Allie was determined to keep her hat on her head.
It was one of those typical winter days- frigid and snowy outside, cold and frosty inside; especially in a school that
had a low budget and a crappy heating system. Today, however, this worked to Allie’s advantage. Her plan was to keep her hat on as long as possible and hope that no one would question her
about it. So far, it didn’t look like anyone was going to.
"Hey Al, what's with the hat?"
Except for him.
Allie didn’t look up from her locker as she collected her books for her first period class. He stood at his own a few
lockers down, she saw out of the corner of her eye.
"Correct me if I’m wrong, but the snow is outside," Ben said, raising his eyebrows as he stuffed his jacket into his locker along with his own hat.
"And yet the school’s insulation doesn’t do the best job of keeping the cold air outside, does it,” she swiftly responded, hardly looking away from her books.
"True," he shrugged, "If only the school would take our warmth into consideration when spending money, instead of trying to teach us the quadratic formula and the difference between the three there's."
Allie didn't respond, merely rearranging the books in her locker.
"So, you didn't answer my question," Ben went on, casually leaning against his locker to face her. "What's with the hat?"
"I did answer your question," she said. “Because it's cold."
"Yeah, it's always cold in the winter and you've never warn a hat to class before," he said, raising his eyebrows again. "Besides, isn't it against the rules? I never took you for one to break the rules, Al."
"Don't call me Al," she snapped.
"Oh, I'll call you Al," he said as he walked up and stood against the locker beside her. "At least until you tell me what you're hiding under that hat."
"I'm not hiding anything," she said, irritated.
"Oh, but I think you are," he said. "What is it? Money? Food? Answers to a test?"
Allie looked at him. "Why would I hide food in my hat?"
"Don't you get hungry in the long hours until lunch?" he said, shrugging. "Don't think I've never considered that very idea myself."
"Oh, I won't," she said, turning back to her locker.
Unfortunately, Ben persisted. "Okay then. Since I see it isn't money, food, or answers, I can only assume it's your hair."
Allie flushed slightly.
"Ah," Ben smiled slightly. "I see I've touched upon something."
She remained silent as she continued to ignore him. She grabbed another book from her shelf.
"What'd you do? Use a cheap dye that's made it orange? Burn it with a curler? Get a bad perm?" She didn’t answer. He sighed. "I guess I'll just have to find out for myself then," Ben said resignedly, reaching his hand out.
She jumped away, but not fast enough. Ben managed to grab the tip of her hat and pull it easily. They stared at each other for a moment.
"Yes, it's a bad haircut!" Allie said finally, her face burning. "All I wanted was a trim, and they ended up cutting off five inches! Now you know. Happy?"
"What, not satisfied until you make fun of me?" she said hotly. "I already know how bad it is."
Ben rolled his eyes. "Allie-"
"Even my stepdad laughed at me, so please," she said, her voice faltering slightly, "at least – could you just – I don't know, lie to me?"
"Lie?" Ben said, raising his eyebrows.
"Yes, if you must say something about it, you could at least be kind enough to lie," she said, her tone turning cold. "If you're ever kind enough to do anything."
Ben glared at her. "I think it looks terrible."
Allie's face reddened even more. "I told you to- "
"To lie," Ben said, shoving her hat back into her hands. "So I did."
He stalked past her, continuing down the hall.
Allie stared after him until he disappeared around the corner. She paused for a moment before abruptly turning back to her locker, dumping her books back inside before grabbing the correct ones. She slammed the door shut and started down the hall in the opposite direction.
Her hat sat on the top shelf.
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