Most of us have dated someone like the trilby-wearing dude in sligers118's story: hot, selfish, and hard to resist.
Story: Ugh. It makes me sick sometimes. I mean look at him, standing there in the lunch queue, surrounding by a gaggle of adoring fan-girls. No, I won’t look. That’s just what he wants. He relishes the attention, laps it up. He feeds off it, I think. It’s not like anyone ever sees him eat – that would be far too undignified for the likes of him. Anyway, what do I care? He means nothing to me. I’m just… observing the dining room, writing notes, trying to find a subject for my next article. Like that girl over there, eating a cheese sandwich. That could be a story, sure. Everything has an angle. I mean, what if someone started dancing on the table in the corner of the room, and I missed it, the biggest scoop of the year (in case you hadn’t guessed, not a lot goes on around here), because I was watching him?
He’s preparing to tell the joke now. I can tell, because he’s checked his reflection in the window that he passed, not even particularly surreptitiously, then tipped his hat to an angle that can only be described as rakish, (I swear, he’s the only boy in the school that can wear a trilby without getting beaten up), and has flicked his scarf over one shoulder. That means he’s going to tell the joke. I remember, he used to tell the joke all the time, back when we were going out. Oh yes, we went out. Now I sound really pathetic, an obsessed ex-girlfriend, instead of just the common-or-garden everyday stalker. But I’m not obsessed, really. I just get… annoyed.. Occasionally. Hardly ever really. Once in a blue moon. But still.
It wasn’t even that long ago. I mean I’d liked him since we were both eleven, but he was always something unattainable –I had no chance. I hadn’t even bothered to try and talk to him; I had some small remnant of pride. I didn’t want to be like those girls, the ones that giggle at his every word. See he’s finished the joke now, and they’re laughing hysterically. You want to know what’s really funny? I’ll give you a clue, it’s not the joke. And he knows it. He does it to test his… influence, I think he calls it. He likes to see if they’ll laugh at anything, just because he was the one to say it. The sad thing is, it works. Mostly.
I wish I had laughed at the joke. That’s the reason he first noticed me – because I didn’t laugh. He had no cause to before; I tended to avoid him. I had a different group of friends entirely. We are the bookish ones, the ones that think we’re so intellectual, and like to have battles of wits. Yes, we call them that. Oh I thought I was so cool. We all did. We laughed at him, and his silly mannerisms; the way he caught his reflection in every mirror he passed, the way he brought a spare pair of pressed white trousers into school, just in case one pair got dirty. But inside, all the boys were jealous, and all the girls thought “What if?”
Anyway, on this particular day, I had left my bag in a classroom. He was in there, with his fan club, and as usual, I walked past with my head down. Only then, he started telling the joke, and before I knew it, I had slowed right down. I had seen people laughing before, and wondered what was so funny. He came to the end. They laughed. I didn’t. I mean, the joke was pretty pathetic, and I thought there was no hope of him noticing me, remember? Why would I even try and win his approval? So I snorted, (not the most attractive sound, I’ll admit), shook my head wryly, and walked out the door. To my extreme surprise, he followed me. He wanted to know why I hadn’t laughed. I told him because it wasn’t funny. That was the beginning of it.
I stopped talking to my friends. A week ago it would have been the ultimate betrayal, but I didn’t care. I told myself he had seen something deeper in me, that he was sick of all the shallowness that surrounded him, and that I was the only one who could save him from it. He told me we made a pretty couple. That should have warned me, right from the start, that something wasn’t quite right. But it didn’t. I never let him see me unless I was perfectly groomed, and I never really… said much around him. Just kind of repeated whatever he had to say. Like an echo. That’s all I was; a shadow of my former self. I was so happy to be with him, so convinced it was my fairy tale come true, that I didn’t realise that I was just… an accessory.
Then, one day, it was over. Just like that. I think he got bored of me, once I started laughing at his jokes, and stopped being mysteriously aloof. That’s the only reason I interested him. I was an enigma. He thought I was a challenge. And he thought I’d look good on his arm. My friends took me back, but it wasn’t the same between us for ages. I suppose it could have been worse though, considering. Most of them – the girls anyway, know they’d do the same. And I tell myself I’m over him, but… oh Lord. He’s coming over. Why is he coming over? He hasn’t acknowledged me since we broke up. He’s got his girlfriend in tow – is she the same one from last week, or a new one? I can’t tell, they all sort of blur into each other – I just call them all Echo. Learning names isn’t worth it. Maybe he’s not coming here after all. Maybe he’s had a run in with some particularly sticky crumbs, and needs to change his trousers. Mayb-
“What are you writing?”
I look up at him, trying to hard not to blush. Echo stands at his shoulder, looking smug. I hope I never looked like that. I flip the book closed and hold it protectively.
“Why do you care?” He grins, that bloody charming grin that just makes you dissolve inside, and do whatever he wants. I’m made of sterner stuff. I refuse to melt. I just stare at him.
“You’re writing about me, aren’t you?” He reaches for the book. I stand up in fury, snatching it away. He stumbles back slightly, and a curl slips out of place. My elbow knocks a drink, and the orange liquid slowly spreads across the surface of the table. Echo screams and jumps back. He watches it in fascination.
“That’s just typically you, isn’t it?” I’m spitting the words out. “You just think the whole world revolves around you. It wouldn’t even occur to you that I might have moved on or… are you even listening to me?” He isn’t. He has a mirror out, and is anxiously examining the wayward hairs. Without another word, I walk off, determined not to give him the satisfaction of looking back.
I needn’t have worried. When I do turn finally, he’s still staring at himself in the shiny spread of orange, smoothing curl after curl back into place…
Based on "You’re So Vain," by Carly Simon
Thoughts on "Narcissistic"? Have you gone out with someone like this?
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Topics: musical fiction contest