All For Him

Maggy and Brandon are obsessed with each other in the unhealthiest way. They're hooking up behind their friends' backs, Brandon has a gorgeous girlfriend, and Maggy is totally in over her head at parties. But, she'll do anything for Brandon. And, to Maggy, everything is about him. Until their relationship is either open or over.

Cover by Zireee

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9. Chapter Eight: The Aftermath

May 2018

“Are you excited that it’s your last day of school ever?” my mom asks me as I eat breakfast.

I snort, “Obviously.”

“That’s not really how you should be talking to me, Margaret.”

I apologize to her. Realistically, with everything that happened in the last month or so, my mom had been really accepting about what I’d done. I hadn’t really planned on telling her what happened, but when I came home from the hospital with my nose all wrapped up and she’d asked me what happened, I’d cried and spilled everything. At first, she had been upset that I’d been having a lot of sex and lying to her about being at Shay’s house, but she told me that she had been a teenager once also, so she’d done some similar things. In fact, what she was most upset about is how Brandon had been using me, especially when he had been dating Ellen.

Speaking of Brandon and Ellen, whatever he had said to me that morning at Matt’s house must have held no actual truth. When I went to school on that Tuesday morning after the incident (I truthfully couldn’t face anyone on Monday. My mom forced me to go Tuesday.) I had been shocked to see everyone sitting at the same table that we normally sat at. Shay, Chris, Matt, Jo, Ellen, Brandon, and Leon all sat in a circle. It had looked like there was some discomfort among them, as no one but Matt seemed to be talking, but still, they were all sitting there. Brandon caught my eye as I was staring, and I’d looked away, realizing that my time at that table, with those people, was done.

Now, I roll my eyes, hoping that my mother doesn’t see me. “Sorry, mom. It’s been a rough few months.”

“Has Shay still not called?” she asks, and I can tell that she feels bad for me.

In all of this, I thought that Shay would still be there for me. After all, she had known nearly the entire time that Brandon and I had been sleeping together. But, after a fight with Leon over it, she had decided that he was where her priorities lay. I understood. Though, I don’t think that I would have done the same to her, her decision was understandable. “No, and I don’t think that she will, mom.”

I finish breakfast pretty quickly, and leave the house even more quickly, yelling for Ben to get outside quickly or he’d have to ride the bus. When he gets in the car with me, he asks, “Maggy May, why are people saying that you did something bad?”

I look at my twelve-year old brother and wonder how on earth I’m supposed to explain to him what I had done. Over the last few weeks, Ben and I had spent a lot more time together. His favorite game, as I had found out, is Scrabble, and we’d spent every afternoon playing at least one game together. Despite him being six years younger than me, he’d won more than I had. “Because I did.”

“You slept with Lily’s sister’s boyfriend.” I nod. “Why?”

I sigh, “I’m not sure, bud. It was wrong, though.”

He’s pretty quiet the rest of the short ride to the school. I tell him that I love him as he gets out, and he tells me that he loves me, too. I head toward the high school to park my car, and probably close my eyes to avoid everyone around me.

It interests me how no one is blaming Brandon for anything that happened. Although, he got his side of the story out first, and no one has asked for mine, so I guess it makes sense. I look in my handheld mirror and smile at school for the first time in a long time. It’s my last day here. Tomorrow is the graduation ceremony, where I’ll give my valedictorian speech, alongside Matt, since we tied. When I’d found this out a few days ago, I’d been generally thankful that it was Matt and not Chris, since the top two in the class have to sit next to each other, while everyone else is in alphabetical order. I had been avoiding Chris since he had yelled at me.

April 2018

“Maggy,” I jump slightly at the sound of my name. “What are you doing in here?” I’d been spending my lunch periods in the library with a packed lunch since “the incident”, as I’ve been referring to it in my mind. However, I’m unable to answer because of who it is that’s speaking to me. Christopher Long.

He raises his eyebrows, waiting for an answer. “Uh, lunch,” I awkwardly answer him. In the two weeks since the incident, I’d been watching Chris from afar, wondering how on earth I’d not been able to notice him in the light he deserves to be viewed in. Well, the brandon-goggles had been the reason why, but still, my feelings for him had simply been growing. “I miss you,” I say, before I even think about if saying it is a good idea or not.

He looks indifferent, and I wonder, briefly, why he had even come toward me to initiate conversation if he had no real interest in talking to me. Is he still mad? Is this all some elaborate joke? I think back to just last week when I had seen him wiping what looked like ‘WHORE’ written in paint off of my car. I hadn’t approached him to say thanks, because I didn’t think that I could face him.

“You maybe should have thought about that before sleeping with Brandon.”

“I started sleeping with him way before you liked me, Chris.”

He stares at me straight on, “That’s impossible, Maggy, because I’ve liked you for forever!”

I look around the library. It’s not a very big hotspot, especially during the lunch period, so the only person who hears Chris scream is the librarian, who just shoots us a stern look. I apologetically look back at her.

“Chris, I need for you to understand-“

“I thought that you liked me, too, Maggy. I was so stupid.”

I protest him. “Chris, I do like you.”

He shakes his head, and I don’t know what else to say. “You spent years lying to all of us and helping Brandon cheat on Ellen. You want me to believe you now? If you liked me, you would have stopped sleeping with him and told me that you liked me. But, you’re pathetic, Maggy.” I sit speechless, unable to even process what he’s saying to me, only thinking about how Shay talked me out of doing exactly that. “Of course, you think that dumb-Chris, who has always liked you would be here for you after you hurt everyone. You’re wrong, Maggy.”

“Why did you even come over here?” I ask him, tears running down my face.

For a slight moment, he looks as though he’s sad that he just made me cry, but his face hardens back up pretty quickly. “I guess I am as dumb as you thought.”

I want to stop him, and tell him exactly what Shay, Leon, and Matt already knew. I want to tell him so badly, but I don’t think I can stand to see him look at me with such hatred again. So, instead of calling out to him like I want to do, I turn back around and finish my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

May 2018

I will myself to stop thinking about Chris and step out of the car. We have assigned parking spots at school, and I’ve always known that my spot is beside Matt Johnson. Usually, he and Jo are in the car when I get to the school, and it’s part of the reason that I try to get out of my car as quickly as possible, I really don’t want them to look at me. Today, however, the two are standing outside of the car, whispering harshly to one another. I find it too awkward to put my window up, so I just continue to look at my phone and pretend that I’m not here.

“We can’t stay together anymore, Matt,” Jo says, and I can tell that she’s really sad.

“I can do better, Jo.”

“I want for us to be together, but I think that you need to take care of yourself first.”

“I’m not an alcoholic, Jo. I don’t know where you got this idea.”

At the mention of the word alcoholic, my head snaps their way, completely unintentionally. Jo is already looking at me. Her face doesn’t change, and I think mine stays in a state of shock. She’s actually leaving him so that he’ll get help. And it sounds like she’s been trying to talk to him about his alcoholism. Matt’s head turns to see what, well, who, Jo is staring at. I look away when our eyes meet, and immediately get out of my car, walking quickly toward the school.

I immediately head to the bathroom, trying to process what I had just heard. Jo walks into the bathroom so quickly after me that I know she watched me come in here. “Maggy May,” she says, but it doesn’t sound like she plans to go anywhere else with her thought.

“I’m, uh, really proud of you, Jo.” Neither of us say anything else, but our eyes convey everything. After all, Jo and I had always communicated about this through looks. The relief and scare in her eyes tells me everything that I need to know, and I hope that mine are encouraging back. I leave the bathroom first, if just to tell Jo that I don’t expect her friendship out of this, but that I’ll be here to support her.

I hope that I can get to homeroom without being noticed further. After all, I’m already late. But, life hates me and decides every single day of my life to throw me some sort of curveball, because Matt Johnson is waiting for me. At first, I think that he’s waiting for Jo, who I assume cut their conversation short, but, no, he starts walking alongside me.

“Hey, Maggy May.” I roll my eyes and continue walking. He grabs my arm and pulls me toward him. “Does everyone think I’m an alcoholic?”

“I-“

“Maggy, I already know that you and Jo have talked about it before.”

I feel entirely uncomfortable with the whole situation. I honestly blame my parents for conceiving me.

“Maggy May.”

I look back at Matt and realize that it’s the only time I’ve ever talked to Matt alone, and not drunk. “I think we both are.” Well, were. I haven’t drank since Matt’s last party.

“I thought you just liked to have fun,” he says to me.

I shake my head. “I think that we both know we got drunk to get rid of our problems. But, I’m not the reason Jo broke up with you. Trust me, I’m not here to ruin anymore relationships this year.” He looks a bit shocked that I would say this, but I don’t stick around to hear if he has anything else to say.

 

“So, in short, high school has been an incredible time of learning for me. Not just inside the classroom, but also learning outside of the classroom from my amazing friends. It’s an honor to be one of the representatives for this class, who I love so deeply. Thank you.” The crowd erupts with applause for Matt. His speech followed mine and is the last one before we are all fully considered graduates. The first row stands, and we are each called to accept our diplomas.

“Margaret Stiles, attending Penn State for biology.”

“Matthew Johnson, attending Penn State for biology.”

Huh, I think to myself. I, of course, knew that Matt also had an extreme interest in biology, but I didn’t know that he had an interest in Penn State as a school also.

I take my seat once again, and hardly listen to other names being called out. Except, of course, my old friends.

“Brandon Collins, planning to take over his father’s business.” Right. Brandon wouldn’t be going to college with me.

“Leon James, playing soccer for Duquesne University.”

“Ellen Jones, attending Empire Beauty School.”

“Christopher Long, attending Penn State for biology.” I try to keep my face neutral as I stare at him. I always knew that he wanted to be pre-med, but, like with Matt, I had no idea what his plans were for college. I’m sure that they were both shocked by my school and major as well.

“Shay Williams, attending Duquesne University.” I forgot that she was undecided.

“Josephine Willis, attending the University of Pittsburgh for journalism.”

I don’t pay attention to any of the remaining few after Jo. Watching Matt’s face as she walked across the stage was sad, but for both of their sakes, I hope that her leaving him will truthfully be helpful. Although, I’d been scanning the crowd all night for his parents and hadn’t seen them anywhere. So, who knows how that will affect his psyche.

I’m searching for my parents, desperately trying to avoid everyone, when some says, “Oh, Maggy, you gave such a beautiful speech.” I’m sort of surprised to hear someone talking to me. I turn to see Mrs. Williams, aka Shay’s mother.

“Oh, thanks so much Mrs. Williams.” She engulfs me in a hug.

“I just have to get a picture of you and Shay. I still have the one from your kindergarten graduation, and I think they would go perfectly in the living room together!” I don’t know how to tell her that Shay no longer wants to be my friend and hasn’t for nearly a month.

“Mom, there you are,” Shay says, but her smile falters when she sees that her mother is talking to me. “Mom.”

Mrs. Williams rolls her eyes. “Shay, I want for you and Maggy to get a picture together. When you two are done fighting, you’ll regret that you don’t have this picture.”

Shay agrees to take one together, but I think it’s more so that there isn’t a big scene about it, and not because she thinks that we’ll be friends again someday. Shay immediately leaves without speaking to me, and I try my hardest to find my parents in the large crowd. When I can’t, I exit the building, feeling far too stuffed in there.

“There weren’t here,” a voice says to me as soon as I exit the building. I don’t even have to turn to face him to know that Matt is talking about his parents.

I sigh, “I know. I was looking for them.”

We sit beside one another on a bench, watching family after family leave until finally my parents and Ben find us. “Oh, there you are, Margaret! We’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Are you ready for ice cream, Maggy May?” Ben asks me, bouncing up and down.

I nod, and look at Matt, “Would you like to join us?” I know that my parents won’t mind. In my breakdown, I told them all about Matt, too.

“I’d like that a lot, actually.”

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