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Chapter 9

My morning hadn't been too eventful so far. I had met Cade and tried to talk to him. But that proved quite the challenge.

I had also been assigned a student ambassador since I was new. Her name was Clarissa. She had mid length blonde hair and wore a pleated skirt. She had shown me around and was the only student who had been nice to me so far. She seemed a bit high-stung but caring.

As I sat in my third-period biology class I thought of the next things I needed to do.

1) Go to the library and get the school's network downloaded so I could hack into all of the teacher's accounts.
2) Hide a wire in the guidance counselor's office.
3) Actually have a conversation with Cade.

The first would be easy. I could go to the library at lunch and use a computer. The second would be a bit harder. I would need to scope out Mr. Garett's office to find a good place to put the wire. Then I'd need to figure out how to place it without him knowing. Leo was wanted us to listen while Cade was speaking to Mr. Garett. In case anything important came up.

The final would be the hardest. Cade seemed like he didn't want to talk to anyone let alone make a new friend. I was counting on using the school's computer system to make sure we got paired together as much as possible.

"You will be randomly assigned lab partners next class. That will be your partner for all labs. So, if you have any reasons why you do not want to be paired with someone, please let me know after class. And no, I will not be taking requests on who your partner is." The teacher says. Well, if I could hack in today I could make sure Cade and I were paired up.

When my class is over, I head to my locker to grab my lunch. I plan to go to the library and eat while the software downloads. That is until Clarissa stops by and says, "Would you like to have lunch together?"

It would be weird to say no. And I didn't want her to see me eating alone in the library.

"Yeah, that sounds great."

I follow her to the cafeteria. It seems like most kids buy a lunch. Clarissa says I can go through the line with her and then we can find a table together. As we are waiting, she tells me about how good the food is and how big the student body is. As we pass through, I get a look at the prices. $25 for a salad! Wow, I would be sticking to my bagged lunch that was for sure.

After Clarissa has her food, I follow her to a table. Some girls are sitting there already, and Clarissa introduces us.

After eating and talking for a few minutes a girl with long dark auburn hair came over to our table. "Have you seen him anywhere? I swear I've looked all over." She asks Clarissa as she sits by us.

"I haven't seen him yet; did you try the smoking corner?" Clarissa replies.

"Of course, that was where I first looked. Ugh. His brother said he'd be back. I wish he'd at least talk to me."

"Anyway, Elizabeth this is Lola, she's new. Lola this is my friend Elizabeth."

"Hi, sorry I didn't see you there. It's nice to meet you." Elizabeth says to me with a smile.

I return it and ask, "Who are you looking for? Maybe I've seen them."

Clarissa pipes up before Elizabeth can answer, "This guy she hooked up with last year. He was a year older but failed so he's in our grade now. But I think she should leave him alone he's not worth her time."Clarissa finishes giving a look to Elizabeth.

"Well, I'm not leaving it alone. His name is Cade, he has black hair, it's usually messy. He's sort of tall." Elizabeth tells me.

"I think he's in my English class. I sat beside a guy that matches that description. He didn't talk much though, so I didn't get his name." I tell them hoping they'll give me more information on him.

"That's probably him. He's a man of few words." Elizabeth says.

"What happened, if you don't mind me asking." I probe.

"Well at the start of the school year last year, he seemed, I don't know, normal, I guess. He was always a big partier, but I don't know what happens. In November it was like a flip switched. He stopped caring about everything and would show up to school drunk or high. After I hooked up with him in may I started to try to get to know him more. When I tried to help him, he told me to leave him alone. But I just can't." Elizabeth tells me.

"Oh, come on. He's an asshole. You slept with him then he blew you off. Even if he's going through something it's not up to you to fix it." Clarissa tells her.

"Well, I really like him, and it seems like nobody is there for him." Elizabeth defends.

"Anyway, enough about Cade, how are you finding our school so far?" Clarissa asks me.

"Okay, the classes and teachers are good but most of the students haven't talked to me at all," I tell them honestly.

"That's because they are all stuck up. You don't fit in, so they have to ignore you. Don't worry after a couple of weeks they'll stop being so rude." Elizabeth says.

"Well, you have us at least. I'm sorry people aren't nicer." Clarissa chimes in.

When I finish my food I say, "I'm going to head to the library and get my account set up. I'll see you both later."

"Okay!" Clarissa says as I get up.

As I walk away, I hear Elizabeth say, "Why do you always have to welcome the freaks?"

When I get to the library, I find it rather empty. I talk to the librarian and get my account set up. I then go to a computer and log in. After a few moments, I plug a device in and text Leo that I've started the download. He does the part from his end so that we can store all the data. The download goes quickly, and I end up having 15 minutes left until my next class.

I go outside and walk around a bit. I follow the smell of cigarettes to what I assume is 'the smoking corner'. I light up a cigarette and start to smoke it. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Cade smoking.

"Nothing like a cigarette for lunch," I say to him.

He smirks and shakes his head while he stamps on his butt. Well, that's some progress. A smile- well smirk, is better than a grunt in my books.

The rest of the school day passes uneventfully and when I'm done, I drive to my Abuelo's to pick up Tomàs.

When I got home, I played with Tomàs while running software to get passwords for various teachers' accounts. My mom was at work- or at least I hoped she was, so it was quiet.

After eating supper, I put Tomàs to bed and called Leo.

"Hey, how many times can I make us random partners until it's suspicious?" I ask.

"Maybe twice."

"Well, they are assuming lab partners in biology but that would only be in school. But in history, there is a semester-long project where you need to meet with your partners like every 1-2 weeks to research and plan. Then each pair will create a presentation and a paper by the end of the semester. History could get me into his house, but biology would put me by him every day we do a lab at school. And then I found out he's on the peer tutor list for Spanish. I could volunteer and make sure he's assigned to me."

"I'd say do the Spanish and the history. If you were also lab partners, it may look strange."

"Yeah, I agree."

I'm really thankful all the teachers use the school system. If they used their personal accounts, I'd have to hack each one which would have been a lot harder.

As I'm packing up for the night, I hear my mom and her boyfriend get home. They make so much noise Tomàs wakes up.

"Loda, can I lay wit you?" He asks standing at my door.

"Of course, I'm just going to the bathroom I'll be right back," I say as he crawls into my bed.

Once I'm ready I climb into my twin bed beside an exhausted Tomàs. As we both try to sleep, I hear my mom and her boyfriend having extremely loud sex. I hate these thin walls.
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