That’s a good one!
Miss ‘Jongleur’s not that hot’ came to me with a ridiculous bet she had lost before it even started. Socialize me? Ha! As if I needed to join people like her. I was well aware of her ways.
However, my ‘you’re crazy’ face didn’t seem to have an impact on her, so she kept on telling me her delusions.
“Halloween’s party will be on Friday next week, here in our high school, and I want you to join me. Some fresh air will be good for you”.
Had I heard correctly? I couldn’t stop the mocking smile that curved my mouth. Really? What was wrong with that chick?
I folded my hands, trying to find the right words and I only got this: “You’re… out of your mind. Aren’t you?”
She completely ignored my comment and insisted.
“It’s gonna be a blast. I’m sure you’ll have fun and it’s also a great opportunity to meet everybody and blend in”.
At that very moment, I couldn’t stand it anymore: a laugh got out of my mouth but I blocked it with my hand before it turned into a guffaw. I stared at her and I felt like following her game, just to see how far she could reach with her stupidity.
I folded my hands again, on the table, and looked back at her with all my serenity.
“Let’s see… there will be food?”, I asked.
“A lot”, she answered. “They even hired a catering company, and the entrance is quite cheap…”
“Oh, wait. You have to pay to get in?”
“Well, they need to get the money from somewhere to buy the goods”. She waved her hand to downplay it. “But that’s not important. They’re also gonna set up a dance floor with the best music hits and a chillout spot”.
“Right. And I suppose that everybody will be there”.
“You bet”, she nodded, maybe thinking that the half moon in my lips was due to excitement.
“Awesome”, I finally answered. “Thanks for the tip. Now I’m completely sure that I don’t wanna go”.
“Wait. What?!” She was as confused as a computer going through a system error. “B-but… it… it’s… it’s one of the coolest events that we have here…”, she managed to say.
“Yeah, and that’s exactly why I’m not gonna put a single foot in it. These lame parties are full of brats. I’m not gonna mix with that kind of scum”.
She turned her nose up at me.
“Well, I’ll go. Do you also consider me scum?”
I gave her an amused smile.
“Oh, no; of course not. I consider your more of a pain, actually”. That said, I went back to my book, ready to ignore her again.
I may have been a little harsh in my act, for it’s obvious she was mad, but that was my intention all along. I wanted her to understand once and for all that I had nothing to do with her, nor anybody else. Was it so difficult to understand?
Yep, it seems so.
“Very well”. She stood up in all her dignity —at least, as much as she could take— and, without warning, stole the book from my hands.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?!”
“Give you a push so I get a reaction”, she blurted out. “If we can’t do it nicely, we’ll do it the hard way”.
She did not beat about the bush. With a simple wrist movement, she threw the book into the trash bin.
“Are you nuts?!” I stood up too and ran to get it back, but she grabbed it faster and put it away before I could even reach it.
I was in shock. I couldn’t understand what was going through that little crazy head of hers, but I did know she seriously had it in for me. It’s not that I wasn’t already used to being bullied…. but that was at another level. Moreover, she had taken my favourite book and I wasn’t going to let her tease me. Not like that.
Despite everything, my attempts to recover it from her hands failed miserably. Then, I did feel like a clown. Not to mention that the fewer people in the cafeteria didn’t take their eyes away from us.
“I warn you”, I threatened her, tired of trying, “give it back, or else…”
“I’ll do it if you go with me to the party”.
“I don’t want to!” I shouted.
She didn’t give a damn. Her shoulders shrugged and she held the book against her chest with a smile.
“Alright, then. Guess I’ll have to keep it”.
At that instant, I swear I could have pounced on her like a lion. I didn’t care that she was a girl or that everybody was staring at us. Nobody takes over my things!
Forgetting both, her sandwich and my tea —already cold—, I took my backpack and rushed after her as she ran away along the hallway.
“Give me that book!”, I shouted.
“Not until you agree to come to the party!” And she disappeared before I could catch her. However, she tricked me when I went out to the courtyard and she closed the door with the locking bar, right behind my back, when I was distracted.
I banged the door but she simply stuck out her tongue.
“Damn you!” I cursed her.
“You only have to come to the party and I’ll give you back the book”.
I wasn’t willing to accept and knew the bell was a minute away from ringing, so I rested my hands on the glass and I gave her the most furious look I was capable of. That didn’t work either.
“You’re not gonna drag me into that shi**y party. And if you don’t give me the book now I’ll take it back later. I know where to find you and be sure your friends won’t be able to save you”.
That was bullsh*t. If there was anything I wanted to avoid was to deal with the dark-skinned hulk she had for a friend. No one in their sanity would ever dare to get punched by Rita Moreno and neither did I. That would be the end of my existence, but I couldn’t admit it.
The thief’s green eyes blinked and her eyelids drooped when she smiled again. Her face got closer to mine through the glass and she winked before she turned around and ran away once more.
The school bell rang and I hurried round the courtyard to access the building by the main entrance.
As expected, the hallway was already filled up with people and I couldn’t find her. I briefly searched for her in the classrooms we used to meet, but she wasn’t there.
At that point, I was super mad. Not only had I let her steal the book from under my nose, she had also taken something that was really dear to me. I would even have considered skipping the next class if it wasn’t because I had another test.
I cursed her a thousand times and promised myself I’d keep looking later on.
My Maths test didn’t go too well. I was so stressed that I couldn’t think straight and I knew it would affect my results. Still, I swore I’d make that thief pay for her crimes. Right; when I found her, she’d be sorry. Veeeery sorry.
And she didn’t, because I didn’t find her. Not after the Maths test, nor during the break. And to make it worse, we didn’t have any more lessons together that day.
However, at the end of it, I was about to go home with the bitter taste of defeat when I finally saw her. She was standing next to the library’s door and our eyes met for a single second before her smiling silhouette disappeared inside the room.
Something told me I was falling into a trap, but I followed her anyway.
Besides the two of us and the librarian, there was nobody else. I saw her sneak behind a bookshelf and I joined her face to face.
The green-eyed thief was empty-handed.
“Where’s the book?” I whispered, containing myself.
She shrugged her shoulders.
“Where?”, she repeated in a low voice. “Dunno. Maybe in one of these shelves”.
A small but confident smile curved my mouth.
Silly. Did she really believe that she could trick me in my own game? I knew that library like the back of my hand.
“Or it could be… somewhere else”, she added, not as stupid as I’d thought. “But there is something I can assure you: no matter how much you look for it.You won’t find it. So… will you come to the party?”
“Crap, girl! Do you ever give up?”
“Yes or no?”
We stared at each other in silence. As little as I knew, she was the classical good girl who got along with everybody and hardly ever got in trouble. An innocent-looking face that would fool anybody unable to see the shadow behind. Just like she’d done with me.
I clenched my jaw, aware that I’d been staring at her like an idiot, and I pressed a spot in my nasal bridge, under my glasses.
I didn’t want to. I shouldn’t and I wasn’t going to do it. I couldn’t allow her to have it her way.
“No”, I finally said.
“Don’t you want your book back?”
“I don’t want to be blackmailed”, I stated. “Not by you, nor by anyone else. And you have no right to do this”.
“You don’t have a right to treat me like trash either”, she replied. And it was the first time she looked at me with such unkindly eyes. “You can look all you want around the bookshelves, even in the courtyard. For all I care, you can spend the whole week looking if you think it’s worth the shot, but next friday you’ll meet me by the school entrance at six in the afternoon. If you don’t, you can kiss your precious book goodbye. I’m sure you have plenty, anyway”.
That said, she passed by my side to leave.
I grabbed her by the arm with much strength that I was supposed to use and I forced her to look back at me.
“You really think I’m gonna let you go that easily?”
“And what else can you do? Kill me?”
Good question. I felt so outraged that if the Devil himself had come to take her to Hell in exchange for my soul, I’d have granted his wish with no second thoughts. And yet… there I was, unable to do anything.
Yes, I had many books at home, but that one in particular was very special. I could have surrendered and humiliate myself for once, begging her to give it back, but, by that time, I was too proud and I didn’t know what was about to come.
My fingers pressed harder on her arm due to the tension my muscles were bearing. I shared her stare, clenched my teeth and felt that damn tic in my left eye that always started in the worst moments. I held my rage back. I savoured it, felt it in all the corners of my body… and let it go.
“Someday you’ll pay for this, you…»
“My name is Bibiana. So start by learning it”.
She turned her back on me and went away with her head held high.
I held back a bit more, but… when she went out the door, I gave such a frustrating shout that even the librarian flinched in her seat.