Sarah Hayes

How Can She Still Get Under My Skin?

March 18, 2021

The bell rings overhead, signaling the end of our class period. I gather my things and walk out from the English classroom towards the lunch room, where I’m supposed to be meeting Jayden, my boyfriend. Jayden and I had only been dating for a few months now, but it felt like longer due to everything we had endured leading up to him asking me out. There had originally been another girl in the picture, Ophelia, a tall, kind brunette who was in choir and some of my other music classes. She and Jayden had a sort of fling, but then Jayden and I met, which developed into something much further than a fling.

As you can assume, Ophelia didn’t really take well to Jayden walking out of her picture so suddenly. The girl who had once been so nice to be in music class and offered to be my partner turned a cold shoulder and sat on the opposite side of the room, glaring and whispering to her best friend, who also didn’t bother being nice anymore either.

I shake the thoughts from my head as I turn another corner to get to the lunchroom. I hadn’t done anything wrong. Ophelia and Jayden hadn’t been exclusive, and it wasn’t my fault that he chose me instead of her. I’m glad he did, because I couldn’t imagine the jealousy flares that could come from that girl.

I spot Jayden through a window. He’s outside, leaning against a tree, reading something on his phone, apparently waiting for me. When he had said to meet in the lunchroom, I had pictured our indoor one, not the outdoor one where the Los Angeles sun could melt you through a cloud. I push a door open and nearly run into someone, muttering a quick apology and turning back around to face Jayden. I am met with the sight of him and Ophelia, the latter who looks very upset.

I sigh and walk up to the both of them, where my boyfriend greets me with a relieved looking expression. “Hey Sav, ready to go? I thought I would treat you to take out today.”

I can’t help the smile that crosses my face. “Yeah, I’m ready. Let’s go.”

We turn to walk away, but Ophelia’s comment stops us both. “That should be with him, Savannah. You and I both know it.”

I tuck a strand of blonde hair behind my ear and turn to face her. She looks distraught, angry, sad and desperate all at the same time. There is a lurch of sympathy in my stomach, but I suppress it, because this is the girl who had been causing relationship problems for Jayden and I for a long time now. “Look, Ophelia, I know how it feels to watch someone else date someone you have feelings for, trust me, I do. But I didn’t steal Jayden, he chose me. It’s time for you to move on.”

“Don’t tell me what I should and shouldn’t do,” Ophelia snapped, her face angry. “And you did steal him, right out from under me. What kind of girl does that to another girl?”

“I don’t have time for this,” I tell her, my voice coming out more strained.

I turn and walk away, grabbing Jayden’s hand in the process. We head toward the parking lot, where Jayden has his car parked next to some of his baseball teammates. He unlocks and opens my door for me, staying true to the gentleman he was, and then proceeds to get in on the drivers side and start the car.

“What are you feeling like today?” he asks as he turns out onto the main road from the school.

“Honestly, In-and-Out sounds nice,” I told him. He nods in agreement, and then turns on the radio.

We sit in a comfortable silence the majority of the time there, and Jayden orders for the both of us at the drive thru. Once we have gotten our food, he pulls into the In-and-Out parking lot and picks a spot, turning off the car.

“So,” Jayden starts, pausing as he takes a sip of soda. “Are you going to Myles’s party tonight? It’s kind of an early birthday thing for him and Garrett, and Myles’s parents are out of town.”

I realize that I had completely spaced that it is already Friday, and that I don’t have any other plans aside from what Jayden has offered tonight. “Yeah, I guess I can go. I forgot it was Friday. Are you going?”

“Well yeah, most of the baseball team is since they’re on the team, you know,” Jayden told me, a half smile on his face as if this should’ve been obvious. “I can pick you up if you want.”

“Or,” I start, beginning to rephrase his sentence, “I can pick you up. You get kind of wild, at team events.”

“Okay, deal,” Jayden agrees. “I do get kind of rowdy, huh?”

“To say the least,” I said.

Jayden drives us back from In-and-Out, with us playfully bickering most of the way and listening to whatever is on the local pop radio. When he pulls into the school parking lot, I find myself wishing the drive back was longer. Jayden opens my door for me again, and laces his fingers with mine as we head back into the building. I spot Ophelia across the parking lot glaring at us, but I don’t really pay it any mind. If she wants to keep torturing herself with the ‘could’ve beens’ then that’s her fault, not mine.

My last two blocks pass relatively quickly, and I find myself heading out to the parking lot around three. Jayden is already out at baseball practice and won’t be done until five-thirty. We had agreed earlier that I would pick him up around eight, that way we would be fashionably late to Myles party.

I fill my afternoon with finishing weekend homework early, and composing a new song for my songwriting class. This took the most time, and when I look up the clock reads seven-thirty. I quickly rush and do a little bit of natural makeup, then change into ripped black jeans and a pink silk top, paired with a pair of white Vans. I grab my keys and hop into my Chevy Malibu, which had been my sixteenth birthday present.

I arrive at Jayden’s house, who steps out of his front door wearing jeans and a nicer black t-shirt. He hops into my car, seemingly more upbeat than usual, and yanks his seatbelt on as I drive down the street.

“You seem very happy,” I comment, looking over at his grinning face.

“I got promoted to team captain,” he says, his grin somehow growing even more. “And we’re only juniors!”

“That’s great, Jayden,” I say, letting my own smile slide onto my face. “I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks,” he said. “You look hot by the way.”

“Thanks for being so subtle,” I laugh.

“No problem.”

I park down the block from Myles’s house, as there is already a line of cars down the street and in his driveway. The area is filled with big houses and expensive looking cars in the driveway, which makes me wonder slightly if the noise that can be heard from where we’re parked is going to become a problem.

Jayden takes my hand and walks me down the street and through Myles’s front door. There are already plenty of people here and it’s barely eight-thirty. I spot Myles at the beer pong table, surrounded by a few other baseball players, all of whom are in plain view of the front door. How smart of them. Jayden seems to have the same thoughts, as he hurriedly turns to shut the door, nearly slamming it into someone’s face.

“Hey!” a slightly angry shout came from behind the halfway closed front door.

Jayden apologizes and widens the door only slightly for the person to enter the house. He lets go of the door handle though when he comes face to face with Ophelia, stepping back towards me. Ophelia glares at the both of us, then slams the door behind her with a lot more force than was needed, and stalks away. Jayden bites back a laugh at her stomping, which makes the pictures on the neighboring walls rattle.

A few hours later, I find my boyfriend trashed at the beer pong table with the party host and Garrett, the other early birthday we’re celebrating. I roll my eyes as Jayden props himself up on the cabinet behind him, aiming a ping pong ball at the cup on the other end of the table.

“Wow,” a snicker comes from behind me. “Can’t even keep him sober, huh?”

I turn and come face to face with Ophelia, who’s casually leaning against a countertop in the kitchen. “He’s not a child that I am in charge of controlling. He can make his own choices.”

“Right,” Ophelia retorts. “Except the choices he makes around you are reckless and stupid and could make him loose that pretty little division one scholarship he holds to the University of Florida.”

I scoff. “He’s good but he hasn’t committed to anything yet. He would’ve told me. Why don’t you mind your own business and stay out of my boyfriend and I’s relationship?”

“You know, I’d consider it if it weren’t for the constant texts I receive,” Ophelia said as casually as she could.

I can feel the anger boiling in my blood at this point. “Okay look, you can try to get under my skin, but he’s the one on mine. So why don’t you find something better to do?”

“I think I am under your skin though,” Ophelia said, the amusement on her face clear. “Did you know when I got my driver’s license a few months ago, one of the first things I was going to do was drive to his house so he didn’t have to come pick me up. But then you were there, and just swept everything away from me.”

“You know, you’re really annoying, and have been interfering with my relationship way too much,” I snap. “I wish you knew that even you can’t get under my skin, if I don’t let you, no matter how annoying you are.”

The kitchen has sincerely quieted down around us, listening in on Ophelia and I’s conversation. I didn’t know why Jayden and I’s relationship had to be the center spotlight for everyone as of late, but it as much as I was telling Ophelia she wasn’t bothering me, she was. She had this whole elaborate attention scheme planned out when she could have moved on like a normal person.

“Look, maybe we could’ve been friends or something, in another life, where this didn’t happen,” I said. “And maybe you didn’t mean half of the things you just said. But I think I’m done talking to you.”

“Oh trust me, you’re going to want to hear what I have to say next,” Ophelia counters.

I sigh. “What is it now?”

Ophelia doesn’t say anything, just pulls up her phone and hands it to me. I hesitantly grab it from her, to which she rolls her eyes and says, “It doesn’t bite.”

“I know it doesn’t,” I replied. “But it wouldn’t surprise me if you do.”

I begin scrolling through the text messages she has pulled up, several of them about me. She and the person she was texting are bashing me, calling me annoying, immature, too immersed in my music, a try hard, you name it, it was in there. Anger and hurt rolls in my gut as I continue to read. From that point, the text messages get more intimate, until finally there’s a message that I don’t want to finish reading.

I pass Ophelia back her phone, glaring at her. “Congratulations, you’ve moved on with someone who hates me as much as you do. Want a round of applause next?”

“Did you read the contact name?” Ophelia asks smugly.

I snatch her phone back and read the name, then look at the boy leaning against the cabinet. Jayden is wasted, but he happens to look at me anyway, and sees the expression on my face. He looks and sees Ophelia leaning against the counter, a smirk on her face, and then looks back at me, as if piecing the puzzle together.

I check the phone number under the contact name, and sure enough, it’s Jayden’s. I feel the tears in my eyes before I can even comprehend what has happened. I don’t even want to know if he was cheating, I could care less. The words in those messages alone were bad enough.

I glare at both of them, not knowing what to say or do. The party has fallen silent around us. It seems like my entire world has fallen silent. I throw Ophelia’s phone onto the floor, shattering it, and grab my keys, storming out of the house just as Ophelia had stormed into it.

It had all been a lie, the entire time. Ophelia may not be the one to get under my skin, but Jayden could. And he had. You know what, they both had, I admitted it to myself. I started my car, tears still streaming down my face, and finally understood what Ophelia had been feeling these past few weeks. Heartbroken.

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