Yesterday’s prompt was to explore a character’s emotional wound, so I went back to when Austin was about 7. Today’s is to take someone you’ve fallen out of touch with and think of a question you’d want to ask them and fictionalize it. So, I’m switching to Jess, the other main character in Still Burning. Her and Austin have a bit of a push & pull relationship through some of the other Flames novels(basically he pushes for just a little more, and she pulls away. And then they start all over again). This is when Jess is about 13.
“Are you sure you’re even a girl?”
Jess looked across the lunch table at Ashley, who she’d always considered a friend. Maybe even her best friend. She certainly wasn’t good at making them. Not nearly as good as her brother, Jace. “That’s what they tell me,” she said. She wasn’t going to admit the question made her want to cry. What did that even mean, though?
“You don’t act like one,” Ashley went on. “You don’t ever dress like one. You’ve never had a boyfriend. I don’t think you’ve ever even had a crush on one. What’s wrong with you?”
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” Jess snapped, even though the piece of pizza she’d just swallowed felt like lumpy paste in her throat. “Why do you always have to be so mean.”
“I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. I don’t know why you’re getting mad at me.”
Jess wasn’t even sure how to put words to what she was feeling. But, Ashley did this all the time. Pick at her until she lost her temper, then expect Jess to apologize. She wasn’t going to do it this time. She pushed back from the table and took her tray up to dump the rest of her lunch. She wasn’t hungry anymore anyway.
Short one today. This exact thing didn’t happen to me, though something similar with a “friend” and that friendship Jess describes at the end is basically how it went with us. And this was pretty much the end of thinking she was a friend. Though, there are times I’d like to go back and ask her why she always treated me that way.