An Unreliable Narrator

My friends call me Ladies’ Man. Which they wouldn’t do unless it was true… because that’s the sort of nickname that you have to earn. If I were no good with girls, they’d call me something like Lonely Boy, or No-Skill. But they call me Ladies’ Man. Because I earned it.

It was the day before Valentine’s Day and I was busy locking down a date. I had been putting in work on the hottest piece in the school, Ashleigh DelMonaco. You’ve never seen her, so I’ll do you the favor of explaining her: Ashleigh’s got the biggest… well, you know… that you’ve ever seen on a tenth grader. I’m pretty sure that she’s been wearing a bra since we were in fourth grade. And her hair has a lot of volume, which I know is important from reading my mom’s hair products in the shower. And she smells like cotton candy. I love cotton candy. I figured Ashleigh would be falling over herself to go on a date with me, because neither of us is that into schoolwork or boring things like that, it should have been a perfect match.

So I was putting in mad work. I had gotten her number from Tristan Guerrer, who sits next to Paul Swensen in Biology, who plays hockey with Chubby Scalecki, who is dating Andi Cooper, who is BFFs with Ashleigh. I didn’t want to ask Ashleigh directly, because that would have spoiled the surprise. But I had her number and I was sending her so many texts. I have study hall with her during fifth period, and I must have sent her one text every minute. And I knew that she was getting them. And she was getting so excited that she was squirming in her chair and looking around. Her green eyes, that Jolly Rancher green, never looked my way, so the surprise was working. She got so excited that she turned her phone off so that she could study and, I think, so that none of her friends would feel too jealous of all the attention. Those texts were great too. I sent her real Romeo Shakespeare stuff, like u r hott, I like the way u smell, I m watchin u, and I will c u soon. Girls love that stuff.

And I had been writing little notes and sliding them into her locker. Nothing too serious, but just things to let her know that I was thinking about her all of the time and that I was going to be seeing her on Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure it was the most romantic thing she’d ever experienced.

By prolonging my drink from the fountain nearest her locker, I had found out that Ashleigh was going to the Mall with some of her friends that night. So I also planned to be at the mall, even though I had already made plans to throw bottles off of the 12th Street Bridge with Brad Ferndale. That’s commitment.

She was with four other girls, who were totally less hot than Ashleigh, and they all wore the same dark skinny jeans and pastel colored sweaters around the mall. But Ashleigh had light skinny jeans and a green polo, which shows that she’s the leader with the keenest fashion sense. I followed them as they walked the mall, making sure to keep a safe distance. They almost spotted me in the food court, because they got in line for Corn Dogs & More!, but then ended up moving to The Pizza Villa. I couldn’t give away my position, so I was stuck buying a Corn Dog, which is a huge sacrifice because I hate Corn Dogs. It’s the sort of sacrifice that I have no problem making for Ashleigh.

To be cute, I texted Ashleigh the name of every store that she entered. It was my way of letting her know that I was watching over her, always by her side. I don’t know what happened, but at some point I must have lost track of them and they wound up leaving without me. I watched them go into the Abercrombie and Fitch store, but they never came back out. I eventually got tired of waiting, so I left.

At that point, I was pretty sure that all of my hard work and super sweetness was going to pay off. There was no way that Ashleigh could ignore all of the attention that I had been paying her. To seal the deal, I sent her one last text before I went to sleep. It was a homerun for sure: I will b dreaming of u 2nite. You couldn’t find that sort of skill in a book. That’s God-given.

On Valentine’s Day, I got to school really early. I set up in front of Ashleigh’s locker with a gigantic, stuffed panda that was holding a smaller, brown bear that was holding a heart. I also had a bouquet of flowers, mostly carnations. People started showing up for school, but there was no sign of Ashleigh. Everyone was walking by my gifts and me, and I could tell by the way that they stared how jealous they were. Everyone was pointing and talking about me. I was for sure the best Valentine the school had ever seen.

The first bell rang before Ashleigh showed up. The second bell rang too. There was no sign of Ashleigh anywhere. I had to get to class, so I left the bear and the flowers in front of her locker. When I got back from class, the gifts were gone, but there was no sign of Ashleigh anywhere.

I asked about her throughout the day and finally got an answer. The answer came by way of Anthony Townsend, who has a locker next to Brianna Hoffman, who eats lunch with Jill Middleton, who carpools with Madison Maxwell, whose mom works with Charlene DelMonaco. Turns out Ashleigh transferred schools because there was some guy here who had been stalking her. I guess he was doing really creepy stuff like messaging her phone and writing disturbing notes for her locker. And what’s really messed up is that I never saw this guy once. I should have been able to protect Ashleigh, but I didn’t and now she’s gone to another school. Her phone number is changed too, because my messages aren’t being received. All I can think of is poor Ashleigh and how scared she must have been because of that creeper.

Man, some people.


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