I. Hay Bug&Joshie Pooh
“Fatty fatty, Hailey is a fatty,” they sing while circling me and pointing their fingers.
I couldn’t help but sit on the cement ground while curling myself into a ball, fighting the urge to cry. “I’m not fat,” I grumble, biting on my lower lip. I don’t understand why they only pick on me. I barely even talk to them or cause any trouble. Mom and dad said I’m a good girl.
They start to laugh, a sound that's filled with joy but made me feel even emptier inside. They made oinking sounds. Of course, they would, I am fat. I’m only eight, but I weigh double the average pounds for a girl my age. Mom said it’s baby fat, and when I hit puberty or something, I would lose it.
One of the boys kick me, then stuck his tongue out. He put the finger on his nose and stuck it up, making a snorting sound causing everyone to laugh louder. I continue to cry, a loud wailing one, and I inhaled through my stuffy nose. I cover my ears, rocking myself back and forth. “Please, stop.”
“Get away from her!” a voice shouts, and they stop circling me. I continue rocking myself, attempting to find some comfort. I want to go home and sit on my dad's lap while we watch the Umbrella Academy together. Mom said it’s a bad show, but I like it.
He stands there, carrying his giant karate gear bag, still in his white uniform. His face is red, powdering with anger as his fist tighten. He stomps towards me and helps me get up. He glances down, noticing the bruises around my trembling body. I slip behind him, an action I always do, grabbing onto his rough clothes, burying myself in his arms.
“Who-” his voice sounds rough, yet somehow still high pitch. “Who hurt Hailey?” He questions while all the kids look down in the ground, kicking their feet back and forth. “I told you to stop hurting my girl!”
I stifle a cry feeling his hands rubbing on my back. “It’s okay, Hay Bug. I’m here; no one will hurt you,” his voice softens.
“Why are you defending her, Josh? She is fat and ugly!” the pretty girl of my class shouts, stomping her cool light up shoes. I understand why she would be mean to me; after all, I stole her shoes once. I’m not proud of my actions.
Josh drops his gear, menacing eyes glaring at her. “What did you call her?” I hold onto his rough clothing and shake my head. “Hailey.” I continue shaking my head. Josh inhales a deep breath, “Leave and don’t hurt Hailey anymore, last warning,” he said, and all the kids scatter off.
The prettiest girl looks at me and stomps again to show off her cool light up shoes. I fight the urge to take it off her feet and run.
Maybe, they aren’t bullying me because I’m ugly.
Josh turns towards me while his face softens. “Are you okay Hay Bug?”
I smile and nod. “I’m okay Joshie Pooh.”
He releases a deep breath then grabs the first aid kit from his bag. Josh is like a mom sometimes; I mean, which kid carry a first aid kit? We walked towards the grass and sat down. “They are all going to pay,” he grumble treating my wounds.
I shake my head .“They are right,” I said, causing his face to change like he smells something yucky.
I push up my glasses. “I’m fat and ugly, Joshie Pooh,” I pout not understanding why Josh still hangs out with me.
I’m the ugliest girl in the class where everyone calls me Miss Oinky. Josh smack the bandage onto my cheek. “I don’t care. You’re my Hay Bug, and I will never leave you.”
Josh hold my hand and help me stand up. He smiles showing his single clear dimple, and I couldn’t help but smile too. I swing our hands back and forth as we march back home. We pass an ice cream store, and I swallow. “Want some ice cream, Hay Bug?”
I nibble on my lower lip, gazing down at my feet, seeing the bump on my tummy. Josh looked at me, waiting for my answer. I smile and shake my head.
Josh chuckles. “Well, I want some,” he said, dragging me into the ice cream store.
The bell ding, and the man look up and smile. “Well, who do we have here. The cutest little couple in town, Jailey,” he teases.
My cheeks burn while I stand behind Josh, trying to hide from the world. Everyone in town always teases us about being a couple because we were together since we were in diapers.
“Hello, Mr.Middleton” Josh politely greets him.
He chuckles, “Josh I told you to call me Peter. No need to be formal. Now, what can I get for you two today?”
Josh look at me, and I hold onto his uniform tighter. “N-Nothing for me” I gulp, gazing at the ice cream.
“I would like two scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough, please,” Josh said.
Peter nod then scoop the ice cream. Josh walks towards the cashier while I stand behind him, rocking my shoes back and worth. My eyes wander, seeing a few men standing outside, checking us once in a while. They are Josh’s bodyguards because "He is a very important person," is what dad told me.
Peter gives Josh the ice cream, and he reaches inside his bag to pay. Peter push back the money. “It’s on the house, after all, I want to keep my usual couple,” he winks.
“Thank you, Peter,” Josh said, then walk us towards an empty table.
He drops his large bag and hops onto a chair. I plant my knee onto another chair and climb up across from him. Playing with my shirt, I chew on my cheeks, watching him eat my favorite flavor.
“This is soooooo gooood,” he groans, taking another scoop and smack his lips.
I hate him.
He kicks his legs that barely reach the floor and eat another scoop. “Yummmmm.”
After the third bite, he stops. “Oh no!” he shouts, dropping the spoon.
I stare at the delicious ice cream. “What’s wrong?”
“Aunty Piper said I’m not supposed to eat sweets since I have a competition in a few days,” he pouts.
“I guess I have to throw it away...unless-” he looks at me.
I shake my head and hands in front of him. “You can’t throw away food Joshie Pooh or else your mommy will get mad!” Josh’s mom is very strict when it comes to wasting food. His mom cooks the best meal in the whole world. I love eating at Josh’s house.
I love my mom, but she burns instant noodles. It is not a surprise that dad is the one who cooks in the house.
He sighs, placing his chin on his palm. “Then, what am I supposed to do?”
We stare at the melting ice cream. “I-I-I can eat it for you?”
His eyes travel upward. “Will you do it for me?” He bites the edge of his lips. “So, I won’t get in trouble?”
I smile and nod, trying my best not to squeal. “Yes!”
He chuckles and push the ice cream closer towards me. I grab the small red spoon and scoop a bit. Slowly, I laid it in my mouth, feeling the cold sensation. “Yummmm!”
Josh laid his arms on the table, resting his head. I continue eating as he stares at me with a big smile on his face. He lifts a hand, running his fingers through my blonde locks, twirling a single strand around it. “Do you like it?”
I nod, shoving another spoonful of heaven into my mouth. “My favorite!”
When I finish, Josh wipes my face. He hops off the chair and grabs the empty cup, throwing it away into the trash can. I lick my teeth, not regretting anything. Josh should’ve ordered three scoops.
He came back and grabbed his bag. Holding out a hand, he wiggles his fingers. I hold it, and he helps me leap off the chair, ensuring I don’t fall.
I fell off a chair before....many times.
He holds my hand, and we start walking home again. “Bye, Peter!” I scream, and he laughs, waving at us.
“Do you want to come to my house for dinner tonight? Mom is cooking Chinese since dad is coming home from his business trip,” Josh said.
I nod and chuckle mindlessly, feeling the drool dripping on the side of my mouth. “I love Chinese, especially your mommy homemade dumplings.”
While we walk home, I look at our hands. I noticed mine was twice Josh’s size. “What’s wrong, Hay Bug?”
I sigh, “Joshie Pooh, why do you hang out with me? I’m fat and ugly.”
Josh stop walking and let go of my hand. He cups my chubby cheeks, forcing me to look at him. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
I tilt my head, feeling my glasses leaning slightly. “Ha?”
He smiles, eyes crinkling. “That means the perception of beauty is subjective.”
Josh laughs. “It means in my eyes, Hailey Vaughn, you are the prettiest and smartest and cutest and sweetest girl I ever met.”
He nods, running his thumb across my face. “You’re really really really really really really pretty!”
I kick my leg back and forth. “Really?”
He rubs his nose against mine. “Really! Really! Really! Really! Really! Really!”
He plants our forehead together. “Laugh for me, always. Okay?”
I step closer, holding his belt. “I love you, Joshie Pooh.”
He pecks my forehead and hugs me. “I love you too Hay Bug.”
Joshua Greyson is the most handsome guy I ever met, and he is my only best friend.
I love him for as long as I can remember.
He is my everything.
That’s why I can never afford to lose him.
I walk upstairs toward my room, sweating a little. I flop on my bed staring at the ceiling with scattered glow in the dark stars. I laid a hand on my stomach, feeling the fat. Rolling onto my stomach, I dug my hand between the railing and bed pulling out a piece of paper. Slowly, I unrolled the crinkled paper, seeing the poorly written list filled with rainbow stickers.
How to NOT fall for Joshua Greyson.
Rule #1: Do not fall for the one who refers to you as “My Girl.”