Crushed

I will have to tell a story that comes from my head rather than one from my life since there isn't really any material for me to work with in my past. Romance is not my thing. It never was, until…well let me start by rewinding to eighth grade. I was walking down the hallway, trying to make my way through the small, overcrowded hallways before the bell for class rang. I hit the rush hour of Hoover hallways, which was when this one particular hallway always got so clogged with people that you were barely walking. I usually tried to avoid this crowd, but my next class was in the new wing of the school and this was the shorter of the two pathways to my destination. I was just wiggling my way free of the congestion when someone bumped into me and my books went flying everywhere. 'Not again,' I thought grumpily, scrambling to collect my books and not be late. I noticed the other person had also dropped what they were carrying, so I picked up a textbook and handed it to them: the golden rule, of course. I was a good kid in middle school; it's amazing how time can change a person. Well anyways, I looked at the person and noticed it was…that kid….I couldn't remember his name, but he was kind of cute and pretty popular. One of those typical guys who always got the main roles in the school plays; I'm sure you know the type because there seems to be at least one in every school. Anyways, I saw his cute face and stupidly allowed my sensibility to take a vacation. In other words, I had a crush on the guy. Well, there was no time for star-struck gazing, so I mumbled an apology before rushing off to my Algebra class. I made it to my seat just as the bell went off. I didn't really pay attention in class because the teacher was boring beyond belief, and there was a certain something, or rather, a certain someone, occupying my mind. That boy…what was his name? It was on the tip of my tongue, but I just couldn't remember. It started with a J. I knew his face because he was the school heartthrob, plus my best friend knew him since she was also in all the plays. 'Not Jason…Jamie? Jeremy? Ja something…Jacob! That's it! His name is Jacob,' I thought with satisfaction. I spent the rest of math class thinking about Jason and pondering whether he even knew I existed. Probably not.

Math class ended and I slowly packed up my books, making my way out of class last, as usual. Once out of the classroom, I pushed and shoved the way down to my locker. Once I got there, I saw a swarm of the popular crowd hanging around near my locker and rolled my eyes. Why do they always end up talking right in front of my locker?? I shuffled through the group, meekly uttering an "excuse me" here and a "pardon me" there and a few "I'm sorry"s for jostling people. Eventually I made it to my locker and heaved a sigh of relief. Public schools are so crowded; it's like a war trying to get anywhere. After putting my books away, I slammed my locker shut and looked for my friends to walk to lunch with. I turned around and BAM, I bumped into somebody. I let out a startled exclamation, but stayed on my feet. I had gotten used to bumping into people by then since it happened so often. I looked up and found myself staring at Jacob. My eyes widened and then I looked away, trying desperately to hide the flush creeping up my cheeks. "Sorry," he said.

"Oh, no, it was my fault! I wasn't paying attention. I'm so sorry," I said frantically, growing more flustered by the second.

He smiled, replying "Er… that's alright. No harm done." Then he wandered off and was immediately surrounded by a hungry pack of girls.

I watched him go, muttering sarcastically to myself, "That went real well." I saw my best friend just coming down from class and went over to her. "Ready for lunch?"

She looked at me and smiled. "Yeah, let's go."

As soon as we entered the cafeteria, I looked around and immediately spotted Jacob. We passed his table on the way to the lunch line and my friend said hi to him. He returned the greeting and then went back to ignoring us. Throughout lunch, I kept glancing at him involuntarily. 'This is stupid,' I thought to myself. 'I need to stop. Now.' But it was no use.

After school, my friend went to play practice and I decided to watch. Since I used to walk home in middle school, I usually hung around with my friends for an hour or so after school just to keep them company until their parents came to pick them up. I entered the drama room and there he was. I watched out of the corner of my eye the whole time while he sang and acted and flirted with a few of the girls. 'He's a flirt' I told myself. 'I know he's a flirt—everyone knows that. He gets a new girlfriend every week and he's only a middle-schooler. So why can't I just come to my senses?' I sighed unhappily and waited for my friend to finish.

She walked over to me at the end of practice, grinning eagerly. "Hey, can I ask you something?" I said suddenly. She smiled and said sure. "Do you like anyone?"

She seemed surprised for a second and looked away, shifting uneasily. I grinned. "You do, don't you," I said, nudging her with my elbow. "Come on, fess up!"

She hesitated and glanced over my shoulder. I turned to see what she was looking at and felt my stomach sink. She was looking at Jacob. "You like Jacob," I said flatly.

"Well yeah…kind of…but you can't tell anyone," she said, pleading me silently with her eyes.

I smiled half-heartedly. "You know you can trust me."

She looked slightly relieved and nodded. "I know. How about you, do you like anyone? Come on, tell!"

I snorted and raised an eyebrow. "You do realize who you're talking to, right?"

She laughed. "It's not so impossible for you to like someone!" She opened her mouth to continue, but the drama teacher called her over.

As she turned away, I mumbled weakly, "no, I don't suppose it's so impossible." I took one last look at Jacob, who was talking with my friend. I smiled sadly and walked away.