Chapter Nineteen The Reasons We Hate Part Three

I'm Just Like You

Brian's Room 9:56 Tuesday

Brian laid his head down on his bed, his phone held in his hand as he stared at it as if it had done him wrong. He couldn't bring himself to call Kennan or Marj even though he knew he had to. Obviously Marj had overheard their supposedly private conversation, but then again, they were a little careless with their location. They had chosen to talk about their scheme in the middle of a crowded lunch room with a hundred other gossip-loving ears just searching for another piece of a scandal to pounce on. Wasn't the best choice, Brian had to admit. He was still pissed off at Marj though. How dare she stick her skinny little ass into his business? Brian Gabilo's business; no one messed with that. And then she insisted on coming along too? What would make her think they'd say yes to her anyway?

Brian groaned as he turned. He hated Marj as much as the next guy, but he couldn't bring himself to say all that to her. The old Brian, the one he used to be, wouldn't have hesitated. He would have called the bitch up and cursed her out if he felt so inclined. But the new Brian, the one that had taken over and the one he hated, would feel guilty if he did that. Yelling at a girl like that seemed so, wrong. He didn't know when he had made this drastic transformation from "Asshole Jock" to "Conscience Following Wuss", but he could probably guess the reason. It of course all went back to him and Lilian. It somehow always did. He had broken her heart, and the consequences were finally catching up with him. This pissed him off more.

He finally found the strength to dial Kennan's number, though cringing at the sound of the phone slowly ringing. He wanted to throw up.

"Hello?"

"It's Brian."

"Hey."

"We've got a problem."

"With what?"

"Your plan."

Kennan's breath was all that was heard and Brian nervously ran his hands through his short hair.

"What happened?"

"Marjorie overheard."

There was a pause again.

"Am I supposed to know who that is?"

Brian almost started to laugh, but then remembered the dire situation. "Yeah, she's that tall girl who hangs out with Heather all the time. The one who be spreading rumors behind people's backs."

"Yeah, yeah, I remember who she is. How'd she find out?"

"Ummm, well, we weren't exactly talking where no one could hear us."

"True, true."

"She texted me saying she wanted to come."

"What!"

"Yeah, I know."

"Well, what'd you say?"

"I didn't answer back."

"Smart move. We gotta talk to her tomorrow."

Brian nodded, then quickly added, "Yeah."

"All right. See ya then."

And Kennan hung up.

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Knoxville High Homeroom 8:00 Wednesday

Midge walked in just as the bell rang followed by her two loyal and constant cohorts, Smith and Ned. She strutted around the classroom to her seat and sat down heavily, making it a point to snap her gum extra loud. Everyone could tell something was on her mind.

"Gosh, Marj looks so ugly today," she muttered loud enough for her whole row to here. Luckily, Marj was safely sitting on the other side of the room and didn't notice a thing.

"Midge, that's not nice," Minnie whispered. She glanced over at Marj's figure. She too was chewing avidly on a stick of gum, and yes she wasn't the most to look at, but she wasn't ugly. "Maybe she just woke up late this morning."

"That is no excuse," Midge replied, examining her new manicure. "She could've atleast tried. I mean, comb your hair, brush your teeth, pluck your nose hair, something! Save us the torture of looking at you."

Minnie gasped. "Midge, stop it!"

Midge shrugged. "What's the big deal, anyway? I thought you hated her."

Minnie's eyes fell to her desk. It was an old one, scratched and carved on by numerous students over the years. A more recent inscription read something about a girl named Shelly Guff's hooha. Minnie frowned at it. "I don't hate her," she finally said, her finger tracing Shelly's name. She felt bad for poor Shelly. Some insensitive jerk had decided to tarnish her name on some desk any student would be able to sit in. It must've been embarrassing.

"Well," Midge started. "She hates you, so that's enough for me."

Minnie almost smiled. She knew it was Midge's way of saying she would stick up for her friends whenever she felt they were being threatened or hurt, but it still wasn't right. Minnie couldn't recall anything Marj had done to make her hate her. Well, apart from that disturbing message she left on her answering machine all those years ago, and she wasn't even bitter about that. No, it was definitely puzzling and losing a friend was sad, but it wasn't enough to cause her any fury or rage. To this day, she still had no idea why Marj had left that message. Every time she tried to go up to her ask her about it, Marj would find the quickest, and most ridiculous, excuse to be as far away from Minnie as she could possibly be. It was upsetting the first couple of times Marj had done it, Minnie would just watch as Marj would dart into the nearest classroom or bathroom whenever she came around, but eventually she got over it. She had acquired new friends and if Marj didn't feel like being one anymore, that was her problem. Actually, that was how Midge had put it to her, and since Minnie was already in a very vulnerable state, she believed it. It sounded right at the time.

Minnie sighed and decided to forget all those things and focus on today's announcements.

"The Women's Alumni Club is holding a basket sale in the gym tonight. Anyone wishing to acquire service hours can sign up at the front office bulletin board," the speaker announced.

Hmmm…that sounded like a good idea to her. Maybe a little volunteering would take her mind off things. She made a mental note to quickly scratch her name down before gym class.

Brian turned around in his seat, facing Marj's general direction. He caught Kennan's eye and gave him a slight nod, the signal.

"Hey, Marj," Brian greeted her as civilly as he could.

She was gobbling away at the piece of gum in her mouth, acting as if she hadn't eaten in days the way she was going at it. Her nose was dug deep into her notebook as her hand flew across the page, scribbling something or other.

Brian didn't receive a response back so he settled on trying again. "Um, so, I got that text from you the other day and—"

"Don't call me Marj," she snapped, not looking up from her paper.

Brian raised his eyes in puzzlement. What did she just say?

"Only my friends call me Marj," she continued. She laid down her pen neatly by her notebook, folded her hands, raised her face towards Brian's, and gave a small and conceited smirk. "And you aren't my friend."

This quick switch in behavior threw him off guard. Apparently Marj had grown a couple balls since the last time he had decided to piss her off.

"I'm sorry," Kennan cut in, his signature dimple studded smile showed that he was about to say something really sarcastic and rude, "did I hear you say friends? What? Does Heather count as more than one person now? Oh, or were you including your mommy in that group?"

Marj's mouth fell open. Kennan had said it this time.

"Kennan, what the hell!" Brian hissed, shoving him in the arm.

Kennan merely ignored this blow and rolled his eyes.

"Ignore him," Brian instructed Marj. "I'm not here to make fun of you. Just to talk."

"Oh, that's a change," Marj snorted, turning to face the wall.

Brian grinded his teeth together, trying to hold back the stream of retorts that were threatening to seep through his lips. "So, as I was saying, I got your text and I was wondering if you could clear it up for me."

"What's there to clear up?" she mumbled, still avoiding eye contact. "I want to go along with you guys."

"Yeah, but why?" Kennan asked in a whining tone.

"Because," Marj turned sharply, her voice rising, "Kennan, believe it or not, the three of us are more alike than you think."

Kennan snorted in disbelief. "You and me the same? Look, I didn't even know you existed until Brian here reminded me. You don't know anything about me."

"Oh, yeah?" Marj replied her voice even louder this time. Brian was beginning to get nervous. "I know that your mom didn't want you as a baby so left you on someone's doorstep. I know that you've been bumped from foster home to foster home, gettin' bitter and bitter every time you had to pack up again and leave. I know that Laura lady was the only person that ever really loved you and that she's the only fucking miracle in your gawd forsaken life and that you should be happy you even have her because you don't deserve her, you don't!" She stopped, breathing heavy. Brian thought she was finished, then out of nowhere she rounded on him. "I know that your mom's a druggie and an alcoholic who's been in and out of rehab and yet she still ain't gettin' any better. I know she comes over every once and awhile drunk saying she'll patch things up with you guys but it always ends up getting into this huge fight. I know that your dad loves you even though he doesn't show it all the time." Her voice faltered as tears began to fall from her eyes. "I'm like you because…because—"

"Wait," Brian broke in, holding up a firm hand to stop her emotional rant. "You don't have to tell us. You're coming. It's all right."

Marj's abrupt outburst had gotten the attention of most of the class and all eyes were staring at the strange trio. At Marj who looked absolutely wretched with tiny rivulets of tears running down her face and spoiling the small amount of make up she had on; at Kennan who was unusually quiet and evading everyone's gazes; and at Brian who was also breathing heavily, with his pursed lips and solemn expression. Naturally they were curious about what had just happened, but then the bell rang and the scene was over.

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A/N: Hey, guys, sorry for the couple month lapse between my update. School's caught up with me and had occupied most of my time. I think I've gotten myself into the writing groove once again, so I don't think you should worry too much about me. Reviews much appreciated. nudge Thanks again for all those who've read this far! Bravo to you!