Saturday finally ended, the depressing and restful day of Sunday rolled around after, then I was here. Monday. The countdown began. 2 weeks including this Monday until school was out for summer. The reviews for exams began to pile on and those of us who cared worked our asses off for the last push to the end of our first year of high school.

The usual morning routine began again when I opened the doors to the fine arts hallway, whereupon Kristen greeted me with her bright, beautiful, and perky smile. Her eyes were dying to tell or ask me something. Her opened arms stood awkwardly in a position awaiting my embrace until I finally reached where she stood.

"Justin!", in a high pitch she squealed. "Sit down and lay it on me!"


"The dirty deets! Let me know! Meredith and I saw you walk off campus with Jake!"

"Oh...haha, we just hung out at Whataburger then went home. No big deal." I told her awkwardly not sure if I was ready to tell her yet what actually happened. I wasn't one to kiss and tell, this only being my 2nd real "kiss".

Kristen continued her plea to get the information out of me from my interesting weekend. I tuned in and out throughout the pleas. She tugged on my shirt as I reached in my pocket for my phone. I checked the messages desperately hoping to get something from Jake. I hadn't gotten a text from him since Saturday when he asked if I got home okay. Trying to make him feel concern with my feelings, I didn't reply. This stupid mistake left us not communicating these last 2 days. I moped throughout the morning until I looked up to see Zach talking to a friend down the hall.

I jumped up quickly and hustled toward him.

"Hey?! What the hell? Where are you going?", yelled Kristen.

As I approached Zach, he and the friend shared a joke and exchanged goodbyes.

"Hey, Zach! Wait up!", I called after him.

He stopped and turned not completely realizing who was calling him. "Hey, what's up?"

"I just wanna apologize for how I acted and everything I said. I was just being so stupid and we-"

"There's nothing to apologize for, Justin. We were both being stupid. You said something dumb and I have no right to judge or tell you who you can hang out with."

"Oh...well I'm still really sorry! There's was no reason for me to be so stupid..."

"We're cool, dude! Calm down.", he said placing his hand on my shoulder and stretching out the other and curling it into a fist. We pounded fists then began to walk back down the hallway.

"Wait, dude...", I caught up with him. "Where are you going?"

" I gotta go...I'll see ya."

This wasn't right. Who just forgives and forgets that quick and that easy, and just walks away. Why was he so offended by what I had said in the first place, was a question that I had yet to ask myself. A gay joke. We all make them. Who cares? He did. But he has forgiven. And we're 'cool'. Why haven't I calmed down?

Zach, Will, Jake.

What is this life I live?

"See ya...", I watched after him. The distance grew between us. The friendship even further.



I returned back to where Kristen and I sat. Kristen wasn't there. Her body and face were plastered upon Gabriel as he leaned against the wall. The bell rang as I, disgusted, shuffled to class.

I walked alone to class, face forward and not really paying attention to anyone or anything in particular. In this moment I felt alone. There was so much to tell and so many questions to ask. This was only the beginning. The future that awaited was yet to even come into view. There was still 9 days left until summer break.


The tardy bell blared finally waking me up from my daze. Some dumb kid that sat behind me, after an entire year of world geography I had yet to get to know him or even learn his name, whispered some dirty joke as us freshman all do. I shrugged it off and looked out the window. There sat the grassy, dirt-patched field where our assembly was held and this whole 'thing' started. The guys junior varsity soccer team walked by in their white shirts and tight red shorts, laughing, pushing, sauntering, and throwing the ball around. That kind of lightened my mood.

"You gotta pencil, dude?", Zach whispered.

A little frightened I turned quickly and looked at him. He was looking at me and back at Mrs. Joyce's podium trying not to get caught while talking during the announcements.

I looked into his eyes while digging into my backpack dumbly.

"Well? Do you have one?", Zach's whisper grew louder and more tenacious. I didn't realize that I didn't respond after the whole 30 or so seconds that I looked stupid digging into my backpack and staring at his face.

"Oh, yeah. Here!" I gave him the pencil that I had flipped around in my hand 20 times over.

"Thanks! You're the best!", he said excitedly and turned quickly to talk to this really cute girl next to him.

"I am...?", I said to myself like an idiot. "You have know idea, Zachary..."

Then suddenly there was something that I had to tell them. An urge inside just to say something that I was dying to.

"Zach", I finally said out loud. "Zach...? Zach... Zach.", this time tapping him on the shoulder, obviously interrupting the greatest and intriguing conversation that ever was due to the expression on the girl's face. I had know idea who she was either, nor thought it necessary to. She possessed a sour, tainted, disgusting look on her face at the moment. Zach on the other hand wasn't so upset. He looked more confused than disgusted.

Nervous about the phrase that was relaying through my head, but not having any part in what was to come out, I began to speak.

"I know we've hit a rough patch in our relationship-"

The girl's face turned even more tainted as she pulled her head back and looked at Zach and then at me.

I noticed, "Uhh...relationship? Friendship. Yeah...Friendship. That's what I meant to say. We've hit this rough patch and I just have to-"

"Justin. We've already talked about this. You don't have to apologize for anything. It's all goo-", Zach confirmed.

I interrupted, "Yeah, I know, but, I just have to tell you that I-"

"Justin Clark! I know for sure that you are NOT talking during the announcements!" Mrs. Joyce's voice shrilled.

"No ma'am!", trying ever so hard to not sound like a fool, but failing greatly with a crack of my voice on "ma'am".

"I want to see you up here, Mr. Clark.", she said in an angered tone.

The class 'oo'-ed and I took my death walk to her podium. The announcements kept playing while Mrs. Joyce's eyes were fixed on me and mine on the ground for complete embarrassment was all I felt.

I crossed an ocean and two continents when I finally reached the podium. I looked into her eyes. She looked into mine and raised her finger insinuating a motion to come in closer. A look of shame was on her face.

She whispered so softly that I could barely hear her. The smell of black coffee was on her breath, her mouth was nearly kissing my nose, her lips parted and she began to speak as the entire class leaned in keen anticipation for the words that were going to come out of her mouth.

"Mr. James wants to see you in his office."

"WHAT?!", a kid named Devan yelled from the back of the room.

I grabbed the red slip that was on her podium and made my way to the door. The class whooped and hollered. Before leaving I looked over to my seat near Zach and the chick. She was talking with strong meaning and intent that he should listen to the importance of what she had to tell him. He leaned back in his chair, head slightly down, and eyes looking up at me with a little smirk.

I smiled back at him, my back to the door, hand on the door knob and gave it a twist.

Devan called forth again, "Hey?! Why does he get to leave this hell hole?"

"DEVAN!", Mrs. Joyce screamed as the class burst into uproar.



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