That walk was long, and meandering. Neither of us spoke much, preferring the solitude of silence in nature. We arrived back at my house hours later, when the sun began to sink slowly into the west. “Cass?”
I was startled out of my thoughts, and I crossed my arms. “I’m sorry.”
MJ just shook his head. “I will be back tomorrow. Don’t turn on the sprinklers.”
That last comment had me smiling as MJ walked away.
Monday arrived, and I slowly drove into the school parking lot. MJ had come around on Friday afternoon, but was called away only ten minutes later by the football coach. There was a last minute tournament the team was attending, meaning he had been gone the whole weekend.
Well, that was what he had mumbled when he read the message from his coach. Whether that was true was a different story. Choosing not to read too deeply into the whole situation, I kept myself amused during the weekend.
Now, I stepped out of my car into the drizzle. It was chilly, and I pulled my jacket tighter around my shoulders. I didn’t have my laptop with me, rather leaving it in its secret compartment under my desk. It would be safe there. I clutched my laptop bag – filled with books and notes – and scurried out of the rain into the school.
People milled around me, but I paid them no mind. A calendar one of the teachers had helpfully stuck to the outside of the door caught my eye, and I paused. Is that really today’s date? Living alone definitely had its downsides, since I had completely forgotten that today was my birthday.
Feeling a little sick inside for such a blatant oversight, I staggered away from the door. And tripped over my own foot. My backside hurt as a landed, and I heard a snigger behind me. “Happy birthday to me,” I muttered under my breath as I pushed slowly to my feet.
The bell rang, and people began to disperse. I followed a group of people into my English class, and headed for my seat in the back corner. There was a stunning lack of MJ, and I found myself missing his presence as I doodled on my notebook. Why was I missing him? He had done little, except me sure I was okay after breaking my nose.
The dilemma rolled through my mind as I waited for Miss Partridge to begin her lesson. It was a continuation of what I had missed the previous week, with an in depth look into Gatsby. The lesson came to an end, and I stood up to go. Miss Partridge stood next to her desk. “Cassandra, I’d like to speak to you, please.”
The room emptied around me as I waited next to her desk. Once we were alone, she turned to me. “I heard about why you missed school last week. Apparently, you had a broken nose.” She waved her hand dismissively in my direction. “It seems a lot better. So, I expect you to finish this report on Gatsby at the same time as everybody else. Michael should have been taking notes during the last week.”
“He’s away, but we were in contact last week.”
Miss Partridge sat down. “You may go.”
I left, entering the now empty hallway.