Two figures stood opposite each other inside a circle of people. The circle stood in the middle of a school parking lot downtown. There was a silent tension in the air; the crowd waited with baited breath to hear who would start the fight they knew would soon ensue.
"I hate you!" The girl whispered after a while. "You've completely destroyed everything, Gabe!" The circle tightened around the arguing two figures, all the students wanting to watch the show. The wind whistled through the gathered crowd as they all waited for Gabe's reply.
"Me? I did this, huh?" Gabe gestured towards the girl's stomach, shaking his head, "Un-uh, last time I checked it takes two to tango, sweetheart." He swept his hair out of his eyes, and gave a sarcastic chuckle.
"Yes, you; it's all your fault, before you I was popular! I mean what's everyone gonna' say?" The girl insisted. Tears started to trail down her pale face. "What's my dad gonna' say?" She paused waiting to see if he'd answer, when he didn't she continued. "Why did you do this to me, Gabe?" Her voice had become weak; he could tell she wanted him to believe that she was on the verge of breaking-down for real. Gabel's eyes hardened; the normal soft, twinkling sky blue froze into hard, unforgiving sapphires. Whispers ran through the crowd like wild fire, all of them speculating at what she could mean.
"What does she mean 'what's everyone gonna say'?"
"Say about what?"
"What did he do to that poor girl?"
Gabe heard the whispers from the crowd like they were shouted.
"I didn't do anything to you, Resa! You helped get yourself knocked up same as I did!" There was a moment of utter and complete silence; then, the dam holding the noise back broke, where before they had whispered now they shouted. The noise was irrelevant to him though. All that mattered at that moment was standing in the middle of the circle with him. Resa and the unborn child were all that mattered.
"What should we do?" Resa's voice was soft and small. She seemed to transform in front of his eyes into the innocent and helpless (but self-centered and needy) girl he'd met and asked out months ago. Looking at her she seemed to become that girl again instead of the vindictive, bratty, 'perfect' girl he'd come to know. He remembered when they first met. His best friend, Merc had introduced them through a friend.
They were in a cozy, little diner called the "Road Runner". Gabe and Merc, and all their friends all loved the place and had started to frequent there as customers in their freshman year. It was where they hung out on Fridays when they didn't have dates. Oftentimes any steady girlfriends of members of the group came too.
The diner was currently a noisy place to be. Although most of the 60s diner style tables and booths were empty of patrons, the corner booth they almost always occupied was filled to the limit and several tables had been pulled over to accommodate even more people. A waitress dressed in straight, charcoal colored jeans and a blue short sleeved button up shirt with an apron thrown over the top came to take one of the table's orders.
A freshman with dusty red hair, hazel eyes and a loud mouth went first.
"I'll have a pound cheeseburger with an order of cheesy fries and a large coke." The waitress, Mary, his memory supplied, nodded and turned to the petite, shy girl with black hair and wide green eyes sitting next to the loud one.
Gabe stopped paying attention to the rest of the orders. He normally ordered last anyway, so it didn't matter. He turned to Merc's normal seat to his right, intending to make some comment or another, and was surprised to see that he wasn't sitting there yet. He could have sworn Merc had said to count him in for the Friday night ritual food. Obviously the other kids thought the same; if Merc wasn't going to be there he would have had someone else sitting to his right. Then he remembered, Merc had said that he was going to pick up a friend of his that wanted to come too. Gabe mentally shrugged Merc would be there when he got there.
He immersed himself in talking to a sophomore girl sitting on his other side. He remembered thinking that she was cute. After a while they had all ordered and the food was on its way. Finally Merc came strutting into the diner. He was closely followed by a tall lanky blond, whom Gabe assumed was Merc's friend.
The two wrestled through the crowded tables to get to the booth and sit down. Watching them, Gabe realized that there wasn't just one friend, but two. Coming in behind the tall blond a girl had been completely hidden from view. She had fiery red hair that swept back into a tight pony-tail. She was smiling, but the smile made her look nervous. Maybe it was the fact that the smile didn't quite touch the girl's shining green eyes.
"Hey," Merc said as they reached Gabel's table. "This is the friend I told you about at school, Prince," The blond guy inclined his head in greeting. "And this is his..." Merc paused. "Cousin?" Prince nodded in affirmation. "Resa."
Resa extended her hand to Gabe.
"Hi, nice to meet you." She said.
"This is my best bud, Gabe." Merc introduced. Gabe took her hand and they shook.
"Nice to meeting you too." Gabe exchanged pleasantries with her.
"I don't know." He finally answered Resa's question haltingly. His shoulders slumped, his head bowed marginally; to Resa he looked utterly defeated. "I just don't know anymore." He looked every bit the opposite of the guy she'd gone on her first date ever with. The Gabe she knew was confidant; he always knew the right thing to do; he cared about people; he cared about her.
Gabe was walking towards her. She and Prince were on their way out of the Road Runner; she stopped in her tracks. Resa turned around and started back towards their usual booth. Since they'd first shown up a few months back she and Prince had become almost permanent installments in the Friday tradition group.
"I'll catch up in a minute; I forgot something back at the booth." Resa waved Prince off when he started making noises about going to get it himself. "It cold outside, go warm up the car." Once Prince was safely outside Resa shifted her path so that it would carry her directly into Gabe's chosen path. He didn't hesitate. "Hey."
"Hey, yourself." He replied with perfect ease. Her eyes widen slightly. She would never get used to that. The way that he handled himself so easily no matter whose company he shared. She was so used to making boys tongue tied, it was almost refreshing. "Did you want something, or did you just hang back to enjoy the scenery?" Gabe queried. Resa smirked, perfect opening.
"I think a little of both." She raked her eyes over his body to make sure he got the double meaning to her words. It was his turn to smirk.
"I thought so." He jibbed. "So what is it that you wanted?" He sobered.
"I... I-" God, why was she so tongue tied? This never happened to her, never. She swallowed the lump in her throat and managed to assume what she hoped was an indifferent posture and tone of voice. "I was just wondering when you were going to ask me out." Resa said, suddenly the poster child for bored indifference.
"Right to the point aren't we?" He chided, his voice adopting a playful tone. Resa tensed, but didn't move a muscle. "Fine, if we're being sober and serious, then what makes you think that I want to go out with you?" Resa mentally sputtered not believing his words. Outwardly she was as cool as he was.
"Because," she grinned. "Who wouldn't want this?" she asked. One of Gabel's eyebrows shot up.
"And here I was thinking I could get you flushed easily." Gabe said. "Alright, you've got it your way. Give me your number. I'll pick you up on Friday at 6, dress nice."
Tears rained down her cheeks; she just wanted to talk to him, without all these people watching. He was doing good things for her, helping her become a better person, and she wanted to think that she was helping him too.
Gabe took her hand and tugged her gently towards the edge of the circle of bodies. He bent to whisper to her.
"We need to talk about this on our own, without the entirety of my school watching." Resa was afraid her voice wouldn't work so she just nodded her assent.
Gabe walked towards the wall of people with Resa in tow. They parted like he was Moses and they were the waters of the red sea. Gabe led Resa through the crowd and made a beeline for his car.
"What are we gonna' do?" Resa whispered.
"You keep asking that." he pointed out.
"Because I don't know," her answer was resigned.
"I told you…I don't know either."
They were at Gabe's car by now. It was a shabby pick-up truck, she didn't know the model, or year, or company; she wasn't good with cars. The paint was a bluish-purple and chipped. It looked affectionately well worn.
"Get-in." Resa did. He got in the driver's side. They sat there for a good 10 minutes before either of them could speak; when they could they spoke at the same time.
"I—No, you go ahead."
"Alright." He cast his eyes down, speaking without looking at her. "I…..I just wanted to let you know that…..that whatever you decide I'll support you." Gabe's face was a heavy red. "You know. Just, no matter what 'other people think' I'll help you 'kay?" A smile split Resa's face in half.
I wrote this for an English short story assignment and felt like posting it. Tell me what you think!