I smile. "I love you too."


The next day in school, I barely make it to first period in time. I'm just sitting down in my spot next to Angie as the bell rings. Our friend, Shiloh, is seated across from us, and he turns around to grin at me.

"I thought for sure you would be late this time, Waverly," he teases. Shiloh and I went to preschool together, and Angie met us in 1st grade. We've been best friends ever since.

"Class, today we will be beginning our unit on physics," the science teacher announces. "You'll be picking groups of three for this week's assignment, so please disperse into those groups now."

The rest of the students in the room start milling around while Angie, Shiloh, and I stay seated together. We've always been a group, except when we have to pair up. Then we usually kick out Shiloh.

Suddenly, the loudspeaker crackles to life, and the vice-principal's voice comes on. "Would Waverly Skovgaard and Angeline Khamisi please come to the office," she orders.

Angie and I make eye contact, but she shrugs."Maybe we both have to get picked up early."

I look to the teacher, and he gestures for us to go. We do. As soon as we've left the science room behind, Angie says, "It's probably Isla again."

"Maybe," I reply. It wouldn't be the first time she tried to get us into trouble. Just a few months ago she got me suspended for three days when she claimed she saw me beating up a 9th grader. It was, in fact, her who beat up the kid, but I had happened to be standing right next to him at the time, so I was an easy victim.

Angie and I walk down the stairs and turn the corner to the principal's office. We knock on the door, and a voice calls for us to enter. Sure enough, Isla Collins is sitting in a chair opposite his desk, smirking at us as we enter.

I want to cower away, but I stand tall.

"Please, girls, seat yourself," the principal, Mr. Bannister orders. He has a stern look on his face. I don't think we're getting picked up early.

Angie sits next to Isla, and I sit on the other side of her, grateful for the barrier. We both look across the desk to Mr. Bannister.

"I'm sure you are familiar with the vandalism in the bathrooms which appeared last week, girls?" he questions. He is wearing a dark gray suit and a red tie that Penny would have fun criticizing. She thinks it's her right to pick on men with poor tie choices, even when I can't see anything wrong with the tie.

Angie and I nod simultaneously. I sneak a sideways glance at her, but she's looking straight ahead.

"Well, our dear Ms. Collins claims to have seen you two sneaking around the school last night, carrying spray paint."

I almost roll my eyes, but I hold back. There are so many flaws to Isla's story it almost makes me gag. One, if she saw us, she must have been at the school, and why would she be at school at night? Two, how could she know it was us if it was in the dark? Three, the vandals did not use spray paint. And four, the vandalism was done a week ago - Mr. Bannister said it himself - so why would we be there last night? Isla never was the sharpest tool in the shack. Apparenly, neither is Mr. Bannister.

However, I'm not going to say this. I'm not going to prove her wrong, because, although it would be rewarding to see the look on Isla's face, she would never let me forget it. It would encourage her to bully me even more, which I really don't need.

Fortunately, Angie understands and she knows to keep quiet too.

"As of today, I am hereby suspending the both of you for one week," Mr. Bannister tells us. "This suspension will be in place starting at the end of this school day. Your teachers will still send you your homework, but you won't go to class. Understood?"

Angie nods, but I raise my hand.

"Yes, Ms. Skovgaard?"

"Angie didn't do it. It was just me," I say firmly. Angie turns to me, shocked, but I ignore it. "You shouldn't punish her for my mistake."

Mr. Bannister narrows his eyes at me. "Thank you for confessing, Ms. Skovgaard." He turns to Angie. "It looks like you're off the hook, Ms. Khamisi. But know that we will be keeping a close eye on you both."

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