Crystal slams her cheek against mine. “Oh, I miss you,” she groans. Her body rubs on mine, and the discomfort only increases.
“People are watching,” I whisper.
She crossed her arms, “Where were you the whole day? Why are you replying so slow to my text?”
My brows furrow together, “I was in class?”
“So?” She glances around the table. “You replaced me?” she pouts.
Serena jumps up, “You two know each other?”
I glance over to see Ahmend and Josh, along with a few others behind Crystal. My eyes met with Josh, and instantly he looked away. My lips thinned once I located two girls standing on each side of him—what a lucky fellow.
“Yes,” Crystal replied slowly.
Serena places out a hand. “Hi! I’m Serena Garrison,” she introduces herself while Crystal examines her.
Crystal chuckles, seemingly bored. “Did I ask?”
I stood up and grabbed Crystal’s arm while Serena’s face seemed to fall flat, her hand still standing in the air. “Crystal.”
She shrugs, “What? I didn’t ask for her name. You know I’m not the smartest person, I can only hold so much memory, and I’m not wasting my memory space for someone insignificant,” she didn’t bother to whisper. Crystal had always been quite blunt with her actions. If she doesn’t like you, she will say it out loud. If you step on a nerve, she will snap like a twig.
“Insignificant?” Serena said with a smile, but her face color a deep shade of red.
Crystal turns around, silver earrings slapping slightly against her cheeks. “Yes, insignificant as in - talking to you right now is wasting my time,” she smiles dazzlingly while the cafeteria falls silent. “Stay away from my baby,” she drafts an arm around my shoulder.
Serena scoff, “She wants to hang out with us.”
Paisley tugged against Serena’s shirt. “Serena,” she hisses slowly. “She is Crystal Martinez.”
“So?” Serena snaps at Paisley, who took a step back. “So what if she is a Martinez." She tilts her head back at Crystal, “She is only his step-daughter. I heard her mom is pregnant with the true heir of the Martinez’s corporations anyways. When he is born, she is going to become irrelevant." She smirks, “What are you going to do? Call daddy on me?” she mocks.
Crystal ran her tongue across her cheek, and she steps forward, disregarding the fact that I’m pulling her back. Crystal had always enjoyed fights - Josh said she got it from her mom, who happened to be his karate instructor. She rolls up her sleeves. “Trust me when I don’t need daddy to mess up that plastic face of yours!”
“Josh!” I scream for his help before Crystal jumps towards Serena.
Josh steps in front of Crystal. “Enough,” he said in a firm voice while Crystal grounds her molars, her knuckles ready to punch Serena. He turns around, facing Serena, Paisley, and Riley. “You got something against my cousin?”
Riley grabs Serena’s shirt. “We should leave,” she said in an urgent tone.
Serena clenches her fists. “Don’t think I’m afraid of you like everyone else because you’re a Greyson. Your cousin started it.”
“She got a hot temper, so I suggest you back off,” he said in a seemingly cold tone while I wrap my arms around Crystal just in case she decides to claw the girl’s eyes out.
“You all think you’re so good,” Serena growled. “All because you’re born in a better family than ours,” she snaps her eyes towards Crystal, “or your whorish mother spread her legs to the right person.”
Crystal snapped and leaped on Serena. The action was quick, unlike the ones in those movies where everything seemingly slows down. Without a spare blink, Crystal was on top of Serena, and she grabbed her collar, punching across her jawline repeatedly.
“Crystal!” Josh screams while the whole cafeteria silently watches, with some raising their phone.
Instantly, Josh and Ahmend reach for her to pry her arms off of Serena. In the process of removing Crystal, she kicks Serena’s face. “Don’t you fucking call my mom a whore,” she screams. Her wild hair is scattered all over her face while Serena holds onto the bruises.
A few guys rush in to help Josh and Ahmend, who seem to have a hard time holding Crystal back from charging at Serena again. Riley and Paisley help Selena stand up, who continue groaning at her bruises.
“What’s going on?” a voice boom inside the cafeteria, and I glanced over to see Mr.Timerland with a few other teachers who rushed towards us.
“Mr.Timberland! Crystal hit me!” Serena shouts.
“All of you, principle off...now.”
“No buts, now" he held a firm tone with no room for argument.
In the end, Crystal, Josh, Ahmend, Serena, Riley, Paisley, and I went to the principal’s office. Within mere seconds, we were called into Mr. Davenson’s office. He sat on the black leather chair, not lifting a single eyeball when we all entered.
“Everyone leaves except Serena and Crystal,” he said calmly before the door behind us closes.
Without another word, the others left, and I followed them. Crystal stood there with thin lips while clenching her bloody fists firmly. The door closed without a second thought.
“Don’t worry, Crystal is as strong as a bull. She will be fine,” Ahmend reassures me with his usual grin.
I glance to my left, seeing Josh staring straight, not granting me a single look.
Riley and Paisley step in front of all of us with shaky bodies and sweaty palms. “We’re sorry. Serena has a hot temper, that’s all. She didn’t mean what she said,” Riley said.
“We grew up with her. Her grandparents really spoilt her since her parents passed away when she was younger. She doesn’t mean to disrespect,” Paisley said in a rush tone.
Ahmend smirks, “Why are you telling us all of this? She didn’t do anything to us.”
Riley and Paisley release a deep breath of relief.
Ahmend tucks a single hand in his pocket and leans down. “Although, I can’t speak for the little boiling Martinez in there.”
Paisley grab Ahmend’s shirt. “Please, don’t. My father works with Selena’s grandparents,” she pleads.
“So, the truth finally came out. You two aren’t apologizing for the girl in there, but -” he whistles and points at them, “doing all this to save your families.”
They turn towards me. “Please,” Riley’s eyes well with tears.
Before I can respond, Josh grabs my hand and whisps me away from the two girls who burst into tears. “Don’t look back,” he said firmly, squeezing my hand. “They’re goners the moment their friend decides to say those things to Crystal.”
Josh slowed down once we entered the elevator. “Josh! You were there. Crystal kind of started it. She shouldn’t say those things to Selena. It’s not nice, and she should be allowed to stand up for herself.”
“I never said she shouldn’t stand up for herself. She shouldn’t have called my aunt a whore," he snaps. Josh licks his lips and rushes his fingers through his messy hair. “Standing up for herself is okay, but calling someone else’s mother a whore? That is not okay,” his grip tightens on my hand.
I place a hand on his cheek, and his hand relaxes. “Josh,” I whisper, remembering all the fights Josh used to get into when we were younger.
Josh’s situation isn’t far off from Crystal. Since his mom came from a so-called lower-class family, she had been called all different types of names for being with his dad - whore, slut, gold-digger...you name them - she heard em.
Calling someone’s mother, any of those terms is a trigger for Josh.
Now that I think about it, I’m surprised he didn’t jump in and join Crystal with the beat up. In the past, they tend to get into fights together while I cry in the corner.
I’m not proud of my actions.
His grip loosens on my reddened palm, and I remove it while he leaned back against the railing. I cup his cheeks. “Look at me,” his view went to me, and his body relaxed. I wrap my arms around his body, and he returns my affection. The elevator stopped, and he leaned closer to it, pressing all the buttons to the top floor, and I glared at him.
“We need to talk,” he said firmly, pressing my body against his.
“Still mad at me?”
“I’m not mad at you; you’re mad at me.”
His forehead crinkled. “I’m mad at you?”
“Yes, you ignore me the whole day.”
“Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“Ha?” was the only sound that exited my throat.
“You’re the one who asks me to ignore you.”
I slap his arm, discreetly feeling his muscles. “Seriously? After you exposed me yesterday?”
He smiles his usual sweet, sly smile. “Women are so hard to please. When you finally give them something they want, and they still find a reason to complain,” he said in a mocking tone.
I hit him with my fists. “Don’t you! Urg!”
Josh’s head threw back as his eyes crinkled. “I’m kidding!”
He grabs my wrists, pouting his cute lips. “Sorry, Hay Bug, it wasn’t my place to tell your parents.”
My heart dropped when I saw his face. “And I’m sorry for yelling at you when you’re just trying to help me because you care.”
Apologies after fights had always been an easy thing for us.
Sometimes, I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Josh wiggled his brows. “Should we do our usual - we’re back together ritual?”
When Josh and I were younger, we had this weird ritual after we made up from a fight. The routine is to give each other our desired compliment.
I lean back, “No.”
“Come on. No one is here!”