Chapter 38 The flowers and poems

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Sean

Flora not talking to me somehow felt worse than breaking up with her a year ago. Back then it was like brutally ripping a bandage off. At least I knew it was over and for a legitimate reason. This time the dull pain was persistent and expanding, like being punched in the stomach repeatedly.

I joined Janet for lunch since Flora obviously didn't sit with me in our little corner anymore. No, scratch that. She wouldn't even look at me. I was on my way to AP chemistry with Nicholas this morning when we bumped into her. Nicholas was a friend of mine who Flora used to term as "one of my smart friends" in a derogatory tone as if being smart was a terminal illness, and she claimed that she had less interest in him than a fake tan. However, this morning she had acted like he was the most fascinating person since Steve Jobs and ignored me completely. I was suddenly so low on her list of people to talk to it was perplexing to the point of intolerable.

"J, hypothetically, if I had been flirting with a girl a lot, and after we kissed and I told her I liked her, she laughed and started avoiding me...that means I should back off right?" As soon as I laid it out plain like that, I realized I had already answered my own question.

Janet turned to me with eyes like saucers. "What? Sean Foster, you're a horrible friend! You don't tell me anything!"

"J, that's not the point. I'm really suffering here."

She glared at me. "I'm not helping you with anything unless you tell me who you're referring to. I'm beginning to think you only talk to me when you need someone to play live at your party."

If I wasn't so miserable, I really wouldn't have said anything. "It's not that. The reason I didn't tell you is because...it's Flora."

"Flora?" Her eyebrows shot up. "That's original. When are you two going to start getting over each other?" She was silent for a while as she pondered this idea. "Wait. Now a lot of things are starting to make sense. No wonder it's eternal sunshine on Floraland these past few weeks."

"What do you mean?"

"She didn't say anything, but she's chirpy and excited all the time like she's in a relationship. I thought it's because she likes planning the party, but now I see it's because she's planning it with you." Janet's eyes danced with interest. "Steamy! Are you going to get back together?"

"No, didn't you hear what I said? She's been avoiding me ever since the party. I think she's playing some kind of game, and once I made my confession it's over."

"I don't think so. Tell me the situation one more time, in details."

I told Janet everything I could think of with her interrupting every two sentences with excited encouragements.

"I have a pretty good idea about what this is about. But first off, let me just tell you that Flora doesn't talk to me about you, so I have to learn all this by being extremely perceptive," Janet said smugly in an excruciatingly slow tempo, building the suspense. "She thinks I'm on your side, but I'm actually on hers. I think you are real horrible to her."

"What?" I drew a sharp breath. "What have I ever done to her?"

"You were so hard on Flora, but you were willing to take all the emotionally abusive shit Leslie dumped on you. You broke up with Flora after she threw one irrational tantrum, but you let Leslie manipulate you until she finally had to leave. It's just very unfair. I mean, Flora doesn't know how twisted your relationship with Leslie was, but at least she could see how protective you were with her when you brought her to the beach."

I gaped at her. "Jesus, Janet."

"Flora must have felt very hurt when you were dating Leslie, and you're only coming back to her because your evil ex left," she went on. "It's like you are choosing her by default."

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