Crush

20 Feb

By Le-Anh Crump
8th Grade

Jessie was never a friendly person, but she always had a special space in her heart for her best friend, Tara. Jessie sat at the round table with Tara and a few other friends at lunch like they usually did, when Tara suddenly got jumpy, tugging on Jessie’s arm.

“What now?” Jessie complained.

Tara replied in a nervous but excited tone. “You know that new boy, Calvin? Well, he got moved into one of my classes and sits right next to me!”

“And?” Jessie replied, rolling her eyes but grinning because of the juicy feeling that Tara had a crush.

“I think he likes me!!!”

Both girls squealed in delight, and the other tables started staring.

“Will I kinda have a crush on him.”

***

The next few days went by and Tara was waiting for a hint from Calvin. Nothing. Tara was getting a bit anxious, but she thought the time would come.

Later that month, Tara was getting aggressively impatient. She knew it was now or never because this build-up of confidence was going to ooze out of her body like lava from an active volcano. The next day she would recite her plan, and hopefully she would get a positive result.

“Hi, Tara!” Calvin said, sitting down next to her. “I heard you collect charms, so I got you this bracelet. Here, want me to put it on?”

“Uh, yeah, sure. Thank you, Calvin.”

Letting him carefully slip the beautiful bracelet on her, Tara remembered the task at hand.

“Oh uh, Calvin, I have to tell you something important that’s been bothering me.

“What is it?” he said, smiling, adjusting the bracelet.

“Well, I like you. I know you just broke up with your ex, but I’ll wait for an answer for a million years if I have to.”

Calvin froze, trying not to make eye contact and slowly moving his hands off the bracelet. “Look, Tara, yes it has been pretty recent and I don’t really think I can show the same feelings right now.”

A wave of regret suddenly washed over the volcano, turning the lava into solid rock. “I see,” Tara said slowly, sitting back correctly in her chair.

Class started and Calvin and Tara didn’t say a word to each other the rest of the day.

***

That night, Jessie tried calling Tara to find out what Calvin had said, but she didn’t pick up. By the third call, Jessie shrugged and gave up. Tara usually told Jessie if she was going somewhere without her phone.

The next day, Tara didn’t show up at school, which left Jessie sitting awkwardly with Tara’s friends. Later that day, after school, Tara’s parents called Jessie’s cell phone.

“Hi, Jessica. Tara has gone missing and we were wondering if you know where she is.”

“Oh, I don’t. I was actually going to call you guys to ask where she’s been or if she was sick.”

“Well, crap,” her mom said.

“Do you think we should call the police?” said Jessie.

“I think we should ask around first. But since you’re her best friend do you want to stay over this weekend and help investigate? Don’t worry, we would love to have you.”

“Okay, sure. See you later and good luck.”

So many thoughts were going through Jessie’s had. Where could Tara have gone? What happened with her and Calvin, and why did her parents take so long to call Jessie or even find out?

***

When Jessie arrived at Tara’s house she was surprised to see Calvin there with a nervous look on his face—unusual.

“Oh hello, Calvin. What are you doing here?”

“I don’t really know. I guess Tara’s parents only know me and you.”

“You’ve been here before?” Jessie said, smirking.

“Oh, no. I guess her brother heard me and her talking about some personal things…” he replied, drifting off.

“Kinky,” Jessie thought, not wanting to imagine what other things had gone on between them.

“So, do you have any idea why she went missing?”

“Well. Um. Not really,” he muttered.

“You see, you did not give me a valid answer. Yes or no?”

“I kinda…rejected her, but I don’t really think that was the reason, ma’am,” he said in a firmer voice that made my on-point eyebrows rise.

“Well, well, well, Calvin. It seems like you have murdered an innocent girl,” I said, circling around the kitchen table slowly.

“Hey! We don’t know she’s dead! She could be kidnapped for all we know!”

“Okay, fine. But I don’t understand why she would run away just because a boy rejected her. It’s happened a bunch of times.”

Calvin chuckled. “I didn’t really get to know much about Tara other than that she likes charms. How about you tell me a bit about her? So that way I know something about where she could have gone.”

“Okay,” Jessie said, and they had a long conversation about Tara and her adventures.

***

“…She’s kind of shy at first. She loves playing games and loves bunnies.”

“I should have gotten her a bunny charm then, huh?” Calvin said, chuckling.

Calvin always thought she was kind of quiet and shy, until she confessed, that is. The only reason he gave her a charm was because he wanted to be on the good side of all the cute girls even though none of them really interested him. He was a handsome rich boy, which usually got him all the ladies he wanted.

“We have a lot more in common than I thought,” Calvin said, smiling.

“Wait. That’s it!” Jessie said, with realization written all over her face. “The last three: shy, games, and bunnies!”

“Sorry, but I’m not sure what you mean, Jessie.”

“Tara tends to leave clues. Let’s go look in her room.”

Calvin, who was a bit uncomfortable about the idea of finding a shrine to him in Tara’s room, slowly trailed behind Jessie. It seemed odd to him that she went missing after their last confrontation, because they barely even knew each other in the first place. He shivered at the thought. What if Tara knew more about Calvin than he thought. He smacked himself in the face. Idiot, it’s probably not even about you, he said in his mind.

Jessie turned around, alarmed by the loud smack. “You okay?”

“Sure,” said Calvin dully.

When Jessie opened the door to Tara’s room, Calvin first spotted the giant bunny on her bed. Then, the note on its lap. Jessie picked it up, reading it aloud:

Hi bestie. I went away to visit hell.

***

Tara jumps off a cliff for an unknown reason and Calvin and Jessie hook up.

The End

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