Slipping in a puddle under the broken water fountain should teach me to stop gawking at Jenna Macintyre, but I know it won’t. I fell for her when we were ten, and in the six years since, I’ve continued to fall. And stutter. And make an ass out of myself in general.
“Good one, Zachy,” she says, leaning down so that her golden hair swings in my face. She flicks my shoulder, sending shivers down all my nerve endings, straightens up, and heads off toward whatever her next class is. If I had any guts at all I’d call her on all the humiliating things she’s ever said to me, but I don’t. Instead, I wonder if she moves that way on purpose.
Her gaggle of wannabes follow in her wake, blocking the view. Their laughter bounces back down the hall even after I hear the door close behind them.
It’s only after the final bell rings that I realize I should probably breathe if I want to avoid passing out and drowning in an inch of water. So, I shake myself and stand up, leaning on Emmet. I almost forgot he was there. I groan when I feel the heavy material of my soaked jeans clinging to my legs. Nice.
“Loitering now I see, Mr. Slater.” My sixth period Physics teacher’s voice nearly makes me slip again.
“But-” I start.
“Save it for someone who cares. Get to your next class or I’ll be happy to send you to detention.” Mr. Crown slides his Coke bottle glasses up the bridge of his nose and curls his thin upper lip in distaste.
“I had an accident,” I say in a rush.
He raises his eyebrows, taking in my pants, and heat floods my face.
“Not that kind of accident. I slipped in the hall because of the broken fountain.” I ought to threaten to sue.
“That’s what happens when you run in the hallways.”
Is he serious? I draw my hands down over my face, trying to collect myself. “Fine. I’m going,” I say, slinging my backpack over my shoulder.
“Watch that attitude.” He slams the door to his room, and I flip him off before turning back to Emmet, the only other person left in the now deserted hall.
“Take good notes,” I say. “I’m out of here.”
“Thank God,” Emmet says. “I thought you were going to actually go to class like that for a minute.”
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