I was rushing through the halls like a crazy person trying to find Lydia. She was the only person I could talk to about Heather and Mr. Richwood who would understand the problem that I was facing.
Shortly after Heather had left, Mr. Richwood had returned with the Art Contest information. He was explaining it to me, but when he spoke I wasn't listening to him because I far too preoccupied with my thoughts trying to figure out what I could do to fix the damage Heather was going to cause.
The first thought that came to my mind was to find Lydia and tell her what was going on. After had Mr. Richwood explained the contest to me, I thanked him, and then rushed out of his classroom to get to study hall so that I could talk to Lydia.
When I reached the hallway that led to study hall room I caught a glimpse of Lydia among the students who were entering the study hall. I quickly raced through the crowd of students trying to get to her before she entered the room and a conversation between us would be impossible. I was relived that Heather, Ann, and Ashley weren't near her or else this was going to be far more difficult.
I got close enough to her to grab her hand. When she turned around and saw that it was me she allowed herself to linger behind the students that were shoving by us.
"What's up?" she asked looking over my shoulder as if she was expecting someone. "I can't talk to you here. If Heather finds out…,"
"I have to talk to you about something that involves Mr. Richwood. It's very important and it can't wait."
There was a look of hesitation spreading across Lydia's face. It wasn't a good idea for us to be seen together at school. If Heather saw us together, then she would be under the impression that we were collaborating against her. I didn't want Lydia's friendship with those girls to be ruined, even if it really was a fake friendship, on the account of me.
"Fine, give me your phone number and I'll text you in study hall."
"I don't have a phone,"
"You don't have a phone?" She sounded stunned as if such a thing was never heard of. "Never mind, we'll do it the old fashion way. Just find a seat and I'll sit next to you and we'll pass notes."
"But what about Heather?"
"I'll think of something. Hurry, before they see us together."
I walked ahead of Lydia and made my way into the nearly packed study hall room. I found a seat in the back of the room and saved a seat that was to my left hand side for Lydia. The one good thing about study hall was that there weren't any assigned seats. The only thing you really had to do was make your presence known during role call.
I wasn't sure what Lydia was going to tell her friends since they typically sat near each other during study hall. It would had suspicion written all over it if she asked to sit elsewhere for a day.
Eventually, I saw Heather, Ann, Ashley, and Lydia enter the classroom among the small group of students who always showed up a few seconds before they would be deemed late by our study hall teacher, but would avoid being marked tardy.
Heather and her group took their usual seats near the front of the classroom while Lydia separated from their group and took a seat in the back next to me. She sat her bag on the floor next to me and then reached inside for a sheet of paper. I watched as she scribbled her message on the paper.
Mr. Kober was our study hall teacher. He was a stern, strict old man who had a list of rules he engraved in our minds on the first day of school that included no talking, no listening to music, no using your phones, and no turning around in your chair.
I suddenly was in favor of his last rule because Heather and her group sat in front of the classroom, which meant that they couldn't turn around to see where Lydia was sitting without risking getting a detention from Mr. Kober. He didn't negotiate or argue with students so if they tried to do one of those things they would simply be given a second detention to keep the first one company.
Lydia handed me the note and I read what she had written in her sloppy handwriting that I had seen before on the notes she had shoved in my locker.
Lydia: "So what's going on?"
I first wanted to clarify how she managed to keep Heather and her friends from being suspicious of her sudden change in their routine.
Me: "A lot, but how did you keep Heather from asking questions about why you weren't sitting with them?"
Lydia: "I told them I wanted to copy some kid's math homework. They totally believed me. But seriously, what's going on?"
I froze with the pen in my hand when I read Lydia's response. A realization crept over me that made me realize I couldn't really tell Lydia what was going on without informing her of Mr. Richwood's secret, which is what this entire problem was revolving around.
I couldn't break my promise to Mr. Richwood so Lydia was going to have to be in the dark about the secret. I was just hopping that she would understand the intensity of the problem.
Me: "I promised Mr. Richwood I would keep a secret for him. I can't tell you what it is, but the secret might get him in a lot of trouble with the school officials. Heather figured the secret out and she said she is going to tell everyone about it."
Lydia: "That's awful!!" Lydia underlined the word awful repeatedly to the point where her pen nearly tore through to the other side of the page. "Heather is some kind of a monster. Why would she do that?"
Me: "She's upset that Richwood kept it from her and feels he made a fool out of her."
Lydia: "How did she even find this secret out?"
Me: "Mr. Richwood left his phone on his desk and she found it and went through it and found out his secret after reading some text messages he sent. I'm so worried. I don't know what to do. I begged her not to tell anyone, but she says she's going to tell the entire school."
Lydia: "Hey, I know Heather will tell me, Ash, and Ann the secret before she tells the school. So when she tells us, I'll try to persuade her not to spread the word about it. I just hope she'll listen to me. I don't really have as much as an influence over her as Ash and Ann does so it might not work, but I will try."
For a moment, I felt a small speck of relief after reading Lydia's message, but it was replaced again with anxiety of the possibility of her plan failing. I was certain that Heather was going to tell everyone, but I was going to try once more to persuade her not to do it. I was hopping that Lydia's and my pleading would have some effect on her and maybe cause her not to go through with it.
Me: "Thank you, but I'm still so worried."
Lydia: "Oh and Amanda. I'm really sorry for being so cruel to you at the start of the school year. I was really just…copying and going along with Heather, Ash, and Ann. You deserve better than to be treated that way. So I hope you'll forgive me."
I felt touched by her apology and wanted to show her that there were no hard feelings for what she had done. Her kindness was actually compensating enough for the cruel things they said and did to me.
She probably only did what she had done so that she would remain friends with Heather and the others. Sometimes when people are desperate, in Lydia's case desperation to fill a void in her life that required friends, the they might do just about anything.
Me: "Don't worry. I've already forgiven you."
Lydia: "Oh, I never told you why I wrote those notes to you. A few weeks ago I was in Mr. Richwood's classroom when he came in. He didn't see me because I hid behind one of the desks and he was distracted with a conversation he was having on his phone. So I heard him talking. He was discussing a date he was going to have with Miss Daniels, our Algebra teacher. They're dating!! He didn't see me because he walked our of the classroom after grabbing a paper or something."
After reading this I was surprised by the fact that Lydia had already known Mr. Richwood's secret. She knew it long before I did which slightly impressed me by her ability to keep it hidden from the rest of the student body.
I was curious as to how she was able to act so calmly around him and Miss Daniels even though she knew what was going on between them. I had been just as cold as possible to Miss Daniels because I was jealous she was seeing Mr. Richwood.
Based off what I saw in class, Lydia never appeared to harbor any hostilely toward the woman. I wanted to know what her secret was, since she loved him just as much as I did, to keep her feelings from appearing on her face and through her actions. I picked up my pen and began to write.
Me: "You're kidding me?! That's the secret that Mr. Richwood told me to keep for him. I found out by accident and I promised him that I wouldn't' tell anyone. Heather was on his phone and found text messages to Miss Daniels and she knows about their relationship together!"
Lydia: "That's the secret you've been keeping? OH NO!! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? We can't let her tell anyone that. What did the texts even say?"
Me: "I don't know. I didn't read them."
Lydia: "I'll really, really try hard to persuade her not to tell anyone. I'm kinda worried too. I love him so much. I don't want anything to happen to him. He's such a good person and doesn't deserve to lose his job because of that jerk."
After reading Lydia's response I began to understand her a little better. She did a great job at concealing her feelings inside of her. I on the other hand sometimes allowed my feelings to surface through my actions or facial expressions. I was pretty sure that I was the only one who knew her true, deep down feelings for Mr. Richwood.
I wondered what it felt like to confess how you truly felt about someone and not have to hide it inside of you. It was true that Lydia wasn't really confessing her feelings to Mr. Richwood, but instead to me. Though, I thought it must have felt good to tell someone and not fear that they would judge your feelings as being wrong since in our case we happened to like a teacher.
I wanted to tell someone about it. Anyone. I didn't want to have to talk to myself anymore about how I felt for him without having the compassion of another human being to tell me that it was alright that I felt the way that I did.
Lydia handed me a fresh sheet of notebook paper, since the one we had been scribbling on had been packed with our messages to one another. As I wrote, I heard her rip the note we had just written on into tiny shreds and then she dropped the pieces into her purse to get rid of any proof of our conversation.
Me: "I know how you feel. I really love Mr. Richwood too. In fact, I loved him ever since I was a freshmen. He's such an amazing person, but not everyone sees that. They just take one look at his face and think they're in love with him, but I like him for so much more. I like his personality, his art skills, and just everything about him. It feels so good to be able to tell someone this."
I handed the note back to her feeling a great sense of relief. It felt good to confide in another person. Lydia wrote a single sentence on the sheet of paper and handed it back to me.
Lydia: "It's suppose to feel good to confess your feelings for someone".
After study hall, I was heading to my locker glancing over my shoulder because I feared that Heather had already told someone the secret. I was just waiting for someone to blurt out Mr. Richwood's name to mention what they had just learned about his relationship with Miss Daniels, but it never came.
I opened my locker and shoved my books inside. The second page of note that Lydia and I had together where I had confessed my feelings for Mr. Richwood and Lydia had written her single sentence on the paper fell out of one of my books that I had shoved it inside and it slide out on the floor into the middle of the hallway.
My heart dropped for a moment and I raced around the crowded hallway to retrieve it.
In study hall, after I had read Lydia's message a teacher come saying they required her presence at the main office which concluded our conversation. I hadn't thought about shredding it the way she had our first note because my thoughts were far more occupied with Heather and when she might reveal the secret.
I caught up with the half folded note and reached down to pick it up, but a foot landed on top of the note. I watched a hand reach down as the shoe lifted up and picked up the note. I pulled myself to my feet to find that the person who had picked up the note was no one other than Heather Drysdale.
"What's this?" Heather asked as she brandished the note in front of my face.
I felt my heart rate accelerate to a rate that was beyond belief. In that note lied my confession for my feelings toward Mr. Richwood. If I acted out of the ordinary then I knew Heather wasn't going to let it go. She was going to become curious and go to great lengths to figure out what was in the letter.
"Nothing," I said trying to sound as calm as I possibly could. "It's just something for a class." I held my hand out. "Now can I have it back?"
Heather studied my face intently as if she were searching for the truth somewhere hidden in my eyes. She must have seen that I was lying to her because she began to unfold the note. I reached over to snatch it from her hands, but she pulled he note out of my grasp and I felt two iron hands grips over my arms.
I looked over my shoulder and saw that it was Ashley who had a tight grip on me.
"Don't move," she threatened. "Or else I'll spray you with enough perfume to make you pass out."
Ashley's mini distraction allowed Heather to unfold the note and quickly read everything that was written on it in a matter of seconds. She looked up from the note and stared at me.
"Who did you write this with?" she asked.
I responded with an eerie silence. I couldn't come out and tell her that the person who wrote the note with me was Lydia. It would be the most ultimate form of betrayal. I knew that the single sentence Lydia wrote on the paper couldn't identify her as the person I had shared the message with so for the most part she was safe.
A short distance away I spotted Lydia slowly making her way over toward our little congregation area in the middle of the hallway. She had a concerned look on her face as her eyes darted between mine and Heather. The other students in the hallway made their way by us, not giving the least bit of interest in what was going on between us.
Heather's eyes scanned my face, waiting for some kind of response to her question, but I was silent.
"Was it Dan?" she said, clearly guessing.
"No," I said quickly, trying to prevent Dan's reputation from being tainted. "Dan doesn't know anything about this."
"This is remarkable," she mused. "I just came here to threaten you into not telling anyone about me going through Mr. Richwood's phone, but this is even better. In fact, this will guarantee that you keep your mouth shut. You better not tell anyone I went through his phone or else I'll publish your little love note in the school news paper for the whole school to read." She took the note, folding it back up, and placed it at the tip of her chin. "I always knew that you liked the Art teacher."
She motioned for Ashley to follow and together they walked away. Lydia's studied me from afar appearing worried by what was going on, but quickly followed after Heather and Ashley to avoid having her behavior be deemed as suspicious.
I felt like the world was closing in on me. Not only was Heather going reveal Mr. Richwood's secret, since she now had collateral to insure that no one found out how she got the information which is a serious offense to go through a teacher's belongings, but she now knew my most deepest darkest secret and had the proof to reveal it to the entire school.
My handwriting was written on that note and if she ever thought of investigating Lydia she would find out that it was a match and turn her back on Lydia making it all my fault since I was the one who had reached out to Lydia for help.
People always say never put you true feelings down on paper because people can use it against you or black mail you with it. When you speak words you can deny what you said or claim it was mistaken, but the note was written proof. I wasn't sure what I was going to do.