Every lunch I tried breaking up with him and every time he would tell me that if we broke up he would tell everyone what I did. Who would want to be with me? He had used me, no one would want to be with me. I had deformed myself on top of that. I was too much to handle and he was the only person who would put up with me.
It made sense. I didn’t want to be with him, but no one else would want me. I was dirty, I was depressed, I didn’t even have social skills anymore. I only talked to Jed. So every time the conversation ended with us together but him warning me that he was running out of patience with me.
Running out of patience with me sounded ok to me, I just had to make him run out of patience and leave.
I don’t know where I got the courage, but I started talking to people. I talked to them during class and when Jed would walk me to class, I would still say hi to other people and sometimes my friends would walk with me. He would grab and squeeze my wrists, and it didn’t matter, it only encouraged me. He was causing the physical pain that unleashed emotional strength.
I was walking to the locker room one day before softball practice to go change, when my friend, Derek, who we all suspected was closeted about his sexuality, came up behind me and slapped my ass. “Nice butt you’ve got!” He said as he walked away.
I was high on the compliment and the friendship. When Jed, obviously, stopped me on my way to the field. I laughed and told him what Derek did. I loved it. I felt proud of my body and like I had a friend. I didn’t think he would think anything of it.
The next day at school, I was called to the principal’s office. I was extremely confused. I never did anything wrong, but being called to the principal’s office was never a good thing. I walked into the room and say a long brown table that could seat 20 easily. I was told to sit on the left side and I was facing the principal, assistant principal, school counselor, basketball coach, and school police officer. This was not good and I had no idea why.
“I’m sure you heard what happened.” The principal started.
“No,” I said meekly.
“What about Derek?”
“Did he smack your ass yesterday?” The counselor piped up.
“Oh, yes, but it was all in fun. He was making a joke I said.” I thought they must be here about him slapping my butt, this would be over in a moment. It wasn’t a big deal.
That’s when the basketball coach spoke up. “So, you admit he did spank you and you went and complained to Jed.”
“No, he did but I just told Jed what happened because it was funny.”
“No,” he said sternly as he leaned forward on the table getting closer to me. “You told Jed and asked him to tell Derek off. You were mad and told him that Derek assaulted you. Didn’t you.”
“No.” I said flatly. “What is going on?”
“This morning Jed, Andre, and Josh all went up to Derek and started making fun of him for his sexuality. They pushed him in the lockers and called him a fag.” The counselor finally began filling me in on why I was in the room.
“What?!” Is he ok?” I asked.
“You don’t care if he is ok or not.”The coach was very adamant.
“No, he is my friend. I like Derek. I would never…”
“You told Jed what to do.” said the coach.
“No, I didn’t. I wouldn’t do that.” I was shocked and stunned and needed to see Derek. Was he ok?
“It seems like she didn’t know anything about this,” the counselor said to the rest of the table.
“No, absolutely not!” I said.
“I think it’s obvious that she was the ring leader. A young girl has all the power over teenage boys and these boys are my players. They wouldn’t do anything like this without someone telling them to,” the coach, a big house of a man, said back.
“I didn’t say anything. Is Derek ok?”
“Tori, you are not allowed to go near Derek.” suddenly the school police officer had a voice.
“I have to see him. He has to know that I didn’t do this.” I was finally making friends, they couldn’t take them away from me for something I didn’t do.
“Fine, you can apologize and if he is ok with you being around him, then that’s between you two.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Can I go?”
“Yes,” the principal said. “It’s obvious you weren’t involved in this.”
The brick spoke up. “So my players are suspended from playing and she gets to go? They said they did it because of her.”
“You may go, Tori,” said the counselor.
I got up and left. Ring Leader? Like I could have any control over Jed or his basketball friends. Why would anyone think they would ever listen to me.
I went to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall and cried. What just happened? I was shocked. I had to find Derek and talk to him.
It was lunch time and I saw Derek sitting with a group of his friends. My eyes were swollen from crying as I approached him.
“Derek, can we talk?”
He turned and looked at me.
“Sure.” He said. He wasn’t as happy or friendly as he normally was.
We walked over to a couple of stairs that were separated from the rest of the students on break. We sat down and I started sobbing.
“Derek, I’m so sorry. I-I-I-I had no idea. I’m so so sorry. I would never,” I couldn’t get the rest of the words out. I was sobbing.
“I never thought you had anything to do with it, Tori.”
“I’m so sorry, can we still be friends?”
“I don’t think I can be friends with you if you are with Jed. I don’t want to be near him.”
“I don’t either.” I whispered thinking he wouldn’t hear me.
“Then just break up with him. He is awful. I’m going back to my friends, but we are ok.” He hugged me and left me sitting on the steps.
Just break up with him. If only he knew how not possible that was.