By this time, they’d reached their lockers. Teri pulled out her brown lunch bag while Morgan adjusted her hair in her locker mirror. Morgan’s hair was a shade lighter than Teri’s, but without the highlights and about the same length. It looked shorter on her though, because she was four or five inches taller.
The two girls started off toward the lunchroom as the second bell was ringing. A wave of students were making their way to the cafeteria. Teri and Morgan let themselves get swept up and carried along. Morgan entered the lunch line and Teri went to stake out a table. Emily was surrounded by her clique near the doors. They all turned to Teri and laughed as she walked past.
“So Teri, I heard you’re taking chemistry again next year.”
Teri wanted to say something witty and biting, but instead she just turned and walked away, running from another round of mean spirited giggles.
“Not everyone can be Dr. Fiedler’s little pet,” she said to her lunch.
“What was that?”
Morgan pulled out a chair and sat next to her. Ever since Teri had attracted Emily’s anger, they often found themselves eating alone. Emily’s popular girl clique was extremely exclusive, but each member of the inner circle had ties to three or four other social groups. It was impossible to escape Emily’s web.
“I’m guessing it’s Emily since you’re not saying anything. You shouldn’t let her get to you so much. Are you even listening? What are you drawing?”
“Emily’s head on a spider’s body.”
Teri stopped doodling on her lunch bag and opened it up. She had a sandwich, a thin layer of peanut butter and a thinner layer of jelly between two pieces of wheat bread, but she didn’t feel like eating it. Pulling out a bag of cucumber slices, she started munching. She scanned the room. Emily’s focus was elsewhere. Morgan noticed she was coming out from under her cloud.
“Don’t look, but I think Aiden is checking us out.”
Aiden, one of the top players on the soccer team. He was a senior, a year older than Teri and Morgan, so they didn’t have any classes together. He was tall and thin, but muscled. Waves of black hair sprung from his head, framing a face with a strong jaw and piercing dark green eyes. Teri had done exactly what Morgan had told her not to—turn and look—but she couldn’t help it. To say Aiden was cute was a colossal understatement.
“I think he likes me,” Morgan said.
It was hard to tell which one of them he was looking at, or if he was just staring into space. Secretly Teri hoped it was her. She didn’t want to say anything to her friend because Morgan was obviously working on a crush. She could get a little territorial when it came to boys.
The rest of the lunch period passed by in small talk and eating. Normally Teri had a big appetite—especially for her size—but between worrying about Emily and sneaking glances at Aiden, she ate about half her sandwich. When the bell rang, Morgan and Teri walked together to their lockers. The cascade of metal clangs from closing doors kept them from chatting, so they said goodbye with a wave and went their separate ways.