"So... how are you?" I asked.
Mark shook himself out of his daze and smiled. "All right, thanks. Yourself?"
"Yeah, I'm good," I lied.
"How're things with that kid who follows you round everywhere?"
"Not good at all," I muttered, looking at the ground.
"That's annoying. Hey, wanna come round my house one day? We could play COD."
I looked up. "You play COD?"
"Yeah, who doesn't? It's one wicked game."
I smiled. "Yeah, it is."
"So, d'you wanna come round Saturday?"
"Sure. What time?"
"About two, maybe. D'you know how to get to my house?"
"Not really," I replied. I had no idea what I was doing, going to the house of a guy who liked me but really I needed a release. I needed to escape Emily.
"Uh, well, if we meet up here, we can walk down. How about that?"
"Yeah, sounds good to me."
"Cool." Mark's face lit up and internally I groaned. What was I doing?
Mark's face fell as he glanced at his watch. "Oh, I have to go."
He stood up. "Great talking to you, mate."
"See you Saturday," I said.
"Yeah." He grinned as he walked away, looking as if he couldn't believe his luck.
He didn't actually seem too bad. At least he wasn't like Emily. Gosh I hated her.
My phone suddenly rang. I didn't recognise the number.
"Hello?" I said, putting the phone to my ear.
"Hey Carter! It's Emily."
"How did you get my number?" I asked, dismayed.
"We found it on my best friend's brother's contact list. Lucky, eh?" She sounded like a stalker. Internally, I heard myself replying 'No, that's the worst luck ever' but I had led this girl on. It was my own fault if she thought it was fine to call me up.
"Um, yeah," I replied, wishing her phone would run out of battery or something.
"You okay?" she asked, sounding concerned. "You sound really run down."
Yeah, and it was you driving the car.
"I'm okay. I'm just tired."
"Ah. Would you like me to come round and give you a shoulder massage?"
"No!" I yelped, terrified by the thought.
"Are you sure you're okay?" she asked sceptically.
"Yeah, I'm fine. But no massages. Oh, and Emily, no phoning me during school."
Quick, think of something.
"I, er, ... don't want you to get caught in lessons. I know how boring you think school is in comparison to me."
"You got that right," she replied, sounding dreamy.
"So just don't. Okay?"
"Okay I won't. For you, I would stop drawing rainbows..."
She drew rainbows?
"Thanks for caring," she said happily. Great, she thought I cared.
"Well, I have to go. Love you."
"Love you too," I replied, without processing what I was saying. My brain had swtiched to automatic - it was easier that way.
And the call ended. I put my phone in my pocket and stared at the playing ground. Wonderful. Simply wonderful.