Hours later, I rolled over in my bed and looked at the clock. It was 1:19, and I was still awake! I’d been trying to fall asleep ever since Chad had left at 11, but no such luck. I groaned quietly, remembering our walk back to his house.
He hadn’t said anything until we got to his door, and I started wondering what was wrong. When I asked him, all he said was, “Don’t ever stoop to her level again, Jess. Promise?”
I’d dropped my head and promised, and he went inside.
That whole evening, doing everything I could, and I got his attention for sure. Abby got a faint smile, I got to promise to never do it again. It just wasn’t fair! I was working as hard as she was because I actually cared about him. She was working hard because she just wanted to prove a point to me and herself that she could have anything she wanted. I was exasperated with both of them.
Chad had never really done anything like this before. He’d made it seem like he appreciated me more because I didn’t pull Abby’s all the time, but he never actually outright told me that he didn’t like her flirting game. He was always even sweeter to her than to me. Now, I wanted him to be just as nice to me, so I did what Abby did, and he practically tells me that I’m a major disappointment to him.
I rolled back to the other side of my bed, reached toward the faint light underneath, and pulled my phone from its charger. Quickly dialing Chad’s number, I padded toward the door to make sure that no surprises were waiting outside. Everyone else, apparently, wasn’t suffering from a mixture of a guilt complex and a major letdown, so they had fallen asleep easily.
Surprisingly, Chad answered on the second ring.
“You’re still awake too?” I asked, too surprised to sound as frustrated as I worked myself up to feeling.
“Yep,” was all he said, and I knew that I’d probably never find out if he was actually still awake or I had woken him up.
“Well, I was too.” Suddenly, I realized I couldn’t deliver the biting speech I’d wanted to leave on his voice mail with him right there, so I went for the other route: just come out and say it. He beat me to the next point, though.
“Why did you do that, Jess? If you really hate Abby so much, why would you fall for her tricks? That’s all she wanted.”
I was on the brink of tears already, and now hearing him affirm that all I’d proven was that I was no better than the sister I hated, the tears all started flowing down my cheeks. “You never acted like there was anything wrong with the way Abby flirts with you. You never said anything about it. You just treated her even nicer than you’ve ever treated me.” I was finding out how hard it can be to talk evenly when you’re about to start sobbing, but I pressed on anyway. “This isn’t fair of you, Chad. If you treat me like I’m just your friend and you treat Abby like she’s the only girl on the block, it’s like you’re asking for me to do what she does. And then I follow her footsteps, and suddenly you’re totally disappointed in me for stooping to her level the way you’ve never been disappointed in her. Actually, you gave her a smile. You rewarded her and scolded me. Why?” I’d planned more, but I could barely get the “Why?” out, and I really couldn’t talk now.
“Jess, look, it’s too late for this. Let’s talk in the morning, okay?” he asked fairly gently and calmly.
“You don’t even care, do you?” I sputtered. “I tell you how totally betrayed you just made me feel, and you’re all, ‘Well, we can deal with it later.’ Fine, I get it. I don’t care if you do like Abby more. I’ll just go with Nathan when he leaves, and I won’t come back. No one here would care!”
“Jessica,” he answered firmly before I could make myself hang up, “that’s not the truth, and you know it. Meet me across from my driveway in 8 hours, ‘kay?”
Biting my lip, I signed away our friendship and anything it could have become. Obviously, I was setting myself up for the “I actually realized that I like Abby more than you so I’m going to date her now and ignore you” speech, but I dove in anyway. “Fine. 9:30, across from your driveway.”
*NOTE: All characters and events portrayed in this story are purely fictitious. Any resemblance to actual people or events is entirely coincidental.*
Next part next Thursday! Suggestions, names for various characters, or other questions, comments, or concerns can be left below, or you can e-mail me at the address on my contact page.
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