Cali navigated the busy hallways of her high school without issue. Much like herself, everyone was making their way, slowly but surely to their first period classes. The late bell had not rang yet so those of the student body who were already at their designated classroom hung out in the hallways talking and joking with friends, anything to delay the start of a sure 45 minutes of boredom. Those few who were lucky had a friend or two within the class to help them make it through okay. Cali however, was not in that number, her first period Physics class didn't even have a casual track team acquaintance for her to talk with.

Turning into the classroom, she selected a desk close to the exit. She wasn't in the mood to answer questions or read passages from the text. Her goal today was to go through class without being noticed, which usually worked well for a person close to the back who did not draw attention to themselves.

She settled into her seat and opened up her notebook that was designated for college issues. Mrs. France had given it to her during one of their meetings. She briefly skimmed over the topics for the essays that she would eventually have to write. Though a lot of the essays would be the same she figured that she'd have to write an essay on at least four different topics. College had become an even bigger headache than before. Even though she had narrowed down her list significantly, she was still nowhere near ready to commit to any school.

Overwhelming herself, she closed her notebook. Her brainstorming session would once again be postponed until sometime after work. She had already planned to sneak out to the track during her study hall period. Although technically it wasn't sneaking because running during non-mandatory credit hours was an unspoken allowance between the principal and his star athlete.

She pushed the thought of college out of her head and opened up her Physics book. She had no real intention of following along in class, but it was best to look the part. She had just turned to the proper section when the late bell rang out bringing with it the rest of the students that made up her Physics class, and the teacher.

Cali had barely written down the date on her notes page when she felt her phone buzz against her hip. Laughing to herself, she didn't have to check her phone to know who it was messaging her. In such a short time, she had come to expect his perfectly placed text messages.

Good morning miss

She smiled. Good morning to you too

lol I was expecting to b called a weirdo

Y state the obvious?

lol wat r u doin?

sitting in class being bored

class? Wats that?

Cali laughed quietly. of course class would be a new concept for you

lol I go sometimes

mmhmm

I do enuff 2 get by

Sure…

lol what class r u n?

Physics

my condolences

Cali half threw her books into her locker, glad to have finally made it to her lunch period. The morning had not gone by as bad as she expected thanks to the text messaging from Lucas. Still she was glad to have her lunch period ahead of her. Slamming her locker shut, she quickly replied to a message from Monique. She had barely pressed the send button on her message screen when a phone call came through. Without even checking the caller I.D. she pressed accept and held the phone to her ear.

"Hello"

"Cali, do you think I'm playing with you?"

"What are you talking about, Ma?" She asked secretly cursing herself for not checking the caller I.D.

"Bring your ass home after school!" Her mother practically yelled through the phone.

"I have to work." Cali's tone was even, but her attitude was evident.

"Did I ask you if you had to work? I told you to bring your ass home."

Her mother's attitude easily matched her own.

"What about track?" She countered knowing that her success in track meant more to her mother than it did to anyone else. There was a second of silence. No doubt she was thinking it over

"All right Cali, you go to track practice and then you come straight home. No dropping off your friends, no stopping at the mall, no work. Come straight home."

Her mother's attack on her freedom affected Cali more than she would've thought. "I have bills! I can't just call out of work because you want me to!" Cali shot back, unable to maintain a respectful tone.

"I'm not even going to stand here and argue with a child that I had. You better be home by 4 o'clock." He mother ordered before the phone went dead in her ear.

Cali stared blankly at the screen. She knew that things had officially gotten out hand. She didn't have to consult Lashay to know that her best course of action was to play meek. She would certainly have to answer for the way she spoke to her mother and she knew that her best and safest bet was to apologize first.

She no longer had the desire to skip her lunchtime sprints. She didn't want to hang with her friends or text message Lucas. Her only desire was to run, and run hard. Turning to her locker, she input her combination pulled it open and tossed her phone deep into the back. Her day had gone from being OK to terrible. Her home life interfering with her day to day was something she never thought would happen. Slamming her locker door shut, she turned toward the gym. One way or another she would have to get this issue resolved before the spring. She couldn't afford to have outside influences affecting her performance.

Lucas pushed open the side exit to the school with more pep than was necessary. His morning couldn't have gone much better than it had, and he was hopeful for an afternoon of much of the same. He made his way over to his car, ducking and hiding to avoid the parking lot monitors as he did so. It was only a few minutes earlier that Kyle had called him asking to meet in the parking lot for a smoke. Apparently a chemistry test had gone all wrong for him.

Lucas approached his car and found both Randall and Kyle crouching down behind his passenger's side waiting for him. Unlocking the doors, he allowed everyone to slide into the car.

"Dude, where the hell were you all morning?"

"Around," Lucas replied shortly, starting the car up.

He couldn't very well admit to his friends that he had been hiding out in the back of the library avoiding them so that he could text Calijae.

"Around where, asshole? I could've used some weed before that Chemistry test. It always helps me focus better. I blame you for my bombing that test."

Lucas ignored Kyle's complaints and instead focused on their escape. They were no longer able to smoke in the parking lot during lunch. A few kids had already been busted getting high, so the principal beefed up patrol making a trip from the car back to the school with weed in their possession not worth the risk. There only safe bet was to leave the parking lot without being spotted. Lucas had even contemplated not parking on school property. A foot escape could prove easier to execute. He navigated the car to a residential street, walking distance from the school.

"Check beneath the floor mat" He directed as the put the car in park.

Randall's hand explored the area beneath the floor mat for only a few seconds before he found the goods. Holding up the bag, he snatched it open and pulled out the fattest of three pre rolled joints. He placed stick between his lips and went searching for a lighter, letting the bag rest on his lap as he did so. Bothered, Lucas grabbed the sandwich bag from Randall's lap and returned it to its hiding spot.

"Shit dude, do you have a lighter" Randall asked oblivious to the look of annoyance Lucas was shooting his way.

His friends did not respect the rules. You don't just light up someone else's joint unless they offer you the first hit. Lucas had not offered Randall anything. However, not wanting to start a fight over nothing, he handed his friend the lighter, and waited for the joint to make its way to him. Clearly he was starting the session off in a bad mood.

"Oh dude, did I tell you? I was in class and my English teacher was telling us about that Cali-whatever bitch. Like a fucking fan, he was gushing about how they're giving her a ceremony for the medals she won last year and shit. I'm like fucking-a, man she runs. It's not like it's some kind of specialized skill."

"Yeah remember we seen the poster." Lucas added glad to finally talk about something that interested him.

"Why the hell would I remember that? I don't give a shit about some black bitch who won medals for doing nothing."

"It's not nothing, and cut out all the bitch stuff."

"Oh wow! One day she talks to you in the hallway and suddenly you're defending her? And you jackass, stop hogging the smoke" Kyle interjected before taking the joint from Randall.

"I'm not defending her. I'm just tired of hearing bitch this, and bitch that all the time."

"Whatever, dude. After what she did to you, you should be raggin on her too. Not being all sensitive and shit. A hello in the hallways isn't enough to make that shit OK."

"She did it to me. Not you guys. You guys maybe talked to her once, and even then Andrew got the shit end of that stick. So, where you guys problem is I don't know."

"I don't have to talk to her to know she's a bitch. She puts it on display everywhere she goes."

"Let's just shut the fuck up about her, and talk about something else." Lucas said as he grabbed the joint from Kyle who cursed in protest. Lucas chose to ignore him as he inhaled the aroma of the potent marijuana.

"Let's talk about you being a douche bag fag nozzle. If you don't come to the beach on Halloween I'm going to kill you"

Randall offered another subject that Lucas didn't want to talk about. Somewhere between texting Calijae and Randall mentioning the beach, he had already decided that he would try to hang out with Cali again, for Halloween. He knew that chances of them hanging out together, alone, were slim to none, but if he had to he would certainly hang out with her and friends.

"I'm not even interested in going to the beach for Halloween or any other holiday this side of Labor Day."

"Stop bitching out man. What are you scared of?"

"I'm not scared of anything." Lucas replied with a shrug before taking another toke of his joint.

"I bet if that bitch was going you'd go."

Lucas stubbed his joint out on the steering wheel of his car and turned to face his clearly confused friends.

"What the fuck dude?"

"Get out." Lucas commanded.

"Wha…" Kyle started but was cut off.

"Get out. I told you stop with the bitch stuff. You guys don't listen. Get out."

"C'mon dude, we were only joking."

"I don't want to hear it, get out"

Randall and Kyle both voiced their protests to being thrown out in the cold by a friend.

They had ruined any chance of him enjoying a joint before the second half of classes started. Lucas hung back in his car giving his friends just enough time to make it up the street without him. He didn't want to hear their crying and moaning over his weed or his attitude. It wasn't like he hadn't given them fair warning.

Watching them get further and further away, he decided he'd be safer walking back onto campus than driving his car. Stepping out of his car he let out a loud huff. He was still too aggravated to remember he was supposed to be sneaking back onto school property. Kicking at a rock, he made his way up the street trailing his friends who had disappeared around the corner. Reaching the corner himself, he turned without hesitation. The safety patrol officers were the furthest thing from his mind, until he came face to face with one.

"ID please" the taller well-built safety patrol officer asked, jutting his hand out toward Lucas. He could see both Randall and Kyle had already been caught by the officer.

"I lost it." Lucas stated sending a glare at his guilty looking friends. They had set him up, he knew it.

"Name, and don't think about lying." the office warned.

"Lucas Krause"

"Is he lying?" The officer asked the two previous captives

Randall and Kyle both shook their heads in response.

"Alright now boys, follow me." The officer told them once he finished writing Lucas' name on his pad. He was confident that the boys would do as they were told, so he stepped out in front, no doubt leading the way to the principal's office.

Lucas sat alone outside of the principal's office patiently awaiting his punishment. The safety officer had gone in with Randall and Kyle, almost ten minutes ago. His seclusion from the initial session only furthered his suspicions of a setup. If the safety officer had caught Randall and Kyle minutes before him, why was he still there, waiting for him? He let out a breath of frustration. They were most likely making a deal to get a lighter punishment. His hand had just finished it sweep across his face when the principal's door opened.

"Mr. Krause, I will see you now," the Principal said as the safety officer and his friends stepped into the hallway. The safety officer wore a look of satisfaction, while his Randall and Kyle looked everywhere but at him, despite his attempts at eye contact.

Lucas rose from his seat and went into the office. He only semi-scanned his surroundings. He had never been in the office before but he hadn't imagined it looking so much like a rich man's study. Even the chair that the principal sat in was more of a reading chair than desk chair. From this, Lucas knew right away that it was going to be worse than he thought.

The principal made his way around the desk in silence and took a seat in his reading chair before speaking.

"Please take a seat Mr. Krause." He waited until Lucas was settled in his chair before speaking again. "Mr. Williams, and your friends just gave me their versions of what happened. Would you like to give your account? Now is certainly the time to do so."

"I'm sure they told you everything."

"Indeed they did. Mr. Williams said that you and your friends had the stench of marijuana all over you. Mr. Stadanski and Mr. Collins said that they got it from you."

Lucas couldn't stop his mouth from dropping or his eyes from bulging. They had sold him out.

"Mr. Krause, do you have any illicit drugs on you today?"

"No" Lucas barely managed.

"So, you have no idea where the marijuana came from?" the principal asked.

Something in demeanor and manner of speaking made Lucas shift his weight in the chair. "None" he barely whispered

"You're saying that your friends are just making up these lies against you?"

"There obviously no friends of mine."

"OK. Mr. Krause. Well, let me tell you this, I have phoned the police. Let me be perfectly clear, the police will search you and they will find your drugs, and when they do you will go to jail. Now are you sure you don't want to confess?"

Lucas swallowed. The watering in his mouth was choking him. Would the principal really call the cops on him based off of hearsay? Even if he did, would the cops act based off of so little actual evidence? He went back and forth with himself trying to decide if his principal was bluffing. Apparently the principal's invitation wasn't standing, because only a few seconds later the he could hear the principal calling for his secretary to get the police on the line.

It felt like an eternity waiting for the cops to arrive. The principal took this time to taunt Lucas with all of the possible punishments that were in store. However, Lucas paid little attention the principal, he was too busy trying to calm the nauseous sensation in his stomach as he pictured all the different ways the cops arrival would go. All of which ended with him in handcuffs being paraded through the school for everyone to see. When at last the arrival of the police was announced the sensation of nausea intensified, coupled with the intense chattering of his organs, Lucas was sure he would pass out.

He bent his head low into his lap, cupping his forehead in his palms as he tried to wish away his situation. He couldn't bring himself to open his eyes or lift his head as the officers were welcomed into the office by the principal.

"Hello officers, I already spoke to your superiors and gave them an account of the issue."

"Yes, we were briefed before leaving the station house." One officer said to the principal while the other stood by calmly. "Is this the student?"

"Yes it is."

The first officer nodded at his partner, and the second stepped toward Lucas.

"Alright son. Stand up please."

Lucas swallowed. He could barely lift his head never mind stand. His shaking body and nausea would not allow him to move. With too much time between the command and lack of execution elapsing, the first officer stepped forward and grabbed his arm firmly "My partner said up, son."

Lucas stood up with help from the officer. Making sure to take nice, even breaths he stood before them, a trembling teenager.

"OK, now nice and easy. I want you to take everything out of your pockets, and place them on the desk."

Lucas did as he was told with shaky hands. He dropped his keys on the desk along with a pen and a few crumpled up dollars.

"Is that it?"

Lucas suppressed a gag before responding "Yeah"

"What about your coat

"Nothing" he said again this time barely above a whisper.

"Ok, I want you to take your coat off, and shake it out. Don't reach for anything that falls out unless I tell you to.

Lucas followed his instruction.

"Now your shoes take them off and hold them upside down."

Again, Lucas did as he was told. Both actions yielded nothing. He could feel the temperature in the room rising to an unbearable height. His eyes fluttered open and closed, as he struggled to stay upright.

"OK, calm down, kid. Now, I want you to grab your shirt at the bottom hem and shake it out for me."

Lucas grabbed his shirt and shook it as best he could. His nervousness only increased as he prepared himself for a strip search. He wasn't even sure if it was a legal search without the consent of his parents.

"Alright. Now remove your socks, and turn them inside out."

Lucas followed the command as he did the others. He wanted to cry. His principal's piercing eyes studied him from behind the instructing officer. Lucas wasn't sure how he looked to the two men watching, but he knew however it was it pleased his principal very much. Standing in the middle of the office with bare feet, he waited for the next command.

"Ok, kid you're free to put your clothes back on."

Lucas exhaled. He knew he wasn't out of hot water yet, but at least he wouldn't have to get naked.

"Wait, is that it?" The principal asked causing another lump in Lucas' throat.

"Sir, the boy has keys, a pen, and," the officer paused to count the crumpled bills. "27 dollars"

"Well, what about his car?"

Lucas felt his heart stop and a pounding develop behind his temples. How much time would three joints get him? He wasn't built for prison.

"Do you have a car, son?" the first officer asked. Too distracted to be annoyed with the man calling him son, Lucas contemplated his answer. His car was still parked off campus so he could lie and say no, but what if they found out? He'd be in even more trouble.

"Yes" he said despite himself.

"Describe the car for us. What area of the parking lot are you parked in?"

"I'm not parked on in the parking lot. I park around the corner to…to avoid traffic."

"Well, we cannot search his car. It is not school property and we have no probable cause." The second officer spoke up. "He had no paraphernalia on him. Say if he had a lighter or even wrapping papers, then maybe we could. It would probably still be thrown out in court but you would have what you needed to pursue things on this level."

Lucas felt a wave of relief wash over him. He wouldn't have to deal with criminal charges being brought against him.

"We've got enough on this end already, but…" The principal said refusing to accept defeat. "What about his locker? That's school property."

"You're right it is."

"Where's your locker, son"

"I don't know." Lucas answered honestly. It had been ages since he used his locker, and with every hallway full of them it was hard to remember which was his.

The principals scoffed at his response. "Nice try. His locker is number 354. I'll have our janitor escort you."

Lucas was made to sit in the office with the first officer and the principal while the second made his way to locker 354. Lucas though still on edge, knew he had nothing to worry about when it came to his locker. He had not used it once, and the report from the second officer only confirmed that.

"It's bone dry." he said coming back into the office. "Do you even do your work, kid?"

Lucas chose not to answer the officer.

"Alright then, better luck next time." the first officer said rising from a seat in the office to join his partner at the door.

"Sir, I suggest you call his parents, report the incident, and trust that this scare has straightened him into being a model pupil, otherwise we will be back, and you will definitely go downtown." the officer said directing the end of his statement at Lucas before he and his partner exited the office.

"Well, Mr. Krause, let's get your parents in here to talk this over." The principal said picking up the phone.

"Did you hear about what happened today after lunch?" Monique asked Calijae as they made their way towards their lockers.

"No. What happened?"

"I don't know. I heard someone got caught with drugs, but then another person told me it was a gun, or bomb or something like that."

Calijae laughed. The high school rumor mill was good for turning a sore throat into the plague. "So which was it, drugs, a gun, or a bomb?"

"Shit girl, with all these damn hood rats in this school it could be all three"

Cali laughed again, "aint that the truth."

"So what you doing after practice?" Monique asked, obviously becoming bored with how little she knew about the day's drama, "I was thinking I need to get me a damn extracurricular"

"You sure do, especially before you get yourself a real extracurricular" Cali said half-jokingly as she made the motions of a pregnant belly near her hand.

"Don't even play like that, Cali. I'm BC'd up"

"Mmm hmm" Cali responded with a complete look of disbelief on her face.

"Whatever, slut. Come by the house later though. We can chill"

"I can't. Remember that room I was asking about? I'm going to need it, like probably tonight."

"Damn, it's like that?" Monique asked, really quite concerned for her friend. She knew how close Cali was to her mother.

"It just may be, but I'll call you later. I have to get to practice." Cali told her before breaking off towards the gym. She made a quick pit stop in the hallway to phone her job. She had waited as long as she could for her mother call back and at least allow her to go work, but the call never came.

The end of practice came too soon for Calijae, she even volunteered to collect the cones and various equipment the team used for their drills. With the coach's primary concern being on her Cross Country runners, Calijae was often allowed to do her own thing, participating only when she felt like it. Generally she would alternate days between speed and agility drills and strength and power base drills. Her long distance running, for the most part was always done on her own time. Of course there was the last Friday of every month when the coach would take them on a motivation run, which consisted of 6-8 miles at a comfortable pace, and a sports massage at the end.

By the time Calijae had hit the showers most of her teammates were well on their way to being dressed. She blocked out the voices of the other females on the team and tried to let the hot water soothe her body. She really wanted to be as relaxed as possible before she faced her mother.

She really wished that it was the last Friday of the month. She would go through the agonizingly slow run, just to be able to get the massage at the end. Their motivation run always led back to the school where the students and teachers of the local massage school gave every one of the runners a sports massage. It was a perk worked out by the coach and a friend of hers that worked at the massage school. The other sports coaches were a little angry that the deal didn't include their students, and as a result the runners were treated a little differently by other jocks. Still, the massages were well worth the treatment, they all agreed.

"Cali." She recognized her coaches voice coming from somewhere behind the wall.

"Yeah."

"Hurry up in there, I'd like to talk to you."

"So talk" she responded not wanting to leave the heat of the showers just yet.

"I was wondering if you'd be interested in running Cross Country. The team could really use you. The distance isn't an issue for you, and I know for a fact that you've run many of these courses before so the terrain won't be an issue."

She pulled her face from the streaming water to respond, "I can't. I have a lot going on right now. I have to deal with this college stuff. I'm already missing work for practice, and my hours will really be cut down come springtime. I really can't afford the time off. Plus, what about this Miss East High? You told me yourself that she looks like she could be the real deal. Shouldn't I be focusing on that? What happens if I get injured during a meet?"

"Alright, it was just a question, but you're right. We should at least wait until we see this girl from East in action. As far as the work excuse goes, you know I don't give a shit. So this isn't dropped it's just postponed until after next Friday."

She laughed. Her coach was a lot like her, which is why their relationship was a bit more than simple coach and athlete interactions. Her shower lasted only a few minutes longer before she lazily dried off and dressed. Her mother would be expecting her home soon, and the last thing she wanted to do was piss her off, again.

Cali eased the door to her apartment open, searching the living room for her mother. The clock on her phone told her that it was 4:15. The shower that she didn't want to leave seemed to be a bit too long. When she didn't spot her mother sitting on the coach, or anywhere else in the room she pushed the door completely open and stepped in. She couldn't be too mad about her being 15 minutes late. If she was she would've been waiting by the door to blast her as she as came in. Cali slipped out of shoes and made her way down the hall toward her room. Passing the kitchen, she didn't even bother to check for her mother, but was stopped in her track by her voice.

"Cali." she said in a simple and even tone.

Cali backtracked to the kitchen doorway to face her mother.

"Oh ma, I didn't even see you there. Practice ran a little late, Coach wanted to talk to me about running Cross Country."

"And what did you tell her?" her mother asked, clearly putting her daughter's future before their current issues.

"I couldn't. There's too much going on, and I don't want to risk getting injured."

Her mother nodded her head in understanding, before a hush fell over them.

"Ma about today, earlier, I just want to…" Cali started but was cut off by her mother.

"Go to your room"

"Huh?" Cali asked with a face a mask of confusion.

"Go to your room and do not come out until I tell you to."

"I'm trying to talk to you."

"And I told you to go to your room"

"Are you grounding me?"

"You can put whatever name you like on it, but I'm telling you to go to your room."

Cali opened her mouth to voice her objections, but quickly closed it. She even contemplated simply walking out of the house, but in the end she just went to her room and closed the door.

After what seemed like 45 minutes or so of pacing the room in pure frustration, with breaks of contemplated escapes, Cali finally plopped down on her bed in defeat. She had never before been grounded in her life. Sure punishments came in various ways, but groundings had never been implemented in her household.

She let out a groan. This grounded stuff wasn't going to be easy for her. She never spent much time in her own room. She was the get up, get out type of kid. Spending time at home was surely going to be a new concept for her. Racking her brain, she tried to figure out what she could do to prevent her eventual death by boredom.

The college essays were still waiting to be written, and she knew sooner or later she would have to get them done. Standing from her bed she made her way to spot in the corner of her room that she stored her school things in. Flipping the shoulder bag open she searched for the designated college book, but was stopped short by the vibrating on her hip. She pulled her phone from its case on her hip and accepted the call.

"Hello"

"You didn't call me." Monique told her from the other end of the call.

"Oh. I'm sorry. I forgot. I'm so frustrated."

"My mother grounded me. She told me not to come out of my room until she tells me to. Mo, I've never been grounded in my life."

"There's a first time for everything right?"

"First time? I'm like grown as fuck now."

"You aint grown 'til you got your own boo-boo. My momma used to always tell me that shit. That's why I had to get the hell up outta her place"

"Whose side are you on right now?"

"I'm just saying Cali. As long as you're under her roof, it's her rules. You'll be off to college soon though so it's only a few more months."

"It's a lot more months, especially for me. I've been raised to function on a semi-adult level. You guys know that. You were always telling me how lucky I was to have a mom that trusted me and now she's trying to bust me back down to a child's level. No one my age gets grounded."

"You're just catching up to the rest of us" Monique said slightly amused. "When we were all running around pouting about our moms, you never understood. Now you understand."

"Whatever. This stuff is not for me. It's unreasonable."

Cali's conversation with Monique was well into its second hour when a beep sounded through Cali's end of the call.

"Hold up Mo' I have another call" Cali informed her friend before clicking over to her second line.

"Hello?"

"Hello, Miss…by the way, what is your last name?"

Cali laughed. Luckily for the caller she had come to recognize his voice, in such a short time.

"You're the stalker, you figure it out. I'll give you some time to think it over though I have to end the call on the other line." Cali said before clicking back over to her conversation with Monique. It really wasn't a hard decision to make. Choosing Lucas' call over Monique's was a decision made strictly out of boredom. She had talked to Monique for almost 3 hours and was starting to become bored with it.

"Mo' I have to let you go. I'll call you back later on."

"Oh who's on the other line? Is it Lashay? I'm tired of y'all leaving me out. I'ma start whooping ass."

"Cali laughed. "Shut up, and it's not Shay."

"Who is it then?"

"No one, mom" Cali replied sarcastically. "I'll talk to you later, or tomorrow."

"Ok, but let me find out it's Lashay and y'all both gon' get my foot in your ass"

Cali laughed again, "Goodbye"

Monique said her parting words and Cali quickly clicked back over to the call with Lucas.

"So, What did we come up with?"

"It's Santos" Lucas said with a little laugh. "Are you Spanish?"

"Nope. One of my great grandmothers got married at like 15, and had like 6 kids. Her husband died like 10 years into her marriage, and like three years after he died she married a Cuban immigrant named Hector Santos, So she changed her and all of her kids names to Santos. Thus began a long line of black Santos'"

"That's awesome." Lucas replied with a laugh. "You're supposed to be Spanish, and I'm supposed to be Jewish."

Cali laughed unsure how he came up with his response. "Jewish. Really?"

"Yeah. My Dad was born into a really strict Jewish family in New York. He went to college in Chicago, met my mother, a devote catholic, somehow they got married and returned to New York. My grandparents found out she wasn't Jewish and flipped out. Then they found out she was pregnant with me and made all these plans for me to be raised Jewish, only my parents skipped town right after I was born. They kidnapped me from my culture."

"Scandalous…"

"I know right, I may have really enjoyed being Jewish."

"Well you know it's never too late."

"No, it couldn't possibly feel the same now" Lucas joked with mock disappointment causing Cali to laugh again. "So, it there any chance for ice cream tonight?"

"There is a chance for ice cream every night. "However, I will miss that chance tonight."

"Oh" he said sounding dejected. "Are you busy?"

"No, not really I have nothing but time. I'm grounded."

"Grounded…Well it's a better excuse than you're working."

"Meaning what exactly." Cali said making sure to add the bite in her tone. She didn't like him implying that she needed an excuse to decline having ice cream with him.

Lucas quickly recognized his error. "I mean only that I know you're not working."

"And how do you know that?"

"I was just at you're job, and you weren't there."

"How do you I wasn't in the back?"

"Because I asked."

Cali laughed loud. "You really are a stalker!"

Lucas laughed too, only now seeing how bad it looked. "Noooo. I just wanted another one of those vanilla steamed milk things."

"Yeah sure." Cali only half joked. "Creepy predator."

Lucas laughed. "It's not like that I swear."

"Uh huh"

"So are you really grounded?" he asked successfully moving the conversation past his suspect behavior.

"Yes"

Lucas tried to stifle a laugh, "How old are you?"

"Exactly!" Cali said a little louder than she should have; glad to finally have someone who understood her.

"Well, I guess if my parents were the type, I'd be grounded too."

"Ooh what'd you do, delinquent?"

"Says the girl in timeout" Lucas shot back surprising even himself.

"Oh! That's cold" Cali replied with a laugh.

"I'm just joking. Did you hear about what happened today though?"

"Yeah…That was you? You freaking criminal."

Lucas laughed. "I didn't do it on purpose."

"So which was it, a gun, a bomb, or drugs?"

"What?" Lucas asked with a laugh. "The official story is a student off campus during credit hours."

"Unofficially?"

"I got caught coming back onto campus after smoking and the safety officer smelled something on me."

"And they called the cops on you?" Cali asked laughing even hard. "That's why smoking is choking."

"Dude, they like practically strip searched me. The principal had me thinking I was going to jail. I was petrified."

Ignoring the fact that he called her dude, Cali replied with the same easy air. "That's what you get for trying to be cool."

"But I wasn't, dude. Honestly I was just being stupid and got caught. I always smoke during lunch."

"Not anymore" Cali said still finding his predicament amusing.

"Man, Mr. Schwartz was so pissed when the cops said they couldn't search my car. He wanted me to go to jail. Now I'm suspended for the rest of the week and have like 2 months of detention when I'm allowed back. He officially hates me."

"Sucks for you. He loves me."