Gregg’s Story

CHAPTER ONE

My name is Gregg Davis.

No.  i am not a boy.

My parents thought naming me for some lame ancestor would be cute. Everything seemed innocent until i discovered everyone lied to me. Lies within lies. My life was a compendium of lies.

Fair warning – i’m Southern, which means i love hyperbole. Another fair warning – my tome begins when i’m a junior. Think SAT exams, google the word and work with me. Fair, fair warning – if there’s one thing i’ve learned, there are no fair warnings.

My goal used to be perfection as in straight A’s, top-model looks, dreamy jock hanging on my every word. Two of the three were attainable. Then came the dark days when getting out of bed seemed like a worthy aspiration. I was troubled. Disturbed even. i blamed my erstwhile boyfriend. Now i believe my life had to be annihilated or something in order for me to find myself.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

(at least i sound erudite)

i wield words as weapons.

Words hurt.

Words heal.

We create our lives with words.

The truth is, guys want to be the center of the universe. Don’t believe me? Ask one. Better yet, ask the girl who wants your man. If she’s messing with him, misery is on the way.

But i’m getting ahead of myself.

To begin at the beginning, there once was a girl (me) in love with a boy (Jack).

“Gregg.” A couple of pebbles scattered across my bedroom window. i ignored him even though i enjoyed our rendezvous.

(yeah)

(you may need a French dictionary)

“Gregg, honey,” he called. “Don’t make me wait. Please?”

My cat, A’ja, stretched at the end of my bed, decided there was no need to leave and rearranged herself at my feet.

Branches rustled outside my window. Jack always climbed the magnolia next to my side of the house to reach me even when crisp, chill air made rational people stay indoors. i smiled, remembering how this past summer, the heat of magnolia blossoms radiated a spicy-sweet aroma and made our secret trysts more romantic.

“Gregg,” he beseeched from the limb where he perched, leaning forward to determine if i was coming.  The low vibration of his voice made my body hum.  “Open the window and let me in, please?”

i yawned.

i rolled over.

And gave him a great view of me in my well-worn, forest green sweats. Ha! Didn’t want him to think i was too eager. But really, my heart beat right out of my chest. I loved the games we played. Came from knowing each other all our lives. Think we started holding hands in fifth grade. Recognizing the inevitable, Mom put me on the pill last July when I turned sixteen.

“Jack, is that you?”

(couldn’t help but tease him a little)

“Aw now, you know who I am.” He grinned. “Let me in, Gregg Honey.”

He was the cutest thing ever, his white-blonde hair falling over his golden brown eyes, his scarlet and black Oaks High letterman’s jacket open to reveal a soccer tee stretched across his amazing pecs. Jack wasn’t this stunning in the recent past. Smiling, i remembered the pimply boy who not long ago brought me frogs and specialized in musical farts.  i never cared what he looked like or what gross things he did.

i breathed in.

Jack breathed out.  

We were one person.

“Well,” i tossed A’ja off my bed and sauntered over to the window. “if you insist.”  i placed my hands on the sill but waited, savoring the moment.

“Gregg,” he growled, growing impatient. “It’s frickin’ cold out here.”

(tee-hee)

“Do you want me?” My whole being throbbed.

“You know I do.” He looked worried, like he thought i would leave him outside in the cold.

Good. Southern girls like to keep their men off balance to make things interesting.

To preserve the equilibrium, i removed the barrier between us. The clean scent of neighborhood pine trees swept through the room with the frigid air.

Yes.

No more waiting.

i laughed as he leapt through the window and reached for me. Being in his strong arms, his warm mouth exploring mine, overwhelmed me with joy. Then Jack did something different. He pushed me up against the wall with a new intensity, ran his hands down my sides until he caught the waistband of my pants and shoved them down to the floor.

“Jack Honey?” Something about how he behaved made me tense. He was different. More out of control.

Vertical.

Hard to explain, but we were usually sweet.

Horizontal.

“Trust me,” he sounded confident. “you’ll like it.” Kneeling in front of me, he grabbed my hips. i gasped at his aggression. When i pushed him away, he stopped being rough. Sanity restored, he looked at me, smiled and began stroking all my favorite places, especially my inner thighs.  i sighed my surrender and brushed hair away from his upturned face.

Soft.

Tender.

“Gregg,” he murmured, “I will love you forever.”

Shivering in anticipation, i sank to join him on the floor.

Now, here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of forever: “for a limitless time.” A week later, I discovered Jack used a different dictionary.

The whole thing remains inexplicable. Contemptible. A veritable outrage.

(yeah)

(sarcasm allows me tell my story without shattering into a zillion tears and believe me, i cried all those tears)

The truth?

i was devastated.

No.

Devastated seems inadequate.

Ravaged?

Desecrated?

Blah, blah, blah.

The pain decimated me.

He used to be my everything. My safe place. My best friend.

(how mundane do i sound?)

C’mon Gregg. Face reality. Jack must have known he was leaving when he came to visit that last blissful evening. He was not the Jack i loved. The new Jack used me. He chose to send me to emotional hell. i obliged by torturing myself. Did he try to destroy me to free himself of his feelings for me?

Because next thing i knew, he was making out with Hayley Fontaine in the courtyard at Oaks on Valentine’s Day.   

Yeah.

Instead of roses and a sorry attempt at an apology, the universe handed me Jack behaving like a first-class moron.

No heads up.

No shame.

i approached the happy couple. Jack froze. His face went blank like he lost his brain or something.

(jerk)

That nasty, blonde, skank Hayley looked pleased with herself. Draped all over my boyfriend in her oh-so-trite, size negative-two, designer clothes. Her attitude matched the price tags. Her fraternal twin, the feral TJ with razor-sharp cheek bones, stood with them, as if guarding the tableau. He looked like a panther, green eyes and (talk-about-trite) dressed in black.

“Hey, y’all.” My light tone masked my rage. “Jack Honey, maybe you forgot to tell me

something?”

No doubt my voice reverberated through the entire school. How often did lunchtime offer this level of entertainment?

The jerk remained comatose.

“Been lying, sweetheart? Maybe even cheating?”

(asshole)

Hayley decided to end the conversation by getting all snotty, “Gregg, you’re such a loser.”

TJ smirked as if she had said something profound. When did the Fontaines become so brazen? i mean, i heard he pulled teeth out of rats for pleasure but she used to be a nice girl. my BFF in grade school.

Wish i could say she caused the split.

No.

i did.

i did it when Jack became my boyfriend.

And.

i was not nice about it.

Stopped returning her phone calls.

No longer sat with her at lunch.

Fell in love with Jack’s fascination with my auburn hair and green eyes. 

Which made me oblivious to the twins’ growing popularity. Never realized a blood feud existed between us.

(call me an idiot but not a loser)

i mean, no big loss if Jack and i existed on the fringe. Nothing came between our togetherness.

Guess who shifted his priorities?

Yeah.

Too cool to be a cheerleader, Hayley liked to collect star athletes. When Jack’s teammates voted him captain of the soccer team, she and TJ offered a fast-track to high school royalty.

Fine.

If king of the prom was what Jack wanted, she could have him.  

i would rather be real.

End of story.

(ha)

Regrets aside, Hayley’s statement of my loser-ness required a response. i came up with one that would haunt me.

“You would know.” i delivered my line with appropriate disdain despite my trepidation regarding TJ’s possible reaction.

(fyi, he growled)

Not a bad comeback after being humiliated, right? Satisfied i made my point and not seeing any advantage to hanging around, i left Jack and Hayley to their groping and TJ to his guttural noises.

Applause and calls of “Go Gregg!” greeted me as i moved toward class. All heartening for sure. But i felt alone in my grief. Having been part of a couple for most of my life meant i didn’t have close girlfriends at school to support me.

Yeah.

Thought myself clear of drama. Done my part. Liberated Jack to do whatever with whomever.

(delusional girl)

Contrairio.

(not sure what language contrairio, sorry)

Dangerous to underestimate enemies.

The Fontaines activated their mains to ensure Jack wouldn’t be tempted to get back with me.

(like i’d take him)

They started with basic taunts. I ignored them. Then they went even further, taking exception to the fact that i breathed. Things got rough when i didn’t break. They isolated me by going after my reputation. Nothing i did escaped their sniping. i was unrecognizable to myself in the stories i heard about me, and their words seemed to stick. The word “slut” appeared in red spray paint on my locker. Guys knocked me over in the halls. Someone created a blog mocking every misstep i made. i became the subject of a drinking game.

The Jack i knew would have helped any victim of bullying but he did nothing for me.

i could counter the one-on-one stuff like, “Hey Gregg, heard you like licking ass,” with “Are you offering yours? ‘Cuz you’ll have to shave first if you are.” You know, the kind of crude locker room talk guys love.

(i didn’t grow up with an athletic boyfriend for nothing)

But i wasn’t prepared for an ambush.

And my extensive vocabulary did not save me when things got physical.

i fell for the trap right after lunch one day, when i saw Jack standing at my locker as if he wanted to talk to me. At last! i thought, and raced toward him, not noticing that Hayley lurked around the corner. TJ’s posse jumped me. Hayley laughed and walked away with Jack.

No time for dismay, Gregg, i thought. Focus. Defend yourself, then go find Jack and rip the skin off his face.

TJ ground his smarmy body against me, hissing, “Hey Gregg, how about a fuck job?”

“I would but only with a real big man and you don’t make the cut, little boy,” i snapped. That was good, Gregg. You can handle this.

Someone yanked my backpack, spilling the contents which, my luck, included tampons.

“You want to show us how these work, cunt?” i recognized the voice, but his name wouldn’t come to me. Otherwise, i would have personalized a penetrating reply. Something like, Didn’t they teach you anything in health class, moron? But my hesitation came across as weakness, which incited escalation.

Some girls laughed, like throwing around tampons was all hysterical. A growing crowd began to chant, “Cunt, cunt, cunt.” i searched for an escape but the guys pressed in on me. Hands reached under my skirt to my inner thighs and began to move up; they squeezed hard as i tried to push them away. Oh God! Did Jack tell them my secret sweet spots? My body convulsed as i heaved my entire stomach. My knees buckled and i collapsed into the wretched puddle.

“Ew,” one of the girls said. “Gregg, you’re such a loser.” She emphasized the word so i would know it was payback for my original victory over Hayley.

“Yeah,” another added. “Why don’t you lick it up like the bitch you are?”

i wanted to fight back.

Pain seared my head.

i needed to fight back!

My chest constricted.

How could i fight back?

TJ pushed my head toward the foul pile of my vomit and ordered, “Repeat after me: I am a loser.”

‘“No.” i found my courage and tried bracing myself with my arms. But TJ grabbed them and held them behind my back.

“Say it.” As more hands forced me closer to the floor, my beautiful, long hair fell into the mess.

i struggled but they were too strong. i whipped my head about trying to smear them with

vomit. This only made them angrier.

TJ tightened his grip on my arms.

i sobbed, “I . . . am . . . a . . . ” i couldn’t say the last word.

“Can’t hear you.” He pushed my nose within an inch of the pool of puke on the floor. The smell made me gag and that made me angry.

“Leave me alone!” i shouted as i tried to stand.

“No.” My torturer-in-chief wanted my absolute degradation. “Try again, bitch. We want to hear you admit the truth.”

i shook my head. “Never.”

He grabbed my hair and jerked back my head so my face could be seen by everyone in the crowd. “Say it!” The tone of his voice became more vicious. “Say. ‘I am a loser.’”

As my eyes darted around the tightening circle, their almost demonic looks terrified me. If i didn’t do what they wanted what would come next? Oh God! i was going to have to cave. But maybe i could save some dignity by playing it my way. i took a deep, full breath and exhaled the words to keep my voice steady.

“i am a loser.” They were just words. Hayley and TJ won but, i consoled myself, on my terms.

“Yes, you are,” the brute hissed. “You are the biggest loser ever. Be sure to look for yourself on the Internet.”

That was when i learned about the brutal power of words to create reality. Had i turned myself into a loser? All i did was defend myself the best way i knew how. Fuck. In my reach for survival, i hadn’t factored in the Internet. Anyone who Googled my name in the future would be able to witness my debasement and admission of defeat. i clenched my hands and forced myself not to panic. my immediate goal? To get away from those creeps and find my way home as soon as possible. i made myself be still — impenetrable, boring — which deprived them of their sport.

It worked. In one final act of disdain, TJ threw me to the floor as he signaled for the rabble to disperse. Someone with pointed cowboy boots kicked the midsection of my huddled form as they passed. i grimaced in pain but managed to remain placid until i was alone.

And i was alone.

Propping myself up against the cold, steel lockers, i evaluated my situation.

i stank.

Putrid globs clung to my hair. i wished hadn’t eaten pizza for lunch. A girl with a hall pass scurried by me but wouldn’t make eye contact. i would have stopped to help someone like me, someone in obvious trouble.  i would have helped that person stand, taken them to the bathroom, and cleaned their face. i would have offered them a ride home and made sure they were safe. i would have fixed them a cup of tea and called their parents. But that’s my code.

i gathered my belongings, put on my coat and escaped by myself through the nearby emergency exit into the bitter, winter air.

Screw everybody.

Let the alarm broadcast my illegal exit.

 

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