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Nothing ever happens when you have literally zero friends. You don't go anywhere, you don't do anything, you don't talk to anyone, and you don't really know what to do. Me, I have one friend. It's my ex girlfriend; we broke up last year. We just decided to start a "friend" thing. I was tired of her being a complete asshole to me, but the real reason was I was tired of having no friends at all and her and I were pretty close before all the unmentionable shit went down that nearly killed me, but y'know that's a different story for a different time.
Avery and I met my freshman year of high school. She was a 17 almost 18 year old senior and I was a small, but very mature looking 13 almost 14 year old. I was a little straight girl dating my youth pastor's son while crushing on Avery's younger brother, both of them were my age. It started at a nearby university's homecoming parade that our high school's band was asked to march in. She was a flute and I was holding the banner, that meant that we were both generally in the same section of the band. This day, I was talking to some of my friends whom she had made friends with that I would later discover was just a plan to get close to me. She walks up to the group and joins in conversation. For some reason I can't remember now, the rest of the group walked away and it was just the two of us standing together. I knew who she was because of her brother. I had heard a rumor that she was gay, but I also heard she had had a boyfriend in the past. I wasn't really sure who she was, but I knew of her. I knew her name at least.
"So, I hear you have a crush on my brother." My heart jumped into my mouth. I had no idea how she knew that. I didn't even know who I had told that would tell. Y'know the freshman freaking out that her personal secret about who she liked was getting around and she was freaking out. She looked like her brother, she was cute. She had the same swag, they carried themselves the same way, like they owned everyone and they knew it. They both knew that if they just smiled at you, no, even looked at you the right way that you were theirs and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. You were hooked, and you were screwed for the absolute rest of your fucking miserable life.
"Um... uhh." Come up with something fast, Rachel. "No, I used to like Jack. But then he played me and lied to me and I'm over it now, but I used to." This wasn't 100% untruthful. The fact was I wanted him to fuck me against the gym locker room wall everyday. The story was true though.
"Oh, I see. Do you need me to beat his ass for you?" She asks with the same damned smile that Jack has. The damned smile that still controls my life to this day and gets me to do whatever the hell she wants me to.
"No, it's fine. We're kind of friends now. It's cool."
"You have really pretty eyes by the way." She stares into them, studying them.
Taking me off guard, I didn't know how to respond to that. I didn't whether to makeout with her then and there or just nod. "Thank you. I've never been told that before. They're just shitty brown."
She laughs. "No, they have green in them too. They're unique." Her smile grows.
Our band director yells and tell us to get into formation, interrupting our short conversation that I wish would last longer. I wanted her to stare into my eyes for hours. I wanted to stare at her smile for days. I wanted her. Who cared about John anymore? Not me, I wanted her and only her and for the rest of my life, as long as she stared and smiled at me like that the whole way there.
"See you around." She walks away, looking back at me with that damned smile.
That was the start of the literal end of my life, at least that's what it felt like.
Avery didn't really talk to me again until three months later at a Christmas performance at a local elementary school. I was starting the performance talking to Jack since he's closer to my instrument when we perform a concert rather than a marching performance. So either way, whatever I do in this god forsaken band, I am screwed. I have someone that I am so hot for right there for me to stare at unintentionally and intentionally. Jack had winked at me and I thought I was going to lose it. He was just teasing, and I knew that. But, I was still about to lose it. I had to walk away and act annoyed. I couldn't let him know what I wanted. So I walked to the flute section to talk to my friend Kate, who happened to sit next to Avery. I didn't really even think about Avery being there or even existing at the time. I just wanted to talk to Kate. I had almost forgotten the conversation, if you could even call it that, at the parade a couple months back. I don't remember what Kate and I talked about and I don't remember how Avery came into the conversation. I just remember she was wearing a red Christmas shirt and her hair was pulled back. She looked gay and she knew it. She looked good and she knew it. She stared into my eyes like she knew what I was thinking. But I wouldn't dare tell her.
"Hey, could you step away for a minute so I can ask Katie something?" Avery asked me. I obliged, thinking it was weird, but I'm polite and did as she asked. I saw her ask Kate a question, Kate answer, and Avery's face fill with shock. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't really care. I think Avery asked Kate if she was sure or something.
Kate called over to me. "Rachel, how old are you? 12?" I had been 13 for 9 months.
"13, almost 14." I answered. If you're 6 months away from your birthday and under the age of 16 you always mention that you're close to the next year. It's a known fact.
"Oh, shit." Avery started laughing nervously. Not the same laugh I had heard months ago. She was nervous. About what? What was the big deal with me being 13? I didn't find out until almost a year later. She liked me and she thought that I was 16. She was going to ask me out if Kate thought that it was a good idea. In other words, she freaked the fuck out. This was a first of many.
When we went back to the school, I tried to get it out of her. I asked and asked and she just nervously laughed and laughed. I finally went up to one of her friends with Avery beside me and told her that Avery won't tell me what she's thinking. Her answer blew my mind.
"Well obviously, she thinks you're pretty." Avery grinned ear to ear.
She looked at her friend. "She is though, gorgeous." And that response ruined the next two years and what was supposed to be the best years of my life.
Literally two weeks later, I broke up with my youth pastor's son, also known as my boyfriend. I felt guilty, like a sinner. I felt like I had to figure out how to keep myself from "ruining my life" because I'm "gay" now. My family would have disowned me and a "gay" girl can't necessarily have a boyfriend and a crush on a girl. It was immoral. I felt so awful. I just knew my Christian ass was going to hell. The boyfriend didn't understand and hates me to this day.
Eventually Avery found out that I had broken up with my boyfriend because I felt gay. So she quickly realized that she had "turned a straight girl gay." Evidently the entire, but small, student body that knew us was talking about it. I had no idea that everyone knew that I was falling for a much older girl. I was so ashamed. I was utterly embarrassed.
Over the next two to three months, Avery flirted, teased, winked, and practically lured me to her. She would pretend to want me one day and then act like I was a stranger the next. I would catch her looking at me almost everyday and she would catch me doing the same. I thought that she knew that I liked her and she was just enjoying having me wrapped around her little finger. I did not think that she was interested in me whatsoever. I was sure that I was just getting my hopes up, imagining something that would never happen in one million years. Avery made me think that she was a fantasy, trying to be with her was a fantasy. She made me think that I was just some dumb child that wanted some candy she wasn't allowed to have. The life that I wanted with her in it was just a part of my imagination.
By the end of the third month, March, my birthday month, I was absolutely sure that I was in love with Avery. Without a doubt, 100% in love. I had no idea what I was going to do with myself. I was so sure that I would never get over her. I was counting down the months until her graduation so that I would never see her again and I may be able to finally start over and move on. Although, I was also counting down the months until her graduation because I may never see her again and I may never have the chance to tell her that I loved her, tell her how I felt, or kiss her just once. I was ready for the next school year, but I was also dreading it because she would never be in it.
Two weeks before my birthday, the band had another parade. I was thinking about finding a way to try and kiss her or at least confess my feelings. Although, that did not happen. She stopped me and pulled me aside before the parade started.
"I don't know what you think is going to happen, and I don't know what you are telling your friends, but us," moving her finger between the us, "is not going to happen. You're too young. It is not going to happen. You have just got to get over it." I don't remember what happened after that. I don't remember what I said or what I did. I just remember being utterly devastated. She proceeded to make fun of me to her friends while I cried the whole way home. It was her "coping mechanism."
Literally the next week, we had another band trip, a field trip. On the bus ride back, Avery sat with me. Her excuse was that she wanted to lay in someone's lap even though she had three friends she could do that with. She was making gay jokes in my lap and unbuttoned her shirt just enough and not obviously so I could see her chest. We made jokes that day, lots of them. It was a good day, but this made me so confused. One minute I think she hates my guts and is not attracted to me and the next she is in my lap flirting with me. I had no idea what the heck was going on. Somehow we got on the subject about how my mom would hate it if I were to tell her that I was gay. I told her that she was a big conservative Christian and that she would have my head if I told her that I was into Avery. She laughed at this.
"What do you think your mom would do if I walked you to her car and kissed you?" WHAT?! Excuse me?! What did you just say? I was smitten I was literally wanting her to kiss me right there, in front of everyone. I wanted everyone to know that I wasn't as crazy as everyone thought I was. She wanted to kiss me. I was freaking out. I didn't care if my mom would murder me or her. I wanted her to do it.
Of course when we got off the bus, she freaked out and got off with her friends and didn't say bye to me or anything. So that was a waste of time. But naturally, Avery did what Avery does and didn't speak to me for probably another month. She took it too far again.
Two months later, the last day of school rolled around. I wore a new shirt that I bought because I thought Avery would like it. I wore the shoes that Avery had complemented. I wore my hair the way Avery liked. I made sure my makeup was on point at all times. And she didn't speak to me until the last hour of the day and even then, I had to speak to her first.
"You had better sign my yearbook." I said to her as she passed me for the hundredth time.
"Of course, kid." That is what she called me to remind herself and I that I was too young for us to date or even like each other.
She signed it, "Hi, sweetheart. Have a great summer. Good luck with the girls ;) Don't forget I was your first love." I was like, that's it? I was so angry. Also, how did she know I loved her? I was so confused. I just wrote about how she was the cutest crush I ever had and I knew she'd do some great things, blah blah blah. I was so confused, but I just ignored it.
Later, she invited me to her graduation party, which I did not go to, and she hugged me and told me to never forget her. I laughed mentally, not likely.
(To be continued...)