Chapter 37 - Jealous
“’Cause you’re too sexy, beautiful / And everybody wants a taste / That’s why (that’s why) / I still get jealous” – Jealous, Nick Jonas
“What took you so long?” Richard yells from near the back of the bus as I get on. Richard and Malcolm are sitting together on the right side, while Samson sits in front of them. I take the empty seat next to Samson and throw my bag under the seat, ignoring Richard’s question.
“Everyone here?” Mr. Quirrel says as he steps onto the bus.
“Yup!” a bunch of guys call out and then the bus starts to leave the parking lot.
“Where were you, Fox?” Richard asks again, tapping me on the shoulder from behind, “You almost missed the bus.”
“None of your business,” I say in a more irritated voice than I intended.
“Why are you so pissed?” Samson says, leaning against the window while I sit looking straight ahead.
“He’s been like this ever since he started ignoring Arya last week,” Malcolm says.
The sound of his voice saying her name aggravates me. I get up to put my knee on the seat so I can face all three of them. “You don’t know what you’re talking about Malcolm. Why don’t you just mind your own business for once in your life? Okay? And stop trying to but into mine!” and then I sit back down.
“What’s your problem, James?” Malcolm says, and I can hear the anger building in his voice. I shouldn’t be angry with him, I shouldn’t yell at him, but I can’t help myself, the anger inside of me needs to come out. When I saw Malcolm hugging Arya yesterday, I wanted to punch him then and there.
“I saw you with her!” I turn and yell at him.
“I was trying to get her to talk to you!” Malcolm yells back at me, “You’ve been all miserable and closed off this past week! I was trying to help!”
“By hugging her?” I demand, already knowing that the hug was just between two friends, but unfortunately, the mind has a way of playing tricks on you. In my head, he wanted to hold her, he enjoyed having the little body enclosed in his arms; in my head, he smelled her hair, wondering why he doesn’t just take her for himself now that her boyfriend has abandoned her; in my head, there’s a part of him that still wants the only girl that’s ever rejected him, that his best friend took the girl he liked first, so why shouldn’t he take her back? “Trying to be a fuckin’ knight in shining armour for her?”
“It’s not like that and you know it!” Malcolm says back to me, the anger only growing inside of him. I’m pushing him to the edge and if I’m not careful, I might push too far.
“I don’t need your pity.” I say, “Don’t interfere in matters that have nothing to do with you. I don’t want Arya coming up to me to try and talk after she talked to you.”
“Is that why you were late?” Malcolm asks. “Were you talking to her?”
“Again, none of your business,” I say angrily.
“Was she trying to explain her side of the story?” Malcolm asks and I just glare at him, “You know as well as I do that there is more to that story. What? Did you just cut her off? Did you let her explain?”
“She doesn’t trust me,” I say, still angry with Arya. “She won’t tell me the whole story. She’s holding back from me but there’s nothing I can do to make her open up.”
“So you just gave up on her?” Malcolm says, “You don’t know what happened, James! Maybe no one knows. You can’t just give up on her now.”
“I asked her if that guy hurt her,” I say, “and she said no.”
“Do you believe her?” Samson asks.
“I don’t know,” I say honestly. She didn’t blink when she said no. She made me believe that he didn’t hurt her, but I don’t know anymore.
“So just because she won’t tell you everything right now, you give up on her?” Malcolm says, “It’s been, what? A week? You closed yourself from us for two years, James! We’ve had to deal with you bailing on us, not talking to us for two years! And we never gave up on you. We remained your friends.”
“Malcolm, watch it,” Samson warns.
“No!” Malcolm says to Samson, “I’m tired of it. I’m tired of tiptoeing around James’ feelings. I get it, James. You know I do. My mom ran away when I was five. I know when you lost your dad it was horrific. Nothing can ever fill the void of a missing parent, but I am not going back to how it used to be. I’m not going back to you closing yourself off from the three friends that care about you the most. That girl finally brought out the old you that we thought was gone forever.” Malcolm pauses, thinking about what to say next, “And I’m not letting you mess up the best thing that’s ever happened to you because you think this whole thing is about Arya not trusting you.”
“It is though!” I yell at him, “How can I be in a relationship with someone that keeps something like that from me? And now she won’t tell me anything. She won’t let me in.” It hurts me more than I describe that the only girl I have ever felt a connection with, the one person that I have shared everything with and have held nothing back for, can’t do the same for me. I let her in, I let her see all of me, good and bad, and she knew. She knew that but she won’t do the same thing for me.
“You can’t give up on her, James.” Malcolm says, “You know that deep down you can’t. Girls don’t spray paint ‘RAPIST’ on a guy’s locker for fun.”
“I think you dodged a bullet there, James.” I hear Daniel call from one of the seats at the back of the bus.
Daniel wasn’t even listening to their conversation, but at hearing the name ‘Arya’ and ‘rapist’, he decided to join in. The truth was that Daniel, although he wouldn’t admit it to anyone, was jealous of James. This Grade 11 is a soccer superstar and would have beat him out of the captain spot if he was a year older. Heck, he almost beat him out even though he was a Grade 11! And then, on top of that, he had been dating the new girl that had caught Daniel’s attention. What was a Grade 11 guy in comparison to a Grade 12? Obviously, she would pick Daniel if he showed interest in her. But she didn’t. He approached her, he talked to her, but no matter what he did, she always looked at James like he was the only person in the room. She always went to him and that was just another thing James had that Daniel wanted, but Daniel would never admit it. When he heard that they were no longer together, he thought this was his chance to have Arya to himself, there would be no James blocking his way. He knew James wouldn’t be able to keep that girl satisfied. But when he found out why they had broken up, he knew that he couldn’t go anywhere near that girl.
“She may be hot, but she’s not worth going through that.” Daniel says, “That Lisa girl did you a favour, Fox. No guy is going to want to date her now, scared that she may accuse him of rape if they touch her or piss her off.” A bunch of the Grade 12 guys nod and grunt in agreement. “That poor guy, people just automatically believe the girl. Guys have no chance if a girl accuses them of rape, even if he did nothing wrong. I bet I know what happened.” Daniel readjusts himself in his seat before telling his story, all the guys in the back hanging on his every word. “I bet it was the classic case that she slept with this guy, and then after, she wanted a relationship with him, but he said no. So, to get back at him she accused him of rape to protect her reputation so that she didn’t look like a slut.” All the Grade 12 guys call out in agreement with Daniel’s prognosis. It sounds ridiculous coming from him. How could he think this about a girl he doesn’t even know? It’s not Arya. She would never do something like that, and hearing Daniel drag her name through the mud is just too much. “I dodged a bullet too!” Daniel exclaims, “I’m glad I never slept with that girl, even though I know she wanted it.” Calm yourself, James, you can’t start a fight on the bus. “She would have been begging me for a relationship afterward and then accused me of rape when I said no!” Daniel hive fives the open hand of the guy next to him.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Daniel.” I say to him, “Stop talking about her as if you know her at all.”
“Why do you care, James?” Daniel says, “She’s not your girl anymore.”
“That doesn’t mean you can drag her name through the mud!” I yell at him. “Just because she showed no interest in you despite you trying to get her attention doesn’t mean you can insult her now because you think you have the upper hand.” I hit him where it hurts, and I can tell Daniel is heated with anger at the accusation that a Grade 11 girl rejected him. “What?” I smile at him, “Do you think she didn’t tell me about all the times you tried to flirt with her and talk to her? I let her handle it on her own because she didn’t need help dealing with some poor lovesick boy that couldn’t take a hint.” I hear ohhhing around me and I know that Daniel is not going to take this sitting down.
“What was she going to do, James?” Daniel says, “Accuse me of harassment? Accuse me of rape? Aren’t you scared that she’s going to do the same to you now that you’ve pissed her off by ending things with her?”
When he says this, I hear Arya saying, ‘How can you even say that?’, when I accused her of doing that to me. She was so shocked that I said it and I was too. She couldn’t believe that I would think that she would do that to me, and now? Hearing Daniel say it, I see how ridiculous it is and I can’t let these guys think that that thought ever crossed my mind. “No, I’m not.” I say confidently, “You need to shut up now, Daniel.”
“Or what?” Daniel yells, starting to get up from his seat. “You know my story is probably partially right. Why else would you leave your girlfriend?” Because she doesn’t trust me with the truth. “If you didn’t think she did something wrong, you’d still be with her. The fact that you broke up with her just proves what everyone is thinking and saying about her is right.” That’s not it, that’s not it. I just can’t be with someone who doesn’t trust me. “Proves that she’s not the perfect West Side angel everyone thought she was. Just another slut more concerned about her reputation than anything else. The girl who cried rape.”
“Daniel!” Maurice says from the seat beside Daniel, taking his headphones off and having enough of this conversation, “Shut your mouth.”
“What’s your problem?” Daniel says to him.
“I thought you didn’t want to get involved in Grade 11 drama?” Maurice says.
“This is more than Grade 11 drama,” Daniel says and then turns to me, “Bet you’re glad you didn’t sleep with her now, hey Foxy?” I glare at him. “Or did you finally grow some balls and fuck her? I hope she was worth your reputation.”
I get up from my seat, not able to control myself anymore. His smirking face making my blood boil. “You are fuckin’…”
“Boys!” a voice calls from the front of the bus. I turn to see Mr. Quirrel walking his way through the aisle back to us, grabbing each seat as he does for balance. “What is going on back here?”
“Nothing, coach,” we all respond.
“Yeah, I’m sure.” Mr. Quirrel says unconvinced. “You guys better sort out your problems before the game. Without using your fists, I might add.” Mr. Quirrel just stares at us. He’s put so much effort into this soccer team that he can’t watch it fall apart because of, what seems like to him, is high school drama. “You are the captain, Daniel.” Mr. Quirrel looks straight at him. “Keep your guys in line, they look to you for leadership.”
“Ha!” I say out loud instead of keeping my thoughts in my head.
“What was that, James?” Mr. Quirrel turns on me.
“Nothing, Mr. Quirrel,” I say and sit back down.
“Good.” Mr. Quirrel says, “We’ll be there in 10 minutes.” And then he makes his way back to the front of the bus.
“Better get your act together for the game, Fox.” Daniel taunts from behind, but I don’t even turn around, “Already lost the girl, would hate for you to lose your touch as well.”