I fixed my jeans and I left the bathroom stall. Being a girl was a curse. Everything we dealt with was a curse.
I walked into the hallway, shoving my hands into my hoodie pockets. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned the other way when he came into my view. No, no, no.
“Mel!” he shouted across the hall.
I closed my eyes, sighing to myself and twisting my head to look in his direction. He was coming right for me. Why?
He caught up to me and grabbed my shoulder. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. You are already running away after our date at your house?”
I glanced at him. “That wasn’t a date.”
“Oh come on, that wasn’t a date? We were alone in your bedroom. What do you call that?” He slung his arm over my shoulder.
I rolled my eyes. “I call that stalking. You stalked me and now you’re trying to pretend you’re just a good guy.”
“Who’s just a good guy?” Kayleigh asked as she walked beside us.
I shook my head and found a table in the corner of the lunchroom. “Why are you sitting there? Let’s go sit over here.” Ezra pointed to his table. Kayleigh stood up too quickly and rushed to his table. I grumbled, knowing I couldn’t say no this time.
I followed him to his table and sat down beside him. I was more hungry than anything but the lunch lines were too long.
“Why are you in such a bad mood today?” Ezra asked.
Glancing at him, I flipped him off. I was not giving him a reason if he couldn’t figure it out himself.
“Oh, is someone on her period?” he asked in a loud voice. He nudged his friend next to him and winked at me.
The door was right there. It was calling me. “Go to hell, Ezra.” I stood up and left his table in a hurry. He didn’t know how true his question was and that was even more embarrassing. He had no right to talk to me like that.
“Mel, what did I say? It was just a joke.” He was following me just like a stalker would.
I ignored his attempts to apologize because they were weak. I went to the girl’s bathroom, the one place he couldn’t follow me into.
I looked into the mirror, noticing the scowl on my face. How could he say that? How could he really say that to me? He was such an ass.
I heard a ping coming from my phone. I wasn’t answering him. I wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt.
The phone continued to go off and I was becoming irritated within seconds. I picked it up and turned it off. He wasn’t going to bother me anymore.
Did men not realize how rude it was to make period jokes? Did they not realize it was embarrassing? I didn’t want the whole school knowing about my bodily fluids. I hated having them.
I wanted to call Kayleigh but I wasn’t about to turn my phone back on for Ezra. She knew I left the table.
Was she really not coming to my rescue? She must’ve known how awful that was for me. We had only been best friends for five years now.
I left the bathroom once the bell had rung. He couldn’t skip his classes for me. He could never.
I made it through the rest of my classes before rushing home when school was over. I ran to my room before Mom and Breanna could ask questions.
I kept my phone off to keep Ezra from contacting me any further. I laid back on my bed, groaning in frustration.
There was a knock on my door and I knew who it was. “Come in,” I told her.
Breanna came in and sat on the edge of my bed. “Are you doing okay? You look really stressed. What happened at school?”
“Ezra made a cruel joke about me being on my period. Now his friends know. That’s what they’re going to see me as, Breanna. They’ll remember me as the girl who’s on her period. I don’t like being seen that way by people who have a better reputation and influence on others than I do.” I sat up.
She nodded her head and went deep into thought. “How will you get back at him?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you have to get back at him for this, right?” She shrugged. “And I’m going to help you get back at him.”
I sighed. “How will you do that?”
“He’s popular, right? And he seems to be interested in you. He has a reputation to keep and you don’t quite fit into that. I’ll even throw in a sweet deal for you that also embarrasses him.” She gave me a sly smile.
I narrowed my eyes at her. “I’m listening.”
She patted my leg. “If you can get him to fall in love with you in a month, I will give you a hundred bucks. Yes, a whole one hundred dollars.”
I lifted my eyebrows. “Do you really think I could get a guy like Ezra to fall for a girl like me? Cause I will do it for the money and I will do it to embarrass his reputation.”
“I believe you can. He seems to be so infatuated with you already. Guys like a girl who isn’t so easy to catch. Use that to your advantage.” Breanna jumped off the bed and left my room.
Shifting my gaze towards my phone, I slowly turned it back on. Two could play at this game. If he really wanted to piss me off, I was going to make him love me. This was my sister’s best idea yet and I would get good money for it as well.
I dialed his number, waiting for him to answer. He picked up almost immediately and I knew I had this in the bag. “Ezra, we need to talk,” I told him over the phone.
Ezra rushed into my room, a smile on his face. “So you admit it was just a joke? I swear it was.”
“It wasn’t a joke in my eyes.” I crossed my arms to hide the plan Breanna and I had formed.
He put on a puzzled look. “I’m not sure I understand. I thought it was supposed to be funny.”
“How do you think this is funny? That is embarrassing for me. Your friends assume I’m on my period. I am, but I don’t want everyone else to know that. This is not something girls always want to shout out to the world,” I said.
His eyebrows moved downward. “Oh. I didn’t know. I’m sorry. I thought it was just a joke. I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of my friends like that.”
“You did, Ezra! You did embarrass me.” At least I could say I wasn’t lying even if I had a plan surrounding me.
“I’m sorry. I really am.” He sat beside me. “I would take it back if I could.”
“It’s tough being a girl. I didn’t ask to be one. It just happened. With that comes a period. They suck. They make me break out. They make me moody. They make me extra hungry. It isn’t fun when your insides are trying to betray you. You have no idea what cramps feel like. I have to be careful about what I wear because I don’t wanna ruin my nice clothes. When men make fun of something that sucks, it makes it that much worse. We can laugh about this when everyone has forgotten but today is not that day.” I shook my head.
His smile grew. “You say it as if we are going to be friends. Have you finally accepted me, Mel? Have you accepted this sweet boy?”
I hadn’t really but he couldn’t know that. “I’ll give you a fighting chance, alright? Just remember to prove to me that you actually are sorry and let your words mean something. An apology means nothing without change or actions to confirm it.” I pointed my finger at him.
He pushed my finger down and gave me a hug. “Yes, I will do my best.” He squeezed me tighter than I could breathe. “Bear hug!”
The door opened to reveal Breanna giving me a thumbs up. Mom passed by and stopped in the doorway. “You’re making friends; that’s great!”
I couldn’t believe my mom accepted him faster than I had. It was all because of his looks, and nevermind the fact that he had offered me a job with Playboy and she didn’t approve of that. She seemed to really love him now.
Ezra laughed as he pulled away from our hug. He was squeezing the life out of me just a moment ago and my family was watching because he was attractive. How could they dare do that?
I looked over at the window, wondering if I could push everyone out of it. Would I go to jail for killing them? Would they even die? They were going to let me die just a second ago.
“You are always welcome over here, Ezra.” Mom smiled at him and I widened my eyes, waving my arms in the air. I made gestures with my hands, telling her I was not accepting this.
Breanna gave me a look, one that stopped the X’s I had been making before. She was right. If I didn’t see him more, I couldn’t make him love me and then I would lose one hundred bucks. How could I give up a chance for money? I could go crazy with that much in my wallet.
Ezra thanked my mom for her kind words but I was mentally cursing her.
“Would you care to join us for dinner?” Mom asked.
Ezra looked at me as if asking for my permission. He didn’t need it. He would do it anyway. “Yes, I would love that.”
I was trapped in this circle of teenage hormones and unobservant family members. Nobody cared about what I wanted.
The four of us headed downstairs and Mom began whipping up dinner. Breanna decided to take this moment to question Ezra on questions I was not comfortable with her asking.
“Tell me, Ezra, have you ever been in love?” Breanna had her elbow on the counter and her hand against her cheek.
Ezra gave a shake of his head. “Never have I ever.”
“Have you dated outside of your league? Say, a woman who is not as popular as you are or not popular at all?” Her questions were too obvious for her own good.
Ezra chuckled and looked in my direction. “You mean Mel? I have not but I would always be willing to give it a shot.”
I choked on the water I had been sipping on. Ezra came to my rescue as he patted my back while I coughed up the water. I wiped my now wet mouth with the sleeve of my hoodie.
“Are you okay?” Ezra asked with a concerned look. Damn him.
“I’m peachy.” I gave him the fakest smile I could manage.
Breanna stood from her crooked position and slapped the countertop. “It sounds like Ezra has the hots for Amelia.”
My face burned right red at her statement. How could she do this? Was this not supposed to be my game to play? She was screwing up the entire plan.
Mom made everything worse by adding her own words, “We don’t want to say hots. We want to say he has the eyes for Amelia.”
“Can we please not talk about how Ezra has feelings for me? That is just downright creepy. I barely met him two weeks ago. I do not want to be talking about this right now, especially when he is sitting right there!” I gestured to him before burying my face into my sleeves.
Ezra sighed and patted my back once more. “It’s alright, Mel. It’s quite alright if you have a hard time admitting you feel the same. You don’t need to say it for me.”