I was walking to my locker after class the next day and saw Ava standing there with Harry. I had no idea what was up with her hanging around him recently but it made me feel like something was up; whether it was between them or not, I have no idea but I knew Ava and I knew how she worked.
“Hey you!” Ava said, all smiles when I walked up.
“Hey.” I said, starting to unlock my locker.
“Hey.” Harry said. I looked at him as I yanked my locker open and nodded.
“Hey.” I started shoving all my books into my locker and shut it with a clang.
“Why aren’t you getting your Public Speaking book?” Ava asked, confused.
“I’m leaving.” I said simply.
“But you still have two more classes before you can leave…”
“And I’m skipping out. I don’t feel like going to anymore classes today.” I said, shrugging as I leaned up against my locker, looking at the two of them.
“Want some company?” Harry asked me slowly.
“Not really, but thanks for asking.” I said.
“Bethany!” Ava said, kind of loudly.
“That was mean.”
“No, it was honest.” I said, shrugging again. “I said thanks for the offer too; I won’t normally say that either so I’m being somewhat polite today.”
“That’s true; but it’s still rude!” Ava said, crossing her arms.
“Oh well.” I said, almost as if Harry was no longer next to me.
“Well now I’m upset with you so I’m going to go to class.” Ava said, turning and walking away. I shook my head and looked over, noticing Harry still hadn’t left.
“What?” I asked. He shrugged and smirked. “What is so funny that you think smirking at me is okay?”
“I didn’t say anything was funny. I’m just not used to someone being so honest. I’m used to people sucking it up.”
“Yeah I’m not about to put myself in a situation I don’t want to be in.”
“You don’t want to grab a coffee with me at all? So you’re going to avoid the conversation at all costs?”
“Yeah, basically. And who said I liked coffee?”
“Ava did. She said you live off of it.”
“Of course she said shit about me.” I rolled my eyes and started walking away and Harry I noticed, followed me.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Harry asked.
“Here’s the honest truth since you like when I’m honest; she’s trying to get us together.” I said, turning to face him. I expected Harry’ to turn around and walk away at this point but he did the exact opposite.
“So then humor her and get coffee with me to get her off your back. An hour with me can’t be that bad.”
“No, it definitely can be.” I pointed out as I started walking again.
“Why do you say that?”
“I can only handle so much of people like you. And that tolerance is at work when I have to be nice. If I’m not being paid to be nice, then I’m not going to be nice.”
“Then how about I pay you with coffee? I’ll pay for it; my treat.” I stopped again and turned to face him.
“Why the hell are you trying so hard?” Harry shrugged and looked around.
“I don’t know to be honest with you.” I continued to look at him in silence, completely confused.
“I don’t get you people.” I said, turning around and walking again.
“Can’t you just say yes?!” Harry said, still behind me.
“Fine. But only to get Ava off my back.” I said, still walking outside.
“Okay so do you want to take the same vehicle or do you want to go separately?”
“Separately; there is no way I’m about to voluntarily put myself in a building with you with no way out when I want to leave.”
“Fine; then I’ll meet you at the coffee house in the middle of town.”
“Fine.” I said, reaching my motorcycle. “See you there.” I said, putting my helmet on.
“Alright…don’t crash and burn on the way there; and don’t ditch on me. I don’t like being stood up.”
“Why in hell’s name would you think I would do that?”
“Because I know you’re thinking about it. And I’m not about to pretend I don’t know that.”
“Alright Harry; good one. I’ll meet you at the coffee house in the middle of town. If I don’t show up, you already called why.” I said, half smirking. Harry went to say something but I sped off before he could.
I watched as she sped off before I processed I had to be leaving. God only knows that if I didn’t show up right after her, she would leave. I jogged over to my car, hopped in, and sped off after her, hoping she wasn’t too far away.
When I pulled into the parking lot, she was waiting next to her motorcycle for me. I locked my car and walked over to her, shoving my keys into my pocket and making sure my wallet was in the other.
“Hey.” I said, walking up to her.
“Can we get this over with?” She mumbled.
“You know, you didn’t have to come.” I pointed out.
“And I know if I didn’t, I wouldn’t hear the end of it from you and Ava wouldn’t let it go so…I can suffer through an hour of dealing with you.”
“Jeez, you make me sound like a horrible person.”
“To me, you are.”
“And why would you think that? I haven’t done anything to you to make you think that.”
“Yeah you have.” I pointed out as we walked inside.
“You liked to bully me all through middle school.”
“Oh come on! That was middle school!”
“Yeah, it was. And I can’t tell you how many times I went home crying because of you.” I went quiet and looked over at her. She refused to look me in the eyes and I suddenly remembered all of it. I always thought she was cute as hell and I had no idea what to do about it. Yeah, I was still one of the popular kids in middle school, but I never knew how to ask a girl out, or tell them I liked them- nothing. That’s when I finally realized why she was so dead against going to get coffee with me, and why Ava was doing what she was doing. Bethany would cry to Ava and Ava knew what I was thinking…and Ava is trying to show Bethany now.
“Can I explain myself?” I asked once we ordered our coffee and sat down in a quiet corner.
“I don’t really have a choice but to listen to you for the next hour so…I guess so.” It all made sense now; why I was so curious about her and always watching her. She’s been my crush since middle school and she changed so much I didn’t realize she was the same person. “Well…?” Bethany said, snapping me out of my thoughts.
“Yeah…right…it’s kind of stupid and I don’t know if you’ll believe me though.”
“Yeah well you have an hour to give me bullshit excuses so…I’m all ears.” She said, sipping her coffee.
“I liked you.” I said, causing her to choke on her coffee and start coughing.
“Excuse me?” She said, when she finally caught her breath.
“I said I liked you.” I shrugged and looked down at my coffee.
“And how the hell would you remember something so far back?”
“Because as soon as you said it, I realized that you were the only girl I had a crush on all through middle school, the only girl I picked on, and that being because I never knew how to handle liking a girl before. I figured if I was mean, the crush would go away.”
“Really now?” Bethany said, sounding skeptical. “How do you even know it was me?”
“You have blonde hair, you always wore it in a pony-tail, and you loved wearing dresses. And in the winter you would always wear leggings and sweatshirts. It was almost the opposite of how you looked in the spring, fall, and summer…all those seasons. You always had a smile on your face, always laughing, and your eyes sparkled every time you did smile or laugh. It drove me crazy.” Bethany went silent and looked down at her coffee. “You’ve changed a lot.”
“How?” Bethany finally whispered.
“Well for one, you don’t smile and laugh as much. You dress a lot differently. Your eyes don’t sparkle like they used to. You shut a lot of people out, you don’t let your guard down at all.”
“And you’ve picked all this up from just middle school when all you did was make me cry?”
“Yeah…now that you’ve mentioned that, I remember all of it.”
“You seem so sorry for all of it.”
“Well I am, but there’s nothing I can do about it at this point. It’s already done.” She nodded and just stared down at her coffee, not saying anything. “Can I make it up to you?” I asked her slowly. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and shook her head.
“You have 45 minutes to give me a valid reason on why I should forgive you and let you make it up to me.”
“Well, I’m going to need more than 45 minutes.”
“You like Three Days Grace, right? You were wearing there shirt the other day if I recall.” She got a look of confusion on her face and nodded. “My dad works with a bunch of artists and I can see if he can get us free tickets. Or if you just want the tickets to take a friend or whatever…” I said slowly, trying not to push it on her too much.
“What do you want out of it?” She asked, clearly not believing me.
“Nothing. Just a picture of you there, smiling.” I shrugged and leaned back in my chair.
“Fine; if you get them, you can come with me. But I don’t know if it’s going to change anything.”
“I never said it had to; I’m just saying it’s my apology to you for the three years of middle school I made hell for you.”
“As long as you understand that.” Bethany said, finishing her coffee. We sat there mainly in silence for the next half hour and after it was over, we got up and walked outside together. She nodded to me as my goodbye and she sped away. I sighed ad watched as she went down the road.
It all made sense now on what Ava was doing…it all made perfect sense.