Bit 23 Chapter 23: 1959

Allie was so ashamed of herself that she felt too uncomfortable to face Quincy. She thought he would hate her for good, therefore she took off by leaving school way before everyone else was dismissed. That day after school, Quincy met up with Betty Jane and asked her, "Have you seen Allie so far? I haven't seen her since lunchtime."

"I don't know," Betty Jane said. "She's probably just embarrassed. I can't blame her, though. She's got a crush on you." She giggled.

"Well, she made that quite clear enough," Quincy muttered. "I just wanted to talk to her. I don't know why she would embarrass me like that."

"She's the new girl in town, Quince. Don't be too hard on her."

"No, she's not anymore. She ought to know better. I'm gonna have a word with her when I get home."

"Again, try not to be too hard on her," Betty Jane said with a chuckle.

Allie was isolating herself in her room once again. Instead of getting started on her homework, she decided to procrastinate for a little bit by writing in her diary about the most humiliating day of her life. She began writing, "Monday, September 29, 1958, the most embarrassing day of my life......."

While Allie was writing in her diary, Quincy approached the Sampsons' house and knocked on the door. Paul opened the door and shook hands with Quincy. "How do you do, young man?"

"Fine, Mr. Sampson," Quincy said. "I would like to speak with Allie for a minute."

"Allie, you have a visit from your friend," Alexandra called.

Allie came out of her room, saw Quincy, and sighed. "What is it?"

"Let's go outside," Quincy said as he took her hand. They sat down on the grass and there was a moment of silence between them. Allie felt that she had completely blown her chances with him. She knew she couldn't blame him for not wanting to go steady with her, and she also knew that she could never force him to take a liking to her if he really did not.

Just then, Quincy started talking. "Allie, what on Earth has gotten into you? You've been acting like a completely different person lately."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm talking about that stunt that you pulled in Mr. Perkins' class today. You know how strict he is about us paying attention in the class. Also, it seems like you're really stinking it up in most of your classes. That's kinda weird, don't you think?"

"Stinking it up?" Allie asked.

"Yeah, you know, not doing so keen and all. I mean, it's not like you at all, Allie. You were a lot smarter than this last year. What's going on?"

Then Allie knew that she had to be the bigger person by apologizing for the pain she practically caused for herself as well as Quincy. "I'm sorry about what I did today. It's's just......."

"I'm a little peeved that you would humiliate me like that in front of my friends. You need to learn to think twice before you do something, Allie."

"I know," she said. "I mean, I know I'll always have something like this to look back on when I get older and older, but I just don't want it to ruin what you and I have. I mean, we're still very good friends, aren't we?"

"I don't know, Allie," Quincy said. "I have plenty of other friends besides you, and I know that this is my very first crush that I've actually ever had on a real girl who truly likes me, but I'll have you know one thing---a true friend would never publicly humiliate another friend, with or without reason. It's simple logic, Allie."

"Quincy, you don' don't really mean that." Allie was now a little offended.

"Look, I know you're the new girl in town and you don't really know too much about anything around here, but one thing I want you to know is, this isn't the way friendship goes. You learn to be respectful, and you learn to keep your boundaries. I'm pretty sure no one taught you that, but now you know." That actually sounded quite harsh.

Tears started rolling down Allie's eyes. "I'm sorry, Quincy.......I just don't know what else to say."

"Why don't you start by figuring out why you're so easily distracted in every single class you have with me, then you'll really have something to think about. Now thanks to you, everyone's gonna continue looking at me as the laughingstock of middle school. I really hope you're proud of yourself." Quincy sounded a little cynical right there, and he walked right off without saying a good-bye. Allie, on the other hand, was crying her eyes out. She had really blown it with him this time. After all that they have been through that summer, and now that school was starting, she was starting to create more problems in his life as well as her own. Love was painful, she suddenly figured out.

For the rest of that year, Allie and Quincy were more torn apart than ever. As time went on, everyone else learned to forget about that little incident in Mr. Perkins' History class---everyone else, except for Allie and Quincy, that is. Quincy was so aloof that he began switching out of his classes just to avoid being a real "distraction" to Allie. Therefore, the only time the two of them ever really saw each other was during Drama Club after school every Thursdays and Fridays, especially when they were paired together to work on scenes and monologues, they were forced to put up with each other. Allie could always sense the hate in Quincy's eyes. She knew she couldn't blame him for hating her, but the incident was practically six months ago; she wondered why he never really forgot about it already. Was Quincy really the type of person to hold grudges? Allie wanted to know.

Even after school, Quincy had stopped coming over to visit her backyard when she was sitting on the grass, reading by the pool. He never called her on the weekends to inform her of his plans, if he ever had any. Basically, he was treating her like she was invisible. Quincy was the smartest kid in all his classes, and he couldn't let just one girl---not even Allie---ruin that reputation. And even Allie herself was learning to gradually improve her grades. Her mother had hired her a tutor for certain subjects such as math, reading, and English, and Allie was slowly improving in each of those subjects. Allie was so proud of herself for her academic accomplishments that her mother rewarded her by fixing her a cup of tea and a ham-and-cheese sandwich.

"Now see what happens when you let boys become a distraction to you, sweetie?" Alexandra said with a chuckle as she ruffled Allie's hair. Allie laughed too, feeling a little better.

"You're right, Mama," Allie said. "I can't blame Quincy, though. He hasn't yet uttered a single word to me in six months. He hates me right now."

"Oh, I'm pretty sure he doesn't hate you, sweetheart. He's just embarrassed, that's all. And even I am a bit disappointed that you would behave that way in your class, Allie. You're never one to start passing notes in class."

"I'm sorry, Mama," Allie said. "It's's just complicated, I suppose."

"What's so complicated?"

"I really like him, Mama. I think he is the best person in the world, and he makes me feel very happy. But I don't understand why when I show him that he makes me feel happy, he feels humiliated. Don't I have the right to let him know how he makes me feel?"

"Alessandra sweetheart, let me tell you a little story," Alexandra said. "I was the exact same way when I met your father for the first time---we were teenagers then. We first met while we were at the movies going to watch Casablanca. He was sitting way at the front with his friends, and my friends and I stepped right into the theater when I caught his eye for the first time." She sighed dramatically as she thought of that time. "Long story short, we've had our fair share of ups and downs, but in the end we always stuck together. And now that we've ended up together, we're also fortunate enough to have you as an addition to our lives." She gave Allie a hug.

"Aw, that sounds sweet," Allie said. "But wasn't Daddy ever embarrassed when you let him know how you feel?"

"Not entirely, my dear. Yes, I did tell my friends all about him, just like he told all his friends all about me, but we were never ashamed to admit our feelings. We just did it in a subtle way, that's all. Allie, I know you mean well, sweetie, and while it is wrong of Quincy to just ignore you like this, you've got to put yourself in his shoes. Wouldn't you feel embarrassed if he did what you did?"

Allie thought about that for a moment, then said, "Wow, I didn't know it was that complicated."

"It can be quite complicated sometimes, honey. And I can't speak for Quincy, but I know that he'll come through eventually."

"I hope so," Allie said to herself with a sigh.

However, she was wrong. Quincy was still giving her the slip, and he uttered no more than two words to her whenever they spoke. They couldn't even have one of their friendly, decent conversations anymore. Allie tried to enjoy the rest of her sixth grade year without him. She found out that she didn't need to spend so much time completely absorbed in one boy whom she had unwittingly humiliated; she needed to focus on herself and feel better about it too.

Suddenly, Allie was through. She had fought the long, hard battle, yet she always ended up defeated. She could not imagine what her life would be like without Quincy. He was everything to her, and now all of a sudden, he meant nothing to her anymore. Allie did not invite him to her twelfth birthday party, but she did invite most of the other kids from school, including Betty Jane and Mary Beth. And she did not invite his friends, either, because she knew that would be quite unfair for Quincy that his friends would be invited to her party without him.

Most of the other kids were in the living room, snacking on refreshments while the music was playing on the radio. Allie was in her room with Betty Jane and Mary Beth, giving herself a moment or two of some alone time on her special day. Betty Jane said to Allie, "Are you having fun yet?"

"Oh, yeah, definitely," Allie said, not with much enthusiasm. She really wished Quincy were here, but she knew she couldn't invite him because he wasn't in the mood for her, ever.

"Just out of curiosity, whatever is going on between you and Quincy?" Mary Beth asked.

Allie glanced at her. "Whatever do you mean by that, Mary Beth?"

"Why, I was just asking a simple question, of course. You didn't even invite him to your party. We don't see him, do we, Betty Jane?"

"Ah, she and Quincy are still at odds," Betty Jane said.

"What's it to you whether Quincy is invited to my party or not?" Allie said snappishly, and Betty Jane and Mary Beth were shocked at her outburst.

"I---I'm sorry, Allie. I didn't know this would offend you," Mary Beth said. "If you don't wanna talk about it, then you don't have to."

"I'm sorry, Mary Beth," Allie said with a sigh. "I've just been feeling down in the dumps ever since Quincy said he wanted nothing to do with me again."

"Did he really say that?" Betty Jane asked.

"Well, not exactly like that, but I knew what he meant. I have changed over the summer. I've been getting failing grades, and I only joined the Drama Club just to be closer to him. I don't even know a single thing or two about acting! I'm just doing all those things just to please him. I feel like I have no control over myself now that he and I were becoming closer. Do you know what I mean?"

"Yes, we know what you mean," Betty Jane said. "When you really like someone, you'd do anything to get close to them." She held Allie's hand.

"I feel like we're both strangers now," Allie said. "I don't even recognize him as that boy I met two summers ago. This summer was supposed to be the greatest time for me because it'll be exactly two years since we've met. And now it won't mean a single thing anymore."

"Well, now that you're twelve, Allie, I think you're quite old enough to make your life more meaningful for you," Mary Beth said. "You don't need Quincy to do it."

"Yeah, we girls can be independent too," Betty Jane said encouragingly. "Mary Beth is right."

Allie smiled a little and said, "I guess you're both right. I can do this with or without him." She was feeling a little better now.

Bit 22 Bit 24

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