Chapter Twenty-Seven

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"Wes, can I talk to you?" I ask before he even sees me. Wes looks up and his eyes widen in surprise. "Bev, hey" he says and gets up. "Sure, do you wanna go grab some pizza?" I nod and wave into the direction of the others. "Later, homies" Wes says, then turns to me and buries his hands in the pockets of his jeans as we walk.

"We haven't talked in a while" Wes says. I nod again. "Yeah, about that ... that's what I wanted to talk about. I don't know how much Rita has told you about that whole thing with her brother and to what extent she supports him and his actions. And I don't want to drag you and her into this because you had nothing but good intentions by getting him to help me..." "Wait, wait, stop" Wes cuts me off and stops. I stop too and turn to him. "You don't know anything about...?" "About what?" he interrupts me again. "What happened? Rita told me everything was fine and that you two were working together." "Well, no offense but that either means that Rita is a liar or she doesn't know shit either." Now Wes is totally confused. "Are you gonna tell me what happened?" I sigh. "Not without a pizza in front of me."

As soon as we have pizza and coke, Wes asks me again. "He was only gonna use us to his advantage, make the press and all those pretty single chicks out there think he had a big heart and helped bullying victims. But when I realised that and confronted him, he just insulted me and decided to just make it hard for me and Melanie. I mean, she didn't know anything and I've tried to keep it that way but I couldn't have kept it secret much longer. He owns a big part of our company even though he doesn't want it and he was stopping us from moving forward. He just wanted to mess with me but I've sorted it out. He got me an appointment on a radio show, ironic much, where I'm gonna tell everyone he helped us loads and is a very good person who has helped us up, which is true, but I don't want people to think he's something that he's not." "Then why are you doing it?" I sigh. "I want our company back. We haven't done any good with it ever since he decided to just block it all. That has to end." Wes nods slowly, closing his eyes for a moment.

"Rita didn't know any of this, she would've done something" he says and looks straight at me as he opens his eyes again. I bite my bottom lip. "I don't know. Are you sure you know her that well?" "Bev..." "No, I'm serious. I totally fell for Mason's little game." "Honestly, what advantage would she get from me?" he grins. I laugh. "Hey, don't beat yourself up, you're a good catch." "Do I need that kind of advice from you, home gurl? You don't always believe in yourself." "Actually, there's this guy that I think may be interested in me but I don't believe him." "And there we are" Wes grins.

Realising I have pushed away not only Oli but also Wes, for other reasons but still, I take a deep breath and decide to say it out loud. "I've been dealing with a lot of shit lately and I'm sorry I've blocked you out. I didn't know what to say or what to do because I didn't want to involve you in this. I hate this sort of drama and I didn't want you to have to deal with it too." He smiles. "It's alright, home gurl, I get you. Just, no more secrets, alright?" I smile back and nod. "Alright." "So, tell me about that guy." "It's the photographer we brought for the launch event, Oli..." "Oh, I saw him, he cute!" I laugh. "Yeah, he is cute which is why I can't imagine he'd like me." "What happened?" "Well, we kissed and then we talked about it because it was starting to get between us but we only got so far that we realised we both don't want to just forget about it." Towards the end of my little story, I can't help but smile. "Well, you really like him, that's for sure." I grin. "Yeah, I know, it's that obvious. Honestly, I haven't let myself think about it too much but now that I'm sorting everything else out, it's becoming stronger and stronger." "You'll figure it out and hey, you know I'm always here for you to talk." I smile. "Thank you, Wes."

Eventually, I have to get to my radio interview appointment. After that, I'm planning to head straight to Mel's so I can explain everything that has happened so she won't think that I'm doing something behind her back. Hearing it will suck but knowing it's already over will make her see she doesn't have to worry about it.

I'm greeted nicely at the radio station, someone hands me a pass after showing my ID, then leads me to a little studio with a reporter whose voice even I have heard on the radio before and that sure means something because I don't even listen to the radio. The guy introduces himself and quickly talks me through what's going to happen. It all happens a bit fast but I try to keep up and then we're already on air.

"And we're back, I have a special guest here with me, Beverly Nicholls! After that smashing launch of MB, an organization to help kids who suffer from bullying or also just confidence issues, I now have the woman herself who founded that whole thing with one of her students to tell us a little bit about the project. Beverly, how are you?" "Please, call me Bev" I say, moving my hair out of my face. I lift my head up to the microphone a little. "And I'm doing well, how about you?" "Same, same. So, we had someone from our studio at your event and we did a little piece about it. We got a great response after covering that and I've been doing some research and saw mostly positive feedback, that must feel great." I smile. "Yeah, it does. I thought there was going to be a little more mockery and a whole lot less support but it's been amazing and we're trying to move forward right now." "In what way?" I take a deep breath and decide to just get straight to the point. "Our benefactor, Mason Remford, has supported us to the point where we can now stand on our own two, well, four feet and I can't thank him enough for that." I gulp and even take it up a level. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have come this far. Working with him was great but I'm glad we don't depend on his help anymore." "The media has covered his part in your project a lot as well, I also feel like a lot of, well, ladies must've been jealous that you got to go to the launch with him." "I was honored" I say, hoping that the sick feeling in my stomach fades soon because otherwise I'm going to throw up all over the microphone.

I praise Mason a little more until I get to promote MB a little more and then finally leave, hoping I won't have to do anything like that ever again. I get on the bus and text Melanie that I'm on my way. As soon as I get there, she's out the door and asks if we can go for some Starbucks which I would never say no to.

"Is everything okay?" I ask because she seems a little off. "Yeah, I'll tell you once I have my coffee" she replies and I can't help but starting to worry. "You can talk about it now, you're making me worry" I admit but she doesn't say anything until we've ordered and sat down.

Before I can ask again, she already starts. "I have a feeling that it only got better with the class for a short amount of time, during the past few PE lessons they kept mocking me in the girls' changing room for what I'm wearing and today someone stuffed my clothes into the trash. I had to go to two more lessons in those clothes and everybody knew it." There are no emotions in her voice and she's telling me about as if she was telling me about an average grade. But I know that she is working hard to not let this affect her and I can understand why she's now finding that a little hard. "I just thought I'd let you know." "You don't want me to say anything, do you?" I wonder because I always have to offer it even though I already know the answer and unfortunately, the outcome too. She shakes her head. "I know that won't change anything." "You know that's what we have MB for." "I've been on it a lot and everyone's asking me for advice when really I need it myself." "Don't be afraid to say that, they're supposed to see that even you need help still, that you aren't above them in any way, do you know what I mean?" She nods and takes a sip of her coffee.

"But you wanted to tell me something?" "If you're not feeling well, I'd rather not." "Oh, come on." "Alright. You know ... we haven't been doing a lot with the project because Remford was blocking us." "He was helping us, wasn't he?" Melanie asks in confusion. I nod and bite my bottom lip. "Yeah, he was but then we had a bit of a disagreement, basically he's an adult bully but let's not get into that, he wanted to mess with me so he wouldn't get off our project that he wanted no part in either way because he has no idea what we're actually doing. He only wanted public attention, people thinking he's a big hero. So I gave him what he wanted and praised the work he did with us on the radio earlier. Long story short, the situation sucked for a while but I got rid off him today finally." She raises her eyebrows in confusion. "Why didn't you tell me?" "I didn't want to worry you, I was gonna figure something out and I did. I hope you're not mad." She thinks for a moment, then shakes her head. "No, I mean, I'm glad I didn't have to worry about that but I would have tried to take responsibility as well..." "It's okay, you have a lot going on too, you didn't need that on top of it, did you?" She sighs and takes another sip of her coffee. "I guess you're right. Thank you." I smile. "And now we're gonna take it to the next level." She smiles back. "Yes, we are!"

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