Summer School

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I looked into the rear view mirror of my car. The circles under my eyes were proof enough that my positivity was simply a façade. I didn't sleep more than three hours the night before. Instead of spending most of the night panicking over trivial matters of high school gossip and judgmental glances, I should have been resting up for my fresh start in summer school. The parking lot of the Cumberland County High School was empty. I decided to arrive early this morning to mentally prepare for my return to society. I left the driver's side window down on my 1979 Chevy Malibu to enjoy the light breeze as the sun warmed my skin.

Taking several slow, steady breaths. "I'm sure no one even remembers." But even the girl in the reflection couldn't buy that lie. Her peculiar shaped mouth smiled wryly to the side as I decided to concede the truth, "Who am I kidding?"

Everyone would surely remember, for it happened just a few short weeks ago at the end of our spring semester rally.

It was the last day of finals for the underclassmen. Seniors were graduating that night and had been in rehearsals for the ceremony all morning. The gymnasium was filling for the end-of-year rally that would not only feature a small concert by my band, The Summers, but also honor top scholastic achievers and the popular seniors who had been voted for a class superlative.

"Mr. C.C.H.S." was my boyfriend, Gavin Williams. Physically perfect in every way. Handsome, popular, and from a wealthy family. His imperfection? He had a horrible reputation for being a douchebag. His hobbies included bragging about his perfect existence and publicly humiliating those who were not in his small group of friends. Cheating was another pastime. I knew this from the beginning. Gavin and I began dating shortly before he ended it with his previous girlfriend, Loni Schubert. It didn't matter; the popularity status that came with dating Gavin Williams was well worth the guilt I felt. Plus, he was a challenge for me, and I never shy away from a challenge. Unlike his previous girlfriends, he genuinely liked me for who I was and not because of a physical intimacy. Simply put, I was not promiscuous. My mother drilled into my sister, Natalie, and me since the day we began noticing boys that there were the kind of girls guys wanted to date and the kind guys wanted to marry. Though marriage was far from my mind, I was determined to be a girl that was respected. However, rumor had it Morgan West was much more fun to "date" after he dropped me off from our evenings out together. This rumor made the circuit for the majority of our three months together, and despite the affirmation from my closest friends and peers, Gavin insisted she was merely obsessed with him, that his friendliness was being taken out of context.

As we waited for the seniors to arrive and for the assembly to begin, I sat at the bottom of the bleachers in the gymnasium so I could conveniently take the stage when the time came. Cari was setting up her drums and upon finishing, quickly took a seat next to me.

My face beamed with pride as I watched Gavin walk in with his friends. Our eyes met, and I smiled and waved enthusiastically at him. He winked and casually picked up his hand-too cool to directly wave back. He took a quick scan of the gymnasium, combed his fingers through his blonde hair, and pointed to an empty section for his group to sit. They began climbing the bleachers to their seats when I saw Morgan following closely behind, and I rolled my eyes.

My annoyance over Morgan was suddenly interrupted by the two bodies that standing over me. I looked up to see the sisters Savannah and Sydney Blythe.

"Hey, Jules, we need to talk."

"What's the problem, Syd?" The worried expression was plain on her face.

"We're not doing this to hurt you, but..." Sydney began.

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