LIII. Being Privileged
I never expected this moment to actually happen.
I thought about it before and cautiously made my move to ensure it won’t happen...but it did.
There she is...making out with Madison Everhart.
Okay, making out may be exaggerating, but they are kissing.
Ahmend pats my shoulder, “Thank you for dragging me here.” He hugs me from the side.
“Woah,” Tyson said again and continued to stare at them openly.
Steadily, Hailey’s eyes open, and she turns her head. Her face is slightly red, and from what I can smell. They drank - a lot.
Hailey grin, one of those large stupid ones. Madison places her hand on Hailey’s cheek. Immediately, I rushed towards them, “No. No. No," I said, pushing their faces apart. “Get your sister!”
Mason walks towards Madison and grasps her. “My little Hailey,” Madison pouts while reaching for Hailey.
“Booooo!” Ahmend and Tyson scream.
I exhaled a sharp breath and glared at Mason. “I’ll grab my sister,” he said, unaffected by my looks. He held his sister and made his way towards the elevator.
I turn around to look at the two guys behind me. They glance at once another before doing rock-paper-scissors.
“Damn,” Ahmend hiss before heading towards Taniyah. He stares at her and exhales, then bends his knees to lift her. “Holy shit. This girl is heavier than she looks.”
Taniyah smacks his face, then nuzzles into his chest.
Tyson and I stifled a laugh.
“Let me grab Crystal,” Tyson said. He bent down and carried Crystal. “Holy fuck. She’s fatter than she looks!”
Crystal slapped Tyson’s face.
He glared at her, but she continued to snore.
Tyson looked at me, “I think I lost in rock-paper-scissors.”
“Crystal is heavy,” I said.
Crystal slapped my face.
“Ha. You two got hit,” Ahmend said teasingly.
Crystal slapped his face.
“How does she always do that?” Tyson asked.
I ignored the tingly sensation on my cheek. “It’s sadly a talent.”
Tyson shook his head before he made his way towards the elevator. “Oh. People experiment all the time. Don’t worry about it.”
“Dibs on the leftover alcohol,” Ahmend said. He kicked someone’s bag. I assume it belongs to Madison.
I smile faintly. I couldn’t help it. It bothers me to see Hailey kiss another person - male and female. I sat down beside her and pinch her cheek, “And here I thought you were going to be safe in crowds.”
Her face scrunches up, and she grumbles slightly. A deep frown made its way towards her face. She hit my hand lightly before snuggling close to my waist. I puff my cheeks and blow out a breath. “I should’ve just confessed instead of asking for your parents’ permission.”
Exhaling a sharp breath, I lift Hailey. Sometimes, I miss it. The weight on her body. It’s not bad that she’s skinny now, but I miss the softness when I hugged her.
After I tucked Hailey into bed, I went back towards my room. Ahmend and Tyson were drinking the leftover alcohol.
Ahmend looks at me, “You in?”
“Nah,” I responded. “I’m going to take a few laps in the pool, then head to bed.” I changed into a swim trunk and made my way towards the pool.
With each stroke, my body seemingly cools down. I wasn’t thinking about anything or anyone. With my back against the water and my head towards the sky, I stared at the stars.
I shouldn’t feel this way - these emotions.
After all, I have a good family. Decent friend. A nice girl who may potentially be my wife one day.
I’m privileged. I know it.
But, sometimes, in the middle of the night when everything is quiet. I can feel it.
I wonder where it all came from?
The expectation of always having to be a good guy?
The pressure of being perfect from the people around me?
The reality of having to one day take over the family’s business?
The moment I closed my eyes, I allowed my body to simply float; into this vast emptiness.
I shouldn’t be sad.
I should be grateful.
Privileged people don’t have the right to be sad.
And with one last lap around the pool, I got out. I rush my fingers through my hair and exhale. My body crashes onto the cold surface. It’s nice.
To just lay here.
“Hey Jas,” I said.
Jasmine smiles, her usual bright one. She crouches down and tilts her head. “What are you doing here?”
I point straight, “Pool. You?”
She sat beside me, “Same.”
I sat upward and scratched the side of my head. I wasn’t quite sure if I should ask her or not. Oh, fuck it. “Jas. You’re close to Mad, right?”
Jasmine nods, “Yeah. We went to the same elementary school.”
I clear my throat, attempting to find the right words. I should make this conversation as casual as possible. “Ever since I came to Pandora Academy. I heard rumors about Mad.”
“You know, like she’s...bisexual.”
Jasmine looked at me, but she didn’t respond. Her lips thinned, and she looked forward towards the large blue pool of water. “Bisexual?”
I ran my tongue across the side of my mouth, “Yeah. I mean, is it true?” I tried to conceal the excitement and anxiety in my voice. It’s probably weird that I asked this question mainly since I’ve never been interested in rumors.
“I guess it does seem that way.”
I guess it does seem that way? Is that a yes or no? What the actual fuck. I scratch my nose, “Oh. Cool.”
Jasmine stood up and took off her shirt, revealing off her toned body. I may like Hailey, but I know to appreciate a nice body when I see one. Steadily, the shorts slip off, and she leaps into the pool.
Without warning, her head jumps out of the water, and she splashes some towards me. I know there’s a frown on my face. Her body floats on the surface. “Join me?”
I remove the water away from my face. “Nah,” I said. I grab the towel from the table and wipe my body dry.
Jasmine swam to the edge of the pool and rested her head against it. “You sure?”
I pulled the t-shirt over my head and threw the towel over my shoulder. “Yeah. I’m going to call it a night.”
“Scared Hay Bug will be jealous, Joshie Pooh?”
I halted my tracks and turned around. I cross over my chest and exhale, “Go on. Tease me.” I’m used to people teasing me about my nickname.
Jasmine released a muffled laugh, “It isn’t fun when you just take it.”
I rolled my eyes, “Night Jas.”
“You want to know whether Maddie is into Hailey?”
"Goodnight, Jasmine!” I said a bit louder.
“Fine. But, don’t come crying to me when Hay Bug crushes on Maddie and not you,” she sang.
I know I shouldn’t turn back because it will only make me look desperate. I’m certain Jasmine knows about my feelings. I mean, I didn’t exactly hide it. I room with Hailey. People know we sleep on the same bed. I kiss her forehead and cheek in public all the time. The only person who can’t see it is Hailey.
I may like Hailey, but I won’t deny the fact that she may be a bit of an airhead.
I turn around, “What do you want?”
She smiles, “Accompany me on the way back to school.”
I lift a brow, “And why should I?”
“Because you want to know whether Maddie is interested in Hailey.”
I smirk, “You think I can’t find out without you?”
She rests her head against the edge, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “How about making Hailey jealous?”
“No, thanks. I’m not into the whole jealousy game.” I hate it when Hailey gets upset, so why would I purposely hurt her. Only a moron would hurt the person they love.
“Wow. Aren’t you all high and mighty.”
“It’s called being an adult. Something you should try once in a while.”
Her smile drops, “That hurt, you know.” The sound of her voice was no longer playful. “You know how I feel about you.”
In freshman year, Jasmine confessed that she likes me. I admit if I didn’t have Hailey in my life. I would have agreed to date her. We have a lot of things in common, and our thoughts are aligned quite often. There’s a part of me that believes she did some research about me before we became so-called friends. “And you clearly know how I feel about Hailey. I thought we were over this.”
“Yeah, but that was before I met her.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“And I have a feeling I’m going to be offended.”
“Isn’t she a bit stupid?”