”
She looks down at her keys in her hand wanting to run away and cry. “I don’t know what you want me to say Tuck.”
“I thought my best friend would be happy for me.” His hands drop from her shoulders in defeat. She cannot get a grasp on why this is bothering her so much or why she feels attracted to him. “Is this still about Stormy?”
Chasity shakes her head. “No. I don’t know. Maybe.”
“What?” She can see the genuine confusion on Tucker’s face as she searches his eyes. They are so vibrant and dark that she feels she could get lost in them. She must look away to stop her feelings for him. “Chasity, what is wrong with you today? Oh, is it that time of the month again? You get really cranky and weird when it is.”
“What? No!” She looks around embarrassed that he is talking about her period. “How do you even know when my time of the month is?”
“I just know.” He shrugs his shoulders at her. “If that isn’t it, what is your deal?”
“I thought we were going to college together?” She looks away from Tucker but his silence causes her some distress so she finds his eyes again. He has an apologetic look and she knows he is going to abandon her and their plans. “I guess I am going alone.”
“Florida State was always your dream, not mine.” She nods her head at his words and turns to leave while feeling the tears in her eyes build. “Chasity. Don’t be mad at me. I need you to be happy for me.”
“We have been planning to go to college together since seventh grade. I just wish you had told me sooner you didn’t want to go is all.” She walks towards her car trying not to let the tears fall down her cheeks. She feels crushed and so alone.
As the first period bell rings on Tuesday, Tucker wonders where Chasity could be. She is never late or absent. When he stopped by to see if she wanted a ride to school this morning she was already gone. She would come to school even when she was extremely sick. She hated missing class. He decides to text her.
Tucker: Where are you?
He waits for a reply during the whole class but never receives one. Lunch time comes quickly and he finds Stormy already sitting in their spot. He wonders if Chasity is still mad at him, so he looks around the room spotting her at Marcus’s table. He feels his heart ache and decides to go talk to her. Everyone at the table is laughing and Chasity is wearing girly clothes again with her hair fixed. Tucker arrives at the table and Marcus greets him “Hi Tucker.” Chasity just avoids his eye contact all together.
“Hey?” He knows it sounds more like a question.
“How is it going?” Marcus looks nervous and Tucker begins to wonder what is happening between him and Chasity. He usually likes Marcus but he does not like the idea of him with Chasity.
“Fine. Chasity, can I talk to you a minute?”
She quietly stands and looks at him as if there is nothing wrong. “Sure.”
He places his food down at the table before walking with her toward the hall to a quieter location.
“Are you really not setting with me because you hate Stormy that much?”
“You know I don’t like being around your monthly pincushions.”
He feels like he was just called a whore and her eyes seem so cold. “Wow.”
“We done here?”
“Why are you acting like this? Is everything okay?”
He can tell she is trying to hide her pain with her careless eyes as she looks away from him and answers. “Yeah.”
“We are still friends, right?”
Her eyes move down and her voice breaks slightly. “I don’t know.” He feels a huge pain strike his heart and he realizes his best friend has changed somehow. He feels speechless as her dark brown eyes, that seem filled with tears, meet his. He sees a strand of her hair fall in front of her face as she looks away from him again and he feels the urge to hug her, but refrains. He does not understand why she seems so different.
“I don’t understand. What did I do Chasity?” His tone is sad and concerned as he looks at her.
She looks lost as she stands in front of him. “I don’t know.” He still feels the urge to hug her, so he does. He wraps his arms around her pulling her head up against his chest and notices she smells amazing. “I just have all these feelings I am trying to deal with and figure out right now.” She sounds sad and he does not want to let her go. He has never seen her sad like this, or so vulnerable.
Suddenly, Mr. Zander’s voice surprises them. “No touching. You both know the rules.” He scolds them and Tucker reluctantly releases Chasity. Her eyes look up at his and he feels pain and annoyance all at the same time. She has a weird look in her eyes he cannot figure out. She always has been so honest and open with him.
“Is this about Marcus? Did he hurt you?” she shakes her head as she looks down to the floor from his question and he feels his heart pulling again. “Chas, please tell me what I can do to fix this?”
“I think I just need a little time.”
“Time for what?” He cannot understand what she means. “Time away from me?”
“I think so.” She sounds just as confused by her words as Tucker feels.
The bell begins to sound through the hall and Chasity glances up into his eyes before leaving him stunned and silent. He feels his heart ache as other students push by him.