Chapter OneMature

          "What?" I laughed, pushing my half full cup away. The melted milkshake inside sloshed up against the side. "What aren't you telling me?" The bustle of the mall around us provided an opportunity for Trish to pretend she was distracted while she sipped her own milkshake. Her straight black hair fell in jagged waves over her forehead, a perfect contrast against her pale skin. 

She slurped up the last bit of the milkshake, the straw scraping against the bottom with a loud squeak. Her eyes stayed on the crowd around us. Destiny sat beside her, ignoring us totally. She was absorbed in her texting conversation with her boyfriend. 

"I'm not not telling you anything, Bells," she said, but I could tell that she was trying hard to keep her voice uninterested. When she finally met my gaze, she glanced away for the slightest second, as if it was difficult to do so. 

I rolled my eyes, drumming my fingers against the table. "So why are you acting all weird?"

Trish shrugged, and Destiny let out a loud, irritated sigh. "Let it go already, Bella. God."

I gave her the death stare, and she returned it, equally as evil. Slowly, my gaze slid back to Trish, who was looking between Destiny and me, a startled look on her face. I took a deep breath, and ran my hand through my hair. 

"Seriously, what is it? You're a really bad liar." I offered a small smile to show that I wasn't trying to be rude. 

"It's nothing, Bella. I promise."

"Just tell me and get it over with. Please?" I pleaded, giving her the puppy dog eyes. She giggled. 

"It's nothing," she said lightly, and looked at Destiny, who was giving her a look that my mom usually used to tell me the shut the hell up. I shot her another annoyed look. 

My cell phone interrupted any further pleads from me. Yanking out of my pocket, I greeted whoever it was on the other end without much thought. I was trying to figure out what was going on on the other side of the table. 

"Where in the hell are you?" my mother's voice demanded from the other end of the line. Turning around so that my back was to the others, I made a face even though I knew she couldn't see. 

"Uh, I'm at the mall. With Destiny and Trish. Why?" I asked, adopting a snotty tone like I often did whenever she addressed me like this for no apparent reason. I could almost hear her rolling her eyes at me. 

"I'm driving home from the elementary school, because someone forgot to pick Zach up after drama today."

I closed my eyes for a second, groaning out loud at my own stupidity. "I'm sorry, Mom. I'll bring home dinner or something to make up for it."

"Whatever, Isabelle. I'm sure Nathaniel has already eaten over at Sam's, and I've no appetite," she grumbled into the phone. I winced, knowing that because of this, she'd be grumpy with me the rest of the week. Zach wouldn't care, but she would. 

"I love you. On my way home now." The line went dead almost before I finished my sentence, and I sighed. Shoving it back in my pocket and standing, I gathered my trash and shouldered my bag. "I've gotta go, guys. I forgot to pick up Zach from drama, and now Mom's pissed."

Destiny hid a smile, and Trish looked kind of amused, too. Glad to know my soon-to-be suffering was a source of amusement for them. "Oh okay. We'll see you then," Destiny said, and I nodded. 

"Trish, I'll text you later or something," I called over my shoulder as I walked away. "Bye!"

After shoving my trash into a nearby trash can, I booked it to the nearest door and out to my car. The faster I was home, the better. 

I snatched a cupcake from the counter, one that had just been frosted by my mother for a church thing she had going on today. 

"Isabelle! Find real food if you're hungry!" my mother scolded me as I shoved the whole thing into my mouth. 

"'Kay, mom," I mumbled around the mouthful and started licking icing off of my fingers. Zach snickered from the kitchen table, hiding behind the cereal box. I flicked he back of his neck and I walked by to grab my keys from the hook on the wall. 

"Mom!" Zach complained, and I stuck my tongue out at him. 

"Isabelle, seriously? You're sixteen, not four!"

"I'm seventeen, Mom."

"Then act like it!"

I smiled and ducked out the door before she started throwing things at me--I was running late anyway. 

The morning air was chilly, the sky dark with the promise of rain. It'd been raining on and off all night, the puddles in the driveway said as much. I sidestepped a particularly big puddle and unlocked my car, tossing in my bag before sliding in after it. 

It had started sprinkling when I pulled into the school parking lot. The first bell had already rung, so no one really lingered around outside. I parked the car and hurried inside, glad for my lenient first block teacher. 

As I had already expected, nothing was going on when I walked in. Clusters of kids sat against the bleachers, talking amongst themselves as Ms. Blake tried to call attendence. I scooted past her and waved at couple of people who called out 'Good morning' as I walked past. 

I dropped my bag on the ground before I sat. Mason hung out with the same group I did--we were best friends--and was here. I pointedly ignored him, straightening my t-shirt and pulling up my jeans before sitting. 

"Hey, Bella," Sam said, yawning. "Why're you late?"

"Alarm clock didn't go off again. Is that coffee?" I grabbed the thermos out of her hand and sniffed at the top. 

"Yeah, jerk!" she exclaimed, but let me steal a few sips before taking it back. 

"Stay out late or something?" she teased, glancing between Mason and me. I bit my lip, glancing at him. He wasn't paying attention to us; he was talking to Greg and Ben. He'd obviously not told her about our little talk night before last. 

"I'll explain that later," I whispered, leaning closer. 

"Why not now?" she protested, and I made motions for her to shut up.

"Later," I hissed, and she shot me a dirty look before directing her attention to Ms. Blake, who had finally gotten the majority of the class to shut the hell up and was calling out attendence. 

I walked into third block fully expecting to be completely ignored by most everyone. I had this class with most of Mason's friends, and Mason. I had no one else in this block. 

So when I was approached by Erik Richmond, I was mildly surprised. I had figured he'd be one of the ones to ignore me the most thoroughly, because he was one of Mason's closest friends. 

He settled on the edge of my desk and grinned down at me. I was immensely aware of Mason's curious looks from the next desk over. 

"Hey, Bells. What's up?" he asked, pushing my pen around on the desk. 

"Uhm.. not much," I said, giving him a weird look. I stretched and nudged him. "You're blocking my view."

He rolled his eyes. "So what're you doing this weekend?"

He brushed a couple of brown strands out of his eyes, waiting for an answer.

I shrugged. "I dunno. The usual?"

I could practically feel the waves of tension rolling off of Mason now. He could hear this entire conversation. I wanted to shrink down in the seat and never be seen again. 

"What's the usual?"

"Watch TV, hang out with my brother?" Mr. Burns was throwing us dirty looks by now. I ignored him.

"Do you want to go see a movie or something? I bet it'd be better than hanging out with your brother." He added a sly smile to the end of that, and I wanted to hit him upside the head for being so oblivious to his best friend, sitting right beside us. 

"I can't," I said, lowering my eyes to my hands, which had stolen the pen from Erik and was rolling it between them. 

"Thought you didn't have any plans?" he countered, and I actually sighed this time. 

"I'm kind of talking to someone," I half lied, and snuck a glance at Mason. His hands were balled up into fists, laying on top of his desk. His jaw was set, and he was visibly trying not to say something. I kind of wished he would. 


"Erik, get in your seat," Mr. Burns barked, saving me from another awkward response. I sighed again, this time in relief, and slumped down in my seat. Offering Mason a small smile, I leaned over and yanked my notebook out of my bag. He ignored me. 

This was going to be a long class. 

I couldn't concentrate at all on my work. I had no interest in whatever Mr. Burns was teaching; English practically never changed from what I had learned in the third grade. Instead, I watched Mason out of the corner of my eye. 

If he noticed, he didn't let on. He doodled on the corner of his worksheet, not paying anyone any attention. I wished I could do at least that. 

By the time the bell rang at the end of the block, my eyes felt like they should be lodged into the side of my head from keeping them on Mason the entire time, and my back hurt from sitting in the same awkward position the entire hour and a half. 

I rolled my shoulders and popped my neck as I rose, watching Erik as he considered walking over to talk to me again. When he was distracted by his friends, I hurried out of the room, glad that the day was almost over. 



I was pissed. Pretty understandable, I think. I had just had to sit through listening to my best friend hit on and ask out my ex-girlfriend. And he knew that I wasn't any where near over her, and that I fully planned to get back with her. 

And then the entire class afterward, I had to sit through Bella staring at me, as though I'd look over and tell her everything was okay, that I wasn't pissed that she was being hit on. By my best friend, for heaven's sakes! 

I had the next block with him, Gym. So when he came into the locker room, I walked up to him. He gave me a sort of wary look, but smiled. 

"Hey. Sup?"

"What was that?" I demanded, not bothering with any formalities. 

"What was what, Mason?" he said, sounding kind of tired. I wanted to punch him already. 

"You asked out Bella."

"Yeah, so? She's free. You aren't dating her. It's not like I'm asking her to cheat on you or anything."

"I love her."

He pulled his t-shirt over his head and tossed it on the wooden bench that stood between us. "You guys have been through too much crap. You just told me the other day that you thought she was tired of it."

"You're my best friend."

"Your point? Just because she dated you once doesn't make her off limits for the rest of her life. She can date now, you know. No attatchments."

"Do you not have any fucking decency?" I said, my voice growing louder. He put on his gym shirt, and looked at me again. 

"Fucking lower your voice, man. We'll talk about it later. Don't make a fucking scene because you're jealous."

I noticed now that there were a couple of guys starting to watch us, though they were still going about getting dressed, acting like they weren't listening. 

"Some friend you are," I muttered, and stormed out of the locker room, slamming the door as hard as I could behind me. 

The End

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