As Barry looked up at her nervously, like a trembling chipmunk, big brown eyes wide in fear, Reyna thought she should feel powerful. She thought she should get a rush from looking at someone cowering under her, even though the brown haired boy was several inches taller than her.
But she wasn’t. She just felt…tired.
“I’ll let you know.”
Barry nodded, gulping. “Yeah. Okay. Thanks, Reyna.”
Reyna slid her thumb across her other fingernails, her perfect manicure a deep dark chocolate color. “I didn’t say yes yet.”
“I know.” Barry’s voice wavered, like an insignificant blade bending in Reyna’s careless summer breeze. “Thank you for agreeing to think about it.”
Barry nodded a few too many times, and lingered for a few too many seconds. It was plain to see on his face, that he was debating whether to say something or not. He couldn’t look Reyna in the eyes, but he kept trying, resulting in a painful sight before Reyna. She was dribbling his gaze like a basketball.
“Bye,” he said, hitching his backpack up, only for it to fall in the exact same way that it rested against his back before. He made his way to the door.
“You forgot your lunchbox,” Reyna said, finishing her sentence just after Barry doubled back, and wrapped his fingers around the handle.
“Thank you,” he said, far too solemnly for someone who had–truly–remembered his lunchbox on his own in the first place.
With that, Barry headed towards the door and actually crossed it. She heard his footsteps clatter down the hall–he was heading to his Robotics Team meeting after this–in fact he was probably going to be late–for moments before her the silence of the classroom, which was pretty much her whole world at that moment, echoed in her ears louder than anyone else’s noise could have.
Finally, she thought, looking down at her own plain black backpack. She pressed her lips together.
She knew she would have to make a decision soon. Now, maybe. Definitely soon. Homecoming was the day after tomorrow. Reyna hasn’t even been planning on attending. She knew that Ayla was going with her boyfriend–she had to go, he was on the football team. Samantha would go for Ayla, because Ayla wasn’t really friends with the girlfriends of the other football players, and because Ayla was her best friend, of course. Reyna has no desire to attend, and she was sure her parents would think the idea was stupid, anyway. She wasn’t sure if they had even had “homecoming” in Macedonia.
Reyna’s heart lurched at the familiar sing-song voice that flew into her ears and sped through her bloodstream.
What the fuck, she told herself, rubbing at a prickle that went up her arm. Chill.
She didn’t look up, but she knew Izzy was through the door now. She was (most likelystill) wearing the sunshine yellow dress that she came to school in this morning. She wore navy leggings with a flower print underneath that and navy converse with her ankle length white socks still peeping out a little bit.
The yellow dress looked really beautiful against Izzy’s dark brown skin. In fact, Izzy could be one of those girls who were so intimidatingly beautiful that boys and girls alike were scared of her. Reyna told her something like that once, in response to Izzy murmuring about some insecurities in front of the dresser mirror when they were in Reyna’s room one day a few months ago. Izzy hadn’t taken the advice to heart, of course, and Reyna, and she was somewhat surprised at herself for finding that she was quite content with Izzy’s decision (not that it mattered–since it was Izzy’s decision but, she was still happy.) In fact, Izzy had found Reyna’s gaze in the mirror, and Reyna couldn’t have read her expression if she had tried, but she was too captivated to try, anyway. Then, just when Reyna was about to look away in a panic, Izzy broke the spell and whipped around, grinning widely at Reyna. Reyna looked back at her, hoping the gratefulness wasn’t too evident on her face.
“You think I’m pretty?” Izzy had asked.
Reyna studied her for a few moments, then silently panicked at the thought of Izzy thinking that she was taking too long to answer. “Yes.”
Izzy laughed. “Aw, Rey. Thanks, bae.”
Reyna felt something freeze inside her. “I mean, you’re alright.” She put extra effort into her arrogant frown (she had perfected it in the third grade. Izzy told her so, one time.) “And don’t call me that.”
“Call you what, Rey-bae?” Izzy pouted, and twirled a piece of thick curly black hair, exaggeratedly innocently and cutely.
“Drop the bae!”
Izzy had proceeded to beat box a sick bass drop and Reyna went through the motions of her eyeroll really quickly–so quickly that she wasn’t sure if Izzy had even seen it, which was the entire point of it all. If Reyna was honest with herself (which she found was sometimes extremely hard to do) she never wanted to look away from Izzy ever. But she thought that Izzy would have expected Reyna to do that (roll her eyes) and thus would have “seen” it even if she hadn’t actually seen it. Which was also fine. Everything was fine.
And Reyna had continued to notice that Izzy’s fashion game was always on point, just shrugged, laughed and said, “well, I had nothing to do with it. My mom buys all my clothes.”
“Hellooooo?” Izzy face was right in front of Reyna’s now, their noses almost brushing and Izzy’s brown eyes looking like pools of stars swirling with magic and wonder and everything unattainable in life.
Reyna jerked back. “What?” she snapped, much harsher than she had intended to. She was about to apologize, but Izzy just smirked at her easily, like she always did. Reyna wondered, slightly uncomfortably, if she was always this mean on a regular basis, that it had become her “normal,” not even her “mean.”
“Am I giving you a ride or not?”
Reyna stared at Izzy’s face for a few blank seconds. “What?”
“Are you riding my diiiiiiick???” Izzy yelled, contorting her face and leaning back with her arms outstretched, in what she called her “straight white boy pose.”
“Oh my god,” Reyna hid her gaze with her palm, as she supported her head with her hand. “Yes, your mom is dropping me off at home, Izzy!”
“Are you riding Barry’s dick?”
“NO!” Reyna snarled, snapping her gaze to Izzy.
Reyna felt the flames in her eyes die down, as if she was blinking them away.
“Do you think he wants you to?” Izzy asked.
“Why do you care?”
Izzy scoffed, with a sanctimonious expression, ever in her exaggerated state, so much so that some people actually thought it was her normal state. Reyna knew it wasn’t, and she clung to that knowledge, the fact a tiny sliver, curled up in her heart. “Because I want to know if I have to beat him up in the future for ever hurting you,” Izzy said. “Uh, duh!”
Reyna snorted. “His friends are going to be the ones who are going to try to beat me up if he gets hurt.” She looked up at Izzy. “But they will fail of course. At beating me up. I will beat them up.”
“I’m sure you will,” Izzy said, with a determined nod.
Reyna looked at the whiteboard, but wasn’t able to read anything on it.
“So… maybe don’t hurt Barry then?” Izzy prompted.
Reyna felt magma well in her belly. “What? Do you like him?”
“Do you like him?”
“Then why lead him on?”
“Who’s Reyna leading on???”
Izzy and Reyna jumped back from each other, surprised at the intrusion. Well. Izzy jumped. Reyna looked up sharply. It was just Samantha, eyes bright with inquiry, her red hair shiny and perfect from the curling iron this morning.
“Tony,” Izzy said without missing a beat. “She refuses to choose between him, Bruce, and Thor!”
Samantha laughed. “Poor Iron Man!” she exclaimed.
“And poor Hulk and Norse god of thunder,” Izzy piped in.
Then she launched into a story.
“You know, once I led a boy on. In the third grade.”
Reyna tried to focus on the blue letters on the board. The list was of the dates for the quizzes they were going to have until next week. Reyna had written them down in her agenda forty five minutes ago.
“Actually, I led all the boys on in my third grade class.”
“Oh, really?” Samantha laughed. “What happened?”
It was third grade. She can’t be serious. Izzy was never serious. But Reyna’s logic didn’t stop irrational envy from burning holes in her skin.
“Yeah. I led them on and on and finally I ate all the cookie cake myself. They were so sad.”
Samantha guffawed. “Oh my god, Izzy!”
“Yeah. I probably could have shared, but I didn’t want to. And anyway, I told them I was going to share, but then they still kept following me, as if I was going to change my mind.”
Samantha made a face. “Ugh. That’s gross. Boys are gross.”
“Right?” Izzy exclaimed.
“Alright, that was a wonderful story,” Samantha said. “Should we head out?”
“Yeah, of course.” Izzy said. She turned to Reyna. “You coming?”
“No, I’m going to stay here the entire night and have a slumber party. By myself. At the school.”
“That’s the spirit!” Izzy exclaimed, folding her third and fourth fingers down, and sticking her tongue out.
Reyna rolled her eyes.
“But yeah. Even though boys are dumb, I still told them, you know? If boys weren’t dumb then they would have known not to follow me.”
“But they are so dumb,” Samantha piped up.
“Yeah, of course,” Izzy said. She glanced at Reyna then looked back.
“Alriiiiight, guess what happened in APUSH today!”
Reyna walked on the left side of Izzy while Samantha walked on the right side. Samantha was as usual completely transfixed by everything Izzy was saying. Samantha in general made people feel like they were really listened to. That was something nice about Samantha, Reyna supposed.
Reyna thought about homecoming and Barry. She didn’t know what she should do. She knew what she shouldn’t do, which she supposed was a start.
She got out her phone and opened up the Facebook messenger app. She opened a conversation with Barry.
“Hey,” she typed.
Within five seconds, Barry replied back with, “hi.”
Reyna sighed, gritting her teeth.
“So, I have an answer for you now?”
“Oh, wow,” Barry typed back. “So soon?” Then he quickly typed, “not that that’s a problem of course. Whatever is fine. It’s fine. So. What is your answer?”
“I can’t go with you. I’m sorry.”
Barry took a little while longer to reply back to this message. Reyna sighed.
“Oh. Okay. I understand.”
She didn’t know why she felt compelled to send this, but she sent a, “thanks.”
“Yeah. Sorry if I made things awkward,” Barry typed.
“Things are awkward no matter what.”
Reyna didn’t think that needed a response.
“Are you going to ask someone else to go? Or has someone asked you?”
Reyna glanced towards her friends. She wondered if they had noticed her silence. Thena gain, she was usually silent. But had they noticed her lack of attention? She didn’t always ignore them after all. She just sometimes pretended to.
“That’s none of your business,” she responded.
“Of course. Sorry.”
“Bye,” she typed.
“Bye. Sorry again. I hope you still go and have fun.”
Reyna looked at the text, pressing her lips together in a thin line. “Yeah, thanks. You too.”
“Thanks. Bye, Reyna.”
She locked her phone and put it in her purse. She looked at her friends who had stopped walking.
“Who were you texting?” Samantha asked.
Reyna looked at Samantha, then looked out the window. Izzy’s mom’s car was in the front.
“Probably Iron Man,” Izzy said.
“Or Thor,” Samantha laughed.
“Or both at the same time!” Izzy exclaimed.
“Oh my god,” Samantha laughed.
“Your mom is here,” Reyna informed Izzy.
Izzy looked outside.
“Oh yeah!” she exclaimed. Then she laughed. “What would I do without you, Reyna?”
“Probably fail everything,” Reyna murmured.
Izzy looked at her, surprisingly warmly, for such a rude answer.
“Something like that, probably,” Izzy replied tartly. “Okay, let’s go!”
Reyna followed her out of the school into the cool autumn air.
I’m going to start putting this here because it’s like AO3 except wordpress am i right.. yeah okay.
Wowowow that took forever. Like. 4 hours. Maybe 3. But it took a really long time.
Also. Don’t look at the title. Just. Don’t do it. Bye.