Redemptive: Ch. 6

Ike had always been obnoxious.

In elementary school, he was the “class clown” frequently starting food fights at lunch, and disrupting the class with a ceaseless barrage of spit balls. 

At recess, his favorite activity was chasing girls around the playground, tackling them to the ground, and spitting in their faces to give them “cooties.” It was then, in the third grade, that Chelsea and I pinky swore we would never be friends with Ike.

We were further disgusted by his behavior in middle school when he became the ringleader of the “Panty Bandits”, leading a group of his friends around the school in a competition to see who could uncover the most underwear by lifting up the skirts or even pulling down the pants of any girls they encountered during passing periods. Rumors spread that his dad paid off a bunch of the parents to keep them from pressing sexual harassment charges.

In high school, Ike was famous for his friday night house parties. Before his father remarried, Ike frequently had the house to himself, and never failed to take advantage of it. From creating a slip ’n slide from the roof into the backyard pool in the summer to turning the hot tub into a giant Jello shot in the winter, Ike’s parties were a source of constant chaos and reckless choices.

And suddenly Chelsea was eager to be a part of it all. It was like Ike had a gravitational pull that had sucked her into his orbit of Ego. Ike became the center of her world, the preferred topic of conversation, his parties the highlight of her week. Soon, I felt like I didn’t have anything to talk about with my best friend. We no longer seemed to have anything in common other than our birth month, our zip code, and our history.

If fact, as the years went by, I struggled to find anything in common with the majority of our friend group. Most days it felt like I was just going through the motions, playing a role, pretending I still belonged.

But I wasn’t sure if I did anymore.

Or if I even wanted to.

"Did you talk to Ike?" I asked Ty when I met him at his locker after my first class.

Chelsea and I had classes on opposite sides of the school for second period so we always parted ways outside the door to our first class. I was finally able to get a break from her pestering questions. 

"Yeah," Ty said.

He looked exhausted. His hair was plastered to his face, the wet ends dripping water onto his white shirt. Thankfully, it was residue from his post-practice shower and not sweat.

"And?" I asked.

He opened his locker, and stuffed his duffle bag inside while also pulling out his geography book. Then, he slammed the locker shut, sighing as he turned to face me.

"It didn't go well," he said.

"What happened?"

"I told him what he did at the party was really uncool, and that it made you uncomfortable. I suggested he think about toning down the pranks, and try being more considerate. And he basically told me to fuck off. I believe his exact words were 'what are you? my father? nobody asked you to watch so tell the little princess to look away if it bothers her so much.'" 

"I told you he wouldn't listen."

"I'm sorry," he sighed, and pulled me into his arms. "I thought it would help. You were right."

"It's okay. I have a backup plan, remember? You want to hear what I got so far?"

He kissed the top of my head as he released me. "Tell me at lunch. We're going to be late for class if we wait any longer."

"Okay," I kissed him. "See you at lunch!"

I watched him walk away, biting my lip. Ike was obviously going to be difficult.

But not for long.

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