“Come on,” she said pointing to a table away from Hunter. “Let’s go sit over on this side.”
She walked to the side of the cafeteria opposite from Hunter and sat down. I followed her numbly, barely able to process what was happening.
I’d been hungry when I was in the food line but when I sat down, I couldn’t even look at my plate. Who was that girl and why was she so cozy with Hunter? Had he moved on that quickly? Just a few days ago he’d been baring his soul about his feelings for me, bringing me a rose and chocolate. Now he apparently had feelings for someone else. I wanted to pretend that it didn’t bother me but the bundle of coils in my stomach made that impossible.
Noticing Daniela studying me carefully, I decided to break the silence.“I don’t know if I can eat,” I said.
She nodded but stayed silent. I stared at my food thinking about how stupid I was for feeling jealous that Hunter was flirting with another girl. I’d told him my feelings for him were strictly based on friendship but it was becoming increasingly clear to me that I wasn’t being entirely honest.
Finally Daniela spoke. “Do you know who she is?”
I shook my head. This was so humiliating, even in front of my best friend. I wanted to turn around and curl up in bed until Spring came.
She grimaced. “Okay. We can leave if you want.”
“No, you should eat.” I gestured to her food, which was as untouched as mine was.
“I’m not leaving you here, Lorrie. If you want to leave I’m going with you.”
I felt like I was pinned flat on my back by a giant boulder. Overwhelmed, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. “Thank you,” I said, trying to smile.
“You’re welcome. I know you’d do the same for me.” She speared a forkful of chicken and broccoli. “I’ll try to eat fast,” she said, chewing. “Like a chicken broccoli bake eating contest.”
I looked down at the spread on my plate and took a fork full of food. Knowing from experience that neglecting food was just going to make me feel worse, I decided to take a few bites. The food tasted bland, but I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up, so I continued eating.
Chewing my food, I was tempted to look at Hunter. I turned and found him staring right at me. His gray eyes opened wide in surprise and then narrowed. He tapped the girl sitting next to him on the shoulder, fed her another suggestive bite of his banana then looked at me for my reaction. I glared at him for a second and then turned back to Daniela.
“This is ridiculous. He’s taunting me! I have to go,” I said, my heart racing as I stood up.
“Lorrie wait!” Daniela cried.
But I was already heading out of the dining hall. It felt like everyone in the Barnyard was staring at me as I rushed out, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to talk to Hunter when he was consciously trying to piss me off.
Stepping outside into the night, the cold winter air stung my bare arms. As I walked down the steps, I realized I’d forgotten my coat in the rush to get out of the cafeteria. Rather than go back in, I hugged my arms to my body and powered forward, figuring Daniela would bring it back to the dorm when she finished eating. There was no way I was going back in there and embarrassing myself even more. I hurried down the last few steps and started in the direction of Floyd Hall.
I’d gone three paces when I heard Hunter calling from the top of the steps. “Lorrie, wait!”
I continued walking, ignoring Hunter’s cries. He knew how I reacted to hearing about him getting a blowjob from those girls. Deciding to feed that girl a banana in front of me made him a huge jackass. After resolving the blowjob incident, this felt like huge betrayal of my trust.
“Wait! You forgot your coat,” he called.
Feeling the cold biting through my thin layer of clothes, I stopped and turned. “What are you doing?” I said harshly.
He held up my coat from the top of the stairs. “Apparently saving you from freezing to death—again.”
“I’ll be just fine, thanks. Leave my coat with Daniela.” I turned to walk away.
“Lorrie, what the f**k?” he yelled. “How are you mad at me? You rejected me, remember? I’m the one who should be mad at you. And frankly, I am.” He descended the steps and offered the coat as I turned to face him.
I stomped my foot. “What do you have to be mad about? I said I wasn’t ready and needed a little space, and you responded by running into the arms of another girl immediately! Who is she, anyway? One of the girls who would suck your dick even if you had a pet rock?”
“Dammit Lorrie!” he roared, nostrils flared. His anger surprised me. He looked like he was going to keep yelling but pursed his lips together and ran his free hand through his short brown hair. “No,” he said in a measured tone. “She’s an ex that I’m still friends with.”
“Ada?” I blurted.
His brows shot up in surprise, but he nodded. “Yes. Ada. So you’ve heard about her. Well, now you’ve seen her.”
“Have you been hanging out with her a lot?”
His mouth opened to speak but then he shook his head. “Look, Ada and I . . . are not exactly friends, it’s just . . . complicated between us.”
“You think I’m blind, Hunter?” I said angrily. “You guys sure looked friendly.”
“Things between Ada and I aren’t romantic or sexual. We still hang out every once in a while, but nowhere near as much as I hang out with you.”
Now he was changing his story. I wondered if he was just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear. “So she’s not your friend, and things aren’t sexual between you, but you still suggestively feed her bananas?”
“What do you want from me, Lorrie?” he yelled. “First you push me away because I want you, now you get jealous when I’m hanging out with another girl. This is ridiculous!”
“Ridiculous? Jumping into your ex’s arms days after saying you have feelings for me is ridiculous! I thought you would at least keep it to a quiet hookup.”
He sighed. “Listen, I’m sorry I fed Ada that banana to piss you off. That was immature, but I swear to you there was no hookup.”
“Why would you use a friend—or whatever she is— to try and get back at me when I’ve done nothing wrong?”
He scoffed. “Nothing wrong? Lorrie, you’re playing with me like a yo-yo. You push me away then get jealous and pull me in. Over and over.”