The school day oozed toward the afternoon. Morgan was hungry after missing breakfast, but she bought the smallest lunch she could anyway. As she stepped out of the traffic jam at the register, she saw Aiden and Max at her usual table with Teri. She could hear Emily Vargas talking loudly as she walked by.
“It’s social suicide. That kid is only a sophomore, but he should still know better. Aiden doesn’t have any excuse.”
Morgan bit her tongue. She really wanted to give Emily a piece of her mind. Most of the time she was quiet and kept to herself, but when Morgan lost her temper, the target of her anger really knew it.
Teri, Aiden, and Max looked up when Morgan’s tray slammed into the table.
“Sorry,” Morgan said. “Emily.”
That was all the explanation that Teri needed, but Aiden and Max required elaboration.
“She was talking about us,” Morgan said.
Teri and Max shared her distress, but Aiden just shrugged.
“Who doesn’t she talk about?” he asked.
Morgan wished she could be that self-confident. Knowing that someone was talking about her always put her on edge.
“Hey, what’s this?” Aiden’s change of subject took everyone by surprise, especially Teri, who was filling in the worksheet that Aiden had just pointed to.
“Oh, just something for chemistry. I have Fielder.”
“That explains why it doesn’t really look familiar,” Aiden said. “Fiedler is evil.”
Dr. Fielder, one of Louis Harbor High School’s chemistry teachers, graded so tough he made the other chemistry teachers look like angels in comparison. Morgan was thankful that she didn’t have him, but Teri did. Looking over at the worksheet, Morgan’s brain screamed in protest. Crowded formulas and blocks of text in some tiny font gave her a stronger than normal allergic reaction to chemistry.
“What is this, corrosion?” Aiden asked.
“Yeah,” Teri said. “We just started a new unit today. Knowing Fiedler there’ll be a test by Monday.”
“I’d totally forgotten about this stuff,” Aiden said. “It makes perfect sense.”
“What does?” Morgan asked.
“That light fixture from yesterday. It didn’t look like normal rust. I think it was corroded by something.”
“Like what?” Max asked.
“I don’t know. The real question though is whether some chemical got on it by accident or…”
“Or whether someone put it there,” Teri said.
The rest of the lunch period was tense, and Morgan carried the emotion with her through the rest of her classes. By the time the final bell rang, she was ready to go home and curl up in bed, preferably with a bag of pretzels and a jar of peanut butter.
There had been an announcement at the end of ninth period that the musical rehearsal was cancelled. Morgan was looking forward to her first day in months of getting home from school while the sun was still up.
Normally Teri would be upset that they were missing a rehearsal so close to the show. She was a little obsessive when it came to practicing. But after everything that’d happened yesterday, even she was glad to have the afternoon off.