I glanced out the window from my second to last lesson of the day. The clouds had rolled by overhead, creating a gloomy grayness that didn't look promising. Branches were swaying drastically in the sudden gust of tumultuous wind that had swept through the school grounds, causing scrap bits of papers and food wrappers to go flying across the concrete.
Heaving a sigh, I turned to face the front, dreading having to walk home in this.
'What's up?' Ray asked beside me. He was the only person I knew that shared sixth period European History with me. I was thankful that he had, once again, saved a seat for me, sparing me the humiliation of standing at the front for ages.
'Just contemplating walking home,' I laughed slightly. 'The weather's awful.'
'Can't you drive?'
'I used to be able to, in Beverly Hills. But we had to sell my car for money.'
'Oh that sucks.'
'Yeah,' I sighed again.
'I'm sure Verity will give you a lift home, you two are neighbors right?'
'Yeah we are, but I'd feel rude asking her.'
'Don't be silly, I'm sure she'd be more than willing to offer you a ride home, the way you set her up with Will. She can't stop going on about that, she's so grateful.'
'Really?' I smiled, satisfaction bubbling through me.
Just then, my phone rang from my bag, sending out the familiar lyrics of my favourite song at the moment.
And if you think I'm wrong, maybe you should go...
I blushed furiously as heads turned to face me. Luckily, the teacher was outside at that moment and I took the opportunity to grab my phone from my bag and switch it off. Not before I had read the name that flashed on the screen though.
* * *
I shivered once again, goosebumps appearing across my skin. The wind whipped my hair into my face and I was momentarily blinded by blonde. My eyes had begun scouring the car park for either Verity or Eloise, hoping to spot either of them before their last class to hope for a ride home, but I couldn't see either of them.
'Hmm,' Ray mused. 'They're not here.'
'Y-yeah,' I stuttered, trying to fight off the chills that rolled down my spine.
'Oh, here,' before I could stop him, Ray had whipped off his jacket and draped it round my trembling shoulders. I smiled gratefully up at him, instantly warming up. Something darted across the path in my peripheral vision, but by the time I had turned, it was alright gone.
'Keep the jacket until the end of the day yeah?'
I thanked Ray once more as he made his way to his last lesson. Without wasting any time, I yanked my phone out of my bag and pressed the redial button.
'Zoey?' Candice sniffled on the other end of the line.
'Hey, what's wrong?'
Memories came flooding back to me speaking to my old best friend. The party in which we had all got highly drunk and Ben had gotten a little arrogant. Oh God. The memories suddenly switched to the discovery of Ben and Pheonix and I felt the familiar anger and sense of betrayal starting to take over. I quickly pushed it away and focussed on Candice.
'Me and Taine,' her voice shook and I realized she had been crying. 'We've broken up.'
'Oh no! Oh Candice, I'm sorry. What happened?'
'It just wasn't working. It hasn't been working for a few weeks now, we just never wanted to tell anybody. Oh Zoey. Please can I come and stay with you for a bit?'
'But, Candice, are you forgetting I've moved?'
'I have enough money to get there. Mum's gone for the week, I just really need to speak to my best friend again. I miss you Zo.'
I would have given anything to see Candice, but I didn't know if it was physically possible. However, hearing her voice, broken and devastated on the other end, I knew I had to comfort her. I had to be there for her.
'Of course you can stay, I miss you too.'
'Oh thank you Zoey! I'll pack my stuff tonight and hopefully see you tomorrow.'
'Okay babe. See you tomorrow!'
I clicked the end call button and for a while just stood there, staring. I wondered briefly what it would be like to see Candice again, if it would be awkward or if my new friends would warm to her. Then a car horn sounded, breaking me out of my reverie. My head jerked up to see Codi and her friends in a shiny pink car.
'Hey Zo, need a ride? We're all going shopping.'
'But I have another lesson.'
'So? Skip it. It's healthy to cut class now and again,' she grinned at me. Whilst deep down I knew that skipping class was wrong and it was only my first day, I had math next with no one I knew. It didn't sound appealing at all. Without really giving it much thought, I climbed into the back of Codi's car and she drove away.
I realized I was still wearing Ray's jacket, but we were far out of the parking lot by then.