She never thought she'd manage it, but the way Kyle acted just rubbed her the wrong way sometimes. Kyle's lips parted, a scowl taking over his features.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” he asked. Lucy figured it was rhetorical. “It was a joke, okay,” he exclaimed, walking past her out of the room. She half-expected him to shove her, but he didn't. “I thought we were just friends joking around, I mean you say jokes like that around all the time at my expense,” he muttered. Lucy blinked as the door shut. She glanced at Arif who was sighing, messages his forehead with his fingertips.
“How about we just forget this all happened?” he suggested. “You're both good students, well, mostly good on Kyle's part. I don't want to demerit either of you if I can help it,” he explained. Lucy nodded, feeling a wave of guilt. She had never even realised Kyle considered her a friend. In fact, she had never seen him consider any girl a friend. They'd never shared classes last year and this year only started a few weeks ago. Hardly enough time to grow a friendship. Social norms and rules gave Lucy a headache. Her mobile vibrated as she left the building and she remembered her plans with Beth. She went to the front of the college where she said to meet up and froze. She had assumed it was just them, but should've known better. Sammy was there at least. She recognised the blond girl who Kyle had been flirting with. The fourth girl looked familiar too, but it wasn't until she joined the group that she realised why.
“Lucy?” she cried, eyes widening with of disbelief, quickly replaced with malicious intent. “I didn't realise you were still living around here. How's your family?” she asked. The line of questioning was obvious.
“We're fine. Thanks for asking,” Lucy replied, trying not to sink to her level. So much for being friends with Beth. Next week Dr Franklin was going to sigh at her so much. The bus came round the corner and Beth stuck her hand out excitedly.
“This is going to be so much fun!” Beth yelled, jumping up and down excitedly. The blond girl smiled at her, warm friendship clear. She sent Lucy a cursory glance but nothing judgemental.
“How are you?” Sammy asked as they walked onto the bus.
“Good,” Lucy lied. She regretted it instantly. Her last lie had gone badly, did she really want to push it with a second one? They took over the back of the bus and Lucy tried to tune into the girly gossip. The girl from her old school was called Melissa. The blond girl was called April, and apparently remembered her from earlier.
“Hey, what was that guy's name? He was super cute,” she gushed quietly when the others weren't looking. Lucy hesitated before passing it on.
“Just let him know Lucy gave it to you, in case he thinks some stalker is texting him,” Lucy joked, laughing nervously. Maybe he'd forgive her when he realised it was her who had helped him. Lucy had never pictured herself as a wingman, but she didn't mind the role. The bus reached the city centre and Lucy braced herself. She avoided the centre during peak times for the same reason she avoided a lot of things – her anxiety.