Mods please let this through
I was sitting in Elliot's backyard, picking at grass, and still feeling groggy.
I felt bad for yelling at him. I still wasn't thinking completely straight. I tried to recall what happened last night.
Jason's brother Derek was trying to get me to drink a can of beer, and I took it. But...I could swear I only drank one. What happened after that was kind of fuzzy.
Elliot's backdoor opened and he stepped out. "What are you still doing here?"
I looked up at him, "I was kinda dizzy when I got outside, so I decided to sit down for a bit."
"Oh." Was all he said. "Can I ask you something?" Elliot sat down on one of the chairs he had out here. "Why'd you take the can in the first place? I mean, Nina took it at first, but then she rejected it."
Nina took one? I guess she wasn't as pristine as I thought. I wondered if she'd told her mom about that one.
I shrugged, "I don't know, I just..." I trailed off.
"Marty, what's been up with you, lately?" Elliot asked.
"What do you mean?"
"What do you I mean? I don't know, maybe the fact that you're always hanging out with the 'cool' crowd at school that we all know just leads to trouble, you've got a new girlfriend every month, and you got drunk last night." He said. "This isn't the Marty I remember."
I recoiled. I knew exactly what he was talking about.
He and Nina had been kind of...preoccupied lately, what with their relationship moving forward. Nina had also recently sent in a manuscript to a publisher and she was real into that, and Elliot had been volunteering at the planetarium lately.
Me? Well, back in middle and elementary school, I'd been at the top of my game in math. Everyone said I was genius. I’d never once had to study for a math test. But here in high school? I’m still fairly advanced in math, and I didn’t usually get anything lower than a B plus but...I just wasn’t a complete math genius anymore. I’d always kind of been considered one of the cool kids, so I guess I just started gravitating towards them more.
What was so wrong with that?
I sighed, “You know how busy you and Nina had been lately. You two have your things and you’re amazing at them. I just...I don’t have that.”
Elliot stared at me, “What are you talking about. So what if you’re not the top mathematician at school? So what if you got a B minus on your last math test. So freaking what? You know what you have? You have us.”
“Yeah,” I said, “and you guys are hardly around any more!”
Elliot blinked, “Okay, I admit, we’ve been busy, but we still do stuff. We just went to the Holmdale carnival last week.”
I remembered that. Everything was fine, except...on all the rides he sat with Nina. In the photo booth, we did one set of the three of us, and then Elliot and Nina took some more.
“Yeah, and you and Nina made-out in the photo booth!”
Elliot turned red. Even after being in a relationship for a year, he still got embarrassed when I brought that stuff up.
“You don’t know what it’s like!” I said. “You don’t know what it’s like to have a best friend your whole life and then just be sidelined!”
Elliot’s eyes widened, “Really? I don’t know what it’s like? Eighth grade ring a bell? We didn’t even speak to each other for the entirety of eighth grade! And I was the one sidelined in that scenario!”
“That was different!”
Deep down, I knew it wasn’t. The circumstances may have been very different, but I still ignored him for a year.
I didn’t know what to say, so I just muttered, “I don’t know.”
We stared at each other, and I just wanted to go back to how things were in seventh grade. No one ignored each other, no one was crushing on each other, everything was fine.
Elliot sniffled a little, “Look, Marty, if you were feeling left out, you could’ve just told me. I guess- I guess I didn’t realize how preoccupied I’d been.”
I was never good with apologies, so I stood up, and pulled Elliot into a big hug.