|1|

720 71 29
                                                  




Hey Guys! Just want to make it clear that I will be giving everyone who I mention in this book a fake name for privacy reasons. Even the guy in the red shirt.

Most of you all know this by now, but for those who do not, Raneem, FreedomHasan is my identical twin sister.

Also please be nice in the comments, whether it is targeted towards me, or the guy in the red shirt. Hope you guys enjoy this book, it took a lot of thinking and courage to start writing it :)

~~~

It all started two years ago. It was August 21, 2018, when it began. It was the second day of my first semester of college. How do I remember this exact date you may ask? Well, it's because it was also a religious holiday called Eid al Adha for Muslims. I remember that day clearly.

I got up early that day to celebrate the holiday with my family so that later that day I could go to my first English class that started at 5:30 pm and ended at 9:45 pm. This English class took place only once a week on Tuesdays. I remember being so nervous about this whole college experience.

My family and I recently moved from Jordan to America so that Raneem and I could start college. We moved at the end of July and classes began at the end of August which meant that we only had a month to adjust to this new environment.

This was why when we headed towards the English building, Raneem and I were so ready to get this day over with.

We entered the building and found the room number, the door was locked, so we stood outside with a couple of students waiting for the professor to come.

"I like the colors of your shirt," We heard.

I turned my head to see a girl standing by us.

"Thank you. You're a part of this class right?" I asked, pointing towards the door.

She nodded her head.

"Where are you guys from?" She asked.

"Palestine, but we recently moved from Jordan," I answered.

Her eyes lightened up.

"That's so cool, you guys are Muslim right?"

We nodded our heads.

"I'm Raneem and this is Rua," Raneem said.

"I'm Farrah. I'm Muslim too," she said.

We and farrah instantly clicked. It could have been for whatever reason, but what I think it was because we were both Muslim, living in a non-Muslim society. This brought comfort to me, especially since I was starting a new life in a new environment. We sat down and decided to exchange phone numbers. Soon the professor came and opened the door. We walked into the classroom and began the first lecture.

I honestly cannot remember much about the first week, even the second week. It went by fast and smoothly, just focusing on classes. I started to adjust to my schedule and it was all fine. Farrah, Raneem, and I were getting closer, sharing our similarities which made me excited to start attending the English classes on Tuesdays.

It wasn't until the third week when I first noticed the guy in the red shirt.

The professor put the class into groups of three to four so that we could discuss the assignment we were working on. I was placed into a group with two guys. One who I already knew, called Tim because we've already chatted on our first day and the other who I noticed for the first time.

I am not that much of a quiet person, so if I am placed into a group, then I won't shy away from sparking a conversation. Which is what I remember doing that day. Tim and I began working on the assignment while we had some conversations on the sideline about my books and his soon to be wife. I enjoyed the conversations, that was until I noticed the other guy who we were placed with. He was being awfully quiet, but I didn't think much of it. I could immediately tell that he was either socially awkward or shy. I did try to spark a conversation with him but he would only reply with a few words and then go silent.

This happened a few times before I decided to stop and give him some space. I wanted to make him feel like he was a part of the group. I didn't want him to feel as if he was left out which is why I kept going. But after a while, I gave up.

I soon learned his name, Mike.

The class ended, and I went home along with Raneem. Nothing happened after that, until the following Tuesday when we went back to class.

I was still assigned the same group as the previous week. I sat down with Tim and Mike and noticed something different. Mike was more talkative this week than the prior. I didn't think much of it though, I just assumed that it probably took him a while to adjust to people.

Unlike the previous week, Raneem's group was placed right by mine which gave us the advantage to talk more in class than the last. As the professor graded our rough drafts, we were given the assignment to grade each person's paper individually. However, just like in the last class, we still were able to manage to have conversations.

Raneem was being more talkative, letting both Tim and Mike know more about the books we write. Then Mike did something, that till this day caught me off guard. He took out his phone and asked what was the name of my published book. I told him that I wouldn't tell him because I don't like it when people who I know personally read my book.

It was for a number of reasons. But the main one was that it was embarrassing and I was afraid of judgment.

So instead, Raneem told him my book's name. I remember watching him as he went on amazon and in front of my eyes, bought my book. I remember at that time feeling flattered. A random stranger just bought my book, how else was I supposed to feel? I felt as if I met a real-life fan. I didn't think much of his motives for why he bought it. I just remember feeling happy.

But I do remember feeling a bit uncomfortable on how talkative he was towards me. At the end of the class, I was recording Farrah on Snapchat from across the room as she made funny faces towards the camera. That was when Mike began to poke my back, telling me to put my phone down in a joking manner. I laughed it off, but I remember feeling strangely uncomfortable at how he went from staying silent, to act as if we were best buddies.

But I never said anything. Why? Because I could tell that he was struggling to make a friend. I kind of saw it coming. He saw how I was trying to be nice in sparking a conversation the previous week, so he took that chance. And I didn't think that it was wrong at all. As long as he wasn't bothering anyone, I didn't mind the unusual talkative side to him, even though I had this strange gut feeling.

But I pushed that feeling aside, telling myself I was just being paranoid.

I was telling myself that I knew how hard it was to make a friend, so I let it all happen.

The class ended, and I went home, thinking nothing of it.

It wasn't until the next week when we were not working in groups, it was just a regular lecture. The professor gave us a ten-minute break when it all began. Mike walked towards me and dropped the book he bought on my desk. I remember feeling a bit embarrassed that the whole class was watching, but nonetheless, I was really flattered.

He asked me to sign his copy, and so I did. I was very happy, thinking 'wow, this is what having a fan feels like huh? '

But I wished things could have ended there, for little did I know, that was just the beginning.

~~~

Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I want you guys to know that whatever I write from here on out, that I've completely forgiven Mike for everything he has done. So I hope that you all continue to read with an understanding heart.

I decided to write this book with a purpose. I hope that I could help anyone out there, even if it is just one person, who is stuck in the situation I was in. In an exhausting, and toxic friendship.

I hope this is your sign, to put yourself first, no matter what the other person says or does. YOU matter the most. You don't deserve to be treated like this. So here it is. My story, along with Raneem's

Hope you guys like it.

-Rua

The Guy In The Red ShirtWhere stories live. Discover now