Massie Block sat criss-cross applesauce on her desk chair, her hair back in a delicate pony as she watched the other girls on her MacBook.
“Should I be worried?” Alicia Rivera’s voice sounded through the speakers on the computer. She refused to make eye contact with the three other girls in the video chat, unable to meet their gazes when she was feeling so uncharacteristically self-conscious. “It’s been four days. He hasn’t texted me once.”
“Nah,” Dylan replied, crunching loudly on a handful of popcorn. “You guys weren’t dating; he doesn’t have to talk to you nonstop.”
Alicia frowned, ducking her head again. “We used to, though, before the trip. Well, before the mishap with Claire…” She twisted the cap on her nail polish, blowing on her painted fingers. “Is Derrick talking to you, Mass?”
Massie looked over at her silent phone, pressing a finger to the ‘home’ button in order to brighten the screen. No incoming calls. No texts. It had been like this since the buses had brought the girls back Friday afternoon: no contact from anyone in the outside world, besides Dylan, Alicia, and the occasional message from Kristen. “Yeah,” she lied easily, swallowing her initial worries and doubts. Alphas had to be perfect and put together in front of their peers and friends, right? “We stopped talking around ten when he had to take a practice final in Spanish.”
She had no idea if he even took Spanish.
It was weird having nobody text her. She knew everyone wanted the scoop on why Westchester’s finest had been expelled from a school they’ve gone to since grade 6 but yet nobody had the guts to ask. She was sure that was the biggest talk in OCD right now, hell, it was probably the biggest talk in all of Westchester.
“God,” Alicia muttered. “I wish my relationship was as tight as yours.”
Yeah, me too. Massie forced a smile, bright eyes flickering across their faces.
If anyone really looked at them, they wouldn’t be able to tell these girls got expelled from their ultra-prestigious high school. They looked and acted the way they always did. Dylan was snacking on something and would inevitably complain about her weight; Kristen was worrying about grades and tests they didn’t have to take anymore; Alicia was looking flawless, talking about boys. Everything was in its proper place… except for them. They had no idea where they were going to school when winter break ended and the rest of sophomore year inevitably rolled around.
“So, in how much trouble are you guys?” Kristen asked. “Because I’m pretty sure I can never leave my room again,” she sniffed.
“My parents are too busy to properly punish me,” answered Alicia. “What do you think of this color? Too light?” She waved a hand in front of her webcam.
“Mom took away all my debit cards, even the Amex,” Dylan sighed. “Apparently, because I’m the daughter of Merri-Lee I’m not allowed to cause any ‘disturbances’ which will ruin my moms reputation.”
Massie shook her head, watching in boredom as her phone rang twice on her desk. Alicia’s eyes snapped to it, an all-knowing smile curving on her lips. “Derrick?”
Amber eyes meeting brown, Massie debated telling her the truth – that it was really her mother telling her she was about to go to the gym – but thought better of it. She nodded once, reaching over to grab the device and typed back a message. A simple okay was what she sent, but if asked, it was something more elaborate and obviously flirtatious.
“What’s he want?”
“He said…” She went back to her inbox as if she were really getting the actual words and paused when she saw the last message she had sent him. It read call me back? although he never did. She cringed whenever she read it.
Lying through her perfect teeth she read out: “Miss you.”
“Aw,” Dylan cooed. “He’s adorable.”
“I wish Josh would text me things like that.” Alicia pouted.
The girls chattered on about boys while Massie tuned them out. Thumbs hovered over the keyboard, Derrick’s chat still opened. Would he think she was being too clingy if she texted him again? He was obviously ignoring her, but what for? Then it hit her. He didn’t want to get caught like the rest of them. She wanted to reassure him that The Pretty Committee won’t rat out on him and the rest of the boys.
Just as she was about to send the text, Kristen’s startled voice caused her to drop her phone. “Shoot, I think my mom’s home early! I have to get this back in her closet before she checks – I’ll try to talk to you again soon. If not, good luck with the punishments… or lack thereof.”
“Good luck with the studying!” Dylan called, wiggling her fingers as Kristen’s screen went blank.
“Can we just talk about my dilemmas again?” Alicia whined, glancing down at her phone again. “Massie’s getting messages from Derrick, I’m sure Olivia’s talking to Plovert… why isn’t Josh texting me? I swear, if he’s talking to Claire -“
“He’s not,” Massie interjected quickly. “She got all technology taken away. Including her camera.”
Alicia froze, “You’ve been talking to her?” she spit out the word like it hurt her to say it.
Massie rolled her eyes. “Obviously not. I just overheard it.”
“Chin up, Leesh,” Dylan teased. “He’ll call when he calls. There’s no use stress-breaking out over a boy when you have the rest of them wrapped around your finger.”
“That’s true,” Alicia agreed.
In her lap, Massie’s phone lit up, buzzing incessantly. Her heart stopped when the very name she that had been consuming her thoughts flashed across the tiny screen. It wasn’t fair that seven letters could make her hands shake and her legs turn to jello. She wondered if she had the same effect on him as he did her, but it was doubtful. He was the cutest boy in their grade; he could get any girl he wanted and he picked her. There was no way she made him fluttery and nervous.
“I have to go,” she said quickly. “Dad wants to discuss my options for next week. Boring, I know. I’ll text when it’s over.”
Both Dylan and Alicia said their farewells – she could hear the two of them continuing to bicker over the most trivial things: food, boys, that one jacket they both owned. None of that mattered to Massie, however, as she swiveled around in her chair and opened the message up. She was hoping for some sort of apology, something that explained his absence. She would even take something cute, but she received none of the above.
DERRICK: Meet me at the park after school?
Still no Pretty Committee to announce, (my fault) but I will be picking this weekend. If you contacted me saying your interested please check your IM! It’s still not to late if you want to audition, but you better be quick. Everyone who contacted me will be given a private audition, more info will be delivered to you.
If you haven’t noticed I’m always suuuper busy during the weekdays which is why I haven’t replied to your comments/emails/IMs.
I reached 1,000 followers on this blog! Thank you all!