#16

Kelly Calloway sat in her classroom at lunchtime tearing the crusts off her peanut butter sandwich. She hadn’t bothered to see if Mr. Temple was free to eat with her. In fact, she assumed he and Miss Bristol would be taking their meals together more often now. She took a a large bite when a knock came at the door. It was Bonnie Bristol.

“Kelly,” she said in her breathy voice. “Do you mind if I join you? I thought we could talk about the club. You know you and I are going to be co-advisers, so I think we should have a chat about what it is we want to do.”

Barely being able to speak because of the gobs of peanut butter in her mouth, Kelly managed only to nod her head. Of course, she would have preferred Bonnie Bristol to be choking on her sandwich instead of her, but life wasn’t always fair. Bonnie opened her lunch box. Inside was a small salad–sans croutons–celery sticks with a smattering of peanut butter, a handful of grapes, and a bottle of mineral water. In short, Kelly thought, Miss Bristol was, indeed, a horse’s ass.

“I was thinking we ought to start talking up the club with our classes,” said Miss Bristol. “For the first meeting, I was running around the idea of my students performing an original song, you know, something that’s uniquely ours. What do you think?”

The phrase “uniquely ours” rung in Miss Calloway’s ears. It seemed that Miss Bristol had a knack for wording her sentences in such a way that would make her mind rage. “I think it’s a lovely idea,” Miss Calloway said, trying to sound as sincere as possible.

“You and your students might make advertisements, and maybe even a seal. I think it’s important that we stand out from the rest. You know, we don’t want to get pushed aside and forgotten by the kids if something better comes along,” said Bonnie.

Kelly took a bite of her sandwich. The peanut butter stopped her from saying something she would regret.

***

When Olivia Gardner came home from school, her mother welcomed her inside with a warm smile. Annette felt that finally, she and Olivia could bond in the way she had always wanted. They had made a date to go dress shopping that afternoon.

“You know, I’ve been looking forward to this all day!” Annette said, kissing Olivia on the cheek. “I just have to grab my purse and we’ll go.”

Something about her mother’s excitement infuriated Olivia. “I’ll wait in the car,” she said.

She sat in the front seat of her mother’s blue convertible and began to thumb through her phone. Rereading some messages from Tom, she smiled. His blond hair and blue eyes got her every time. She couldn’t wait for pictures.

“Ready to go?” Annette said, getting behind the wheel. “I don’t think you ever showed me a photo of Tom. What does he look like? We’ll have to pick out something that matches both of you.”

Olivia passed Annette her phone. On it was a picture of Tom from the summer. He was on the beach playing Frisbee. “An all-American boy, that’s for sure,” Annette said. “When do we get to meet him?”

“I guess on Friday before the dance,” Olivia said.

“Maybe he can come over a little earlier and have dinner,” said Annette.

“Maybe,” Olivia replied.

“Does he have a favorite food? I can make whatever you like.”

“I don’t know.”

“Why don’t you find out and let me know?”

“Okay.”

Annette stared at her daughter. All of a sudden she seemed disinterested. What had she done?

“Is everything okay, honey?” she asked.

“Fine.” Thoughts of Tom flashed across Olivia’s mind. Her parents, if they only knew, would certainly not approve. She felt guilty, but then again, she didn’t care.

Annette decided to pick her battles. Olivia, however, was ready for war. It wasn’t because she felt she had to fight with her mother. She simply wanted to.

END

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