By the time lunch rolled around, I was already counting down the hours until I was able to go home. The school was nice, but it was extremely boring. The classes were dry, as well as most of the students. Everyone at Pine Ridge was uncommonly nice. That wasn't a bad thing, but it took away the edge that my old school had.
My old high school, Pacific High, was full of interesting people. Sure, they weren't all necessarily safe, but it definitely made for a more entertaining school day. I had never hung out with any of the drug dealers or the bad boys, but I still enjoyed having them in my classes. It made high school more intriguing.
Here, at Pine Ridge, things were pretty much the opposite. Everyone that I had met so far was friendly, clean-cut, and had good character. The only person that I had met that didn't fit this mold was Shawn. Maybe that's why Laur and Mel wanted me to stay away from him, I thought, he's different.
"Grace!" I heard my name being shouted as I stepped into the cafeteria. I looked over and saw Mel waving me over to the table she was sitting at with Laur and two other boys that I didn't know.
"Hey," Laur said as I approached the table. "This is Brian and Lyall," she motioned to the boys at the table. They all smiled at me and gave me two-fingered waves as she said their names. "Guys, this is Grace," Laur said, now motioning to me. "You can go up and get food over there." Laur pointed to the other side of the cafeteria. "Just grab what you want and then jump in a line to pay for it."
"Okay thanks," I said, and headed over to where she had pointed. There weren't many students getting food because I had trouble finding the cafeteria so I was a little bit late for lunch. I grabbed a strawberry yogurt and a bag of pretzels and headed over to the small glass refrigerator where the water bottles were stored. As I slid the door open and reached inside, I felt someone behind me grab my butt and squeeze it.
"Hey babe," a familiar voice said quietly. I whirled around, only to find myself face to face with Shawn. Instinctively, I lifted my free hand and sent it hard across his cheek. It made a loud slapping sound, causing the few students that were around to turn their heads.
"Ow!" Shawn exclaimed. "What the hell?" the smirk he had on before had vanished and was replaced with a pained look. He reached up and rubbed his cheek, which was now beginning to turn red and raw.
I smiled at him triumphantly. Without saying a word, I grabbed my water and proceeded to the checkout line. I could feel Shawn's eyes on me. I payed for my items and headed back to the table. Everyone was talking among themselves as I sat down, except for Laur. She was watching me.
"Have any trouble up there?" she asked. My mind instantly flashed back to the incident with Shawn. But luckily that wasn't what she was talking about. "Did you have an issues buying your food and stuff?" She hadn't seen what had happened. I let out a silent sigh of relief. Laur had already told me to stay away from Shawn, and I didn't want to get labeled as the girl that goes around slapping boys she just met.
The rest of lunch was fairly uneventful. We sat around the circular table and everyone asked me about my summer and more questions about New York. I kept trying to ask everyone else about their summers, but every time I did, they would change the subject. It seemed like they didn't want to talk about it for some reason.
Eventually the bell rang, dismissing us to our next class. My next class was English, which I had with Laur. The two of us threw away the trash from our lunches and headed up to the second floor.
"Grace," Laur said as we began to climb the stairs. "I saw what happened with you and Shawn during lunch."
I felt my face get hot. "You did?"
She nodded and laughed quietly, "Yeah, I did."
"I usually don't hit people, I swear," I began to feel nervous and defensive. "He was just..."
"No," Laur interrupted. "It's okay. I'm actually glad that you did."
"Really?" I asked, confused. I could sense that Shawn wasn't exactly popular with Laur and her friends, but I didn't expect her to want me to hit him.
"Yeah," she said. "Usually if Shawn does something like that, the girl will let him get away with it. And that pretty much gives him a green light to keep going. But now he knows that you have no problem standing up for yourself."
"That makes sense."
"I'm glad you get it. I really like you, Grace," Laur smiled at me. "You're chill, and I can tell that you're gonna fit in nicely here. But stay away from Shawn Mendes. He's no good for you. He's no good for anyone. I can tell that he's interested in you, so know that he's probably going to try something like that again. But stay away from him. Don't fall for his games." Laur stopped walking and faced me. Her face was solemn and serious. "Please."
My head was starting to hurt. I didn't understand what was so bad about Shawn. Yeah, he was kind of a dick. But he didn't act any worse than any of the other guys that I had known in New York. He seemed like just a cocky, flirty, horny teenager to me. I didn't see what the big deal was.
"I'll stay away from him," I told Laur, and I saw her let out a sigh of relief.
"Thank you," she smiled, and we continued walking to class. I wanted to ask her about why Shawn was so bad, and why no one in school seemed to like him. But it was obvious that she didn't want to talk about it, so I kept my mouth shut. I knew that I'd learn more about Shawn later. I knew that I wouldn't be able to stay away.
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"Stay away from Shawn Mendes." That's what everyone keeps telling Grace, who recently moved from the bustling New York City to the quiet town of Pickering, Canada. She has no trouble making new friends, but everyone she meets keeps telling her the...