-9-

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"So girls, how was your first week here?" Ethyn asks us.  We're sitting in the large common room that everyone uses during our free time between diner and curfew.

"Good." Tess says.

Sadie mumbles, "Meh."

"Alright."

"We survived."

Everyone else has chimed in, but I don't know what to say. "It was interesting."

The other girls nod.

"What do you guys think of those new math formulas we were doing today?" Dave asks to break an awkward silence.

Daniel sighs.  "Such a Dave thing to say."

"I hate geometry!" Paige rants.  "It doesn't make any sense!"

"It does once you understand the formula," I tell her.

"I'm with Paige," Daniel says.

"Me too," Dawn adds.

"I can help you guys." Dave offers.

"Hey guys!  Whatcha talking 'bout?" Zoe asks, sidling up to Dave. 

"Umm, nothing that's any of your business," Tess responds, in full on sass mode.

"Who asked you?" Zoe says, returning the sass."

"Well," Sadie starts.  "I believe you said 'hey guys whatcha talking 'bout' so technically, any of us could have answered that.  Right guys?"

"Right," agrees Tristan, smiling at Sadie.

Is something going on there?  Oooohh!

Zoe sits down on the couch basically on top of Dave. He looks really uncomfortable.

"Where are you minions, Zoe?" Tess asks.

Zoe scowls at her. "So Dave, want to hang out sometime? Alone?"

"Um no, actually I don't ever want to hang out with you, especially not alone. Now if you would please get off of me, I'll be going."

Zoe looks stunned, but slowly heads back to her posse.

I catch parts of their conversation.

"-not fair-"

"-know right-"

"-what did they do to get all the hot guys-"

"-look at them-"

"-ugh"

After Dave leaves, the rest of us head back to our rooms.

Tess is weirdly quiet as we get ready for bed.

"You okay, Tess?"

"Yeah, fine. Just tired."

"Okay."

We finish getting ready for bed. Just as I shut off the lights, Tess speaks up. "Amber, did you ever have a boyfriend?"

"Sort of," I mumble.

She is quiet. "Goodnight," I say.

Tess' question made me think of Jackson.  Wow.  That was a while ago.  

At the start of grade nine, Tasha and I were loners.  We kept to ourselves, convinced that we didn't need other friends.  Then Tasha caught the eye of Nolan, and she fell under his spell.  Nolan and Jackson were like Tasha and I.  A pair of best friends with no other friends.  It was good we met each other. When Tasha and Nolan started dating, Jackson and I talked more. Once the other two were dating, the four of us going to see a movie together was a date for Tasha and Nolan. So Jackson and I sort of started dating. We knew we wouldn't last, but I loved him. When Nolan cheated on Tasha, we ditched the boys. Tasha didn't know Jackson and I were dating, and I never told her. A day later Jackson started dating Kendra, the Barbie doll of the high school. Tasha moved on too. Before Nolan, there was Liam, and after, there was Troy and then Jack.

With this trip down boyfriend lane, I'm hit with how much I miss my crazy best friend.  I think of all our great memories together.  Like 'The Celebrity Day.'

Tasha and I had gone to the mall, just to hang out.  At the mall, a choir started doing a flash mob.  Tasha jumped right in and dragged me with her.  I stood like a stick, and she did a crazy version of the chicken dance while pretending to know the words.  When the choir's conductor showed up and started conducting, we ran for the hills, laughing our heads off.

I never thought I'd be homesick, but I am. I roll over and try to sleep.

---

The digital clock beside my bedside reads 1:23am.  I've been tossing and turning since 10:30!  Why can't I sleep?  I'm exhausted!

I'll go to the bathroom and get some water. 

I stealth out of our room, and down the hall to the bathroom.  As soon as I enter the bathroom, I heard quiet crying.  I cautiously step in, and look around. Against the back wall there is a petite girl curled up in a ball, crying. I walk over to her.

"Are you okay?"

She looks up at me.

"Am I skinny?" She asks me.

"Yes. And beautiful." I tell her. And it's true. She's stick thin, but gorgeous. She has thick dark hair, clear, pale skin, and deep brown eyes.

"Really? I feel so fat!" She cries.

I sit down next to her. "It's okay," I whisper. "You're not fat at all." I pause. "What's your name? I'm Amber."

"I'm Aria. You're the one that teased Zoe at breakfast that day."

"Yep, that's me." I laugh, and Aria joins in.

"I'm sorry I'm bugging you."

"You're not bugging me at all. I was tossing and turning in bed. I'm not really sure why I came out here."

"I was crying, and my roommate kicked me out."

"Who's your roommate?"

"Erica," she tells me.

"Oh, Duckface?"

Aria bursts out laughing. "She does look like a duck!"

"Yup." I say, chuckling.

"You gonna be okay?" I ask, after we stop laughing.

"Yeah.  Being here is just hard for me.  I'm anorexic."  Aria pauses.  "Wow.  I can't believe I just said that so bluntly.  But yeah.  I had help at home, and I don't have anyone here."

I put an arm around her.  "You'll be alright."

"Thanks Amber. I really appreciate all this."

"It's no problem."

"But thanks. Goodnight Amber."

We both head back to our dorms. I sneak through the door.

"What are you doing?" Tess croaks from her bed. "It's 1:55am."

"I know. I couldn't sleep, and I went to the bathroom for a while."

"Oh."

I crawl under my covers and lay down my head. 

"Goodnight Amber."

"Night."

---

Another update two days later! How amazing am I?😃

I know it's a shorter chapter, but there's not much else I could put in it.

The video is Polaroid, by Imagine Dragons.  A favourite of Melissa78 and a song I'm starting to like.😱 

Please vote and comment!  Chapter 10 will hopefully come soon!

Jen

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