My hand hits the door frame just as the bell chimes. Panting and gasping for air, I plop down into my seat. The guys, of course, look at me like I’m nuts?
“Mister Matthews,” Ms. Chaplen says as she comes into the room. “I do believe this will be your first tardy.”
“Please let this slide,” I plead not wanting my teammates to hate me two days in a row.
“Can you give me a concrete answer that would make you deserving of my mercy?” Ms. Chaplen said knowing that she had won.
“I would rather my teammates not hate my guts. I do have a pass, but if I use it I will be hated by them,” I can feel the guys’ stares.
“That is not a legit reason for me to be merciful. Will you be using the pass or will you be marked tardy?” Ms. Chaplen said flatly.
I knew it was a long shot. Ms. Chaplen is a no nonsense type of teacher. I could have used my Dad as an excuse; she is a huge fan. Why lie and be on her bad side. “I will be using the pass,” I say as I get up and hand over the only thing keeping me as a likeable captain. I go back to my seat, “Sorry guys, but just wait for death at practice today.” They finally understood; I got death looks. If these guys are hating me, yep, my teammates are going to be way worse.
Now was the time I would see Jenny again; I wonder if things would be different. The guys decided to wait around for a bell to see Jenny and mine’s exchange. They wanted to see if I truly did what I claimed.
“Hey George,” Jenny said quieter than normal.
She was in dark jeans, a white t-shirt, and my sweatshirt. Yesterday was crazy, but I’m now seeing her in my clothes. I like it; she looks good as always. It seems like she has more make-up on; probably to cover up the redness from crying. She was still Jenny. However, she seemed a little more closed off; like a protective layer was around her. Chelsea and Addison were not around just Brit. Brit was also on edge; she kept looking around and her guard was up too.
“Hey Jenny,” I said not knowing what else to say. Remembering the guys were still around, I turned to them, “You guys should head out. Don’t be tardy like I was.”
They were stunned, probably because they knew it was my jacket. Realizing that some of what I had said is becoming true.
“Yeah, let’s head out. See ya Jenny, Brit,” Ken said, while Jerry and Matthew nodded in agreement. They were off.
“Let’s go to class. I don’t have a pass anymore and with the consequences it takes, I don’t know if I ever want one again,” I rambled just trying to fill the awkwardness. I start forward, but stop realizing Jenny and Brit had not moved; turning, there stood John. The nerve of that guy. Once again, I was in front of Jenny with Britney next to her. “Dude, don’t you remember yesterday. Stay out of her and my sight for life,” trying so hard to stay composed.
“I want to talk to her,” John said ignoring me. “Without you two around. Leave.”
Yeah, like that was going to happen. “Let’s go to class. I say taking Jenny’s hand and hoping Britney follows. She did, of course, but she was cautious moving towards the jerk.
John stepped in front of me, “Again, this is not your business. I am talking to her whether you let me or not.”
Wow. I knew there were moronic jerks in the world but I was naïve to believe our school was different. “Nope.” I said not really caring to listen to his stupidity any more. Realizing I was still holding Jenny’s hand, I stepped around John towing Jenny with me. Britney was close behind. John was starting to twitch; probably anger, but whatever. The guy seems to always be pissed off at something. Thankfully he stayed where he was. While we walked to our class the second bell rang. Finally reaching our class I remember, and let go of Jenny’s hand. My hand is burning. I don’t really wait; I just usher them into the class room and we take our seats as the last bell chimes. I need to start getting to class earlier.
I turn and look at Jenny. Any ounce of life she had in her was gone. She looked hollow and lifeless. My hand itched to grab her hand and give her a squeeze of encouragement. I stopped knowing we haven’t talked and that we are currently in public. I didn’t want rumors to spread. Especially after what happened yesterday. Instead I write a note and place it in front of her. She opens it and giggles. Good she is still with us. She turns to me and smiles; the melting George smile kind. She turns back to the teacher to listen to the lecture; I’m just thankful she has a glow about her again.