Fiction

The Ides of March

It was the best and worst day of my life.

I look down at his head on my shoulder in the dark. He looks up at me.

I can’t help it. I’m staring at his lips, because I want to kiss him so badly.

“You know what they say?” he whispers. “You know that a girl wants to kiss you when she stares at your lips.”

I make a mental note to look only at his eyes for the rest of the time we’re together.

“What’s wrong?” Carmine says as we leave the theater, and I push his hand away from mine and get in the car.

“Shit, Siwan. Are you ashamed to be with me?”

He sounds hurt.

“Look, Carmine. I can’t do this.”

Now he looks hurt. “You, too?”

“See, we agree,” I say. But I feel kind of bummed about the fact that he does.

“No. I mean, I always thought you were different than everyone else at school,” he says.

“You think I could go to a party and chitchat with you and Gabby Gabby Hey? You think you could come to a LAN party and play World of Warcraft with Geraldo and Ginny and Mia?”

“Why not?” he says.

“Get real.”

Slam. Slam. Into the car. Into the silence. Into reality.

“Shit, Siwan,” he says again. “I like you.”

“Well, I like you, too,” I say.

I pull into the driveway of my house. We don’t say anything. We’re just quiet for a while. He takes my hand again. I let him hold it.

“So what are we going to do?” Carmine asks.

“Break up,” I say.

“Already? We haven’t even kissed,” he says. “We can’t break up until we’ve kissed.”

So I do what needs to be done. I lean over to him and I kiss him like the apocalypse is upon us. And he kisses me back like it’s his last day on earth. Moist lips, hot breath, delighted sighs, small hopeful murmurs. This kiss is arms that have been embracing for 1,000 years. It is hearts racing and slowing at the same time.

We pull apart, and I know it’s the best, most perfect kiss I’ll ever have in my life.

“See you,” I say.

I get out of the car and I walk away. Doesn’t matter, I remind myself. Could never have worked out.

Later, at Mia’s party, I go and get a beer from the cooler. Everyone is giving me a look.

“Where were you today?” Mia asks.

Are my eyes still red from crying? I didn’t think I was going to cry. But I did. I cried about having the best and worst day ever.

“I stayed home,” I say. “I had cramps.”

“I thought you got your period on the 25th,” she says.

Damn her.

“I know, weird, right?” I shrug.

I go into the living room. I sway to the music. I notice Carmine and his friends arriving. I want to wave. I don’t. He sees me. He nods. I nod back. He’s with Gabby Gabby Hey, who is rolling her eyes and looking at everyone like they are the losers she thinks they are.

I want to go over there. I want to say hello. I want to, but I don’t.

We’re not even going to say hello.

Mia comes up to me and I can feel her breathing. “Look who’s here,” I say to her.

I’m relieved that at least she’ll be excited that Carmine showed up. She’s always wanted him to come to a party. Normally, she would be excited. She would be climbing the walls. She would be freaking out. She would be over-the-moon happy.

But instead she’s calm and cold. “Look who’s leaving,” she says to me. She points to the spot and I notice that Carmine doesn’t even look at me as Gabby Gabby Hey ushers him out the front door. I bet he’s glad to have gotten out of here. I know I’m glad he’s gone. I couldn’t even say hello.

I feel deflated.

Mia stamps her foot and goes over to our friends in the corner, all standing in a huddle. Leaving me out. Leaving me to stand alone by the fish tank.

Are they whispering?

They are. My friends are whispering and pointing over at me. I pretend I don’t notice. Pretend it’s no big deal that I’m over here and they’re over there.

I take a sip of my beer.
    Might need a refill.
      Go get a refill.

I’ll come back and dance in the center of the living room and it’ll be all right.

Dancing.
    Swaying.
      Moving.
        Letting it all go.

Mia and the others confront me in mid-move. “I saw you kissing him, you know,” Mia yells. “I went to your house to see if you were OK. Imagine my surprise when I saw his car in your driveway. I saw you making out with him. How could you?”

“Slut,” someone says under their breath. They mean me.

“How could you be so cold that you forced him to leave? You could have kept him here. This was my one chance to hang out with him and now he’s gone. You’ve ruined my party! You’ve ruined my life!”

The other girls all nod in agreement. They start to hem me in so I can’t get away. I’m left speechless by how fast they turn from friend to foe. They hurl insults at me. Accusing me of bullshit. Of thinking I’m too cool for them. Calling me a liar. Not listening to my explanation. I’m not welcome here, because I spent the day with Carmine Dejena.

Total. Character. Assassination.

When they are done, I walk home. Feeling bloody. Feeling killed.

If this were a teen movie, my friends would understand. And I would get the guy.

But this is real life. This is me. I don’t get the guy.

I’m an outcast.

I’m socially dead.

What a waste of a perfect day. ♦

Cecil Castellucci is the YA editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and author of Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth, and The Year of the Beasts. She lives in Los Angeles.

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34 Comments

  • soviet_kitsch February 27th, 2013 11:12 PM

    OH MY GOD CECIL CASTELLUCCI!!! (*ノ´□`)ノ

    I WANT TO READ THIS EVERY DAY 10/10

  • InProgress February 27th, 2013 11:20 PM

    Wow. THIS is REALLY good. I can totally see this happening. Best thing I’ve read in a LONG time. Kudos

  • lydiamerida February 27th, 2013 11:31 PM

    Ahhhh this was so good

  • Cass February 27th, 2013 11:38 PM

    I WAS SO INTO THIS STORY A PART OF MY SOUL DIED WHEN IT ENDED. This was beautifully written and perfect.

  • marineo February 27th, 2013 11:38 PM

    this is so awesome :D

  • chloegrey February 27th, 2013 11:47 PM

    holy shiiiittttt this is so good and, like, painful, like that was three pages and I feel like I just went on an emotional roller-coaster and that sort of thing does not usually happen to me!
    *brief internet rummaging*
    WAIT SHE WROTE PLAIN JANES? I LOVE THAT BOOK! aaaah

    http://oboebonobo.tumblr.com/

  • gr-ass February 27th, 2013 11:55 PM

    loved this so much

  • thefilmrookie February 28th, 2013 12:04 AM

    OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD! This is kind of how my life feels like right now, actually. There is this one boy who around his friends is a total robot and conformist, but when its just me and him he can be super sweet and funny and nice and DIFFERENT. I relate to this.

    http://www.pink-lantern.tumblr.com

  • Jessica W February 28th, 2013 12:49 AM

    This is flawless. This captures young love/crushes so well. I feel like everyone can relate to this. The teenage love, where everything is so intense, yet so easily dismissed…
    Thank you <333

    The Lovelorn

  • FlaG February 28th, 2013 12:52 AM

    “Leg. Calves. Butt. Back. Head. Watching him is like taking sips of water in a desert.”

    Oof, what a sentence <3

    • Abby February 28th, 2013 10:18 AM

      Totally know a guy like this… mmm!

    • raggedyanarchy March 1st, 2013 9:16 AM

      I know! I think we all know someone who can be described like that. My favorite sentence in the whole story.

  • unicornconnect February 28th, 2013 12:59 AM

    This is awesome. It kind of reminds me of pretty in pink, except for the fact that this story has way better names and she doesn’t get the boy.

    But man, it was awesome

  • Special_Snowflake February 28th, 2013 3:39 AM

    Wow, this was a really great read *____*

  • MabelEnchanted February 28th, 2013 4:52 AM

    I actually turned off Frasier because I was so engrossed in this. Love this story.

    http://mabelsmind.blogspot.co.uk/

  • flapperhatgirl February 28th, 2013 8:06 AM

    Wow, that was good. I want to print it out and read it over and over and over again.
    http://thepseudo-intellectual.blogspot.com/?m=1

  • limegreensunset February 28th, 2013 8:09 AM

    i love this.

    http://limegreensunset.blogspot.co.uk/

  • gnarlyelixir February 28th, 2013 10:50 AM

    LOVED IT!!! Having the same problem unfortunately /:

  • ♡ reba ♡ February 28th, 2013 1:12 PM

    love love love this!

  • LuneSirene February 28th, 2013 2:01 PM

    I love that the sexy school stud is not good with cars and is described as having a body that’d be fitting of a dancer. Everybody has to be a teenager, and based on all these ridiculous teen books these days, you’d think the only guys that teen girls ever find attractive lift weights, work on carburetors, and play football. Yay for a story that doesn’t stick to that! I always liked guys who were into math, science, time travel, and music. Also, this story is so descriptive that I can definitely imagine myself sitting right there in Siwan’s shoes, feeling nervous.

  • mollyw00d February 28th, 2013 2:02 PM

    wow. wow. wow. i really really dig this story.

  • Lauren Hartnett February 28th, 2013 4:14 PM

    Interesting writing style- it really did make me feel like I was in the mind of a slightly disturbed teenage mind.

  • fromanotherearth February 28th, 2013 5:03 PM

    This is AMAZING! I love the style and the way it’s written. I’ve always wanted to be cool enough to pull of this kind of prose and this was done perfectly! Sometimes short sentences seem forced but this was flawless, not to mention I appreciate the lack of a ‘happy’ ending.
    Definitely going to check this author out!

  • Sharon February 28th, 2013 10:07 PM

    ahhhhh amazing.

  • double-fantasy February 28th, 2013 10:32 PM

    soooooooo good *_*

  • emilycarolina February 28th, 2013 10:50 PM

    This is beautiful in an odd way. I love it!!

  • lizzyheinie March 1st, 2013 1:01 PM

    This is amazing. Thank you. You guys have the best taste and I’m so glad I got to read this. I literally laughed out loud once and by the end I was tearing up.

    I need to stop reading rookie in public because these things happen.

  • Lascelles March 2nd, 2013 10:22 AM

    Ana + Cecil = Awesome!

  • barbroxursox March 2nd, 2013 8:31 PM

    This is SO BEAUTIFUL. Oh my god, you need to post a sequel. :) This story is so badass, and I want more!

    http://lizard-onawindowpane.tumblr.com

  • maureen7 March 3rd, 2013 6:07 PM

    kinda in love with this.

  • Laryssa March 3rd, 2013 7:18 PM

    Wow! This was amazing ! While reading this I totally fell into the “teen movie” kinda vibe. She brought me back down from the cloud when she said “are my eyes still red from crying?” I relized this girl isn’t some super hero like I thought she was in the beginning of the story. But she is just a regular girl and this can happen to anymore. Great story .

  • Cactus Woman March 6th, 2013 9:30 PM

    Cecil is 100% awesome. I’ve met her in person a few times, and we clicked right away. She’s the ultimate nerdy artsy girl, in my opinion, and the perfect representative for nerdy artsy girls all over the world. :D

  • meels March 21st, 2013 4:38 AM

    Can you please make a book out of this!! This shit is amazing!!!!

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica June 15th, 2013 12:05 PM

    WOW THIS IS PERFECT AND AMAZING WOW WOW WOW I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS