“Wow…I wish I could find my old buds and shove my so called legacy down their throats. I can’t believe they used my name to ruin her life like that. I can’t imagine what she must think of me. At least…” Jeremy paused to take another bite, “for me, nobody new about my grief. I could cover it up; yes, not in the best ways
sometimes,” Jeremy said before Jerry could say his wise remark. “But at least I could still function and live in my home town. I don’t know if I will be able to go home, or even be out on the streets,” Jermey looked down into his bowl of a melted chocolate mess.
“Don’t worry about it too much,” Ken slapped Jeremy on the back almost causing him to spill his bowl, “since it was just a rumor that spread; there was never a picture or description of you. No one will know it was you unless you go, “I’m the guy they used to create this horrible rumor that ruined a poor girl’s life.” Ken laughed
for a second, and then probably thought about what he just said. “Sorry about that.”
“Yeah. And now Jenny is in Europe. I don’t know if there will even be a chance to apologize to her,” Jeremy got up and took his bowl to the kitchen.
“About that. Dad said she might try and make it? Do you think she actually will come back?” I asked as I too took my bowl to the sink. As I came back to the living room, I came face to face with the reality. ‘Jenny was probably never going to come back. Probably not until the nonsense is gone or resolved.’ “Oh.”
“Yeah. There was talk about her visiting Coach and her mom for a couple days, but I don’t know if she would take the time to come down here,” Ken looked up at me. “Especially if she has somewhat moved past it; it would be awful if she came back and it stirred up again.”
“Yeah. When I came back I was slapped across the face with all this news, and I was unable to do anything for her,” Jerry said as he stared into his hands. “I felt like we abandoned her when she deperately needed us. Then I was unable to do anything for her because she was gone. Then when I found out you were the source of the issue,” Jerry looked up at Jermey. “I mean the fake source,” Jerry corrected himself before Ken could jump down his throat, “I couldn’t understand how you never said anything about it. You knew about George and Jenny’s relationship. You were playing off the innocent person perfectly. I thought you had ruined Jenny’s life and then
were manipulating George. I apologize again; I really thought the worst of you.”
“Hearing everything now, I can understand. It’s not cool, but I can understand,” Jeremy nodded but shook his head at the same time.
Everyone was done with their ice cream, so there was no longer any absence noise. It was silent.
“Can I ask a question?” Jeremy raised his hand like this was a classroom.
“Of course, Student Jeremy. What’s with the hand,” Jerry busted out into laughter.
We all followed pursuit, “Oh. Shut it,” Jermey tried to slack off the embarrassment. “Can I ask now?”
We all stopped laughing and waited…
Jeremy perched his elbows on his knees and leaned forward, “Why didn’t you date her? Jenny. She was totally into you. Anyone could see it.”
‘Great. I should have know this was going to be brought up.’
“Is anyone going to answer the question? Why did it become like a ghost town in here?” Jeremy looked from Matthew to Jerry, to Ken, and then ended on me.
I couldn’t look him in the eye. I didn’t realize this still bugged me. ‘Let me be honest; at least in my head…I still like her. Feelings never seem to go away unless you give yourself closure. I never got that; so my feelings just seem to be bubbling and burning in my gut.’
“Dude. Just tell him or I will,” Jerry called me out. “We have heard all of his baggage, why can’t he know some of yours?”
‘That was the truth. Why am hiding? being a coward. Liking someone is not something to be ashamed of. You idiot.’ I looked up the guys around me. “I tried. I got shot down before I could even confess to her.”
“Really?” Jeremy was shocked. “Did she actually say the words, “I see you as a friend.”
“No,” I stopped to think back on that night; not a night I really wanted to relive. Especially now as I realize my feelings for Jenny are not at all as a sister. “But we were talking about the whole situation and we were about to discuss the part of me “confessing” to stop John, and before I could say anyting she stopped me.”
Jeremy wasn’t saying anything. He seemed to be zoning out.
‘Probaly trying to think…haha.’ “What?” still, my tone was annoyed.
Jeremy came out of his glazed over stare, “I don’t have much experience with girls, but,” Jeremy waited until he got my full attention, “unless she said the words, “I see you as a friend” it is not indefinate. And I am telling you, she is into you. How do you three not see it?” Jeremy called out the guys; who had been just sitting and listening to the conversation. Probably because they knew this was a sore subject for me.
“The only experience we have is from George and Jenny’s moments, and when Jerry attempts to get a date,” Matthew dodged Jerry’s aggressive slug, “and Ken’s various inputs
from the chick flicks he watches,” Matthew laughed at Jeremy’s expression after he said Ken’s input.
Jeremy looked at Ken like he no longer knew the person in front of him.
“What? My mom said I wouldn’t understand what a girl is thinking if I didn’t have some knowledge. I’ll admit though,” Ken chuckled, “some of them are really quite hilarious.”
Jeremy still seemed confused at his new best friend’s choice in movies. “Okay whatever you need to do to understand them,” still questioning Ken’s decision. Then Jermey turned his attention back to George, “I am not lying to you, and I am never wrong about this. You should try again if you get the chance,” Jeremy crossed his arms behind his head and relaxed into the recliner.
“What’s the point,” Jerry sat up, “he sees her like a sister now. He has moved past his feelings.”
“Has he?” Jeremy turned and looked at me dead on.
I could feel his gaze. ‘There is no way he knows. I never talked about this these last two years. Because these last two years she has been my sister. But now I’m discovering I was naive and I couldn’t just cover it up.’ I looked up to meet Jeremy’s gaze. The gaze was fine, but the all knowing smirk was
“Yeah. He probably just said that to move on; there is no way he would give up a stare with me if he was being honest. This one,” Jeremy thumbed at me, “never gives in
to anybody. Own up to it George,” Jeremy leaned back, “You still totally dig her as a girl.”
‘Nothing. I had nothing to say because I didn’t want to admit to what Jeremy said. Because he was right. This was not something I needed in my life at the moment.’ I was going to focus on swimming and start my career before finding someone. And to me that someone always had to be someone other than Jenny. Because in my brain Jenny was labeled as unattainable. “Why? Why did you have to do this to me?” I shoved my face into my hands.
“What?” Jerry, Matthew, and Ken all shouted at once. Jeremey was still smiling as he leaned back in his recliner; relishing in his victory of being right.
“I had moved past it. I was seeing her as a sister. My feelings were coming back, being back here,” I snapped my head up and glared at Jeremy. “I was doing a good job at keeping them at bay, but no…you had say she likes me and my heart blazed alive at the hope. Why?”
“Dude? I thought you had moved past it?” Matthew asked breaking the silence, while I continued to glare at Jeremy. “You told us to never bring it up…” Ken and Jerry both nodded
“I did. Or at least I tried. After being regected or whatever happened,” I silenced Jeremy with a no nonsense stare, “I needed to mend myself. So seeing her a sister was the only way to move past it. I really thought I had. Honestly… My feelings were gone; or at least manipulated into something else. It wasn’t until I came back here,” I gestured to the house. It had been two years of not hearing her name, not seeing her face, or not having anything to do with her; but the
moment I stepped in the house and Dad said that Jenny would try to make, my heart got excited. Then he said it was a long shot and my heart sank. She still had complete control over me…” I ran my fingers through my hair. ‘I’m frustrated. I have not missed this feeling.’ “You happy now?” I almost yelled at Jeremy, but kept the tone controlled.
“Yes. Actually I am,” Jeremy leaned back towards me, smile gone. “You have been an emotionaless robot these last two years. Something was going to go terribly wrong if
you didn’t start to feel things. You were going to become an empty shell. Proably to the point that swimming would become meaningless. So you can hate me all you want, but I did this for you. I want to see you make it all the way. But to do that you need to feel emotions.”