I needed to cool down. That was it. Rashida and I both just needed to cool down. Maybe some space would do us good?
The library was usually empty at this time of day, since most of the school was still in class and those who, like me, had an empty period chose to spend it outside rather than surrounding themselves with more books. So, this seemed like a good place to get some quiet alone time and to think how my day turned out.
On the one hand, everything that came up in our fight was a valid point. I did have an issue with Rashida requiring constant contact with me, to the point of wanting to permanently shut my phone off at times. I did have a problem with her clinginess. And I knew I had to bring these things up at some point.
Of course, I didn’t know she had jealousy issues too. That certainly put things in perspective. But who knew, maybe this fight would make her see things my way at least a little bit? I could only hope.
Because I didn’t really want to break up. Not like this, at least.
All of this was giving me a headache. I began to wonder if my parents would mind if I decided to just call it a day and go home to take a nap. It would be more productive that staying in school and sulking.
Before I could make up my mind, the library door opened to let in the last person I wanted to see today: Morgan. And of course, I was sitting just where she could see me and I had no time to hide. Perfect.
“Phoenix?” she seemed surprised to see me. “Hey, what’s up? No offense, but you look like someone just forced you to drink unsweetened lemon juice. Are you ok?”
“Peachy,” I mumbled. “Just peachy.”
“If you say so,” she shrugged. “Although, if you’re ill, the nurse’s office is just downstairs.”
“Thanks for the concern,” I sighed. “I’m not sick though. Just had a bad day, that’s all.”
“Oh,” she nodded understandingly and sat down next to me. “Well, that happens. Usually, I just eat something sweet to cheer myself up on days like these. I have some candy, would you like it?”
“No, thanks,” I refused. “I was just thinking of going home and taking a nap, actually.”
“That works too,” she laughed. “What happened though? If it’s not a secret, that is.”
I wasn’t sure if telling her about my relationship problems was such a good idea. After all, I was pretty sure Rashida wouldn’t appreciate me discussing our private issues with another girl. But then again, she also threw a jealousy fit over someone who was practically family… and honestly, I needed to vent.
“My girlfriend and I got into a fight. She and I haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye on some things, and we both kind of exploded at one another. I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do now. Any advice?” I spilled the beans.
“Well, if you haven’t been agreeing on something for a long time, and all this crap kind of bottled up, it’s no wonder you two had a fight,” she explained as a matter of fact. “Sorry if I sound blunt, but anyone would tell you this.”
“No, you’re right. My sister told me something similar, actually. I just don’t know how to fix this situation without getting angry again and making everything worse,” I admitted.
“Well, I would suggest not doing anything just yet. If you’re angry, she probably is too. Give it a break, think everything over, and then talk to her. If a guy tried to make up with me immediately after a fight, I’d probably snap at him again,” she admitted.
“Thanks, for the advice,” I nodded. “I think I will go home after all, then. I don’t feel like staying at school at the moment.”
“Wait, don’t leave just yet,” she got a wicked grin on her face. “I know what can cheer you up right now. Come on!”
She jumped up, leading be down the hall, all the way to one of the teacher lounges. Students were usually not supposed to be here and it felt like we were breaking the law.
“Don’t worry,” she noticed my reticence. “No one’s going to be here until the end of this class, at least. And there is ice cream.”
“But it’s the teachers’ ice cream!” I whispered, looking around for any teacher that might show up.
“Nah, it was supposed to be for the students before Mr. Elms got a stick up his ass and decided to cancel the pre-exam party. There’s plenty of it – they won’t notice a couple of missing cans. And you need the sugar rush.”
There was no arguing with her on this. And the ice cream was delicious.
“So, do you do this often? Sneak around student lounges and go through their fridges?” I teased. She was right, the ice cream did do me a lot of good – my headache was already almost gone.
“Well, I’m usually assisting at the main office during this time, but everyone there is on some conference, so I basically have a free period too for today,” she laughed. “You wouldn’t believe how much gossip you end up hearing when you spend enough time around faculty.”
“Like what?” I was curious.
“Well, I know for a fact that there are at least two secret teacher couples,” she snorted. “Then, one teacher actually hired a PI to trail his girlfriend who he thinks is cheating on him, and another female teacher is trying to secretly get pregnant from her boyfriend. Also, it’s a good thing that none of these people are spies, since they are all really bad at hiding their secrets. I won’t name anyone though, but you’ll probably figure out all of them now by yourself.”
“This is better than a soap opera,” I leaned back in my chair. It was nice not thinking about my own problems for a change.
“Sure is,” she agreed, glancing at the clock. “Well, I think class is almost over and if you want to get out of school for today, you should be going now.”
“Thanks for the reminder,” I got up to leave before the halls were full of people. “And thanks for the ice cream.”
“No problem,” she waved away. “Oh, by the way – if you want to have some fun outside of school tonight – come to the Chill Out around 8 today.”
“The Chill Out? Isn’t that place 18+ only?” I asked stumped. The nightclub was where all the cool college kids went. Certainly they won’t let high-schoolers in.
“It’s supposed to be. But the bouncers are chill, as long as you don’t cause trouble on the dance floor. They’ve let me in plenty of times before,” she admitted.
“Oh,” I was about to say no. It wasn’t a good idea. Just me and her on the dance floor? A recipe for disaster.
“There are going to be others from school. Always are.” she informed me. “Like I said, the bouncer is totally chill.”
“You know what? I’ll be there,” I agreed. It was a while since I’ve had any fun and school was tiring enough without all of my relationship issues. I needed a break. And I wanted to check out the nightclub – after all, what was the point of all those age restrictions anyways?
“Alright then, 8 pm it is!” she reminded me, already heading out.
My parents were still at work when I came home, so they couldn’t complain about me ditching school. And it wasn’t like I skipped classes often. This was only the second time in my entire school career – they had no reason to worry.
After sending the babysitter on her way, I ended up spending hours with Felicity. She was always such a cheerful little girl – my baby sister never failed to put a smile on my face. These days, I really regretted being so negative about Mom’s late pregnancy. Who knew, maybe Felicity and I would be just as close as Millie and I always were?
When the time came, I got out my more stylish clothes. From what I’ve heard, the night club had some sort of a dress code and I had no intention of getting turned away at the door.
My parents didn’t question where I was going – they didn’t need to. Usually, whenever I left the house, I was going either to one of my friends’ house or on a date with Rashida. And no one in my circle ever expressed the wish to go clubbing. This was definitely a new thing for me.
The music in the club was already pumping when I got there. And there was the bouncer at the door. I felt hesitant. Maybe Morgan was wrong and the bouncer wasn’t as chill as she thought? After all, plenty of times, places like these would let in attractive girls to make the male customers have more of an incentive to go in. For all I knew, this lady was going to call the cops on me?
“There you are!” Morgan appeared behind me, clad in a tight revealing dress that showed off her legs. “Almost thought you’d change your mind!”
“Not a chance,” I shook my head.
“Let’s go, then, don’t worry, there are plenty of others inside already. We won’t even come close to standing out,” she pulled me towards the club door, where, just as she predicted, the bouncer didn’t even bat an eyelash at us.
Inside, the music was deafeningly loud, with the boomboxes blasting high-energy songs with the beats that were just right and I felt myself wanting to dance, to release all the negativity of the last few months out of me.
And Morgan wasn’t kidding when she said we won’t be the only underage ones here – I was pretty sure I recognized some familiar faces from school. I understood them though — we were all just here to have a good time. So we kept on dancing.
Some were better at it than others. I like to think I have pretty good moves, but honestly, I had nothing on Morgan. I had no idea if she took dance lessons outside of school or if she just frequented clubs like these often, but she never missed a beat and her moves were always on point. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught several other guys at the club give her wistful glances. I didn’t blame them, I felt the same way.
Some part of me felt guilty. This was the exact opposite of resolving my relationship issues. Yeah, there were others here, but it was clear Morgan and I were here “together”. Even if it was just a friendly outing, I was still breaking my promise to myself to avoid her company.
“Hey, come on, dance!” she pulled me back to the dance floor, noticing my momentary spacing out. “Aren’t you having fun at all?”
“I am,” I shouted over the music. It was true. Despite the guilty feelings, this was the most fun I’ve had in a long while. “Thanks for inviting me here!”
“No problem!” she smiled, continuing to dance. I tried to keep up. I wasn’t planning to make going to nightclubs a regular activity, so I decided to take maximum advantage of this outing.
My thoughts drifted to Rashida again. I imagined taking her to a place like these. Instantly, I could picture her getting irked at the other girls looking at me, even if they did so by complete accident. I could see her either trying to compete with everyone else on the dance floor or trying to drag us out of here.
She wasn’t here tonight though, which made me feel a strange sense of… relief? Yes, that was it. Her absence was making me feel lighter than I’ve felt in months…
And right there on that dance floor, with the music still blaring loud, I knew it. My relationship was over. I just didn’t have it in me to fix it, because most of all, that required wanting to stay with the person I was in a relationship with. And the idea of staying with Rashida any longer, of dealing with her possessiveness made me want to scream. It would hurt, yes, but I would have to talk to her and end things for real.
And really, this was a long time coming.
As the music changed from the fast paced dance tune to a slower number, I also knew I didn’t just want to be friends with Morgan. I was having a good time with her, I was attracted to her, and I knew she didn’t just invite me out here tonight for me to relax – she’s was interested in me. Instinctively, we moved closer to one another until we were slow-dancing with one another.
“Phoenix?” she whispered. “Do you want to sit this one out? Your girlfriend-“
“No, I think I want to dance with you,” I looked her in the eyes.
“Alright,” she whispered back, grinning.
– Clara! What the hell are you doing here? Mom and Dad think you’re studying at your friend’s house!
– You should be glad I’m here tonight. Go in. Take a look at what’s going on in there.
– Just go see for yourself. And don’t shoot the messenger afterwards.
And so we danced together, with my hands on her hips and her arms pulling me closer and closer, to the point of our lips nearly touching, until this bliss was interrupted by the last person I wanted to be here.
“Phoenix?! Well, asshole, I see you’re making great use of our break,” Rashida screamed at me. It seemed like she came out of nowhere and she looked furious.
“Rashida? What are you doing here?” I pulled away from Morgan, who was looking on all of this with an uncomfortable expression.
“Me?! I’m not the one making out with someone else! Here I was, thinking you actually wanted to fix our relationship, but it looks like you’ve already moved on with her, you bastard!” she spit out bitterly. “Consider our break permanent.”
“Ok,” was the only thing I managed to get out before she stormed out of the club. This was not how I wanted to end things, but the chances of her being in this club by pure coincidence tonight were so minimal that she must’ve been trailing me. And that would’ve been the final nail in the coffin of whatever was between us, even if I didn’t decide to break up already.
She could think I was the worst person in the world, but if that meant our relationship was over, then so be it.
“Um, I’m really sorry about this,” Morgan mumbled, looking down at her feet. “I didn’t know your girlfriend would be here. Damn, I didn’t mean for you to get broken up with…”
“Don’t be,” I shrugged. “I was planning to break up with her tomorrow anyways. She just beat me to it.”
“Still,” she bit her lip, “This did not go well.”
“It happened,” I stated. “It’s probably for the best, though. Because there’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time.”
“What?” Morgan cocked her head to one side.
“This,” I admitted before pulling her into a passionate kiss. To my delight, she responded just as eagerly.
As we pulled away, she had a huge smile on her face. “I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt that way,” she purred. “Is this why you’ve been avoiding me lately?”
“Pretty much, yeah. Are you angry?” I asked.
“I’ll forgive you after another kiss,” she smiled.
Before I could deliver, I felt someone’s strong hands grab me from behind and pull me away from Morgan.
“That’s it, young man, you are grounded for at least a month!” Dad growled as he dragged me out of the club.
All I could do was mouth “I’ll see you in school,” at Morgan before we left the building.
And despite being grounded, I couldn’t help but grin the entire ride home, to the increased discontent of my parents.