Love Me Never

Page 20


“How do you fall in there? It’s like two feet wide.”
“Fucking idiots!”
“Carl peed in there, too!”
Jack and I drip in solidarity.
“You did that on purpose.” Jack mutters, and I swear I see his eyebrow twitch with controlled rage.
“N-No! I tripped and – oh god there’s something green on your crotch. Not that I was looking there. It just happened to be very green! Right there!”
He picks a wad of algae off his crotch and throws it onto the face of a laughing guy nearby. It makes a wet splat, and Jack is gone before I have the chance to apologize properly. Not that I was going to at all since I’m at war with him and what am I thinking, apologizing! And thanking him for kissing me? What the hell am I on other than ethanol-based depressants? I have to work this accident for all it’s worth! I hold up my hands and pump my fist, shouting.
“Take that, Jackass Hunter!”
The party laughs, some people shake their heads. I go back inside, squishing over to a shocked Kayla.
“Sorry about your floor. I love you. Have I mentioned that lately? I really love you and please don’t be mad I shoved your crush into a fountain, please, it was an accident but I’m making it look like it wasn’t because that’s how smooth I am.”
There’s an anxious span of quiet in which I reconsider all my life choices up until this moment. She wrinkles her nose, and smiles.
“You smell like pee.”
I exhale in relief, inhale, and immediately regret it.
“I smell hells like pee.”
3 Years
14 Weeks
3 Days
Jack Hunter’s level of menace is steadily increasing.
For a while back at the party I thought our pretty-damn-secluded moment of secluded-feelings-sharing was going to diffuse the tension between us, but alas. It appears, by the pictures plastered all over the walls and lockers of East Summit High, that I was wrong.
The pictures are of me. Fat. Coming out of my old high school building in Good Falls, Florida. My butt crack is showing, and I’m practically swimming in the old baggy clothes I used to wear.
People look at the pictures, then point at me and laugh.
I immediately weigh the pros and cons of throwing a tantrum.
Kayla sidles up to me, a nervous look on her face. She walks with me to class. People really are huge meanies. Just really big fat meanies. This has to be Jack’s doing, since we are at war and all, but this is the cruelest thing he’s done yet. I’ve been pretty cruel too, but I didn’t dig around in his past or anything. Okay. Maybe I did. A little. I talked to Wren and he told me about Sophia and I mentioned Sophia at the party. So I guess this is Jack’s way of telling me to butt out. I ticked him off. Super ticked. A very large tick that has drank a lot of blood and been stuck in an armpit for so long it became a Godziltick. That’s how ticked off he is. As if I care! He’s brought out the big guns, the guns of me being fat, and I still look fabulous even fat but how dare he reach his shitty little fingers into my past and air it out for everyone to see, and if I ever see him again I’ll tear his esophagus up out of his mouth and use it as a ceremonial headdress –
“Isis,” Kayla pats me on the back. “You’re thinking out loud again.”
“I am upset,” I sniff. “With certain persons in the immediate vicinity.”
“Not me,” Kayla clarifies.
“Never you.”
“To be fair, it’s a very pretty butt crack,” Kayla offers.
“Thank you. What’s Jack’s first period?”
“Trigonometry with Mr. Bernard –”
I storm over to J-Building and casually kick Mr. Bernard’s door open. Jack’s in the back. I stride over to the whiteboard, pick up the eraser, and chuck it at his head. It dings off with considerable force and Jack looks stunned.
“You’re a horrible little boy, Jackoff Hunter McShittington!” I shout. “I bet you have potted cactuses - ”
“Cacti,” Mr. Bernard offers timidly.
“ – CACTI, and you smell horrible and you’re the stupidest ass**le I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting and if you could just go jump off a building and die alone I would be very grateful!”
I slam the door behind me and lean against it, breathing deep. With all the angst out, I can smile again, think straight again. I skip to class. Kayla quirks a brow.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m currently devising terribly fiendish torture scenarios in which Jack doesn’t get out alive with his penis intact.”
“He is getting crossed off the decent human list,” I assure her. “With red ink! And a million exclamation points!”
“Do you think he really did it? He taped all those pictures up by himself? Where did he even get them?”
“There’s only one person who has access to my past like that,” I murmur. As I make my way to Wren’s typical hideout at recess, I realize I haven’t cried. Not a single tear. And why should I? I’m not proud of who I used to be, but it’s not who I am anymore. I’m different. I have four streaks of purple in my hair, and I haven’t fallen in love in three years, twelve weeks, and five days. I’m doing good. I’m doing so much better than that person in the pictures was. I hold my hand out and run down a line of lockers, tearing off the pictures as I go. I slam the wad into the trash triumphantly. My fat butt decorates the floor, ripped and shredded and made dirty by the thousands of footprints that’ve walked on it. Some people have scribbled FAT and HUGE BITCH. The janitor is sweeping pictures up by the dozens, his usual death-glare turning a little soft when he sees me.
The student council room is clean and tiny and smells like pencils and stale doughnut holes. Wren is instructing a Freshmen guy with glasses and two Freshmen girls with mousy hair on the merits of not running in the halls and getting good grades or some drivel. I come up behind him and slam my hands on the desk.
“Yes, hello, good evening everyone. It is I, butt crack girl. Please evacuate the immediate vicinity before I show you my new and updated butt crack.”
“Isis, what the hell –” Wren starts. The freshmen shoot him nervous looks, and he motions for them to go. When they’ve closed the door, I sit on Wren’s desk and cross my legs over one another like a dainty lady.
“You gave my picture to Jack, didn’t you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You talked to Nameless, and he gave you my picture.”
“No! I swear to you, Isis, I haven’t talked to Will –”
I flinch, and he clears his throat.
“ – uh, Nameless, for a whole year! We’re not all that close!”
“How else would Jack get that picture?”
“Look, I’m not saying I know who did it, but didn’t you notice there was no comment from the faculty? Principal Evans didn’t get on the PA system to comment on the pictures at all. He usually reprimands defacing school property like crazy. But this time? Nothing.”
“Are you saying Evans did this?”
“I’m not saying anything,” he lowers his voice. “I’m just saying it’s odd, is all, and that if you talk to Evans, you might get some more information.”