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Canyon High School was bigger than I had initially thought. Crowded hallways and rude upperclassmen made it almost impossible to navigate to all my classes. At lunch I was lucky enough to meet up with some of my friends from middle school. We ate, chatted, and joked about how easy it was to get lost here. Pretty soon, as always, the conversation came around to boys. They whispered and giggled about a boy we had apparently gone to school with last year. His name was Dante…. Searching my memory, I came up with a vague picture of a boy peeking into classrooms, sitting in the principle’s office, and walking with his arm around a blond girl.
“Wait”, I said, “Wasn’t he the one who moved in the middle of the year last year?”
My friends laughed and cracked jokes that I didn’t understand. Finally, Kate answered my question.
“No, he didn’t move, he got himself expelled!” She giggled, and turned to Rosa. “Hey, do you remember when he asked me out?”
Rosa reached over and slapped Kate on the leg, “Yeah, I do! That’s the reason he stopped talking to us! You just had to turn him down!”
The warning bell cut through their chatter, and we said our goodbyes and began to cut our way through the cafeteria. 15 minutes later, late pass in hand, I finally found my Biology class. Opening the door, I peaked in. Sitting behind a large black desk in the front of the room was a middle-aged man, looking annoyed with the class. Sneaking a quick look at the students, I saw the back row consisted of cocky boys who looked way to old to still be in a freshman science class. I quickly handed the teacher my note, and hoped to make it to a seat before the back row noticed me.
I almost made it. I was halfway to the seat that the teacher had directed me to when I heard the boy named Andres, who was sitting in the corner of the back row, whistle.
“Hey baby, come sit by me!” He called, and his friends laughed and punched him on the
Embarrassed, I slung my bag onto the ground, and slid into my chair. The seat I had been assigned was about halfway back, on the left side of the room. I scooted further down in my seat, and tried to inconspicuously scan the room for any body that I knew. Five Mexican girls huddled together in the exact middle of all of the rows. An Asian girl with an electronic translator had seated herself directly in front of the teacher. A red head, two blonds, and a straight-haired brunette were scattered through the class, looking uncomfortable and vaguely bored. Excluding the back row, there were only two guys in the whole class. I flicked my hair back, and pretended to get something out of my bag. While my head was down I quickly gave the back row a little bit of a closer look. Hmmm…. A few cute guys, a couple in-between ones, and, parked in the middle of all of them was a girl with three inch nails and ratted out hair. I immediately hated her for being brave enough to sit back there. The teacher commenced with the classroom rules, and I found my self listlessly staring at the cover of my brand new binder, remembering the comfort of middle school A few minutes later I was jolted out of my thoughts, and brought back to the present.
“All right. Everybody come up and grab a sheet” Instructed the teacher, “Then, I want you all to meet four new people. Right down their names and one interesting fact about them. OK?”
Great, I thought, I hate get to-know-you activities. Reluctantly, I started to stand, but before I was all the way up I head a voice behind me.
“Hey beautiful, what’s your name?” The voice said in my ear.
I spun around, and found myself face to face with One Of The Back Row. But this he looked more familiar than any of the other boys. I looked at him, and desperately tried to match a name to his face. He was obviously Hispanic, with warm brown skin and eyes so brown they were almost black. His hair was spiked, in the manner of most teenage boys, but it suited him perfectly. He had on a plain red t-shirt, with jeans and Nikes. Instantly, I wondered if the red meant he was a crip. But, for some reason, this boy didn’t seem the type to be in a gang. After a few seconds, I realized I was staring, and managed to stutter out,
“Oh, sorry. Uhm..” I paused, not remembering what his initial question had been.”
Looking way too amused, he repeated, “What’s your name?”
“Savannah.” I said, and pulled myself together enough to give him a small smile. My best friend Lori and I had spent the summer perfecting the art of smiling at cute boys. We had it down to a few simple steps. Tilt you chin down slightly, perk the corners of your mouth up, open your eyes a little bit wider, hold his gaze for a few seconds, then blink and look away.
After going through all of the steps, I glanced back at him. His face was set in a wide grin and he sat down on top of my desk.
Yes! I thought All of those hours practicing was worth it!. I allowed myself a small celebration, and then tried to focus on the task at hand. Now that I had Mystery Boy’s attention, I had to make a conversation. I opened my mouth to speak, right as he said,
“So, what middle school did you go to, babe?”
I quickly responded, “Jackson. What about-”
He cut me off with a, “No you didn’t.”
Confused, but very interested, I replied, “What do you mean? Of course I went to Jackson. Well, actually I only went there for eight grade, but still.”
Very confidently he crossed his arms and smirked. “I went to Jackson. And you didn’t. I would have noticed if you were there.”
I cocked my head and looked at him closer. “Wait!” I exclaimed, “Are you Dante?”
His eyes widened in surprise, and he answered slowly, “Yes, I am?”
Laughing I said, “Yeah, I went to Jackson. I’m friends with Kate and Rosa and Rachel and them……..”
Dante’s face twisted into a grimace when I began talking about Kate. I slowly stopped, and gave him a puzzled look. He sighed and said “Kate? You chose to be friends with Kate? I didn’t know you were that type of girl.”
“What type of girl?”
I never got my answer to my question, because the teacher picked that moment to say,
“Okay, everybody. Get back in your seats, and take out your biology text book.”
I had started to sit back down when Dante grabbed my bag and headed for the back of the room.
“Hey! Where are you going with my bag?” I called after him.
Turning around, he flashed me a heart stopping grin and replied, “To our seats”
He reached his desk in the back row, and pulled an extra chair up to it. He plopped down in his seat, and began to look through my bag.
“Dante!” I exclaimed, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Looking through your stuff” He said nonchalantly.
His friends laughed and began looking over his shoulder at my binder, which he was flipping through. He glanced up at me and said, “Look, if you want your stuff back, you’re going to have to come sit by us.”
A black boy at the desk next to Dante’s got up and walked over to me. “C’mon, sit with us. We don’t bite, I promise.” Reluctantly I let him guide me to the back of the classroom. I felt eyes boring into me. I tugged my skirt down and my sweater up, suddenly aware of how much skin I was showing. Finally, we made it to Dante’s desk, and the black boy slung his arm around me.
“Ya see, Dante, it’s all in how you ask them.” He chuckled, and leered at me.
“Back off, Blake’ Dante said, finally setting my stuff down.
Shyly I lowered myself into my new chair. Up front the teacher droned about his grading policies. Dante slipped me a note scrawled on the back of his schedule.
why did you follow me back here?
I looked at him, not sure what he meant. Uncertainly, I picked up my pen and scribbled back,
you and what’s-his-face practically forced me too!! if you want me to leave I will.
I slid the note back to him, and fixed my eyes straight ahead on the teacher. I heard him chuckle, and the sound of his pen scratching across the paper.
I was kidding! don’t be so gullible… and his name is blake
NOT FUNNY!!!!!! and I really don’t care what his name is
yeah you do. I know you like him
stop it, that’s not even who I like!
oh really, then who do you like?
I glanced up at the clock, while Dante scanned through what I had written. Only ten minutes were left. I heard the sound of a paper being slid towards me, and felt a sense of satisfaction. For my second day of high school, I wasn’t doing to badly. I thought about what was happening between me and Dante. Could I already have feelings for him? I pushed the thought away. It was impossible for me to like a boy that I had just met, and plus, it’s not like he would even like me back. I looked back at the clock. Seven minutes. I quickly read Dante’s reply. And froze.
whos the lucky guy? I wish it were me :( has anyone ever told you what amazing eyes you have?
I racked my brain, trying to come up with something clever and witty to say. The best I could come up with was:
Haha, yeah I bet you wish I liked you. too bad. you’ll just have to live with the mystery of never knowing.
I folded the note over once, and handed it back to him. In my head all I could think was, please like me, please like me ,please like me. He laughed, a booming laugh, that made me smile just hearing it. Please like me, please like me. He glanced at me and shook his head. Please like me, please like me, please like me.
“You and Melinda have do the same little mind things with me! Haha, why do girls have to be so confusing?”
Blake laughed and came up next to me. Everyone was standing and packing up their backpacks. Everyone but Dante. All he had was a thin binder and a pen. He was definitely not the school type.
“Dude, I know. Girls like games. It’s like a package deal. Any hot girl is gonna bring drama with her.” Blake said to Dante.
All the guys laughed. Blake snaked his arm around my waist and pulled me in tight.
“What about you, shawty? Do you have any drama?” He said, nuzzling his nose against my cheek. his hands were big and felt to heavy on my waist. They slipped down and he began toying with my belt loops.
I felt awkward. I felt trapped. I worriedly looked at Dante, but he wasn’t any help. He looked like he was going to laugh. He raised his eyebrows at me, as if to say, ‘Go on, I want to see where this goes’.
I slipped away from Blake, and quickly shook my head.
The bold girl who had flirted with Dante was gone. Back again was the girl who I kept on trying to hide. The girl who was scared of Canyon High. The girl who would never ever like a trouble-making boy. The girl who definitely did NOT like being called shawty.
Feeling uncomfortable and very young I hoisted my bag to my shoulders and began to walk away.
“Hold up, girl.” Andre said, calling after me.
I kept on walking. I heard them mutter at me, and then I heard Dante’s voice above all of theirs.
“Wow, guys. You couldn’t have just left her alone? You scared her. I can tell.” He said accusingly.
“Sorry, man. Didn’t know that some random chick meant that much to you.” I heard another voice say.
“She… Well…. Just leave her alone.”
I heard footsteps, and pretty soon felt a shadow behind me. Without even turning around, I knew it was Dante who had approached me.
“Hey, don’t worry about those guys. They’re just stupid. They don’t know how to act around nice girls.”
I felt the corner of my mouth lift. What was it about this guy? He could make me feel better by just being there.
“You think I’m a nice girl?” I said teasingly.
Dante let out a laugh. “I know you’re a nice girl.”
I cocked my head, and waited for him to explain.
“I mean, you’re quality, not like those girls you hang out with.” He continued, growing serious, “You’re not some girl who guys hit on for kicks. You have standards and guys like them shouldn’t be trying to score with you.”
I was growing confused, and a little bit angry. “What are you saying Dante?”
“I just… No, none of this is coming out right” He said, then started laughing.
I felt myself relax and started to laugh along. We stayed there, chuckling until the bell rang and the teachers dismissed us. I lost him in the crush of bodies moving into the hallway and didn’t find him again until we were all the way to the main entrance. He was about 5 people in front of me, moving fast. He had his cell phone pressed against one ear, and was searching over his shoulder for something. What was he looking for? He scanned the crowds of people, until his gaze fell on me. He smiled and tilted the phone away from his mouth. Covering the mouthpiece, he yelled,
“Call me!” He winked and disappeared into the hoards of people. My heart sped up a little bit. He had been looking for me! I walked down the hallway in a bubble of joy, until I realized I didn’t even have his number.