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Fiction High School Romance

Most of my friends are guys. Alex and I have known each other practically since birth. Sam and I met in the third grade. Cory and I became friends in middle school. I met West just this year.

When West showed up in my history class at 8:05am on Tuesday, March 23rd at Adams High School, I didn’t notice. I didn’t notice the Beach Boys t-shirt he was wearing, or the cuffed blue jeans, or his bright green eyes, or the girl on his arm.

Addison Dargen, the coolest girl in school, and not in the cheerleader/class president kind of way. She not only started the first ever rock band at Adams, but also got them a record deal. Facedrift’s album isn’t out yet, but everyone knows they’re going places. How she knew West or how he knew her was beyond me. What I did know was that he and I were meant to be together, by any means necessary. 

“I love the Beach Boys! My favorite album is Pet Sounds.” I began. 

“Oh, really?” He responded nonchalantly. 

“Yeah, Wouldn’t It Be Nice is like the best song ever!” 

“I’m more of a Sloop John B kind of guy.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. How about we discuss this more over a cup of coffee after school?”

“Sure.”

Addison glared at me and I smiled back smugly. She quickly turned toward West. “But I thought we were hanging out later.” She asks him desperately.

“We can all get coffee, my treat.” He offered, seemingly enjoying the catfight that was brewing.

At 3 o’clock we met at the fountain in front of the school. Then we got into West’s new car and drove to a café one town over where he knew the manager and got us free drinks. The car ride had been awkward, with Addison continuing to shoot dirty looks my way and me putting on my biggest grin. This on the other hand, the three of us sitting at a table with a chess board in the middle, pretending to be friends was excruciating. 

“West and I met at band camp this past summer. We spent the whole two weeks really getting to know each other when we weren’t practicing for drumline of course.” Addison explained, with emphasis on how much time they spent together.

“But why are you just coming to Adams High now, West?” I asked, looking directly at him. 

“We knew my dad’s job was moving here from Kansas, so they let me come for band camp to prepare for when I did transfer to Adams.”

“What does your dad do?”

“His dad owns GearHeart Records.” Addison answered for him.

“The label that signed Facedrift? How does it feel knowing that you only got signed because you knew the label owner?” I asked her.

“That’s not true! Sasha, Kari, Jess, and I were signed because we’re good. Right, West?”

“Well… your dad may have offered a significant amount of money to my dad.” He said, shrugging his shoulders. 

“What? He did? I want to go home. Take me home.” She demanded, jumping out of her seat and slamming it against the table. A few looks came at us from around the café. 

“No, I’m not going to listen to you whine about having a record deal because our dads made a money deal. Either you sit and hang out with Natalie and me, or I give you money for an Uber and I don’t talk to you for a week.” He told her, pulling her seat back out and offering it to her.

She stared at us for a moment and then started toward the door. We watched her go and she looked back just as she was about to walk out. West picked up his phone and Venmoed her fifteen bucks. 

“What’s her problem?” I asked him when she was gone.

“She always gets like that when I talk to other girls.”

“How long have you two been going out?”

“Oh, we’re not dating.”

“You’re not? Does she know that?”

“I’ve told her. She doesn’t listen. I got my dad to sign her so she would stay away from me. There was no bribe from her father.”

“Damn. Why are you letting me stay then?”

“You seem normal and you helped me to get rid of her… plus you’re pretty cute.”

I felt my face get hot. “You’re not bad looking yourself.” I responded as casually as I could while internally screaming. 

“What do you say, we get out of here and go do something fun?” He suggested mischievously.

“Totally.”

As we walked outside, we passed by Addison sitting on a bench waiting on her Uber and doing her best not to look at us. I waved at her as I got into the passenger seat of West’s car. He handed me the aux cord and I plugged my phone in, turning on Good Vibrations

“So, where are we headed?” I asked him. 

“My friend’s place. It’s right by the school actually.” 

I thought of Addison all alone in the next town over and I felt accomplished.

When we pulled up outside of Alex’s house, I was definitely surprised. We got out of the car and knocked on the garage door, which Alex opened, looking equally surprised to see me. 

“Hey, Natalie.” He blushed. Poor Alex unrequited, never to be requited feelings for me. 

“Hey.” I said back, walking past and heading straight for his mini fridge.

His parents were out of town a lot, leaving his house as the perfect place for us to get wasted. As I grabbed two beers, one for me and one for West, I wondered  how he knew everyone when he just moved to town.

As West and I sat on opposite sides of the couch, preparing to compete in an epic Mario Kart battle, Alex noticed this space and tried to make his move. I saw him coming though and beckoned West closer, asking him to check if there was something in my eye. His mother was an optometrist after all. He scooted closer in time for Alex to sit on the other side of him, looking defeated. 

“Where are Sam and Cory? Aren’t they normally here?” I asked Alex, trying to move on from the scene a moment earlier. 

“I think they’ll be here soon. So, West… how do you know Natalie?”

“We actually just met today. How do you know her?”

“We’ve known each other since we were babies.”

“She’s cute, isn’t she?” West said, hitting me with a blue shell right before I crossed the finish line, allowing him to get first place and me to end in sixth. 

“Yeah.” Alex replied, mindlessly. 

“So, why do you get drunk in the garage instead of going out, getting a job, and taking her on a date?”

“Natalie? Do you want to go out with me?” Alex asked shyly.

“No. But I think I know a girl you’ll really hit it off with.”

“You do?” Alex questioned.

Before long, Addison arrived and immediately saw West and me sitting with our legs touching and racing around Rainbow Road. She looked furious as Alex, Sam, and Cory ogled at the beauty standing in the doorway. With her long blonde hair, dark eyes, and killer fashion sense, Addison could easily be the next Covergirl. 

“You must be Addison. I’m Alex, the lonely boy you were sent to meet.”

“Hello.” She shook his hand hesitantly before sitting down on the couch where Alex had been sitting before Sam and Cory showed up. West was in the middle of us once again.

“Do you want to play Mario Kart?” Alex asked her, handing over his remote.

“Um, West?” Addison said, inching closer to him. “Can you show me the controls? I can never remember what to press.”

“Oh brother.” I mumbled. Did this girl have any dignity?

“Just hold down 2 and click A to throw stuff. It’s not that hard.” West said. 

Addison was leaning into him now. It was as if the more he rejected her, the harder she tried. He pushed her off, saying it was so he could have elbow room to move the remote around, but everyone saw that our legs were still pressed together. 

“Natalie, you must need some space too, why don’t you sit on that chair instead?” Alex suggested, pointing at a single chair across the garage. 

“This is getting ridiculous, Alex. You know I don’t feel that way about you. It’s time to move on.” With that, I dropped the remote on the couch and walked out. 

As I was sulking away, I distantly heard West say “no, get off of me.” Seconds later, he was grabbing my arm. 

“Jealousy can be a bitch, huh?” He said, moving his hand down my arm and interlocking our fingers. 

“Totally.”

He kissed me and I heard hysterical sobs coming from the garage. I decided not to look as West and I got back into his car and drove away. As we drove I thought about Addison testing West, West testing Alex, Alex testing me, and me testing Addison. Cory and Sam, happily in a relationship, stuck picking up the pieces to that mess. The green eyed monster has come to town and his name is West.

August 06, 2022 01:25

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