My final two classes of the day are a headache. Mr. Davies wonders once again where my math homework has gone, I spit out some lame excuse. He glances down my shirt and I try not to tear him limb from limb. Ms. Fournier has been showing. Her French is worse than usual today; even I am noticing her grammar and pronunciation mistakes. She’s thinking too loud about the gender of her baby, which I already know will turn out to be a boy. I sniffed it as early as the day after he’d been conceived.
The most disturbing thing about this double life of mine: knowing too much about people I could give a shit about.
When class lets out, it’s a welcome relief. I pick up my things and dash out of the campus, predicting Hermes’ imminent arrival. I head over behind the bushes to plop down onto the bench beside the bus stop. It’s nice here—quiet. And a safe place for a certain messenger of the gods to land after flight.
Finally at ease, I whip out the pack of cigarettes from my front pocket. I place one between my lips and pull out a lighter to ignite the end. To my chagrin, I can also smell Johanna Sachs from thirty feet away. She is going to wrinkle her nose, take the seat beside me and question me about my habit and bombard me with facts about secondhand smoke. I almost want to get up and leave, but I fight the urge for Hermes’ sake. We agreed to meet here.
Within fifteen seconds, just like I expect, Johanna sits her perky butt down, wrinkles her long, straight nose and asks, “Charlotte Parker, are you going to put that out?”
I look at her pointedly. “Tell me, Johanna Sachs. What is it that you really want?”
“I want you to answer my question,” she scoffs.
I take a long drag, close my eyes, and exhale slowly. “Nope.”