I was inspired to write this story because being in high school, I have a front row seat to all...
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At school, Maci followed me off the bus and into the main hallway. We walked down to where our lockers were located and were instantly surrounded by popular, preppy people. Of course, since they were Maci’s group of followers, they were all talking about Lauren. It was kind of nice not to be the center of attention for once. Being the president of Maci’s little gossip group could be tiring.
I hurried at my locker and clicked the lock shut just as Maci finished briefing the group about Lauren. I almost felt sorry for the poor girl, but it wasn’t my fault that Maci had picked her for the group’s daily gossiping. Someone had to be talked about, or the group lost it’s power over everyone. Or at least, the people who chose to let Maci influence them.
“And then, right as their tongues were down each other’s throats, her mom flicked the lights on. . .”
I rolled my eyes and noticed Bus Boy walking down the hall. When he looked at me, I saw he had the brightest shade of blue eyes that I’d ever seen. Pool water, the sky, and Kool Aid popped into my mind before he glanced away. My heart did back flips at the sight of his clean, tan skin. That boyish look he wore that was slowly changing into something new; it was holding on, like he didn’t want to leave his childhood behind.
Sighing, I turned to Maci’s group. Some of the girls had trickled away, leaving only the faithful to listen as Maci talked. I didn’t understand how she could be the leader of people at school, yet be scared on the bus without me.
The warning bell rang and I left Maci as she yelled for me to text her later.
I was almost late for my first class but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. My teacher was immersed in a novel that was about as thick as a loaf of bread. I took my seat in the back and glanced out of the window, wistfully thinking how nice it’d be to fly away. I would rest on a cloud and sleep, then wake up to watch the ocean pass underneath me. No one would be there but myself. My private world. Once I flew over China, I’d -
Knock, knock, knock!
My teacher answered the door just as I got a text.
Maci: HOTTIE ALERT!
“Class, I’d like to introduce Blake DeMendo. He’s switched from regular world history into honors because he can do it. Just like I know all of you can. Now back to the 16th century. . .” My lifeless teacher turned back to the white board and continued writing.
I faded my teacher out and stared at Blake. What were the odds that mysterious bus boy was in my history class? I texted Maci back.
Me: how did u know?!
Maci: im in regular history
Blake sat down in a desk at the front of the room. My mind raced just seeing him. I spent the whole class watching the back of his head, pretending I wasn’t a creeper but his girlfriend who wanted nothing more than to be held in his perfect hands.
The bell rang after class and I threw everything into my pink plaid book bag. Blake casually strolled out of the room as I trailed behind. I watched for who his friends were, if he had a girlfriend - that kind of stuff. No one walked up to him, no one waved at him, no one even looked at him.
I was deciding whether to say hey to him when Maci came up from behind me.
“So does he sit next to you? Did you talk to him?”
“How did you know I’m interested in him?”
“Oh, puh-lease. You were staring at him in the hall this morning like he was Taylor Lautner,” she giggled.
“Right,” my cheeks flamed up.
“So did anything big happen?”
“No,” I sighed. My English class was on my right so I waved bye to Maci and slipped into it. As I took my seat, the bell rang and my teacher started talking. I took out a piece of paper and wrote ‘lines’ that I would never actually say to Blake.
If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put “U” and “I” together.
Do you have a Band-Aid? I skinned my knees when I fell for you.
If the two of us were one, everything would add up.
“Huh?” I jumped in my seat. The people behind me snickered.
“What is the meaning of dilapidated?” My teacher’s eyes scorned me silently.
“Run down,” I said. A look of shock flashed across her face and just as fast was her look of approval. I normally would not have known the answer to whatever she asked me, but it was written on the white board. She probably thought I felt pretty smart right about now. Way to throw me in with the stereotypical blondes, Mr. Haddaway.
After class I went to lunch and sat at the usual table with Maci and her group. They were now decisive that Lauren’s mom was also gay, so that was where Lauren must have gotten it from. If only people knew the truth behind rumors.
I opened my Vera Bradley lunch box and looked around the room. Blake was sitting by himself next to a window, staring out of it like it held a secret about a problem he had. My turkey and cheese sandwich tasted like fine Italian quizine when an idea came into my mind.
“Hey, Maci? I’ll see you after lunch.” She looked at me quizzically but I ignored her. I moved my stuff to Blake’s table, sat down across from him, and smiled. “Hey! You’re Blake, right?”
“Yeah,” he eyed my lunch, then me.
“Hi, I’m Lexi. I saw you sitting alone and figured I’d come say hi.”
“No problem. Are you hungry? My mom packed me cookies.” He smiled at me, “Chocolate chip?”
“Nothing but the best.” I couldn’t help but smile back. I gave him one and kept the other for if he asked for it. Pushy? Desperate? Me? Absolutely not!
“So, what school did you come from?”
“Homeschool.” He practically swallowed the cookie whole. I gave him the other one without waiting for him to ask.
“Oh. I’ve never been homeschooled. What’s it like?”
How was I supposed to respond to that? I never got to respond because the bell rang and Blake took off like a jack rabbit in hot pursuit of whatever jack rabbits hunt.
Sighing, I walked out of the cafeteria and joined Maci who was uncommonly walking alone.
“Where are your girls?” I asked.
“I told them to interview Lauren. We ran out of things to talk about.”
“But if they don’t find anything, we could always talk about you,” Maci grinned mischievously. “What happened at lunch?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” I felt my face fall.
“This calls for an emergency sleepover. This and other things.”
“Maci, I do not want you to hook us up!”
“I won’t. You can trust me.” She looked as though she wanted to say something else but as if by a magnetic pull, she was sucked into her classroom.
I walked into my math class and sat down as the bell rang. Instead of thinking about numbers, I thought about Blake. He was short with me at lunch, but maybe he was just shy. Or maybe the cookies were poisoned. And he had to run away because he got food poisoning. Yeah. . .
By the end of class I had decided to go up and talk to Blake again on the pretext of asking if he got food poisoning.
It wasn’t hard to find him because he walked by my locker right after class. I wondered if he might talk to me now that he knew someone but kept his eyes on the ground as he walked past me. I slammed my door shut and ran up to him.
“Hey, Blake, are you ok?”
“Yeah, why?” His eyes narrowed.
“You ran away so fast after lunch that I thought the cookies - ”
“Look, I don’t need charity. I know how to take care of myself. Do you think I’m stupid? Well, I’m not! Back off, ok?” Blake stomped away and I stood frozen in the middle of the hall.
Did he just say no to me? After I gave him my cookies? My time? The thought of him turning me away made me angry. No one ever turned me away! Slowly my anger turned into determination. I had never had to chase after a guy before, because they had always come flocking to me. It’d be interesting to see how it worked. My first question was why did he seem so angry?
The unknown question was how long would it take until my mystery was solved?