When I woke up and looked at my phone, there was a few text messages. They were from Sam. He'd sent them after he left my room last night, and I decided I would read it, just to hear what he had to say.
I'm sorry for snapping at you. But you make it so easy! I see what you're doing to yourself, and it scares me. You're pushing everyone away. I don't even see you at lunch anymore. What are you so afraid of? If you're already at an all-time low, then nothing worse could happen, right?
I read the next message.
Also, I came over to talk to you. I'm kind of going through a rough point as well. I told you my dad had surgery last month, but that's not all. I found out that my mom has cancer. I'm probably going back home to spend some time with her. If I do, I'm leaving Friday. My dad couldn't get time off of work, which he's really upset about, but he's sending me on a plane to go see her this Friday. I thought you might like to know, but I don't know why. You're so focused on your self right now...
The last message was this:
I miss your smile. Good night.
I stared, dumbfounded at my window. I couldn't have felt any worse. My heart snapped into more pieces, and I began crying.
I gave up on putting in my contacts and decided to wear my glasses for the first time in a year. I went to school dressed in baggy jeans and a flannel button down shirt that hung loosely on my body. My long hair was in a pony tail, and I wasn't wearing any make-up, which was a first since my sixth grade year.
People stared as I passed them in the hallways, but I smiled at them, telling myself that Sam was right. I was already at my all time low, nothing could get much worse. When third hour Biology came around, we got new seats, and Sam was beside me. He stared at me in wonder. He'd only ever seen me dressed like this when I was painting. He wouldn't say anything, though, and I shifted uncomfortably on my stool.
We were reviewing the classification for animals one more time before a big chapter test next week. I was struggling with the name of the last one on my worksheet, but Sam didn't seem at all bothered by it. He wouldn't even be here next week to take the test, and I felt terrible again.
When the bell rang and we were dismissed from class, I stood up and hugged Sam before he could walk away from me. He was taken aback for a moment, but he hugged me back after a second.
"I'm really sorry," I told him. Standing on my tip-toes, I could barely reach Sam's shoulder, he was so tall, but that didn't seem to impair us.
"Since when do you have glasses?" He inquired. We grabbed our stuff off the lab table and walked out of the room, hand in hand. It wasn't weird for us, but people stared.
"Since seventh grade. But I got contacts my Freshman year, and I've never looked back," I answered. He nodded his approval, saying,
"Well, now you just look like a nerd." I shoved my shoulder into his arm and we laughed. "I have to go though. Will you sit with me at lunch?"
I nodded, and we went separate ways until lunch came around. I didn't go into the line for food, though, instead waiting by the doors until I saw Sam sit down.
"Hey," I said, coming towards Sam. One of the kids he sat with was absent today, so there was an open seat. But when I saw the people sitting next to him, I hesitated, not sure what I should do.
"What is she doing?" one girl asked Sam. I recognized her. Her name was Amber, and she had sleek blond hair tied in a pony tail. She no longer wore glasses, but still wore the same clothes she'd had last year, which was very uncool with the people I used to hang out with.
I remember we'd terrorized her and picked on her, once even making her cry. After that, she took a week off of school until her mom forced her to come back. I felt terrible.
"I invited her to sit with us today. You don't mind, do you?" Sam explained.
"Yes, I mind. She's not sitting here." Amber looked at me with barely controlled hate, and I knew she'd grown up.
"What? Why not?" Sam protested.
"No, Sam. She's right. Look, Amber, I'm really sorry, sorry for everything I've ever done to you. I know it doesn't account for much, and I'm not even going to ask for your forgiveness, because I don't deserve it. But you should know that I'm very sorry." I turned to walk away, and head back to the practice rooms again, but Sam stopped me.
"Hold up, here. I don't understand what's going on," Sam complained.
"What's going on, is that I can take a hint. I told you that last night, Sam. I know when I'm not wanted around. Please, just go back to your lunch and don't worry about me. I've been sitting out lunch alone for the last two months, I can hold up for at least one more day. If you'll walk home with me, we can talk then." I pushed him out of my way and exited through the back cafeteria doors again, making my way for the practice rooms.
A fourth of me half expected Sam to follow me. Another fourth wanted him to follow me. The other half of me was grateful for being left alone.
All but one of the practice rooms were occupied. The last one was locked, so I decided I would sit in the empty choir room until lunch was over. It looked like I wasn't the only one in there.
A teacher I didn't recognize looked up at me from the piano. He stared at me, and I was frozen like a bird looking in the eyes of a snake.
"Can I help you?" He asked? He smiled a warm, friendly smile, and I shook my head.
"I was just... I came here for..." I couldn't think of any good excuses. "I have a, uhm, a--"
"You were just skipping lunch?" His eyebrows knitted together, but he didn't look angry. I nodded slowly, blood rushing to my cheeks. "I've seen you in the practice rooms almost every day. I know." He was still smiling, which I thought was odd. "What's your name? I'm not going to write you up, but if this continues for much longer, I might have to." His voice was firm, but gentle. I liked this guy.
"I'm Nicole, but people just call me Nikki." I told him.
"Nikki Chrime? I've heard of you." He nodded. He must've been able to tell that I was very confused, because he went on to explain. "Everyone was talking about this fight two boys got in just before the class started, and people said they saw you there."
"Yeah, my ex was yelling at me, and this new kid was the only one to stand up for me," I shrugged, wondering why I'd said 'this new kid', as if I barely knew Sam.
"Why didn't you stand up for you?" He asked me. I wasn't sure if I liked him anymore. "You don't have to answer, it's just something to think about."
"You play piano?" I asked, changing the topic. He nodded.
"Every music teacher should know how to play the piano. It helps with tuning." He shrugged.
"But you know more than just the basics," I assumed. He beamed, nodding.
"Yeah, I love playing the piano. Do you play?" I laughed and shook my head.
"No, I'm more of a painter than a pianist," I told him honestly. The man turned to the keys, and the room was filled with a beautiful melody.
I told myself that I wanted to learn to play like that before I died. But the bell rang, and I left the room as the choir teacher continued to play his melody. I don't even think he noticed I'd left.