Everyone went their separate ways, visiting different areas. I knew I needed to have some alone time with Lexie. But damn the park wasn’t big enough to hide. I was constantly having to watch that asshole James parade around and act like Jenny this whole fucking time.
I was sick of it.
Colin was right. James “became” Jenny just so he could get closer to Lexie. And she ate it up, always laughing at his antics.
I watched as he pretended he wanted some goofy onion plush from a video game I’d never heard of. Why was he acting like a girl when no one but Colin was around? Was he gay? If he was, that’d solve all my problems. But I knew he wasn’t.
He was trying desperately to get Lexie’s attention. Half the time it worked.
“What the fuck is Colin doing? James can get the stuffed doll himself,” I muttered. “He’s not helpless.”
Lexie tapped on the game controller. “Hmm? What did you say, babe?” she asked.
Feelings of anger flooded me just watching Colin getting upset when he failed to grab the doll for James.
“They’re acting like they’re dating. It’s disgusting.” I hated the sight of the two of them. Mostly, just James. He was such a poser.
Lexie stopped what she was doing and folded her arms. “What the hell would be wrong if they were dating?”
“Are you serious? James isn’t a girl, Lexie. And they’re acting like he is.”
Her eyebrows drew together angrily. “What is wrong with James acting like a girl? He happens to like dressing in drag.”
“Because he’s pretending. He’s doing it for you. He’s not really like that. It’s all some fucking game to him.”
“Oh my God, not this again. You’re jealous? Because James likes to go out in drag? For your information, he’s the most famous out of anyone here and has to protect himself. I met him as Jenny when he didn’t even know who I was. He’s not doing it to get my attention.”
Finally, after Colin and I nearly spent a hundred bucks trying to get the damned onion plush, one actually didn’t slip off the claw, so it was able to drop the toy in the shoot and tumble out. “Come here, little guy. Lexie is going to love you!” I wanted to give it to Lex since it was a toy from one of her favorite video games — Underwitch.
“Man…you think it would have been easier to order it online, though, huh?” Colin said.
“Yeah, but what’s the fun in that, bro?”
A little ways from us, I heard shouting.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this!” Lexie yelled. “It’s like I don’t know who you are anymore.”
I pointed. “Are…those two fighting?” I wondered why. They were all kissy kissy only about an hour ago.
Charlie tried to hold her arm but she ripped it away and said, “Don’t touch me!”
“Whoa, dude. Something’s up,” Colin said.
I wanted to go over there, but knew I couldn’t. I hated seeing Lexie upset.
Fuck! I didn’t want to do this here. But she was constantly flirting with James and paying so much attention to him that I couldn’t help it. I lashed out at her. And it all blew up in my face.
“Come back, Lexie. I’m sorry.” I had to chase her down to the other end of the park.
“I can’t believe you said that. I just can’t…” I heard muffled sobs.
Closing my eyes, I tried to backpedal. Somehow I got so angry, I called James some names I’m not proud of but…she just didn’t get how I felt. “Listen…maybe we need some time. Away. I…just think you need to distance yourself from James.”
Whipping around, she put her hands on her hips. “You mean you want me to choose. Is that it? Get rid of my friendship with James so you won’t get jealous. But I’ll tell you this. I was friends with James way before I met you. I will never give that up. Do you hear me?You’re just going to have to deal with it or…”
Her words slapped me hard. “Or what?” I barely heard my voice. I knew her answer.
“Do you want to make me say it, Charlie? Fine. Or find yourself another girlfriend who doesn’t have a guy friend who’s a little different. Who doesn’t care if her son or daughter dresses up in gender specific clothing and one who’s father isn’t gay. That’s what’s bugging you anyway, isn’t it? I never thought I’d ever date someone who’s homophobic but you had me fooled.”
Her words stung. “I’m not homophobic. How dare you say that? It’s having a girlfriend who flirts with one of my friends right in front of me like some cheap…” I stopped myself and gritted my teeth.
Shock etched her face as if I’d struck her. “Go fuck yourself, Charlie.”
Damn. Why wasn’t there a rewind button in life? I could have used one at that moment.
Immediately, I rushed to her side. “I’m sorry, baby. I don’t know why I said that. I didn’t mean it. I just…maybe if we got you an apartment, and I could spend half my time there, things would be different. I’d have to stay at the penthouse for work, but we could have a place of our own. That would help.”
She cried into her hands, not talking. It crushed me to see her like that. Why did I say a word? I could have just left it alone. She loved me. I knew it, but…things had to change.
I tried to take one of her hands, but she jerked it away. “Don’t, Charlie.”
Holding her face, I said, “Come on, Lexie. Don’t do this. Don’t shut me out. I’m sorry I yelled. I just got so angry. I’ll do anything to make it up to you. I love you.”
“No…” She sniffed then swallowed, shaking her head. She looked away for a while, tears welling up in her eyes.
Every nerve was on fire for me. I felt like I was in a nightmare, not able to wake up. “Please, baby. Talk to me. You’re scaring me.”
Shaking her head again, she finally said, “I…um…I can’t.” Wiping her face, she said, “Every time I hang out with James this will happen. You have to have things your way. I can’t live like this.” She pulled my hand away.
My heart was crushed like someone had stomped all over it, making sure it was a hideous pile of bleeding pulp. How could Charlie say all those awful things? I never would even think about calling him a name or controlling him or forcing him to choose between me and one of my friends. He hung out with Dom sometimes. And she had a super ginormous crush on him. Did I care? NO!
I could feel this coming, but I ignored the warning signs. Mom always told me I lived in my own little world sometimes, believing what I wanted to without seeing reality. She said one day it might come and bite me so I needed to pull my head out.
I didn’t understand her until now.