The following is an excerpt of Chapter 12: The Break Up, Part One. Click here to read the chapter in its entirety for just $0.99
Chapter 12: The Break-Up, Part One
“It’s just getting harder and harder to come here every day, you know?” Beth asked as they slowly made their way to school. “How many more weeks of this do we have to do?”
“Well,” Ruth answered, “I don’t know about weeks, but school’s out in May, and we’re in January, so…”
“Stop it,” Beth interrupted, “Why couldn’t we do that college class internet-thing?”
“I don’t remember. Something about experiences, and the best year of our lives, or something like that. I don’t know,” Ruth shook her head, “I think talking about it all the time is only going to make it all worse, you know?”
“Gosh, you sound just like my mom,” Beth responded, “She’s all like, ‘Oh, come on! How bad could it be?’ and stuff. Let’s drag her in there and see how bad it be.”
As they drove out of their neighborhood and drifted into the decaying area that had yet to be revitalized around the school the drive turned silent. Ruth gripped the steering wheel with both hands firmly as both friends looked straight ahead. Colorful buildings zipped by as bus stops crowded with waiting travelers. The heavy tension in the car combined with the anticipation of what manner of violence awaited at school to provide everyone and everything in their surroundings with an ominous feel. “I remember when this drive used to have charm. I think it was in August,” Ruth mused.
Beth finally broke and said with a bit of panic, “If we could only skip lunch, you know?” she looked over at Ruth, “I just wish we could leave before lunch.”
They pulled into the parking lot while silently considering her wishes. “Yeah, I just, you know, I just don’t know what talking like that is going to do for us,” Ruth returned while they were forced to stop behind a line of cars. “What’s going on with this?” she asked rhetorically as she was directed toward a parking aisle by a tall white kid in a letterman’s jacket. More athletes waited for them as they followed directions into one of a series of vacant spots that were surrounded by old pick-ups and muscle-bound jocks.
“Can you believe it?” Beth muttered, “Getting to school’s like entering an embassy or something.”
“Hey, Beth!” a familiar voice shouted as they emerged from the scratched BMW, “Isn’t this awesome!? These guys really care about us!” Meghan was shouting from a couple spots over while trying to keep two boys’ attention. “Hey, Smithy… Thank you!” she tried to purr at one of the football players.
“All right, just go,” Beth directed.
“Hey, what’s your hurry?” Meghan demanded.
“Oh, we’re just a little worn out from everything that’s been goin’ on. You know?” Ruth offered.
“Oh, you mean like your car and stuff? Yeah, I was really sorry to hear about that. But look at it, now we get to have these guys welcome us every day, you know?”
“Oh, it will be something,” Ruth demurred as they hurried toward the double-doors leading into St. Bart’s. “Muh gosh, the dramatics,” Ruth muttered as they crossed into the familiar territory of their school, “How could anyone think that-”
“WHITE chicks! Rich WHITE chicks!” was chanted upon their entrance while interrupted Ruth’s grumbling. A small crowd began to grow around the two shouting individuals that had positioned themselves in front of the doors for the apparent purpose of yelling at Ruth and Beth, or anyone of their motif. “WHITE chicks! Rich WHITE chicks!” the chant continued while picking up momentum that could be heard over the usual hallway din.
“What could be going on now?” Beth murmured.
“I know, isn’t it so exciting!?” Meghan wondered as she pressed in doors while struggling against the crowd to try and see what was drawing all of the interest while oblivious to the derogatory incantations that strove to include her. “Whoa! It looks like Cholo and Lucy are fighting again!” she observed with delight.
“Shocker!” Beth whispered, “Let us know the details?” she asked while feigning interest and looking back at Meghan. “What am I saying, of course she will,” she remarked back toward the spot she had last known Ruth to occupy, but instead found herself staring into a puddle of strange faces.
“I don’t get it,” Meghan wondered, “Lucy’s not a white chick. Why are they saying ‘white chicks’?”
“Yeah, I’m not sure they’re yelling at Lucy. Come…ON!” Beth returned while surveying the crowd for Ruth.
“What’s your problem?” an apparently outraged white-girl wearing a black collared shirt and a great deal of makeup demanded to know.
“I, uh…no problem,” Beth stammered through the surprise.
“Don’t none of this concern you! If you don’t like it, why don’t you go do something about it?” she shouted while turning away from the hall’s first fight between Cholo and Lucy to threaten the initiation of another.
Ruth emerged from the crowd in time to pull the frozen Beth away from danger. “So much for feeling safe after lunch, right?” she tried to joke.
“Where…where’d you go?” a flushed Beth haltingly asked.
“Crowd consumption…,” Ruth answered.
By the time homeroom rolled around, a shaken Beth was moving very closely to a less confident Ruth as they trudged down the hall. Spurlock was standing by the door with a more determined look about him and watched both girls approach from far away. “There’s someone in there that needs to see you two. I’m going to try and keep things private.”
Ruth looked in and saw a distraught Lucy Ordonez. “Hey, just wait a minute,” Beth was clutching her arm, “What’s going on?” she whispered
“I don’t know, that’s why we should go and talk…,” Ruth hissed back.
“All right, but just walk through this with me,” Beth was incredulous, “Say she’s in there because she’s been fighting with her G-boyfriend. Now say she’s looking for advice, and let’s say that it gets spun around that we’re in there telling her to lose him. How many big-fat Chicanas do you want to try and fight this year?”
“Well, I’d like to keep it at zero, but she helped us out, remember? The basketball game?”
Beth clenched and squeezed her face together as tight as both of her fists could manage and yelped, “All right! But I have a really bad feeling about this!”
“You’re so charming,” Ruth muttered as they walked toward Lucy who was gently sobbing in the far front corner. “What’s going on?” Ruth asked.
Lucy looked up. Tears had stained her cheeks and her eye makeup had nearly vanished from the weeping and dabbing. “I’m sorry, you guys. I just didn’t know who else I could try and talk to, you know?” Ruth sat down and put a hand on Lucy’s arm as she continued, “Cholo’s back, you know? He’s really mad that I was hanging out with Hugh. And now those rumors are back. You know? About the bathroom?”
Ruth looked up at Beth and let her eyes grow wide. Beth looked down and shook her head while mouthing ‘no’. Ruth nodded her head and silently mouthed ‘ask her’. Beth cocked her head to the left, closed her mouth tight and let her eyes bug out of her head before asking, “Who’s spreading them?”
“I don’t know, everyone is saying it. It doesn’t matter cuz Cholo won’t say anything to make them stop. It’s almost like he believes everything that they’ve been talkin’ ‘bout me, you know?”
Ruth looked back and saw CC and Hugh talking to Spurlock at the door. Hugh looked at her and then at Lucy before looking back at Ruth. He nodded in agreement as Spurlock spoke and then made a direct line toward the three girls. “Hey, what’s up?” he asked as Lucy looked up and blushed.
“Hi, Hugh,” she managed while smiling under tear-ravaged cheeks.
“What’s wrong?” he asked again.
“It’s really nothing. I’m just a little bit…, I don’t know…”
“Cholo’s giving her some trouble about those Homecoming rumors,” Ruth summarized.
Hugh looked down at his desk and said, “I don’t get it, I thought you guys had broken up.”
Lucy looked downward and said, “Well, we don’t live very close and I don’t have a car, and when I didn’t see him at school anymore and he didn’t call me very much, I just kinda thought we were…broken up.”
“He’s…back…now,” Beth said as if she were choking. All in the classroom had assumed this resulted from her trademark sarcasm and immediately threw her looks of disapproval.
“I know, Beth,” Hugh said through thick irritation, “Can you maybe try to be cool for just a minute while we talk about it?”
“No,” she pointed to the doorway where Cholo was standing on his toes trying to peer into the classroom over Spurlock’s shoulder. “He’s here…in the doorway… He’s here now…”
“Oh no,” Gondola growled as he and CC stood up and began moving toward the door.
“So the rich kids trying to steal more ghetto booty?” Cholo demanded, “What’s the matter, the rich chicks don’t give it up or you get too many good times in the bathroom with our women?”
From behind the basketball players Lucy’s shoulders could be seen sagging as her boyfriend’s accusations sunk deep inside. Both Hugh and CC turned to see how she had responded and allowed Cholo a glimpse at his verbal handiwork. His face softened as he recognized the soft sobs that emanated from her gently quaking frame. But when Costa and Gondola returned their stares in his direction, he quickly set natural emotion aside and renewed the macho act.
“Real nice,” Hugh said walking toward the door, “Is it any wonder why nobody would want to keep hanging out with you?”
The confrontation with his romantic rival inspired his edge, and Rodriguez again pressed himself between the door and Spurlock and yelled, “This ain’t about me, bro! If you types don’t take girls into the bathrooms and make them do things then they wouldn’t be feeling all bad!”
“Just go,” Gondola laughed, “If that’s all you got just go.” Hugh turned to walk back to Lucy leaving CC squared in front of Rodriguez and the two silently staring at one another as the security arrived and pressed their hands against Cholo to try and direct him away from the confrontation.
“You think this is over? This ain’t over!” he shouted into the room as he gave way and conceded his way and down the hall. “And go ahead and keep her!” he shouted one last time.
“It ain’t over,” Spurlock said as if he was mocking the situation while walking back to his desk, “Lucy, I think you should go home.”
“No,” she shook her head, “No, but thanks. It’s all done. We’re all done. I didn’t do nothing in no bathroom. You guys know that, right?”
Contact DS Palmer at email@example.com