Time passed by like a snail trapped in a salt maze, with each second dragging out longer than the one before. I was stuck in Mrs Kelmer’s class, completely ignoring her lesson as I watched the clock’s ticking hands, dying for this day to be over.
“Am I boring you, Mr Evern?”
Mrs Kelmer’s stern voice snapped my attention away from the clock and over to her as she stood in front of my desk, leering down at me with devilish eyes.
I pulled a wide sheepish grin as I straightened up in my seat.
“Nope, not at all,” I said, clasping my hands together. “I was just getting lost in your words.”
She let out a heavy sigh as she turned away from me, walking back over to the board with her marker.
“I will not be repeating myself, Oliver,” she said, looking at over her shoulder. “The material I just went over will be helpful during your assignment, so you best hope a nice classmate of yours is willing to share notes.”
I let out a quiet sigh, slouching back in my seat as I twirled my pen in hand.
After what felt like another eternity, like a choir of angels from heaven, the first break bell rung. Much like the rest of my classmates, I didn’t hesitate to pack up my things but I stopped completely once I noticed something out of the corner my eye.
I turned my head to find Jules standing on the other side of the room, pulling his bag over his shoulder while looking right back at me. I didn’t even know I had him in this class. He looked like had something to say but instead, he just looked away and left the classroom.
“Prick,” I muttered to myself as I aggressively zipped my bag shut.
While Mrs Kelmer was distracted with a few students, I dashed out of the classroom in hopes to avoid another lecture from her. I headed straight towards the designated hangout spot but on my way there, I spotted Oscar and Jules walking ahead of me, heading in the same direction I was. My stomach sunk, realising that Jules was going to be there too.
I let out a sigh and then turned around towards a different location, deciding that I would be better off on my own today.
I headed off to an area near the parking lot, where I found a shady spot beneath a tree to sit. The area was completely isolated, with no one but a wandering bush turkey roaming about. I took a deep breath in as I took in my surroundings, listening to the distant voices of students and the birds flapping around in the trees.
Part of me felt the need to just skip the rest of the day. But even though I knew that my car was nearby and that if I acted swiftly, I could probably make an unnoticed escape, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave this quiet, peaceful spot.
I rested my head against the tree’s trunk, closing my eyes as a breeze passed by, ruffling the leaves of the tree. It was a perfect place to catch some Zs.
I jumped up, startled as I popped my eyes open to find Max standing in front of me with her hands placed on her hips.
“Sweet baby Jesus, Max,” I let out a heavy breath as I placed a hand on my chest. “Give a man a warning next time.”
“I did say ‘yo’,” she smirked down at me, letting her messenger bag fall from her shoulder to the ground as she took a seat under the tree beside me.
“Oh right, my bad,” I replied sarcastically.
Her lips curled up into a small smirk but I could see the concern on her face as she watched me carefully.
I sighed, looking away from her.
“I’m fine, Max,”
“You didn’t show up at the table,”
“Didn’t feel like socialising, I guess,”
“You sure it didn’t have anything to do with what Jules said this morning?”
I clenched my jaw, refusing to look at her.
“I just feel frustrated,” I frowned. “I mean, he was cool with you being gay but me?”
I scoffed, shaking my head.
“Ollie, I know it seems unfair and that it was really uncool for him to say that,” Max replied, placing her hand on my arm. “But honestly, he looked like he killed a puppy when everyone asked where you were at.”
“So he should!” I snapped. “I mean, he is so mysterious with the issues and secrets that he doesn’t want to talk about - and I respected his goddamn boundaries. Then he finds out that I’m into dudes and just acts like a total dickhead.”
“Maybe that’s it then,” she said. “Maybe he got bullied for being gay or seeming gay or something.”
I pulled a quizzical expression. “You think he is gay?”
“No, I’m just saying there could be a reason-”
“Orrrr he is just a homophobic jackass,” I rolled my eyes at her. “He’s probably into lesbian action but other than that, he's a complete homophobe."
“Not sure if I agree, but let's move on,” Max said. “Let's talk about Cole.”
I let out a groan as I banged my head against the trunk of the tree, remembering that text he sent the night before.
“God Dammit, woman, can’t you just leave me be?!”
“I’m your best friend,” she said. “It’s my job to make sure you don’t do anything stupid with asshole boys.”
“I’m notttt,” I whined. “I haven’t replied nor was I even thinking of him until just now!”
“But later you would,” Max stated. “Then you would text him and then he would text back something charming and the next thing you know, you’re back in his clutches.”
I stared at her, looking appalled that she could even say something like that.
“I’m not going back to him, Max,” I frowned. “I know he is bored and lonely, and more than likely looking for a booty call.”
“Everyone has their moments of weakness,” Max pointed out. “You still hold onto him, Ollie. You miss the him you once had, and you might disagree, but I know you. And I know you’ll go back to him if says the right thing.”
“Need I remind you that he ruined me, right after my mum died?!” I snapped at her. “I won’t forgive him, Max, I can’t forgive him.”
“Then delete the text and block his number,” she said.
I stared at her, feeling a sickly feeling in my stomach at the thought of blocking Cole. I knew from the beginning I should’ve, but I wanted to keep the door open for him to apologise and try to win me back.
But as much as I didn’t want to admit it out loud, Max was probably right.
It wouldn’t take much for Cole to win my heart over, and I would abandon all my hatred and heartache for him, trusting him again against my better judgement.
Uggggghhhhhh. I hate it when she is right.
I pulled out my phone, opening the text and staring down at it once more. I chewed my lip as I went to his contact and pulled up the settings to block him. I hovered my thumb over it, staring as I tried with all my might to press the goddamn button.
“Just block him, Ollie,” Max said. “It’s for the best.”
I took a deep inhale, finally moving to touch that button - but then my phone rang, receiving an incoming call from my Dad.
“Noooo,” Max whined. “You have to block him still!”
I ignored her, answering the call as I put the phone to my ear.
“Hey Dad,” I said. “What’s up?”
“Oliver, I’m sorry,” he sighed. “I know you hate working after school but I could really use you for the afternoon.”
I groaned loudly, pulling the phone away and then bringing it back to my face.
“Gotta do a shift?” Max asked me quietly.
I nodded in response to her.
“Is this because of John?” I asked Dad, wondering whether John took another sick day.
“He called in sick,” Dad replied.
“But I fired him,” he said, surprising me.
“You did?” I questioned. “Like you actually fired the guy?”
“Yeah, on the phone when he called in,” Dad explained. “I just had enough, told him not to bother showing up for his other shifts.”
“Wow, I’m actually impressed,” I replied. “I’m proud you, Dad.”
“Proud enough to do a shift for me?” he said in an innocent way. “Pretty please?”
I paused, hesitating before I managed to convince myself to do it. “You owe me.”
“I feel like I’m making a deal with the devil,”
“That you are,” I grinned.
“This is gonna bite me in the ass, isn’t it?” he asked.
“Do you want the shift covered or not?”
I heard him let out another sigh.
“Start as soon as you can,”
“Sure thing, Boss."