23 | Girl Troubles
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep balance, you have to keep moving.”
- Albert Einstein
“She’s a bitch. She’s ruining my life. How can she have such control over my life?” I blabber, pacing up and down in my room. Casey, who is sat on my bed, gives me a sad smile. After Lulu left, Casey came up to my room and tried to calm me down.
“Whitney.” She calls but I ignore her. “Whitney.” Still, I ramble on about my displeasure for Lulu. “Whitney!” My head snaps to her at her loud, angry voice. Widening my eyes, I stop pacing and stare dumbly at her. “You need to stop doing this to yourself, it’s not healthy. Everything will be fine, it will all work out.”
Whilst I normally find Casey’s talks helpful and insighting, this time I do not. My whole life is just spinning out of control. Ever since I came back here, everything has been going wrong. I knew coming back would be a bad idea.
“No, it won’t. I have messed up too many times.” I argue, my knees wanting to give out.
Casey sighs and runs a hand through her black hair. For once, she doesn’t have anything to say.
“I’m so sorry this is happening.” Jason apologizes when we get into his car. Lulu had ordered Alan before she left yesterday to not drive me to school. Instead, he is to follow us in another car. “Trust me when I say I don’t want this to happen either. I tried to tell my agent to not let this happen but he’s an asshole. This is going to be awkward for both of us.”
Fastening my seat belt, I nod my head. I’m not going to blame Jason because this isn’t his fault. He is just as much of a victim as me.
“It’s okay. We will get through this together.” I reassure him, taking his hand and squeezing it. Jason looks me in the eyes and smiles.
With a glint in his eyes, he replies. “I’m really happy we’re friends Whitney.”
“Me too.” I smile.
With that, Jason starts the engine and pulls out of my driveway. Surprisingly, all of the paparazzi have disappeared. I’m betting that Lulu tipped someone off, telling them to go to the school. She wants Jason and I’s kiss to be on the front page of every magazine.
“Jason, h - have you ever been in love?” I ask him, hesitantly.
He doesn’t answer straight away. The car stops when we reach some traffic lights and he begins to drum his fingers on the steering wheel almost nervously.
“Well,” he sighs. “I guess I might as well tell you now. I am in love.”
Gasping in shock, I sit straight up in my seat. He never told me!
Jason avoids eye contact with me, instead focusing on the road in front of us.
“What didn’t you tell me?” I question, hurt laced in my voice. “Who is it? Do I know her?”
Jason presses his lips together and pretends he didn’t hear my questions. He accelerates when the lights turn green and to drown out the silence, he turns on the radio. Many times I attempt to delve into the conversation deeper but he doesn’t allow it.
“Why are you ignoring me? I do know her, don’t I?” Still, I get no answer. I let out a frustrated groan and turn my attention to the window. If he’s going to pretend I don’t exist right now, I will do the same.
Eventually, we pull into the school car park. The first thing I notice when we arrive at school is the news vans parked in the corner of the school parking lot. I catch a glimpse of a CNN van there, with a reporter and a cameraman. Some reporters are also there, chatting with each other. I can’t believe Lulu did this.
Most of the students here are now used to the reporters being in the school car park. They tend to ignore them and its the same vice versa.
Besides me, Jason sighs and pulls into a car parking space. Our car hasn’t been noticed yet, surprisingly. Alan soon parks in behind us.
“Are you ready to do this?” Jason finally says, turning to face him.
The anger I felt from being ignored earlier builds up again and before I can catch hold of it, I’m speaking to him in a frustrated, hostile voice. “So now you’re talking to me, huh? Typical.”
Jason seems taken aback by my sour, harsh voice. He drags a defeated hand through his brown hair, which gives him a ruffled, ‘I just rolled out of bed’ look.
“I’m sorry, I just...I don’t know how to feel about it. I’ve liked this girl for a long time and she’s completely clueless about it. I’ve tried to show her, in subtle ways but she just doesn’t see it. I think she still loves someone else, even though he hurt her.” Jason explains, his voice tinged with melancholy.
My heart bleeds for Jason. I always assumed he would be one of those guys who dates one girl for a short period and then moves on. That’s what he was like when I first met him. Onset for a film, he would chat up all of the crew there. But then, after me telling him off for breaking girls hearts, he stopped. Now I don’t think I’ve seen him with any of girl since that happened.
I’m very curious about who this girl is. She must be pretty special to capture Jason’s attention - and heart.
“Have you tried asking her out?” Is the question I ask him.
Jason shakes his head. “I don’t know how to. I’m scared she will reject me. I don’t think I can go through the heartache. Plus, we are close friends and if she does say no, it will be awkward between us. I’m not willing to give up our friendship, I cherish her too much.”
Holy crap, Jason really does care for this girl. Now I have to meet her.
“So - so, this is going to be hard for you too? Kissing me when your heart is set on another girl?”
“Well, actually -”
Jason is cut off by Alan knocking on the window. He gives us an unimpressed expression and gestures for us to get out. Jason gives me a side look, a sad glint in his eyes and then proceeds to exit the car. Slowly, I follow his lead.
As soon as I step foot on the ground, I’m ambushed by reporters, with camera’s shoved in my face. Alan is quick to step in front of me and push them away.
Jason comes around the side of the car and approaches me. His face is emotionless but his eyes...it’s like there is a storm brewing in them. So many emotions flash in them, each too quick for me to decipher.
“You ready?” He mouths to me.
Sucking in a breath, I give him my answer and move closer to him. From the corner of my eyes, I notice Hannah and Ares standing by Athena’s car, watching me with interested faces. Athena also comes out of her car, confused.
Jason cups my cheeks, leaning into me. I do the same and peck his lips. Camera’s flash, snapping the moment.
Slower than I wanted, I pull away and give Jason a small, sad smile. His eyes fill with disappointment but he covers it up so fast that I doubt if I actually saw it.
Waving, I run off into school with my head facing the ground. It's done now, I can’t go back now. Hannah is going to think I lied to her, Ares and Athena are going to act like they are happy for me and Callum. God, whatever hope I had for a friendship is now ruined. He is going to think I’m getting some sort of revenge by hurting his feelings.
Ugh, I really despise Lulu.
I end up exiting the school through the over exit and I find an empty picnic table outside. Some people sit out here at lunch when it’s nice and hot. Since its April, a few people will be sitting out here at lunch. Maybe I should do the same. It is peaceful out here and it has a nice view of the woods up ahead.
Someone’s loud panting fills my senses from behind me. Glancing over my shoulder, I notice Hannah and the twins heading over to me with purpose.
“Why did they make you do it?” Hannah snaps, plopping down on the seat in front of me. Athena slowly lowers herself next to me and Ares sits next to Hannah.
Feigning confusion, I furrow my eyebrows. “What are you talking about?”
Hannah rolls her eyes. “Don’t play dumb with me young lady.” I would laugh if she wasn’t so serious. “They are made you kiss him. It’s obvious, I could see your reluctance from where we were standing. Did they make you sign a contract or something?”
Oh wow, Hannah hit the nail right on the head. She should really consider being a detective or something.
Not the time. My conscience inputs, in a monotone voice.
“How - nevermind.” I shake my head, wanting to laugh in disbelief. “And I thought I could act my way through anything. You pieced that together so quickly. But yeah, Casey’s partner - well, kind of partner - Lulu forced me to sign a contract. She’s a complete bitch and threatened to fire me from the agency if I didn’t. So yeah. Technically, you’re not allowed to know...but since you worked it out, I can’t get in trouble.”
Hannah blows out a breath and twirls a strand of her red hair around her finger.
“Damn,” Ares whistles, “Hollywood really can be dark.”
From my peripheral vision, I see Athena shooting Ares a dirty look. To show his appreciation, Ares kicks Athena under the table. Chuckling, I feel a bit better with the twin's fight.
“So now, you have to pretend you and Jason are dating?” Athena clarifies, scrunching her nose slightly in distaste.
Athena slings an arm around my shoulder and pulls me in for a side hug. “I’m so sorry. Damn, I would so hate being in your position right now.”
“So what are you going to do?” Ares asks me.
I shrug my shoulders. “I’m not entirely sure. Go along with it I guess.”
“But what about Callum?”
My body freezes for a second. Merely thinking about Callum and his reaction leaves me on edge. My heart pangs in guilt and sorrow.
“I - I don’t know.”