I never paid much attention to Mother except on special days; her birthday and holidays.
I wouldn't say that I was a bad daughter, we weren't close true, but I never paid her much attention on a daily basis. Could I say she doted on me? She always made me breakfast, lunch and dinner when I was younger. After Father died, I put an end to that. Sometimes I made breakfast that morning, bought my own lunch in the afternoon and eat dinner with my friends at their house or out at our favorite restaurant. You must be wondering why, well. It was after he died that I realize nothing would change. I barely saw much of my Father anyway so I didn't miss him much as I should have- I wanted to, so I decided to do things differently. Thinking back now, she must have been lonely. I never noticed it, my Mother always kept herself busy- I may not have paid her much attention but there's never a day that I didn't know she was up too.
On that day, she had picked up pottery.
I made breakfast that morning, buttermilk waffles, fried eggs, and a strawberry salad.
Mother emerged from wherever she was, wearing a coat splotched with dried clay.
"Ade, would you like to look at the vase I made? It turned out quite nice." she says after saying good morning.
"You shouldn't have stayed up all night for that Mother, I could hear you even in my sleep." I place the food on the table and Mother stares at me.
"But I wanted to do it."
I don't argue.
"I'm going to be a little late today." I tell her as I pour the syrup over my waffles.
"Where will you be?"
We ate in silence, our minds elsewhere. I was thinking of today's events. I was excited to go to school that day, for the first time in a long time. Today was the day I was going to confess to my best friend, Ulysses. It's been three months since he broke up with his girlfriend and there was no way I was going to wait any longer, not after hearing that Sarai Salazar liked him and planned on asking him out. I was anxious to leave and I think Mother sensed this because she offered to wash the plates. I thanked her on my way out of the house. Usually, Mr. Moore drives me to school but today Mr. Moore's son was in his place. He said his Father was sick. Mr. Moore's foster son, Fakir makes me uncomfortable. Not only is he handsome but he's extremely young looking, he's probably 4 years older than me at least... whenever he drops me off, the girls spread rumors about me saying "Adeline your boyfriend's here to get you!" or "Adeline gets dropped off by her boyfriend almost every day!" He has been the one to chauffeur me daily, I personally prefer Mr. Moore, he's like my third grandfather, only non-related. Drives with Fakir are silent. And when we do talk it's usually about normal things like popular tv dramas, new artists, and food. Driving with Mr. Moore was like driving back in time, he helped me out a lot with my history homework.
We arrive at school and I say goodbye to Mr. Fakir as I hop out the car. My friends, Brieanne and Charlotte were waiting for me. I hurry towards them and instead of greeting them like I normally would asked anxiously:
"He's in the courtyard," Brieanne notes.
"With his guy friends, no girl has approached him, yet." Charlotte adds.
"Alright." I clench then unclench my fists before strutting towards the courtyard's direction my friends following me at a distance that wouldn't unsettle me.
I spot him just like they said, at the courtyard fountain, seated with his friends.
I inhale, then exhale.
"Alright Adeline, you can do this..don't make it awkward be natural. You've been friends with him since middle school so you have the advantage."
I straighten myself as I walk, tilting my head up a little as I strut through the courtyard towards the center. People turn to stare and greet me casually. I wave, politely trying to stay focused on the matter at hand. The sound of Brieanne and Charlotte's footsteps sounding off in unison with mine gave me reassurance, almost made me feel powerful even.
Ulysses notices me.
"If it isn't the ABC's," he smiles. "Good Morning."
"Morning guys." I address his friends as well. "Morning." Brieanne and Charlotte were in sync. Alright! I can do this!
I open my mouth to speak when something hits me, hard. So hard in fact that I fall on my side.
"Omigosh!" Charlotte cries out.
"Are you okay?!"
I blink. What just happened?!
Ulysses and his friends burst out laughing as some guy approaches us. I recognize his face, the delinquent Matthew Hodges and at his side a few of his friends that are not worthy of being mentioned at the moment. My face reddens as my hand reaches the side of my face that had been hit.
"Can you pass me that?" Matthew nods at one of Ulysses' friends.
"Sure." He picks up what seems to be a basketball and hands it back.
I glare at him.
"Excuse me! Don't you think you owe me something?"
He blinks at me.
"I wasn't the one who threw it."
Was he lying? It didn't seem like he did.
"Well then, who did?!"
I watch him walk away in shock.
Charlotte helps me up.
"Can you stand? You can stand, right?"
"Yeah..." I stand a wobbling a little at first.
"You alright?" Ulysses asks me now. He had been laughing before with his friends. My face reddens. Not only do I feel humiliated...I can't help but be under the impression he doesn't have much respect for me. No, he doesn't have any respect for me at all. A friend doesn't let that happen to another friend so easily.
"Ulysses," I say. "We're friends right?" I glance at his friends. "Yeah?"
They blink at me.
There was a brief pause before their response, it was enough to shatter all my hopes of romance. I feel like the biggest idiot in the world. I walk away.
"Adeline?" Charlotte follows me to the girls bathroom where I wash my face. I don't usually wear makeup but since today was special I decided to give it a shot. I sigh at my reflection before fishing around in my backpack for some wipes. Charlotte watches me in silence with a worried look on her face.
"Adeline, she told me not to tell you this but...Brieanne asked Ulysses out yesterday." she starts. I drop the wipes I was holding and stare at her.
"You see, she also had a crush on him for some time and..."
"Well, what did he say?!"
She looks elsewhere.
"He said yes... but he'd agree only if she stopped being your lackey and so she also plans on cutting ties with you, she wanted to make you as miserable as possible so she paid Matthew some money to mess with you so that you'll be irritable and when you lashed out at her she could pretend to be upset and ..." Charlotte bites her lip because just then Brieanne enters the room with a pack of ice.
"Here, for your face."
I stare at her with a mixture of emotions. Resentment but for the most part a little bit disappointed. Disappointed that she didn't feel she could be upfront with her emotions, Brieanne had actually known Ulysses longer than I have. They grew up together in fact, I thought she didn't have feelings for him because she never said anything about it when I announced the realization that I saw him as a potential love interest. What did he call her? "A lackey?" I thought we were friends. I thought we were all friends. I frown at her. Then Charlotte.
Charlotte was just telling me this now but since she knew she was also partly responsible. Obviously, she has more loyalty for Brieanne and that makes me wonder why she even bothered telling me all of this.
I take the ice bag from her eyeing the both of them and they made faces as if they were expecting me to yell. It's then that I begin to wonder, am I overbearing? Am I like those girls you see on the tv shows the one who bosses around her friends all the time? You know, the mean girl?
I face my reflection slowly cupping the ice to the side of my face before glancing at them.
"If you guys hated me, you'd let me know to my face right?" I ask.
"What?" Brieanne blinks at me in surprise before glancing at Charlotte.
"What makes you say that?" Charlotte glances nervously at Brieanne then to me as if pleading with me not to say anything, which was dumb and I realize it then where her loyalties truly lied. She was more scared of Brieanne finding out than me.
I eye them calculatingly.
I'd get them back. Somehow.
It was during lunch that I decided as we walked through the empty hallway, I had been quiet for most of the day. As they followed me with their trays to our usual spot in the courtyard, I decided now was the time.
"Where are you two going?" I ask them. "Why are you following me?"
They blink at me.
"What do you mean? We're going to eat lunch with you remember?" Brieanne gives me a funny look.
I glare at her.
"Why do you two always follow me around anyway, are you my dogs are something?"
Shock fills their faces.
"What are you talking about?!" Charlotte insists. "We're friends, hello?!"
"I thought so too, but even dogs are truer friends than you." I glare at them.
"I would rather stay alone for the rest of my life than have two mindless lackeys for friends that can't even speak their minds or share their opinions without going behind my back and setting traps for me."
"What are you waiting for?!" I demand. "I'm cutting the leash, so go run back to your-
Brieanne slaps me.
"Bitch." She mumbles.
"You bitch!" She screams louder. "I always knew you were one and here you are showing your colors out in broad daylight!"
I slap her back.
"Why are you getting all sentimental when you were the one who was pretending you fake piece of trash?!"
I yell. "You want Ulysses? Take him, I won't fight for him! He's not worth it if you had said something I would have backed off but you went around behind my back like a little coward- when have I ever stopped you from doing something you wanted? NEVER! So don't you pin that bitch card on me you wolf in sheep's clothing!"
Brieanne turned to Charlotte who backed away.
"You told her?!"
"I felt bad!" Charlotte said. We were all yelling now.
Brieanne narrows her eyes at her.
I point two of my fingers at the both of them as I back away.
"You both are dead to me starting from here on out." I say.
Brieanne glares at me.
"The feeling is mutual."
I head towards our usual spot in the courtyard, underneath the oak tree during lunch. The lunch I made today was something I planned on eating with Ulysses. The thought of that jerk makes me want to wretch. I consider dumping my lunch in the trash when I remember that one homeless student who always hides in the garden. I find him rather easily he was doodling something in his sketchbook when he notices me and flinches.
"Adeline?" he asks.
"I'm not going to bite you or anything," I say. "Here." I plop my lunchbox beside his butt and he eyes it.
"I haven't touched anything yet, you can eat it."
Now that that's over with I walk back towards my spot when Matthew Hodges appears out of nowhere.
"You think your doing him some big favor or something?"
I ignore him.
"Hey. I'm talking to you."
He grabs me by the arm, squeezing a bit too tightly.
"Let go! Your hurting me!" I swat at him.
"That's kind of the whole point." He lets me go.
"Why are you bothering me? Brieanne isn't my friend anymore."
"And now she hates you." He holds up a couple of dollar bills and my jaw drops open.
"Apparently you thought too highly of her as she would and she did."
I back away from him.
"You wouldn't hit a girl would you?"
"You just happen to be the type I hate... pummeling a snooty rich girl like you and educating you about the harshness of life would be a favor to society."
I take off running down the courtyard and he followed me. On my phone, I quickly speed-dialed my mom as I approached the school gate but she didn't pick up. They were shut and I doubt the security guards would let me out if I begged but would they protect me?
"Help!" I cried out as I sped towards them. The guards eye me from their post.
"What is it Miss?"
I slow to a stop pointing behind me.
"There's... a ... guy," I pant in between huffs. When I look back I realize he's gone. Probably hiding. "...Nevermind."
They raise their eyebrows at me. I walked away from the guards towards the fence where I was still in sight. Eventually, the bell rung but a delinquent like Matthew Hodges wouldn't exactly care about skipping class, I had to move soon or else the guards would escort me to class, wait! That might actually be a good thing!
When I ask them, one of the guards reluctantly leaves his post.
"You can escort me just into the hall, sir." I tell him. He does just that, the second he disappears, Matthew appears out of nowhere. I run into my classroom so fast my teacher Mrs. Apples looks up alarmed. I was the first one in class.
"Hello." I say. I find my seat and slowly the door slides open. I'm in horror to see Matthew and so is Mrs. Apples since he always skips this class.
"Why Matthew!" Mrs. Apples starts. "What's the occasion?"
"Oh nothing," he eyes me. "I'm feeling really educational today."
I small a small smile. Feeling really education? What an idiot.
There's a glint in his eyes and it makes me realize that he and I have the same class, I've never seen him here before so I never knew. He eyes me as he nears my desk and I rise up out of my chair walking right up to Mrs. Apples desk.
"Excuse me can I go to the front office?" I ask.
Mrs. Apples glances at Matthew.
"Is something wrong?" she asks.
"No, I have a dentist appointment and since my phone died I'd like to call my Mom to know what's up." I lie.
"Oh." Mrs. Apples replies.
"But you have lovely teeth, really white you know."
She writes me a pass and it's out of my peripheral that I eye Matthew climbing out the window. Probably going to lie in wait. Crap. I bite my tongue for lying as I walk out of the classroom. I spot Ulysses and Brieanne walking out of the cafeteria together hand in hand. Death. They were dead to me the both of them. I walk pass them. Brieanne calls out to me, probably to taunt about Matthew but I ignore her.
"Hey, Ade." Ulysses slows me down. I eye the hand on my shoulder until he removes it. Brieanne catches up to me.
"You look like you're in a hurry? Where are you going?"
"I told you, you were dead to me... why are you talking to me?" I ask her. Hearing this Ulysses frowns.
"What?" He glances at Brieanne who gives me a hateful look.
"You know I didn't think you would do something like that, but you know what you really are a bully paying Matthew Hodges to bully me like this." I say deliberately hoping Ulysses would hear.
"What?!" He says again a little louder. I turn on him.
"She never was my lackey, she never was my friend, she was just pretending, a true friend would never do such a thing anyway. I thought I liked you but it literally hit me today, that you weren't the gentleman I thought you were- you're not a gentleman at all."
He tilts his head at me.
"I don't know what this is about but I'm sorry, I was the one who asked her to break it off with you also I'm a gentleman to whoever I chose to be."
"Whatever," I say. "What's important is that I dumped the trash surrounding me so don't you come walking back to me because I don't want you." I stare at Brieanne who looked like she wanted to punch me but since she didn't she must be saving face for Ulysses, who looked on the verge of shaking me.
"How can you say that?! You know your not the girl I thought you were either." he shakes his head at me and I shake my head at him.
"Why? Because if I don't like someone I say it to their face? Unlike your new girlfriend here. I have a right to be mad, you would be too if you realized the friendship you made with someone was nothing but a farce." I face Brieanne one more time before Ulysses can say anything.
"I don't know how you could pretend to be someone's friend for such a long time. And it makes me so mad when I think about how you went behind my back when you could have just told me to my face. No boy is worth losing a friend over but apparently I wasn't that much to you begin with. So good riddance." I glance at Matthew. "To the both of you!"