I hope that teenagers, like myself, read this entrancing novel and find themselves falling in...
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The dull whiteness of the cafeteria momentarily blinded me. I swept through the side-entrance door after driving to school in cloudy weather, making it appear darker than usual. I blinked a few times and glanced around at the ordinary scenery; hundreds of loud teenagers bundled up in groups from one round table to the other. Each was aligned in rows, similar to a classroom, but with four equal tables on the inside of the columns. Assigned teachers patrolled the large room, searching for troublemakers and eyeing different students; one would stop occasionally and talk among a fellow teacher, either in hushed whispers or casual murmurs. Overall, there was no distinct sound in the cafeteria—it all boiled together in a deafening chatter like gushing waterfalls.
The smooth, white-paneled floor squeaked under my shoes, and I faintly picked up the sound of distant thunder as I scurried to my group, the heavy door slamming shut behind me. The ceiling overhead was high, supporting dozens of air vents and fans that covered the majority of the space above. I cleared my mind and prepared myself for what I would tell Peter, since he was the only person I cared to share the information with. Plus, I wanted his personal opinion on the matter.
“Blake!” He immediately greeted when I sat down, grinning. The others shared their own hellos, but quickly returned to their previous conversations. “How was your weekend?”
I slid my black satchel off my shoulder and placed it on the floor, then glanced feverishly at my friends before turning to Pete. “Hey, man,” I said absently. “What’s for breakfast?”
The musician rolled his brown eyes. It must have already begun raining where he lived outside of town, for his tussled black hair was slightly damp and messier than normal. “Those awful biscuit sandwiches they fix twice a week. How do they expect us to eat that stuff?” Today he wore a plain T-shirt under a slick, black vest and baggy jeans. He had removed the fedora that he always wore because of our annoying school policy.
I copied his disgust. “I’ll never know.” They tasted terrible, what with the fake eggs and too-greasy bacon; breakfast was not the school’s specialty. Although my expression contained dislike towards the biscuits, my eyes didn’t quite meet its qualifications. They were distracted, thinking on other situations.
Daniel, Brad, and James occupied our table and supplied conversations among themselves. Michel, however, was no where to be found; maybe Dan had finally gotten rid of him for good. None of them were consuming today’s breakfast, but James was slurping on a Root Beer. After a short double-take, I noticed that Brad’s eyes constantly drifted from Daniel—they were both discussing a basketball game they planned to have if it stopped raining—and lingered to a table on the far southwestern side of the room.
I followed his gaze, and located a huddle of pretty girls that gossiped together and giggled loudly. Catching the hint, I smiled shortly and looked at Brad. “Hey,” I called to get his attention.
Brad’s head snapped to my direction, half dazed and curious. “Yeah?” he said, interrupting Dan mid-sentence.
“What girl are you playing now?” My eyes lighted with amusement.
Naturally, he snorted. “Get out of here, bro,” he snapped, letting a grin slip. “Why do you care?”
I pressed my lips together in smug humor, inclining my head a fraction of an inch. “Come on, who is she?” I pressed.
Judging Brad’s light but serious countenance, it might be more that just another girl he had his eye on. I raised my eyebrows, surprised, mouth barley open. “Oh,” I confirmed. “So, you actually plan on dating this one?”
His contagious humor returned. “We’ll see,” he scoffed. “But you know me better than that, Moss.”
“Who is she?” I asked again.
He laughed a short, hard laugh. “You never give up, do you?”
I gave him a crooked smile. “You know me better than that, Harris.”
“Touché,” he grinned. “It’s Melanie Baker.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Isn’t that the girl you made out with at the dance last month?” I questioned, trying to remember.
I slouched in my hard seat, folding my hands over my stomach. “Ah. That explains it all. Were her lips just good enough for a second time?”
Brad smirked, but his reply was blunt. “We’ve been talking ever since, dude.”
I nodded, understanding. “Alright, alright,” I said. “I get it.”
I looked over at the one I assumed was Melanie; blonde hair, red lipstick, expensive clothes. She was very pretty at the least, definitely someone of Brad’s style. I shook my head, chuckling quietly. “Tell me how things work out,” I told him. “And I’ll back you up with anything.”
“Right, like I need your help with chicks,” Brad mocked. “You’re such a player, even though I haven’t seen you with anybody for over a month, and the last girl you kissed was two weeks ago.”
I laughed at his puny statement. “Yes, and you’re such a good boyfriend for girls. Rubbing your lips over every drunken chick you meet at a party, dating someone for a week and dumping them for no reason. Very romantic.”
“I don’t need romance, just a hot babe to keep me satisfied.”
I let my eyes glance at the ceiling before turning them back to Peter, ending the conversation.
“Anyways,” Pete went on. “How was your weekend, man?”
I thought carefully before answering, pondering on what happened; my weekend felt like an eternity, filled with so many events. “It was….all right,” I answered with little emotion. “How was yours?” I hoped he wouldn’t urge for more details. I was going to wait until later to fill him in with everything.
“Great,” he replied. “I’ve been working on that song I showed you the other day.”
“Oh yeah?” I was mostly interested, but not as much as I would have been before.
“I’m still trying to work out the main chorus and edit the tune a bit,” he continued. “But I at least have the first few verses down.”
Pete enjoyed composing his own love songs, and a lot of the ones he had finished were excellent. “That’s awesome,” I commented, leveling my elbow on the table and resting my left cheekbone on top to support my head. “Show me what you have.”
He shuffled through his backpack until he found a notebook and pencil, and then began writing the cords of what he had finished along with the lyrics. “See, in this verse, I hit a D major….” I listened intently as he went through the process of each step and note, Pete talking excitedly. Before he was done explaining, the bell rang and signaled for school to begin. “Oh, hey,” he gathered his thoughts. “We have Language IV together, so I’ll show you more later.”
“Sounds good,” I said. I gathered my things, said goodbye to Brad and the others, and walked with Pete to first hour.
The stampede of teens didn’t bother me as bad as it normally did, probably because my brain consistently went over what I would inform Peter. Why did I feel so nervous about this? I guessed it was understandable; telling even my best friend something so odd and unusual was difficult, although I knew he wouldn’t judge me for anything. I sighed and finalized my decision; I would tell him during third hour Biology where we would sit in the back of the classroom and work on our project together.
There were several things I liked and disliked about Language class. One that I liked is that the subject itself was fairly easy for me; second, the English teacher taught it in an enthusiastic and acceptable manner. The disadvantages, however, was how incredibly stuffy the room always felt; the thick smell of used chalk waffled in the air at all times, and a tiny fan in the center of the ceiling buzzed relentlessly throughout the entire hour. Oh, and to add another small displeasure, the desks were crumpled together in awkward positions, so we were uncomfortably crowded. Aside from that, it was simply another period of purgatory, what I liked to call school.
Peter and I claimed seats in the most relaxed area we could find, attempting to scoot farther back and throwing our books on the creaky, old wooden desks. Upon entering, my nostrils instantly flared at the pungent air, and I stifled back an automatic cough. A wide, worn chalkboard faced the whole room like every classroom, but towers of chalk pillared in multiple spots on and around the board. You’d think the teacher would upgrade to a smart board or something. The standard array of posters and motivational sayings littered the yellow-painted walls; the paint itself was overdue, cracked and faded in many places, making the room reflect its age.
“I can’t stand this room,” Peter complained, tearing out pieces of paper in preparation for notes. “It’s so repulsive and strong.”
I agreed privately, flopping onto my chair and pushing a neighboring desk a few inches away. Minutes later, the rest of the students swarmed in, some complaining about the suffocating air like us or rearranging desks.
Mrs. Bethany swept into the room at the perfect time, fiery red hair drifting behind her, and greeted the class amiably. “It’s great to see you all again,” she chimed. A small hand flicked out and took a used piece of chalk from the wooden desk in the front center of the room and began pecking words on the board. It was a list of the vocabulary we would be learning for this week, a few of which I already knew. Then, the teacher jotted frisky instructions guiding us to page three-forty three in our text books, also giving us precisely how many problems we would do and which chapter to review. Pete and I naturally started copying Mrs. Bethany’s scrawl and opened our bulgy books to the correct page. A low, musical humming buzzed from the teacher, and her gentle tune was somewhat distracting.
Halfway done with writing definitions, my pencil tip snapped against the red-stripped paper. I rolled my eyes and looked up; everyone was quietly working, and only the annoying rhythm of the ceiling fan and Mrs. Bethany’s hums could be heard. I nudged an elbow at Peter, who’s tongue was poking out of his mouth in solid concentration—a sight that never failed to make me chuckle.
“I need an extra pencil,” I whispered under my breath. I held up my broken one as confirmation.
He shrugged and turned back to his homework. Strange; class was usually not this straightforward. I had expected Mrs. Bethany to teach loudly and playfully, but maybe it was only because we recently finished a test. Shortly after important assignments, Mrs. Bethany handed us simple homework to complete for a couple of days before moving on to the next chapter.
Making more noise than necessary by my squeaky desk and tight space, I got up and hastily sharpened my pencil, soon returning to my chair and scribbling the rest of the vocabulary words. A student coughed from across the room—most likely a cause of the chalk. I yawned, still drowsy due to an early morning; it took me until around third hour to fully wake up. I cursed inwardly for not having coffee this morning. I was reaching the last few words of my homework before I was interrupted nonchalantly by Pete.
“Hey,” he muttered to get my attention. “How much money do you have?”
I crinkled my eyebrows. “On me? Only fifty bucks, why?”
He continued without looking at me, copying definitions in a neater handwriting than mine. “Brad wants to throw a small party at his place tomorrow, but he needs some more cash for drinks.”
“On a Tuesday?” I questioned, looking back down at my textbook.
Peter sighed lightly, sounding like a blown tire releasing air. “You know how he is.”
All too well. “I’m not really fond of donating to his wasted charity.”
He laughed in a muffled bark, shaking his head. “I don’t blame you, but we should at least hang out with him.” Pete paused for a moment, stopping his pencil in mid-sentence. “Hmm….okay, I’ll give a few dollars, and we’ll both go to his party. Cool?”
“I’ll throw in five,” I offered reluctantly.
He grinned. “Alright.” We fist-bumped quickly, then went back to working.
Not two minutes later, a different interference came to me: Alexandria. I couldn’t leave her behind like that, could I? Would she even care? Then again, I already told Peter I would go….
I’ll try to convince her to come with me, I decided. It will be more difficult than fighting off a pack of wolves single-handedly, but I had to try. That thought angered me; she was such a pain. I let the thoughts shrug away and wouldn’t give anything away to Pete. Not yet, at least.
I turned in my paper a five minutes before the bell rang and gathered my stuff, waiting up for Peter beside the door.
“Sorry I didn’t have time to show you any new cords,” he apologized. “That homework took longer than I thought.”
“It’s cool,” I said. “Maybe third hour?”
He agreed. We didn’t have PE together, so that was out. The only person I really socialized with second hour was Brad and occasionally Gerald—a short, quiet guy that didn’t have many friends. Other than that, I kept to myself.
I noticed that the rain had let up a little, but the cloudy sky and dense air cautioned for more later on. Condensation clung to the windows, the glass ice-cold to the touch; I shivered, imagining how Alexandria must have felt stranded in that weather.
I walked in to the smelly, hot locker room to change into my gym shorts; plain red and a little stinky. Brad was already there and dressed, coming to my side and exiting with me. The gymnasium had a ceiling taller than the cafeteria’s, and my shoes squealed at each step on the waxy floor.
“Pete told me about your party,” I said conversationally, sitting at one of the higher bleachers and waited for the coach.
Brad’s eyes lit up. “You’re going?” he exclaimed.
I couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah.”
“Yes!” Brad grinned back. “I’m excited, man; you’re gonna have fun.”
I agreed silently and let him hover in his own joy for a moment. I was glad to see him so thrilled because I was finally going to one of his “parties” for the first time in a good while. I made a quick note to myself to attend more of his gatherings in the future.
Just then, Coach Knight came storming into the gymnasium, hot-headed and stern as always. “Listen up, girls!” he barked, his dingy face red. Coach Knight was nearly bald and looked quite unhealthy for a physical education teacher; his rules were outrageous and his attitude merciless, but what else would you expect from a coach that hates teenagers?
“I want ten laps around the gym from all of you, and then you’re gonna shoot hoops the rest of the hour. I have a meeting to go to, so I’ll leave a substitute.”
The lift in the classroom was almost tangible; today was an easy day.
“But if I get one bad report from any of you,” he warned severely. “You’ll be running around this gym until you cough out your lungs.”
At the whistle, the total of sixteen students sprinted around the gym, me and Brad running next to each other. As we rounded the third lap, he was already gasping for breath, sweat dripping down his face.
“Stop smoking and maybe you can keep up,” I mocked, trudging ahead. The running only lasted a couple of short minutes, and I halted, hands placed on my knees, to rest. I was hunched over in the corner of the gym, and Brad shortly joined me. The rest of the class head straight for the basketballs, and the sound of dribbling, squeaky and quick movements; and yelling flooded the room.
“Wanna shoot some hoops?” Brad asked after recovering, gesturing at an open basket.
“Sure.” I followed him to the ball rack and grabbed my own, and the two of us started a game of one-on-one.
Brad was much better than me, of course, even with his smoker’s lungs. I attempted to block, evade, and counter him the best I could, but it wasn’t enough; he surpassed me at every turn, making more than half the shots he went for. Once I smacked the ball in mid-dribble, but it had gotten knocked out of bounds. Frustrated, I bent down to catch my breath, Brad twelve points ahead of me. He jogged to the water fountain nearby and drunk deeply from it, beads of sweat raining down his cheeks. I flicked my dangling hair out of my eyes, stinging from the salty moisture that penetrated them. The other boys continued to play game after game, showing no signs of wearisome despite their heavy panting; they kept pushing on. I hadn’t really felt a strong love for any sports, but I could keep up with basketball for a short time.
Brad—drained more than I was—scurried to my side and let out a whoosh of air. “Let’s take a breather.” He suggested. We sat at the lowest bleacher closer to us and talked for the majority of the hour, and the bell dismissed us thirty minutes later.
Uh oh. This was the hour I had promised myself to speak with Peter about my predicament.
I walked a little nervously out the gym, already changed back into my regular clothes, and swam through the sea of students. Along the way, I played in my head multiple arguments and how I would approach Pete; as I did, my mind wandered to Alexandria, and I couldn’t help but wonder what she was doing right now. Her dark expression, foul glares, protective movements, all of it tumbled in my head. Part of me surged with disgust and strong dislike towards the girl, wishing she would care more. But a different part tugged at protecting Alexandria, to keep her safe from the tribulation she had endured.
This was ridiculous. I had no reason to be even slightly nervous to talk to Peter; he was my best friend, and he would understand. No harm in it, right? I trudged along with more confidence, trying to decipher what expression would cross his face. Biology was a little rowdy and the teacher didn’t care much, anyway, so the two of us had the perfect opportunity to converse freely and without disruption. Mind set, I walked into my third hour classroom.
Neatly lined columns of lab tables, rows of sinks along the edges of the walls, and a small space for Mr. Hob to teach built up almost the entire interior of the room. A white board, sink and desk; and a box of equipment were all he had in the room, and all he required to teach with. The walls—faded white like most of the classrooms—were smoother and less tattered than others, so I guessed it had been either remodeled or it was a fairly new classroom. Rectangular-shaped florescent lights brightened the room efficiently, and a familiar ceiling fan hung above, but it was not moving. The lab tables themselves were coal black, thoroughly cleaned, and sturdy; two wobbly stools allowed seating comfort at each table. The floor was tiled like that of a kitchen, designed in only to white colors that were nearly the same: one darker and the other light. Microscopes and lenses rested at the lab tables, so I predicted we would be studying basic bacteria. A rack holding dozens of white, stained coats waited for each student, and a miniature fire extinguisher was located in the far left-hand corner of the classroom. There were safety goggles as well, but I knew they wouldn’t be necessary for this particular lab. I didn’t bother to take a coat as I headed for the back of the Biology room and took my seat, Pete following seconds behind.
I ultimately didn’t catch a single word Mr. Hob—a short, thin man with strawberry blonde hair—said after the bell sounded. Pete was already setting up the experiment and sliding his notebook and pencil over to me. “Take notes,” he commanded wistfully.
I scratched with the pencil everything he instructed me to as he observed the lenses, one eye closed while the other stared intently into the microscope. My untidy handwriting must have been frustrating for Pete to make out, because he kept frowning every time he glanced over at the paper before continuing his work. I merely went through the motions of jotting down notes and listening to his observations, waiting for the right moment for my confrontation. Mr. Hob paced casually around the room; whistling quietly and watching us doodle on papers and play with lenses. Once about fifteen or so minutes passed and Peter was slowing down, I decided it was time to begin talking.
“Hey, Pete,” I said normally, dotting the end of my sentence.
“What’s up?” he replied. Peter fumbled for the lenses and placed them neatly together, scooted the microscope to the side, and ripped out my three pages of notes. “Something on your mind?”
“Actually, there is,” I confirmed, feeling calmer than I expected. “See, I have this….problem.” I couldn’t think of a better word for the situation I was in.
“What’s that?” he asked, his expression turning more serious.
I hesitated, scratching the hairs on my chin, wishing I would have planned this better. “Dude, this is going to sound totally weird and crazy,” I warned.
He folded his hands on the lab table and pushed forward closer with his stool. “Lay it on me.”
“Last week, when I was driving home from school,” I explained. “I, um, well….I saw this homeless girl on the side of the street.”
Confusion swept over Pete’s face. “Go on,” he said slowly, looking at me with questionable eyes.
“I felt really bad for her, so I pulled over to see if I could help her out. She was very stubborn and hateful, but still, I gave her some food and stuff.” I paused, allowing that to sink in.
“Okay,” he mumbled. “I’m not seeing where this is going….what’s the problem? You were doing a nice thing.”
“That’s not it,” I went on. “See, I knew she didn’t have anywhere else to go, so….I came back a couple days later and sort of brought her to my house.”
Peter still looked confused, but speculated further. “Alright, so you took her home. Did you feed her and everything?”
“What’s so bad about that?”
I sighed, knowing this was going to sound very strange. “That was on Saturday morning, and she’s still at my house.”
Enlightenment started to gleam on him. “Oh!” he realized. “So, what you’re getting at, is your basically letting her live there, and you don’t know what to do?”
“That pretty much sums it up,” I agreed, tapping a finger on the black, hard surface of the table. “It’s weird to have a random stranger living at my apartment, and now I don’t know what to do with her.”
“Hmm,” he thought, staring at the white board ahead. “Well, you can’t keep feeding her and pampering her forever. How old is she?”
“Seventeen,” I said.
“That makes it a little better; I was hoping you weren’t gonna say six.” Pete chuckled softly, then continued. “Okay, okay. So this seventeen-year old girl is crashing at your place, you haven’t met her before in your life, and she doesn’t have a home or anywhere else to be.”
“What about her family?”
“I don’t know anything about them,” I admitted. “But I’d assume she wouldn’t be out on the streets if she had any kind of family to go to.”
“That’s true.” Pete crossed his ankles and shifted to the left, deep in concentration. Mr. Hob stopped by and picked up our notes and lenses, not making any comment. “What do you know about her?” Peter continued.
“Not much,” I confessed. “Her name is Alexandria, she hasn’t lived anywhere for a while, she loves Hot Topic….and her eyes are purple. That’s all I know.”
He let out a low whistle. “Wow—you know nothing. Wait, did you just say her eyes are purple?
“Crazy, right?” I laughed, thinking back on my reaction. “Yes, they’re purple. I wish I did know more about her, but she’s….well, she’s incredibly stubborn and selfish, and very heartless.”
“Really?” he asked, slightly shocked. “Why?”
“I have no idea, that’s the thing.” I shook my head. “She won’t tell me anything….and I do nothing but help her! I’ve washed her clothes and bought her new ones, fed her, looked out for her, and I’ve been completely nice to the girl!” I was complaining more than I intended, crossing my arms tightly and flickering my eyes away from Peter; I probably looked like a child throwing a tantrum. “I just don’t get it, man.”
Peter looked thoughtful, contemplating my expression. “I don’t know either,” he said. “Maybe she just doesn’t trust people, ya’ know? I mean, she was homeless and everything; maybe she’s had a bad past or something.”
“I was thinking along those lines, too,” I replied, claming down. “But she won’t tell me anything, no matter how nice I am or what I do for her.”
“Maybe she needs more time, bro.”
“More time?” I repeated. “How long do you expect me to raise a teenager? I don’t have a lot of money, you know, and I don’t plan on babysitting forever.”
“I know, I know.” He studied me for a moment, and I noticed he was trying to find a route out of this for me; what a great friend. “Hey man, how about this? I’ll chip in as much cash as I can to help take care of Alexandria while she stays there, and whenever you can get her on her feet and a job and whatnot, then everything will clear up. I don’t care how long it takes, I’ll keep helping until she’s gone.”
A wave of gratitude took over my former annoyance. “You, my friend, are a life saver,” I said sincerely. “Thank you.”
Pete grinned. “Not a problem. And who knows? Maybe she’ll loosen up later on.”
“We can hope.”
I forgot to mention how sorry I felt for Alexandria and how much I wanted to take care of her, but it didn’t matter whether I said it or not. I was extremely grateful for Peter, and I made a mental note to remember how much money he gave me over the weeks so that I could pay him back once this was all over.
I patiently made my way to Home Economics once the bell dismissed us, happy that I had gotten the conversation out of the way. In fourth hour, I had Brad and Daniel to talk to, but it was mostly Daniel, considering we were assigned the same cooking station. Today, we were cooking chili; a basic and easy meal, something to get us ready for the harder culinary arts later. Daniel, wearing blue shorts and a Michel Jordon sweatshirt, spotted me in the hallway and joined me.
“Hey, dude,” he greeted bluntly, eyes scanning the hallway. He was about a foot taller than me and way more muscular.
“Hey, Dan,” I said. “How’s your day been going?”
“Good. It finally stopped raining, so I’m gonna gather up some guys and play football after school. Wanna come?”
“Sorry, but I have to work after school,” I declined. “Besides, it’s thirty-five degrees out there!”
He grinned widely. “Don’t be a baby, it’s just a little cold.”
I laughed; Dan played sports year-around, no matter what the temperature or condition. “Are you going to Brad’s party?”
He shrugged. “I might stop by.” His voice was deep and he usually didn’t talk much, but he was a pretty cool guy. “Will there be alcohol?”
I rolled my eyes. “That’s like asking if Brad’s a player.”
“Can’t argue with that,” Dan said, cracking a smile.
Just then we entered the classroom, contained with advanced stoves, sinks, counters, and other kitchen assortments. Our cooking supplies and ingredients were already waiting for us—giant silver pots and platters—but our teacher wasn’t in the room. He never normally showed up until a few seconds after the bell, and mostly just remained quiet and gave direct instructions. The only use he really had was making sure we didn’t catch anything on fire or eat raw food.
Minutes afterwards, my nose was greeted with the delicious smell of boiling chili, my mouth watering automatically. I stirred in the meat and cans of beans while Daniel, Rich, and Austin took turns dicing tomatoes and adding seasonings. Naturally, my stomach growled; I couldn’t wait to taste the delectable, hot soup and savor the juicy meat and rich mixtures. In that moment, as a matter of fact, the chili seemed greatly more appetizing than it normally would. As soon as everything had been added and the timer dinged, I removed the pot from the electrically heated stove and began scooping chili into plastic bowls with a large ladle. At first, my tongue was scorched by the smoldering liquid, but as it cooled, my pallet invited the tasty substance.
The class ended too quickly, and after forking down three bowls of chili, I scampered to fifth hour Environmental Science, one of the most drooling classes next to American Government. The teacher was just as boring, the work was long and complicated, and I overall had no one of interest to talk to; it was my least favorite hour of the day. I dragged my feet the whole way, wanting it to be over before I stepped into the classroom.
Mr. Harvey came barging into the room the instant class begun, a stack of books and organized papers in hand. I flipped my textbook open to a random page, slammed my head on the desk, and waited for the punishment to end. The stern and old teacher threw open a few books, grabbed a piece of chalk, and summarily started jotting down words on the board, practically yelling from over his shoulder. His teaching was loud and obnoxious; his hands darted around as he talked, informing us of different animals and plant life, organisms, and other boring facts I blocked out. He was like a mad scientist, pacing around the room frantically and shouting about rock formations and different environments and fossils. It was absolutely torturous. Before long, I dozed off into an uncomfortable realm of sleep, dreaming about dancing rocks….
As if the Lord Himself understood my pain, I woke up to the sound of a sweet, beautiful ringing. Not caring to look at the homework assignment, I quickly gathered my books and blessed away, thankful that I hadn’t died of sheer boredom. Lunch was sounding better and better by the minute.
As always, I sat with my regular bundle of friends, carrying a tray of chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese. Peter instantly took a seat next to me, and Brad casually sat on the other side. Surprisingly hungry even with a belly full of chili, I dug in to the warm soup and the melted cheese on toasted bread, enjoying every bite and drinking deeply from a bottle of soda I got from the food stand.
“Hey, I forgot to show you more of my song, didn’t I?” Pete remembered, mouth crammed with grilled cheese.
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “Show me more.” I slurped a noodle.
He went through more steps of his latest song, showing me a few new cords and tunes, and asking my opinion of what he should change or work on. In truth, it all sounded great to me, and I was inspired by is music and creative talent. I gave my input on everything he told me, commenting here and there and occasionally asking questions out of pure curiosity. Peter had finally explained every note and word to his song that he had so far by the time lunch ended, and I walked to sixth hour alone.
American Government was uneventful, and my mind—for the fourth time today—drifted to Alexandria. What was she doing right now? Was she sleeping a lot, eating a lot, or just plain bored? Was she getting used to being at my house already, or did she like it less and less? My brain pounded attempting to understand it all, and I knew, I swore that I would get at least a pinch of information about her when I came home; this girl was driving me crazy, but it strangely made me want to explore her head more and more.
Algebra III also went by routinely, so it gave me more time to ponder on other matters. I still had work to go through after school, and I had Brad’s party to attend tomorrow night, but what about her? I felt like an all-around babysitter, constantly worrying and fretting over one person. To make it worse, it was someone I still didn’t even know, or would qualify as knowing. I didn’t even know her last name! I grumbled furiously to myself, flipping through various solutions, hoping one of them would have a positive effect on the situation. Whenever school was over, I had gotten so caught up in my own thoughts that I tripped over my desk and nearly slammed my face into the floor; I had to collect my books hastily, feeling embarrassingly pathetic. I strode to my car without saying goodbye to Pete or any of my friends, slamming the door and screeching out the driveway. I almost backed into another vehicle on the way out, cursing myself.
“My God,” I muttered out loud to myself, speeding towards the grocery store, the road flashing behind me faster than it should. “What am I going to do?”