Hey again! Just wanted to say a quick thank you for all the support so far on this story, hope you enjoy this chapter too :) it's kind of short, but I'll have another up soon!
“Hey, Bryce,” Tiffany says, and Kyle and Marcus move around a little to let him into the distorted circle-like shape we’re standing in.
“So you guys met Madison,” Bryce says, nodding at me.
“Yeah,” Summer says. “How’d you know her?”
“Beach party,” Bryce answers her. “What’s up?”
Kyle says, “Nothing new.”
Tiffany says, “Ann-Marie Thompson totally hooked up with Jason Wills over the summer, even though she was still dating Sam. Like he was never gonna find out. They broke up,” she added, as an afterthought.
“Madison was just saying she’s stuck in AP Physics,” Summer throws in. “Totally jacked up, right?”
“You’re kidding, they really can’t fix that?” Bryce asks me sympathetically. I shrug and shake my head.
“I don’t suppose you guys know anyone else stuck in that class with me?” I ask hopelessly, partly because I feel I should contribute to the conversation, and partly because I think it’d be nice to know somebody in the class.
Kyle and Tiffany laugh. “No way,” Kyle tells me. “Sorry, Madison, think you’re gonna be alone in a sea of nerds in that class.”
It’s the way he says ‘nerds’ that makes me frown a little. Like it’s a bad thing. Like he means it in a derogatory way.
“The worst thing about me being in a sea of nerds will be that I’m definitely going to flounder,” I say, instead of asking him what’s so bad about being a nerd. In my mind, ‘nerd’ always seemed synonymous with ‘smart’, at least from my view on the outskirts of high school.
They laugh though. “Loving that pun,” Adam tells me, and the silent guy, Marcus, nods appreciatively at it. Even if I was going to voice my thoughts to Kyle, the bell rings, meaning the ten minute break between classes is over. Tiffany links her arm through mine.
“Biology next, right?”
“Um, yeah. Right,” I say. To the others, I add, “Bye.”
“I’ll see y’all at lunch!” Tiffany calls as we all start to head separate ways.
We’re halfway down the hallway when she sighs and says, “So. Bryce. What’s the deal with you guys?”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“You know,” she laughs, and bumps my shoulder. “You guys talked at the party, and he walked you to homeroom this morning… And what was it he just called you then?”
I think for a second. “Mainstream?”
“Yeah, that. So what’s the deal? Do you like him?”
“What? Oh, no! No, we’re – we’re just friends. I mean…”
I trail off when Tiffany laughs again. She says, “Alright, well I’ll ask you this: Do you think he’s cute? Come on, be honest with me now.”
“Well… yeah. I mean, of course he’s cute.”
“He’s the star soccer player for the school, you know,” she informs me. “He’s on the football team, too, but soccer’s the big thing in this school. I don’t know why, so don’t ask.”
“Oh, okay. Well that’s cool.”
But in my head I think, Duh. Like I didn’t already guess he was Mr. Big-shot Jock?
“He’s totally going to end up with a soccer scholarship, too.”
“Mm-hmm, everyone says so.” She pauses. “And I think he’s pretty interested in you,” she tells me in sing-song. We walk into a room I assume is our biology classroom, and it looks like nearly everyone’s already there, but the teacher hasn’t started yet. Tiffany guides me toward a lab bench with a couple of spaces on, and I sit down next to a girl who’s doodling in her notebook.
Out of the corner of my eye I see her glance up at us, then shuffle over to make a little more room.
I laugh in response to Tiffany. “Yeah, right. I barely know the guy. He’s not interested in me.”
Tiffany smiles, like she’s holding onto a secret that only she knows. “Whatever you say, Madison, whatever you say.”