Youth

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Chapter 3

I sit in my history class, listening to Mr. Grayson go on about how knowing your history is important for the present and future. The bell finally rings and I begin to pack up my stuff.

"Hey, you're Bo right?" A guy comes up to me, his backpack slung over his shoulder. I think his name is Aaron.

"That's me," I say, sliding my folder into my backpack.

"Great, Lukas wanted me to ask you if you'd sit with us at lunch?" That's when it clicks my head, he's Aaron Walker, running back on the Westside football team.

"No, thank you. I have plans to sit with someone else," I smile and zip up my bag, "Tell him thanks for the offer."

I grab my sweatshirt and as I walk away, my thoughts are racing from Aaron's question. Lukas really wants me to sit with them today? I swear the second he mentioned Lukas, my heart sunk.

In the hallway, I find Sage waiting, "You always take like four hours to get out of your class," She complains as we walk down towards the lunch room.

"Leave me alone, at least I have an organized backpack. It's more than you can say," Sage's fist collides with my arm and I laugh in response. I rub my arm as we walk into the cafeteria.

My eyes immediately find Lukas who sits at the table with all of his friends.

"I saw Adrian this morning," Sage sighs dreamily, "He's so perfect."

"Yeah, perfect," I deadpan, grabbing a tray from the counter. We go through the line and choose our foods. I get chicken tenders, fries, and a bottle of orange juice from the vending machine.

"I don't get why you drink so much orange juice," Sage states, taking a fry from her bunch and eating it.

"It's good," I shrug as we sit down at our table. I set my jacket on the chair next to me along with my backpack. The conversations flowing around us drown out anything I've been thinking about today.

"So, how's your day been so far?" Sage asks, she seems genuinely interested in my day all the time. I'm not gonna lie, I keep her in the dark about everything. She knows nothing about me except for the fact that we're the same age.

"Okay," I shrug, dipping my fry in ranch, "Aaron told me that Lukas wanted me to sit with them at lunch today."

Sage nearly chokes on her drink, "And you're sitting here why?!" I knew I shouldn't have told her but if I didn't she would've found out another way.

"I'm sitting here because I'm not going to sit with all those obnoxious teenagers," I say, a bit of attitude stinging the air between us. I crack open the top from my orange juice and take a drink.

"Stop sounding like a grouchy grandma. You're a teenager too Bo, embrace it." The shaking of my head makes Sage roll her eyes. She hates when I do this. I haven't been a teenager for years. I may be eighteen years old but I've been taking care of myself since I was ten, "Looks like you can't escape the grips of the popular kids," Sage says, raising her eyebrows before looking down at her tray.

I slyly turn my head to see what she's talking about, but when I see Madeline, Mason, Adrian, Aaron, Lukas, and that one blonde girl from Spanish class walking over to my table, I can feel the vomit in my throat.

"Oh my god," I panic, whipping my head back to Sage, "I'm gonna throw up," She giggles and then shushes me as they stand before us.

"You know Bo, people don't normally decline our requests to sit with us." Madeline sits down next to Sage, "I've never seen you around before." She looks me up and down and turns her head to look at Sage, "You, I've seen you before, English Lit I think."

"Yeah," She says nervously, completely abandoning her normal confidence.

One after another, everyone sits down. Lukas sits next to Adrian who sits next to Sage. Mason sits next to me and Aaron takes the seat next to the blonde girl. I feel bad I still don't know her name.

"You guys just left your table," I say turning around and looking at the now empty eating space. They really just abandoned their table to sit with a pair of nobodies. I'd like for them to go back to their seat though.

"This is our table now, silly." Madeline smiles, I glance at Lukas who's looking my way. A toothpick rests between his pink lips which only adds to the hot persona he owns. He catches my gaze and we stare at each other. The time feels like it slows, but the seconds keep ticking by.

"Right," I drag, taking a chicken tender and tearing it apart.

I pop a few pieces into my mouth as Mason begins to speak, "We're all going to dinner tonight at Aqua if you guys want to come," I choke on my chicken and they all look at me, watching me nearly die. You've got to be kidding.

When Im finally able to breathe I raise my eyebrows. I have work tonight, I can't let them see me there, "A-aqua?"

"Yeah, problem?" Mason smiles at me, his hazel eyes intimidating me.

"No. I'm busy tonight, but I think Sage can go," Mason looks at me for a little longer than I would've liked but then he turns to Sage.

"Sage? Would you like to come to dinner with us tonight?" Sage smiles and nods. Her eyes dart over to Adrian who's talking with Lukas and Aaron.

"I have to get going but I'll see you guys later." I force a goodbye smile and pick up my backpack, along with my tray. Doing this same process as I do every day, I take my orange juice and dump my trash in the bin.

I walk out of the cafeteria and take a walk to the library. A few kids sit around, reading, studying, or doing their homework. I go up and down the aisles to find a book to read in my spare time. I stop at the R aisle and find the Harry Potter series sitting on the shelf. I pull off the first book and look at the inside.

I bring the book to the librarian who checks it out under my name. I take the book and once I walk out of the library the bell rings.

Kids start piling out of the cafeteria and classes. My head begins to hurt as everyone swarms around me. People push, shove, and run to get to class.

My feet carry me, slow as ever to Math.

"Hey Bo!" Lukas weaves through the crowd of people and catches me before I go into class. He looks me dead in the eyes and says, "You forgot your jacket in the cafeteria." I look down to see my black sweatshirt in his hand.

"Thanks," I smile to myself as I turn and walk into class.

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