Tonight is maybe the wildest thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t even have the words for it. I feel like I’ve gone through every emotion and like–
I’m starting at the beginning.
The school put on the big dance in the park across the street, and it actually looked really nice. There was a spread and juice and a dance floor, and everyone looked real snazzy. Dad helped me pick out a suit. Jarred was looking cool, and we both showed up when it started to get a peek at the landscape.
Brianna walked in looking gorgeous.
Her dress was short and pressed against her, showing off her long legs. Way to make me more confused. I love the color on her dark skin. I was ready to shake off any doubts I was having, but the second she was standing next to me, she started checking her phone.
It’s only mildly annoying. Everyone we know was there. Who was she texting? But I think I’m just looking for an excuse, so I got her a glass of juice and proposed a toast.
To the end of the school, to the start of our adult lives, to the two of us. It looked like it was going to be a good night, until I spotted Summer in the crowd.
I don’t know how I’m so stupid I couldn’t figure out I was in love with her. Her in that dress, the gold shining against her, the soft smile, the exuberance for life. I asked the wrong girl to the dance, and it’s too late now. But Brianna was looking at her phone again, so I slipped away to say hi.
Her whole face brightened when she saw me. It was like a spotlight was on her. The whole dance faded away, and it was just the two of us, chatting and laughing, so ready for the school year to be over so we can finally be adults. So I have a good reason to say goodbye to Brianna and move on.
Which is the absolute worst way to think about it, but thinking about it that way meant I started openly flirting with her. The spotlight was on us. I couldn’t see around me. And maybe I was a little too obvious, because suddenly we were back at the dance, and Brianna was marching towards us.
She was friendly at first. She said hi to Summer and looked at me nervously. I was already aware I’d made a mistake.
“You wandered off,” she said pointedly.
“Sorry,” I said, and I know I didn’t sound it. “I was talking to Summer.”
Maybe it was my flippant response, but she went off.
“No surprise there!” she shouted. “Why would you pay attention to your girlfriend when Summer is around?”
“I’m sorry,” Summer started to say, and Brianna cut her off.
“Why are you apologizing?” she snapped. “It’s Quentin who’s dating two girls at the same time.”
“I’m not,” I said. I looked at Summer, and she didn’t meet my eye.
“It sure feels like you are.”
I took Brianna’s hand and stepped away from the dance floor. Just about everyone was partying down. She shuddered as we stood by ourselves.
“Brianna,” I said, and she pushed me away.
“I can’t even–” She sucked in a breath. “I can’t deal with you and her anymore. I was willing to ignore it when you told me you were friends, but I know you’re not.”
I wanted to argue with her and reassure her, but this wasn’t the time.
“I don’t know how I feel,” I said. “Because I like you a lot.”
“But you love her.”
“We knew this wasn’t going to last.” I needed to defend myself. “You’re going to move to San Myshuno. We were going to break up anyway.”
“So this is the way you handle it?” she shouted. “You thought you’d get one more fling in before we moved on?”
“That’s not how it was! I didn’t want to break up with you!”
“Well I’m saving you the trouble,” she said.
“What?” I was stricken.
“You’re right,” she said. “The two of us aren’t going anywhere after high school. There’s no reason to stick together. You clearly want to be here with someone else, and I’m just getting in your way.”
“Brianna,” I said, and she held up a hand.
“We’re done, Quentin.” She gave me a smile. “Enjoy the rest of your night.”
And without another word she walked away.
This wasn’t how I expected the night to go. I was in shock for a minute, and then I trudged back to the party.
Jarred was there and he saw my face. I told him what happened. Jarred’s better than a brother sometimes, and he slapped me on the back and pushed me onto the dance floor.
The rest of the night was pretty good, despite my mood. We danced, we drank, and Jarred kept my energy up so I could still have a good time. But I couldn’t help keep glancing at where Summer was on the dance floor.
She didn’t talk to me again that night. I feel like I’ve ruined my chance. She’s probably doing her best to forget about me.