To Tell The Truth

Getting up the next morning Conner put his gym clothes on, brushed his hair, put his earbuds in and walked out the door. as always JD was waiting for him on the steps.

"Conner, hey going running with me?" asked JD.

Conner smiled, "Does it look like I have a horse to keep up with you?" he said jokingly. "Nah, going to the Gym do some lifting," he said.

JD paused, he looked a little troubled, then asked Conner. "Hey, did you see Courtney this morning, Is she mad at me?"

Conner walking down the stairs ``No. Why?

"I saw her earlier going out for a run. She normally does not go out this early I thought, she even did not say hi, just walked right by and started to run for the Cross Country track trail. It was odd." Described JD.

Conner looked around thinking of last night, "I don't know or not sure I will ask when she gets back or text her."

JD nodded, "Let me know if I did something or can help." JD said as he started to walk for the track.

Conner pulled out his Phone and Texted Courtney.

+ Hey, still meeting at breakfast? +

Courtney had gotten up extra early,or more like she hadn't gotten much sleep. She needed to clear her head. She had gotten ready and put on some clothes to run in, quietly, so as not to wake her roommate and then went outside. Putting her ear buds in she turned up the sounds of Spotifies Women of Country Music list and headed towards the Cross Country Track.

The track was part of the school property but started on the edge of the more wooded area and was secluded. It was the perfect place to not be around people.

She never saw JD as her mind was elsewhere.

Jogging along the trail she didn't stop. Didn't notice anyone else on the trail. She kept jogging until her phone chimed and her jog came to a halt. The girl wasn't surprised at all it was Conner but what to tell him.

She texted back: *Not sure. Do you know who'll be there?*
Courtney wasn't a girl who skipped meals. Normally, she made sure to eat because she was athletic and needed the energy. She also normally didn't avoid people. She just wasn't sure if she could handle seeing Heath and Sam there this morning.

Conner knew something was up she normally not ask who was going to be there.

+ I and JD why are you mad at him for something? + Hoping to get more out of her if she was mad at JD she might say something to him. He knew she would go off at times to be alone but not often.

JD? Huh? Courtney couldn't figure out why JD thought she was mad at him

She texted back: *No, it has nothing to do with JD. If it'll be just the two of you, I'll be there. I'm just not in the mood for the big group.*

Courtney was pretty extroverted and she knew that Conner might be suspicious about what was going on but she also knew she could be honest with him.

Reading the text Conner wondered what was going on with her. Conner was happy it was not JD though trying to be friends with two people that aren’t friends could be complicated trying not to take sides and staying neutral in the whole fight.

+ Cool, see you there at breakfast we will save you a table. + Sent the text.

Then texted JD + She is not mad at you but something is up who knows maybe the rich kids. + He sent that text.

Somehow Conner knew that was not it but did not want JD to ask too many questions until later when he could find out what's going on.

Courtney responded with a thumbs up emote and then looked at time. Based on how far she ran and how long it would take her to get back and ready for breakfast she turned around and headed back towards her dorm room.

Conner's phone lit up with a text from JD that read "Ok" going to the gym he did his normal workout. Towards the end JD showed as well and lifted for a while nothing was really said about Courtney. They talked about cars, girls and the beach party. Afterwards went back to their rooms, showered and cleaned, then put their uniforms on Conner hated the uniforms JD was not so thrilled with them either but a necessary evil in their minds.

JD thought about what Conner had said and texted. He knew if they sat at a table it might fill up fast.. He picked up his pack and walked out the door. Seeing Conner in the hall he stopped him, "Conner, I think we should wait before entering. If we go first either we will get invited to sit at a table or others will come to ours. Are you sure she just wanted to sit with me and you?" Asked JD.

Conner thought, "Ya man, that's what she said.".

JD looked around as people passed and said nothing until they did. "Do you think with everyone starting to pair up for the beach party she wants to ask one of us and why not just ask?"

Conner almost laughed "No I don't think so that would be awkward she has made it clear we are all friends"

JD looked relieved. I say we wait on her outside the cafeteria and see what she wants to do. we could sit outside. It's still nice out there." suggested JD.

Conner smiled, "That works as they walk over to the hall to the cafeteria and wait on Courtney.

Courtney had gotten back to her dorm, took a shower and got cleaned up. Once she had her uniform on and the rest of herself put together, she headed to the cafeteria. She spotted Conner and JD without much effort but before she got to them she spotted Heath, Sam and Rose talking. She didn't want to have to explain why her, Conner and JD weren't joining everyone else for breakfast. So, she slowed her walk and fortunately none of the trio she was trying to avoid spotted her. They walked into the cafeteria. Courtney made her way to Conner and JD.

"Hey," she said when she reached the two boys. "Can we avoid the cafe and eat outside?" She suggested not realizing that suggestion had been made already

"Ya ,no problem." Replied JD looking around at some of the people. "Courtney, hate to ask this here but are you cool, is someone trying to fight with you or giving you a hard time?" asked JD with a concerned look.

Courtney hadn't thought about the fact that her actions might have been interpreted as someone trying to fight her; until JD said it.

"No" She responded. "No one is trying to fight me. " She was starting to understand why Conner had become friends with JD. "Why don't we get some food and head outside?"

She started to walk towards the line to get food; from there they could just take the doors that led outside from the cafeteria and no one would see them.
Once Conner, JD and she had sat down Courtney started eating, well, not eating so much as picking at her food. She was starting to wonder why, of all the guys at the school, her heart had to go for Heath. Uncharacteristically, the girl didn't start the conversation or really say much. She was also starting to wonder how long it would be before Conner would call her on it.

Watching her, Conner started to take a big bite of his breakfast barrio, then stopped. Looking at Courtney he finished his bite and started to chew his food. He reaches up lightly backhanded JD's arm. making a nodding motion, towards Courtney.

JD looked at Courtney's plate, "What food is not good?" He asked.

Conner groaned, then swallowed rolling his eyes. "Really JD that is the best you can come up with?" Sounding a bit frustrated.

"Courtney, what's up you don't seem to be firing on all cylinders. You're not yourself. don't try to hide it, spill it." Said Conner taking another bite of his burrito.

Unrequited love was a bitch. It also wasn't something that plagued Courtney a great deal of the time. She found boys attractive but she had never been the kind of girl to have many crushes. She just wasn't what anyone would call boy crazy. She heard JD ask her about the food but, not surprisingly, Conner didn't go for that. He instead point blank asked her what was going on. She sighed, took a sip of her coffee, while trying to figure out how to respond.

"Ok, there is someone I like, I mean really like. He likes someone else and she likes him. They almost dated last year but circumstances got in the way. I think they are going to start dating soon." She was being cryptic but maybe less so to Conner. A lot less cryptic when she added. "He's part of our circle. Which is making things...well...complicated"

She felt like an idiot for feeling like this but she could only do so much to control her heart.

JD took bites of his food and drank some orange juice. "Why so cryptic you have told what's going on" said JD. He did not know her well and did not know if he should push for more information. "Ok, you like a guy that likes someone else. Also, he is in our circle. There are only four of us" said JD.

Conner looked surprised he had never known her to be interested in a guy. He looked up from his food with wide eyes "Oh, wow, man no way. Heath? I thought that was over last year. This is why you acted strangely at the Ice Cream social." He said surprised.

JD thought for a moment he was with who? Then it hit him. "Sam," he said. "Why do you think you don't have a chance have you talked to him about how you feel?" asked JD.

Courtney waited as the two boys pieced it together. Conner's comment about it being Heath was met with a nod. Then JD commented about Sam and why didn't Courtney talk to Heath. Being she knew JD wasn't around last year she filled him in. " He and Sam were going to date last year but then whatever happened with Rose, happened and they decided to not date for the moment. Well, now Rose is back and I think they are close to dating, once again." She paused. "I can't tell him. I'm friends with both of them and they seem happy together. I'm not going to get in the middle of that If I told him it would be a mess . " Courtney added. "Besides I'm pretty sure Heath doesn't see me that way. "

"Well, we are here to support you, Courtney." said JD. "I don't know you well. If you are worried about the beach party or something like that. you can say you with me I don't mind. I am sure there are a lot of guys out there that would love to have you as a girlfriend." said JD.

Conner smiled then laughed some "What JD you moving in on her. I always thought she was mine." he said jokingly. "Courtney, I think it is his loss, and JD’s right we will stick together and make it through all this," he said with a warm smile.

Courtney gave a soft smile "'I'm not really concerned about having a date for the beach party but thanks. More people are going without dates than with; from what I’ve heard."

It was still early in the year and while the beach party might get some people together she was guessing it was too early for much of that.

Not surprised by Conner's words, still she nodded . "I appreciate it. I'll be OK. Eventually. Until then I can just fake it, especially in front of Heath. I just needed a break this morning." It was all she could do given the circumstances.

Conner wolfed down the last of his burrito. "Just fake it? I know at times we have to be nice and smile and act polite. but be true to yourself and others around you. Don't fake it too much or people will think you're fake which is something I know you're not" replied Conner.

Smiling JD said, "What? I am fake all the time. If I told you what I really think you would break my noise, Conner. " Trying to make a joke as he down the last of his orange juice. "I have been in your shoes too many times Courtney. and it hurts and it sucks. If you ever need a shoulder I am here. and I will try to remember so as not to make you suffer more. Offered JD.

"I just mean fake it so Heath and Sam don't know. It's not their fault I feel this way. Especially, being they don't know. Heath and I have some classes together. I can't avoid him all day and I don't want him to think anything is wrong because it's Heath and he'll try to figure out what it is and help but there really isn't any way to fix this. " Being Heath and Courtney were both juniors there was no way to avoid him all day and she didn't want to mess up their friendship. JD's comment about faking it got a breath of a laugh from the girl. She finished her coffee but her food remained untouched. As for JD's offer all she could do was nod. "I'll keep that in mind, thanks." She suddenly looked in her backpack. ''Oh, speaking of classes I forget my notebook and calculator for Math. I have to run and get it before class starts. Thanks y'all. I feel a little better. I'll see ya both later." With that the girl took care of her tray and left.

JD smiled, "See ya on around." He said as she got up he was picking his tray up as well.

Conner picked up his tray and downed the last of his coffee. "Courtney see you at lunch." He said standing as well. Dumping their trash; watching her walk away.

"Conner, I don't know her well. Will she be ok?" Asked JD looking around to make sure no one heard him.

Conner paused thinking, "Ya, man she will be fine in time"

JD placed his tray on the dirty rack. "OK well, I have to get to class myself. Can't be late on day two," said JD.

"That's for me too, See ya, JD." As they exit the Cafeteria.

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