I Know It Might Be Wrong, But...
Half of the school week had already gone once Stacy returned to school after deciding to skip to hide from the shame of getting rejected once again by Steven. Her mental and emotional wounds did not take that long to heal though. In fact, she was over it by noon and had not intended to miss school for three days. Rather, she had actually caught a fever after stressing herself too much over the embarrassment she felt from the events of the weekend, so she had a legitimate reason for not attending classes.
However, while she did get over the rejection, it did not mean it would not haunt her back again. That was what happened during times when she could only lie awake in bed to recover from her sickness. Because of that, when she showed up to class, while her body had recovered, she was still mentally drained from beating herself up for three straight days plus a night.
Consequently, she did not have the energy to give at least a bit of attention to her surroundings. She was not able to notice the insults thrown at her bred from the resentment of what seemed like the entire female student body for going on a date with Steven. There were even letters and writings on top of her desk - hate mail, even death threats. But, she just collected the letters without glancing at a single note and threw them in the trash bin. As for the writings on her desk, her brain was simply unable to process the words.
As for class, she was discernibly not paying attention. Her notebook was open, but her pen was not even scratching the pages. She was only mindlessly staring into the blackboard without absorbing any of the lessons. Luckily for her, most of her teachers did not take notice, and those that did reacted in a more concerned manner by asking if she wanted to rest at the clinic than getting angry. For quizzes though, she was unable to do them properly as her mind remained somewhere in the clouds while doing them.
Even during lunch break when the girls who had not yet let go of their jealousy had confronted her, she was only giving half-hearted responses to her interrogators, barely giving a thought to the questions and their implications.
"Is it true you went to a love hotel with Steven?" one of the girls loudly asked. It was a question where everyone who was interested in Steven wanted to hear the answer to, regardless if they have already convinced themselves of what it is. They simply wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth so they could use it as some sort of confession to a crime and condemn her for it.
If this was her usual self, Stacy would have responded in a standoffish manner. But in her current state, all she could reply was an unenthusiastic and seemingly ashamed “I did”.
This was off-putting to the angry mob as they knew how Stacy would normally react and were looking for a scrap. However, she looked like a criminal in court, fully aware of the gravity of her crime and repenting that she ever did it, which took them by surprise. The mob was prepared to start a kangaroo court, but they could only look at each other in response to Stacy’s “guilty” plea.
“Just the entrance though”, Stacy continued regardless of whether anyone was paying attention to her or not. “Just the entrance.”
Before the mob could decide on whether to continue the lynching or not, Steven showed up in the classroom, which divided their attention. He then broke the encirclement and went straight for Stacy, causing the crowd to back off a bit to give him space.
He was no knight in shining armor though, or at least there to take Stacy away from the angry crowd. He was there to drive another nail in her coffin, even though he is not aware of it.
“Hey”, he greeted Stacy smilingly as he took the seat in front of her. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
She glared at him unwelcomingly. “What do you want from the girl you want nothing to do with?” she asked with an annoyed tone.
“Don’t be like that”, he replied. “I told you I want to get along with you.”
Of course, as the mob that surrounded Stacy had not yet dispersed, they were able to clearly hear the two. However, for most of them, they were not really picking up on the context of the conversation and only chose to hear what Steven was saying, so some of them became distressed over his response to Stacy as they took it as he was romantically interested in her.
Some of them were starting to curse her. “Burn her”, they whispered among themselves.
However, for the meantime, they merely stayed as observers as they not wanting to disturb the object of their affection won over their urge for violence towards the target of their ire.
“Liar”, Stacy sneered at Steven. The conversation between the pair continued as neither were paying mind to what any of the individuals in the crowd were doing. “I know you’re only talking to me to get to my mom.”
“But it’s not like I can be friendly with you, too”, Steven pleaded.
“That’s impossible though”, she stated matter-of-factly and sounding bored.
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t you watch TV or movies? Kids don’t take kindly to other people trying to get with their parent.”
“But that’s just in TV and movies; they’re fiction. I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
“Fiction is usually rooted in reality.”
“Well, maybe, but in a lot of these stories, the kids eventually warm up to these other people.”
Stacy had not given her argument much thought, so it was no wonder it immediately fell apart. She was not about to give up, however. To continue her opposition, she had to grasp at straws, especially since she wanted to hide the real reason that she did not want the man that kept rejecting her to end up with her mom.
“Well, that’s just in fiction”, she said defensively.
Steven had won that round, but he sensed that he should not push the issue any further so he said nothing to counter Stacy’s nonsensical argument. While he was not romantically interested in the girl in front of him, he was genuinely trying to learn about her. She was the daughter of his love interest after all. Not to mention, what Stacy said to him the other day about not knowing much about girls actually got to him a bit, so he was making some effort in remedying that. As a result, he figured that Stacy turning her face away from him was a sign that she did not want to continue with the topic anymore, so he left it alone.
However, he still had a purpose in meeting Stacy. He did not expect the opening small talk would be an uncomfortable one, but there was something he needed to ask from her. It was a promise after all, and he had held his end of the deal despite how the bargain turned out.
He decided he should just cut to the chase. “I’m here to collect on our promise”, he said.
Stacy, while still having her head turned sideways from Steven, glanced at him suspiciously. She knew what he was on about, but decided to tease him a bit.
“That sounds ominous”, she said without breaking her defensive tone. “Are you going to kill me or something? Scary!”
Unbeknownst to her, however, the girls that still surrounded the two of them were ready to aid Steven if that was actually the case.
Luckily, Steven was not playing along so Stacy’s death caused by misunderstood playfulness was avoided. He replied, “No, you told me that you would tell me if your mom is still single if I went with you on that date.”
“Oh, that”, Stacy pretended to only remember then and there. “She's still single.”
“But you promised!” Steven exclaimed. “Wait… what?”
Steven’s response took Stacy aback especially since she had already given him the answer he was desperately looking for that he had to resort to creepy tactics.
“And I just told you”, she said. “If you didn’t hear it the first time, I won’t tell you again.”
At the same time, Steven was equally surprised that Stacy had easily given him the answer. He imagined that, since the date they had ended at a sour note where it practically ended with a heated argument, she would try to make another bargain, if not claim the promise void. He thought she was going to be stubborn like she had done before. He was prepared to fight for it and he did not expect today’s encounter to be easily resolved.
“No, I heard you. I just thought you’d say the promise was off or something.”
“I just don’t care anymore”, she said. “I figured that I should give you what you want so I can cut this relationship clean.”
Steven paused, unconcerned about Stacy’s last statement as he tried to contain his excitement. He then tried to confirm the answer. “Is she really still single?”
“I have no reason to lie at this point”, Stacy answered.
Steven made a small fist bump, which did not go unnoticed by the surrounding crowd who had grown concerned at the developments they have heard from the conversation. Then for the first time, Steven grew a bit conscious of the staring eyes. He grabbed Stacy by the hand and took her away from the classroom.
Except, of course, it was not an action as a rescuer for Stacy, so she was protesting being taken away.
Once they found a spot under a staircase where no one could bother them, Steven continued with the conversation. He excitedly asked “So when can I meet your mom?”
“Huh?” Stacy derisively reacted. “Who says I would let you meet my mom?”
Steven’s joy immediately turned to confusion. “B-but, you promised...”
“I only promised to tell you if my mom was single or not.”
“But you said you’d introduce me to her.”
“I did say that”, she said. “But I gave you three seconds to agree and you didn’t so you missed that little add-on.”
“That’s… not fair!” he exclaimed as if he had just been hustled.
“Well, you can only blame yourself”, she replied as if she was the hustler.
Steven paused and started looking around as if searching for options. Then, like a compulsive gambler who has not learned his lesson after just taking a huge loss, he decided to take another challenge.
“What can I do so you can introduce me to your mom?” he asked.
“I already told you, I want to sever ties with you.”
“But if I tried dating your mom, that would be impossible.”
“If”, she said. “That’s a bad habit of yours, you keep getting ahead of yourself. You’re not even dating right now.”
Steven paused. He knew she was right, so he was unable to come up with a response immediately. He was literally stopped in his tracks.
This would have probably given what Stacy wanted, to be left alone by Steven, had she not tried leaving some parting words. “If you want to meet her, go see her yourself. I don’t want any part of it anymore.”
As soon as he heard that, Steven’s eyes lit up. “You’re right!” he cried.
Stacy jumped a bit from his loud voice, worried that he might be up to something she would not like again.
“If you’re not going to introduce me to her, I may as well try introducing myself”, Steven stated.
Stacy was thinking she should just ignore him because any kind of response might encourage him. But, another part of her thought that if she knew what he was up to, she would be able to do something to prevent it. She asked, “And how are you going to do that?”
“Can I go to your house after school?” he boldly inquired with his usual smile.
The question caused Stacy to be alarmed. Of course, she did not want him at her home. Wide-eyed, she responded with a firm “No”.
Unfortunately for her, that was not the answer Steven was looking for. He asked again, “Can I please go to your house after school?”
“I already said no! Why would I even do that after I said I don’t want anything to do with you anymore?”
“Oh, come on”, he replied, ignoring Stacy’s question. “Please?”
The conversation went back and forth like that for a while. Stacy, however, was slowly wavering each time Steven begged. His voice was getting sweeter and sweeter after each request, and she was starting to think he was like a cute kid trying to beg his parents to buy him a new toy that he really really wanted.
But, while she had decided to break off from Steven for good, that was a very recent resolution from her that she had decided during her absence from school. She had already been rejected more than once after all, so why bother anymore, she thought. However, her attraction to him still remained. Love is not an emotion someone can switch on and off after all, and that was something she lamented as she caved in to Steven's cute begging and agreed on inviting him to her home.