Chapter One ~ Headphone Girl

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ELODIE MENDEL

***

I gingerly rubbed my arms in an attempt to fight off the January cold. Zahra and Ashley spoke in whispers ahead of me, both of them tapping on their phones, and clutching their Fjallraven tiny backpacks.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Tappity tap.

I could almost get lost in the tapping if it weren't for the pop song that Zahra was blasting on her phone. Ashley threw her head back and laughed, tossing her silvery blonde hair over her shoulder. She pointed a pink sparkly nail off into the distance and Zahra began to laugh as well, her pretty dark curls flying in the wind. I followed Ashley's finger with my dull blue eyes and saw a girl from my school, a girl I had nicknamed 'headphone girl'.

I thought her name might have been Ava. Or was it Ana? I recognized her from my lunch table, which was the table where people sat if they didn't have anyone to sit with. She carried a pair of clunky headphones everywhere, and she was always humming something. She rarely ever talked, and when she did, it was always just a few verses of a song.

I scanned her to see what they were laughing at - mismatches socks, an unzipped backpack - and I finally spotted it. Her bright blue water-bottle was leaking all over her stuff, and it was creating a trail of water on the sidewalk. She was completely oblivious to it and she kept on humming her song until she whirled around and caught a glimpse of Ashley and Zahra's laughing.

She quickly pulled her hood over her face, but not before I saw her face, bright red from embarrassment and her jade green eyes, which glistened with tears.

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