Spinelli shifted in the plastic chair behind her desk. She looked at the clock for the umpteenth time. Five minutes until lunch. Five minutes until she had to make a scene in front of the entire school in the cafeteria and break up with T.J. Detwiler. The most embarrassing part about it was they weren't even dating. She was going to make herself look like a fool.
The bell rang and the other students began packing their stuff and heading to the lunchroom. Spinelli held back and took her time before joining them. She defiantly wasn't the nervous type but right now she felt as though she was shaking in her boots.
When she arrived in the cafeteria, she saw her five friends gathered around their usual table. Mikey began to wave as she drew closer. Spinelli found her result in the gentle giants welcoming smile and picked up the pace towards her friends.
She was Ashley-Fucking-Spinelli and she wasn't going to back down from anything. Not even this.
Deciding it was best just to rip the band aid off she slammed her hand down on the table right in front of T.J., making the boy look up from his food. The rest of the group turned their attention towards her. She bent over and said in a voice to low for the rest of the student body to here. "Listen guys. I'm really sorry but I've got to do this for everyone's own good."
She backed up from the table and pointed an accusing figure at T.J. "I heard what you did with Ashley A at the party on Friday!" She exclaimed. The entire student body stopped their hum of chatter and looked towards the scene. "I'm so done with your shit Detwiler! I knew this was going to happen and that why I hooked up with Lawson that night too!"
T.J. looked absolutely dumb founded.
"I'm leaving you! I'm with Lawson now." Spinelli tore her eyes from T.J.'s and stomped out of the room, leaving her friends, and the rest of the school, in shock.
In the corner, Lawson was grinning ear from ear to ear.
"Where are you going?" Gus asked, following Gretchen out of the school's side door. They were heading towards the bus parking lot and it made Gus nervous. Only the bad kids hung out in the bus lot.
"I need to talk to someone." Gretchen called behind her to the taller teenager. "I'll catch up with you in class." The bell would ring signaling the end of lunch within ten minutes, but she had to talk to Butch and find out why everyone was staring at her.
The scene Spinelli had made in the cafeteria had made it very clear that the girls maybe-pregnancy was not the route of the rumours.
"I'm not letting you go out there alone!" Gus sounded worried. When Gus was worried about a friend it was always better to let him feel as though he was protecting them.
Gretchen sighed and turned toward the boy. She folded her arms over her chest and looked at Gus sternly. "Fine. Come. But anything you hear between me and Butch never leaves the three of us okay?"
Gus gulped and nodded. He was having second thoughts now. What was he getting himself into? "Well, if you're looking for Butch, here he comes."
Sure enough, when Gretchen looked toward the busses again, she saw the grey streaked hair of Butch coming toward them.
Butch had graduated from knowing all of the old folk stories that his older brother had told him and now knew all the stories that went on behind the scene of their high school.
"Gretchen," Butch said now that he was in hearing distance. "Gus" He nodded at the taller boy. "I was wondering how long it would take you two to seek me out."
"So you know what going on then?" Gretchen asked with her arms still folded.
Butch gave a cunning smile. "Do I ever not know what's going on?"
"Are you going to make me ask or will you just tell me?"
Butch gave a sigh that was somehow a laugh at the same time. "Everyone has been staring at me all morning and I want to know what's up."
Butch wiggled his eyebrows at the pair. "Word on the street is..." He paused for dramatic effect. "The two of you lost your V-Cards to each other at the party."
Gus and Gretchen both stared at Butch for a long moment, trying to comprehend what they had just heard. The looked at each other in awe and burst out laughing in unison.
"That's it?" Gretchen said between gasps of air. The idea was so ridiculous. If people wanted to make up those kinds of meaningless stories, let them. It wasn't hurting anyone.
The two of them walked back towards the school, still laughing with each other. They left Butch behind, looking after them like they were crazy.
"Do you want to come over and do homework after school?" Gretchen asked as if their conversation with butch hadn't just happened.
"Actually me and the guys are going to break into the Third Street's playground and play some tether ball. You want to come?"
Although it did sound like fun, going back to their elementary school and playing their old favorite game, she decided that she couldn't be normal around T.J. right at that moment. "Nah, I think I'll pass."
"Were you guys even together?" Vince asked, punching the tether ball towards Gus.
T.J. Looked thoughtful. "Yeah. I guess we kind of were." He thought that they had just been hooking up but as he thought more and more about it- they did a lot more than just have sex. They stayed up until the early hours of the morning watching horror movies and they hung out alone more often then not.
The ball came towards him and he hit it back around the poll. He hadn't seen this coming by a long shot. Why hadn't Spinelli just talked to him instead of getting all upset? He didn't recall doing anything with Ashley A on Friday and even if he had, none of the Ashley's could shine a light on Spinelli.
"There's just something I don't get." Gus pipped in. "Why would Spinelli go for Lawson? She hates him more than anyone."
"There's a fine line between love and hate, Gus." Mikey said sorrowfully.
"I'm more surprised that anyone would break up with you T.J." Vince said. "Usually you figure out how to get everything to go your way and end up getting what you want."
"Hey, you're making me sound like a bad guy." T.J. rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "I don't always get what I want."
"Uhh… Tj. Remember that time you tided a Lazy Boy to the roof of the bus and rode it all the way home?" The group of boys laughed at the fond memory.
"Yeah, and even Ms. Finster let you!" Gus said threw his chuckles.
"Guys. It's just not adding up with Lawson." T.J. said. The air was serious again.
"Maybe he has something on her and was able to make her do it?" Vince said, catching the ball in his hands.
The boys looked from one to another.
"No other way."
"So what do we do then?" Vince asked. Still holding the ball.
T.J. looked at his shoes. So Lawson was playing dirty. Two could play at that game and T.J. would win. Like his friends has said. He always got things to go his way. "Boys." He looked at his friends with an evil smirk. "It's time for a good ol' fashion lock out."