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Strum: Chapter Eleven

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I was walking down the hall to my locker the next morning. I was really early to school. I looked down the row of lockers, but something made the sight of the closed doors imperfect, but only just.

There was a boy standing at an open door by himself. I looked closer. It was Jack. What a coincidence. I walked up to him.

“Hey,” I said, leaning on to the locker next to his.

He looked at me, then turned his head the other way. I stood up, and leaned on the other side, that way I could see him. I couldn’t help but notice pictures of Tricia adorning his locker door. Pictures of her smiling, making faces, eating cotton candy, one of them kissing, even one of her … naked. I looked up to his face to take my eyes off it.

“Look, I know we didn’t start off on good terms, but …” I trailed off. But what?

“Yeah,” He said quietly. “I was thinking about that too.” He was? He looked up at me. Almost as if he was confused. “Why are you talking to me?

I sighed. That question, huh? “I know someone who likes you, Jack.” I whispered.

“I know, so do I.” He replied. “It’s not like I haven’t seen her looking at me, Natalie. I notice Chasity just as much as she notices me.”

“Really?!” I asked, excited.

“Don’t act so surprised.” He said, straightening his pictures. “She’s gorgeous, Natalie. Gorgeous, funny, nice, talented; I really like her. But my mom wants me to date the goody-goodies. Not an emo.”

“Do it anyways! My mom tells me not to kiss Ben, but I do anyway!” I was agitated now.

“Now that I have a girl that my mom approves of, is hot, and that I like just as much as Chasity?” He was cocky. It made me mad. “Not a chance.”

“But she really likes you!” I protested.

“Yeah, and so does Tricia!” He yelled.

“Sure, and have you seen the way she looks at Dylan?” I asked, referring to Valerie’s old date, whom she dated for three and a half months.

He paled immediately. I liked the effect that statement had on him. The look on his face was kind of cute. Just saying.

“She looks at Dylan?” He asked, disappointed.

“Looks at him, flirts with him, everything.” I said. I felt bad, because Jack looked really destroyed. “Haven’t you seen her?”

“I - yeah.” He admitted.

People had started filling into the hall, and we were getting looks from many people. Luckily, Tricia or Ben hadn’t walked in yet, but I noticed Valerie among the crowd, looking at us with a confused expression on her face.

“Excuse me,” He said, and he pushed past me. Before he closed his locker door, however, I noticed he took down the pictures. All of them. Even the one of her naked.

As the homeroom bell rang, and everyone hustled through the doors of various rooms, I lingered. And I saw something I shouldn’t have stuck my nose into.

It was Jack, and he had cornered Tricia. He seemed to be accusing her of flirting, and more. Her face was red, and she wouldn’t meet his eyes. He raised his voice. I couldn’t help but listen in.

“Tricia! Is there something there with you and Dylan?!” He yelled. “Because you better tell me if there is!”

“There isn’t, I swear, Jack.” She said, sounding about to cry.

“Don’t lie! I’ve seen you, Tricia! Someone even told me!”

She looked up at him now, into his eyes. “Who? Who would tell?”

“So there is something?”

“Jack, we like each other, yes, but, the farthest I’ve gone was a kiss on the cheek, really!” She cried.

“You’re lying! I saw you! I saw you making out with him at that football game!”

And she lashed out. She was as quick as a rabbit. And she slapped him. So hard, he collapsed to his knees, and a tear leaked out of his eye. She walked off, to her homeroom.

I walked swiftly to him. And I looked down. He looked up at me, looking ashamed. Looking like he could kill about anyone.

“What do you want?” He spat.

“She didn’t deserve you.” I said, and as I turned around, I saw a seething Tricia looking at me through the glass or her homeroom door.



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