"Abbey, are you listening? I said I wanted your help on my art project." Sadie said, curling her hair around her finger.

I shook my head and looked at her. "Sorry. I have a lot on my mind."

Sadie frowned. "Well, anyway, like I was saying... Oh, right. Could you help me?"

"Uh, sure." I mumbled. Of course Sadie wouldn't care how I felt or what was going on in my person life. She never did. About anyone.

She started talking about something else then and I tuned her out completely.

"Abbey, are you feeling okay?" Josh asked, whispering in my ear.

I swallowed hard. Josh was my best friend. My gay best friend. That never stopped me from being friends with him. Though Sadie didn't really like him too much she dealt with him, hardly saying much to him.

"My brother's coming home from school for the summer. He wants to help my mom with Grace." Grace was my little sister. She was only two years old. She was very hard to handle

He patted my hand. "I'm sorry. If you want, you can come over and stay with me at my house."

"I have to help Sadie tonight." I said, lowering my voice.

"Forget her. Your needs are more important." He said with a grin.

"I can't. She's my friend."

He sighed. "Well... call me, okay?"

I nodded. "If I have any time, I will."

He smiled. "Okay. Well I have to get to class."

I groaned softly. "Don't leave me here with her."

"You'll be fine." He said. He patted my shoulder and walked off.

I frowned and reached for my purse. Sadie was still talking. "I'm sorry to do this, Sade. But I have to go see Mrs. Shannon about something."

She frowned then quickly recovered it. "See you after school then?"

I nodded. "Yeah." I held my books close to my chest and walked down the hallway.

"Abbey, wait up!" Someone yelled from behind me.

I paused and turned, seeing Eric running past some people to catch up to me. He stopped in front of me and grabbed my hand.

"What?" I asked, taking him in. His hair was gelled back with that pound of gel he thought was necessary. His backpack strap was slung over one shoulder, probably an attempt to look cool. He always tried way too hard.

"I haven't seen you at all today. Where have you been?"

I didn't have a good excuse. I wasn't hiding from him or anything but I knew he'd think I was.

"I had a huge test earlier and Josh was helping me study."

His face fell a little. "You didn't want me to help you?"

"Josh is in AP English. I figured he'd be my best choice." I explained, starting to walk to my locker, Eric's hand still in mine.

"Okay, well..." He sighed and leaned against the locker beside mine. "I really don't like that kid, Ab."

I rolled my eyes where he couldn't see and brushed a strand of hair back behind my ear. "It's not like he likes me like that, Eric. We're just friends."

He took a book from my locker and flipped it open to a random page. "That's what I said before we started going out. It's something a guy says when he wants to get in your pants."

I glared at him. "He's gay, Eric."

"Gay boys like sex, too."

"And you would know?" I asked, ripping the book from his hands.

He sighed and straightened. "Abbey-"

"Don't, Eric." I said, tossing the book into my locker. I slammed the door shut and looked at him. "You can't change my mind about him."

"Come on, babe." He said, slinking his arm around me.

I shrugged him off. "Eric, don't. I'm not in the mood."

"What about tonight? Would you be in the mood then?" He asked, whispering in my ear.

"I'm already busy."

"Don't tell me-"

"It's with Sadie." I said, starting to walk down the hall toward my next glass. Sometimes, I was glad to get away from Eric. He could get annoying at times.

He got quiet.

I pushed him away a little. "I'll call you tonight, okay?"

He sighed. "Fine."

I gave him a light smile before walking off to class.

"You read Nathaniel Hawthorne?" A girl asked, standing by my desk.

I looked up and closed my book a little. "I needed something for my English book report and this looked good."

She smiled. "It's a really good book. And he's a good author, if that counts for anything."

"You read books like this?" I asked, trying to hide my smirk.

She shrugged, her blonde hair falling down her shoulders to spill at her sides. "When I'm babysitting and my neighbor won't get to sleep."

"You read books on adultery to little kids?" This girl was crazy. No doubt about that.

She laughed. "I'm kidding. I'm into poetry and novels and stuff like that. It's a hobby."

"Kind of boring if you ask me."

She shrugged and looked around the room. Most of the chairs were already filled. The teacher told us to pick new seats; I'd chosen to sit in the back, to get away from the jocks that filled the middle seats. She sat down in the empty seat beside my desk. "I don't really have much to do when I'm home."

"No friends?" I asked, running a hand through my hair.

She shook her head. "Not yet. I just moved here."

"Oh." No wonder I didn't know her.

She smiled and held out a hand. "I'm Lucy."

I took her hand hesitantly. "Abbey."

"Settle down!" Mr. Chestnut said, walking into the room. The door swung shut behind him, closing with a loud click. "Does anyone know..."

I tuned him out and sat back in my chair. Lucy seemed... different, unlike any other girl I'd ever met at this school. I wonder if she noticed how mean some of these people here could be.