When Laura didn’t answer me, I asked again, slower and with more anger. “How… could… you?”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Laura said with a furrowed brow and pursed lips.
“You know what I mean, Laura,” I snapped with obvious aggression. “Why would you make up all of those blatant lies and then put it on the front page of the school paper?”
Laura shrugged her shoulders and stuck her nose up higher in the air as she said, “What, I’m just an effective journalist.”
I rolled my eyes as I stuck one fist on my hip and the other pointing a finger in Laura’s face. I wasn’t even trying to hold back my anger. “You know darn well that that is not journalism. That is gossip column mediocrity. Now the entire school knows that you lied.”
“Do they though?” Laura asked rhetorically.
I looked around to see our classmates videoing us on their phones. Why is everyone so interested in my love life?
“Yes, they do,” Taylor said as he stepped next to me putting his arm around my shoulders and pulling me close to him. I relaxed a little being in his arms and taking in his cologne, but my emotions were still burning with fire.
“I’m not so sure everyone is convinced,” Laura said snarky. “I may have added a few extra juicy details for flare, but those pictures were very much real, and so is your relationship with Kade.”
“I am not in love with Kade,” I said through clenched teeth.
“Gracie, you’ve told me so many times that you weren’t in love with Tay either,” Laura said. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye with what looked like a loathsome glare. “Yet, here you stand. So graciously wrapped around each other. Like two love sick puppies finally being honest for the first time in two years.”
Taylor flinched and I could tell that Laura was starting to get to him.
“Tay and I are honest with each other,” I said. “We don’t keep secrets from each other.”
“Like being in love with each other?” Laura asked.
“If I could interject here,” Taylor said clearing his throat. “I think we both knew deep down we were in love with each other, but we didn’t want to ruin our friendship.”
Laura threw her head back and laughed in an incredibly sarcastic tone. “Oh really, Tay? You are always honest?”
Why did she say always as if she knew something else? At this point all her journalism bunny trails are leading towards a catastrophe, so I decided to take it with a grain of salt because I didn’t want to be anywhere near that drama bomb.
Taylor shoved his free hand in his pocket and looked down at his feet, showing that he was giving up this fight that really wasn’t even worth having, but unlike my chivalrous boyfriend, I wasn’t going down that easy.
“Yes, Laura,” I said. “He is always honest with me. Like, what is your problem? Why did you start hating me the second he showed up?”
Laura looked me square in the eye and said in a shallow voice, “You have no idea what you did.”
She turned and started to walk away from me, but I started following her down the hall. I grabbed her shoulder and pulled her back around so we were standing face to face, our noses nearly touching.
“No,” I said. “You don’t get to just walk away from me. We are having this conversation. Right here. Right now.”
“You know what Gracie?” Laura said, throwing her books down. “The world doesn’t revolve around you. I don’t have to do a thing you say because I’m not your little puppet just waiting at your beck and call.” She shoved her hands into my shoulders making me take a step back, but not hard enough to actually knock me down.
“You never were a puppet, Laura,” I said with animosity.
“Oh yeah, who was the one you called when your parents were fighting?” Laura asked.
“That isn’t fair, that is just being a good frie—” I said before Laura interjected and continued on.
“Who was the one who crawled through your window at night when you needed a friend to talk to?”
I stood there, not knowing how to respond to the girl who used to be my best friend.
Laura continued on, “Who was the one who brought you your favorite snack every Friday for lunch since Kindergarten? Who was the one who took you on every family fourth of July camping trip since sixth grade? Who was the one who came over when your dog of ten years died? Who was the one who introduced you to your beloved tennis? Who was the one who bought you your first racket for your twelfth birthday with all of her babysitting money? Who was the one who let you cry on their shoulder anytime any little, tiny, bad thing happened in your life? Who was the one, Gracie?”
I continued to stand there, and I wanted to say something, but I still couldn’t find the words.
“Because it sure wasn’t him,” Laura stated, pointing a finger at Taylor, but still looking me square in the eyes. “And I am no longer your puppet.”
Laura bent down and picked up her books, and without even giving me a second glance, turned on her heels and walked away from me. I wanted to chase after her and tell her I’m sorry, but I didn’t think it would do any good. I wanted to tell her that she meant so much to me even now, but I knew it would fall on deaf ears. She had loved me like a sister once, and now she knew me as her enemy, and that stung.
Taylor and I may be best friends now, but Laura and I go back to childhood best friends. We had been friends since we were five years old. A part of me will always be with Laura, and nothing was ever going to be able to change the time we spent together.
I started to tear up as a part of my heart began to grieve, perhaps for the first time, the friend that I once had, realizing that I will most likely never be able to have that friendship ever again.
Today was a difficult day. It was quite melancholy and bittersweet. On one hand I finally have the guy I have been in love with for two years, but on the other I have been embarrassed beyond imagination and just got raked over the coals by my ex-best friend.
And it was only Monday morning.
Book Club Questions: Why do you think Laura's being such a brat?