“Wait, what? No way,” Jacob said in disbelief as Zee filled him in on what he’d missed the day before.
“Way. Seriously, everyone was flipping out and got drenched and we all just stood dripping in somebody’s office until we could go. And it turned out to be just like because some chicken nuggets fell in the oven or something, I think,” Zee told him.
“Dude, that’s awesome,” he said. “Except for one thing, I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t know, I just don’t,” he said, laughing when Zee stared at him in disbelief.
“I’m going to prove it then,” she said.
“Yes,” she said firmly.
He nodded, and Zee stared intently at the clock until the bell rang, only thirteen seconds late.
As soon as it did hordes of students poured into the hallways, pushing and shoving in a unified mob towards the cafeteria. Scared looking teachers attemped to slow them down, but to no avail. Amidst the chaos, Zee walked calmly to her locker, put away her books, found her friends, walked to the lunchroom, and got in line.
Apparently, the day before’s singed chicken nuggets were the good batch. Today’s were blackened and crusty, smelling of chemicals and smoke.
“Ew, you aren’t actually going to eat those, are you?” Zoya asked, grabbing a turkey sandwich.
“No,” Zee said, putting a turkey sandwich next to the apparent charcoal briquettes on her plate and also adding Cheetos. “I’m not.”
Zoya gave her a weird look and shrugged, walking off to pay and go to the table. When Zee joined her and Alice, who had wisely brought her lunch from home, she built her usual turkey, cheese, and Cheeto sandwich and ate it quickly. Then she plopped the chicken nuggets in the plastic bag her sandwich had been in, ignoring the “she’s finally lost it” looks she was getting from her friends.
Later, after lunch, she snuck the “food” out of the cafeteria and into her second period of English by putting it in her pocket. Then, when Jacob came in, dumped his binder, or rather, pile of papers barely held together by a precariously intact strip of cloth and broken zipper, she excused herself for a second to “go to the bathroom”. She actually waited outside until Jacob walked over and started a conversation with Gabriella, his back to his things. Then, Zee snuck back in and nonchalantly put her chicken nuggets in his binder, and walked over to them, joining the conversation easily.
When they had to sit down and find what they had been working on before lunch, Jacob opened his binder then stopped and laughed, having found the chicken.
“Hey, Zee, what’s this?” He asked, pointing. Zee held in a laugh.
“The chicken nuggets.”
“What chicken nuggets?” They were clearly in sight now.
“These chicken nuggets,” Jake said, pointing.
“Oh, those chicken nuggets,” Zee said, smiling now.
“How should I know?” She asked, innocent.
“Who else would know?”
“Obviously you overestimate my level of information.” Jacob looked at her in exasperation. “Okay, fine, they’re evidence,” she said.
“Evidence?” He asked.
“That’s what I said,” she replied.
“Evidence for what?”
“The fire excursion, obviously,” Zee said, rolling her eyes. “I present you with Exhibit A. Burnt chicken nuggets.” At the front of the class, the teacher called for order. “We’ll continue this in a second,” Zee whispered to Jacob, who only laughed again.
“It’s been a second already,” Jacob whispered back.
The look Zee gave him could have burnt chicken nuggets so badly that the ones on Jacob’s desk would look golden brown and toasty in comparison.