Well, this addiction is having a pretty bad impact on Bailey (although he refuses to acknowledge it). Is Martha gonna find out soon?
“You’re a very confusing person, Bailey.”
Martha took me out for lunch. I had no idea why but I liked being with Martha, the only woman I ever allowed into my room. Wait, that’s a lie. There was Michelle, then Janie, then Rose, this is getting sad now. Okay, Martha was the only woman who had been able to walk into my room and leave without me losing control and doing things I would rather not disclose.
This habit must really be getting to me except it’s not a habit; just a slip that happens a lot more than I’d like. If it’s any consolation at all, Martha was worth way more than any of the other girls; they were so bad that I could easily put their faces on any of the models I watched and I would be fine but doing that with Martha was like unplugging a game console right in the middle of a tournament.
“…yet you still live with your mum…are you even listening to me right now?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, go on.”
“Bailey, seriously, what is going on with you?”
“Martha, why do you keep thinking something is wrong with me?”
“Because you’ve been acting very weird lately!”
At this point, I was this close to barking at her but this was Martha; it was way too hard. “Martha, nothing is wrong. Drop it.”
“Bailey, everything is wrong! You’re morbidly scared of leading bible study, you’re always late to class or outright absent these days and you have not stopped staring at my chest since you got here! Bailey!” The light slap she gave me woke me out of yet another trance I fell in.
“Martha, for the love of everything that is holy, stop this madness! I’m fine! If you called me here to insult me or insinuate that I’m in some trouble, please keep your self-righteous crap to yourself! I have to go!”
Everyone at the restaurant stared at me for some minutes after that outburst. Why was I even angry? Oh no, I hope she didn’t…
“And you have become increasingly irritable,” her voice calmly spoke. Great, she noticed. Now I had to hope I didn’t get calls every ten minutes asking me if I wanted to talk about my ‘anger issues’ and their causes.
“We’re done here. I have to go.” I got up and walked five steps and then she called out, “Bailey, your written thesis was rejected.”
That froze me. I turned and walked back to her rather quickly. “What do you mean rejected? No one ever rejects Bailey Mowbry’s paper.”
“Your entire paper was sub-par. I read it myself. Your technical definitions were mixed up, your examples were completely off-topic; nothing about that paper had the Bailey Mowbry feel. Luckily, the professor has a soft spot for you and so he decided to give you a chance to rewrite it. Everyone else who ever made these mistakes had to retake the entire course.”
I just stood there with my mouth wide open, surprise filling every crevice in my body. I could not believe what was happening. True, I had missed a couple of classes because I woke up late but to the point where my technical definitions were completely wrong?
“Look, you may not want to tell me what’s going on, and that’s totally fine with me, but Bailey, people are talking. Your behavior these days has been nothing short of erratic and it won’t be long before people start to take action. Get your act together man, and fast. Like I’ve always said, I’m here if you want to talk. I still care about you in spite of everything.” She picked up her bag, left the envelope with my thesis on the table and walked away.
I sat on my bed with my rejected thesis in my hand. Making sense of this massive failure was the hardest thing I’d ever done; I had never been rejected before. My papers were one of the few to be published without review and whatever came out of my mouth was never disputed; I was that good. I read it before I left the restaurant and again in the car once I got home. I did not recognize it and I didn’t remember anything about it; I couldn’t even tell if I did write it and exactly when I wrote it. I flung it across the room and got up to turn my lights off. I noticed my door was slightly ajar and given the mood I was in, I’m just grateful it didn’t break when I kicked it shut.
The loud bang from kicking the door triggered something in my mind and everything came rushing back so fast that I had to sit down to regain control after I turned the lights off.
I had just been blasted by Martha of all people. I had missed classes for a month, she had covered for me and everything would have been fine if I hadn’t told the professor an entirely different story from what she told him. He docked her two letter grades for lying but to be honest, it was because Martha let him have it in public a week earlier when he tried to use her grades as leverage to have his way with her. Still, she hated being called a liar and she especially detested being called a liar when it was actually the case. I had told her that the only one who cared about her image was her and that no one really noticed her at all, so she was fine. I was really trying to calm her but my mind was still recovering from the intense episode she almost walked in on, so my good intentions rode on the wings of the worst possible choice of words and she got badly hurt.
This was the day I finally found out that Martha really did care about me more than a friend would but she wanted to be proper; I had to ask her out before she would say anything. She came at me, guns blazing and by the time she left, I was everything between depressed and hurt because I had lost the one person I genuinely cared about enough not to drag into my mental mess. One thought of Martha was enough to immediately end an episode, no matter the lustful bird I was watching. I respected her way too much; I couldn’t mess her up with my madness.
I lay on my bed, overwhelmed with darkness and threw my hand to the side, not realizing that I hadn’t closed the video player. My hand hit the play button and the sounds of enjoyment were so loud! I slammed the keypad to close the player but I was too late.
Chris was standing at my door.