Chapter 29 - Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
“Don’t give us none of your aggravation / We had it with your discipline / Saturday night’s alright for fighting / Get a little action in” – Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Elton John
“Where’s James?” I ask Malcolm as he’s the first East Side face I come across after leaving Lexi.
“He was looking for you,” Malcolm says, “He left a while ago, I’m surprised he hasn’t found you.” Great. He was looking for me while I was with Lexi. “Where have you been?” Malcolm asks and I sense there’s a hidden meaning.
“My friends,” I say.
“You don’t have to lie to me Arya,” Malcolm says.
“I’m not,” I say sternly.
“So that West Side guy is ‘just a friend’?” Malcolm asks, looking over my shoulder, and I look to see Lexi walking to the kitchen.
“He is,” I say, turning back to Malcolm.
“Didn’t seem like it to me,” Malcolm says, “not by James’ reaction when he ditched us to follow him.”
Could this night get any worse? I just need to get James and take him out of here, away from everyone. “Do you know where he is Malcolm? Because if you do and you’re just playing me, I will knee you where it hurts.”
Malcolm laughs. “I promise you, Arya, I don’t know where he is. But I’ll help you find him.”
When I look around, trying to find James, the boy who knows why I left West Side comes into my vision. Apparently, this night could get worse. He’s talking with his friends and he’s walking in this direction. “Hide me,” I say to Malcolm and he looks at me confused. I hug him tightly and bury my face into his chest, facing away from the guy so he doesn’t see me. Malcolm puts his arms around me, unsure of why we are doing this.
“Avoiding someone?” Malcolm whispers in my ear.
“Are they gone?” I ask and Malcolm nods. I pull away from him to meet him face to face.
“What was that about?” Malcolm asks.
“I just really hate that guy,” I say. Not a lie. “I didn’t want to confront him.”
“Another past secret boyfriend?” Malcolm asks.
“Oh, come one, Arya,” Malcolm says, “you really expect me to believe that nothing happened between you and the West Side hockey captain? I saw the way he looked at you, I saw the jealousy James felt of him and I also saw how you looked at him.”
“I’m not going to explain myself to you,” I say, annoyed with Malcolm.
“Just get yourself sorted before dragging James into your rich, prestigious world, Arya,” Malcolm says. “You have to be all in with him. You can’t be holding onto some past West Side boyfriend. You know James can’t compete with West Siders if you give them any chance. You know your West Side hockey captain would crush James.”
“That’s not going to happen,” I say. “It’s not a competition.”
“Seemed like a competition tonight,” Malcolm says, and I glare at him. Does Malcolm think I enjoyed it? “Look, Arya, I’m just pointing out the obvious. You and James are from different worlds. If you really like him, then that’s great. But if there’s any doubt or if there’s a West Side guy that you are better suited to, then you shouldn’t string James along.” On paper, Lexi and I are the better suited couple. In real life, there is no comparison to James.
“I have no doubts,” I say sternly to Malcolm. “Now, will you please help me find my boyfriend so I can take him home?” And I start walking through the house while Malcolm follows me.
“You’re taking him home?” Malcolm asks.
“Empty house,” I throw over my shoulder, scanning the sea of faces for James’, but I hear Malcolm stop behind me.
I see his raised eyebrows when I turn around to him. “So, you and James…” Malcolm starts.
“I am not discussing this with you,” I say, grabbing his arm to move him along.
“Shouldn’t James get the stack of cash that your West Side admirers pooled together?” Malcolm jokes and I can tell he’s smiling.
“You want to ask for it, be my guest,” I say.
“Arya!” I hear a voice call and I look to find the voice. “James is looking for you,” Diana says when she reaches us, navigating through the teenagers.
“I’m looking for him as well,” I say.
“Can’t believe you’re still here,” Diana says, “I thought you would have left a long time ago.” Diana smiles at me and then winks.
“Trust me,” I say, “I would have left long ago, except SOMEONE,” I look at Malcolm, “dragged my boyfriend to play beer pong with him.”
“Hey!” Malcolm puts his hands up. “James didn’t tell me. If I had known that…”
I put a hand up. “Don’t finish that sentence.”
“Don’t worry, Arya,” Malcolm says, “Your secret is safe with me. I won’t let your West Side boytoy know that an East Sider is taking the girl he likes into an empty house.”
“West Side boytoy?” Diana says, “What’s he talking about?”
“He’s talking shit,” I say, angry that Malcolm is making something out of nothing. Diana then looks at Malcolm to see if she can get an answer from him. “Where’s James?”
“Outside, last I saw,” Diana says, and I leave them both, not caring what Malcolm says to her about Lexi. He doesn’t know anything.
When I walk outside, I immediately feel the chill on my exposed skin. I look around for James, hoping that he can just pop up. I feel a hand on my shoulder and pray that this time it is the person I want to see when I turn around.
“Ready to go home?” James asks.
“So ready,” I say with relief, attaching myself to his hip, as we walk around the house to his car and climb in, finally getting away from everyone.
“Your friends with Arya, aren’t you?” a tall guy with brown shaggy hair and blue eyes says to Diana while she’s talking with a group of people. Diana turns around to face this tall West Sider who’s approached her. He’s cute and fit, but something about him seems off to Diana.
“Yes,” Diana says, “and you are?”
“A friend,” he says, “of Arya’s. I was just wondering how she is, at East Side?”
“Why don’t you ask her yourself if you’re a friend?” Diana throws back.
He smiles. “I don’t think she wants to talk to me. We had a…” he searches for the right word, “disagreement before she left West Side.”
“Maybe you should go and try to reconcile,” Diana says.
He laughs. “She’s been avoiding me all night. Amusingly I might add.”
“What do you want?” Diana says, losing her patience with this West Sider.
“I told you,” he says, “I just want to know how she is.”
“She’s great,” Diana says, crossing her arms.
He smiles again. “Good. Tell her I’m glad she’s enjoying East Side and her new boyfriend James. And that she looked beautiful tonight. I always think she looks best in green.” And then he walks away, leaving Diana wondering who that guy was.
“You’ve just downed three shots in less than a minute,” a tall guy with brown shaggy hair and blue eyes says, coming up to Lexi, who is outside, sitting on a log, drinking alone.
“What do you want, Henri?” Lexi says annoyed before he pours another shot for himself. He’s taken the bottle outside so he can finish it off himself.
“Just don’t want you to drink yourself to oblivion,” Henri says, “especially not over a girl. I think the West Side hockey captain is better than that.”
“Just fuck off,” Lexi says, not caring what anyone thinks.
“You must’ve really liked her,” Henri says, sitting next to Lexi on the log. “Must suck seeing her with that East Sider.”
“Do you not understand the words ‘fuck off’?!” Lexi says, getting angrier, the alcohol heightening his emotions.
Henri is a popular athlete at West Side as well, his sports are just basketball and soccer instead. He is the son of the well known and rich Ciaran Young, owner of Young Construction. Lexi and Henri run in different circles with different friends, both of them at the top of the food chain at West Side, both competing for the top male athlete, which Lexi wins in both cases. No guy is a better athlete, and no one is higher than him on the food chain. Lexi sees Henri as beneath him, so Henri enjoys any time he gets to annoy West Side’s superstar athlete.
“He’s a soccer player,” Henri says to taunt Lexi even more. “Just like her. I just saw them leaving together. How does it feel, Lexi, losing to a guy like that?” Henri sees Lexi’s grip tighten on the bottle in his hand and it just eggs Henri on. “What do you think he has over you? Mr. hotshot hockey star? Mr. son of a surgeon? Mr…”
“I swear to god,” Lexi says, standing up, “I will crack this bottle over your fuckin’ head if you don’t shut up and leave me alone.”
Henri gets up slowly from the log to face Lexi, unafraid of him. Henri stands just slightly taller than Lexi, but it doesn’t faze Lexi at all who is ready to punch this clown out. “I don’t blame you,” Henri says, “she’s a pretty girl. You thought you were the only one that would get with her, right?” Henri stares at Lexi, trying to push him over the edge. “He’s probably taking her to go screw her in the back of his car because that’s all he can afford.” Lexi’s eyes turn angry. “What, Lexi? Upset to find out your girl is a cheap whore.”
Lexi tosses the bottle to the ground and punches Henri in the jaw. A hard punch. A punch fueled by anger, alcohol, and a broken heart. “Anything else you want to say?” Lexi yells at him, ready to throw another punch if necessary.
“I think I’m good,” Henri says, rubbing his jaw, “other than bravo on the bet tonight. Getting all those guys to touch her tits ’n ass really made her boyfriend jealous.”
“Fuckin’ asshole,” Lexi says before tackling Henri to the grass. Lexi is on top of him, throwing one, two, three punches before the hockey guys come.
“Lexi!” Noah yells at him and then grabs him to pull him off of Henri. It takes two other strong hockey players to get Lexi off of Henri. “What are you doing?”
“Teaching this guy a lesson,” Lexi says, as Henri gets up from the ground to face him.
“Never seen this side of you, Lexi,” Henri says calmly as if he hasn’t just been thrown to the ground and punched repeatedly. Henri is just happy to get Lexi riled up. “You have a temper almost as bad as Arya’s.” And then Henri turns to walk away.
“What the fuck did you just say?” Lexi breaks free of his hockey guys’ grips and grabs Henri to turn him to face him again.
“What, Lexi?” Henri says.
“You know what,” Lexi says angrily.
“About your girl’s temper? Sorry, not your girl. James’ girl.” Henri smiles, “Just saying she has a fiery side to her, but you already know all about that, don’t you?” Henri winks at him.
“If you fuckin’ hurt her or…”
“Don’t worry Lexi, she’s a pretty girl, but a bit wild for my taste though,” Henri says, cutting him off. “Which I’m sure you experienced when you took her to the drama room closet. Tell me, Lexi, is she as good on her knees as she is on the soccer field?”
“You mother-…” Lexi yells, going to tackle Henri again, but the hockey guys pull Lexi back before he can.
“Let’s go, Lexi,” they say pulling him away.
“I’m going to fuckin’ kill him!” Lexi yells as they hold him back. They’ve attracted more people and finally, some of the basketball guys have come to Henri’s aid.
“Get him the fuck out of here!” Noah yells at the basketball guys.
“No!” Lexi growls, “Just leave me alone with him for two minutes. It’s all I need.”
“Won’t bring her back, Lexi,” Henri taunts, “you let her go off with that guy.”
The basketball guys grab onto Henri, dragging him away from Lexi, who is being dragged in the other direction by the hockey guys. It only takes two guys to take Henri away who is happy to leave, satisfied that he got underneath Lexi’s skin for once, but it takes five guys to get Lexi out of there. They drag him to the other side of the yard, far from Henri.
“You need to chill, Lexi,” Noah says, coming right up to his face. Lexi is still fueled with anger and filled with alcohol.
“I’m going to kill that guy,” Lexi says, the hockey guys all standing around him, ready to stop him if he tries to go after Henri again.
“This is what he wants, Lexi,” Noah says, “he wants to get under your skin, he wants to get you angry. Don’t give him the satisfaction.”
Lexi breathes hard, angry at everything and everyone, but mostly, he’s angry that he lost Arya. He was consumed with hockey and she was at another school, so he just left her alone. She wasn’t as convenient a relationship anymore and he took her for granted. Never did he think that she would find someone else, especially not at that school. She never dates. He just assumed that he was the only one for her. He assumed that the second he put his hand on her waist, that she was his again.
But he was wrong.
Two and a half Months Ago
“Peggy wouldn’t go out with you in a million years,” one of the West Side hockey guys, Isaac, calls out across the dressing room. “You aren’t her type.”
“And you are? Don’t think she’s forgotten that you dated her best friend,” another West Sider calls back.
“She’s actually been in a good mood lately. You might have a chance,” a third West Sider, Winston, says.
“Why do you say that?” Isaac says.
“She’s happy that the hot soccer chick in Grade 11 is gone,” Winston says.
“Arya?” someone says.
“Oh yeah,” Isaac says as he gets up, “You East Siders have her now. Have any of you hooked up with her yet?”
“Please, she never gave any West Sider the time of day, there’s no way she would settle for one of these guys,” Winston says.
“Hey!” a bunch of the East Side players call out.
“Just speaking the truth. That girl only cares about school and soccer,” Winston says.
“And her looks,” Isaac says and then looks around the room. “Come on, you think she walks around school looking like that to not get attention?”
“Well George here is the only one of us that has spent any time with her since she transferred,” an East Sider says.
“Georgy!!” they start throwing towels at him, but Lexi just looks at him. Lexi has been trying to contain himself ever since Arya’s name came up.
“We’re just friends,” George says, throwing the towels back. “Nothing more.”
“But you’d like to be more,” Isaac winks at him.
“No,” George says.
“Come on, George. We know she’s hot. All of us are waiting for the guy that finally fucks her,” Isaac says.
“Shut up!” Lexi yells loudly and all the players become quiet for the captain. Lexi puts on his helmet and gloves, and then grabs his stick and walks out of the dressing room. “You have two minutes to get out on the ice!” he yells over his shoulder.
George follows Lexi out on the ice, and they skate next to each other. “Don’t ask,” Lexi says.
“I wasn’t going to,” George says. “But she’s not involved with anyone in case you wanted to know. I think most of the guys at East Side are intimidated by her.”
Lexi laughs. Not surprising. A West Side girl at East Side. Especially Arya.
“What’s that smile about?” George asks.
“Nothing,” Lexi says and then skates off. She’ll never change. Lexi is the only that has and will break through her exterior.