I watched the clock on the wall like you’d watch a rabid dog; anxious and anticipating terrible things – like it suddenly rewinding and somehow extending Math class.
Three. Two. One.
I grabbed my backpack from behind my chair and almost assaulted Mr Rogers on my way out. I heard him grunt out my name with obvious disdain, but he didn’t call for me to come back. He knew his efforts would be futile.
I rushed down the hallways like lightning and grinned gleefully when I saw that there was nobody in the corridors yet. The moment I spotted the door to the cafeteria, I hurried faster and burst through the doors like I was in some kind of bad comedy.
Ms Jenkins spotted me first. The chocolate pudding was already in her hands.
“Just take it. “ she deadpanned, her face pulled into a scowl that I had seen many times before. Mr Toreesh grinned at me from behind the glass which contained all the disgusting slob for this Wednesday.
I didn’t hesitate for one second and quickly walked forward to gently take the pudding from her hands as if it were a tiny creature that faced extinction.
“You’re my saviour, Ms Jenkins. Thank you. “ I bowed dramatically and rushed to the yellow-topped tables to eat my dessert.
As I walked away, I heard her grumble something along the lines of ‘Fucking Monday's, shitty Serena'. It was something that I’d also heard from her more times than I was willing to admit. I liked to think of it as our weird, special thing.
The other students started trickling in slowly as I munched happily on the chocolatey goodness.
As I focused on the pudding, I suddenly heard, “I kissed him. I kissed Jordan. “
I recognized the voice and my stomach dropped to the soles of my feet. I diverted my attention to the red head across the table and raised an eyebrow, sceptically, “Jordan Berlin?” I asked slowly.
Hannah stared into my soul, a mixture of untold nervousness and distraught on her petite features, “Yes.”
“You kissed my brother?” The statement danced around in my head sporadically. The only emotion that stuck was shock as I finally processed the words that I could have lived just fine without. I put down my spoon that Ms Jenkins – or more likely, Mr Toreesh – stuck in the plastic tub.
“Yeah.” Hannah sang out quietly, her sparkly emerald eyes no longer held my dull brown ones. She tugged on her long locks with a nervous expression.
My lips pursed and I also found myself looking away from her. I rather looked around the cafeteria and my eyes caught Ms Jenkins'. She looked at the half-full tub in front of me and then looked back at me with a raised brow. I just ignored her and found my brother at the back of the room. He wasn’t the most athletic guy in our school, but he was damn smart. He sat with a friend of his, playing some stupid video game I didn’t care about.
“So . . . you kissed my brother. Why?” I asked, picking up my spoon again with a heavy heart.
Hannah stuttered a little, “Well, I don't know. It just happened, Serena! I don’t know.”
I tapped the handle of the spoon on the table and scowled, “He's a year younger than us.”
“I know! I regretted it straight after! “ she still hadn’t looked at me after saying this.
“You did? Then why do it? “
She stayed silent and I had the feeling that she liked kissing him more than she wanted to reveal to me. It made the stomach that already inhabited the bottoms of my feet tie itself into an excruciating knot and I felt my head start to pound. I wasn’t sure if it was because of anxiety or stress.
I didn’t know what to say after that, since she hadn’t answered my question, and so I continued picking at my pudding and slowly scooping it into my mouth. It didn’t taste as good as it did before.
Hannah was looking at the other people in the cafeteria, now. In all honesty, it gave me the slightest bit of assurance that she truly felt bad about this. One wouldn’t just reveal something like this to their friend. Although, it didn't help everything else that I felt: annoyance, betrayal, sadness and the slightest tinge of jealousy that I would not dare free from the confinements of the farthest part of my mind. I felt uneasy.
Perhaps leaving the cafeteria and heading to the library was not the best thing to do in the moment, but well, it was too late to go back.
I still had the pudding with me, but because of obvious library etiquette, I refrained from eating it and messing up the book that I was reading. Or staring at; I kept reading the same line over and over again:
"She loved them both and she wouldn't choose - so she lost them. "
The story itself was extremely intriguing. I knew it from past reads. Two guys fell in love with one girl, but it was one of the rare instances in stories where the guys actually decide that she isn't worth the trouble (and see themselves as actual human beings). The girl is left alone and the rest of the story continued with the guys becoming good friends.
However, I couldn't enjoy the satisfaction of the girl's turmoil seeing as Hannah just told me that she kissed my brother! The feelings which arose in me weren't the things that I wanted to feel at this very moment. I wanted to be a good, forgiving friend like Hannah had been for me all of our lives, but the knot in my stomach wouldn't let up in the slightest. And I felt bad about that.
It also might've been one of the reasons that I was hiding out in the library, although I was slowly starting to regret my decison after realising that the library was probably the first place that Hannah would look for me.
"So I got that from the back for you for nothing? " the raspy voice which I heard curse my name every Wednesday made me look up. Ms Jenkins eyed the pudding tub and I noticed that her short, grey hair wasn't fumbled up in a hair net anymore.
I glanced at the tub, shrugging, "I'll finish it. " even though pudding was the last thing on my mind right now.
"Hmph. Where's that girl you sit with?" Ms Jenkins leaned on the back of the chair across from me.
I paused for a moment as I wondered why she was trying to make conversation with me, but I answered anyway, "Not sure. "
Ms Jenkins shrugged her shoulders carelessly and pointed to the pudding, "Better finish it or you're not getting anymore. "
I suppose she knew that something was wrong at this point, but she didn't fret. She just turned and left. And I continued trying to understand the words in front of me.
"Serena, I didn't mean to. I swear! " Hannah's voice snapped me out of my daze and I tensed up when I saw her sit across from me in the chair that Ms Jenkins had just stood by.
I looked around for an escape - anything - but she had me cornered.
"I don't see how that could be a mistake. You kissed Jordan, Hannah! " I raised my voice slightly, but instantly cringed when I remembered that this was a library.
Hannah groaned and ran her hands through her hair, "I don't know either! Just please say that you forgive me. " Hannah hissed at me quietly so that the librarian and other kids wouldn't hear us.
"It's barely been an hour- "
"I know, I know! I just . . . don't understand what happened either. I'm just sorry! "
I shook my head slowly, looking away from her again. I can't believe that she thought that I would be okay with this!
"Please, just tell me that nothing changes. Please. I know it's weird and I'll try and talk about it. Just please, tell me that we haven't changed. " she pleaded lowly.
I thought about my brother's part in all of this. He somehow hadn't really crossed my mind at all until I saw Hannah. I completely forgot that he played a part in this, too. A really freaking big part! I really didn't want to believe that my baby brother would do this to me. Although, there wasn't any way for him to know what I was feeling. And that decided it for me.
My mouth turned up into a scowl and my foot tapped the ground over and over, but in fear of somehow revealing how I truly felt about this, I lied, "No, we haven't. "
"I swear. " the words left a bitter taste in my mouth, so I picked up my spoon and proceeded to empty the chocolate pudding tub.