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Never Have I Ever

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"Aria.”

The hand that was holding up my head slid upwards, making my head fall and my nose crushed painfully into the edge of my desk. I looked up at my world history teacher, Mr. Cowell. His nose was turned upwards at me and he was staring down at my baggy eyes disdainfully. “See me after class.”

I blew out a big breath, disappointed in myself for spacing out again. I had a shift until two last night and barely had time to sleep because I had been up studying for the quizzes I had in various classes. Time wasn’t something I had so much of anymore. I stifled a yawn, trying to understand Mr. Cowell as he lectured us. I gave up soon after.

The bell rang and everyone started to file out of the classroom. I tried to blend in with them and just ‘pretend' I had forgotten about seeing the teacher at the end of class. I ducked my head, but felt a hand come down on my shoulder. I looked up guilty, and he frowned, making his wrinkles more pronounced.

            “I’ve noticed you’ve been distracted and tired in class. You’ve never fallen asleep in my class before now,” his voice was concerned, not angry. “Is something going on at home?” He squinted at me, making his white eyebrows furrow. I froze at the word home. God, my house was not home anymore. More like a place I came to sleep at and then left. I crossed my arms over my chest.

            “Everything is fine,” I smiled at him tightly. My mother is just gone. My brother is just wondering why his mom left him. I’m just rejected over and over by the person who knows me best. Oh and he drank and drove because of me and ended up in the hospital, too. Yes. Everything is fine. Dandy.

            He put his hand on my shoulder again. I wanted to shrug it off. “Are you sure?”

            “I’m sure,” I mumbled.

            “Okay…” he didn’t look like he was satisfied with my half ass answer, but I got out of there before he could interrogate me anymore. Walking briskly down the hallway, I looked down at my shoes, feeling exhaustion wash over me again. I rubbed at my face. Last night was brutal. It was crowded and loud, and I had to take more than one Advil to keep my headache at bay. Artie had been a hardass like always and yelled right in my face more than once.

Someone crashed into my side and I barely missed flying into the lockers if they hadn’t grabbed my arm before I could. I looked up to see Scott. His eyes were pleading when he saw it was me. My face hardened. No. I turned around, planning on walking away.

            “Aria! Don’t!” he rushed after me. I could hear his sneakers squeaking on the hallway’s tiles. “Let me talk to you!”

            “I’m tired, just please…” I didn’t know what I was planning on saying. I just knew I was tired. Of everything. I rubbed a hand over my face again.

            “Anna is sorry…I am too.”

            “I don’t care.” I didn’t know what he was sorry for. Kissing me? Ruining everything? Probably.

            “You guys were best friends! We were all best friends!” he snapped, fire igniting in his eyes. “For years! How can you just drop us like this? She’s been crying nonstop, you know. You don’t even act like you care.”

What he had just said was so stupid it didn’t even deserve a reply. I started to walk away even faster. I dropped them? Okay. He jogged after me.

            “So that’s it?” he asked. “Leave both your best friends for some guy? Just ignore us, right?” he asked sarcastically, shaking his head. I couldn’t stand the judgment on his face. Rage. Blind rage. I whipped around and shoved Scott backwards until he was against a locker. He looked down at me, shocked.

            “You don’t know anything!” I half-shouted. “You don’t know anything about that,” I said in a low voice. I tried to calm myself. He didn’t know my mother was gone. He didn’t know I barely scraped by to get enough food to feed myself. I had too much pride to ask Lucy if I could eat over. She was already taking care of Chris. It wasn’t over some guy. I wasn’t spending all my time with him, anyway. He was cooped up in a hospital, refusing to see me. God. I shoved Scott back again and his shoulder banged into the locker. I punched at his chest until he grabbed my wrists.

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