1. One Day
Lunch is just about to come to an end when some girl slowly approaches our table, though more in particular she approaches me. I can feel her standing there, nervously playing with her fingers and waiting for me to glance up at her.
She clears her throat. "Um, R-Romeo?"
I already know where this is going. When I say nothing, she tries again.
"Excuse me, Romeo?"
Sergio finally stops babbling to the group and nudges me, annoyed. Take care of this already, bro. His eyes communicate.
I sigh and look up at the girl. Not much to look up at. She's short, small, probably a sophomore. She's not that bad looking, but not my type.
I raise an eyebrow at her when she doesn't immediately speak.
"I-I was wondering if maybe you would like to go see a movie with me this weekend?" Her voice starts out soft but gains confidence as she finishes, looking down at me with hope in her eyes.
There is only one answer that comes to mind and everyone at the table already knows it. I don't prolong it.
"Oh." She looks disappointed. "Maybe another-,"
"No," I turn back to my food.
I can feel Jessica glaring at me. I ignore her. A few seconds tick by and then I hear a sniff and footsteps walking away.
"And another one fails to tame the resident bad boy." Sergio and Nathan share a laugh while Gabe shakes his head. Jessica continues to glare at me. Sergio is just about to get back into his story when Jessica interrupts him.
"Would it hurt you to just...care a little?" She is staring at me. More like glaring actually.
Here we go again. I can't help but think.
"And why exactly should I care?" I answer, staring back.
"Are you serious, Ro?"
"Not my problem if a bunch of shallow girls have silly crushes on me." I never show interest in any of them. They just come up to me and expect me to accept their date offers. Unfortunately for them, I'm not the bad boy, womanizer or fantasy guy they want me to be.
"Still, you don't have to be rude to them." Jessica tries to reason. I've heard enough of it.
"Why not? Am I supposed to act all understanding and flattered just to give them false hope? Fuck that. I'm not a fake and I'm not going to pretend like I care about any of them."
"I'm not talking about being fake." Jessica says. "I'm saying you can at least have some compassion, show a bit of human decency. You can let them down gently. Hopefully one day you'll understand."
"Yeah I hope so too cause it sure ain't gonna be today."
"God, you're so difficult."
"Always been this way, Jess. Still waiting for you to get used to it,"
She shakes her head and Gabe grabs her hand, soothing his over hers. I don't understand why she works herself up over this. The guys don't even care but ever since Jessica got together with Gabe about a year ago, she infiltrated her way into all of our lives and named herself our personal adviser, as if we asked for it.
I respect her. Gabe is crazy about her. She's cool, most of the time when she's not on my case. I don't mind her but can't say I care about her opinion that much.
"Finally! There she is ladies and gentlemen," Sergio's looking toward the entrance of the cafeteria as if in a trance. "The girl of my dreams."
We mirror his gaze and all watch as Yvonne Warner makes her way out of the cafeteria, laughing at an inside joke her friend walking next to her must have made.
Sergio puts his hand on his cheek and lets out a dreamy sigh as they disappear through the cafeteria doors. "One day, baby."
I can't help the roll of my eyes.
Yvonne Warner is what you would call a bombshell. She is drop dead gorgeous, model material and completely out of Sergio's league. He is convinced that they are meant to be.
"So when are you going to finally talk to her?" Jessica pops the question. Sergio's not known for being shy or reticent. In fact, he's the exact opposite with the act now and think later mentality. He's the known womanizer. You're lucky if you get him to shut his mouth for five minutes but for some reason, he has yet to approach his latest crush.
"Soon." He smiles mysteriously. "Just you wait."
"We have." Nathan throws out. "Two months to be exact."
"I'm just waiting for the perfect moment." He says. "I can't mess this one up."
"Knowing you, it's inevitable." Gabe says. "You're bound to fuck up so why not just get it over with?"
"Or is it that you're afraid of getting rejected?" Jessica wonders. We know it's the reason but we also know he's going to deny it.
Sergio scoffs. "Rejected? Me? Unheard of."
"Is she even off the market?" I ask a question of my own. Yvonne Warner never stays single for long.
"She has to be." Sergio says. "Haven't seen her with anyone lately. And even if she's not, it's no problem. Once she meets Sergio Moretti, she'll be smitten."
"Did he just say smitten?" Nathan leans close to me and asks. I nod in confirmation as the warning bell rings, signaling the end of our lunch hour.
"Well, I for one hope you do charm her soon, Sergio." Jessica speaks up as we start to gather our trash and head out of the lunch room. "Maybe Romeo will learn a thing or two from you."
"Unlikely." I smirk.
"One day, Romeo. One day."
Sergio decides that the perfect opportunity presents itself the following day when we come across Yvonne Warner in the hallway after school. She's with her best friend, the same one from the cafeteria, by a locker and Sergio has us all standing there and waiting for him to finally grow the balls to approach her. It's been five minutes already. The hallways are clearing out.
"At this rate, I bet she probably already suspects something." Nathan points out.
He's right. People are passing by gawking at us. The five of us standing there down the hall and looking in their direction every few seconds makes it pretty obvious that something is going on.
Sergio runs his fingers through his hair. "Alright. I'm gonna do this." He says but doesn't move. "Wish me luck boys."
"Go get her."
"Stay strong, man."
"Don't barf." We each throw in our own words of encouragement, pushing him in her direction.
It's Jessica's words that finally get him moving on his own. "Just be nice to her, that goes a long way."
Sergio takes a breath and finally makes his way toward Yvonne, muttering under his breath. "Be nice. I can do that."
I can't help but be amused as we all watch him slowly reach her and try to get her attention. We can't hear anything but he says something that grabs her attention and the both of them turn to face him.
"Look at our boy. He's finally doing it." Nathan gushes looking like a proud parent.
"100 bucks says he's gonna flop." Gabe starts but quickly gets shut down.
"No bets." Jessica commands like the matriarch she is. "Not on this one. This isn't like any other time."
And we all know it. Sergio has never had a problem talking to girls before. He flirts and dates around shamelessly but with Yvette, it's different. He knows it and he's putting much more effort than ever before. He's doing the opposite of his usual approach; actually thinking before acting.
A few seconds passes by and then the friend walks a few feet away from them, giving Yvonne and Sergio some privacy. Sergio is showing us his back and Yvonne's face isn't giving anything away so I can't tell how it's going. None of us can.
My eyes then travel to the friend who's leaning against a couple of lockers, looking amused just as I was before. Her eyes shift toward us as if she knows we are there and we are watching the scene as well.
It doesn't take long for our eyes to connect. Suddenly the amusement is gone from her eyes and instead, it's replaced by a curious look. She is familiar. We have shared classes before but have never spoken to each other, not that I remember. I've always known her as Yvonne Warner's best friend and I am sure that she knows about me too.
A minute passes and we look away from each other when the conversation between Sergio and Yvonne suddenly comes to an end. Sergio abruptly turns around and walks back toward us. His lips are stretched into a thin line and once he reaches us, he doesn't stop. He walks right past us and we all immediately know what that means. We silently follow him and I look over my shoulder once more, catching her inquiring eyes for another second. Then we walk out of the doors.
"What the hell just happened?" Yvonne asks me.
"I believe you just broke Sergio Moretti's heart."
Yvonne just blinks at me before finally slamming her locker shut. "I know but...what the hell."
I chuckle as we start walking toward the exit of the school. "I don't know why you sound so surprised. He's been eyeing you for a while now." I've noticed the way Sergio has been looking at my best friend over the past several weeks but she's in denial about it.
"Yes, I remember you mentioning that a couple of times but I never thought he would actually approach me...I'm kinda shook right now."
"In a good way or bad?"
"I'm not sure. I think I'm still processing."
I raise an eyebrow. Yvonne never processes much. She usually just acts on instincts and never goes back on her actions. This is any typical day for her. A guy coming up to her and asking her out is an everyday occurrence, only this time...it was a Moretti.
There's four Moretti's in our school and they are all related. They are well-known and close knit, aside from their best friends. Their families are well off and usually in the local public eye. Sergio is the talkative one, charming but brash at times. Yvonne has called him cute before but she has never liked his womanizing ways.
"You really think my rejection affected him like that?" She asks me.
I shrug. "I think he was upset a bit but he's a Moretti, he'll get over it."
Yvonne never usually thinks twice when she turns down a date offer. She is always respectful about it even if the guy turns into a douche for being let down. She's not the type to insult others out of spite but she isn't the type to let anyone mistreat her either.
We walk out through the fresh January air and I snuggle into my sweater. It isn't cold, the sun is warm but there was a slight breeze as well. That's January in Valencia.
"Yeah, you're right." Yvonne says after a minute, shrugging it off. "He'll get over it. Anyways, have you heard from Miguel?"
I try to ignore the sting I feel inside my chest but it's impossible. It's always there, just been dormant for a while. "No, he's still not talking to me."
"He's being a major asshole, Tia, you shouldn't stand for it anymore."
I know Yvonne is right but I can't help myself. I can't stop hoping that Miguel will return my texts and finally call me back. He hasn't been in school for the past couple of days. I haven't seen him since the last time we talked...well, argued more like it. It seems that's all we do lately. The distance between us...it's just been growing every day. I don't know how much longer I can hold on to him.
"Hey," Yvonne drags me out of my thoughts and I look up at her. "People change, Tia, and it's ok. You'll be fine."
I sigh but give her a nod. "I know." It isn't going to be easy but it's a change that I know is inevitable. Miguel and I are too different now, living two different lives. As much I want to hold on to him, it seems he doesn't feel the same anymore. I hate to let him go but sooner or later I have to move on.