Chapter 7

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"As an introductory lesson for this English class, each of you must write a short discussion starter and presentation in which you will lead the rest of the class in. At the end of the year, we will repeat this exercise again in order to see how your critical thinking skills have developed and your ability to engage in group discussions and become a leader. The topic for everyone's presentation will be on "Your Meaning of Life". Of course this may get very controversial and please prepare debate points in which you will elaborate on if there is to be a disagreement." Ms. Simone said to the barely awake class listening to her. With swift and slanted cursive, she wrote the key points on the board. The click of her heels on the floor as she returned to her desk announced that she was done speaking for the period.

The assignment was due on Friday. It was Wednesday. With the great sigh of thirty students satisfied with the thought of procrastination, chatter abruptly filled the classroom. Macy pulled in Stacey's, Brandon's and my desk into a circle and she clapped her hands together authoritatively. 

"So who's busy this weekend?" She actually jumped up in her seat a bit and I resisted the urge to chuckle.

"I'm busy. Brandon is too." Stacey said and looked with longing eyes towards her boyfriend. He squeezed her hand and a blush filled her cheeks. I didn't think I would ever see her go a day without more pink than tan on her cheeks.

"Well of course. Where's the date this time?" Macy asked and winked at me.

"Minigolfing." Brandon said and leaned over to kiss Stacey on the cheek but she giggled and turned away before he touched her.

"We're in class, silly." He rolled his eyes but we all knew he'd expected it.

"And where is Nathan going to be, Christina?" Macy directed her attention to me and I leaned back in my seat at the sudden change in direction.

"Actually I don't know." I looked away. We used to plan our dates weeks ahead and fill up our calendars; leaving only a few rest days in between. But I hadn't talked to him about it lately and he hadn't brought it up in the limited conversation we had.

"Oh. Why don't you come to a party with me? He's welcome to come if he wants, it's a free for all. Some girl's parents are out of town and she decided to invite the entire school to her backyard for a massive get together." Macy replied, understanding I was upset being with no plans.

Before I could react, a guy walked in and I froze. It wasn't that he was gorgeous looking. It wasn't even that his strut was full of self assurance and cockiness. It was....that he wasn't all that that stopped me.

"Hey Jonathan!" Brandon said and they did that thing boys do when they greet each other. A quick introduction and I was just going to go back to Melanie's rambles when Jonathan took my hand in a firm handshake. 

"Very nice to make your acquaintance." He said and I smiled curtly. 

"She has a boyfriend, man!" Brandon said and slapped the guy on the back.

"Not pulling any tricks, dude. Just want to shake hands with a beauty." With that Jonathan winked to Brandon and gave a curt nod to me. I involuntarily blushed and looked away. Flattered as I was, I snuck out my phone and checked for messages from Nathan. Zilch.

"Ooh texing him? Tell him I said hi!" Macy exclaimed and grabbed my arm so she could see the phone that wasn't even unlocked yet.

"Um yeah sure." Moving my arm, I pretended to text him but the lock screen wallpaper of us stared back at me. It was a taken a week after I moved in with him. Chris happened to be sneaking photos of us while we were kissing in the kitchen. My heart ached at the memory. 

"So I'll see you Saturday? We could go shopping together after school today if you want. I need a new dress to wear. Something to catch some eyes!" Macy gave me a pink and a nudge and I nodded.

"Can we work?" Stacey whispered and pulled out her binder. 

Too quickly I shouted "Yes!" and got a few heads to turn. Blushing deeper, I caught Jonathan's eyes and immediatly looked down. Trembling, I dropped my pencil case. Then my pencil. Breathing in deeply, I pulled myself together and winced at the thought of analyzing the Meaning of Life in Christina's POV while I was such a wreck.

Pulling out a stack of fresh lined paper I stared at the blankness. Blue on white stared at me, the vivid lines slowly blurring into fuzzy blue on dull white. Blinking, I felt wetness under my eye and embarassingly wiped it away, hoping no one saw. Looking around, unsurprisingly, there was only one person looking. I built up the nerve to go talk to him.

The walk to his desk seemed like an eternity with the random desks scattered around and blocking the most direct route. He followed me with his eyes but didn't move an inch. For some reason it annoyed me and I almost walked right past him to pretend to ask Ms. Simone a question about the assignment. Who knows why but I paused right in front of his relaxed body, eyes intent on my face and not wavering for a second.

"Hello." Lame whispering was a habit that I'd never lose, no matter how much it killed my self esteem. I mean, it just shouted "LOSER". 

"Have a seat." Was my reply as he stood and pulled a chair out. I thanked him.

"Didn't see you on the first day I believe." I said upon crossing my legs so that my poise would straighten.

"My mom decided it would be a great idea to book an appointment for the doctors on my first day back and so I figured I'd go with her so she wouldn't be lonely." He said with the most perfect nonchalant tone I'd ever heard.

"Sounds like you're a sweet son." I laugh and cringe at how terrible that sounded.

"Wouldn't say that. But hey I heard you have a boyfriend?" He asked with a twinkle in his eyes. I sank a bit into the cold chair.

"Yeah." Was all I could say before I turned away.

"Got into a fight?" He whispered and quickly shook his head. "My apologies. It is quite frankly none of my business and that is such a personal question. Please pretend I didn't say anything. Well, that's not really possible because I'm sure you have a great memory but really don't worry about it too much and -"

"I'm okay. You know, maybe we could grab lunch together? And then if you really want to know then maybe I'll tell you." I said and waited for his nod before going back to gather my things.

Suddently, I had this urge to clean everything. My pencil case contents were lying still untouched on the ground, scattered in the most random patterns around the area. My papers weren't straight and my hands felt sticky. Rushing over, I tidied everything up, making sure everything was perfectly aligned. "Gotta keep up good first impressions now don't I?" I thought without much recognition that I myself had thought that. Who was I impressing?

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