She slid her fingers into the side pocket of the calculator’s cover and sighed. She had been lending her calculator to Lee since the beginning of the school year. One day she found the courage to write him a note and stuck it into the pocket. He wrote back, and now the letter exchange was the highlight of her day. It was pathetic, but she’d take what she could get from him.
“Why do you torture yourself?” Sarah said into Jessie’s ear.
Jessie faced her friend who was dressed for tonight’s football game in a royal blue and gold cheerleading uniform and high ponytail with streaming ribbons. “I don’t know. Maybe I need to go to rehab.”
“You know, you are my smartest friend, but when that boy is around, you become a complete idiot.” Sarah reached for the calculator. “What does he have to say today?”
Jessie squealed and pushed her friend away. “Don’t. It’s private.”
Sarah huffed at the rebuke. “So private you can’t tell your best friend? You disgust me.”
“He writes about stuff,” she said, hoping to appease her friend’s curiosity.
“You know, school stuff. He tells me what’s going on in class and with our friends.”
“He gossips?” Sarah’s eyebrows disappeared under her bangs.
“No, it isn’t like that. They’re funny stories. He’s a funny guy.”
“What does he say about me?” Her eyebrows were back, but now her eyes had become narrow slits of suspicion.
“I’m offended. I don’t do anything worth writing about?”
Sarah stared her down, though because Jessie was five inches taller, she had to look up to do it. “What else does he say?”
“Fine. Sometimes he writes about her.” Jessie closed her eyes and waited for her friend to explode.
“Are you kidding me? You give him advice about the girl you want dead?”
“I don’t necessarily want Tina dead. Maybe permanently disfigured. And mute. So she can’t hurt anyone with her evil tongue. And I don’t give him advice. I only listen.”
“So, when they break up again, he’ll come running to you? You don’t want to be the rebound, Jessie.”
The bell for fifth hour saved her. “I have to go fail a physics quiz.”
“We’re not done talking about this!” Sarah yelled after her.
Maybe it wasn’t right Lee could spin her head around until she was dizzy with stupidity, but the junkie high she got when he looked her way made it all worthwhile.
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