Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XXI. Too Hot to be Jealous

Jessica’s POV:

“What?”

“I mean-” I looked around and grabbed her hand. I don’t want to discuss this with her in public. I dragged her towards a quiet location. “I mean, dating someone to make my older brother who has a girlfriend jealous? Really?”

She snatched her arm away. “You’re the one who suggested that idea!”

“Yes, but I didn’t think you would go through with it! It was supposed to be a joke.”

“You didn’t sound like you were joking!”

I groan slightly, then push my hand down my hair. No one gets it when I’m joking. People say I have quite a dull voice, and they can rarely tell I’m happy or sarcastic. I just didn’t expect anyone to believe that is a good idea.

Krista pouts and squats on the ground. She covers her head with her arms as if activating some sort of protection.

I settled down beside her and shooed away anyone who passed us.

“I know it’s a stupid idea,” she grumbles into her lap. “But I couldn’t come back with a better idea.” She looks at me, “I really like your brother.”

I pet her head, “I know.” I’m surprised she didn’t get mad at me. Generally, girls will blow up when someone tells them the truth. I’ve witnessed it a few times before. Somehow, the truth destroyed a friendship. I didn’t want that to happen between us.

“Krista, since we’re honest right now.” She looks at me. I should do it. I should tell her how I feel. “I don’t feel comfortable about your overly expressive behavior towards my brother,” I said it so fast I thought I was going to pass out.

Krista stared at me, “I thought you’re okay with it?”

I don’t blame her for thinking that way. “I’m not.”

“Then, why did you never tell me?”

“Because you’re-” I look at the small garden in between the buildings. I hope no one catches us here. “Because you’re one of my few friends, and I don’t want to lose you.” I tuck my hair behind my ear. “Krista, you may not see it, but you’re pretty well-liked. If you want, you could join any group you like, but I’m not the same.”

I’ve never been the expressive type of like my older brother, approachable. People often wonder if I have any feelings. I do.

“Do you think I’m friends with you to get close to your brother?” Krista asks.

I couldn’t respond to her question because that’s it. Sometimes, I do feel like Krista stayed friends with me because I’m Brody’s sister. She got the leverage other girls don’t have.

Krista waddles until she’s in front of me. She places her hands in the air until they are on both sides of my cheeks. Then, out of nowhere, she slapped my cheeks. It wasn’t painful, but it did sting.

“What the fuck,” she said. “Why would you even think that? If you and Brody were drowning in the ocean. I would save you first.”

“Of course you would. Brody swims like a dolphin,” I grumbled.

Then, she karate chops my head, “Even if he isn’t a dolphin reincarnation, I would’ve saved you.” She held my cheeks, “Because you’re my friend. My best friend. Sister before mister.”

I grinned foolishly at her words, and the heavyweight on my chest lifted.

Krista exhaled, “I can’t change my feelings for Brody, but I will try my best to hide it. And-” she bit her lower lip, “I’m going to try to move forward.” She gave me a sad smile, “Because it’s stupid to go for a guy who has a girlfriend, isn’t it? I must have looked so pathetic all these years.”

There’s something different about her compared to normal. What happened?

I grabbed her shoulders and pushed her towards me. Once Krista landed on top of me, I hugged her tightly. “I’m sorry.”

I want to ask, but it seems like she needs some time to sort out her thoughts. Eventually, she will tell me, or maybe one day, it will accidentally slip out. Then, I’ll hold her under heavy investigation.

“Why are you, sorry? You never stopped me from liking your brother even though it made you feel uncomfortable.” Her chin laid on my shoulder. “And I appreciate that. It must have been so annoying listening to me rant all the time.”

I admit it is incredibly annoying, but I won’t say it out loud. Things are changing, and that’s enough.

I open my eyes to Shawn with a popsicle in his mouth. He openly stared at us. With his backpack on his back and the bell ringing a while ago, I can conclude he is skipping class. He turned his head and continued walking until he disappeared.

I don’t have a good feeling.

After school, I met with Brody. He was supposed to take us home. He’s grounded.

Krista stopped me from walking, “I’ll see you?”

“You’re not going with us?” Usually, Krista would hatch a ride with us.

“I’m going home with my boyfriend.”

“Francis Weber?” I don’t know why I keep calling him by his full name. I think I just like it. It sounds fancy.

Krista exhaled, “Yeah. I need to talk to him.”

I hugged her. “Okay. I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”

Krista patted my cheeks, then tugged it. “No one can ever be above you.”

I did the same thing to her. “You’re always number one.”

Krista’s phone buzzed, and she took it out. “Francis Weber of Westview Academy is present.” I guess I’m not the only one who likes saying his full name.

Once we said our goodbyes, I made my way towards Brody and his friends. “Krista isn’t riding with us?” I’m surprised he can ask that in front of Victoria, Brody’s girlfriend. She seems unbothered by it.

“No. Francis is taking her home.”

“Francis Weber?” Wow. Everyone must like his full name.

“Yeah.” I turned towards the parking lot to see an expensive car pulled up. No way. That’s not who I think it is. The car door slides upward, and Francis Weber stepped out in his student uniform. There’s a part of me who wants to hook up with him if Krista really breaks up with him.

“Holy shit,” Shawn said.

Holy shit, indeed.

Krista made her way towards him, and instantly he held her affectionately. Please, Krista, don’t let him go. Don’t let Francis Weber and his fancy car go. I hope Krista is secretly a mind reader so she can get all of my messages.

I turned my head to catch Brody, staring at their direction. Most people would’ve thought that he was envious of the car Francis was driving. I would’ve thought that too until I saw the hateful look in Victoria’s eyes.

“Wow,” Victoria said. “Krista sure is lucky to have a boyfriend like that. Don’t you agree, Brody?”

Brody looks away from the scene in front of us. “Yeah.”

Krista got into Francis’s car, and together, they rode off into the sunset. Please, take me with you.

“Ready to go?” As much as I love standing there expressing my pure jealousy of my best friend’s fake boyfriend wealth, I want to go home. It’s way too hot to be jealous. Brody continued to stare at the road. I poked him, “Hey.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head. “Y-Yeah, let’s go.”

“Go?” Victoria question. “Where are you guys going?”

“Home. I’m grounded for the next two weeks,” replied Brody.

“Why?”

Brody looks at me, “I wonder why.”

I look away, “I don’t know. You’re always doing things,” I grumbled.

“But you can still go to the autumn festival, right?”

“I don’t know. I have to ask my parents.”

“You have to. You’re my date. I can’t go there alone,” Victoria said. “You’re my boyfriend. You have to escort me after I win the pageant.”

“Why are you making such a big deal,” I grumbled. Wait. Everyone looks at me. Did I say that out loud?

Victoria let go of Brody’s arm. “What did you say?”

Holy shit. “It’s just...I mean, it’s not a big deal.”

Victoria scoffs.

“Vic,” Brody warns her not to start anything.

“Not a big deal?” I have a feeling something is starting. “Of course a loser like you-”

“Vic!” Brody screams.

Victoria shuts her mouth and swallows furiously. Everyone looks elsewhere, pretending they weren’t present. They could go somewhere else, but I’m sure they want to stay for the drama.

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