Chapter 9

Sasha woke up Monday morning feeling refreshed and ready to start her day. She was up at 5 AM on the dot and jumped in the shower. The hot water felt so good pouring down her back. She wanted to look her best today for Oliver. Even though he didn't respond Sasha still felt as though something was different.

She selected a short green dress with a white belt and white jean jacket to cover her bare arms. She then picked her favorite pair of boots. They were brown, heeled, boots with a belt wrapped around. She took her time doing her hair. Being sure every strand was perfectly dry and straightened and finished the look with a white headband and a pair of green hoop earrings. She took an extra long time with her makeup making sure everything was smooth and perfect. Sasha stared in the mirror. She felt beautiful. She smiled grabbed her brown purse and headed out the door.

She stepped in the kitchen and glanced around for something to eat. Spotting the overly-ripe banana's on the counter she grabbed one and began eating it. She then moved to the fridge and grabbed the milk. She poured and was just finishing a glass of milk when her mom walked in.

“Ready to go?” Sasha asked without glancing in her mothers direction.

“Mhmm.” Her mother had just applied a thick coat of lipstick and was smashing her lips together. “Did you have fun with Kelsie yesterday?”

“Yeah, why?” Sasha was rummaging through cabinets trying to look busy so that she didn't have to face her mother.

“Just wondering.” Rachel popped open a can of Arizona iced tea and took a few sips. “Mrs. Whisely called last evening.” Rachel whipped away the lipstick she had left on the lip of the can. Sasha's face grew hot.

“Oh yeah? What did she say?” Sasha was rummaging through her purse now. She wasn't sure what she was looking for but it was a good distraction.

“She said she was bummed that I wasn't able to come in and talk yesterday afternoon when I came to pick you up.” Rachel waited for any kind of response from her daughter. “She wants to get together with me sometime. Isn't that nice?”

“Yeah. Great.” Sasha pulled her phone from her purse and began pressing buttons, trying to look completely unamused.

“Sasha, why did you tell Mrs. Whisely I was picking you up, when I wasn't?” Sasha could feel her mother staring at her. She knew she had to answer but she couldn't tell her mom about the argument with Kelsie.

“I just...didn't want Mrs. Whisely to take me home and I knew if I told her I was walking then she would insist.” It wasn't a lie. But also not the whole truth. Sasha didn't care she just hoped it was enough.

“Why wouldn't you want her to take you home?”

“I just didn't. I wanted to walk. Come on I'm going to be late.” Sasha shoved her phone back in her bag, grabbed a jacket and walked out the door. The air was bitter on her bare legs but it was the price for beauty. Her mother followed slowly behind, being sure to lock the front door.

The drive to the school was long and awkwardly silent. But Sasha was happy her mother wasn't trying to pry anymore. They pulled in front of the school and Sasha jumped out. She was anxious to see Oliver and also to be rid of her mother. Sasha speed-walked across the small lawn, wanting to be out of the bitter cold. She pushed the front doors open and stepped into the warmth of the school.

The doors lead onto a small closed in landing. A sign-up table, for the school dance on Saturday, was against the wall opposite the doors. To the left of the doors was a staircase going down to the basement, where extra curricular classrooms and the cafeteria were located, and another staircase going up to the first floor where the gym and the Junior/Senior classes were located. Sasha slowly walked up the flight of stairs to the first floor. She remembered her first two years at this school when she had to go up all 3 flights of stairs to the 2nd floor where the Freshmen/Sophomore classes were located.

She was thankful she didn't have to make the climb anymore. She stepped onto the first floor landing and walked down the hallway to her locker. The hallway was practically empty. Even though there was probably less then 10 minutes before school started, everyone always got there at the last minute. She popped her locker open and shoved her jacket into it. She hadn't spotted Oliver yet.

Sasha sighed and slammed her locker shut. She pulled out her phone and checked the time. 7:23. Far too early to sit in class but she would look silly if she sat in the hallway doing nothing. She shoved her phone back in her bag and headed down the hallway to the bathroom. She pushed the door open and was greeted by laughter. It was a couple girls from the science club. Sasha gave them a friendly smile and picked the first stall. She didn't really have to use the bathroom so she waited until the girls left and then exited.

She walked to the sink and washed her hands, even though she hadn't actually gone to the bathroom. The cold water felt good on her hands. She dried her hands well and fixed a piece of hair that was out of place. Sasha decided she had spent enough time in the bathroom. She stepped out. It was amazing how much the school had filled in the 3 minutes she was in the bathroom.

She turned the corner back to her locker. Her eyes instantly locked on the owner of locker 254, Oliver's locker. He was pulling out his math book and talking to his best friend Justin Baker. Sasha froze. Her heart started beating fast and butterflies flitted in her stomach. Suddenly her desire to see Oliver vanished. She didn't want him to talk to her or see her or even know of her presence. She then remembered that her Spanish class was on the other side of the hallway, of course. Maybe if she just walked by casually he wouldn't even notice her. Or maybe she could just duck back in the bathroom until he had passed.

Before she could move Oliver and Justin began walking right towards her. Her heart beat faster. Oliver looked up and locked eyes with Sasha. She could feel her face get hot but couldn't look away. She couldn't move. He was getting closer. Sasha had to do something and fast. Oliver smiled. Sasha's stomach flip flopped and she smiled back. Suddenly someone pushed past her. It was Joey Lipton, and Robert Funke. They walked up to Oliver and greeted him, welcoming him back to school and saying how much he had been missed. Sasha realized the smile hadn't been for her. She was forgotten and unimportant. She ducked past the group of friends and into the Spanish room.

Sasha sighed as she entered the quiet room. It was mostly empty, just a few students quietly chatting or finding their seats. Sasha then noticed Kelsie. She was speaking with Miss Ana at the front of the classroom. A new dread filled her. She had no desire to speak with Kelsie. She was still angry about the night before. She quietly found her seat and sat down, taking deep breaths so as to calm her heart. She admired Kelsie's attire. A pair of straight leg jeans tucked into dark brown leather cowboy boots with a heel. She wore a red and black plaid button up shirt tucked into the jeans, the sleeves were rolled up to just below her elbow. A brown fashion belt wrapped around her thin waist. Her hair was pulled into 2 neat braids. No matter what theme Kelsie had for the day, her hair was always neat. And to finish the look she wore a dark brown curled cowboy's hat on her head. She looked amazing as usual.

Sasha pulled out a notebook and began studying it. A laugh came from the front of the room. Sasha glanced up curiously right as Kelsie was turning, they had finished their conversation. She quickly glanced back down. She knew Kelsie had seen her. The girls heels gently clicked on the marble floor with every step.

“Hey, Sash!” Kelsie exclaimed. Sasha could hear the smile in her voice. She had forgotten so quickly about the day before.

“Hi.” Sasha mumbled without looking up from her paper.

“Look, I,” Kelsie paused and sighed. “I'm so so sorry I pryed yesterday! I know I was wrong. Please forgive me! I don't want you to be angry with me.” She sounded so desperate, Sasha couldn't help but look up. Tears glistened in Kelsie's eyes.

Sadness and guilt flooded Sasha as she realized the pain she had caused her friend. How could she get so upset at Kelsie for just trying to help. She had been right in her accusations anyway. Now here Sasha was giving her the cold shoulder.

“I'm sorry too, Kels. I was wrong to get so upset with you when all you were trying to do was help.”

“Alright, let's take our seats.” Miss Ana said, in her soft gentle voice.

“Truce?” Kelsie asked quietly. She stuck out her hand wanting Sasha to shake it.

“Truce.” Sasha smiled as she shook the hand and Kelsie quickly sat down.

                                                       **********

When the class dismissed, Kelsie stood and gave Sasha a big hug. Sasha hugged back, she really did love this strange, vibrant girl she called 'friend'.

Their hug didn't last long as they both had classes to get to. Sasha descended the flights of stairs to the basement. She had a study hall next which took place in the cafeteria. She stepped in to the large room and looked around for an empty seat. The room was full of about 25 kids all sitting around the 4 large tables they were aloud to use for the study hall. The rest of the tables were off limits because the teachers didn't want everyone too spread.

She located an end seat at a mostly empty corner table and sat down. Her bag dropped to the floor next to her and she set her notebook on the table. She looked around the room. Everyone was socializing with someone while she sat quiet and alone. Sasha had always been a big loner, Kelsie was literally her only friend. But Kelsie was a social butterfly, she knew almost everyone in the school, even if she didn't call them all her friends. And everyone loved her, except most of the cheerleaders and debate team. Probably because they were jealous. She was so easy to get along with. She always had a bright smile on her face, she was beautiful and happy and always knew the right thing to say. Most of the football team had at one point asked Kelsie out in the 3 years of her attending this school. She had declined every one. Oliver Stone, Joey Lipton and Thomas Berkeley were the only team members who hadn't had any interest so far. Sasha had always been in her shadow. She never minded though, because she never doubted that she really was Kelsie's one and only best friend. She didn't know what had made Kelsie pick her, but Sasha sure was glad she had.

Justin, Robert, Tammie, Amber and Callie all entered the cafeteria, laughing together. Justin had his arm around Callie Winston's shoulder. When he spotted the mostly empty table Sasha was sitting at, he pointed it out to the group and they all headed toward it. Justin leaned over and whispered something in Callie's ear. She laughed and elbowed him in the ribs. He laughed too then pulled her closer and kissed her on the forehead. The scene made Sasha long for love. She wished she could find someone who would treat her like that. She longed for the happiness she saw in their eyes.

The raucous group sat near her but didn't seem to notice her. Sasha pulled out her phone and started playing minesweep. The class didn't start for another 3 minutes, so she took the time she could on her phone. She found it difficult to focus as the group next to her kept making noises that drew Sasha's attention. One minute Tammie had squealed when Robert had tickled her. The next minute Robert had made kissing noises at Justin and Callie. And the final minute Justin had called out for someone.

“Hey, Oliver over here!” He had shouted. Sasha glanced up and noticed that Oliver had just entered the room. He looked toward the voice and headed over to the table. Sasha looked back down at her phone, trying not to notice the person getting closer and closer to her table. Before Oliver could reach the table Mr. Griffin told everyone to quiet down and take their seats.

Oliver sat in the seat diagonal to Sasha and next to Robert. Sasha shut down her game and put the phone back in her purse. She opened her notebook and stared at the blank page. She couldn't stop thinking about the fact that Oliver was sitting so near. Sasha glanced up at the quiet group that once was so loud. Tammie and Amber were looking over a math assignment together. Robert was checking facebook on his phone underneath the table. And Oliver was staring at a blank page in his notebook. Sasha wondered what he was thinking about. She hadn't realized that she was staring until Oliver looked up at her. The two locked eyes for a second before Sasha jerked her head back down to stare at her blank notebook once more. She felt stupid for being caught staring at him.

“It's Sasha, right?” Asked the familiar suave voice of Oliver Stone. Sasha's heart thumped. She couldn't remember one time in her life that Oliver had actually personally talked to her. She looked up, trying to be sure he actually had been talking to her. Oliver had scooted closer, so that he was almost directly across from her.

“Yeah.” came the simple reply.

“Okay, cool.” He smiled and looked back down at the blank notebook open in front of him. Sasha didn't know what to say and it was obvious he didn't either.

“So how come you and Melissa broke up?” Sasha blurted out. As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them. Oliver looked up surprised at the question, but it hadn't seemed to bother him.

“It just wasn't working out.” He paused and thought about it. “She's too demanding.” He added, then smiled. “I'm glad it's over though. I kind of like to be a free guy.”

“Oh yeah. I can understand that. It's nice not having someone to please all the time.” Sasha didn't know why she had said this. It was a total lie. She desired for someone to please. Maybe she had thought that agreeing with Oliver would make him like her. What a stupid idea.

Oliver laughed. “Yeah. I guess.” He gazed at Sasha for a few seconds as if trying to figure out a difficult math problem. She held his gaze until he finally turned his attention back to his notebook. Sasha stared for another second and then turned to hers as well.

                                                            **********

Oliver and Sasha didn't speak to each other for the rest of the day. But occasionally their eyes would meet. Oliver would smile and Sasha would smile back. She thought it best not to tell Kelsie of the conversation. They had just mended their relationship and Sasha didn't want to ruin it.

Finally school let out and Sasha allowed Kelsie to drive her home. Kelsie had the car today and so it wasn't a hassle to Mr. or Mrs. Whisely. The drive was full of comfortable small talk. Sasha had no desire to talk about anything of importance. They pulled in front of Sasha's house.

“Want me to come in?” Kelsie asked. “I've got nothing to do this afternoon and since I'm here anyways...” Kelsie let the sentence hang.

“I don't think that's a good idea. My room is a mess and I have some homework to get done.” Sasha said. Trying to keep her friend from entering the home. Sasha never knew what scene would greet her when she got home from school.

“Oh. Okay.” Kelsie said. Slightly surprised and a bit bummed. “I guess I'll see you tomorrow then.”

“Yeah. See ya.” Sasha hopped out of the front seat and trudged toward the house and up the front steps.

The End

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