A/N-Thank you to everyone who is STILL reading! I'm glad to know that there are still reviewers out there! Also, I'm sorry for the late update, FictionPress wouldn't let me get into my Document Manger so, if there are errors, I apologize.
We made it to school without much problem. Todd trudged behind Hanna and I as we acted just like we thought Alison would, and gossiped about people, who we knew Todd didn't know. It felt good to have a friend I could trust, but I also felt bad for being a little mean to Todd. Poor Todd. I remember when we were little I called him Toddy or even Teddy because I mixed up the o with an e.
Of course, every time I made even the slightest eye contact with Todd, my throat would tighten and I stopped talking.
Hanna and I basically threw all of our unwanted books into our lockers and sped off to homeroom to get away from Todd for a little while. Alison and her clones were already there giggling like idiots.
As soon as Emma saw Hanna, she stopped and walked over. "Han, I'm so sorry, really. I-I just got caught up in finally being popular."
I scoffed, but don't say anything. I mean seriously, it sounded so rehearsed.
"Emma, we've been best friends forever. And…I even fought with Jessica because I didn't believe what she said at first. But, you even admitted it. You're friends with someone who hates me…and you still don't care. I just…I don't know how I could forgive you so easily."
Emma nodded solemnly, and slowly walked back over to, guess who, Alison.
"I can't believe that after all of that, she still is friends with Alison," I said, staring at Alison's clones, huddled around her and her desk.
"I know. At least I know you'll never do that to me, Jess," Hanna said, smiling as we sat at our desks.
I smiled back and nodded. "You know I wouldn't."
Todd trudged in a few minutes before the bell rang and Ms. Finemen walked in.
"Alright everyone, pass in your assignments from yesterday!" She said, in her loud voice.
Everyone shuffled to get their papers out of their backpacks or binders just as someone knocked on the door.
"Yes?" Ms. Finemen asked the secretary at the door, who I recognized from the office.
"May I see Jessica for a moment, please?"
Everyone's attention shifted to me.
"Sure. Jessica Martin!" Ms. Finemen called.
The entire homeroom watched as I got up from my desk and walked over to the door where the secretary with black glasses with strings on the end, was standing. "Follow me," She said, turning and walking down the hallway.
The last thing I heard from the classroom was Emma saying, "Ms. Finemen, may I please use the washroom?"
I followed the secretary down the hallway and towards the front office. She walked behind the counter and stood staring at me for a moment and then she said, "Your mother called. She said she can't pick you up today so your supposed to go home with Todd Miller."
"Okay," I said, turning to leave the office. Great, I had to go home with the guy I was trying to avoid.
Instead of heading straight back to homeroom, I went straight for the bathroom. I walked over to one of the sinks and turned it on, splashing myself in the face with cold water. Maybe this is a dream, or a terrible nightmare I need to wake up from.
A stall lock clicked open and the door pulled back. "How did I know you'd be in here?"
I looked up in the mirror and saw Emma standing there with a vicious smile on her face. "I don't know. Maybe, your just a creep who has nothing better to do then follow people to the bathroom."
She laughed, but it wasn't real. It sounded like pity. "Jessica, dear, I have much better things to do. But I'm here to tell you a little secret."
"And what would that be, Miss Backstabber?" I asked, with a smile just as vicious as hers, spreading across my face.
Emma scoffed. "I wouldn't be calling names now, Jess. You're the reason Hanna's not friends with me anymore! You just had to take her all for yourself, didn't you?"
"What, you think I'd sit back and basically lie to the only friend I had?"
"Jessica Martin, you made the biggest mistake of your life."
I ran out of the bathroom door and looked down the hall.
Emma came out behind me and pushed me up against a wall. "What? Are you afraid to defend yourself?"
She was closing in the distance between us, and I started to panic. What was I going to do? Run? Push her back down? My decision was made for me.
Two hands pushed Emma away from me and she fell to the tiled floor.
She looked as shocked as I did.
"Stay away from her, or you'll have to deal with me." It was Todd.
I literally had never been this happy to see him. We both stared at Emma who's expression went from shocked to pure anger.
Emma scrambled to her feet and glared at Todd and I. "Whatever. Ally would be happy to hear about this." And she stalked off back to the classroom.
I let out a breath of relief. "Thanks."
"Anytime. What happened?"
"Emma followed me to the bathroom."
"But I thought you were in the office."
Oh right, that. Should I tell him that I was getting a ride home with him? Maybe I should keep that off for a bit. "Yeah, but then I went to the bathroom and Emma was there…and well…yeah."
"Oh. Well are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's not like she hit me or anything. Plus, I can handle myself," I said, walking ahead of Todd.
We both got back into homeroom, around the same time. Except, Todd got an upset look from Ms. Finemen, but I didn't.
As I slid into my desk Hanna whispered, "What the heck happened?"
"What do you mean?" I replied, pretending to pay attention to whatever Ms. Finemen was saying.
"Emma has been talking non-stop to Alison about something that happened in the bathroom. She keeps saying your name."
My eyes narrowed to slits as I looked over my shoulder back at Emma who looked as though she couldn't and wouldn't stop talking to Alison.
Emma gave me her vicious smile but kept whispering to Alison.
I leaned back and whispered to Hanna, "Laugh like I said something about Alison."
She spread a smile across her face and started giggling, as she cast a glance at Alison.
I mirrored Emma's smile and turned to face forward.
After homeroom, Hanna and I finally got away from Alison and her clones for the rest of the morning. Lunch scraped by pretty slow too. When the final bell rang, Hanna and I rushed out of school as quick as possible, but as if I was attached to a leash, I stopped and stumbled backwards.
"I have to go home with Todd…"
Hanna gave me a look of sympathy and touched my arm. "Do you want to see if you can come over?"
I looked down at the concrete. "I should just go. It won't be so bad. I'll text you when I get home."
She nodded and smiled as Todd walked up. "Bye, Jess." She waved and walked away.
"Hey," I mumbled.
"So when were you going to tell me that I was supposed to give you a ride home?" He asked, giving me his signature smile.
"Um…I don't know…now?"
Todd laughed. "Well, c'mon. My mom'll be waiting."
I trudged beside him as he led me to his mom's car.
"Hey, Jessica," His mom greeted as we got into the back of her van, a van that I was so familiar to, yet it seemed like uncharted territory. "Haven't seen you in a while."
I gave her a weak smile. "Hi, Mrs. Miller."
As soon as Todd slid the door shut, Mrs. Miller drove off down the street.
My mind was racing almost a million miles a minute. I need to get out of here, I feel suffocated, there has to be some way out of here. There needs to be some way out of this because if I stay here until 4:30 when my mom gets off of work, I will literally die. I will suffocate to death, that's what I'll do. The house…the door…the welcome mat…the welcome mat! The mat had a key beneath it, how could I forget? "Uh…Mrs. Miller? I just remembered there's a key underneath the mat at my house. So I can go home."
Mrs. Miller glanced at me in the rearview mirror. "Alright, but if it's not there, you can still come to our house, Jessica."
I nodded and gave her a fake smile.
She changed her route and drove to my house and as soon as she stopped in front of my faded blue house, I threw myself out of the van and ran to the door mat. "Please be there, please be there, please…" I peeled the weathered door mat away from the ground to reveal the solitary key which was now the key to my sanity. I smiled at the key, picked it up, and waved to Todd's mom.
She smiled and waved back, pulling forward and driving down the street.
Thank God that's over. If I had to go to Todd's house, I might've just thrown up. I unlocked the door, quickly tucked the lone key back under the mat, and walked into the house. So I was alone, at least until Mom came home.
So about that thing with Todd and Emma today, what was I supposed to tell Hanna? I know she was going to ask. But I don't know what to tell her.
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