It never just stopped with the truth.
"Juliet! Stop! Wait, pause?" Ryan yelled through the crowded hallway, causing me to stop with a laugh caught in my throat.
"So glad you're here now." I blurted out once Ryan caught up to me. I was still staring at my schedule. I pushed it in to his hands. "Read, explain? I'm confused as to where everything is and there are A and B signs and... Why does this place have to be so huge? There are way too many rich people."
Ryan laughed, "Yeah. Rich people don't have a lot of shit to do... Can you blame them for having sex so often?"
I rolled my eyes, envisioning ... sex. "Oh god Ryan. Please don't ever mention sex again. The visuals I get are not good ones."
"Pinky promise." Ryan replied, hooking his pinky to my own.
I followed beside him, letting the sounds of the other students drift away.
"Julietttttttt!" Suddenly Ryan was drawling out my name.
"Yes?" I blinked, realizing he had stopped and was staring at me. "Oh. I'm guessing this is our classroom?" Wow, and I got a scholarship here? I wasn't proving myself very intelligent.
Ryan just giggled, "Yeah, this is actually oceanography. I'm psyched that you're taking it with me!"
We quickly took our seats and as the teacher began talking I stole a glance at Ryan. He was intensely staring down at his phone, causing me to smile. Out of curiousity I scribbled something down on a piece of paper and passed it to him.
So, you're gay?
I wasn't sure if what the person had said earlier was accurate, not that it really mattered. I wasn't homophobic... and it wasn't like I was crushing on Ryan after two conversations. I was genuinely curious. I hadn't met too many gay people. Actually... Ryan would be the first, if he was in fact gay.
Ryan read it and quickly scribbled back,
Does it matter?
I looked to Ryan but he wasn't looking at me and I could see a faint blush creeping upon his face.
I wrote back,
Does it bother you that I'm poor, and heading towards being the most socially unaccepted person in this school?
I mean come on, we were just waiting for the sharks to attack again. My blood had been the broken bag earlier before I even entered the school. When sharks smelled blood you were toast, bloody toast.
The paper was passed back to me but Ryan had written nothing. Did that mean... he was bothered? Then I felt his soft hand press against my cheek, turning my face to his own face. I watched, mesmerized. He really was quite beautiful. What was with rich people and being attractive? I had yet to see anyone ugly in this school. Oh wait, that would be me. The poor girl.
Just say it Ryan. Just say you don't want to be my friend. Say you're bothered that my family doesn't have the money that you do. Tell me that my broken bag embarrassed you earlier, and my clothes embarrass you even further. My dress was only 8 dollars at Ross. Laugh at me, if you must... but do it fast! I couldn't tear my eyes away from his and as he leaned closer I couldn't even form a thought, other than... Please don't hate me... for being me.
Ryan's lips were soft and tasted faintly of vanilla. His tongue danced upon my lips, begging for entry. Once inside... He... oh god, he was a damn good kisser.
"Ehhumm." The teacher cleared her throat loudly, but said nothing as we pulled away.
My face burned brightly. I'd never before behaved like that in a classroom setting I'd forgotten we were in class...
"Does that answer your question?" Ryan whispered in to my ear.
I glanced down at my textbook, biting my lip. "Both of them, actually." I choked out.
Either he was straight or... I just shared my first kiss with a gay guy.
The pencil I'd been outlining my drawing with broke in half, falling from my desk.
Ryan Ross just kissed Juliet.
What the hell was going on?
... and why did it matter to me?
It was stupid and immature, something more suited to a fifth grader. My lips just parted and out slipped the words. I silently prayed that Chelsea would keep her mouth shut but I wasn’t stupid enough to believe that praying would stop her loose lips from sinking my very appetizing ship. She was angry. The new girl; The poor girl... The person who shouldn’t matter was outshining her. Through out each class Juliet had answered many questions, impressing each teacher. Chelsea sank in to her own corner, attempting to send hateful signals to Juliet without actually saying anything. She was sizing her up so that she could tear her down. I knew Chelsea too well. So, why did I give her more ammunition?
By the time I reached the table I normally sat at during lunch the rumors were swirling around, having reached every single person within a ten mile radius of the school. Actually 23 might be more accurate. Chelsea had her ways.
Juliet’s simple ‘bulimia’ problem that had already passed became so much more and every single fucking time the story was told it got more and more dramatic.
It had reached the point of no return and now the entire school thought Juliet was on her death bed, or something even more ludicrously incorrect. Death bed was pretty damn close though. I’d seen girls she hadn’t even met crying in the hallway, sobbing about her impending death. Those were the emotional ones. The rest of the school snickered and rolled their eyes, whispering more rumors.
It never just stopped with the truth.
It never should have started.
“What?” I could tell something was wrong immediately. Ryan’s face had paled and that was saying something. That boy had less color than I did. I thought someone had to be dead to accomplish that!
He was sitting at the table he’d asked me to meet him at, his thumbs were declaring war on each other as he nervously looked away from me.
“This is bad.” Bad how? Bad, as in my pencil broke and I don’t have another one... Or bad, as in the sky is falling?
“Care to elaborate?” I was trying to sound unconcerned but in all reality I was quite concerned. What could be so ‘bad’? We were in high school for godssake.
“I don’t know where it started Juliet but...” Ryan sighed heavily. “I guess this was the unavoidable. This shit always happens here.”
“I still don’t know what we are talking about Ryan.” Was an explanation really that hard to give?
“There’s a rumor going around that you’re bulimic or anorexic or some shit.” Ryan said, shaking his head. “I mean, the rumor has been so distorted that I’m sure you have every eating disorder on record now.”
I felt the history textbook I’d been gripping so casually fall from my hands, straight on to the grass. The pages could fall out for all I cared. The edges could tear. The grass could stain each page, covering something of historical importance. It just didn’t matter.
“It’s not that big of a deal Juliet.” Ryan immediately said, standing up. “Rumors like this always pop up and you’re... in good physical condition so I guess it’s to be expected that some people will get jealous.”
All I could do was shake my head.
“It’ll fade away. Rumors always do.” But it wasn’t a rumor. It was the truth. I was bulimic at one point in my life. Bulimia never really disappeared. It would always follow me. The only person who actually knew I struggled with it at this school was... Brendon.
I guess Ryan really wasn’t wrong about him.
He might’ve been nice to my face but... the knife sticking out of my back proved that I couldn’t trust him with anything.