Hayden ran a hand through his hair, his face pinched in concern, and nodded. I climbed into the passenger seat. My dad hesitated, looking at Hayden.
“Go, Dad. Please.”
And he did. As soon as we rounded the corner, my shoulders fell and the tears I’d been holding back burst out of me.
“I hate boys.”
“He didn’t hurt you, did he?” His voice was surprisingly angry.
“No, well, he just hurt my heart.”
“Oh, honey.” My dad reached over and, while still driving, managed to direct my head to his shoulder. “I’m so sorry. Just let it out.”
And I did. Apparently my dad was easier to open up to than I’d ever realized. That thought only made me cry harder.
“In case you were wondering,” Bec said, sitting down in front of me Monday morning, “I totally believe you and I told Hayden as much.”
“Thanks.” Not that it mattered. I never wanted to speak to Hayden again.
“Because Spencer is a slimeball. I don’t know how Hayden’s friends turned out to be such jerks. I think it’s because they all got to know each other as kids when they were only half jerks. I’m convinced if he had met either Spencer or Ryan in the last couple of years, he would’ve seen right through them.”
I didn’t trust my voice so I just nodded.
“Even if Spencer’s story was true, I would’ve fully supported you marching out of there in a jealous rage too. And I told Hayden that the only thing I would’ve done different if he were my date and was there talking to his ex was punched him before I walked out. Why does my idiot brother keep talking to that idiot girl? Especially when he’s on a date.”
“We weren’t on a date.”
“He told me it was a date. Did he tell you it wasn’t?”
“He likes you, Gia. He’s just being an idiot.”
“It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t trust me and I definitely don’t trust him anymore. Considering that’s the basis of all good relationships, I think we’re out of luck.”
Bec put her hand over mine. “My brother is extremely loyal. Sometimes to a fault. His loyalty can outweigh his reasoning. His brain was telling him one thing and his heart was telling him another. One time when I was little, he watched me shove a boy to the ground and steal his Popsicle. I told Hayden it was mine, that the boy had taken it from me first, and Hayden believed me. He told this crying kid to leave me alone. Loyalty.”
“I get your point, but the problem is that in that story I’m the crying kid who got his Popsicle stolen. I’m not the one he’s loyal to.”
She let out an angry sigh. “I know, but my point is that he has it wrong. He should’ve given the kid back his Popsicle and told me I was a bully.”
I laughed. “Well, that means a lot to me.”
“Will you talk to him?”
“He doesn’t want to talk, Bec. He wants Eve back. I’m sorry I failed in your mission, but they can have each other.”
“The whole reason you want me to talk to him again. You hate Eve.”
“I can’t deny that point. But no, I like you, Gia.” She grabbed my forearm and met my eyes with her black-lined ones. “No matter how much I tried to convince myself not to, I actually like you.”
Those words made me want to both laugh and cry at the same time. “I like you too but I don’t have to make up with your brother for that to continue.”
“I think you and my brother are good together. You make him more confident and he makes you more relaxed. When you find someone like that, you don’t let them go so easily.”
I gave a small laugh. “Well, thanks, Dr. Phil, but it’s over and I don’t do repeats.”
I didn’t feel like going out to lunch with my friends. I didn’t feel like doing anything but sitting in my fourth-period class and not moving ever again. Somehow I stood up, though, shouldered my backpack, and found Claire.
“What’s wrong?” she asked immediately. That morning on the car ride over I’d done a pretty good job of hiding my sadness. But somehow talking to Bec made everything worse. Her believing me made it even more sad that Hayden hadn’t. Made me realize even more that he should’ve.
“You want to talk about it?”
“Is it Drew? Are you guys still fighting?”
“Yes—wait, how did you know Drew and I were fighting?” I hadn’t told anyone else because that would require them having to watch the most embarrassing video ever.
“Jules said she saw some video online or something.”
“She did? How?”
“I don’t know. Maybe your brother linked it on his Facebook page. Anyway, she said you were mad at Drew. I thought you told her that. I was surprised you hadn’t told me.”
“No, I didn’t tell her.” I couldn’t process what that meant. That she was still sneaking around looking for answers? That, like Claire, she thought my brother was cute and had friended him on Facebook?
“So is that why you’re upset?” Claire asked.
“No.” Maybe talking to Claire would help. “Remember that guy I went on a blind date with?”
“We kind of broke up.”
“I didn’t know you were together.”
“We weren’t but I wanted to be.”
“I’m sorry, Gia. First Bradley and now Hayden. That’s not cool.”
“No, it isn’t.” We were in the parking lot now and I could see Jules and Laney waiting by the car. “Can we just keep this between you and me for now?” I asked, not wanting to deal with prying questions from Jules today. Especially since it seemed like she was doing just that—prying.
“Why? We’re all your friends, Gia. We want to help you through it. You need to stop keeping things from us.”
“I just can’t handle Jules right now. Please.”
“For the life of me I don’t understand why the two of you don’t get along.”
“Really? You don’t see how she is with me? She is constantly trying to pick apart my stories for some hidden agenda.”
“Yes, I can see how she does that sometimes, but she’s said the same about you before.”
“Well, she started it.” It sounded juvenile before it was out of my mouth. I didn’t need Claire’s eye roll to confirm it.