"Will you go out with me?"
Those were the words that shattered my perfect little world.
My name is Guinevere Rosaline Montague. Yeah, ha ha, my name's weird, but, hey, it's not my fault my parents are freaks about that medieval junk. Maybe the Shakespearesque surname went to their heads, I don't know. Anyway, I go to a little high school in Connecticut where I'm an immature freshie stuck with a bunch of even more immature freshies. I'm part of the outcast-yet-somewhat-popular crowd, you know, full of all different people. I'm the teeny-bopper/prep/airhead of the group, and we're all really close. And just like all close friends, we all hate each other, and stab each other in the back all the time. At least everyone except me. I generally tried to stay out of trouble, being the pacifist I am. And I succeeded pretty well. Until I heard those words. That's when World War III began.
"Gwen, I don't know what's wrong with him!" Rachel whined. "Do you know if he's mad at me? Why's he mad at me?" she inquired, suddenly suspicious.
"No idea." I tried not to roll my eyes, speaking in what I hoped was a comforting tone of voice. "The only reason he has for being mad is if he somehow found out you were gonna dump him for Mike. I didn't tell him, though, swear on my Girl Scouts' Honor," I quickly added. She just sighed exasperatedly and turned away as her boyfriend, Morgan, approached the table. I rolled my eyes and began talking to my other best friend, Jess. Jess is my cool-in-a-wacked-out-way friend. The only reason Rachel and I were still friends, I thought, was because we'd been friends since we were old enough to walk. I quickly forgot Rachel's "problems" as I laughed with Jess, but as soon as Morgan left the table she was back to her whining. She started going on about how he was going to dump her, she just knew it, and I just told her he wouldn't and kept talking, believing exactly what I had said.
Two weeks later, I was walking down the hall before homeroom with Jess and my newest BFF, Liz. Liz had just moved into the house next door, so naturally we became friends.
We were all walking down the hall, chatting about some nonsense, like always, when suddenly one of our other friends, Kristen, ran up to me. As she got closer I saw a concerned look on her face.
"What's wrong?" I asked, a little worried.
She frowned, obviously upset. "Rachel sent me to get you. She needs you to come to the Global Studies room right away."
"Why? What's going on?" My throat tightened a little with concern.
"Morgan dumped her."
I clenched my fists, shaking with anger. "He WHAT?" Not waiting for Kristen to answer, I stormed off, Jess and Liz hurrying to catch up with me. Soon I reached the classroom, where I was met by a pathetically sad scene. Rachel was sitting on a desk, surrounded by our friends, sniffling, mascara running down her cheeks like some clichéd teen movie. I rushed over, grabbing a box of tissues, and hugged her.
"What did he say?" I asked.
"I don't know," she managed. "J-Just…that…he w-wanted to b-b-b-break up with me." I straightened up, seriously determined to fix this.
"I'm going to have a talk with him. Where is he? Anyone know?"
"He's in Mrs. Meyers' room this period," Kristen said. She hadn't even finished her sentence before I was gone.
When I found him I must've looked pretty mad, because his friends that were in there gave him a "see-ya-at-the-funeral" look and immediately left. He avoided my eyes nervously. "Please don't scream at me," he said timidly. I sighed heavily.
"Morgan, I'm not mad at you. I just want to know what the heck's going on." He stood up reluctantly.
"Let's take a walk." He led me out into the hall, dragging his feet. He looked like in the middle of a train wreck. The hallway was quickly emptying, as the bell was about to ring, and we walked down it silently. Unable to take it anymore, I finally spoke.
"Why'd you dump her?" I blurted out.
Morgan gave me an odd look and started to say something. "Gwen, I…" He stopped himself and started over, looking away from my face. "I don't know, I've just…changed. I don't like Rachel the way I used to."
"You don't like her anymore?"
There was a long pause before he answered my question. "Well…no, not really."
I sighed again. I was getting a major headache. "Well, even if you don't love her, you should at least apologize for hurting her. She's really upset." He nodded and reluctantly followed me into the Global Studies room. He apologized to Rachel, gave her an awkward pat on the shoulder, and left the room as fast as possible. Just then the bell rang, and we had to sit in our seats.
Over the next week things went a little more like normal. Rachel didn't mope so much after she burned all of Morgan's gifts that she had accumulated throughout their relationship, and to my delight, he and I stayed friends. Morgan was my best guy friend, and after the breakup I was so afraid that we wouldn't be anymore. Of course, Rachel didn't know that we still hung out, but Liz and Jess did. They kept all of my secrets, and besides, they knew we would stay friends.
One Friday about a week after the breakup, I was leaving Spanish class at the end of the day, taking my time packing up my books. I suddenly realized that Morgan hadn't left yet, and I smiled at him. We walked out of the classroom, neither of us saying anything. The hall was crowded with students on their way to the buses, but no one paid attention to us. I glanced up at Morgan and realized he was staring at me with an odd expression on his face. He quickly snapped his head around when I looked at him.
"What's wrong?" I asked him. He looked at me nervously and rubbed the back of his neck. "I, um, well, I was wondering… will you go out with me?"
My books and my purse fell to the floor, but I just stared at him with my jaw hanging open. He blushed and bent to pick up my stuff. I stopped him and picked it up myself. There was an extremely awkward silence as each of us turned a darker and darker shade of red. I finally said what I was thinking, as much as I hated to.
"Morgan, I like you, I really do, but… I can't go out with you." I could see the disappointment in his eyes when I said that. I continued, trying to speak against the lump in my throat. "I would really love to, honestly I would, but you and Rachel just broke up, and I can't date her ex without asking her first." Morgan said nothing. "I'm sure she'll understand when I tell her." He still said nothing, but instead he just shook his head doubtfully and left. I hurried outside and got on the bus.
When I got home, I immediately called Rachel and told her what had happened. When she spoke again, her voice sounded so sweet it kind of scared me.
"Wow, that's great that Morgan asked you out. I'm so happy for you." I couldn't believe my ears.
"Really? So you're okay with us going out?"
"Of course, Gwen. Why wouldn't I be? He's just my ex." She paused. "I gotta go. See ya tomorrow!"
"See ya." I hung up the phone, relieved. Soon I had another question on m mind. Did I really want to have Morgan as a boyfriend? He was my best guy friend, and I never been so close to a boy before. Plus, he was funny, and he was even pretty good-looking. My decision made, I picked up the phone again and dialed Morgan's number.
"Morgan? It's Gwen."
"Oh. Hi." He sounded uncomfortable.
"Um, about that conversation we had earlier… I think I would like to hang out with you—you know, as more than just friends."
His voice sounded happy when he answered me. "Okay. How about tomorrow? I'll pick you up at 4."
"Sounds good. See ya."
The next day we went to the movies, and I had the best time I'd ever had in my recent memory. We went out for pizza afterward, and at the end of the night, we had our first kiss. As I fell asleep that night, I knew I liked Morgan more that any guy I'd ever known. I couldn't wait to see him in school on Monday.
I sit in front of Rachel in English class, and on Monday morning I thought she seemed a little grumpy. I dismissed the thought quickly, knowing she had her off days. However, when I went to lunch 6th period, I suddenly remembered what it's like to get the cold shoulder. In this case, that shoulder was at absolute zero.
As I walked up to our lunch table with Jess and Liz, I didn't really notice anything unusual. I was too busy laughing at something Jess said. For a quick moment I wondered where Morgan would sit. We had always sat in the same order: Morgan at the end of the table, Rachel on his right, and me on her right. Now it couldn't be like that, obviously. Just before I started to panic, I saw Morgan sitting on a chair at the table behind me and calmed down. I sat down at my usual place and said hi to everyone. No one answered, so I just shrugged it off and began to eat. As I bit into my sandwich, I heard Rachel's voice.
"What are you doing here?" I glanced up, thinking she was talking to Morgan, who was of course trying to avoid her. Then I realized she was talking to me. I swallowed the peanut butter that was stuck to the roof of my mouth.
"Um… eating my lunch. What else would I be doing?" I was puzzled. There was a frostiness in her glare that I hadn't seen directed toward me since all of my friends turned against me in 7th grade.
"Well, I thought maybe you'd be in the hall making out with you boyfriend." She gave Morgan a Look before going back to glaring at me. He was silent.
"It's gross to do that in the hall, especially when we've barely started going out," I replied in a "duh" tone of voice.
Morgan spoke up. "I thought you were okay with me having another girlfriend."
"Oh, I am," Rachel said in that falsely sweet voice. "I just don't understand why you'd want to go out with a fat, obnoxious skank." I turned red, sizzling with anger and hurt.
"Well, at least I'm not anorexic like someone at this table!" I retorted loudly. It was her turn to blush as people at the surrounding tables turned and stared.
"Being naturally skinny is better than being a traitor!"
"That's the pot calling the kettle black." I turned to Nicole, the one person in our group who I had never trusted. She was one who would no doubt side with Rachel, just because she was more powerful than me. "I guess this is World War III, now, isn't it?" I asked her calmly.
"Yeah, and you're Germany!" she spat back.
I shrugged. "I always wanted to learn German." I turned to face everyone and addressed them all. "If anyone else wants to be a rebel with me, I'll be sitting over there." I turned to Morgan. "If you don't want to follow me, I guess I understand. I'm too much of a troublemaker."
He took my hand. "I'm coming with you, if you're that willing to give this up."
I smiled grimly. "Looks like I don't have that much of a choice." As we started to walk away, Jess and Liz stood up.
"I wouldn't mind being Italy," Jess offered.
"And I'll be Japan," Liz added.
I smiled gratefully at all three of them and we walked away, leaving our old lives behind.
It has now been three months since I abandoned my life as Rachel's lapdog. Rachel has been spreading nasty rumors about me all this time, but they haven't really succeeded in making me a loser. In fact, I wouldn't care if I was a loser.
So I guess things didn't turn out so badly after all. Instead I learned who my true friends were and ditched the dishonest ones. That, I must say, is pretty awesome.
And They All Lived Happily Ever After… (Except Rachel)