Chapter 7

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"I was hoping you'd come back," Miss Young greets from her desk when I enter her classroom before school. I nod slightly, and she opens her drawer. "Here you go," she says, handing the Hello Kitty covered iPhone to me. "Try not to have it out during class in the future, alright?"

I don't know if it's a rule, or she doesn't want to embarrass me again. Either way, I quickly put it in my pocket without glancing at it.

"Um, thanks," I mumble. "See you in first period." With that, I walk out to the crowded courtyard, where several trees are planted. All of them are barricaded by wooden benches that connect so they look like pentagons. I see Gwen with some other girl, and they're sitting on one of those benches. They're laughing, probably at a joke one of them made. I pass them and go to the cafeteria, where I know will be empty.

"Matthew!" I turn to see Gwen waving me over. Walking over, I notice her large black sweatshirt and gray leggings. Her hair is messily stylish this time, and her sparkling pink heels are on the ground next to her bare feet.

If the shoes were red I would've told her we're not in Kansas anymore.

Gwen snaps her fingers in front of me. "Hello, anyone in there?" she teases. Snapping back into reality (yeah yeah, there's a pun, don't yell at me), I focus on who's next to Gwen. "This is Joey. She's a sophomore," she introduces. Looking at Joey, she says, "This is Matthew the junior. The one I told you about."

Oh fuck. They were talking about me?

Joey's got her autumn hair cropped to shoulder-length, and faint freckles only go across her cheeks and nose. She has brown eyes with flecks of gold in them, and they're full of mischief, as if Joey is always in on the joke.

Oh, and she barely has any clothes on. Sure, the top covers her huge chest, and the jean shorts only cover her ass, but still. It's a miracle she's not in trouble already for violating the dress code.

She looks at me pointedly. "So you're the 'hulking jock' with the pink phone," she accuses. I can tell we're not going to be the best of friends anytime soon. "I thought you're supposed to keep your 'manly' reputation intact." The masculine adjectives haven't bothered me much before, but now that I'm facing a mega bitch I flinch at 'hulking' and 'manly'.

I only smile at her. "I thought Joey is supposed to be a boy's name," I say. "Does that mean your 'feminine' reputation is in tatters?" Her jaw drops, and I know I got her. Joey glares at me as she crosses her arms in defense.

Gwen starts laughing, obviously not picking up what's really going on. "Guys, it's only the second day of school," she says. "We can talk about that later."

I look back at her. Putting my hands in my pockets, I say, "I thought you knew the phone was private."

She raises an eyebrow. "Really?" she asks, sincere. "I'm sorry. I thought everyone else knew."

"If they did, a few of them wouldn't have been laughing when Miss Young confiscated my phone yesterday," I say in a calm tone. Really, I want to lecture her on where the line is; just from telling Joey the bitch, Gwen is close to crossing over it.

"Oh. I thought they were laughing because you already got in trouble." Gwen bends down to pick up her shoes. She puts them on, explaining, "I had to walk here from my house. My feet were aching by the time I got to the entrance." Gwen winces in pain to prove her point.

She stands up and smiles at Joey. "I'll see you in fourth, OK?" Joey smiles back at her, gives me a glare, and leaves the scene. I let out a relieved sigh.

Turning to me, Gwen starts apologizing furiously. "I swear if I had known about how private it was, I wouldn't have said anything to Joey." She's loud enough people around us are staring at her.

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