September 6th, 2019: Before

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"How's your day going, babe?" TJ asks.

"Slow." I roll my eyes.

"It's already eighth period." He reminds me. "We could do something fun later."

I lean in and kiss him the way I know he wants me to. I pull away after a few seconds. "I have cheer practice today."

"Again?" He groans.

"Again." I nod. "Coach wants us meeting for cardio this time."

"I don't understand how you can have an entire cheer practice dedicated to cardio," he says with an eye roll. "Cheerleading isn't even a sport."

"Why is that always your line when cheer practice comes before you?" I ask.

"It's true."

"It's no different than in the spring when you have baseball practice."

"I'm working toward a scholarship." He rolls his eyes.

"And I'm not?" I ask.

"Nobody gets scholarships for cheerleading."

"I gotta go to class," I say. "I'll call you tonight."

He leans in and kisses me and I try to hold in a gag when his hand reaches down and squeezes my ass. Boys. I pull away after a few more seconds pass and I silently turn around and walk to my class.

I sit in the same seat I chose yesterday, up against the window in the middle row, and I place my bag down on my desk.

"Nice to see most of you came back for day two." Mr. Foster jokes. "How is everyone's second day going?"

The class lets out some groans and some laughs and Mr. Foster raises a hand to silence them. "I'm glad you are all very passionate, but we do have some work to do."

Another groan.

"I know, nobody wants to talk about anything educational on day two, but in these boxes, I have our first reading assignment. Some of you may recognize it. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey."

Another groan surfaces as a smile spreads across my face. I love that book and I could not be any happier if I tried to be.

"When I call your name, come up and grab a copy," Mr. Foster says. "Daniel. Nathan. Alyssa. Abby. Jenna. Ralph. Sierra. James."

Your name grabs my attention and I look up expecting to see you and I obviously don't see you; you graduated years ago, you wouldn't be sitting in twelfth grade English.

"Blair. Blair. Blair!"

I look up at Mr. Foster who has an impatient glare on his face.

"Your book."

I wordlessly get up and move to the front of the room and I dip my hand into one of his boxes and pull out a copy of a book I already own.

It takes an eternity for Mr. Foster to finish calling the names of my classmates and by the time he's done the bell is ringing and I get to go to cheer practice. I walk through the hallway and down a set of stairs to the gym.

"Ready to run?" Peyton asks me.

"Is anyone ever really ready to run?" I laugh.

"Blair!" TJ calls. "Can we talk?"

"Go," Peyton says.

"I guess." I shrug. "I have practice in fifteen minutes."

"I'll be quick."

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