Weeks flew by. Ashton continued to include me in his friend circle. Sasha joined me some of the time, but often was away with other friends or her new boyfriend.
She had called me up one Friday night to tell me the news. “KELLYYOU’LLNEVERGUESSWHAT” she had exclaimed as soon as I had picked my cell up. Before I could say anything, she had continued, “IANHUSTONASKEDMEOUTJUSTNOW”
I had sat there, listening to all of the details. She went on for at least an hour, but I didn’t mind. That’s what friends were for, right?
One day, when I was heading for Sasha’s car, ready to go home, I was surprised to find that my friend was there, early. “Hey, Sasha! You’re early today!” I said as I opened up the door.
“Hi,” she greeted. “We’re going to have to wait a few minutes for Ian to show up. Is that okay with you? We’re going to be doing some stuff after school, but I didn’t exactly want to ditch you…”
“Um, okay,” I said. I was about to continue speaking when Ian walked up. He slid into the passenger’s seat, where I usually sat. Okay then, I thought as I opened one of the back doors. I sat in silence as we drove, listening to Sasha’s and Ian’s conversation. They seemed to have forgotten that I was there. Thankfully, though, Sasha remembered to drop me off at my house. Wherever they were going, I definitely didn’t want to be with them. Being a third wheel was NOT fun.
I didn’t mind it when it happened the first time. But then it happened again, and again, and again. Soon enough, I couldn’t be alone with Sasha even for a minute--whenever I saw her, she was hanging off of Ian’s arm. I was a little bit disappointed, because, given the fact that we were, apparently, “best friends forever”, I had expected her to pay a little more attention to me. But of course, I was always there when she needed someone to talk to. However, all in all, I wasn’t too upset. Until one day.
As usual, I was walking towards Sasha’s car, ready to leave, when she bounded up to me. “Hey Kelly!” she said, smiling. I looked around, searching for Ian.
“Where’s your boyfriend?” I asked. “He’s usually right behind you, but today he seems to be gone.”
Sasha sighed. “You’ll understand true love one day,” she said. I rolled my eyes. Sure. “Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that, unfortunately, I can’t drive you home today. I’m going over to Ian’s house, and I don’t really have the time… I hope you don’t mind.”
“Uh,” I said, “How am I supposed to get home, then? I don’t have a bus pass anymore.”
She laughed. “I don’t know, maybe walk? You could use a bit of exercise,” she said, poking me hard in the stomach. I said nothing as she walked away.
Feeling hurt, I started the 3 mile walk home. Was I really fat? I wondered. I was halfway through the walk when a car pulled up.
“Hello!” a voice called out as a window rolled down. I looked in to see Ashton smiling at me.
“Hi,” I said quietly.
“Want a ride?” he asked, still grinning.
I managed to smile back. “Um, yeah, if you don’t mind.” I hopped in.
“So,” Ashton said as soon as the car started up again, “how’s life?”
“Fine,” I said. “I’m just a bit tired.”
“Hey, at least it’s Friday,” Ashton said. “School’s over for the week.”
“Yup,” I agreed. There was a small period of silence.
Then he asked, “Hey, I was wondering… are you busy tomorrow afternoon? My friends and I are going to be hanging out tomorrow, and I thought I would invite you too…”
My smile became authentic. “Oh, yeah, I’d love to!”
“Okay,” Ashton said, his eyes shining, “Meet me at my house tomorrow at 1, okay?”