“Have a nice day,” I smiled as the last child ran to their mother. As I walked back inside the school, Byron put his arm around me. “Byron, what are you doing?”
“Walking you to class,” he smiled.
“Very funny,” I took his arm off of me and opened the door to my classroom.
“So, absolutely no one is in your life right now?”
I sighed, “nope.”
“So, I’m not up against anyone?”
I looked at him, “Byron…”
“Okay, I’m sorry… Do you want to go out with me tonight? You look like you need to have some fun. David says you’re always cooped up in that house.”
“Since when do you talk to, David?” I made a face.
“Since we were roommates in college… Did you forget?”
“Oh yeah, I did…”
“So, do you want to go?” He asked as I went over to the chalkboard to erase my lesson. Maybe David and Byron were right. I do need to get out of the house. I’m always making a lesson plan for the kids. Or make that extra lesson plans, because I have nothing better to do. Byron is just a friend as far as I’m concerned, and I have none of those right now… “Shayla?”
I looked at him, “yeah. I’ll go with you.”
He smiled, “great! I’ll pick you up at eight.”
“I’ll be ready,” I forced a smile as he walked out of a my room with a big smile on his face. This should be interesting.
“Michael, Ola is here!” Mother called from the living room. I got up from my seat and made my way to her.
“Hey, Ola,” I hugged her, confused as to why she was actually here… “What’s up?” I put my hands in my pockets.
“I was in the neighborhood and decided to stop by and say hello,” she said shyly. “Also, to ask if you’d like to celebrate the première of the short film by going to the movies with me. This girl has been trying to get with me for a while. Should I let her down easy or just go with her?
“Michael would be delighted to go with you, Ola,” mother smiled. I gave mom the oddest look. “He needs to be around friends anyway. You know he doesn’t have many friends around.”
Ola giggled, “do you really want to go?”
I shrugged, “sure.” I may as well go since mom already volunteered me.
“Great! I’ll be waiting down here!” she said as I went upstairs to get ready. Ola has been nice to hang around for those lonely nights, but other than that I’m not too interested in her. We’re just friends… with benefits as far as I’m concerned. Nothing more and nothing less. I’ll be sure to let her know that this isn’t going anywhere further than where it already has.
“David, I’m home!” I walked in the house and placed my purse on the counter.
“So, you’re going out with Byron?” He asked with a sly smile as he walked into the room.
I rolled my eyes, “he told you?”
“Yeah. He finally got you to go out with him, huh?”
“I didn’t know you two were talking behind my back.”
“Well, you do need to quit focusing on those brats you call students and start focusing on yourself. I mean, just because Michael broke up with you, doesn’t mean you have to let go of yourself.”
“We lost contact.”
“Are you all still together?”
“…no,” I looked down.
“Then he broke up with you. You need to let the past stay in the past. Michael is old news. I never really cared for him anyway.”
“He’s too soft and too famous for you. He was never going to have time for you.”
“That’s not true.”
“It is true. You need a man, not some punk. And you need someone who is on your level, not some guy who’s probably got a girl in every state on speed dial,” he scoffed.
“He is a man, David. He’s a gentleman, like you should be. He would never have a girl in every area code. That’s not his nature. That’s probably why you’re not with someone now. Stop being so rude and condescending all the time,” I told him as I went up to my room. He is such a pain. We never got along as children, so why would I believe moving out here with him would change anything? I feel stupid going out with an old roommate of his. I mean… It can’t be that bad. Byron is actually better in a lot of ways compared to David. It’s sad that I think that of my brother.
“Shayla, what time is Byron picking you up?” he called from downstairs.
“Just answer the question.”
I sighed, “eight.” At that he walked away. Gosh… I don’t hate my brother, but I must admit I dislike his attitude. He must have gotten that from Grandpa, because neither one of my parents are like that.
“I’m leaving, Shayla. If you get home early, don’t wait up on me,” he called before he left. I finally get the house to myself. I’ve never thought to call Michael after I was well convinced that he broke up with me. Even after Matt tried to convince me that maybe a letter got lost, I never tried calling him. Maybe I should actually try this time. There is so much I want to tell him. I went to the kitchen and got the cordless and searched high and low in my room for his number. Low and behold, I found it in my little black phone book. I dialed the number in hopes that it was still the same. With Michael’s popularity, I’m sure the Jackson’s have been receiving phone calls left and right. My heart is literally racing right now as I’m waiting for someone… anyone to answer.
“Hello?” A woman answered. This could be one of Michael’s sisters.”
“Hi, my name is Shayla-Elizabeth. I’m not too sure if you remember me or not. Is Michael home?”
“Shayla? You were my brother’s girlfriend for a while, weren’t you?” She asked.
I smiled, “yes.”
“Gotcha! I remember you! I’m sorry, but he’s out with a girlfriend right now. Do you want to leave a message?”
My racing heart suddenly dropped in my stomach. Girlfriend? Well, I mean with all the fame and fortune, he was destined to find someone else in the nick of time, “um, you can tell him I just said hello,” I sighed.
“Yeah. Thank you,” I hung up. Well, I mean, life goes on. Did I really expect a man of his stature to try to contact little ol’ me? Or let alone wait for me? So, when he stopped writing, that was his way of breaking up with me. I guess all that fame has gotten to his head, because what a shallow way to do it! He could have just told me flat out instead of me having to come to the realization after a year. I don’t think I want to go out anymore. I feel sick.
After the movies, Old dropped me off at home. She understood when I told her our relationship was nothing more than what it was. I told her I didn’t want her to feel like I was taking advantage of her, so it’s best that we cut off our sexual relationship as well. Much to my surprise, she was so understanding. I was grateful. I went in the house to find Rebbie in the kitchen, “hey, Rebbie,” I went in the refrigerator to get some orange juice.
“Hey, Michael,” she looked up from her magazine.
“When did you get here?”
“About two hours ago. Oh, some girl called for you.”
I sighed, “who? A fan? You know we should really get our number changed,” I said as I took a sip.
“I guess,” she shrugged. “She said her name is Shayla-Elizabeth.”
I choked on my orange juice, “Shayla?!”
“Yeah, I told her you were out with your girlfriend, so she told me to tell you she said, hi.”
“What?! Ola isn’t my girlfriend!”
“Oh,” she made a face. “Well, Shayla said hi anyway,” she shrugged. Oh my gosh. Shayla thinks I’m dating Ola. This isn’t good. This is not good at all.