Chapter 4:

I'm Gonna Get My Shit Together Cause I Can't Live Like This Forever

I Know It Might Be Wrong, But...


The following day, Stacy did not feel like going to school again. She was lucky that Steven had left her alone after the small incident in the clinic, but she knew he would be waiting for her again at the school entrance. He had told her himself after the nurse had returned and took a look at Stacy’s condition.

Stacy was fine after falling on the floor a second time. Her hands were only temporarily sore and her arms felt like pins and needles, but those went away after a while. Although, that also meant she was fit to keep going to school, so she tried feigning a cold once more, but her mom had again caught on to her lie quickly.

This time, however, her mom was concerned about her since this is the second day in a row that Stacy has tried to play hooky. The last time this has happened was back when Stacy was still in grade school.

“Is there something wrong at school?" Stacy's mom asked after making sure her daughter was not going to lie back down in bed.

"Nothing's wrong", Stacy answered. She did not even know how to begin explaining to her mom about Steven, so she lied because it was easier. “I just don’t feel like going to school is all.”

Her mom was not buying it though. “Are you being bullied?”

"You know I've been fighting off bullies since grade school", Stacy jokingly said.

“Fighting is bad”, her mom scolded with a light flick on Stacy’s forehead.

“Ow.” Stacy reflexively let out a cry of pain even though she barely felt the flick.

“Then why don’t you want to go to school?”

Stacy looked away, stubbornly refusing to answer the question.

However, her mom had a guess. This was not the first time it happened after all, and she had the impression what her daughter was going through was similar. “It’s a boy, isn’t it?”

Stacy was surprised that her mom had figured it out so quickly. Wide-eyed, she looked at her mom who had a smug on her face.

“T-t-t-t-that’s not true!” she stuttered as she objected.

Bullseye, her mom thought. “How long do you think I’ve been your mother? I know your habits when you’re heartbroken.”

“I’m not heartbroken!”

But her latest protest fell on deaf ears. “You know, you really shouldn’t hit a boy especially if you like him.”

“Geez, how long ago was that? Don't just assume that I'm still the same as when I was in grade school. I stopped trying to get a boy’s attention that way since I started middle school!”

“So, who is it this time?” Stacy’s mom asked like a reporter fishing for the latest scoop. “If I recall, your crush from sixth grade also goes to your school… What's his name?”

“It’s not him, and he’s fat now!”

Her mom paused. Not because Stacy had won her defense, but rather she was busy giving her daughter a suspicious smile.

Stacy then realized she had indirectly admitted that what was troubling her was indeed a boy. “No! It’s not what you think!”

Unfortunately, there was no longer any convincing her mother. She hugged her to comfort her and said “Oh honey, it’s alright”.

Stacy was embarrassed to be comforted especially when she was not heartbroken. She continued her futile pleas “Really, mom, it’s not like that!”

Her mom was not entirely wrong though. In a sense, Stacy was rejected by a boy. But rather than heartbreak, her current emotions were more of confusion and dread. She actually would have preferred heartbreak since it would have been easier to cut loose. Although, she was still not going to correct her mom.

“I know I’ve been telling you in the past that you’ll find a different boy, but I’m thinking you’re old enough for some real advice”, Stacy’s mom continued after pulling away from the hug. “If you really think he’s the one, just push him down and he’s all yours!”

It took a second for Stacy to process what her mom had said, and when it hit her, her face turned bright red. She then hit her mom with a pillow and scolded her “Geez, what are you teaching to your teenage daughter!”

***

On the way to school, Stacy mulled over her mom’s advice. The idea was not wrong up to a point. The pushing down part was definitely out as she promised herself she would not end up like her mom, who got pregnant in high school. Going that far would risk upsetting her plans in life. But, part of the message was to be aggressive, which she agrees with.

Although, she was not really sure on what she should be aggressive about.

Her crush willingly approaching her was a chance that should be grabbed with both hands. Even if he was looking at another girl - or in this case a woman, it was still an opportunity for her to get him to know her a little bit. Maybe he would come around. It was not like it was a guarantee for him to get his love interest especially when they were barely even acquaintances at the moment.

Then there is the fact that she wants for her crush to just stop asking about her mom.

She could be aggressive in both, but there was one problem. She was sure that if she just so much as spoke one word to Steven, he would definitely say something she would not like. She had already faced plenty of embarrassment just for the past couple of days and she did not want to face even one for the day. Just for that reason, she decided to put being aggressive on hold, especially since she saw said boy waiting for her at the school entrance again.

The motions were similar from the day before. Stacy ignored Steven while he quietly followed her up to her classroom. Meanwhile, Stacy suffered jealous glares and hurtful comments again, but this time it was more intense because the other girls could not take seeing Steven giving attention to the same girl three days in a row.

Although unlike yesterday, Stacy was not talking to Steven even when they took their seats, so he took it upon himself to start the conversation.

“How’s the hand?” he asked.

But, he received no response. It did not discourage him though as he started talking about a minor hand injury he had before.

Stacy listened to him, though she really did not have a choice otherwise. Although when she had a feeling his story would start going into the direction of hospitals again, she stood up to try and escape, but the teacher showed up to start the first period in the nick of time to save her from Steven.

At lunch, Steven had invited himself to eat with Stacy and her friends. Stacy wanted to say no, but before she could, her friends had already grabbed a chair and opened up a space for him.

Still, she was determined to not speak a word to him. Her goal for the day was to not hear a thing about romance from Steven. Fortunately, her friends were really excited and chatty with him, so he could not bring up a topic he wanted.

Oddly enough, that gave her the idea on how to avoid talking to him for the rest of the day. For the rest of the lunch break, Stacy did not stray away from the pack, so Steven barely had a window to talk to her.

After school, she asked her friends to walk home together. But apparently, she was naive to think that would work.

Steven knew that the iron should be struck while it is hot. But, the situation was cooling, especially when Stacy was giving him the cold shoulder. He knew he could not let it go further since it might become harder to bring up the things he wanted to even as soon as the following day. So, when he met Stacy and her friends at their classroom's doorway, he had simply asked if he could be alone with her.

Again, Stacy wanted to say no, but her friends were quicker to respond and humor his request. So now, they were alone. However, that did not mean she could not escape, and escape she did. No running this time though, because she knew he could easily catch her. Rather, she just walked the other way to take the longer route to the building’s exit while ignoring Steven who kept trying to get her attention. She was determined not to speak to him.

However, Steven’s behavior had been bordering on harassment. Not to mention, he had followed Stacy outside the school premises, which caused alarm bells to ring inside her head. After he had followed her on the first crossing, she had no other choice but to talk to him so she could protest.

“Stop following me!”

“You're finally talking to me”, Steven responded, sounding relieved.

“Why do you look so happy when you’re doing something only a creep would?”

“I’m sorry, but it’s just that you weren’t talking to me so I was worried if you were mad at me.”

“I wasn’t mad at you, I just didn’t want to talk to you about my mom for once. But with what you’ve been doing, I’m now certainly mad at you!”

“I-I’m sorry.” Steven was remorseful this time. “I just didn’t know what to do to make you talk.”

“How are you so popular but don’t know how to deal with girls?” she said, exasperated. She did not know that he was actually lacking experience in terms of approaching girls. “At least give me some space when you’ve noticed I didn’t want to talk to you.”

“I’m sorry”, he apologized once more. “I’m just desperate to-”

“Ah!” Stacy interrupted him before he could finish his sentence. “I know what you want, and I don’t want to hear it.”

Steven was saddened by her declaration. He thought his love would not be realized especially when the daughter of his crush was so against it.

Stacy though, her determination was wavering. It was the first time she saw Steven with a sad expression on his face, and she thought he looked like an abandoned puppy. She thought it was unfair, but she gave in.

“If you really want to know, then I’ll tell you”, she said, sounding hesitant.

Steven’s face lit up. Now Stacy thought he looked like a puppy who was about to get a treat. Excitedly, he asked “Really?”

“Really”, she answered.

“Then-”

“But I have one condition”, she said, cutting off Steven.

He hesitated, but figured he should hear it out first. He said, “Name it”.

Stacy thought about the advice her mom gave earlier in the day when she came up with this condition. She did not plan for it today, but she thought now was a good opportunity to be aggressive in getting what she wants.

“Go on a date with me and I’ll tell you if my mom is still single.”

Nellien
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