I am so surprised that Lizzie agreed to tutor me. I was sure she was going to tell me to get out of her face. I am so relieved that she didn’t. With her tutoring, I should improve in no time. I had done so much damage to my grades thanks to the incident with Brad, that it is going to take a lot of studying and extra credit to get my grades up. I can only hope.
After I get off from my class, I head downtown to the grotto.
I haven’t really hung out at the Grotto for a while so it is nice to be back. I immediately head over to a pool table and break in the game. Although I haven’t played in a while, I am still pretty good. I end up hustling a few guys before heading back out.
As I continue along down the street, I come across a fashion store that looks almost like a replica of the one back in Aberdale. With excitement, I head inside.
I browse through the store and sure enough, it is the same as the one back home. I find a pair of shoes marked down to twelve dollars and purchase them. Who knows when I’m going to find a steal like that again?
After leaving the store, I head down the street further into town. Night has fallen and now the sky is lit with street lampposts. It’s a lukewarm night and I can smell the scent of grass and leaves in the wind. It has been quite a while since I have taken a walk down town. It is very relaxing.
Looking to my left, I see a cosmic glowing building ahead of me. It catches my attention and not being able to stop myself, I cross the street and wander into the parking lot.
As I approach the building, I nearly run into someone coming out the door. I recognize him as Michael, Lizzie’s friend.
“Hey,” I say with a smile. “You are Michael right?”
Michael nods. “Guilty. And you are Abby, Lizzie’s best friend?”
“Well, ex-best friend.” I don’t know why I added that part. It was so unnecessary.
Michael smiles. “Ah, that’s right. Are you two still not talking?”
I am a bit thrown. I wasn’t aware that he knew about what was going on with Lizzie and I. “Well, I guess we are now. Lizzie agreed to tutor me for a few of my classes.”
“Well that’s a start,” says Michael.
“You know, Lizzie may not say it, but I know she misses you.”
“And you would know that how?”
“I can tell. Just like I can tell you miss her too.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Really? And how would you know that? We don’t even know each other.”
Michael laughs. “I can be pretty intuitive.”
“Right.” I giggle. I’m starting to see why Lizzie is friends with him. There is something about Michael that I like.
“So, are you heading inside?” he asks, pointing to the arcade building.
I shrug. “I was thinking about it.”
“Well, if you do, you should check out the Darwin’s revenge upstairs. Careful though, it can be addictive.”
I laugh. “Thanks, but you know, you could just show me.”
Michael smiles. “I’d love to.” Just as we are about to go in, I look over his shoulders and spot someone watching us from not too far away.
“Lizzie?” I say in surprise. Her expression is a mixture of surprise, annoyance and hurt. What was going on with her?
Michael looks over his shoulder. “Lizzie? Is that you?”
Lizzie doesn’t say a word. She just turns and starts back down the sidewalk. What was up with her?
“Um, I actually need to go,” Michael then says, all of a sudden. “Raincheck on the gaming?”
“Sure,” I say. I then give him my phone number and he hurries off after Lizzie. I look after them for a minute and then head inside the arcade building.
Upon entering, I spot a Skeeball machine that catches my attention. I immediately head over and get into a fun game. It brings back so many memories from high school. I remember going to the arcade in Aberdale with Lizzie every afternoon after school and competing against each other for the highest score. Those days seem so far away. I only wish I could go back to them. Things used to be so simple then.
After getting the high score of the night, I end my game and head upstairs. I want to see the game that Michael was talking about. I have to say, I really like the Cosmic feel to the place.
Before going over to the game, I get caught up in some space Galactica-like game. How have I never come in here before? This place is amazing! I know that if any of the Tri-Fruhms were to see me, I would never hear the end of it. Then again, I wasn’t really a Tri-Fruhm anymore, so I guess it doesn’t matter.
Michael ends up being totally right. As soon as I start playing Darwin’s Revenge, I become completely addicted. It takes a while but I finally get myself up to the third level. I am so into the game that I don’t notice when it is time for closing. It isn’t until the arcade manager comes and taps my shoulder that I realize I need to head out. Regrettably, I leave my machine and walk back downstairs.
I am stunned when I reach the bottom of the stairs and see Charlotte and Clare standing in the arcade lobby. What on Earth would they be doing here?
“Why did we even both coming here?” Clare was saying. “This is a nerd hangout. They aren’t going to give us funding.”
Charlotte scoffs. “Clare, this is business. We don’t really have a choice. Because of the mess Abby put us in, we lost a lot of our investors that support our sorority in the Greek Olympics. Besides, some of the people who hang out here are on the college board. They will be factoring in whether or not we will be taken off suspension.”
Clare curses. “That bitch,” she says.
I try to back up the staircase, but I am not able to do it fast enough.
“Speak of the devil,” Charlotte says, and Clare turns and spots me.
“Abby? What the hell are you doing here?” She then laughs. “Don’t tell me this is your new hangout? Wow, you have really hit rock bottom.”
I climb back down the last steps and face Charlotte.
“Hey Charlotte.” I hadn’t spoken to her in a long time.
“Abby.” She does not look happy to see me.
“You sure have caused us a lot of trouble thanks to your stupidity,” says Clare.
I glare at her. “Would you just shut up?”
“Well she’s got a point Abby,” Charlotte snaps. “I should have never allowed you in. Because of you, we are on the boulder line of being expelled.”
“It was an accident Charlotte,” I say tiredly. “Besides, my professor wouldn’t have figured it out if someone hadn’t tipped him off.” I look in Clare’s direction.
“Wow, now you’re playing the blame game?” Charlotte shakes her head. “You definitely were not Tri-Fruhm material.”
“Or girlfriend material,” Clare adds with a smirk. “Thought you’d like to know Brad and I are back together now.”
I look back and forth between them and then scoff.
“You know what?” I sneer, “You’re right! I am not Tri-Fruhm material. I am not a cold-hearted bitch that destroys others lives to make myself feel powerful. Because that’s all you guys are. I am an actual human being with feelings. I hope that the College Board keeps you on probation and eventually shuts your chapter down. This school would be better off without you. And you are right. This place would never sponsor you.”
Charlotte just stands giving me a look of disgust. When I finally finish, she just gives me the same look and turns to Clare.
“Let’s jet,” she says to her. “This girl is a waste of our time.”
“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” I say to her and then I walk to the door.
“Watch your back Clawson,” Clare calls after me, but I ignore her. It feels so good to tell them off and I am not going to let anything ruin that moment
When I enter back into my room twenty-five minutes later, it’s ten O’ clock. Noel is already asleep in her bed. I tiptoe over to my dresser, change into my p.js and then walk over to my bed.
I then slip under the covers, for the first time in a long time, feeling satisfaction. I had finally put both Charlotte and Clare in their place. I was still reeling however from Clare’s comment about Brad. So, he had decided to officially start dating her again. Wow. Somehow, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it had something to do with me leaving the frat house after spending the night with Charls. Speaking of which, I hadn’t heard from him ever since that night. Even when I saw him, it seemed like he was trying to avoid my gaze. It was really starting to bug me, a lot. I mean, after all, we had slept together.
Then again, I had basically begged him to pretend it didn’t happen. Maybe he was just doing as I asked. Oh well, it’s not like I care. “We’re just friends,” I tell myself, but as I slowly slip into slumber, my mind drifts back to that night at the party; the feeling of Charls soft lips upon mine and the warmth of his body as we lay pressed against each other. Could it be that there was more to that night than I had originally thought?