Two Way Street
There are two sides to every breakup.
This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.
Then Jordan dumps Courtney — for a girl he met on the Internet.
It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la — this is Courtney pretending not to care.
But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.
Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.
Day One, 8:07 a.m.
I’m a traitor to my generation. Seriously. All we hear about these days is being strong women and standing up for ourselves, and now look what I’ve done. I should totally be one of those true life stories in Seventeen. “I Built My Life Around a Boy! And Now I Regret It!” Of course, it doesn’t pack the emotional punch as some of their previous stories, i.e., “I Got An STD Without Having Sex” but it’s important nonetheless.
“You’re going to be fine,” my mom says, stirring her coffee at the sink. “In fact, you’re acting a little bit ridiculous.”
“I’m ridiculous? I’m ridiculous?” How can she say that? Has she lost her mind? It’s so completely not ridiculous to be upset about going on a trip with your ex-boyfriend, when said ex-boyfriend broke your heart and left you stranded for some Internet slut. Although I really can’t say I know for a fact that she’s a slut. But I’m pretty sure she is. I mean, scamming on guys on the Internet? I thought that was only for forty-year-old divorcées who Photoshop their pictures in an effort to appear younger and thinner. Not to mention what was HE thinking? An eighteen-year-old guy who could have any girl he wanted, having to resort to Internet dating? But maybe that’s the problem with guys who can have any girl they want. One is never enough.
“I didn’t say you were ridiculous,” my mom says. “I said you’re acting ridiculous.”
“There’s really no difference,” I tell her. “It’s like if someone says ‘You’re acting like a cheater,’ it’s because you’re cheating. Which means you’re a cheater.” Like Jordan. Although I suppose technically he isn’t a cheater, because he broke up with me before he started dating the Internet girl. In my mind, I still think of him as being a cheater. Otherwise, he just met some girl he liked better, and it’s not as dramatic.
“Courtney, you begged and begged to go on this trip,” my mom says.
“So?” That’s her big justification for calling me ridiculous? Is she kidding? Teenagers beg and beg for stuff all the time—nose rings, tattoos that say “Badass.” Never a good idea. My parents are supposed to be the voices of reason, steering me on the right path at all times. They’re obviously insane to have agreed to this plan in the first place. I mean, what was I thinking? Making plans to drive over a thousand miles to college with a boy months before we were supposed to go? Everyone knows the average high school relationship is shorter than an episode of TRL. “You’re the mother,” I say. “You should have known this was a horrible idea.” I’m hoping to lay a guilt trip on her, but she’s not having it.
“Oh, please,” she says, rolling her eyes. “How was I supposed to know he was going to break up with you? I’m not psychic. Nor do I know the habits of Internet chat rooms.”
“It wasn’t a CHAT ROOM,” I say. “It was MySpace.” No one hangs out in chat rooms anymore. Although why some girl would want to date Jordan based on his MySpace page is beyond me. The song he chose for his profile is “Let’s All Get Drunk Tonight” by Afroman.
“Right,” my mom says, taking a sip of her coffee. My parents are trying to teach me some kind of lesson. They don’t think it’s right that they would have to pay more than five hundred dollars for a last-minute plane ticket from Florida to Massachusetts, when I’m the one who convinced them to let me go on this trip. Plus, my mom thinks this whole thing is typical teen angst, one of those situations portrayed on a teen sitcom that’s resolved in a half hour of laughs and mishaps. You know, where the girl gets dumped, but then realizes by the end of the show that she’s better off without him, and then hooks up with some other hottie who’s much better for her, while the guy who broke her heart ends up all alone, wishing he had her back. That is definitely not happening. In fact, it’s kind of the other way around. Jordan is having tons of fun with his MySpace girl, while I’m the one sitting around, wishing I had him back.
I sigh and stare out the kitchen window, looking for Jordan’s TrailBlazer. It’s 8:07, and he was supposed to be here at eight, which makes me think that:
a) he’s late
b) he’s acting like an asshole and blowing me off
c) he’s gotten into a horrible car crash that’s left him dead.
The most likely answer is A. (We went to the prom together, and the limo had to wait in his driveway for half an hour. At the end of the night, we got charged for an extra hour. He—read: his parents—paid for it, but still.) Although I’m all about option C. Okay, maybe not the dead part. Just, like, a broken leg or something. I mean, his parents have always been really nice to me and I would feel horrible if they lost their youngest child. Even if he is a liar and a cheat.
“Do you want some coffee?” my mom asks, which is ridiculous because she knows I don’t drink coffee. Coffee stunts your growth. I’m only five-foot-two, and I’m still holding out hope that I’ll grow another few inches. Plus I’m tense enough. Getting me all hyped up on caffeine is definitely not a good idea.
“No thanks,” I say, looking out the window again. I feel a lump rising in my throat, and I ignore it. He wouldn’t blow me off, would he? I mean, that’s so screwed up. Although if he did, that means I wouldn’t have to go with him. Which would be great. If he stood me up, my parents would have no choice but to let me book a flight and take it to Boston. Which is what they should have let me do in the first place.
I take a deep breath. It’s only three days. I can get through that, right? Three days is nothing. Three days is…I wrack my brain, trying to think of something that only lasts three days. Christmas vacation! Christmas vacation lasts ten days and it always seems to go by so fast. Three days is only a third of that.
Copyright © 2007 by Lauren Barnholdt.
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