To say that I've been more aware of Benji is an understatement. Before, he always had to force his way into my eye, but now I can't help but notice him everywhere I go. I think Benji notices a difference to my behavior towards him because I'm not yelling at him as much.
I smile at the text he just sent me, do u kno wat material my shirt is in my fb pic?
Idk. It looks like cotton? I respond back after looking at his profile picture with him smiling while hanging out with his friends. We're having a conversation about the pickup lines that he learned from his first friend in America. Apparently, they bring all the chicks to the yard.
"Why must we go through this torture?" Diane wails as she collapses over the thick study aid book for her A.P. exam.
"You haven't even gone through five pages of that thing, and you're already complaining," Val rolls her eyes.
"We're seniors. Why do we even have to take these stupid exams?" Diane pouts.
"It's cause we are seniors that we need to take these stupid exams," Jane growls as she highlights the last sentence to the already colorful page she's been working on. Jane tends to become more ferocious than her usual self especially when she's under lots of stress. "Now, shut up, so I could actually study." And, that sets of the usual fight that Jane and Diane go through every time there's a big exam coming up.
I keep staring at the dark screen on my phone. I feel bored out of my mind at this study group session because I already know most of the material and feel extremely prepared especially after my whole insomnia study nights. But, I'm still here for moral support. My phone finally buzzes and he writes, really? it looks like boyfriend material 2 me.
I laugh out loud hysterically, and the others look at me strangely as if I grew a second head.
"Sorry," I quickly apologize. "Continue," I motion at Jane and Diane to continue their argument.
"Who are you texting, Forest?" Jason asks me curiously.
"It's that German boy, isn't it?" Jane teases me and totally forgets the argument she's having with Diane.
"It so is!" Jane squeals. Why do I always fall for that?
Diane quickly swipes my phone while I'm talking to Jane.
"She's been texting him," she confirms. Why are my friends so crazy?
Val and Jane gather around Diane to read the text. I hear them giggle at random part and then the collective Aws. I feel like dying of embarrassment. Someone please shoot me now.
"There's nothing going on between us," I lie meekly.
"Nothing? You two are flirting like no other in these texts," Diane says.
"Casey's going cougar for 'em younger men, ain't she?" Greg elbows one of his friends.
"I think you should totally hit that German ass up. He's cute, so at least you'd have a nice view," Jane jokes.
"You're gross," I respond.
"So, you're close with the kid?" Jason asks me while the girls gush and the guys laugh amusedly.
"Yeah, we're close," I shrug.
"You know, I have a really weird feeling from that kid," Jason says.
"His name is Benji, not that kid," I try to tell him without sounding too annoyed. What does he mean anyways? Is he just jealous that I've gotten over him and like Benji now?
"Sorry, Benji," he says that name with disgust.
"Why do you have such a problem with Benji anyways?"
"I really didn't want to tell you this, but Benji is not as nice of a guy as you think. "
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you see… His family and mine have known each other for a very long time."
"What do you mean?"
"Haven't you ever wondered why he's even in America?"
"What do you mean? He's told me that he's here because he's looking for something."
"And you believed that?" he asks me making me feel like an idiot.
I blush in embarrassment, "He told me that."
"Forest, he's not here because he wants to but because he had to. He was expelled from his old school in Germany, so he had no choice but to go to school here in the states. Why else do you think his grades are that bad?"
Jason's explanation hits me like a spray of ice-cold water that wakes me up from these fuzzy feelings that I've felt for Benji.
"Are you serious?" Diane asks, and I look up to see that the rest of our group was listening to his explanation.
"But, how are you so sure about that? He doesn't seem like a kid who would get kicked out of school," I ask him.
"Now that I think about it, I heard a rumor that he totally pummeled the living day lights out of Davis Lee," Henry, one of Jason's friends, pipes up.
"Yeah, before Casey started tutoring him, there were some bad rumors floating around him," Jane says worriedly.
"But, Benji's a really nice guy," I tell them meekly to support him. Is Benji not who I think he is?
The rest of my friends start gossiping about the rumors that spread about Benji. I nervously bite on my lip. I didn't know that there was all this history behind Benji. I'm sure that he definitely has a past before I met him, but I never bothered to ask because I was just so busy with the present Benji. I could feel the numbing feeling of doubt spill through my entire being. Why did I trust Benji that easily with all my secrets when I barely know him. It's like he knows everything about me, but I have no clue about him.
I hear my phone buzz at the side with another text message from Benji, the pickup line wasn't that bad, was it?
I stare at my phone debating whether I want to respond back.
"Casey, can you help me with this question?" Diane asks.
"Sure," I answer and close my phone.
"Why haven't you responded to any of my texts or calls?" Benji asks me the first thing Monday morning.
"I've been busy," I mumble and refuse to make eye contact with him. He was expelled from his old school in Germany, so he had no choice but to go to school here in the states. I shake the voices in my heads that are poisoning me with bad thoughts of Benji.
"Really? What were you doing?"
"Hey," he grabs my arm and turns me around to face him. I really don't want to talk to him right now. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," I avert my gaze from staring at his intense eyes.
"It doesn't look like anything. Please, tell me what's wrong, mein schatzi."
"Just leave me alone, Benji," I shake off his arm and try to walk away. But, Benji grabs hold of my arm once again and drags me somewhere private for us to talk.
"What is wrong with you?" I yell at him in anger. What does he think he's doing? We have class in a couple of minutes.
"What's wrong with you?" he returns my question back at me. This is the first time I've ever seen Benji avert his anger to me. "I actually thought things were going well between the two of us, but it seems like something has changed during the weekend."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I deny.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about," he shouts at me. I flinch at his suddenly raised voice. He takes a deep breath to calm himself and says with a steadier voice, "I thought we had something."
"We didn't have anything," I tell him. I lie as my anger gets the better of me.
"Don't deny that you were starting to feel things for me. What happened during this weekend?"
"Benji, I just don't think this," I motion between the two of us. "Will work out. I mean, it seems like you're a kind of a bad boy, but I'm just the school's perfect model student. Plus, it seems like you're doing bad things on Jason's land." The words spill out of me with knowing.
"You heard shit from Jason, didn't you?" he looks at me with narrowed eyes.
I don't answer him.
"I can't believe it. You're letting other people get to you again."
"What are you talking about? This is my own decision."
"It was not just your decision! You let other people's opinions get in the way of what you think. Just like how you let your dad influence you."
"Don't bring my family issues into this!" I yell angrily.
"Why? Did you even have the courage to even tell your father that you don't want to go to his school? Did you even cancel the acceptance?"
I look away from him in shame. The tears are gathering in my eyes in embarrassment. I haven't had the balls to even stand up for myself and take charge of my own future.
"You see. You haven't even done that. And now, you're letting another man influence you again just like your father," he spits.
"Fuck you, Benji von Adalwulf," I cuss at him in anger. He just knows how to bring the worst out of me. "I don't want to see you anymore. You know what? I quit. I don't want to tutor your sorry ass anymore."
"You sure you made that decision by yourself or did you let that little shit make your decision for you?"
I walk over to him and slap him across the face.
"I don't want to see you ever again," I tell him and walk away from him. I hear him storming off in the other direction.
I walk into the nearest bathroom stall until the next period and cry because I know that every word that Benji said was right. I was a coward and let others' opinions affect me again. I unconsciously reach over to the necklace that Benji gave me. No. Stupid asshole. I take the necklace off of me and throw it in the trash.