Here's part one! To anyone who may have read this, the pieces are going to be slow coming. With school and my siblings using the computer all the time, I only get so much time to work on writing. I haven't even been able to look at my other stuff right now.
"Hey, did you hear about that new guy?" Ruth asked me, glancing up from her nails that she was painting purple.
"Yeah." I replied, not glancing up from my book. "He's some weird religious freak. Likes corn."
"Worships the corn. He's, like, Cornist, if that's a thing, you know?"
"Yeah. A freak. Like I said."
Ruth finished her nails a recapped the bottle. "Maybe not a freak. Just…" she paused, looking for a word.
"Insane?" I suggested. "Where's he live, anyway? It's not like our town is very big. I haven't heard that he'd moved in anywhere. You'd think we'd all hear if he was someone's new neighbor."
"Yeah, I haven't heard anything either. There aren't many places for sale. And I've never seen him with his parents. It's like he came to town alone."
"Exactly." I replied, and dismissed the conversation.
A few minutes passed in silence, the only sounds from outside the window, or from Ruth blowing on her nails or me turning pages.
"So I heard something interesting the other day during lunch at school." She turned to face me and tapped the bed slightly, obviously requesting my full attention. I threw my bookmark back in the book and put it down, then turned to face her.
"What about?" I asked.
"You." She said.
I cocked an eyebrow. Me? George Arellano meant That Guy, not The Guy. Nobody bothered to talk about me. There were also, like, only twelve girls there, ten boys that were around our age group. The boys didn't talk much about other kids. That was the girls' job.
"What was it?"
"Turns out, someone has a crush on you."
"Oh yeah?" Oh yeah? Really? Who might that be….your imaginary friend?
"Yeah. Anamai, the redhead. You know her."
"Really?" Anamai, the quiet kid. No joke?
"Yeah, she's got a huge thing for you. I think you should ask her to be your girlfriend. You'd be cute together. And it's not like you've got much other choice.
I considered this. Nope, I didn't. I didn't really like the girls at all- seven out of twelve were very prissy. They liked to whisper and giggle. Puh-lease.
But Anamai, Ruth, and three others were cool. Well, Ruth was. The others were okay.
"Yeah, no thanks. I think I'll be okay."
"Oh, right. Don't you like her?" Ruth prodded, a grin on her face. There was a point behind this. Deeper information she wanted to know, or share.
"She's okay. Better than Clarissa, I guess."
"Well, if it's not her you'd be interested in, who is it? You've gotta like someone." So, was she looking for that, plain and flat, or was she hoping I'd ask who she liked? Is that what she wanted to share? May as well go for it. I sure wasn't going to say who I was interested in.
"Maybe I'll tell you…if you tell me who you like first." If I was right, she be too interested in sharing that hearing about my crush life.
Obvious glee opened in her eyes. "Fine. I'll tell you."
"Okay, go." I waved my hand at her.
"Alright. I think I'm in love with Craig."
And with that statement, I fell to pieces.
"What?" I leapt up from my bed, causing her to leap to her feet as well. My all-time enemy, Craig Falton, the only guy I had anything against here, and she chose him.
"What, what's wrong?" she asked, confused and concerned.
"Craig? Don't you know me at all? Why would I be okay with you liking Craig?"
"What's wrong with him?"
"He's a jerk! The biggest jerk of all time! Haven't you seen us at it? He almost punched my face in yesterday!"
"You guys just don't get along. And it serves you right- you don't pick on people older than you. Or bigger!"
"What! I didn't pick on him! He dumped my lunch on the floor!"
"Well, let it go. When you're not around, he's nice. I've…I've talked to him."
"When?" I bellowed. When, oh when would she find time to track down big bad Craig, and get a reasonable, nice conversation out of him?
"I've talked to him every day this week. He's walked me home after they play soccer after school."
"They play soccer after school?" How gay.
"Yes, and I stay to watch. Craig is really good at it." O f course he is, he's a goon.
"Why should that make any difference to me?"
"He's really a nice person, just you rub him the wrong way. He thought you were a jerk too, until I told him how nice you are."
"What? Why would you do that?" Why would she do that?
"Well, if he ends up being my boyfriend, I want him to get along with my best friend."
I could only stare. Boyfriend. She said it. Boyfriend. She wanted Craig to ask her to be his girlfriend. Boyfriend. Holy crap.
"Ruth….I-you…." I stuttered. What was I planning to say? I love you? Don't date him, I liked you first? Did he even like her? Oh, no. OHHH, crap NO. "You can't date him."
"And you can't tell me what to do." She picked up her polish bottle and her shoes and climbed out the window, heading back in the direction of her house.
"Ruth, come back! Wait, I meant to say because…because…" My voice trailed off when she broke into a run at the road. I couldn't go after her. I couldn't just go say that I loved her.