Both childhood friends and college classmates, Martin and Samantha met up in a crowded intersection between several important buildings on their campus. They found each other by the pavilion’s large fountain and exchanged greetings.
“Mornin’ Martin!” Samantha called out, waving to the bald-headed twenty-two-year-old man who leaned against the fountain’s stone outer ring.
“Same to you, Samantha…” Martin replied with an awkward smile as the blonde beauty positioned herself next to him.
“What’dya call me here for? You know that I prefer chatting over text.” Samantha asked, her expression giving away her casual curiosity.
The boy put a hand to the back of his neck as he formulated his next sentence, eyeing the surrounding pedestrians and looking not-as-nonchalant as his friend.
“Er, you see, I had, for you…”
He nervously gulped his saliva, meeting Samantha’s gaze.
“I have an offer for you…”
Immediately, the girl’s ears perked up and her smile brightened.
“You don’t usually use such vague language, Martin! This has got to be something interesting.”
Seeing her expression so cheerful brought about a twinge of pain in the boy’s heart as his mouth dried and his face reddened.
“You okay? Is it too hot out today?” Samantha worriedly put a hand to Martin’s cheek before looking up at the clear bright sky.
Shaking slightly, Martin put a hand on Samantha’s, guiding it away from his face and back to her side. His eyes did not part from the floor.
“Martin?” She asked, all casualness from moment before now gone and replaced by concern.
“I, uh…” Sweat droplets formed on his forehead. “W-would you…”
A cough sounded from somewhere in the pavilion, loud enough to be heard over the ambient shuffling and chatter of the other college students. Martin’s eyes briefly left the floor to look in the direction of the cough, but just as quickly returned to the ground, seemingly busy counting how many bricks made up each pattern of the pavement.
“Martin, you’re really worrying me. What’s w—”
Having finally built up the necessary guts, the boy leaned toward Samantha and interrupted her, whispering, “Y-you know, you’re r-really a drop-dead gorgeous b-babe. I w-was invited to an-an-an-an-an orgy, and…”
“Martin, are you okay?” Samantha’s expression grew colder, but the concern persisted. “Are you being forced to do this? Do you know what you’re saying?”
But he continued, even as his breathing labored.
“And I-I was asked to b-bring you because a-a-a lot of guys w-wanna fill you…”
A slap rang throughout the area before Samantha stormed off, causing many passersby to glance in Martin’s direction before awkwardly turning him a blind eye. The red hand print on his already red face was quite embarrassing.
Eventually, a tear was shed as Martin covered his face with his arm and ran into a nearby ally between two buildings. There, where fewer people roamed, he allowed his body to fall and be caught by a wall, emotions running rampant within him. Anyone could tell at a glance that regrets overflowed from him.
Not even a minute passed before a figure entered the same alleyway and made a slow, confident beeline toward Martin.
“Nice going there.” The man chuckled, stopping a few feet from the devastated Martin. “Now, your job is d—”
“Shut up, Blake.” Martin’s words came out through his tightly clenched teeth in a low, threatening growl. “It’s nothing but a game to you, bastard, but for me…” Veins popped up on Martin’s shiny head—a testament to his boiling rage. “She…my best friend…deserves better!” He raised his head, glaring directly into Blake’s green eyes, the wrathful flames within him ready to burst out and consume the man whole, to turn him to dust.
“You slimy piece of s*** scumbag whose value amounts to the feces of a raccoon that ate the b******* sitting between your ears! You aren’t worthy of h—”
Blake’s fist found itself pressing against Martin’s deflated stomach in an instant.
When Blake stepped back, Martin doubled over, clenching his abdomen.
“Shut the f*** up, bitch; she’s mine. It doesn’t matter what your retarded opinion of me is. Go against our agreement and I can still ruin your life. This just keeps you off the hook for now.”
The man crouched down to Martin’s eye level and held out his smartphone by his fingers, dangling the device to emphasize his willingness to fabricate dirt on him.
He stood up, spit at the ground beside Martin, and turned to leave. But, just before exiting earshot, he said, “And fix that attitude.”
The alley was then left completely silent, as Blake first waited for the last passerby to leave before committing battery.
Suddenly, loud, rapid footsteps sounded from the opposite end of the alleyway which Blake left through, and Martin released an exasperated sigh.
He stood, dusted himself off, and faced Samantha, who leapt into his arms and buried her face in his chest.
“Man, that was rough.” Martin sarcastically said. “It was so hard to NOT deck him. He’s just so…punchable.”
A moment passed as Martin’s kind-of-joke failed to land, and he sighed again.
“Listen, don’t worry about it. All that matters is that now you kn—”
“I’m so sorry…I didn’t believe…” Samantha interrupted, sobbing through his shirt. “And thank you.”
“Again; don’t worry about it.”
The girl pulled away from Martin slightly, enough to speak directly to his face.
“I’m so sorry…” She sniffed. “He just, he…he acts so differently…when he…when he’s with me…”
She resumed ruining his shirt with snot.
“Yeah, yeah.” Martin cooed, patting Samantha’s head. “Let’s just be glad that I was there to point out that douche’s douchey douche douchery before it was too late.”
They stood there for a long moment until Martin unraveled himself and held Samantha at arm’s length, no longer capable of tolerating his chest getting wet with tears.
“You got that all on camera, right? Evidence like this is very important in the court.”
With a sniff, she replied, “Yeah. And I… Later, I’ll call the cops and take his phone. Get rid of whatever he was going to threaten you with.”
“What a waste of a degree in computer art, or science, or something, am I right? What was he planning on doing? Blackmailing his way to the top of a company?”
“Anyway, after you pack your stuff from his place, you can crash at mine for as long as you need. Just text me when you’re ready.”
Martin began his farewell, but Samantha reached for him again, wrapping her arms around his waist and looking up into his eyes. From Martin’s perspective, Samantha looked like s*** with how her entire face was stuffy and messed up from crying, and her makeup had bled everywhere…but to Samantha, her best friend looked like the most gallant hero one could find in any fairytale.
“It sucks that you’re gay.” She sniffled, frowning.
Martin laughed. “It sucks that you’re not a guy!”