You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought as I scrambled to close my Calculus book. Hands fumbling, I tucked my calculator safely into my backpack, but by the time I’d turned around to grab my notebook, it was too late. Ranch- soaked lettuce splattered across my meticulous notes on differentiation and the homework assignment I’d started a few minutes ago. I ripped out the page and balled it up. Now I’d have to copy someone else’s notes and redo the first five math problems.
The lunchroom buzzed with excitement as a group of freshmen got in on the action. They chucked their green beans at a group of girls sitting two tables away, who screeched and scrambled to their feet. A kid sitting in front of me dumped his casserole and cinnamon applesauce on the table and held up his tray as a shield. His fork clattered to the floor as I planned my escape. I wanted to get out of the cafeteria before things got totally out of hand.
Before I’d had a chance to move, a sticky substance landed on the back of my neck and slid beneath my shirt. My shoulders stiffened and heat prickled my skin. I didn’t need to turn around to know who’d thrown it.
It was always the same group of guys who started crap like this.
“Seriously?” I shouted, spinning in my seat. My eyes immediately landed on Fuller freaking James, captain of the basketball team and the jerk responsible for my hideous nickname, “Wrentainer.”
He’d given it to me in middle school after a humiliating incident during a school dance, and it had stuck. Five years had passed and I still had to put up with people reminiscing about the time my retainer flew out of my mouth and landed on Fuller’s best friend.
“Come on, Wren,” Fuller taunted. “You know you want to join us!”
He stood with a lopsided grin on his face and a glob of mashed potatoes in his hand. His blue eyes twinkled with mischief as he pushed his dark brown hair off his face with the back of his hand. He looked like he’d just stepped off the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, right down to the perfectly pressed cargo shorts and maroon Magnolia Valley Cougars T-shirt that hugged his washboard abs. If I didn’t detest him so much, I might have been impressed by his looks.
Emphasis on the word “might.”
Fuller elbowed his teammate Marc, who dug his spoon into a container of yogurt and flung it at a group of freshmen. Without thinking, I reached around to the back of my neck and scraped off a clump of the cold mashed spuds. Cocking my arm back, I flung the food at Fuller as hard as I could. Instead of hitting the most obnoxious guy at our school, the potatoes landed square in the middle of his teammate’s chest.
“Crap,” I gasped.
Marc’s lips parted and his eyebrows knitted together as he looked down at his shirt. With an aggressive swipe of his hand, he flung the mashed potatoes to the linoleum floor.
Fuller threw his head back in laughter. “Swing and a miss, Wren. Want to take another shot?” He held his arms open and winked at me. My heart fluttered for a second. Ugh. Why are the cute ones always such jerks?
I glared at him as I slid my backpack over my shoulder and stomped out of the cafeteria. I’d never lost my cool before, and I couldn’t believe I’d thrown food at that jackwagon. Looking down at my gloppy hands, I exhaled through gritted teeth and made my way to the nearest bathroom.
The halls were empty, except for a sophomore with a laminated red pass in his hand. We passed each other a few steps before the girls’ bathroom, the shiny floor squeaking under our sneakers.
“Hey, Wrentainer, you’ve got something on your back,” he called over his shoulder with a chuckle before disappearing around the corner.
Balling my fists, I shoved the bathroom door open with the backs of my forearms. Per usual, the small room stank of cheap perfume, and paper towels overflowed from the trash can to the left of the sinks. I caught a glimpse of my scrunched-up face in the mirror.
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