Allie was once again the new talk of gossip at Fort Chester High, and not in a positive way, unfortunately. Rumors have been spreading around that Allie was the opposite of a virgin, all thanks to Mary-Anne, who had found the perfect time to spread such an awful piece of fabrication. Allie noticed all the other girls glancing at her and whispering to themselves, and that was pretty much the big talk of the whole day. Allie couldn't have been more humiliated.
Everywhere Allie went, she noticed most of the kids muttering to themselves as if they were talking about her, which they were. That day in P.E. class, she walked into the girls' locker room, which immediately became silent as all the girls ceased their gossip. Allie noticed this unusual behavior and said, "What's going on here? Why are you all so silent all of a sudden?"
"Allie, is it true?" one girl asked. "Are you really that easy?"
"Easy?" Allie asked. "What exactly's that supposed to mean?"
Betty Jane covered the girl's mouth and said, "She's just kidding, Allie. Nora here doesn't have a single clue what on Earth she's talking about," she added as she clenched her teeth together for emphasis.
"Something weird is going on today," Allie said. "I feel like people are talking about me behind my back and laughing at me for whatever reason."
"Well, gee, I wonder what could be the reason behind that mysterious behavior," Mary-Anne said to her cynically, and Allie returned a cynical glance at her.
"Oh, go fly a kite, Mary-Anne," Allie retorted, and she realized that this was her first time standing up to Mary-Anne. But at a worse time too, because little did she know that Mary-Anne was the one who had started that untrue rumor about her.
"Oh, is that really the best one you could come up with?" said Mary-Anne cynically. "You might as well tell me to jump off a cliff or something." Then she took off and went about her own business.
"Well, we don't really notice anything suspicious going on," Laura said with a nervous chuckle. "Right, girls?"
"Right," said the rest of the girls.
"Ha, ha. Somebody knows something, and I wanna know what's up." Allie was usually very clever and had a keen observation when things weren't going so right.
"There's no need to feel embarrassed to admit that it's not your first time doing it, you know," said one girl named Alice, who was a senior.
"Doing it?" asked Allie. "What do you mean? I've never done it before."
"Wait a second, Allie," said Laura, now putting two and two together. "Are you---you mean, you're not..........a virgin?"
Allie gasped, now very shocked. "Where did you hear that from, Laura?" she cried.
"Oh, it's just the rumors that have been going around," Betty Jane said. "Apparently, you're the fast and easy type, and Quincy just happens to be one of the few guys you've been going steady with just so you can do it with him and move on to the next guy." Allie was flabbergasted that her friends knew all the information---every girl except she, that is. Betty Jane shrugged and added, "Well, at least that's what we've all heard. Not sure whether it's true or not."
"Of course it's not true!" said Allie. "I just don't understand who would start this rumor about me."
Every girl glanced at each other, wondering whom the guilty party was. It was obviously none other than Mary-Anne, but she whistled as if to stall herself and act like she knew nothing at all. Allie then asked, "Is this why everyone has been talking about me all day?"
"If we answered honestly, can you promise not to throw a fit?" Betty Jane asked with that guilty expression.
Allie groaned with disgust. "My life is fucked up. It's all over now. Quincy's gonna hate me, and my life is gonna be over when it hasn't even started yet!"
"Oh, come on, Allie," said Laura. "Of course you know your life isn't that bad. We don't believe that you're a slut or anything, right, Betty Jane?"
"That's right," said Betty Jane. "I don't believe it either. Trust me, Allie, I've known you for a long time, and I just know that you're not that kind of girl."
"My parents would never consent to me doing it with any guy, anyway," Allie said.
"Well, good girl or not, you gotta stop this rumor about you," said another girl to Allie. "If you continue to keep silent, then everyone else will continue thinking you're a whore."
"I am not a whore," Allie said. She couldn't even think of what kind of person would do something this inhumane to her and ruin her good reputation. Unfortunately, she appeared to have gotten her answer when she spotted Quincy and Mary-Anne together at lockers after school. Mary-Anne was trying to suck up to Quincy by getting him to believe that his girlfriend was an easygoing, immoral person.
Quincy then said, "Oh, come on, Mary-Anne. That's ridiculous. I've known Allie my entire life, and I know that she's not that type of girl."
"Oh, the goody-goody two shoes, huh?" Mary-Anne said sardonically. "Face it, MacKenzie. You think you know someone.........but the truth is, you don't really know much about them as you think you do. Just a little word of advice---take it or leave it. You're welcome," she added.
"Oh, come on, that's nonsense," Quincy said with a little laugh.
"Is it?" said Mary-Anne sarcastically. "All right, then. If you ever decide to ask your precious little Allie out on a date and she turns you down or stands you up, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if I were you. You're welcome." Then she walked on off.
Allie stood there, glancing immensely and suspiciously at Mary-Anne as if she were trying to examine what this girl's motives were. Then she came up to Quincy and said, "Hey, what was that all about?"
"Nothing, Allie. Just don't worry about it, alright?"
"No, that wasn't nothing at all. Quincy, what were you two talking about?" Allie sounded a little more confrontational this time. Everyone else in the hallway stopped and stared. They all knew something, obviously, and now Allie did too. She was going to get the truth spilled out, one way or another.
"Allie, do we have to do this right now in front of everyone?" asked Quincy.
"Yes, Quincy. I have heard there were some rumors floating around about me, and apparently you're a part of it too. And I demand to know what it is, and I'm not leaving until I know what it is."
"Well, you'd better get going home now," Mary-Anne said to her, "'cause I think your mother is preparing your favorite for dinner. After all, you don't wanna hurt your Dear Mama's feelings, do you---Little Miss Goody-Goody?" she added in a mocking tone of voice, and everyone else laughed.
"You stay out of this," Allie snapped at her. Then she faced Quincy. "If you don't tell me what's going on right now........."
"Alright, fine! Rumors are going around that you're fast and easy, and clearly, you are not a virgin." Quincy said. "Allie, is that true?" He seemed devastated to learn that.
"Quincy, I'm your girlfriend! Why would you even think that?"
"I don't think that, Allie! I was just asking---"
"Why would you even ask me that?" Allie was blowing up at him. "Don't you trust me? Quincy, you've known me since middle school! I may have had a few crushes here and there, but still............that was nothing!"
"I don't care about your previous crushes," Quincy said reasonably. "I know you're not really that type of girl that these rumors are saying, but............"
"So you only decide to ask me that because of her, right?" Allie pointed to Mary-Anne. "If she hadn't asked you that, then you probably wouldn't even have known that about me, huh? Is that right?"
"Allie, this is ridiculous. I'm not saying you're that girl; I know you're really not---"
"Then what were you and her just talking about?"
"I was only telling her that she's being ridiculous for thinking that way about you! Jesus, Allie, don't raise up your blood pressure or something. Try calming down for once."
"How am I supposed to remain calm when I realize that the biggest bitch in school has started a very stupidly disgusting, untrue rumor about me!" Allie cried. "Is this really the type of girl you all see me as? Even my own friends too, for going along with this stupid rumor. I cannot believe any of you. I'm outta here now, and don't you even think about finding me 'cause I never want anything to do with this stupid school ever again! And for your information, Quincy MacKenzie---we are finished!" She angrily took off his jacket and threw it at his face and burst into tears while running off home. It was the most humiliating moment of the worst day in her life, and she would never give anything to relive this moment again.
Everyone else just pretended they knew nothing and went on about their own business. Quincy was just speechless and baffled, and Laura was dead furious with Mary-Anne for starting that horrible rumor. Quincy's friends came up to him, and Peter said, "Dude, are you okay?"
"I don't know," Quincy just replied, still in shock. "Man, girls are rather confusing to figure out sometimes."
"Ain't that the truth?" Jerry said as he gave Quincy a brotherly pat on the back.
Laura was confronting Mary-Anne. "How could you start this rumor about Allie? I knew you hated her guts, but I never would have believed that you could stoop so low!"
"Oh, cry me a river, Laura," Mary-Anne said bitterly.
"Mary-Anne McLean, you may have caused Allie some trouble, but if you don't apologize we're going to tell your mother what a big bitch you truly are," Betty Jane snapped.
"Oh, boo-hoo, cry me an ocean," said Mary-Anne snarkily. "My mother is the nurse; she deals with health problems, not silly little high school issues. And besides, that's what your friend gets for thinking she's all top of the world all the time. Winning Princess at Homecoming and all that other sappy stuff---ugh, so gross!" She groaned.
"You need to apologize, Mary-Anne, otherwise you will be grounded," Laura said.
"I don't care," retorted Mary-Anne.
"Grounded?" said Betty Jane. "Uh, isn't that taking it a little too far, Laura?"
"Uh, well........." Laura started to say.
"Give it up already," Mary-Anne said. "I'll tell her the truth." She turned to Betty Jane and said, "Laura and I are stepsisters. My mother married her father when mine walked out on the family years ago, and Laura never knew her own mother. That's the story with us."
Betty Jane was surprised by the revelation, and Laura said, "I'm sorry, Betty Jane. I wanted to find the right time to tell you and Allie, but when you two continuously said awful things about her being mean to everyone and such, I never thought I'd find the time to tell you."
"Wait a minute, you two and Allie have been saying mean things about me?" Mary-Anne asked.
"You deserved it for being mean to Allie for no reason at all," Laura snapped.
"Whoa, this is.........some revelation," Betty Jane said with shock. "I'm gonna tell Allie. Later," she added when she realized that Allie was facing her first moment of torture and humiliation while in high school.
"Didn't it ever occur to you that I might still be hurting inside?" Mary-Anne said to Laura. "Yeah, sure, I've been kicked out of Catholic school, but that doesn't mean you should encourage your friends to put me down when they hardly even know me."
"You've been kicked out of Catholic school?" Betty Jane asked.
"You stay outta this, alright?" Mary-Anne snapped.
"But you hardly know Allie that well enough, therefore you're just being the bad guy here," Laura said. "Allie is nothing but a sweet girl at heart, and all the boys like her for who she is. Everything doesn't have to be your way or none at all, Mary-Anne. Respect is earned, and to get respect, you must respect others as well as yourself. Of course if your father were still here, he'd teach you a thing or two about respect, but I don't think you'll ever understand. And don't say I didn't warn you. You're welcome," she added snarkily. "Come on, Betty Jane, let's go home."
"I'm with you," said Betty Jane. The two girls walked off, and Mary-Anne was simply standing there, considering everything that was said. She was feeling a little bit down on herself, but was it for herself or was she sympathizing with Allie?
Meanwhile, Allie was isolating herself in her backyard, crying as she sat on the grass near the pool. She could not believe the day she had gone through. She grabbed a rock and angrily threw it in the water, just like she did when she was a middle schooler. She wondered why Mary-Anne would do this to her. Was it out of spite and jealousy? This girl came from nowhere and started butting heads with Allie. Basically, she was the new Esmeralda of high school.
Just then, she heard footsteps behind her, and she looked up and saw it was her mother. Alexandra patted her head and said gently, "Well, I see that you haven't announced your arrival from school."
"Oh, don't talk to me about school at all," Allie said with a sniff. "I never want to go back there ever again, as long as I live."
"I suppose that something went wrong, huh?" Alexandra asked.
Allie nodded. "I can't believe that girl. She's such a bitch!" she cried. "The biggest one ever, and I haven't seen or heard of her before in my whole life, and this is what she does to me!"
"Why don't we go over to the front porch and talk more about it?" suggested Alexandra. "Come on, sweetie, let's go."
They went to the front porch, and Allie began telling her mother everything, such as how she thought Quincy believed she was really that type of girl. "Can you believe it?" she said. "Now Quincy also thinks I'm fast and easy!"
"Oh, honey, I know you're not, and he knows you're not either," Alexandra said, putting her arm around Allie. "What that girl did to you was just plain mean and awful. I think she must apologize to you. I'm sorry, dear."
"So am I," said Allie.
"I'm sorry for thinking that high school was going to be the best experience of my life. My first year, and already people are starting to believe rumors about me that aren't true."
"Oh, honey, it gets better eventually," said Alexandra reassuringly.
"No, it doesn't. I feel sorry for myself 'cause I'm gonna have to put up with that bitch every single day in Creative Writing class. I want to drop the class, but I can't because I love writing so much."
"Trust me, it does get better eventually," Alexandra said as she gave Allie an affectionate kiss on the cheek. And for a moment, they both sat together on the porch in silence, their arms wrapped around each other as they embraced a motherly moment.