Jackson’s girlfriend was getting worse and worse each time we got together on the weekends. Couldn’t she understand we’d been best friends since third grade and I’d moved away?
She went to my school in San Myshuno, and I couldn’t stand her. She was a typical “mean girl”. Such a snob. And I was afraid her hanging with Winter when I was with Jackson had only made things worse since Winter had a load of cash to play with. Winter might be a little snooty, but she was never mean to anyone. At least that I’d seen. But not Celia. All those trips to the mall, upping her fashion cred had gone to her head.
I’d never talked to Celia at school though. I was not in her league to notice me. Whatever. I was only her boyfriend’s best friend. I’d been wanting to tell Jackson what type of person she really was, but figured it wouldn’t help. She had him by the balls.
As Jackson’s phone buzzed for the thirtieth time since we started watching the movie, I couldn’t take it any longer. “Dude. Can’t she stop for two freaking hours?”
“Just ignore it, man. I am.”
But that only made it worse. She didn’t stop the texts until he answered. “Great,” he said, looking at his phone. “Now she’s pissed at me.”
“You’re the one who should be pissed,” I countered. “Turn the fucking thing off. You shouldn’t let her get away with that. If Eskandar ever did something like that, he’d hear about it.”
Jackson just went out of earshot and talked to her.
He missed the movie. I was furious.
When he got back, the credits were rolling and I was on the floor so mad I could spit fire. Jackson tried to clown around but I was in no mood.
“Stop, Jackson. I can’t stay any longer anyway. My dad called and we’re supposed to go to my grandmother’s tonight.”
“Alright, dude. Hey, I’m sorry she’s being so needy. I’ll make it up to you next time.”
But I knew she wouldn’t stop interfering. Why couldn’t Jackson see how she manipulated him to not spend time with me?
When I spoke with Eskandar about it, he said she probably felt left out and that we should double date the following weekend. I talked to Jackson about it, and he was totally stoked about the idea. Winter told me we should go to the Romance Festival. She thought Eskandar would love it since he was so into gardening. (I was glad she didn’t know what TYPE of gardening). Yeah. Eskandar didn’t run with the cleanest of crowds at school, but I was working on him. He didn’t do that shit when he was with me.
When we got to the festival, things weren’t happy on the goodship Jacklia. Eskandar whispered, “Uh oh. How could Celia not know about us?”
I couldn’t help overhearing Celia going ballistic on Jackson.
“What the hell?” Jackson said. “Why does it matter, Celia? So, Ro’s gay. That shouldn’t make the major news.”
“Whatever, Jackson. I get it now. You didn’t want me to know since you know I wouldn’t like you spending all that time with him.”
When I heard my name, I turned around, glaring at that bitch.
“We’ve been best friends since like forever. It shouldn’t matter to you. I’m not gay.”
She shook her head, crossing her arms. “Okay, so would you like me to spend every weekend with someone like...I don’t know...Manu?”
Suddenly, Eskandar’s lilting English accent broke through my anger. “Hey, handsome. Let’s leave your mate to his girl, eh? I think they need their privacy, and I thought I saw a nice alcove we could spend a little time in.”
He took my hand and pulled me away. It was all I could do not to say anything to that screaming nutcase Celia. Eskandar smiled at me encouragingly. He was such a great boyfriend. I was so happy I’d found him. He’d grown up mostly in boarding schools in the UK until he decided he wanted to live in the big city in San Myshuno. His dad was a Sheikh, basically wealthier than even Jackson’s father, Knight, when he was a billionaire. But you’d never know it by how he acted.
When we arrived at a wishing well, he said, “Now this is a bit quieter?” He pulled me close to him.
Smiling, I said, softly, “Yeah.”
Totally forgetting that my best friend was having a major meltdown with his girlfriend, I got lost in Eskandar’s warm soft kisses.
I had no clue what had happened to my once totally awesome girlfriend. It was like she suddenly got possessed by a mob of demons. For a month, we had a perfect relationship, and I couldn’t have been happier, then all of a sudden, she got very possessive and needy. I thought it had been a phase, but it was only getting worse and nothing I did or said seemed to make her happy except when I wasn’t spending time with Ro.
And now, she was tearing into me because I didn’t tell her he was gay.
Yeah, I admit it. I didn’t tell her on purpose. First of all, Ro made me swear not to tell anyone, and secondly, I knew since she’d been so weird about me spending so much time with him, it would only make her worry.
I was right about that.
But I never dreamed when she did find out, she’d go ape shit crazy on me.
I crossed my arms, so angry, I was seething. “Manu? What about him? You went to the movies with him and Winter a few weeks ago. Do you like him or something?”
“No, I don’t like him. I’m just making a point that I don’t think you should be spending all your time with someone who is gay. It’d be like me spending time with a guy. You wouldn’t like it.”
“That’s not true. If you’d been friends with Manu for years, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But you haven’t. So yeah. It’d be a foul. You know, Celia, I’m tired of this shit. Maybe we need to take a break.”
Her eyes suddenly teared up and she looked down. “What are you trying to say? Are you breaking up with me?”
When she acted like that, she made my heart melt. I didn’t want to break up with her. I just wanted the old Celia back.
Taking her by the hand, I said, “No...I don’t want to break up. Let’s just go find Ro, okay, and stop talking about this.”
“Okay,” she said, weakly.
I had to try to calm down. I was in no mood to be romantic with her at this romance festival. Everything looked so cool, but I couldn’t enjoy it.
Celia wanted to stop and be together, but I didn’t feel like it. I only ignored what she said and pulled her along.
Then we broke in on Ro and Eskandar making out. At least they were having fun.
Celia jerked her hand from my grasp. “See? That’s what we should be doing, but you don’t want to. Why do you treat me like this, Jackson?”
“Celia, I don’t know what you expect me to do. I’m mad. I can’t just shut it off.”
I was having such a great time, enjoying my boyfriend when he pulled back and said, “Don’t look now, but I believe the fight has come to us.”
Glancing over his shoulder, I saw Celia and my poor bro duking it out. “Yeah,” I said, sighing. “This sucks.”
Celia huffed, “Why the hell are we here at a romance festival then, Jackson? Just so you can watch Ro?”
Jackson shook his head. “You are frickin’ crazy. Let’s just go. I’m tired of this crap.”
Then Celia stomped her feet like a toddler. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!”
“My God,” Eskandar whispered in my ear. “The girl is totally mental.”
I couldn’t stay silent any longer. “Don’t give in to her, Jackson. She’s a freaking witch. Even at school she acts like a brat.”
But Jackson still wouldn’t listen. I was speechless.
He pleaded like a wuss. “Listen, let’s grab a bite to eat and maybe I’ll feel better and we can salvage the day.”
“I won’t feel better until you apologize for lying to me,” she spat.
Eskandar pulled me away. “Come on, Ro. You can’t help them. Let’s look at the fireworks boxes. Should be a smashing show later.”
“Yeah...okay,” I said, but I kept one ear on them, ready to battle if Jackson needed it.