Going Under, Page 11Georgia Cates
Knowing the jig was up, I decided to go full force with my attempt to provoke her. “I was just thinking…you might as well sleep with me since everyone already thinks you have. I promise you would not be disappointed. Money back guarantee. ”
She began to laugh and said, “You are reality challenged. No one believes we’re sleeping together. ”
She didn’t shoot me down cold or call me a cringeworthy, so I decided to push a little harder. “Well, since you did bring it to my attention that you made me come with one finger, I’m especially interested in finding out what your whole hand can do. You can blame yourself for my peaked interest. ”
She shook her head like she couldn’t believe I would say such a thing to her and said, “If this is the real you, whoever told you to be yourself couldn’t have given you worse advice. ”
She still had not told me to go to hell, so I said, “Come on, go out with me tonight. It’s our last free Friday night for months and I promise to rock your world. ”
“You know I have a boyfriend, so why are you even asking?”
I placed my open palm over my heart and said, “I’m a hopeless romantic. Besides, he doesn’t have to know. I’m very good at keeping secrets. ”
She looked thoughtful, like she could be thinking it over, then said, “Sorry, no can do. ”
I saw Henderson come through the door and I quickly whispered, “Someday you’ll call me the one that got away. ”
I faced the front of the classroom and heard Henderson sit behind me, next to Claire. “Hey, babe. Having a good day?” he asked her.
She laughed and answered loud enough for me to hear, “Yeah. It’s been a really good day, very interesting. I found out I like some things I didn’t know I liked. ”
“I hope you find some things tonight that you didn’t know you liked. ”
Of course, she would have plans with her boyfriend, but it didn’t stop me from feeling slightly spurned as I was forced to overhear their conversation about going out tonight. I stilled, waiting to hear her response to his comment, but she had none.
Gretchen came in and took her seat next to me, looking especially slutty today in a short skirt and low cut shirt. She spoke, as she had everyday this week, and I decided to return her friendly affections in an attempt to fish for a reaction from Claire.
I looked her up and down and spoke a little louder so my words would easily reach Claire’s ears. “Damn, Gretchen, you look smoking hot today and that shirt looks great on you. It accents your…eyes. ”
She smiled like the cat that ate the canary and leaned closer to stroke my arm as she said, “Thank you very much and I’m glad to know you’re finally noticing. ”
“Please don’t think I haven’t been noticing because I have,” I falsely reassured.
I heard the slam of a binder against the table, then heard Henderson ask, “What’s up with you?”
“Nothing, absolutely nothing,” she said.
I knew better and just as I had hoped, flirting with Gretchen had gotten Claire’s attention. To test my theory, I decided to take my flirting a step further.
“You got plans for tonight?”
Gretchen leaned forward, allowing me a view of her cleavage and said, “I do, but nothing that can’t include you. I’m supposed to go to a bonfire at Harrison Cleveland’s. Half the school will be there; the cool half that is, and his older brother is buying some kegs. I told Ben Averitt I would go with him, but I can bail on him if you want to be my date. ”
I left my eyes on her cleavage and said, “I think you would have a better time with me than Ben. Don’t you think?”
She smiled and said, “I completely agree. ”
I heard the slam of a textbook onto the floor, causing Gretchen to jump. She turned around, her eyes shooting daggers at Claire and said, “Clumsy much?”
Claire glared at her and said, “Slutty much?” in retaliation.
“News flash, Claire…a chastity belt is not a fashion statement,” she laughed.
Claire narrowed her eyes and said, “At least my right leg doesn’t miss my left leg because they haven’t seen each other in so long. ”
Gretchen sneered as she said, “Contrary to what you may believe, Claire, being a prude is not a virtue. ”
“Gretchen, the smartest thing to ever come out of your mouth is a guy’s…”
“Whoa, Claire!” Henderson interrupted, causing us all to realize the entire class was being entertained by their exchange of insults.
Mrs. Bishop, oblivious to the free show in her class, began teaching and I tried to concentrate on her lecture, but I couldn’t stop analyzing the motive behind Claire’s verbal attack on Gretchen. Did she dislike her that much or was there more to it? Could she really be jealous?
When class ended, Claire was the first one out the door, with Henderson closely behind her. In her absence, I was left with little reason to talk with Gretchen, except for the fact that I had made a date with her.
“What time do you want to pick me up?” she asked.
I quickly considered how I might get out of this being like a real date and said, “I have somewhere to be early Saturday morning, so I’ll probably have to leave early. Why don’t I meet you there?”
She cozied up to me, rubbing her breasts against my arm as she explained, “I’m more than alright with leaving the party early. ”
“I might have to leave really early and I wouldn’t want to ruin your good time, so it’s probably best to meet there. ”
She frowned at that idea, obviously disappointed, but said, “Okay, I guess that will work. ”
As I walked away, she said, “Do you know how to get to Harrison’s place?”
I pretended the detail slipped my mind as I dumbly said, “Oh, yeah, I guess I need directions,” but it would have been fine with me to skip the whole thing and feign ignorance when we returned to school on Monday.
When she finished giving me directions to the party, she told me to meet her there at eight, and although I agreed, it was still up in the air if I would show or not. We both knew what her intentions were and I wasn’t left with the impression that she planned a reunion between her left and right leg tonight and I wasn’t interested in a girl that had seen more ceilings than Michelangelo.
I walked down the hall considering if the mess I had gotten myself into with Gretchen was worth Claire’s possible jealousy or not when I ran into Dane in the hall. We bumped fists as he said, “Hey, Boone, are you coming to Harrison’s bonfire tonight?”
“I’m supposed to go with Gretchen, but I’m not sure I’m going to make it. ”
“You should come. Harrison says that there’s going to be plenty of beer. ”
I thought of the repercussions of not showing. “Gretchen would probably be pissed if I don’t show since I kind of asked her to be my date. ”
“Dude, I was going to warn you about messing with Claire to make Forbes mad, but if you come with Gretchen, then I know you won’t have time to cause trouble because your hands will be full, literally. ”
I was in if Claire was going to be there. “Are you positive Claire will be there?”
“Of course, she’ll be there,” he promised. “We’re using her car for the music because she has a custom sound system. ”
Bonfires with beer and bumping sound systems didn’t strike me as things of interest to Claire, so I guess there was a lot I didn’t know about her. “I changed my mind. I’m going. ”
“Awesome, but do I have to ask who the persuading factor is?” he laughed.
“I’m fairly certain you can guess who the persuading factor is, but I’ll give you one clue; it’s not the girl with more pricks than a secondhand dartboard. ”
“Would it do any good to ask you to not start anything with Forbes?”
“I don’t have the intention of fighting Forbes,” I promised. “But if I want to talk to Claire and she w
ants to talk to me, no one is going to stop us. ”
“Good to hear you are at least considering her feelings these days. ”
“I shouldn’t have said what I did about her, but never fear I didn’t get mine because the old saying is true; hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Frankly, I’m not sure she’s finished with me yet, but I’m ready to find out. ”
“Please, be careful. Forbes and his posse still haven’t made good on their plan to take you out and there’s only a week left until the first game. Don’t do anything to push the envelope tonight,” Dane pleaded.
“I’ve told you I’m not afraid of them and I’m repeating myself when I tell you that I’ve lived through more than Forbes Henderson can dish out. ”
“And I’ve told you Forbes doesn’t play by the rules, so I guess this point we’ve reached is called an impasse. ”
“An impasse it is,” I agreed.
12 All The Right Buttons
What was wrong with me? I acted like a complete imbecile when Jessie gave the sexual butterfly a little bit of attention and the worst part of it wasn’t that I was afraid Forbes saw right through me-it was that I was afraid Jessie didn’t.
Spending time with him today only confirmed the intense, undeniable attraction I felt toward him. Even if this was a game I was playing, I thought the attraction was mutual, but then he asked another girl out on a date while rubbing it all up in my face.
The boundaries of this game I was playing was becoming increasingly unclear to me. The thought of Gretchen trying to use Jessie as her next screwvenir was making me crazy, but the thought of him saying yes left me with an even worse feeling and then it registered. I didn’t want him to want her because I wanted him to want me.
The whole thing was whacked because I had a boyfriend and not just any boyfriend-a long term boyfriend my parents basically hand picked for me. Forbes Henderson was everything they wanted for me.