Only For You(7)

By: Genna Rulon

I quickly caught Sam’s eye.

“Well there go my plans for picking up random hitchhikers this weekend. Newsflash—I have appointed you the ‘sober friend.’ I’ll order your tee shirt as soon as I get home…or perhaps an embroidered sash would better highlight your status.”

Sam struggled to contain her laughter.

When I returned my attention to the front, Hunter’s arctic glare pierced me, “Are you finished now Miss—”

“Ev,” I blushed, caught being my usual snarky self.

“Ev?” he questioned in return as if my answer was incorrect.

“Everleigh,” I replied dispassionately. He continued to stare at me as if I was a suspect withholding information. I sighed my displeasure, “Everleigh Carsen.”

“Are you finished interrupting the seminar now Miss Carsen, or shall we plan to be inconvenienced further?” he scolded as if I was an errant child.

“I do believe I’m finished,” I responded tartly, burning with anger at his reprimand. As he redirected his attention to the rest of the class, I couldn’t help but add, “For now at least.”

His captivating eyes shot back to me and turned glacial with his anger.

“Miss Carsen, everyone is here of their own free will and at no expense to themselves. Most are here because they are justly afraid for their safety. You are belittling their concerns, diminishing the seriousness of the threat, and minimizing the suffering of the victims with your flippancy.”

I stared at him open mouthed, for once, rendered speechless.

“You’re wasting my time, Crystal’s, as well everyone else present. I believe this would be an appropriate time for you to leave,” he ordered firmly with no room for negotiation.

“I…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—” I began, stuttering in my shock, but he cut me off.

“I thank you for your apology, presuming it’s sincere. You may return next week, provided you join us with the intent of learning, participating, and extending everyone in this room the respect they deserve.” He turned away from me dismissively. I had been deemed unworthy of further consideration.

Mortified and disoriented by what transpired, I rose from my seated position and collected my belongings before silently exiting without a backward glance. In the hallway, I struggled with my coat and haphazardly wrapped my scarf around my neck. As I opened the front door the wind stung my eyes, exacerbating the tears that were fighting to escape. I stomped to the car, jumped in, and slammed the door. Tears prickled the back of my eyes and a telltale itch began in my nostrils.

Damn it! I was not going to cry. I never cry, not since my mom died and I learned what true pain was. I would not give some pompous, condescending muscle-head that type of power over me. My humiliation before fellow students and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit imposter was no excuse for tears.

How dare he? Who does he think he is? My righteous indignation swept aside my momentary weakness. I inhaled deeply, held it, and exhaled slowly, attempting to calm my rage. I would never intentionally disrespect the victims; my heart ached for what they had survived. If I met any of them personally, I would have been the first to offer support during their recovery. Yes, I’m extra snarky when I’m afraid, a common coping mechanism. Who wouldn’t be scared living in the danger enveloping Hensley?

I had considered transferring during winter break, what sane person wouldn’t? After exploring the possibility, I found I would be required to repeat some courses to earn sufficient credits to graduate and my graduation would be delayed by at least a year. I weighed the risks of remaining against the loss of a year, torn. When it became clear I would not be able to obtain comparable scholarships and grants on such short notice, I put the matter to rest.

Perhaps Mr. High and Mighty decided to single me out because I was slightly heckling his girlfriend, how gallant of him. Okay, I may have outright mocked Ms. Silicone, but I limited my commentary to Sam’s ears while he harpooned me before an audience.

I grabbed my iPod; music would be required to exorcise my anger. As if by magic, the first song to pour from my speakers was “Sweet As Hole” by Sara Bareilles, or as many fans refer to it—“That Guy’s An Asshole.” I smiled at its timeliness; I swore there was a genie that lived in my iPod. Provided I instilled my trust in her infinite wisdom, demonstrated by selecting random shuffle, the mystical imp saw fit to grace me with the perfect song when I needed it most. Grateful, I sung along, relishing the lyrics, shouting the final lines of the chorus like a mad woman.

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