11. The Quarterback

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I had ruined the project before we even started working on it. Max was trying to cheer me up, telling me we would find a way, but the barn was just too far away. Besides, the owls might've left already. In that case, it could take days before we could even find them again, but with my injured leg, I couldn't do that.

"I'm so stupid..." I muttered to myself.

Choosing the owls was a stupid idea. We should've picked something else, like ants or something. That would've been easy. But no, let's take owls, birds who slept during days and flew away during nights. Good thinking.

And now I had a sprained ankle and crutches. My ankle was still hurting, and it was so swollen my shoes didn't fit. The doctor said it wasn't bad, but it would take weeks, maybe even a month, before it was fully healed.

And of course, we had PE. Well, the others had. I was just sitting alone on a bench at the corner of the gym. I watched Max, who looked good in his red shorts and a loose, gray tank top. He had his long hair in a bun, and he laughed cheerily after tossing the ball through the hoop. I didn't complain about not being able to participate in the game since they were playing basketball. I sucked at it, just like I sucked at every other game there was, but basketball was the worst. I couldn't get the ball to go through the hoop even if I used ladders.

But Max was amazing at it. He was amazing at everything. There was a group of girls on the other side of the gym. They were peering at Max constantly. One of them got hit by a volleyball when she was focusing on drooling over Max. I sighed and turned to look at Max again. I was such a disappointment compared to everyone else. I'd finally had the chance to be alone with him, but I stupidly injured my leg just before our first camping trip.

I let out a long sigh. Maybe we should ask our biology teacher if it was all right for us to change our subject after all. Maybe we could follow the hedgehogs in my backyard. Or maybe Max should just find a new partner. I'd only drag him down with me if he continued being my partner.

When the class was dismissed, I followed others into the locker room. I grabbed my bag while Max and Troy were changing clothes and tried to sneak out before they noticed me. I didn't have such luck though.

I turned to look at Max for a mere second and immediately walked straight into someone.

"Watch where you're going, dimwit!" Luke, the biggest of them all, hissed at me.

I tried to mutter my apologies, but he was too pissed to listen. He grabbed me by my collar and lifted me up from the ground, pushing me hard against the lockers.

My bad luck didn't end there. I was alone with Luke, behind the last row of lockers, and no one saw us. No one seemed to even hear us. If they did, they stayed out of it. I was scared that Luke would hit me. He had never liked me, but I couldn't understand why.

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