The day went by smoothly. Most of the teachers were starting off the sessions slowly, not loading off too much work on us just yet. I guess the 4-day weekend had gotten to the whole school. Still, that didn’t stop Maddie from questioning me again during third period. I had walked straight into the AP Chemistry classroom only to see everyone’s eyes eagerly set on me. For once though, I didn’t freak out immediately and had simply walked over to my front-row seat and sat down next to Maddie.
“Hey, hey, how was your Thanksgiving?” she’d asked, giving me a friendly smile, happy as ever.
“It was good. How was yours?”
“Wonderful! My grandparents visited.”
“That’s sweet of the-”
“So any updates?”
I had stopped taking my textbook out of my bag and looked at her, eyebrow raised. Her eyes were then dazzling and with folded hands in front of her chest, it looked like she was praying to hear something juicy out of me. I had suppressed the sassy remark and shrugged.
“I’m sorry to disappoint Maddie. I’m not sure what exactly you want to hear.”
“Oh come on Makayla!! We’re friends! You can tell me you know.”
A nervous giggle had erupted from my lips. From the corner of my eyes I’d been able to see the students that sat around us leaning forwards in their own stools to hear what I had to say, their minds drooling for the latest bling. Nevertheless, I hadn’t given in. It’s not like I had anything to say in the first place.
“Nope. I’ve told you time and time again, I’m just friends with...DNT, as you girls put it.”
The collective sighs of disappointment that had filled the classroom still echoed through my mind as I sat in the middle of the cafeteria, slurping the chocolate milk through the straw. Although it didn’t disturb me anymore, I knew it would get me a long while to understand the whole dynamics of student psychology in a public high school. Back in Florida, I had been one of the observers. One of the girls who’d stand to the side when the ‘it’ crowd walked through the halls, catching the attention of everyone there. Now, I was the one in the spotlight, and although I wasn’t particularly an expert at handling my position in the social food-chain, I was glad to know that I was getting used to the system. The rumors no longer bothered me.
“Oi.” Damien poked the side of my head. “What are you spacing out for?”
I waved his hand away, turning my head to give him a steady glare. “Don’t you have nicer ways of grabbing my attention?”
“I do. But you would call it ‘flirting’ and I don’t want to go around upsetting my princess, now do I?” He wiggled his eyebrows. I let out a huff and went back to slurping at my now empty milk box. “Are you going to eat that banana muffin?”
I pushed my lunch tray toward him and watched as he hungrily devoured the muffin. We had decided to eat in the cafeteria till the weather got warmer again. Winter had officially begun, with the temperatures dropping steadily and occupying our usual spot out in the field and beneath the tree would have been a stupid idea, and resulted in at least one of us catching a cold. Nevertheless, as I cast a glance around at the noisy cafeteria and at the ruckus the students were making, I couldn’t help but hope that summer would come by faster. The outdoors had a charm of its own.
Damien was sat to my right with Leo and Nick on the opposite side of the table, Nick in front of me. He was happily chatting on about classes while Leo nodded from time to time, letting him know he was listening despite the fact that he was playing around with his iPhone. I finally stopped pointlessly sucking at my straw and set down my finished drink, standing up and stepping out of the bench.
“You done?” I asked Damien, tilting my head at his muffin. He nodded like a puppy and set the wrapper down on the tray which I picked up and proceeded to walk over and dump into the nearest trash-can, setting the empty tray on top of the wooden surface. I could feel the eyes of people from the surrounding benches on me as I dusted off my hands, but I played the fool and ignored them. Not bad, Makayla. You’re getting good at this.
When I returned to the table again though, my inner praise monologue was wiped away in a flash and replaced by something else: suspicion. I knew something had happened in the short span of time I had been gone as Damien waved his hands moments before I had arrived, gesturing something at the boys to quiet down. As I settled down at my spot next to him, my eyebrows shot up at the way he so obviously started to cover up what was going by the Tom and Jerry theme song under his breath.
“Spill it Stable Boy,” I said in a dead-pan voice.