Dalia felt her cheeks burn with anger and frustration. She knew from last year that if she went too far over the line, she was as likely as not to get suspended, and she didn't want to risk her teachers not recommending her for honors classes.
"Ms. Paxton?" Dr. Jackson said into the phone. "This is Dr. Jackson at the middle school. I've got Dalia in my office here for breaking dress code again." A pause. "She's wearing leggings. We've gone through this before-- the country dress code policy says--"
At that, Dalia could tell that her mother had cut Dr. Jackson off. Judging by the way his eyes kind of popped in surprise, Rachel must have been going off on him.
"Ma'am, there's no call for using that sort of language. Dalia would like to speak with you." Dr. Jackson handed Dalia the phone.
"You tell that piece of--"
"Mom, can you just bring me some clothes? I've got a fresh pair of jeans in the dryer."
"This is getting absolutely ridiculous. That man is calling me practically every day, as though I don't have anything better to do than run over to the school at his beck and call. You tell him I'm taking you home for the day. If he doesn't like the way you dress, that's his problem."
"Okay," Dalia said, a little surprised. Her mother had been scheduled to work that day. Maybe they'd cut her hours again. Not a good sign-- the last time that had happened, the gutless store manager was just trying to get Rachel to quit so he wouldn't have to fire her.
Dalia hung up the phone. "My mom's coming to get me," she said to Dr. Jackson. "She's taking me home."
Dr. Jackson shook his head. "That's completely unnecessary."
"Not according to my mom, it isn't." She smiled at him sweetly, letting the expression of her eyes convey the fact that both she and her mother thought he was a total idiot.