After finishing with his classes, Jim headed for the cafeteria. Usually, at the end of the day, everybody would meet up and hang out for a while. This is when Jim spent most of his time with Amanda - with the exception of weekends. When Jim got there, however, Amanda was nowhere to be seen. He found Tony and Christine sitting at one of the tables.
“You missed it,” Tony said as Jim sat down. “John and Linda were here and they had the mother of all fights.”
“Yeah,” Christine added, “and Linda went into a crying fit. Amanda left with her. She said she’d call you later.”
Jim felt a little disappointed but that was okay. After all they were going to spend a beautiful weekend together. “Did she say what time?”
“Na,” Tony said, as he shook his head, “she just rushed right after Linda. But you should get in touch with her soon. I’m going to spend the night at Christine’s. Maybe you should have Amanda stay with you.”
“Starting the weekend early, huh?” Jim asked, with a sly smile.
“You bet,” Tony said to return the smile. “And you should do the same so I don’t have to worry about her showing up and ruining all our fun.”
“Well,” Christine said, looking bored, “at least it would be fun for you.”
“Come on,” Tony said as he preceded to tickle her, “admit you’ll love it.”
After a couple of minutes of Christine laughing hysterically, she finally gave in to his demands. “All right,” she said in between chuckles, “I’ll pretend to love it.”
“Good enough for me,” Tony said, waving his hands in the air.
“If you’re spending the night at Christine’s,” Jim pointed out, “when do you plan to pack?”
“Already taken care of,” Tony said giving Jim the okay sign. “I packed when I skipped last period.”
“I see,” Jim said plainly. He then started to get up. “Since I’m not as prepared as you are, I guess I should get started. Tell Amanda to call me as soon as you see her.”
“No problem,” Christine said as she waved goodbye.
Jim walked into his room and immediately started to pack, as well as clean up. He didn’t want Amanda over if the place was a pig sty. It didn’t take as long as he thought it would. Since he had time, he decided to do some homework.
When ten o’clock came and went, with no phone call from Amanda, he decided to give her a call. “Hello,” came Christine’s voice from the phone. She was out of breath and Jim didn’t have to wonder why.
“Sorry to bother you,” Jim said in a fake polite voice, “but did your sister come home yet?” He realized that it was a stupid question after he stated it. After all, why would Christine be out of breath if her sister was right there.
“No,” she said, a little concerned. “I thought she was there. I told her to call you and she said she would. What do you think happened to her?”
“I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about,” Jim reassuringly said. “She’s probably over at Linda’s dorm. I’ll give her a call there, and you just go back to your . . . shall we say exercise?”
“Right,” she said, and you could almost hear the smile on her face. “Good night, Jim.”
He called Linda’s only to find that she was sleeping over there. He hung up the phone and swore to himself. Though he understood why Amanda would stay over there, he didn’t like it.
Jim pulled out an old picture of Stacy, which he kept even from Tony, and looked deeply at it. It was a picture of them holding each other by the dock. He smiled as he remembered the events of that day. They were standing by the dock watching the sun come down over the horizon. It was one of their first dates.
The memory of that sunset stood out in his mind. He remembered how they embraced each other and watched the sunset in admiration. It was a special moment and a beautiful event. It was the greatest moment of his life.
“Good night Stacy,” he said out loud, “wherever you are.” He started to wonder what would happen if they ever met up again. Would he grab her in his arms and hold her close or would he remember Amanda, the girl that picked him up when he was down? He did love Amanda with of his heart, but there was a part of him that couldn’t let go of Stacy. He just wondered, from time to time, what would happen.
He fell asleep on this thought.
6 Left Stranded
Jim reached the cafeteria seconds before Amanda and Linda. He sat there with Tony and Christine and watched them cross the room. Once again, Linda looked as if she was crying all night. “I don’t know if I’m coming with you guys,” Linda said when she reached the table. “John said he traded in his ticket and is going to spend the weekend with his new girlfriend.” It was hard to make out the last few words with all the sobs.
“Fine with me,” Tony said, uninterested.
Amanda shot Tony a foul look as she turned back to Linda. “Come on,” she said, urging Linda on, “we already talked about this. You have to come. We are going to have a blast. You and I can shoot the breeze or something while we’re out there.”
Those words suddenly filled Jim with anger. “Wait a second,” Jim blurted out, unable to hold back. “This weekend was supposed to be for us. You’re not telling me that your just going to leave me stranded, to hang out with your friend?”
Amanda gave Jim the dirtiest look of all time. “We’ll talk about this later,” she said, remaining calm.
“Fuck no,” Jim screamed, “we’ll talk about this right now!”
“FINE!” Amanda roared. She grabbed Jim by his arm, and led him into the hallway. “What was the meaning of that outburst?”
“You know damn well what the meaning of it was,” Jim said, not taking his eyes off her.
Amanda took a deep breath to keep her cool. “Listen,” she said, calmly, “Linda is my friend and I can’t leave her alone now.”
“But we’ve planned this trip for months,” Jim stated, his voice still loud. “As I recall, it was supposed to be me and you this weekend, not you and Linda. Give me a break!”
“I know this is not what we planned.”
“Well at least we got that straight,” Jim said sarcastically.
Amanda ignored that comment. “I know how you feel, but can’t you hear me out?” Jim nodded in disgust. “Linda is my friend and I can’t leave her alone at a time like this. I promise you the moment she’s feeling better, I’ll be all over you like you wouldn’t believe, I just can’t leave her. Please don’t be mad.”
Jim wasn’t mad . . . he was furious, but he understood. He wanted to tell her that it was either Linda or him, but he knew in his heart that it was wrong. “On one condition,” he said, raising his finger for emphasizing his point, “you make it as quick as possible, for I want you by my side ninety-nine percent of the time. Deal?”
“I’ll do my best,” she said as she hugged him. “I knew you would understand. I’ll go talk to Linda now, and finish this that much faster.” She kissed him on the cheek and ran off into the cafeteria.
Jim sighed, lowered his head and began to follow her. Tony met him by the door and pulled him out into the hallway. “Are you out of your mind?” He screamed. “I’m sorry for ease dropping, but you’ve got to get some balls when you talk to her.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jim soberly said.
“Well I do,” Tony said clearly upset. “This is a romantic getaway and you’re going to let your girlfriend spend it with her friend?”
“It’s only going to be for a little while,” Jim said, trying to believe it.
“Yeah right. We both know Linda and we know she is never happy. So what makes you think Linda’s going to be happy enough to let Amanda spend any time with you at all? What happened to you man? You use to have guts and now you’re a scared little cat stuck in a tree.”
“Oh that’s bullshit,” Jim said, angered by his friend’s comment. “What me and Amanda have is a good thing. I don’t want to screw it up.”
“She’s walking all over you.”
“That’s just what it looks like, but it’s not the truth!”
“Are you telling me that,” Tony said in a low calm voice, “or are you telling yourself that? Think about it.” Tony turned around and walked toward the entrance. He stopped and turned around. “Listen, I got to go to class. I’ll catch you later?”
“Yeah,” Jim said plainly. When Tony was gone, Jim hit the wall in frustration. He took a deep breath and walked toward the cafeteria.
He came face to chest with this brute of a man trying to walk out. Jim looked up at this monster and saw it wasn’t friendly. “You’re in my way,” it spoke in a deep scary voice. Jim, politely moved out of its way. “Pussy,” he said as he walked passed Jim.
Jim looked at him as he walked away. “Right,” he whispered to himself.
7 Arriving There
When the school day was finished, everyone met in front of the school. There was excitement in the air. There was plenty of talk about how everyone was going to have fun and get really smashed. It was going to be the greatest weekend of everyone’s lives. It was prophesied to be the party that ends all parties.
Jim was the only one not sharing the excitement. If he knew Amanda, which he did, he was going to spend the weekend alone. He thought about cashing in his ticket and saying to hell with the whole idea. That could be a waste. For all he knew Amanda just might spend a lot of time with him. It was a long shot but it was something to hope for.
They got on the bus and headed for pure adventure. Of course, Amanda sat with Linda and Jim got the pleasure of sitting next to a fat obnoxious kid. The kid spent a lot of time screaming with the rest of the crew. There was alcohol being passed around. At first Jim refused it. He just wanted to read his book and kill time.
Reading his book was more difficult than he thought. Maybe it was the noise or maybe it was the disappointment of not being with Amanda. Either way, he just couldn’t concentrate on his book. He put it down and took a couple of slugs of Jack Daniels.
Since Jim was a pure beer man, Old Jack must have put him to sleep. The last thing he remembered was taking a swig then suddenly they were there. He didn’t bother thinking about it. Instead, he got up and walked to the side of the bus with the rest of the group.
Amanda approached him, as he knew she would. “Listen, I’m going to go with Linda to her room. See you tonight, okay?”
“Don’t make it too late,” Jim said with a smile.
ace was as beautiful as in the brochure. But its beauty didn’t impress him much. It was missing just one thing, Amanda. He started to feel angry again. They were supposed to spend this time together. Why does she always have to be there for her friends? Why couldn’t she be there for him? Doesn’t Linda have any other friends? Why did it have to be Amanda?
When there was a knock on the door, a new feeling of excitement filled inside of him. He jumped up and opened the door, almost praying to see Amanda standing there. No such break.
Once the door was opened, Tony walked in holding a brown paper bag. “Oh good you’re in, I thought you might be out having fun or something.”
“You should be a comedian,” Jim said disappointed. “How come you’re not with Christine?”
“I figured I would give her a break from the love machine, if you know what I mean,” Tony replied, raising his eyebrows. “Besides, I thought you could use a little pick me up.” He pulled out two water guns from the paper bag.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” Jim asked. “Wet myself to death?”
“I’m sure you don’t need a water gun for that,” Tony quickly said. “I’m setting up a night of pure adventure and your coming up with wise cracks.”
“Sorry. What am I supposed to do with this?”
“A couple of the little kids are having a water gun fight, and I thought it was a good idea. So I talked to some of the guys and everyone is down for the war. You know, college kids versus the young punks.”
“How old do you think you are, anyway?” Jim asked, laughing.
“Twenty-two going on twelve,” Tony said seriously.
“You’re a nut case, you know that right?”
“Yes,” Tony said nodding. “So, are you in or what?”
“Sounds like fun,” Jim said smiling.
“Good. Let’s go before they start without us,” Tony said as he ran out the door.
Jim looked at his gun and shook his head. “I guess this is going to be the highlight of my weekend.”