LVII. The Truth
When we got into the dormitory room, it was completely quiet. Ricardo left to do whatever it is that he usually does. Josh and I unpacked our stuff. When he finished, he took his duffle bag and stuff it inside the closet.
I waited for some sort of blessing.
He places some souviers on his desk, most likely for his brother. Then, I saw it from the corner of my eyes - the pink bag from earlier. He grabs it and threw it in the trash can then left the room.
When the door slam, I flinch slightly at the aggression.
I lower the shirt and made my way towards the trashcan. I lift the bag up and open it. Inside was all type of sweet, my favorites. I walk back towards my bed and grab a piece of candy.
Then, there it was.
Each piece had some type of writing on it.
Don’t be mad.
I would’ve told you if I had a girlfriend!
I want to sit with you.
Joshie Pooh is upset.
I smile when I saw the little pictures he drew on the back of the candy.
I held the candy tightly in my palm.
I know I’m allowing my self-esteem to intrude between us. I know I’m throwing a fit. I wipe the tears from my cheek. I wish I could be stronger, but I couldn’t.
Because Ricardo is right.
I do feel like I’m not good enough.
Every time, I tried to be better, I manage to only feel worse.
I thought that moving to a new place would make me feel better, but it didn’t. All I did was run away from everyone who pushed me down. And now each day, I’m reminded why Hailey Vaughn is not good enough for Joshua Greyson.
I want to catch up with him.
But, he’s so far away.
I forced myself to lose weight.
I forced myself to study harder.
I forced myself to make friends.
But, no matter what I do, it never felt like its enough.
Enough for me to say - I deserve to be Joshua’s Greyson’s girlfriend.
There are moments when I want to confess, but then the thoughts of what if appears.
What if he doesn’t like you the same way as you like him?
What if he does accept your emotions, then realizes you’re not good enough?
What if you two do get together, but one day he’ll find someone else?
You guys can’t go back to being friends.
Then, there it is. That sensation. I clutch my stomach and cover my mouth. The gagging sound left my throat and instantly, I rush towards the toilet. I dangle my head inside and threw up the content.
I press my hands against my head and beat it a few times to decrease the stinging sensation. Inhaling a deep breath, I flushed the content and rinsed my mouth.
Pretend nothing happened.
I should go talk to Josh.
Josh kissing another girl isn’t a big deal.
It’s raging hot.
We’re still friends.
I want to take my clothes off.
Nothing between us will change.
I grab my jacket and put it on despite the heat. One step. Two steps. More steps. Open the door.
Everything seems to go blurry.
I grab the phone from my jacket.
I need to call Josh so I will know where he is. I shouldn’t aimlessly wander around the campus.
I held the phone against my ear. My throat itches. It rings several times but went to voicemail. I tried again. Nothing.
He’s probably still upset that I didn’t sit with him on the way back.
I should tell I only wanted to mope a little because as his best friend, he should’ve told me if there’s anyone in the picture.
Even if it hurts, I’ll still smile and congratulate him.
That’s what I should’ve done instead of running three blocks away.
No, I didn’t do that. I only walked back into the cafe and refused to talk privately with Josh.
If I ran, Josh would’ve caught me. I may be in track and field, but he does do soccer. Plus, there’s the fact that his legs are enormous.
I press call for the third time, but before I could hear the first ring. My body collapsed on the floor. I knew it, I shouldn’t have grabbed the jacket. It’s way too hot.
“She’s burning,” someone said. “We need to cool her down.”
Whoever said that is correct.
I feel hot.
“What’s her temperature?”
Wow. That’s a high number.
My head drops to the side to see a crowd of student.
“Do you know her?” Someone asks.
“N-No. I was just passing by and I saw her fainting.”
“We need someone to-” his voice fades out.
I can hear a monitor beeping on the side. My body hurts. Steadily, my eyes lift open to meet a sort-of familiar face.
She looks at me, and blink twice. “You’re awake.”
My throat still feel scratchy, “Where am I?”
“The hospital. You fainted in the hallway.”
My eyes squint slightly. “You seem familiar. Do I know you?”
“I’m Paisley. We met at the beginning of the year.” I tilt my head. “My friend, Serena got into a fight with your friend, Crystal.”
My dried mouth part slightly, “Oh, yes. You were with another girl. Hailey.”
She chuckles, “You’re Hailey.” My mind must be in a more delusional state then I assumed. “The other girl was Riley.”
I coughed slowly and she hands me a cup of water. Paisley helps me got up to drink it. Steadily, I laid down. “Thanks,” I said.
She put down the cup, “No problem. You’re feeling okay?”
“Still hot but better.”
“That’s good. The doctor said you have a pretty bad fever. They’re talking to your parents right now.” She lean down and shuffles through her bag. “Your phone.”
I click my phone to see multiple missed calls. Josh never returned my call.
“It wouldn’t stop ringing,” Paisley said. “I’m envious. You’re loved.” She lift her bag over her shoulder. “Rest. I’ll tell the doctor you woke up. There’s some people out there who’s waiting for you. The doctor said, you need some time alone before they could see you.”
She stops at the door. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry about your friend, about Serena.”
Paisley smile softly, “It’s okay. It’s how the world works. Step on some wrong toes and there are consequences.”
“That’s kind of a dark outlook.”
“It’s kind of-” her nose twinkle, “reality.”
Paisley exhale, “The truth?”
“Well, Serena’s parents withdrew her from campus. Riley and I, both, have families who does business with Serena’s family. They revoked half of their contracts from both sides for not taking proper care of their daughter. My family just lost one of their villa and I’m pretty sure I’m not coming back next year because we can’t afford the tuition and I’m not smart enough to get a scholarship. So, it’s fine.”
“I’m so sorry.”
She laughs, “Why are you sorry? It’s not your fault.” Paisley shrugs a bit. “I kind of saw this coming with Serena’s personality. She’s been quite spoiled her whole life since she’s the only daughter. She’s bound to start a fight with someone when they poke her princess ego.”
“Why didn’t you say something then?”
“Our families does business together. Would you think it’s a good idea for you to poke your dad’s boss’s daughter?”
I shook my head.
She exhale softly, “It’s not as bad as it seem. I’m still going to a private school. Just one that cost half the price of this one. My family lost a summer villa but we still have a winter one.”
“You’re awfully calm.”
“Not all rich children throws a fit when they lose a bit of candy. I’m still rich. Just not as rich as kids at Pandora. But, wealthy enough that I dont have to worry about eating or healthcare.”
“That’s a very mature outlook.”
“Eventually, we all grow up,” she said. “Take care Vaughn. Try not to faint again because next time. I won’t be there.” She opens the door.
She turns her head. “Yeah?”
“Even though I don’t know you,” I said. “I wished we did talk a bit more.”
Paisley chuckles, “I’m still on campus until the end of the year.”
I smile, “I’ll see you around.”
Paisley nods and close the door.
Expelling a deep breath, I laid back down. I guess one good thing came out of this fainting process. Afterward, I called my parents and told them I was alright. They screamed at me to take better care of myself.
Then, the storm came in.