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an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

Chapter Two

Part 1

“What the hell is this?” I blurted.

Marcy and Dominic jumped apart. Her face was flushed but went white the moment she saw me. Dominic, however, had to hide his puerile smirk by turning away for a moment. Of all the people in all the world she could have chosen to cuckold me with, Dominic Thomas was the worst. He was such a slimy tool—with his slick hair, his silver cross around his neck, his leather jacket. And that attitude? Forget it. He’d been flouting authority since kindergarten when he told our gym teacher he wouldn’t play basketball with the dorky kids. I mean, who did that? At age five? And he’d only gotten worse with age. I couldn’t fathom what she was doing with him.

“Mike, I—”

“Marcy, tell me you weren’t just kissing this idiot,” I said, seething.

“Hey, man. Why don’t we all just chill for a sec?” Dominic said, still smirking.

“Get the hell out of here, man,” I said vehemently. “This is between me and Marcy.”

He didn’t move. Instead, he looked at her for corroboration. The closeness between them was implicit, and it almost killed me. Like he was going to protect her from me. She was my girlfriend, for God’s sake. If anyone was going to do the protecting around here, it was me!

“It’s okay,” Marcy said tremulously.

“You sure?” he asked. He was rubbing it in. He just wanted to abase me. I could tell. It was all I could do to keep from punching the duplicitous bastard in the face.

“Dude, you better get out of here right now, unless you want the ass-kicking of your life.”

Was that succinct enough for him? Apparently so. He finally raised his hands and acquiesced. I waited until he was around the building and out of earshot before I said anything else. I took a deep breath as Marcy eyed me warily.

“What’s going on here, Marcy?” I asked calmly, trying to appear stoic. I didn’t want to come off as a big baby here. I could handle whatever was coming. I hoped. “How long have you been dissembling?”

Marcy hesitated a moment, kicking the toe of her cheerleading sneaker into the dirt beneath her feet. “Since the summer,” she said finally, hugging herself.

“Two months?!” I blurted, all the blood rushing to my head. So much for being impervious. I couldn’t believe she had been sneaking around behind my back for two whole months! “How? When? And why him? God, Marcy. I abhor Dominic Thomas! You know that! Did you just do this to hurt me?”

“No!” she cried, her eyes filling with tears. “It just kind of . . . happened. You were off checking out schools with your parents and he came into Dairy Queen, like, every day, and we just started talking . . .”

I pushed my hands into my hair, my mind reeling. Two months. Two months of guile and disingenuous behavior and of me being totally blind. Who else knew about this? How big of an idiot am I?

A tremendous one, I thought. You had this elaborate evening planned for her on the very day you caught her with another guy.

Our anniversary. She had cheated on me on our anniversary. And for many days before that, apparently.

“I can’t believe you did this to me,” I said finally, my voice cracking. “I thought . . . I thought . . .”

I had thought I was falling in love with her. But I couldn’t tell her that now. It seemed so trite and naïve. And saying it wasn’t going to abate this pain that was wrenching my heart. It would only make it worse.

Marcy reached out for my arm like she was going to comfort me, but I pulled away. “We’re over. Obviously,” I said.

A tear spilled down her cheek. “Mike—”

I had to get out of there. If I stood there for one more second I was going to go off on a tirade about how she could stuff her gratuitous emotion. About how she was the one who had screwed this all up. About how I couldn’t believe I had ever trusted someone like her. So instead, I just turned and walked away, ignoring her as she shouted my name.

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