I closed my locker with a satisfying clack. Friday was finally over! I had homework, but…meh it could wait. But then I remembered Xavier had his horse competition tomorrow.
I don’t hate horses or Jupiter for that matter. I just find the competitions really boring. I go because Xavier really enjoys it but…It’s not even technically a ‘real’ competition. It’s a small town thing. Now if Xavier participated in those fancy competitions with the bleachers and people all over the place cheering when their favorite horse won…Then going to watch him would be a lot more fun! This town is kind of boring that way.
“Are you Xavier’s friend?”
I turned to look at the person who’d suddenly decided to talk to me. Wow this is something rare!
It was a rather normal looking female student. She’s vaguely familiar…I might have history class with her…not sure though.
“I usually go by the name of Erin.” I replied, trying to figure out what she wanted. Probably related to Xavier. Oh…don’t tell me she wants to ask him out and make sure he’s single?
“Heh, mine’s Xenia.” She said. Darn, she seems like a nice person too. Am I really going to be the one stuck telling her ‘oops sorry Xavier’s actually gay. Yeah I know, I tried, but he’s definitely gay.’
And why am I known as Xavier’s friend? I hmphed inwardly.
“So what’s this about? Did Xavier do anything?”
“It’s more what he hasn’t done.” Xenia said. “As his friend you have to be aware of it right?”
I suddenly got the weird feeling that I was missing out on something. Aware of it? Aware of what? What am I not aware of?
“Of what?” I asked worriedly.
“Well…Xavier is being bullied.” She replied. I let out a sigh of relief. It’s just that! I got worried over nothing.
“This is serious!” She exclaimed.
“I know I know!” I hastily replied, realizing how pretty inconsiderate I must’ve seemed. “He’s been bullied since we were in elementary school.”
“Really?” Seems this was news to her.
“Why haven’t you told the teachers? This is worse than I thought it was.” She asked.
“He did once, but it didn’t turn out very well. It didn’t do much of anything actually, they kept bullying him.” I replied, spouting out the excuses Xavier had given me.
“So? Doesn’t mean he has to keep taking it. He has to fight back not defend the bullies. I told the principal that he got beat up, but he said it never happened. He lied for them!” Xenia exclaimed, evidently frustrated with Xavier.
“I know right!?” I said. “Finally! Someone who sees it my way! He just kept pushing the matter aside saying it’s no big deal.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes! Stupid right? He just wouldn’t get it! ‘Oh it can’t really be called bullying’ was one of his popular excuses. But bullying is bullying, the intensity doesn’t change that fact.” I said.
“I agree, but why are you suddenly talking in the past?” Xenia asked.
“Well yesterday they came and apologized to Xavier…” I replied watching her reaction.
She looked like she was waiting for me to continue. “And?”
“Well Xavier accepted their apology, but I’m not convinced you know?”
“I sure hope not. Sounds fishy to me.” She said.
“That’s what I was thinking too! But the one who came forwards, Oliver, did give us a little speech about it being our last year of highschool. They also said the beating Xavier got last week wasn’t intended and made them realize what they’d been doing was wrong…” I explained.
“Still sounds a little too good to be true.” Xenia said.
“Exactly! I’m not against them stopping the bullying, but…”
“Going as far as being friends? There’s got to be another reason. Especially if as you say they’ve been bullying him since elementary.” Xenia voiced my thoughts.
“I agree! But Xavier is apparently open to the idea of being friends.” I sighed.
“Why are you so concerned about Xavier’s well fare anyway?” I asked waiting for her to confess her feelings for my best friend.
“It’s hard for me not to! I witnessed the injustice myself! How can I just stand back and do nothing? I don’t want to be those people who take their phones out and just film the event.” Xenia explained.
“So you don’t have a crush on him?”
“What? Of course not!” Xenia exclaimed. “He’s not my type at all.”
“Good, cause that would only end in heartbreak. He’s gay.” I said with a smile.
“Oh. Wow. I think I heard something about that actually.” Xenia said.
“Hey, you should come and eat lunch with us. Help me keep an eye on the ex-bullies.” I proposed with a smirk.
Xenia smiled and nodded. “Sounds like a plan!”
I smiled. I think it’s about time I was friends with someone other than Xavier. And let’s be honest, I have a lot more taste in friends than Xavier does.
I gave Jupiter a small wave as mom continued to cook supper.
I was pretty sure Jupiter was as excited as I was for tomorrow. Especially since we’d decided that it would be our last competition. I’m obviously not going to stop horseback riding! But I don’t feel the need to compete against others as much nymore. Plus winter is about to come around and then, after school’s done, I’m going to university.
On top of that, I read somewhere that there’s progressively more chance of the horse or the rider getting injured in competitions as time goes on.
“Oh yes, grilled cheese!” My dad, Charlie, exclaimed as mom dropped the plates in front of us. I dug in as well.
“We’ve got some news Xavier.” Tina said before taking a bite herself.
“Bad news or good news?” I asked.
“Depends how you look at it.” Dad replied.
“Charlie found himself a good job.” Mom said. She wasn’t wearing a completely happy expression though.
“You did? That’s great.” I said to Charlie, taking another huge bite of my grilled cheese.
“That was the good part son.” Charlie said.
“The job is out of town. Charlie will be leaving for a few months on Monday.”
I swallowed a piece down the wrong pipe in surprise.
“What!?” Charlie leaving for a few months? On Monday? Isn’t this way too fast!?
I recovered and shot dad a questioning look. “Why can’t you just get a job here?”
“Doesn’t pay enough. I need to get a good job if we’re going to get you into university.” Charlie replied before digging back into his sandwich.
“If this is about money I can just get a part time job.” I immediately proposed. I didn’t want dad to have to go away on my behalf! Hell, I didn’t want him to go away period.
“No, we’ll take care of this. Focus on spending time with your friends and studying.” Tina said.
“No Xavier, that’s that. The decision has already been made. We’re just informing you.” Mom said.
I let out a sigh of defeat and gloomily took another bite of my grilled-cheese.
“Stop it! Stop it!” Erin squealed flailing her legs like a maniac.
“We aren’t even moving yet!” I said, staring at my best friend in disbelief.
“I do not care! This was a bad idea. Get me off!” Erin said, yet she continued to cling to me and look downwards worriedly.
“You can just get off by yourself.” I teased knowing full well she wouldn’t.
“You know Jupiter won’t hurt you! Come on Erin.” I insisted.
“I’ve seen you ride him, I’m going to end up falling off.” Erin mumbled unhappily.
“Well then you shouldn’t have accepted. It’s too late now.” I declared. Jupiter neighed in agreement.
“But-! You said you wouldn’t tell me why your art teacher, of all teachers, got pissed at you if I didn’t try getting on Jupiter, which I did by the way! I’ve fulfilled my end of the bargain, now help me off!” She said letting go of me and leaning over Jupiter.
With an exaggerated sigh of defeat I lent my hand to help her off Jupiter.
Hmph, acting all high and mighty about fulfilling her end of a deal. There’s still a deal for which she has yet to hold up her part of, but now isn’t the time to bring that up.
“Okay, time to spill beans!” Erin confidently demanded as her feet touched solid ground again.
“Okay, okay! Just let me get off first!” I said as I hopped off Jupiter.
“When you’re done telling me you broke into the principal’s office I have something to tell as well.”
“Woah, woah! I didn’t do that! Why would I even want to break into the principal’s office?” I exclaimed.
“Well, whatever it is, it’s something pretty big that probably happened during your art class.” Erin said.
“And how do you figure that out?” I asked slightly flustered. It hadn’t been that big of a deal!
“Come on Xav. First off you tell me your art teacher got pissed at you so it’s a given that it happened during your art class. Next, you’ve been acting weird since you told me that. You were checking the corridors like a paranoid person and you keep going off in daydream with a dumb smile on your face. So I assume you’re scared of being caught again or something, but you’re mega proud of what happened. So you broke into the principal’s office.” Erin explained.
I felt my cheeks warm up as I realized the first part was true. The second part however… “That doesn’t make sense. Your conclusion is stupid.”
“Doesn’t change your weird attitude, and if it’s not something illegal you did then you’re acting like some sort love sick puppy, but I don’t know where the art teacher fits in that scenario.”
“The art teacher didn’t really fit in your other scenario either.” I said a little harshly. I was hating the fact that she called me a love sick puppy when that is not what I am!
“You’re stalling…oh my god Xavier. Did you meet someone?” Erin asked, a very curious expression suddenly filling her face.
“I…uh maybe…not technically.” I stuttered out. I knew I’d have to tell Erin what happened, I wanted my best friend’s advice after all, but at the same time I wasn’t sure she’d react well to who that someone was.
“Just spill it out. Who is it?” Erin urged.
“Might be better if I tell you the whole story first.” I said.
“Are you serious? After getting me all interested!?” Erin immediately complained.
“It’ll be better this way!” I told her. I’d rather…ease her into the idea first. Erin gestured for me to go along impatiently. “Okay so basically, the art teacher wanted me to get some extra paint supplies because she thought I was talking too much in class.”
I told her how I’d gone to the closet, and that someone had locked me in. Someone who, now that I think I about it, probably wasn’t Edmund. Unless Edmund giggled in a really girlish way.
When I first mentioned Edmund the only reaction she had was a displeased face, probably thinking as I had that Edmund was to blame for me being locked in the closet.
It’s only after I told her how I had to chase him to get the key that she clicked.
“No.” She interrupted, shaking her head in disbelief. “No way.”
“But Erin-” I started to say, exasperated that she was already against it.
“That is wrong on so many levels!” She exclaimed.
“What do you mean so many levels?” I snapped back, a little offended at what that might mean.
“Okay, just one. Let me refresh your memory on what that one is, Edmund is one of the three guys that-” Erin started as if she was going to lecture me.
“No.” I said harshly. “I know that, but….it’s different now! That was in the past. I believe them when they say they won’t bully me again.”
“The past!?” Erin exclaimed loudly. “It was last week!”
“…A lot can happen in a week.” I said as I started to feel irritated.
“Clearly.” She spat.
I sent her a glare.
“Xav you’re just caught up because he acted different. He could just be messing with you. You know, being a natural bully and all.” Erin said.
Why was she being so stubborn on her idea? Why couldn’t she at least consider that…that-!
“I don’t think so anymore.” I strained to say calmly. “Things seem different now. And I don’t think he’s a natural bully, it never felt like that.”
“You can’t base everything on gut feelings.” Erin argued, discrediting what I’d just said. “Especially since you’re biased, what with finding him attractive and all.”
I felt my face warm up a bit at the comment. It was true, but it didn’t affect my judgement at all!
I took a deep breath. I didn’t want to get angry over this.
“Don’t you remember that time we got drunk and went to egg his house?” I asked. If she wanted evidence, well I’d give her some.
“Yeah, great plan by the way.” She said sarcastically.
“We caught a peak of Edmund and his dad-”
“Brother.” Erin interrupted. I gave her a look.
“I’m kidding.” She smirked.
“Yeah well, we caught them arguing didn’t we?” I confirmed. She nodded with an impatient expression. “He might have some issues of his own…”
I trailed off to see if she’d sort of accept my argument. Her look said otherwise.
“Look, I’m just trying to say that there might be more to Edmund than just ‘occasional bully’.” I ended up saying.
“See, if that was true and that Edmund was mostly bullying for some stupid reason like having to relieve some anger than that just makes things worse. You don’t want to get involved with someone like that.” Erin said. I went to talk but she held up her hand. “I’m not done. Someone like that doesn’t know what to do with their anger so it’s probably going to end up being an abusive relationship. You cannot get anything at all from being with Edmund. You’re the one who’s going to suffer the most.”
Erin said, but I kept being against every word she said.
“You don’t know that for sure-”
“It’s inevitable that you’ll be hurt Xavier!” Erin exclaimed angrily. I went to argue again, but she seemed to get even angrier.
“I forbid you!” She spat out angrily.
“I forbid you to get romantically involved with Edmund!” She repeated.
My mouth gaped open in surprise. What!?
“I can and I have! You can’t get involved with him unless I say so!”
“And if you try and be with him or whatever anyways, I will make it my personal mission to break you two up!” She continued to rant angrily.
She was spouting nonsense!
I glared at her, checking to see if she really was serious about this stupid idea of hers.
The determined glare she sent back confirmed it.
“Jeez Erin. You’re unbelievable.”
…T_T No really Erin. You are freaky stubborn. I was hoping this conversation was going to go another direction, but I GUESS NOT.
Erin never did tell Xav about her new friend…
In case you guys were wondering, Teo was not listening in on Erin and Xenia’s conversation. He was trying to gather up the courage to say hi to Xenia! 😀