“Should I do it?” Harper asked me as her brown eyes darted from mine to the guys sitting across the room. There was a smirk on her lips, and it was too sly to ignore.
She ran the tip of her finger on the brim of her open Snapple bottle as she continued to stare. Swiftly, she picked it up off the table and took a swig. Her lips don’t reach all the way around the opening of the bottle so some of that kiwi strawberry ended up as a sheer mustache dripping from her upper lip. With the back of her arm, she wiped it away quickly before meeting my eyes again.
“No!” I sighed with frustration. “Harper, it was just a stupid joke and we are way too mature to be going through with a plan we made up in high school!”
With a clear plastic fork in my hand, I poke at the half eaten bowl of chinese food, consisting of some dry ass fried rice and even drier bbq pork. I had to soak the thing with teriyaki sauce to make it semi-edible. College food. Expensive and only tolerable.
I’ve only been able to survive here this long due to my early morning shifts at the bookstore, and thankfully, it worked for my class schedule. It still sucked driving to school at seven in the morning just to make it on time, with all the traffic, parking, and walking across the giant campus. I’m really starting to hate this quarterly parking permit. I can only park in one parking lot in the mornings.
Her expression grew serious as she tilted her head and lowered her lids at me as if to say, who are you kidding?
“Evelyn, you and I both know it was not just a stupid joke. It ruined you and probably was a reason why you were so shy after you moved to a new school, where you met me senior year. Wait, should I be thanking him?” She placed a finger on her puckered lips as she looked up to the side, as if deep in thought. “Nah, I’m still sure he ruined you.”
“No, he didn’t, Harper. Let’s just… not hang out on this side of school again,” I told her, turning around to take a good look at them.
They’ve always looked like brothers, and their close friendship only convinced me further. Liam sported a shorter haircut, almost hiding the careless curls I used to love so much. Relaxing in a deep blue V-neck and a dark pair of jeans, he laughed with Mason, who was thinner in shape, but manly nonetheless. Mason was wearing a dark red Henley with his sleeves bunched up to his elbows. If I wasn’t so caught up in my stare at Liam, I would swoon heavily for him.
Ducking my head, I turned to face the other way when I saw Liam and Mason almost look in my direction.
I didn’t know they went to this university, but now that I know they are, I’m taking the idea of transferring out under serious consideration. All first quarter, I had a peaceful ten weeks of zero drama, besides the various stories Harper overheard from her classes. This quarter, most of my classes happened to be on an unfamiliar side of the university and now, I have to see those guys here. I wish I could get a refund for my overly expensive parking permit, but nope. I’m stuck.
“Are you freaking kidding me? Look at you, all scared of seeing him. Well I’m not having any of this. Operation Dickbag’s Heartbreak commences,” she declared as she started to put her things into her bag. I blinked at her, finding it hard to believe that she would actually do it. She’s going to walk over to Mason and Liam and ask Liam out.
Okay, so here’s what happened in its entirety, at least to my understanding. Junior year in high school, I had started to befriend Liam Saunders, best friend to the richest guy in school, Mason Van der Gelt. I used to spend all my time with Liam and we became the best of friends, but I was starting to grow feelings for him. I was never sure how he felt about me until one day, at the end of junior year, he asked me out… as a joke.
I could still remember it to this day, and thinking about it now, what an immature thing to do. And an immature thing to hold a grudge on.
Today was the day. Today’s the day I’ll be telling him my feelings, because it’s my last day. Dad had already told Eric and I a month ago that we will be moving to a new town not far from here because he had been relocated. I didn’t know how I was able to keep it from Liam for this long, but now I feel bad for throwing this news on him.
We had grown into such a great friendship and now…
We can still be friends if I don’t see him. I can talk on the phone and use webcams. We can hang outside of school. Distance wouldn’t be a problem.
But a silly confession would.
Should I be sabotaging our friendship just because I have a stupid little crush? I felt so much whenever he’s around, but now that I will no longer have him by my side all day, would it be easier?
Friends, I decided.
Standing in front of my locker, I stacked my binders in and pulled out the notebook I would need for my last two periods at this school. I felt a presence beside me and as I closed my locker, I found Liam’s gorgeous face in front of me. My breath hitched and my eyes widened in surprise as he took a step closer.
“Evelyn Martinez, what do you say…” He was stuttering, and he kept glancing up at something behind me. “About going out on a date with me?”
“I-I…” I am taken aback by his sudden request, almost forgetting my own decision to keep him as a friend. I snap out of my daze, staring at his nose to not get distracted by his big brown eyes. “Liam, look…”
I see a sudden shift in his expression as he looked at something behind me. There was concern there in his eyes, and the more I tried to avoid looking into them, the more I get pulled in again. He shifted his weight and suddenly bursted into laughter, startling me.
“It-it was just a-a,” he struggled to say between his roars of laughter, “joke. I didn’t mean it.”
A joke? He asked me out… as a JOKE? What the actual fuck?
I had trouble controlling my breathing as my eyes lowered to stare at my shoes. I heard a girl standing behind him, at her own locker, say to her friend, “Oh my god, I thought he was serious for a moment. No way Lickable Liam would fuck with that girl.”
Anger burned inside me as I tilted my head to get a better view of her, around Liam’s arm. I stared at her until she noticed and as she met my eyes, I pierced her with, “What did you say, you irrelevant bitch?”
She gasped, and I sent her a satisfied smirk before straightening up to aim my sharp glare at Liam. Even in a moment as humiliating and heartbreaking as this, I still found myself admiring his boy-next-door cuteness. His arms were laced thick muscles that peeked through his short sleeves. The dark brown curls on his head were overdue for a cut, but I never told him that because I always liked ruffling them.
His smile faded as he slowly uttered my name, “Evelyn…” I was ashamed that something as simple as my name on his tongue could send me into shock with delight.
“Goodbye, Liam,” I told him as I stepped to the side and started to walk off.
“Don’t you mean, ‘see you tomorrow’?” I heard him say as he reached for my wrist. I stop, turning to look back into his eyes.
Stay strong, Ev. You can do this. Don’t fall into his eyes again.
“No,” I said with resignation,” I mean, ‘goodbye, Liam.’”
I pull my wrist away from his grasp and walk off with tears spilling from the corner of my eyes. He was the first guy I had ever fallen for, and thanks to this, he just might be the only one ever.
When I moved to my new school, I met Harper and she didn’t just ease me out of my shell, she pried it open and busted me out in fashion. We were the outgoing girls, laughing our way through the last year of high school with major senioritis. When I told her about what happened with Liam, she joked about how if she were to ever meet him, she’d seek to avenge my heart by breaking his.
I went along with it at the time, thinking it was funny to come up with the various scenarios where she would make him fall in love with her. I often imagined myself in those instead of her, but I never told her that. She told me that men like that don’t deserve a heart, and instead should be stomped on.
“Harper, don’t do this. I got over it!” I pleaded, but she was already standing up.
She stood next to my seat and leaned down so that she could whisper into my ear, “Doesn’t fix the fact that it happened. You were so sad when I met you. I want to do this, okay? I was starting to get bored with college life anyway.”
I opened my mouth to say something, but she was already walking off to their table. I watched as her mocha skin almost glistened under the sun rays that shone into the room. She confidently wore a tight black romper that had a plunging neckline, laced with a dainty white design on the hem. She looked like a model and I was proud to say that she was my best friend, but damn her daring personality will be the death of me.
I immediately turned back around as she spoke to the guys and within minutes, I received a text.
Harper Green: Done and done. He’s going down.
I texted her back, trying to distract myself from the fact that she just asked out the guy who was my first crush, the guy who broke my heart.
Me: Gross. I don’t care what you do with him in the bedroom. Don’t tell me that stuff.
As I walked to my next class, Research Writing 47C, I received another text, cracking a smile on my face.
Harper Green: Ooh, girl, you fckn nasty. Get your mind out of the gutter, that’s my spot.
I chuckle lightly to myself, knowing full well that of the two of us, I had the mind for dirty jokes and she had the mouth to say them. It’s always been that way since we’ve met, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As I walked into class, I was still smiling at my screen.
“Evelyn?” I heard a familiar voice call my name.
Oh, God, no. Please have mercy on me, Lord.
I looked up to see Liam and Mason awkwardly waving at me. I wave back just as awkwardly.
Alright fine, Beardy. Don’t have mercy on me.