Mateo left me another drunk voicemail and didn't come to school the next day. I was worried about him but also mad. He was acting so reckless and unlike his usual self. Rachel was worried, too. We both texted him, but he didn't respond.
The day after that, he came to school but completely ignored me and our friends. I finally summoned the courage to confront him in the hallway after school on the way to the parking lot. Except he saw me coming and bolted. Now I understood how frustrating it was.
Then Friday arrived. Although I was dreading it, my parents were oddly excited about the Honors event that night. My classes dragged on forever. I tried approaching Mateo again, but he fled. Again. Mr. Whitaker asked me if I was alright twice in his class. I must have been giving off some bad energy or something.
After school, I stood beside my car for a full two minutes, hoping Mateo would materialize and come to me. We used to be good friends. Best friends, even. I hated that it felt like this between us now, so awkward and tense. I wished we'd never dated so our friendship wouldn't be compromised now. Of course, if we never tried, we would've spent our lives wondering what would've happened if we had.
At least now we knew.
Mateo never came. I had to leave before I made myself late for work. When I got to the grocery store, my shift crawled. My boss let me off early so I could get ready for the event at school. My parents were already getting dressed as I walked into the house.
"Hurry up, Hazel," my mom said. "We can't be late."
"I'm never late. You people are the late ones," I grumbled.
I stood in front of my closet for ten minutes, staring at my clothes. The decision never got easier. My arms started to ache from going back and forth through my dresses. I finally settled on a white and navy blue polka dot dress with a long, puffy skirt. It was a rather formal dress but should fit the occasion.
My parents and I took the van to school. While my mom and I were dressed in dresses, my dad was wearing jeans and his favorite red polo. He didn't get to dress up for his job, so he was excited about this. He was more excited than me. Actually, I was dreading this.
The school cafeteria was packed. My parents went to find us seats while I scoured the crowd for Rachel. She flagged me down in the back where her single mom sat with Rachel's two little brothers. I embraced she and her mother.
"I love your skirt," I told Rachel. "Green always looks so lovely on you."
"My skirt? Your dress is gorgeous!" she exclaimed, running her hands over the bottom of my dress.
"You two, get together," her mother ordered. "Let me take your picture."
We did as told and beamed at the cameras. That would undoubtedly end up in one of Rachel's many scrapbooks. Not that I minded. Scrap booking was a good, healthy hobby.
Rachel cleared her throat and jerked her chin towards me, gesturing to something behind me. I lifted my brows at her before she quickly dropped her gaze. What was going on? I tried to steal a discreet glance over my shoulder but froze when I found Mateo staring at me from two feet away.
"Mat?" I greeted, confused.
"Hey, Haze." His dark eyes were red and tired.
Without thinking, I moved closer to him. I couldn't risk him running away again. He didn't move to leave, though.
"So, what's going on?" I asked, eyes flickering awkwardly between his and the floor. "Are you alright?"
"Um..." He swallowed heavily and looked around us. "Can we go somewhere quiet?"
YOU ARE READING
Meeting Mr. WhitakerTeen Fiction
Is it possible to fall in love with the wrong person? According to Hazel Barrett, yes, it absolutely is. Especially if that person happens to be your teacher.