LVIII. The Wait
“HayHay!” Crystal leaps on the bed. “I thought you were dead!” She cries into my chest. I know she’s faking it, mainly since there are no tears. She knows I’m fine, but she likes being dramatic sometimes.
My eyes scanned the room.
Ahmend. I guess we’re good friends.
Taniyah. I’m happy I am more than someone who exists in her mind. Her eyes scanned my body, and she nodded once then left.
“She totally cares,” Crystal said.
I smiled but didn’t rebuttal when Taniyah left.
Madison. Good friend.
Mason. Twin brother of a good friend.
Tyson. Probably somehow tagged along Ahmend.
Austin. Probably saw me got carried out of the dormitory. Good friend. He fidgets continuously in the back of the room. He probably doesn’t feel comfortable being here.
Leslie. She’s from track and field, but I don’t remember us being closed enough for her to be here.
She looks at Austin but averts her eyes when he looks down. When she looks up, he averts his eyes.
I wonder if I can play cupid.
Then, Jasmine. Honestly, I preferred that she didn’t come.
One by one, they ask me if I’m okay, and when I explain to them what happened. They nod in understanding. Then, one by one, they left to do their business.
I look at the door.
Crystal momentarily stops peeling the apples Madison and Mason brought for me. “Who are you looking for?”
“Where’s Josh?” I ask.
Crystal scan the room then shrugged. “You mean you didn’t see him?”
I shook my head, “No.”
“Weird,” Crystal whispered. “I would’ve thought he would be the first person here.” Her brows crunch. “Then, who brought you here?”
She cuts the apple. “Who?”
“Paisley. One of the girls who was with Serena, the girl who you fought with at the beginning of the year,” I explain.
She nods. I’m not sure if she remembers the fight or not. Crystal picks on a lot of people.
“Well, that’s nice of her,” Crystal replies.
“Yeah. It’s too bad; she won’t be here next year.”
“Why not?” She feeds me an apple.
I chew on it and swallow. Then, she hands me a cup of water. “Because Serena’s family stopped doing business with hers and Riley.”
“The other girl behind Serena.”
“Ah. That’s too bad. They should’ve picked a better friend.”
“They can’t help it,” I said, taking another bite. “They don’t want to offend Serena’s family.”
Crystal exhales softly, “I guess that’s understandable. They shouldn’t get kicked out because they only wanted to help their family’s business.”
I chew on the apple and continue to look at the door.
“How long do I have to stay here?” I ask.
Crystal swallows the apple. “Let me ask if you can be discharged.” She places a hand on my head. “You’re not as hot, so they should let you go.” She chuckles, “I feel like a doctor for a second.” She got up and headed out the door.
Not too soon after, Jasmine walks inside. She closes the door. This is not a good sign.
“Mind if we have a short chat?”
I smile, “Sure.”
Jasmine sat down on Crystal’s chair and set her bag on top of her lap. She exhales slowly while staring at my face. I probably look horrible with my high bun and paled feature. “I don’t see it,” she said.
“What’s so appealing about you that everyone treats you so special.”
“Josh. Crystal. Ahmend. Tyson. Madison. Mason.” She tilts her head. “You even managed to get through Ricardo and Taniyah, the two biggest loners at school.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask.
“Josh and Crystal. I understand. The three of you did grow up together.”
Not a lot of people know that the three of us grew up together. Jasmine did some investigation about me.
“I guess they don’t want to offend their little fat childhood friend.”
At that moment, my world seemingly stops. My face grew ten shades paler while the words continue to echo inside my ear. She knows.
Jasmine smiles, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, I’ve never been bullied for being fat, but I’m certain others can relate.” Her eyes scan my body. “I’m impressed. You lost a lot of weight. I tried to find some documents about some surgery, but it seems to be all natural.”
My hands crunch against the blanket, and I swallow harshly. I hope Crystal will return soon.
Jasmine chuckled, “I noticed Joshie Pooh isn’t here to accompany the princess’s needs today.”
I hate the nickname from her mouth.
She flips her hair back, “Or maybe, he finally realizes you’re a nobody.”
With a sharp inhalation, I said: “I would like it if you leave.”
She smiles, “Ah. I poked a sore spot, didn’t I?” She scratches her temple. “Or are you upset that Josh and I kissed?”
The air felt eerie, and I’m sure my heart rate isn’t normal. It’s shown on the monitor.
“Why are you so surprised? You know, eventually, Greyson would be with someone at his status. Someone who isn’t fat, stupid, and poor.”
I smile bitterly, “You think you’re someone who’s fit to be with Josh? Joshie Pooh would never like a girl like you.”
Jasmine leaned back and crossed her legs, “Why not? I’m pretty, rich, and smart. Someone who can back Josh up when he takes over Greyson’s incorporation one day.”
“And greedy,” I included. “Josh doesn’t need a bloodsucker behind his neck.”
I never knew I had it in me—this violent personality.
Suddenly, Jasmine burst out laughing, “Intrigued. So, this is the real you.” She bit her lower lip and stood up. “You can’t have Greyson until you see the real him, and I guess it works both ways.”
“What do you mean?”
Jasmine strap on her purse, “I’m not giving up,” she said. “I’ve worked too hard to get where I am, and I’m not giving up the spot to some girl that came out of the blue.” Her eyes glare deeply into mine. “Just so you know, Vaughn. I never lose a game.”
She heads out of the room.
If only she leaves school.
Maybe move to a different Earth.
The next day, I was released.
“Mind not mentioning to Josh what happened?” I ask.
Crystal scoffs, “That guy didn’t even visit you! For fuck sake, I haven’t even seen him. Forget him.”
No one had seen Josh since yesterday.
The days continued to pass, and there wasn’t any sign of Josh.
I called, but it went to voicemail.
I called the Greyson, but Jada said they’re busy.
Apparently, Josh went home for an emergency. At first, I thought it was Mrs.Greyson’s giving birth, but Jada said it wasn’t it. It was something private that I couldn’t know.
So, I waited for Josh.
At the front of the school.
I could only wait.