Magdalena pulled away from Drew and settled into a stiffer posture. She had always hated conflict and was hit with a sudden desire to retreat. She was taken aback not just by Drew’s increased irritability but by the content of his words. He was even more clueless than she had anticipated. Drew had grown up at Rocky Mountain International so he could have been excused for thinking the school was the entire world at fourteen but he was a little old to still be so naive so she forced herself to stay seated and answer his line of questioning.
“Maybe, you’re right and no one else should care,” Alena agreed, she had closed her eyes in an effort to steady her nerves and force the conversation to continue, “but that simply isn’t the reality we’re living in. The world is a lot bigger than Rocky Mountain International, and I promise you the people out there, they do care.”
She risked a glance at Drew to take in his reaction and began twisting a strand of her hair tightly around her finger. She was unused to having to sell her point of view and was trying very hard not to get emotional but it was difficult when the subject matter was so personal. Even though they were technically talking about Drew and Darlene, it was not difficult for Alena to imagine the despair she might have felt had she not been lucky enough to find Nolan, had some other boy approached her when she had been young and shy and desperate for someone - anyone - to like her.
“Girls like Darlene - girls like me - we aren’t allowed to use our teenage years to make mistakes and try on different relationships. Whether you think it’s fair or not you’ve tainted her.”
Alena took a breath and carried on, determined to get her words out before Drew could find an opportunity to object. “She won’t be able to just pick herself up and rebuild her life after being in a long-term relationship with you for most of her adolescence. She took a gamble getting involved with you, and I may not have agreed with her choices at the time, but I can see why she thought it was a safe bet. I’ve always thought you were a very honourable person, Drew. I trust you to do the right thing.”