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By the time three-thirty rolled around, I found myself enjoying this little club and glad that this was where I'd come to hide from Mateo. It took me awhile to edit Mr. Whitaker's novel chapter, mostly because I was scouring it for any mistakes I could find. The errors I did find were minor issues, mostly typos and simple misspellings. His knack for descriptions impressed me.

We were wrapping up the club meeting when Mr. Whitaker started asking me what I thought about his work. The other students quieted down to listen, which only made me more nervous.

"Uh, it was really good. I'm a little jealous of your talent, actually," I admitted with an awkward laugh.

"Thanks." He took his chapter back with a grin. "You didn't go too easy on me, did you?"

"I searched for flaws but couldn't find many. I made notes on what little I did."

"I appreciate it. Thank you."

A smile pressed to my lips before I devoted my attention back to Juno. She told us we wouldn't be meeting next week but the one after that. We were supposed to bring any entries we wanted to submit in the school contests, so they could get edited and polished. Then we grabbed our bags to leave.

"Hey, Hazel," Mr. Whitaker called before I could head out.

I spun around on my heel to face him again. "Yes?"

"Thank you for coming. I know you were reluctant and busy, but I'm glad you made the time."

"Oh, sure. Yeah, no problem," I said with a blush, feeling a little shame at having been so close-minded before. "I had fun."

"Great. I'll see you in class tomorrow?"

Nodding, a smile swept across my face. "See you tomorrow."

When I stepped outside of school for the second time that afternoon, I was relieved to find it abandoned, no Mateo in sight. I sighed. What was I going to do about him? About us? Whatever we were these days.

I checked my phone as I slid into the van. Three missed calls and six texts, some from Mateo and some from my mom. I checked hers first. The blood drained from my face. Her appointment! She had a doctor's appointment and she missed it because I had the van!

My forehead dropped to the steering wheel. I couldn't believe I'd forgotten. Mateo just had to go and distract me. Ugh. I texted my mom that I was sorry and on the way home now. Somehow, someway I would have to make it up to her.

The moment I stepped into the house, I was greeted sternly and called into the kitchen. My mom was leaning against the counter, arms crossed and lips pinched. I placed my backpack on the ground and waited for the butt-chewing to begin.

She scolded me for being irresponsible and threatened to take away the van. I told her it wouldn't happen again. Figuring it might help my case, I told her Mr. Whitaker had talked me into staying after school for the club. It wasn't exactly the truth or the real reason I hadn't come home, but she bought it. She would've been upset if I told her Mateo was waiting by the van and I had been too chicken to deal with him. It was better if she didn't know.

After the reprimanding was over, I carried my backpack up to my room and curled up on the bed. My day had gone from bad to good and back to bad again. I couldn't get over the fact that I'd let my mom down. It was an honest mistake, but the guilt was still unbearable. She told me they not only billed her for missing the appointment, but now she had to wait a month before they could get her in again.

I was drifting to sleep when my phone started ringing. Groaning, I checked to see who it was. Mateo. Of course. I silenced my phone and went back to sleep.

Meeting Mr. WhitakerWhere stories live. Discover now