My boyfriend is making out with a geek suffering from identity crisis. God help me.
My name is Jacqui, full name Jacqueline Hart. I used to spell it Jackie until middle school, but before high school began I decided I was too mature for such a common spelling as Jackie and replaced the kie with a qui. Well whaddya know? It made me popular. I really have no idea how. It just sort of… happened. That's beside the point.
Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a terrible person nor am I dumb. People just assume these things because I don't tolerate stupidity, I'm cheer captain, and I'm pretty. So maybe I need to work on tact a little, but again, beside the point.
My boyfriend is Matt, full name Matthew Logan. He is the most naïve, innocent, nicest guy you would ever meet. He's smart, kind, considerate, pretty much the ideal guy. He's also the captain of the football team. I met him freshman year and back then, I was new to the popular game. I was still surprised when people I had never met before knew my name. Back then, I was merely an eager freshman trying out for (and getting into) varsity cheerleading. Back then, he was performing miracles as a wide receiver in junior varsity football. I thought he was cute. Our friends introduced us and we started going out from that point on.
It doesn't sound romantic, I know, but it seemed fantastic at the time especially to a newly christened popular girl like me. Decent grades, newly acquired drivers' permit (with promise of a car upon turning 16), lots of new friends, and a cute boyfriend to boot? Life couldn't get any better.
Matt's the first and only boyfriend I've ever had. He's sensitive, calls frequently but not too often, buys me gifts during holidays (and sometimes just to surprise me), and he's a great kisser. I honestly don't know what he expects out of our relationship. We've never exchanged "I love you"s. Through some unspoken agreement, we established that those were really heavy words to be throwing around randomly so we've never spoken them to each other. At the time, I could safely say that I cared for him and he was important in my life. I felt a lot of affection toward him and he became integral to my happy moods. I know there are all these rumors floating around about how I mess around with other guys behind his back and how I'm off with different guys when he's away at football seasoning workouts. Seriously? I just like guys. I like to spend time with them. I've never ever cheated on Matt, not physically, not emotionally, never. My best friend Chip can definitely vouch for me on this matter. There was a period of time sophomore year when I thought I was developing feelings for Chip considering he was hot, athletic (he's on the football team with Matt), and mostly nice. Later, we realized we were just kindred spirits. I just… enjoy spending time with guys. They get me. Or at least I thought they did.
UNTIL MY IDIOTIC BOYFRIEND STARTED MAKING EYES AT THE "SECRETLY PRETTY AND SHOULD BE POPULAR BUT ISN'T" GEEK.
Whoops. Sorry. Too big of a jump. Sometimes my emotions get a hold of me. See? I have feelings, too!
This geek… okay, she's not a geek. I mean, yeah, she's a geek by high school definition, but she's not terrible-looking and I'm pretty sure she practices good hygiene. I swear she's going to make valedictorian by the end of the year if she doesn't get too caught up in band. Anyway, Annabella (the geek) lives next door to Matt. In fact, their bedroom windows are right across from each other. When I discovered this, I became scandalized on Matt's behalf. What if she was a creepy voyeur and liked watching him naked?! That was a right that was reserved for me! Hello, I am his girlfriend. I have a right to be territorial over who gets to see his naked body.
So I approached him about it and suggested, "Hey, blinds would be a good idea for this window, so you don't have to deal with unwanted light if you wanted to nap or something." He agreed and put blinds up. I thought that was the end of it.
Not. Even. Close.
Apparently ever since she moved here in middle school, she had been harboring this deep, deep, deep love for Matt through their minor interactions as neighbors and riding the school bus together in the mornings. Matt always complained about how the school bus reeked like last year's garbage and the bus lady was always sobbing into her phone about her most recent breakup. I, being the wonderful girlfriend I thought I was being, offered to drive him to school as soon as I was able to drive on my own.
It turns out that as a result of this, he had more time to just relax in the morning as he waited for me to come get him. So he spent it talking to her at the bus stop, which was a few feet away from his house. And every time I'd be talking on the phone with him? He'd be writing her messages on a notepad and communicating with her through their windows.
Needless to say, Annabella's friends weren't so silent about Matt and Annabella's interactions. I caught wind of it and confronted Matt immediately. I still remember furiously pressing his number on my cell phone to call him and pacing restlessly around my room. He picked up, somewhat tired. I felt a brief flash of guilt that I had woken him, but I buried it and spoke.
"Hey Matt," I said tersely in the phone.
He seemed reluctant to speak with me. "Jacqui. What's up? Isn't it a little late?"
I hesitated. Maybe I shouldn't do this now. After all, he's probably tired. I heard they had a hard practice today. No. I had to get this out of my system. "Matt, are you emotionally cheating on me with your next door neighbor?" I blurted out.
"What?!" Matt exclaimed, seeming much more awake than earlier. "No! Why would you think that?"
I immediately felt the guilt rush back up at me. I really thought I had figured out how to do this girlfriend thing. "It's just that Stacy – you know, my lab partner and I guess she's Annabella's friend – she told me that you had been spending a lot of time talking to Annabella recently and I—"
"What!" repeated Matt incredulously. "Jacqui, you know I'd never knowingly cheat on you. I'm not that kind of guy. Plus, after the last report cards were sent out, Stacy found out she was number 2 behind Annabella and she went crazy about it. I wouldn't be surprised if she's trying to sabotage Annabella."
A wave of relief rushed over me and I halted my movements back and forth. I did remember Stacy publicly freaking out during lunch and nearly strangling Annabella last week, but I never bothered to find out why. "You're right. I'm sorry," I softly said. "I just – you know, I'm still trying to figure out this whole 'how-to-be-girlfriend' thing and…"
"It's all good," Matt reassured me, his tone considerably lighter than before. "You've had three years of practice, but hey! Maybe you can buy the Relationships for Dummies book. May help you out or something."
Well… shit. That hurt more than I thought it would.
"Matt, that is the stupidest thing you could've said right now," I snapped, still a little tense from our earlier conversation. "I'm really trying and I don't need this from you."
"I was just kidding!" said Matt defensively. I could hear him moving in the background. I heard the faint squeak of a marker on paper and the hurt intensified. Was he really writing to her in the middle of our conversation?
"Obviously I don't get your humor, then," I retorted bitingly. "Goodnight." I hung up before he could say another word. Then, cursed myself. He had a game tomorrow! It was our night-before-game ritual for me to urge him to talk about his football frustrations while I listen and pretend to know what he's talking about. The few times I've skipped out on those, he either performed badly or got injured.
I resumed my pacing. I don't know if I could forgive myself if he got injured or didn't perform because of me. Wait. "What are you thinking?" I said out loud. He wouldn't perform any better or worse because of me. Let him seek comfort from Annabella if he needs it. Jacqui's House of Comfort is closed for the night.
The next day, I drove to go pick him up as we had agreed to arrive at the game together, since I had to be there early for cheer and he for football. Surprise, surprise. I drove up to our typical pick-up spot and there he is, just chilling on a bench with little blonde Annabella. I honked to get his attention away from her. He didn't even look the slightest bit remorseful. He just jumped in like he usually did. For some reason, I felt remarkably territorial, so I forcibly grabbed his face for a kiss. Mid-kiss, I snuck a peek at Annabella to see her reaction. Utter devastation.
Yes, dear, I thought vindictively, that's what you get when you covet another girl's man. I leaned back in my seat, smirking in female satisfaction as I drove off.
At the football game, I watched as my boyfriend caught the winning touchdown in the last few seconds of the game. His team rushed the field and put him and Chip (the quarterback who threw him the winning pass) on their shoulders. I, for one, cheered like crazy with the other girls on the squad and everyone else in the bleachers. What else am I supposed to do, not cheer and just stare? No, that's for emo kids and I'm way past that stage in my development, thanks. I jumped up and down, continuing to cheer for our win. What can I say? I get wrapped up in school spirit sometimes. I'm so proud of Matt for pulling himself together for the win. The game was rough early in the first half but Matt and Chip connected throughout the fourth quarter to pull out a win. I was so excited for both of them. I called out Matt's name multiple times over the cacophony of noise and smiled winningly. The smile slipped off my face when I realized his eyes were trained on the bleachers where the band was – where Annabella was.
Suffice it to say, I was not amused.
Chip, having escaped the crowd of his own teammates, approached me with a grin. I returned it half-heartedly.
"Check you out, you star quarterback you," I teased, prodding him gently on his shoulder.
"Yeah, yeah, come on and hug me," said Chip, opening his arms wide with a smile. I stepped into his arms willingly, giving him a firm hug.
"I'm really proud of you, boo," I said into his ear. I had seen his expression at halftime and knew how much he stressed about this game. He'd been having problems with his shoulder and his throws weren't coming off quite right.
"Thanks, Jacqui," he replied. He loosened his hug, but kept his arms around me. Chip inspected my face. I hoped I could hide the disappointment from my expression. "Are you okay?" No. I'm not okay. My boyfriend is eyeing another girl.
"Yeah, I'm all good." I pretended to brush the entire manner off with a laugh. "Happy y'all won, y'know?"
"Jacqui!" I tensed and turned within Chip's embrace. Chip being around was the only thing that was keeping me from bursting into pathetic tears. I didn't want to lose his protection quite yet. I scanned the crowd for the source of the voice and spotted Matt in the crowd coming in our direction. He was beaming with joy. Matt's eyes scanned our embrace and I knew what his mind jumped to.
"Jacqui, what is this?" Matt inquired, hurt replacing the joy on his face. "What's going on?"
Before Chip could say anything, I jumped in, "Matt, I don't know if I can handle it when you're emotionally cheating on me. I would've taken you screwing another girl so much easier than you being freaking in love with another girl." I stepped out of Chip's embrace and into Matt's face. "If you're not with me, then you're not with me. Fine. I get it. Whatever. Just don't try and act like it's not there if it is there."
Matt rubbed a hand across his face in frustration. "God, Jacqui! This is ridiculous. I… you're fucking ruining my night. Thanks. Really, thanks." He threw his helmet to the ground and jogged off. Again, I felt that sharp stab of guilt, hurt, and confusion. Now what? I turned around to find Chip gone. He must have inched away when I started speaking.
I heaved a sigh and scanned the crowd absent-mindedly. My eyes zeroed in on Annabella, peering after Matt. I stared at her until she met my eyes and gave her a death glare. You're ruining my life, I tried to convey to her. You're ruining my relationship. Is this what you wanted?
Relations between me and Matt were icy for the next week, which posed a problem for me. Winter Formal was coming up. Technically, Matt and I never broke up despite our fight at the football game the previous week. We had been planning to go to Winter Formal together, but I didn't know whether our plans were null because of our fight. I didn't know whether to apologize to him or break up with him. The former ignited the self-righteous being in me that cried out: This isn't your fault! Why are you apologizing? However, thinking about the latter prospect brought out a terrible twinge that I could not identify. Finally, I tracked him down as he was heading off to practice and broke down apologizing. I couldn't deal with not having him in my life like this.
His eyes softened when I finished explaining about mine and Chip's kindred spirits and he pressed a soft kiss to my forehead with a smile. "Jacqui, shouldn't you be shopping now?" he said with a smirk. "Winter Formal's this weekend."
"Are you kidding?" I scoffed. "I already have everything laid out. I'm wearing red, by the way."
"Sounds good. I'll figure something out." Matt smiled, pecked me on the lips and jogged off to practice. I couldn't help but smile after him. We were good. Life was good.
Until he kissed Annabella at Winter Formal.
We arrived at Winter Formal all dressed up and ready to dance the night away. I had heard that Annabella wasn't planning on coming to Winter Formal and I inwardly danced with glee. A night with lots of dancing and without drama. Just what our relationship needed to mend itself again. After having spent a solid hour dancing and laughing, I broke away from Matt to go talk to my neglected friends.
Worst. Decision. Ever.
She waltzed into the room, dressed like some sort of modern Cinderella and immediately his attention was riveted. He began to move in her direction as if in some sort of trance. I didn't know whether to be angry or desperately and pathetically sad. I chose a simmering anger. After all, he could look all he wants but as long as he—
And there's the kiss. Cheating complete.
For one chilling second, I feel the same utter devastation that Annabella must have felt when I kissed Matt in the car for show. Then, a dawning horror comes upon me. I am in love with Matt Logan. I am in love with my boyfriend. This is what crooners and rappers alike overjoyed in – this feeling of utter helplessness to the dependence on the existence and the happiness of one person. This feeling of complete joy and despair rolled onto one complicated emotion. Love.
Shit. Shit, shit, double shit, fuck, damn, shit, fucking A why don't I know any more profanity other than the basics? Damn it all to fucking hell, I am in love with my boyfriend.
Hot anger and humiliation shoots through me the next second as they continue to kiss. I had half a mind to yell and scream at him but instead I whirl away to make my dramatic exit. As I make my way through the murmuring crowd, I take a backward glance to see if Matt had noticed that I had left. Nope. Not one movement from him.
My boyfriend, if you can still call him that, is starry-eyed for another person. And the revelation that I'm in love with him comes upon me.
I settle for finding a private corner outside the gymnasium where our Winter Formal was held to make a temporary home for myself. I refuse to do the cliché and cry in the bathroom. Plus, the bathrooms are disgusting. I slide down the wall and press the palms of my hands to my eyes. I feel a wetness beneath my hands and pull them away quickly. God, are those tears? I'm actually crying over someone? Someone I am hopelessly in love with?
The thought washes over me and a new wave of tears bursts forth. What have I done with myself? I'm a sobbing, crying, eyeliner-running-down-my-face mess over a boy who I realize I'm in love with the same moment he decides to lock lips with someone else.
Hello, masochism, my name is Jacqueline Hart.
I look up, surprised by the sound of a voice entering my supposedly private corner. No one else seems to be around. It comes upon me that the sound came from my own throat. No.
I refuse to be the girl who cries after her boyfriend leaves her. No. I am the girl who goes and confronts said boyfriend and either breaks up with him and moves on… or gets dumped and moves on. Either way, I move on. I march into the bathroom to fix my makeup. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this looking good.
After sufficient primping, I heave a preparatory sigh and stroll into the gym. Immediately, I am hit with the stench of sweat and the overwhelming collective body heat. I brave through this and begin weaving through the crowd to find Matt. I find him, sitting with Annabella, having a conversation. In my haze of self-righteousness, I cannot tell what their expressions are or what they're even talking about.
I ball my fists held at my sides and prepare for the worst. "Matt, I need to talk to you," I declare in what I hope was a firm, no nonsense tone. He raises his eyes to meet mine and I am momentarily weakened by the effect the blueness of them have on me. "Now," I add, somewhat unnecessarily. Anything to maintain my resolve.
He acquiesces with a nod and stands up. Annabella, the stupid homewrecking ho who wasn't even supposed to be here in the first place, reaches after him in a pathetic way. I spare no sympathy for her. Hello? Stupid homewrecking ho, remember? He pays her no mind and leads me out of the gym toward the parking lot. All the better. It means I can yell, scream, and cry without having witnesses.
His gait is casual to the passive observer. My stride, in contrast, is shaky and struggling to keep up with his. One can only walk for so long with heels on. I am so focused on maintaining my balance that I don't realize we've stopped until I run into the side of my own car. I am jolted out of my reverie and prepare myself for battle. This is it.
"Matt—" We both began at the same time. An awkward pause occurred. He motioned for me to go ahead.
Earlier while sitting on the tiles of the school, I had hastily planned an entire speech that I would give to him about how it's not fair to me that he decided to cheat on me and how he's a selfish jerk and insert numerous profanity in between. All of those words escaped me now that it was just him, me, and the night sky.
Finally, I found some suitable words. "What the hell, Matt?" I blurt out. "If you wanted to break up with me, the least you could do was talk to me about it rather than slobbering over some other girl." Not quite as eloquent or as profane as I had originally planned. But it will do.
Matt shakes his head. I resist the urge to run my hands through his hair. "It's not like that all," he begins.
"Well tell me what it's like, because that's sure what it seemed like from my point of view," I cut in angrily. He glares.
"Shut up, Jacqui. Just… stop." He runs a hand across his face. I hate it when he does that. It kills me to see him so messed up. God, I should not be feeling like this right now… "Just stop and let me explain." He hesitates, obviously expecting another outburst from me. Well he sure ain't getting' it. I motion for him to continue, but my eyes drop to the ground.
"You're the first serious girlfriend I'd ever had, Jacqui. You know this." I did in fact know this. Matt had apparently been a scrawny boy in middle school with issues coming out of his shell. Go on, say it, I egged him in my thoughts. Say that you wanted a change of scenery. Just say it. "I wanted to know that what was between us was real, so I figured if I tried something with someone else, it shouldn't work." And there you go, breaking my heart again. Thank you, Matt Logan. Truly appreciate it. Into the heart the knife goes.
He begins pacing, two steps in one direction, two steps in the opposite, a slow, jerky pace. "What I had with Annabella… I didn't realize that two people could be so alike. She gets my humor. She really does. And she seemed right for me." And stab heart repeatedly with knife. Take caution to apply as much pain as necessary, Matt. "Then I realized that what Annabella and I had was what you and Chip had. How'd you describe it? We were… kindred spirits." My eyes rise to follow his eyes, follow his movements.
"Being around her just showed me how wrong we were for each other in a relationship. It made me think of how you and I are. I mean, who else would pretend to show interest in football for hours on end for me? Who else wouldn't get half of my jokes and try to at least smile at the other half?" At this, he laughed to himself and shook his head once again. "Who else cares about me that much but you?"
He stops pacing. I stand still with bated breath. "The truth is…" His eyes meet my own, gazing intently at something I couldn't see. Whatever he is looking for, he finds it, for his expression gentles into a slight smile. Matt reaches to my sides where my hands are and folds them carefully within his own hands. A faint and unenthusiastic protest sounds in the back of my head, but I ignore it. My hands are no longer under my control.
"The truth is, Jacqueline Hart, is that I really honestly love you."
For one cold second, I thought I was back inside the school, sitting outside the gym and this was all a fantasy I concocted in my head to console myself. However, that second passes and I blink numerous times. He is still there, holding my hands, and he has just told me he loves me.
No amount of cheer practice could prepare me for the amount of joy that spread within me, threatening to burst. The joy burst indeed in the form of tears.
Wait, tears?! Wrong, wrong, wrong! I'm happy!
"I'm happy!" I say out loud. Matt gazes at me with mild confusion. I compose myself. "I mean. I don't even know what I mean." So much for composure. "No! No! I do!" I let go of his hands and instead wrap my arms around his neck. I take off my heels – god, they've been hurting so much – and proceed to jump to wrap my legs around his waist. (I'm glad I chose the red dress with the large slit on the side, otherwise this would not be possible at all.) He is quick to recover and holds on to my waist to hold me steady. This is why I'm in love with him. Because he keeps me steady when I'm so imbalanced and out of control. Because he's the one to make me imbalanced and out of control.
"I love you too," I say within an inch of his lips. I smile as he closes the gap, taking my lips for his own.
My boyfriend, who is in love with me, is making out with me, his imbalanced, sometimes paranoid, often vulgar, clueless girlfriend. God must love me.
Author's Notes: I cranked this baby out in six hours flat. I'm a little in shock. I broke my (what seems like) decades-long writers' block!
This was heavily inspired by Taylor Swift's video for the song "You Belong With Me". I really enjoy the video, despite the fact that I don't generally listen to Taylor Swift. I'm assuming you're done with the story as you're reading this so I advise you to go watch the video for that song. You'll see where my inspiration came from easily. Haha.
This is unedited. It may be complete garbage and I wouldn't know a thing. I chose to write this instead of sleep. So I have to go do the sleep thing now…