I choose a chair in the corner and close my eyes. This day feels like it will never end, and it’s only first period.
Door hinges creak, and my eyes fly open.
A woman stuffed into a gray suit that’s at least one size too small steps aside to let someone leave her office. “Don’t go anywhere, Mr. Leone. We are not finished here.”
Marco saunters out, hands in the pockets of his low-slung jeans, his black high-tops untied. My eyes are instantly drawn to the tribal lines inked on his arm, the intricate details beckoning me to come closer.
“Yes, ma’am.” He flashes her a lopsided grin. There’s no sign of the angry fighter I saw in the quad earlier. He taps on the counter as he passes Dolly Parton. “What’s up, Mrs. Lane?”
Mrs. Lane scowls. “I’m tired of seeing you in here. Why don’t you try behaving yourself for a week and see what happens?”
“I’d miss you too much.” Marco grins at her, and turns away from the counter. He sees me and the dimple vanishes. His gaze darts between the empty chairs.
If there is a god, please don’t let this guy sit next to me.
My mouth goes dry as he approaches. Marco drops into the vinyl chair across from mine, which is worse than if he sat next me, because now I have nowhere to look except at him.
Apparently, God is alive and well, and he has a sense of humor.
Marco rubs the back of his head, where the hair is cut closer to his scalp. It’s longer in the front, and I like the way it sticks up all over the place. He seems nervous and clears his throat. “Are you—?”
Not again. “I’m fine.” “Yeah?”
I hold up three fingers in the shape of a W. “Girl Scout promise.” I cringe. Those words did not just come out of my mouth.
He raises an eyebrow, and his cocky attitude returns. “Are you here to give your testimony?”
“The fight. Did you get called in to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Angel?”
Why does he keep calling me that? It must be an insult. “No one called me in. I need a blue slip.” Why am I
explaining myself to him? Or talking to him in the first place?
Marco leans forward and props his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands between his long legs. “So are all the schools in the Heights full?”
“Just wondering how you ended up at Monroe. Nobody from the Heights wants to transfer here.”
How am I supposed to respond? Say something funny and risk offending him?
“I needed to start over,” I blurt out.
“I can get you that blue slip now,” Mrs. Lane waves me over, her brass bangles jingling.
I pick up my backpack and rush toward the counter. In a graceful move, I bump into Marco’s leg and almost trip.
“Sorry,” I mumble without turning around.
At the counter, I hand Mrs. Lane my schedule and watch as she writes each word. Anything to avoid looking at him. Marco’s eyes burn into my back, and warmth spreads through my cheeks. Another minute and I’m out of here.
Mrs. Lane hands me the blue slip, and I snatch it out of her hand.
I’m halfway out the door when Marco calls after me. “See you around, Angel.”