My father dropped me off at school at 8 a.m. I was well fed and well nourished and ready to begin my morning of school, though he dropped me off too late to make homeroom. Now, I won’t get to see Cat for at least three or four hours. At lunch, I could probably wave to her.
Anyway, Lunch period rolled around, but I didn‘t get to see her… Fifth period came, and then Sixth… Mr. Rainey droned on and on about World War II and so forth and so on… I kinda listened… but… I kinda didn’t too. I was so ready for school to be over. So when the bell rung and sixth period was over, I readied myself to walk out first. But, I was stopped by a familiar face. It was Jesse… Damn, not today…
“Jen…” He called after me and grabbed me by the arm. “What’s wrong with you?”
I looked at him nervously. “N-nothing,” I lied, pulling the strap of my book bag securely over one shoulder.
“Look, are you still shaken up about Friday? Cause… I just thought you’d be over that by now,” he said, looking down at me.
“You’re a strong girl… I just thought you wouldn’t take it so hard…”
“N-no.. it’s not that… I just.. You scared me, that’s all.”
“Oh…” he said, brushing his hair out of his eyes.
The smoldering brown of his dark orbs replaced the pallid splendor of Cat’s own green eyes. I was being taken again… I was becoming even more confused…
“Listen,” I said in a panicky whisper, “I really have to get to seventh period. If I’m late for a third time this month, I'm gonna get a referral and my mom’s gonna kill me.”
“Okay, sure,” he said, letting my arm go. “But, Jen--after school, meet me… okay?”
“Damn it,” I whispered under my breath. “Okay…”
I turned back around and closed my eyes for one long second. Then I hurried off to seventh period.
Seventh period went by entirely too fast, and I still didn’t figure out a way to weasel out of meeting Jesse. Well, he didn’t tell me where to meet him… So, I guess that could be my excuse.
Instead of just heading straight to my locker after class was over, I carefully combed either side of the hallway with my eyes before stepping out into the open.
I practically ran to my locker and stuffed my books inside. I was already late to meet Cat and Megan out front And, I just knew that Jesse was around one of those corners… I could almost feel him closing in.
“What the hell’s the matter with you?”
“Damn it, Megan! You scared me!” I hissed at her. She stood nonchalantly with her purse hanging loosely from her shoulder.
“Sooorrryyy,” she said cynically, “somebody watched too many horror flicks last night.”
“Shut up! What the hell do you want?”
She snickered, “I wish I had gotten that on camera, I swear…”
“Megan… really, you’re not as funny as you think you are right now.”
“Okay, temp-eerrr,” she said in a sing-song voice.
“Oh, that’s right, you weren’t in homeroom today,” Meg said, putting a hand to her forehead. “Cat didn’t come to school today.”
“Because… she didn’t come to school today,” Megan twittered.
“Smart ass…” I whispered.
“What was that?”
“Nothing… Let’s just go home.”
I pulled my half empty book bag over one shoulder and walked with Megan to the exit.
Cat couldn’t be mad at me… could she? Could she have seen the crumpled piece of paper with Jesse’s number on it? Did she stay home because she couldn’t be comfortable with seeing me in public after all that had transpired this weekend?