Finally, Friday came. Tests were over, and within under 7 hours, I would be out of school for the rest of the year. Even though I was exhausted, I was pretty happy with myself.
Sasha had been eating lunch with Ashton, his friends, and myself, and I didn’t know how to feel about it. She acted as if everything was okay between us, and just talked and talked and talked. Talked about how unfair it was that Ian broke up with her, how hard her tests were, and how busy her cheerleading schedule. And I listened. What can I say? I was good at that.
A downside to this skill, however, was that other friends caught on and started talking to me, too. I mean, people had always chatted to me, but now they vented their fears, frustrations, and problems to me. I suppose I didn’t mind. I was happy that I was somewhat important.
I walked into my science class and took my regular seat, next to where Sasha usually sat. Of course, she never came until a second before the bell, so her seat was empty. Another girl in my class, an acquaintance of mine, walked up to me, looking nervous. “Did you hear that we’re getting our tests back today?” she asked me.
I shook my head. “We are?” The girl nodded. “Fabulous. Oh well, I hope I did okay. That test was hard.” She nodded again.
The bell rang, and Sasha dashed into her seat. “Hey,” she said. “You’ll never believe what Kate just told me-” but the teacher cut her off.
“Alright, everyone, settle down,” Mrs Sanders said as she walked around, handing papers back.
“Our exams from Monday,” I said, explaining to Sasha. She nodded as she watched Mrs Sanders approach us. She first handed my test back, and I flipped it over to look at the score. 91%. Not bad, I thought. I flipped through the test, looking at the questions I got wrong. Suddenly, Sasha snatched it away and looked my grade. “91? Ha! I did better than you, loser!” she practically shouted, waving a 95 in my face.
“Yeah, make sure you yell a little louder,” I muttered, “I don’t think the people in Sweden could hear you.”
But Sasha wouldn’t let it go. “I’m smarter than youuuu,” she cried.
What the heck? I thought. Where is the Sasha I once knew, that wouldn’t do this to me?
I felt tears building up behind my eyes, ready to fall out of my eyes and trail down my cheeks. But I didn’t let them. Instead, I managed a strangled laugh and said, “Good job, Sasha, you’ve done it. You’ve revealed another reason why you are so much of a better person than me.”
Sasha just continued to laugh, until Mrs Sanders demanded the class’ attention. “Okay, because today is the last day before break, I decided to take it easy on you today. We’ll be watching a movie on our upcoming unit. You don’t have to take notes, but please try to pay attention.”
Despite my attempts to stay focused, my attention kept drifting away from the SMART board and off into my own brain. Stupid, stupid, stupid, my mind whispered to me. Not only are you fat and ugly, but you also are stupid. Why did you mess up on that test? Those questions were easy, fathead.
Finally, the bell rang. I grabbed my bag and bolted out of the room, not even wishing Mrs Sanders a happy holiday.
“Hey, Kelly, wait up!” I was halfway down the hall, but I stopped. Sasha walked slowly up to me. “Alright, let’s go to lunch.” she said. As we walked side by side, I pulled my phone out of my bag and put my earbuds in my ears, turning the volume up high. With my head down, I half listened as Sasha chattered on and on about Kate and her boyfriend who apparently “shouldn’t be together, ‘cause he’s a total player”. When we reached the usual table, Ashton was already there. I dropped my bag on the seat next to him and joined the queue to buy lunch. On my phone, I scrolled through Tumblr, quietly reblogging and liking other people’s posts. When I finally reached the end of the line and bought my lunch, I headed back to the table. Sasha had moved my bag over and was sitting next to Ashton, laughing and leaning into him. “For Pete’s sake…” I muttered to myself. I walked over and grabbed my bag, pulling it over to a chair on the other side of the table.
But when Ashton saw me, he gestured for me to come over. The boy on his other side scooted over as he said, “Hey, Kelly! Come over here.”
I gave him a small smile and sat down. “Hello,” I said quietly. “How’re you today?”
Ashton grinned. “Pretty darn good. How ‘bout you?”
I shrugged. “I’m fine, I guess,” I responded.
Ashton patted my shoulder. “Hey, look on the bright side; only 3 more hours to go before vacation!”
I smiled again. “Yeah, thank the stars. I’m exhausted. I plan on sleeping for at least 24 hours straight, starting when I get home this afternoon.”
Ashton laughed. “Good idea,” he said. “I think everyone’s exhausted.” He waved his hand around the cafeteria. “I mean, look at these people. You’d think they were zombies or something.” I laughed. “But speaking of the holidays,” he said, reaching into his bag, “I have something for you.” He pulled out a candy cane. “Merry Christmas!”
Laughing, I bent down and dug into my own bag. “I have something for you too,” I said. “Merry Christmas to you, too.” I had bought all of my friends chocolate bars, for while I didn’t have enough money to buy huge presents, I wanted to give them all something. “Oh here, Sasha, I have yours too.”
Ashton grinned. “Thanks,” he said, taking the chocolate. I unwrapped the candy cane and started eating it. Sasha took her bar and smiled at me. “Thank you, Kelly. I’m sorry that I don’t have anything for you.” I just smiled.
“You’ll never guess where I’m going over break,” Sasha said, changing the topic.
Ashton looked at her. “Where?”
“LA,” Sasha smirked. “The sun, the beaches…” she trailed off. “I’m going to spend all of my time on the beach, getting a tan.”
I studied my half eaten candy cane. Of course Sasha was going somewhere amazing over break. And I was stuck at home, where I would pass the days reading fanfiction.
Ashton smiled. “Hey, that sounds great!”
The bell rang, ending lunch. I scooped up my phone and backpack, ready to head to my next class when Ashton grabbed my phone. “Wait,” he said, typing something in. He handed it back to me a few seconds later. “Here.” His brown eyes were shining. “Text me over break, okay? Maybe we can hang out sometime.”
A smile spread across my face so wide it almost couldn’t fit. “Yeah, I’d love that.”