Hello! If you're just tuning in or need a refresher, it's marching band season and Summer (drumline) has a crush on Micah (drum major), but she's too anxious to talk to him or tell her friends about it. Summer learned about an app called Chat With Me (you can only talk to people at your school and the conversations can't be tracked). They've been talking (except Summer is pretending to be someone named Anna) and they've started to grow closer. Summer is becoming more worried about their growing connection and how she's going to come clean, and she's agreed to meet up with Micah after a marching band competition.
# signifies a scene break that will be a page break in the finished manuscript :)
This is draft 2, and I'm more interested in big picture comments than sentence level/grammar comments. Thanks for reading! <3
I told Micah I’d meet him after a marching band competition to give myself a little more time. There are a lot of competitions, and like he said, the first one is still a month away. That should give me enough time to figure out how I’m going to do come clean about all of this.
I really need May. I haven’t tried talking to her again since the night I called her and she was drunk, but I could really her expert sisterly advice right about now. I’ve been mulling over Bryn’s advice about coming clean and maybe it’ll all work out okay like in the classics she mentioned, but I want May to tell me how to do that.
I make it through the long Saturday rehearsal with my mind wandering far too often. Thankfully, Bryn didn’t say anything or ask me to clarify my weird text message. I make it through the Sunday mad dash to finish all of my homework before tomorrow, although it takes me longer than it should because I can’t get my mind to stop spinning pointlessly. Despite my best efforts and endless spinning, I’m no closer to figuring out a plan of how I’m going to come clean without him hating me forever.
Figuring May can’t possibly be busy since it’s a Sunday night, I chance it and give her another call. I venture out of my bedroom and make sure Danielle isn’t lurking around where she may overhear, but she’s in the living room with my parents watching something on Animal Planet. I close my door, flop back on my bed, and press call.
Four rings. I hold my breath, not completely sure of what I’m even going to say. Voicemail.
I hang up. May never checks her voicemail. Instead I shoot her a text and say, hey are you free tonight? I really need to talk to you.
Instead of waiting around in my room for a call that may never come, I traipse to the living room and silently join the Animal Planet viewing party. If May calls it’ll be easy enough to excuse myself.
“Homework all done?” My dad asks. Not that I wouldn’t be welcome to watch with them if it wasn’t. I’ve been in my room most of the day under the pretense that I have a mountain of work to do. And because I needed lots of uninterrupted time to dwell on Micah matters.
“I think so,” I say, phone still clutched in my sweaty hand.
“Don’t forget, we’re going to visit your sister next weekend,” My mom says.
“What about rehearsal?”
“We’ll leave after your Friday rehearsal. I checked with Mr. Murphy and you don’t need to be there on Saturday. Music rehearsal only for the wind players.”
I nod and check my phone, even though it didn’t buzz.
I forgot that our visit to Purdue was coming up so quickly. My nerves go down one notch. I only have to make it through this week and then I can tell May everything and get her opinion what I’m supposed to do in person this weekend. And, I resolve, I can ask her why she’s been so MIA every time I’ve needed her so far this year.
Welcome to Chat With Me!
Sunday, 08:27PM - You’re chatting with: MICAH TURNER
Anna (08:27PM): Hey! How was your weekend?
Micah (08:29PM): Hey, sorry we didn’t get to talk more. Rehearsal and homework as always. You?
Anna (08:30PM): Yeah I know what you mean. I’ve spent most of my weekend on homework too. They weren’t kidding when they said junior year was tough.
Micah (08:32PM): Are you getting just about daily college mail?
Anna (08:32PM): Endless. My parents keep telling me to keep an open mind, but I sort of have my eyes set on one already.
Micah (08:33PM): Of course you do :) Let me guess. An Ivy League because you’re so smart?
Anna (08:34PM): Haha no. I mean, I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to go to an Ivy of course… I want the University of Minnesota.
Micah (08:36PM): You do realize it’s cold there right?
Anna (08:37PM): I’ll pack a parka :)
Micah (08:39PM): Why that school?
Micah (08:39PM): Wait. Let me guess. Something sciencey.
Anna (08:40PM): Ding ding ding! They do some great alopecia research there.
Micah (08:41PM): Which is what you want to do. Makes sense. You’ll be awesome there.
Anna (08:41PM): Thank you! I just have to get in :)
Micah (08:42PM): I have a feeling you won’t have a problem with that. Taking all the science classes Central has to offer and all…
Anna (08:43PM): That’s nice of you :)
Anna (08:44PM): I think we’re going to visit my sister next weekend. I’m excited :)
Micah (08:46PM): Nice! Have you been able to talk to her much since she’s left?
Anna (08:48PM): We’ve talked a few times, but I’ve been kind of worried about her. The last several times I’ve tried to call her, she hasn’t answered, or when she did answer the one time she’d been drinking (on a week night). And that’s not like her. So I don’t know. I’m excited to see her and talk to her.
Micah (08:51PM): Maybe she’s just adjusting to the new lifestyle?
Anna (08:52PM): Maybe. But she never drank or did stuff like that in high school. And I know people change in college, but it’s a pretty big shift in not very much time, you know?
Anna (08:53PM): I don’t know. I’m probably being over dramatic. I just worry about her.
Micah (08:55PM): Nothing wrong with that.
Anna (08:57PM): Did your sisters change when they went to college?
Micah (08:59PM): They got less annoying :)
Micah (09:00PM): My oldest sister joined a sorority immediately so she is constantly with them. Even on breaks, she’s usually always with at least one of them. My other sister plays basketball at IU which takes up the majority of her time, so we don’t even see her on breaks sometimes.
Anna (09:02PM): So you’re saying my sister being really involved and not always being available is normal and I should calm down :p
Micah (09:03PM): I mean, I’m not going to tell you what to do. But yes. I’d say it’s normal.
Anna (09:04PM): That’s cool that your sister plays basketball at IU!
Micah (09:05PM): Yeah! She’s always been really into it, played on leagues her whole life. IU was a dream come true for her.
Anna (09:06PM): Do you ever get to go watch her play?
Micah (09:08PM): Sometimes! Once marching band season is over I have a lot more free time. My parents try to go to all the home games, and they’ve never missed the IU/Purdue game
Anna (09:09PM): That’s awesome! Maybe we can catch a game together :)
Micah (09:10PM): You must think our casual hang not a date thing after we meet at a marching band competition is going to go well then :p
Anna (09:11PM): A girl can hope :p
Micah (09:11PM): No, but that’d be fun. We’ll have to try and do that.
Anna (09:14PM): The curiosity of what might happen if we were to meet in regular life is starting to eat at me, so we’ll figure out this meet up soon. I promise :)
Micah (09:15PM): Works for me!
I’m seeing May this weekend and she’s going to help me figure this out - is the refrain that’s going to take me through this week.
Micah is sitting three tables away from me in the cafeteria right now. I can see the back of his head while he talks to Ethan across from him and some of their other friends.
In another world I’d be able to sit there with him and I’d be able to talk to him during the lunch hour like everything is normal and fine and I wouldn’t descend into a puddle of anxiety and awkwardness.
“Move on, Summer obviously isn’t paying any attention to us,” Camilla says, breaking me from my Micah trance.
“I’m listening!” I insist, even though I definitely wasn’t.
Camilla folds her arms across her chest. “What were we talking about then?”
I don’t have the slightest idea. “I just zoned out for a second. I’m listening!”
She, Bryn, and Katya are all looking at me and I hope my face isn’t turning red. Camilla sighs and turns her attention away from me.
I look between Bryn and Katya, waiting for one of them to fill me in.
“Jamie was texting me over the weekend,” Bryn says.
Now I feel even worse for being off in Micah-land.
“What did he say?” I ask to get back into the conversation.
Camilla settles back into her seat. Bryn has probably already told everyone about this already.
“He said he’s been doing some thinking and wants to talk, that he misses me, stuff like that. I haven’t responded yet though. I don’t know what to think. He hasn’t said a word to me since we broke up.”
“And since he was with that other girl in his Instagram story,” Camilla reminds everyone. “I told her to pick someone cute in band, send a selfie with him, and say a casual new life, who this text and forget his sorry ass. Cause no offense, but you can do so much better than him.”
Bryn isn’t smiling.
“I told her to see what he has to say and proceed from there, either allowing him to try and gain her trust back, or ripping him a new one. Whichever.” Katya shrugs.
Bryn turns to me. “What do you think? Should I talk to him or not?”
I wish I had been paying more attention to the conversation before now because I don’t have the slightest clue. I can’t manage my own non-existent love life without creating a false identity and messing everything up, so I probably shouldn’t be the one doling out advice of my own. Not that I can admit that in front of the present party.
Before I can formulate a response, Camilla jumps back in. “But here’s the thing,” She puts her elbows on the table and leans towards Bryn. “You’re not going to like this but I’m going to say it anyway. This is why you can do better than him. He broke up with you because he probably got googly eyes at some college girl during freshman orientation. It didn’t work out. Now he thinks he can grovel his way back to you and say a bunch of nice things to win you over again, when he’ll leave you again if another girl catches his eyes.”
Tears well up in Bryn’s eyes. It does feel cruel to distill their relationship down like this when, to my eyes at least, they really did seem to love one another a few short months ago.
“You’re not a back-up,” Camilla continues. “You’re not someone he can use when he needs you or when it’s convenient for him. You’re better than that. Don’t give him the time of day.”
“Okay but it really may not be that dramatic,” Katya says. “You’re forgetting what Jamie was like for the literal year they were together. If he were this manipulative jerk always throwing her around whenever something new and shiny came by, how did they date for a year then?”
“He’s in college now.”
“He’s been in college for ten seconds. He’s not going to change that dramatically in ten seconds.” Katya rolls her eyes. “Maybe he did get googly eyes at some girl during freshman orientation. Maybe it didn’t work out. Maybe in that time he realized how special things were with Bryn and that he wants that over some shallow thing. Maybe he really is sorry and really does want to figure things out.”
Camilla shakes her head.
“Oh and what makes you the expert?” Katya says.
“I know guys.”
“And I don’t?”
“I’ve dated more people.”
“What’s that have to do with anything?” Katya scoffs.
“I’ve had my heart broken by enough dipshits to know when to stay the hell away because it’s not worth it. Jamie pretty much has a neon sign above his head right now screaming not worth it.”
Katya rolls her eyes again. Bryn meets my eyes and gives me a silent plead for help, but I’ve got nothing.
“Even if your theory was correct,” Camilla continues. “He got distracted, he realized the other girl wasn’t worth it, he went back to Bryn, happy day, the trust is still broken. She’ll still be wondering if and when it’s going to happen again. She’ll still remember how he betrayed her in the first place. He broke that trust when he broke up with her. That’s on him. He messed up. Bryn doesn’t have to sit around and wait for him and she doesn’t have to listen to anything he has to say.”
“But sometimes people make mistakes,” I say softly, surprising even myself. Both Katya and Camilla turn towards me and I feel my face grow warm again. “Maybe, like what Katya said, he realized he made a mistake and he really does feel bad. Is that just too bad for him, or does he have the chance to redeem himself?”
Katya says, “he can redeem himself”, and at the same time Camilla says, “too bad for him.”
“Because you’ve never made a mistake in your life,” Katya snaps back at her.
“I never said I haven’t.”
“So when you make a mistake, wouldn’t you like to have the chance you redeem yourself or would you like someone to say, oh too bad for her.”
“Sometimes it’s just not worth it, and some mistakes are just too big,” Camilla says simply.
“What about you not telling your parents about Fernando? Where would you put that mistake?”
Camilla’s eyes narrow. Bryn and I exchange looks again.
“That’s not a mistake,” Camilla says. “You don’t know anything about our relationship, so don’t pretend that you do.”
“I know that you’ve done this before and it never ends well. Your parents find out. The relationship ends. You’re crushed. What is going to make this time so different?”
“Stop pretending like you care, because you obviously don’t,” Camilla hisses. “That’s between Fernando and I because no one else actually cares. So you know what?” She stands with her tray. “Do whatever you want Bryn, but remember that I told you so if you talk to him or give him another chance and he ends up hurting you again.”
“Why do you storm off every single time I bring up Fernando? If you were so confident in him and that everything was perfect, you wouldn’t get so defensive.”
“I don’t have to talk to you about this, I’m going to go find Fernando. I don’t know why I even bother.” She walks off with her tray.
All of us are silent for a few moments after she leaves. Katya digs back into her food. Bryn has a tear threatening to escape the corner of her eye. I stare at Camilla’s empty seat, wondering how a simple conversation about giving Bryn advice turned into yet another argument about Camilla and Fernando.
Sometimes it’s just not worth it, and some mistakes are just too big. I can’t help but wonder if pretending to be Anna Blackwell falls into that camp and if that’s the way Micah will see it when I eventually come clean.