Chapter Twenty-Two
Play Thing

Seth “moves out” on Tuesday. A magazine article is printed out about him on Wednesday. And SJ gets into a fight on Thursday. This week is more than I can handle.

“He never does this.” I never thought I'd have to spend another day in detention since I graduated high school. I was wrong. “It had to have been provoked.”

SJ sits next to me with a bloody nose, and the kid he got into a fight with – Billy Tyler, the fricken basketball kid, who sports a black eye and a bruised cheek – and his mom are sitting next to us. It's pretty clear my kid won, just saying.

“Provoked? Your son attacked mine.” Mrs. Tyler tries to tell me.

“SJ is not a pitbull. He doesn't just go attacking people.”

“Excuse me.” Principal Henley interrupts us. “Bottom line is that SJ did throw the first punch.” I go to say something, but she stops me. “However, I've never seen him in here before, when I've seen Mr. Tyler get in trouble for many things before. So, there's no doubt in my mind that this was provoked.”

I resist the urge to stick my tongue out at Billy and his mom.

“SJ, what did Billy say to you?”

He keeps quiet, but I catch him glance up at me and then look away first.

“SJ, it's alright,” I say. “Just tell her.”

He clears his throat. “He called you a whore, alright?” he says to me.

My jaw drops. Billy's mom just shrugs. The principal just purses her lips and looks away like she knows something I don't. “What?”

“He said it wasn't your fault that you're, like, twenty, but your still a whore who probably sleeps with ten million guys.”

Holy shit. And this is the third grade, for crying out loud.

“Um, SJ you didn't have to punch him in the face for me.”

He just shrugs. I look over at Dumbass Billy, and he can't even look at me. He stares at the ground. Good decision, Billy, because I'm throwing daggers at you with my eyes.

“Ms. Crawford.” Principal Henley tells me. She hands me a magazine, and just like that I know. Someone wrote a magazine about what a whore I am. Great. “Do you want to read this?”

I snatch it from her, harsher than I actually mean to, and I fan through it until I see a picture of me and Seth laughing on a park bench, with a circle-framed picture of Lance looking sad in the corner.

You know, for a second, I almost forgot Lance was a celebrity.

Hutcherson's Ex-Girlfriend Moves On Quickly.

So let's just say it, because we all know what was going on between Admit One's drummer Lance Hutcherson and his play thing Becca Crawford.