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Pen Your Pride



The next day, we're barely ten minutes into third period when Marissa is called to the office

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The next day, we're barely ten minutes into third period when Marissa is called to the office. She slowly packs her gold bag, glancing at me with a smug smile that reads, I told you so. I roll my eyes, but truthfully, I'm glad for her. Even though I hate the reason, I haven't seen her this happy in a long time. Marissa's smile is a mix of relief and excitement. Her new conquest – or 'Nice-shoes' as I've taken to calling him – showed up at the office. He's a day late, but here nonetheless.

The class watches her with an eagerness that makes me uncomfortable. You'd think Marissa just won the lottery or something.

I shake my head, wondering if she's taking her time to revel in the class's admiration – only seven girls from our grade have been able to turn someone so far, and this is Marissa's fifth time. Knowing Marissa, it could also be for the game of it, keeping her guy waiting and wanting, and driving him mad with desire.

The brass tardy bell rings, interrupting Marissa's gloat. Sister Hannah Marie rises from behind her desk and walks to the door to see who it is. She opens it a crack, then slips into the hall. It's odd behaviour for a Sister. They don't normally leave us unattended. The class chats among themselves, a mixture of excitement for Marissa and gossip over My Vampire Alien Life's latest episode.

I think I'm the only one who hasn't seen the show.

After a few moments the Sister returns, breaking up the chatter. A serious look has spread across her normally bubbly face. I can't help but sense something isn't right.

'Rachel, pack your things and escort Marissa to the office.' The Sister doesn't make eye contact. Instead she rushes to the board and hastily wipes the bullet points from yesterday's class. Marissa and I share a worried look.

'Am I in trouble?'

It's a perfectly valid question, but Sister Hannah Marie hangs her head. 'Just go,' she mumbles.

Marissa shrugs and I gather my books, following her into the hall. It's only Wednesday and it's the second time this week that I've been sent to the office – this has got to be a new record for me.

'I hope he's as cute as I remember,' Marissa says. 'I have a good feeling about this guy. Who knows, I may even keep him.'

I roll my eyes and fall into step beside her.

'Ooh, what if he has a six-pack?' She squeals and quickens her pace and I have to speed-walk to keep up. She has her mind on Nice-shoes. But all I can think about is how strange Sister Hannah Marie was acting.

The halls are unusually empty – we don't even pass patrol nuns ushering first years between classes. That only adds to my nerves. I bite the inside of my cheek. The closer we get to the office, the more uncertain I feel. Everything in me screams to turn and run. Instead, I stop in the middle of the hall.

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