To Love...

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High School Drama

When I returned to school, a lot of people came up to me to apologize for their comments from the week before, or to give me their condolences on losing the baby, that they previously made fun of me for. I just gave everyone a smile and moved through the day one class at a time.

When I went to lunch, I saw Zach, Tony and Janie sitting at our table and debated on joining them or not. The decision was made when Janie waved me over, so I joined them and sat next to her and Zach. It was definitely awkward, but it could have been worse.

“How are you feeling?” Zach asked me.

“Best as I can be,” I replied. “How are you?”

“Honestly, not well,” he answered.

“Oh,” I said not knowing what else to say.

“He’s been moping around for almost a week,” Tony piped in, earning a glare from Zach. “Don’t look at me like that, it’s true.” Zach threw a tater tot at him from his lunch tray in response.

“Knock it off you two,” Janie said trying to keep the peace and I chuckled a little. “Oh my God, was that a laugh?” she commented to me, causing me to smile a little more.

“No, it wasn’t,” I tried to say while wiping the smile off my face.

“Sure, it wasn’t,” she said winking at me. “It is really good to see you smiling again, even if just a little,” she added.

“Thanks,” I replied.

“Oh great, what she’s doing here?” I heard Tony mumble.

We all turned to look where he was looking, and there in the doorway to the cafeteria was Amber, looking as smug as ever. Apparently, she did get in some trouble when it came to the principal’s attention of her posting photos of me all over the school, but not enough to keep her away.

“Shit,” Zach mumbled under his breath as he turned back to the table.

I took a deep breath but kept my cool. This was the first time I had seen her since everything went down the week before.

“She better not try to join us,” Janie whispered.

I caught her eyes as she scanned the room, I’m guessing looking for Zach. She looked away first and stormed to another table when she saw him sitting with us. I was glad that Janie and Tony still included me in their group, and that Zach and I could be civil for the time being. We hadn’t really talked about the whole situation, but we were both grieving in our own way and agreed to ‘be friends’ for now.

Zach wanted nothing to do with Amber after he realized she set us all up with the cheating thing, however, he admitted that they had been sleeping together for several weeks before I found them that day. Tony and Janie told me that they were not aware of Zach and Amber, and they couldn’t believe what they had done, however, I told them to let not it affect their friendships with them. All three of us were at fault in some way, so it was up them to decide where to go from there.

They chose to forgive Zach but were unable to forgive Amber after how she handled the situation. I mean, if she did something like that to her best friend, what would stop her from doing it to others? I guess while I was out, Amber begged for forgiveness from Zach every day, but he would just walk away from her, leaving her more upset. I almost feel sorry for her…almost.

“Is she still bugging you?” I asked Zach.

“Unfortunately, yes. I don’t know how much clearer I can be to leave me alone,” he sighed.

I laughed, “Now you know a little of how I felt.”

“What? I never…oh, yeah, I guess I did that to you, didn’t I?” he asked, and I nodded. “I’m sorry about that Jackie.”

“It’s in the past, let it go,” I replied. “Look Zach, I know we have a lot of unresolved issues, but after last week and everything that happened, I realized that I just need some time for myself. We had a good two years together, but we admitted to each other that we were in two different spots in our relationship in terms of what we want or need. I am truly sorry about not telling you about the…” I looked down in shame.

“I understand why you didn’t tell me, not that I agree with it all, but I do agree with everything else, and I’m OK with your decision. I should have listened to you and respected you in every way, but I wasn’t in my right mind and…”

“You were listening to the wrong head,” Tony mumbled, causing Zach to throw more food at him. “What…what did I say?”

“Fuck you, Tony,” he responded.

“You can’t deny it, can you?” he teased, and Zach flipped him off. “See?”

“Shut up, Tony,” I said trying not to laugh. “Why are you listening to us any way?”

“You two are my closest friends, and what affects you, affects me, and Janie here,” he answered, and Janie nodded in agreement. He is correct, I guess. “I hate seeing you both upset, but I am rooting for you to work it out, to at least be friends,” he added all serious.

“We want to be here for you, for you both,” Janie added. “I don’t want to have to choose who to be friends with if you can’t work something out. We’ve already lost one of us,” she paused looking towards Amber, “and I don’t want to lose any more of our group.”

“Thank you both, you aren’t going to lose me,” I said giving them a smile.

“Me either,” Zach replied, then turned to me, “Friends…for now?” he offered his hand to shake.

“Friends…for now,” I agreed shaking his hand.

We finished lunch and moved on with the day without any incidents.

******

Things were quiet for the next week or so. Students were getting ready for senior prom, so that was the talk of the school. We were only sophomores, so we weren’t going, obviously, but it was nice to hear about other peoples’ dilemmas regarding dates, dresses, hairstyles, music and more.

We all thought that Amber had finally moved on, as we heard nothing from her, and rarely saw her around. Zach said she was finally leaving him alone, and she continued to avoid me, which I was OK with. Although, I admit that I did miss her at times…I mean, she had been my best friend for ten or eleven years until this happened. I really wanted to talk to her about the whole situation, but I also wanted to let bygones be bygones.

The day before prom, Amber came over to our table at lunch, earning a groan from all of us sitting there.

“What do you want Amber?” Zach asked, clearly annoyed.

“Can’t I just stop and say hi?” she answered.

“Ummm… really Amber? What do you really want?” he responded.

“Why should I need a reason? This was my table, and you are my friends, so I have the right to be here,” she stated.

“Were your friends,” Tony mumbled.

“Whatever Tony,” she huffed. “I just wanted to let you know that I have moved on and I am so over you Zach. Jackie, he’s all yours.”

“Gee, thanks,” I replied sarcastically. “Why the change of heart?”

“I was asked to prom by a senior, who is so much more mature than any of you. It’s time that I leave this group, as I have new friends,” she answered.

“OK, then be on your way,” Tony replied with annoyance in his voice. “I think we can survive without you.”

“Ugh, fine,” she replied and stormed off.

We all laughed as she walked away.

“Damn Zach, I was really rootin’ for you and Amber,” a guy named Seth, who was once Zach’s best friend, came up to him after Amber walked away.

“What do you mean, Seth?” Zach asked.

“Well, you two looked very much into each other, or should I say, all over each other, when I was asked to take some pictures of you,” he answered with a smirk on his face.

“And when were asked to take pictures of me and by whom?”

“A few weeks ago, or so, and by Amber, of course,” he answered smugly.

“WHAT?” Zach replied angrily.

“Yeah, she said she needed proof that you were together or whatever. She paid me to get a few pictures, especially when Jackie showed up,” he answered, then turned to me. “I always knew he wasn’t any good for you,” he whispered loud enough for Zach to hear.

“Why would you fucking agree to do that?” Zach asked, getting up and into his face.

“Because, she offered me money,” Seth chuckled. “I didn’t know what she was going to with the pictures until I saw them posted all over the halls,” he added. “Why do you care anyways? You were obviously cheating on your girl…”

Zach lost it and punched him in the face, sending him backward and to the floor.

“What the hell, Zach?” he yelled getting up and going after Zach.

“FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!” people in the cafeteria started chanting.

“ZACH, STOP IT! He isn’t worth it,” I yelled trying to pull Zach away from Seth. Instead, I ended up on my butt on the ground after Seth pushed Zach into me, causing him to elbow me in the face.

Tony and Janie pulled me out of their path before I got stepped on as they continued to fight. Tony tried to step in-between the two but was pushed to the side as well.

The two landed several more punches to each other’s faces and bodies before several teachers and the school liaison officer showed up and broke up the fight. They were pulled apart and taken out into the hallway, away from the students in the cafeteria.

I stood in the doorway with Tony and Janie to see where they were being taken, when I heard Seth holler down the hall to Zach, “You never deserved her, you know.”

“Yeah, well, why did she end up with me then? You never had a chance Seth,” Zach hollered back.

“Quiet both of you,” the officer stopped them, before taking Zach into an office, while the principal took Seth to his.

“What the hell was that all about?” I thought to myself.

“You really don’t know?” Tony said and I looked at him funny. “Yeah, you said that out loud,” he laughed.

“What don’t I know, Tony?”

“Shit, I thought you knew,” he mumbled. “Did Zach ever tell you why he and Seth ended their friendship?” I shook my head, and Tony sighed.

“Tell me, Tony, please.”

“It was because of you,” he told me. “It’s not my place to say anything, but Seth really liked you and wanted to ask you to the end of the year festival after we graduated middle school, but Zach beat him to it. When you said yes to Zach, Seth went ballistic on him.”

“Seth never said anything, so how was I supposed to know how he felt?”

“I don’t know, you would have to talk to him,” Tony answered.

“This is too much. We were all friends Tony, why didn’t anyone say anything to me before now?”

“Because I promised to stay out of it. This was between them, and I didn’t want to be involved. You seemed happy with Zach, so I left it alone.”

“You’re right, I liked Zach back then and was happy with him until recently, but I don’t understand why neither of them said anything to me. I could have talked to Seth to let him know that I only ever saw us as friends…maybe they would still be…”

“Don’t beat yourself up over this Jackie,” Tony said. “This is something they need to figure out.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I agreed.

“Aren’t I always?” he teased, and I smacked his arm.

“Janie…let’s agree right now to not date anyone in our circle of friends again,” I said with a laugh.

“I agree,” she laughed with me, and Tony just shook his head.

“Sorry Tony, but we are and will only ever be friends,” I said giving him a hug.

“I’m OK with that,” he laughed.

******

“Did you ever resolve things with Zach, Seth or even Amber?” the doctor asked.

“Not really, I don’t know,” I answered.

“Tell me more,” he pushed.

“Well, Amber did go to prom with that senior, however, he was only using her to get his girlfriend back. We heard all the juicy gossip on the following Monday: apparently, after arriving to the dance and getting their picture taken together, the girlfriend saw them and got a little jealous. The story was that she pulled Amber away from her boyfriend during a slow dance and made a big scene, begging him to take her back. Amber tried to step in to take her place back, but I guess he told her to hit the road and spent the rest of the evening with his girlfriend.

She lost a lot of respect from most of the students after that, in combination with what she had done to me. Those that she thought were her new friends, were only accepting because of this guy, and pushed her aside as quick as he did. She tried to apologize to our group, but it was hard for any of us to forget what she did, even though I did forgive her, and she moved on.

Zach and Seth both got suspended for a few days after the fight, but were told that if another fight broke out, the punishment would be a lot worse. When they returned, I pulled them both aside and we talked about everything. It did come out that Seth really liked me, and Zach knew that. They had planned for Zach to talk to me about going to this festival with Seth, but when the time came, Zach asked me to go with him instead. Seth was furious and ended their friendship, instead of talking it out.

I admitted to Seth that I never saw him the same way he saw me, and that I liked Zach all along. I could see that he was disappointed, but I think it helped him just the same. I encouraged the two of them to figure things out and to give their friendship another chance, now that I’m not with either of them, or plan to be in the future. They did hang out a few times that I knew of, but at school, it was still just the four of us: Zach, Tony, Janie and me.

I couldn’t wait for the semester to end, as I just wanted to forget everything and move forward.”

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