My Only One

Lunch

[Alex.]

It’s been about a few days since I’ve had lunch with Jack and my former group of friends. To say it was awkward is an understatement. Things were going well until there was that brief confrontation toward the end of lunch. I figured one way or another; I would get called out by my ex-friends. However, I just wished that it didn’t happen in front of my new friend. In the end, to my surprise, they were willing to be my friends again, despite what had happened.

Here we were, having lunch again this week. Things seemed to feel natural between us; as if I never abandoned them. While we were eating, I was getting bombarded with text messages. I didn’t want to come off rude, since they’ve been kind enough to let me back into the group, so I turned my ringer off. However, it seemed that it wasn’t enough because my phone was constantly flashing. Eventually, I had to put my phone in the pocket of my jeans because it was getting very distracting.

“Who’s texting you, Gaskarth?” Sierra questions, resting her face against her pale fist. Suddenly, all eyes are on me. As much as I appreciate them inviting me back into the group, I have a feeling that they don’t entirely trust me, not that I don't blame them.

“Nobody important, I’m sure. Don’t worry about it,” I answer. As much as I’m sure they’re all cool with me, there were times that I still felt like they didn’t entirely trust me. As if they were observing me closely under a microscope, waiting for me to make one wrong move to rip away their trust.

“Well they must be important if they keep blowing up your phone,” Gabe responds, with a playful expression painted on his face. “Just answer it, dude.”

Jack, who sat beside me, as usual, gave me a soft smile. As if he was encouraging me to look at my phone. Once the conversation resumed, and I was sure all of the attention was off of me, I took the opportunity to check my phone. Most of them were from Lisa, asking where I was. Some of the texts were from the others in my group, asking where I was because Lisa was bugging them. I thought my absence would not make a huge difference, but it seems that I was wrong.

“What’s up?” Greco asks, throwing a balled up napkin at my face. “You look annoyed.”

“I do?” They all agree, a bit taken back that I didn’t even notice my facial expression. “Um, I wouldn’t say that I’m annoyed but more conflicted.”

“Why?” Jack questions, frowning at my confession.

“It’s my other friends. More specifically, it’s my girlfriend.” I groan into my hands. I can feel Jack’s warm hand on my shoulder as an attempt to comfort me. “She is bugging me about why I’m not having lunch with them lately and where I am. Which is ridiculous because I see them, like, every day.”

As I look up, I see everyone nodding at this, taking in the information. Taylor, however, seemed to be serious.

“Have you even told your friends about you having lunch with us?” I avoid eye contact with Martin, only shaking my head. “Alex.”

“Come on, quit being dad,” Danny jokes, putting a playful arm around his shoulders. “Look, Alex, as much as we like having you hang with us, we’re a little concerned when it comes with your other friends.”

I don’t say anything, a bit taken back by this statement. Usually, Danny was laid back and didn’t care much, or at least, that was the Danny I thought I knew. Nano only nods his head agreeing with him. “He’s right. I don’t know about these guys, but I don’t want to feel like a secret from your friends. We’re your friends as much as they are, dude.”

“Well then, what can I do to make you guys feel better?” I asked, trying not to come off as annoyed. I wasn’t annoyed with them. If anything, I was more frustrated at myself for putting myself into this situation. “I like hanging with you guys, and I like hanging out with them too, believe it or not. Would it make you feel better us having lunch with them altogether?” I could tell by their expressions that they didn’t think I would ever come up with that idea. Hell, neither would I if I were in their shoes. Hearing myself say it out loud, not even thinking about it, made me feel surprised.

“Do it,” Tay comments after a moment of silence. Once more, everyone looks surprised. Tay was the last person in my mind that would ever agree to something like this. I’m not even sure if she and I are okay. “It could be like the Last Supper or some shit. Just tell us when and where, and we’ll do it. Right guys?”

“Hold up,” Gabe comments, giving her a strange look. “I’m not sure how I feel about this whole thing. You do remember the old popular group, the ones who were constantly shitting all over us? What if they’re the same way. Hell, what if they’re worse? Plus, you know how people are in this school. They like to run their fucking mouths. No offense to you Alex, but I’m a little overwhelmed by the idea.”

Martin and Greco shake their head in disagreement. “Yeah, but you’ll never know if we don’t take the chance either. If we were willing to hear Alex out and let him join the group, then why can’t we do the same?”

“Social suicide,” Danny chimes in. “It’ll also be social suicide if we butt into them at lunch and they publically shut us down. We’ll go from Class D to Class A in the loser rank, for sure.”

I just sit there in silence, watching the group debate over my idea. I wasn’t sure how to feel about my idea. I mean, my other friends have always been kind to me; but that’s also because I was apart of their clique. Who knows how they would react to an opposite clique coming along and trying to be friendly with them? I’ve never seen them act a certain way or reject people outside of their inner circle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t or that they wouldn’t.

The rest of lunch consisted of them debating whether or not to move forward with the idea. I just told them to let me know what their final decision, and that whatever they decided with, I would support it. As I was walking back to my locker, I heard a voice calling for me.

“Hey Alex, I really liked that suggestion you made at lunch today,” Jack said, giving me two thumbs up. I laugh at his cute gesture.

“I’m glad at least someone does.”

We walk beside each other, continuing the conversation. “I think it meant a lot to the group when you made that suggestion, even if some of them weren’t too fond about it. It just shows how much your friends mean to you. I really respect that. Anyway, I better head to class. Catch ya later.”

We go our separate ways. During class, I think about what Jack said. I don’t know what it was, that made me happy thinking about what he said. It wasn’t like he said anything significant by any means. Yet, it felt like what he mentioned meant everything to me.

Jack, why were you suddenly all that I was thinking about?

“You okay dude?” A familiar voice questions. I turn my head to meet another friend. It was Matt, who was sitting in the desk next to me. Most of the time, we referred to him by his last name or by Mickey because of his love for Mickey Mouse.

“Yeah, just thinking about some stuff,” I answer, distracting myself by finishing up the packet we were assigned.

“Haven’t seen you at lunch in a while,” he notes. “Not like you’re not allowed to do your own thing. But what you can’t do is leave us with your girlfriend to listen to her nagging.”

I laugh at this, and he joins me as we disrupt class in a short fit of laughter. After that moment, I let out one last chuckle. “I’m sorry for putting you guys through all that, although I’m sure she made things interesting while I was gone. I’ve just been having lunch with other people.”

He gives me a look as if he wasn’t sure whether or not to believe me. “You have other friends? And here I was thinking that you only had us.”

I fake a laugh, rolling my eyes. “I do, believe it or not.”

He doesn’t respond to this, and I take this as a sign that our conversation was over. I just go back to finishing the biology packet in silence. But some time before class ends, Flyzik breaks our silence. “Invite them for lunch or something. If they’re as cool as you are, I’m sure they can join our motley crew. I’ll even pitch the idea for you in the group chat.”

I didn’t think Flyzik would be the one to throw my idea out there as his own. Before I could even respond, he already pulls out his phone and quickly begins typing on his phone. “I don’t know if they’ll be up for that idea though,” I say, trying to stall him. It’s not like I didn’t want that to happen since it was my idea originally. But my other friends haven’t come up with a final verdict. I didn’t want to come off like I was making that decision for them.

“What do you mean?” he questions, continuing to type. It was as if his fingers never wanted to stop dancing on his screen. But the dance was now over as I watched him already hit send. “I wouldn’t consider our friends as assholes, Alex. I’m sure they will behave themselves in front of your friends. Besides, it’s too late to reconsider because I already sent the message. There’s no going back now, dude.”

He was right; there was no going back. There was no use going back in the first place when I let the idea slip out of my mouth earlier. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, having us all sit together. What was the worse that could happen?

For the rest of the school day, I did my best to ignore the text messages that were blowing up in my phone once more. I was dreading the idea of opening the group chat and reading what they all had to say. Once I got home, all I could do was read among the messages instead of doing my personal finance project.

Flyzik: “Guess what guys?!?! Alex has some secret friends in school. Who would have thought?? As Alex’s loving fam, we need to meet these friends of his and see what their intentions are with our sweet boy.”

Vinny Vegas: “lmfaoooo. alex has other friends??? bullshit”

Flyzik: “Right?! I am in just as much disbelief are you are, Vin.”

Rian: “You guys are so mean lol.”

Cass: “Agreed but i am up for meeting them :)”

Flyzik: “Unfortunately, Alex is ashamed of us and doesn’t want us to meet his friends. The nerve of that boy! And after all we’ve done for him. ˚‧º·(˚ ˃̣̣̥⌓˂̣̣̥ )‧º·˚ ”

Zack: “I’ll meet them too as long as they bring lunch. One of you didn’t give me the $5 they own.”
Zack: “*cough* Matthew James Flyzik.”

Flyzik: “Fantastic idea Zachary! Btw, I got fired from my new job again so you’re gonna have to wait a little longer for that payment. Sorry about it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

After some time reading and following up in the conversation, I decided to jump in. They all quickly came with the conclusion that they were fine with my friends coming to sit with us at lunch. All that had to be done was to wait for the confirmation from the rest of the guys.

•──────⊰∙∘♦⊹♦∘∙⊱──────•


“What the hell do you mean they know?”

“I told Matt, and Matt’s big mouth decided to tell the rest of them in our group chat. They were more than happy to have you guys sit with them for lunch. I’m not sure if they were serious or not, but they would like for you to bring lunch,” I answer truthfully, showing them the messages from last night.

I had informed them about what had happened. There was no use in pretending that I told at least one person about them. They were surprised, no doubt about it. But they weren’t upset by this action, not that I was expecting them to be. I’m just glad they were more than understanding of the circumstances. “So what do you guys think, then? I’m sorry again if it’s coming off like I’m making this decision for you guys. If you don’t want to, that’s totally fine. Don’t feel like you guys have to do—”

“Alex, it’s fine,” Martin speaks up, “Just have them name a place and what they want for lunch. We can all pitch in for lunch.”

I look at everyone else for some sort of confirmation. Everyone else seems to agree with Martin, even suggesting ideas for lunch tomorrow. As they discuss amongst themselves, I decide to send a quick message in the group chat. Thank goodness all of my friends just happened to have the same lunch period. Fate seems to work in mysterious, yet interesting, ways.

“They agreed to lunch and want to know what you guys want to eat tomorrow. It seems the options theyre throwing around is subway, mcdanks, and pizza”

Flybitch: “You’re friends are literally saints wtf.”
Flybitch: “Tell them to bring anything they want and I will repay them….eventually.”
Flybitch: “*Your”

Zack: “Alex it’s a lie, he won’t pay them back. Btw, I’m raising your $5 to $10.”

Flybitch: “ZACK NO”

Cass: “Anything they choose is fine by Rian and me. Rian says to let them us know how much lunch ends up costing so we can pay them back. Unlike some people. ;)”

Flybitch: “Cassadee, I thought you were on my side wtf.”

•──────⊰∙∘♦⊹♦∘∙⊱──────•


In the end, they’ve all mutually agreed to pizza. Gabe and Sierra volunteered to bring the pizza and breadsticks from Little Caesars. We also decided to have lunch outside like usual. I had to wait for the group near the exit of the gym to show them the way. From there, we were to meet the rest of the gang.

“Hey, Alex! Hey Lisa!” Cassadee said, with Rian walking beside her. Cassadee and Rian were boyfriend and girlfriend since the sixth grade. I don't know too much about love, but they were practically the personification of it. “Flyzik and Zack are just waiting for Vinny in the locker room and we should all be set.”

I had completely forgotten that Lisa was waiting with me. What the hell? How could I forget my girlfriend’s existence? Maybe I’ve just been so caught up in the shit with getting my friends back, getting Jack to trust me again, and having all my friends eat together that the thought of Lisa slipped my mind. From what I’ve gathered in the few text messages she sent, she wasn’t overly fond of the idea but was willing to do it anyway.

“Sup hookers,” Vinny says, earning a glare from one of the staff walking by. “We’re ready whenever you are. I am super hungry, so they better bring enough pizza.”

I don’t say anything, moving forward to lead them out. They just talk amongst themselves about whatever, except for Lisa, who was silent as she was walking beside me. She makes a move to hold my hand. For some reason, I feel the sudden urge to retract my hand away from hers, but I don’t. I just loosely hold onto her hand for a brief moment. Then suddenly, as my eyes met my friends, I find myself slipping my hand off of hers. I could feel her eyes staring at me, and I refused to meet them. I didn’t want to know what she looked like, reacting to this gesture.

“Guys! I’m sure you guys have some clue as to who they are, but I suppose I’ll make the introductions. This is Martin, Gabe, Sierra, Nano, Danny, Jack, and Tay. And then this is Lisa, Rian, Cassadee, Vinny, Zack, and Matt. But we call him Flyzik or Mickey sometimes. Anyway, please thank Gabe and Sierra for bringing us today’s lunch.”

I noticed that our usual bench was merged with a nearby bench, forming into one long table. It was kind of nice, it was like a symbol of unity to me. Eh, maybe I’m over thinking it. But at least there was no way of dividing the group, we all had to sit in one spot. I also noticed that the group was seated spread out among both sides of each bench, so that meant that some of the people in the other group would have to sit next to them. I wonder if that was done on purpose or not.

I am the first to sit down, making my spot next to Jack as usual. He just gives me a friendly smile. Lisa is quick to set next to me in the empty spot on my right. Soon, everyone else moves to their own spots.

“Let’s dig in, yeah? This pizza will get cold if we don’t eat it soon,” Sierra comments. “I didn’t take this from my work just to let it get cold.”

“You stole pizza from your work? I need to marry you,” Mickey jokes, as he’s grabbing a slice of pizza.

Everyone immediately engages in conversation. We all laugh and joke, making fun of the teachers and talking about school events that were coming up. All the girls (except Lisa, who was sitting there awkwardly) were hitting it off quite well. Rian, Zack, and Jack were also getting along splendidly, discussing their shared interest in music.

“I’m throwing a party this weekend if you guys want to join,” Martin states. “It should be good, I got my buddy’s band performing, and I have people who can bring some good booze.”

“I’ve heard that you throw some killer parties,” Lisa states. I was taken back as this was the first thing she’s said since we’ve had lunch. “I hope I’m not wrong; am I?”

Martin chuckles at this. “I guess you’ll have to come to find that out for yourself, eh?”

“So what band is gonna be at your party?” Vinny asks. “I know there’s a number of local bands in the area; I’m just curious as to who it could be. I like to get involved with local bands and support them.”

“Then maybe you might know them then. They’re called the Maine. I’ve been friends with those guys for years. John, the lead singer, is a long time friend. We go way back.”

“Plus, he’s Jack’s boyfriend,” Nano teases, earning a playful punch from Jack. My ears practically perk up as I hear this news. I don’t know what it was that made me so interested in the news. Jack could do whatever he wanted to do, and date whoever he wanted to date. Was it the idea of him being with John? I suddenly find myself recollecting that night I saw them together, making out against the wall. Watching as John swept him away, not caring whether or not I had caught them in their little act.

“Jack, I didn’t think of you as a groupie, my friend,” Flyzik teases alongside Nano, who is agreeing with him.

“I’m not his boyfriend guys,” Jack says, attempting to defend himself. “I don’t really know him that much, alright? I made out with him once and all the sudden I’m his boyfriend.” Everyone except Lisa and I egg him on about kissing John. Lisa only looks at me for a moment, analyzing my face. She quickly turns away from me, watching the conversation about John unfold.

Jack quickly glances at me, looking embarrassed. All I could do is give him a smile, which seems to help him feel less embarrassed. At least, I hope it does. I find himself putting a reassuring hand on his knee. I quickly remove my hand as I realize what I’ve done, especially when Jack looks at me with bewilderment.

I can feel my phone vibrate under the table. I got a text message from Lisa. Weird? She was sitting next to me. But I suppose she wanted to say something to me without the others listening. My eyes widen as I keep rereading the message, pondering over what she had in mind.

“you and i need to talk in private.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Jalex moments will be coming soon, I promise my loves.