Lucita bit on the end of her pen in English class as she waited for Lucas to arrive. She had two days left until Blake threatened to tell Lucas what she’d done. There had been no reason other than false hope for her actions. It had been stupid, just like everything else she did.
Putting her head down, she closed her eyes, taking deep breaths, letting the fumes from the ink on the pages before her flow forward and fill her nostrils. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but the ink was a soothing smell, the smell of her passions and dreams, of her heart on a page. Someone came up next to her and kissed her on the cheek. She recognized Lucas by his strong cologne.
“My head hurts, and my tummy feels uneasy.”
Lucas laughed. “You sound like such a little girl when you say tummy.”
“Is that bad?”
“It’s cute.” He sat down. “So, did you do your assignment?”
“I did, but I like writing poems. The proper question is, did you?” He grinned, and Lucita rolled her eyes, smiling.
“I’m passing, so yeah, no.”
“So I see.”
“Are you sure you’re okay? You kind of seem out of it.”
Lucita waved away his concern. “I just don’t feel well. Hopefully, lunch will make me feel better.”
“Call me if you aren’t feeling well by tomorrow. I’ll get something to help you.”
“Thanks.” Lucita leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. She didn’t deserve him. The bell rang, and the teacher called the class to order.
“I hope everyone did their assignment,” began Mrs. Monroe, a short, stocky woman but not unpretty. Unlike most of the teachers around her, she had these blue-green eyes filled with confidence and power. And her skin was like cooked caramel. She was an intimidating woman who made Luci want to impress her. She couldn’t understand how anyone could look at this woman and not be eager to impress her.
“Who would like to go first?” No one moved, and the room fell into complete silence. “Come on, don’t make me call you up.” Lucita sighed and got up. She was probably the only one here with enough confidence in her poetic skills to read aloud.
“Lucita, what a pleasure. Everyone quiet.” Lucita nodded as she prepared to read. She hated public speaking.
“I look into the eyes
I’ve always loved
What do I see?
I don’t know.
Is that love?
Is that compassion?
Do you care?
I sit there in the sun
Can’t believe how stupid
I’ve always been.
The sky darkens
The clouds swarm
Gathering with a storm
My heart skips a beat
And in the distance
I see your eyes.
Why do you just stand there
As the world floods?”
Lucita looked up as the class began to applaud. She felt good, almost like her old self. Lucas smiled back at her, and her heart filled with guilt. She didn’t deserve him.
“Excellent, Lucita. Who’s next?” A girl named Cristina stood up and gave Lucita a thumbs-up as she made her way to the front of the classroom. Lucas kissed her on the cheek as she sat down.
A knock came at the door, and Christina opened it. Lucita’s eyes widened as she saw Tiffany stroll into the classroom. Her black hair hung in a dark braid over her shoulder, and Lucita saw her green eyes zero in on her before making their way to Lucas.
“Hello, Mrs. Monroe. Mr. Larson wanted me to give this to you. He kind of wants me to wait. You know Mr. Larson.” Tiffany acted all innocent, but Lucita was not fooled. She could see the vile in her poisonous green eyes.
“Oh, how I do,” commented Mrs. Monroe. “You can take a seat and wait, Tiffany. I’ll be done shortly.”
“Alrighty then.” Tiffany wrapped her hands around her back and put a sweet smile on her face. Lucita saw behind the smile and knew exactly what was on her mind as she made her way to the empty seat in front of Lucita.
“Go away, Tiffany,” muttered Lucas.
Tiffany looked at him, pained. “Well, that was mean. You used to be so sweet to me.”
Lucas shot her a hateful look, his blue-gray eyes slanted. “That was before I saw the real you.”
“And what is the real me?”
“A lying, self-centered slut,” muttered Lucita softly. Lucas smiled, but Tiffany gave her a deadly look.
“You really should shut your mouth.”
“Really? What are you going to do about it, darlin’,” she finished sarcastically. Tiffany eyed her vehemently.
“You really should watch yourself.”
Lucas sighed. “Go away, Tiffany. Nobody wants you around anymore.”
“Whatever, you will eventually. Once you get tired of her,” commented Tiffany flipping her hair behind her back. Lucita rolled her eyes.
“I think congeniality is done. You can leave now.”
“Oh, don’t be silly,” said Tiffany laughing. “I’m just getting started.”
“Kudos to you then.” Lucita feigned a smile as she leaned back into her seat. She was done giving this girl her attention. Tiffany opened her mouth to say something else, but Mrs. Monroe cut her short. Tiffany gave her one last glare before leaving. Once she was out the door, Lucita looked over at Lucas.
“Well, that was amusing.”
Cyrus sat in his room, staring blankly at his white ceiling. He took the day off school, telling his mother he didn’t feel well. In truth, he really didn’t, but he had faked the cough and runny nose perfectly. That bought him two school-free days. He looked at his laptop. On-screen was the school website for his boarding school.
Cyrus sat in bed and rubbed his temples. He was exhausted. He knew sleep would probably be best, but his mind was on rewind. He kept replaying the kiss over and over again in his head. Kept remembering how she had a boyfriend. Cyrus felt like a total pig. He had ignored her for three years. For the first year, he was just being a total creep when she hadn’t even been a stalker yet. Sometimes Cyrus wondered why she would give him a second chance at being her friend. He resisted the urge to punch his wall. He was so furious with everything. His cell phone rang, calming him down just a bit.
“Dude, you do not sound sick.”
“I’m not, not really. Does being sick of life count?” Cyrus laid back down on his bed.
Matthew laughed. “I hear you, but no, it doesn’t, dude. Sucks to be you, huh.”
“Is there a reason you called?”
“Right. So I’ve been thinking, I may know how to help your stalker.”
“Her name is Lucita, you piece of—”
“Yeah, okay, I get it, whatever. Look, do you want me to tell you my idea?”
Cyrus sighed. “Yeah.”
“Well, you know how April Fools Day is on Monday, right?” Cyrus mumbled. “Okay, well, she should trick the jerk, and her boyfriend should come in and save the day. That is unless you want to be the knight in shining armor.”
“Cut it out. I’ll tell Lucita about it.”
“Don’t. I wanna talk to her. In person.”
“You hate her and treated her worse than I ever did. I think she hates you.”
“Well then, this should be fun. What’s her address? If you don’t wanna text her, I will.”
Cyrus sat up, furious. “How the hell did you get her number?”
“Took it off your phone on Monday. Along with those pictures of her in a bikini.”
Cyrus couldn’t hide his disgust. Who was this person who was supposed to be his friend? “You’re a pig.”
“So? Girls dig me.”
“Right.” He sighed. “Look, I’ll text her. You’ll probably say something stupid and cruel.”
“Remember, I don’t like her.”
“Which is why I don’t get why you want to help. What’s your angle?”
“Don’t worry about it. See you later.”
Matthew hung up the phone leaving Cyrus on the hook. He wondered what he was playing at. It was stupid of him to worry so much, but he knew Matthew.
Lucita sat with Jason during lunch, very much aware of how attentive he was being. She tried to ignore it, but it was becoming increasingly difficult.
“Jason, have you asked out Liz yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“You should. She really likes you.”
“I like her too.”
“So ask her out, dummy.” Lucita flicked a piece of paper at him, and he smiled. He was really cute, she thought to herself.
Lucita’s phone vibrated. She was happy to hear from Cyrus, the text though, she could have done without. Her anger fueled, and her chest heaved up and down.
“Lu, you okay?”
“I’m not sure. Cyrus says his friend Matthew might have a solution to this problem.”
“So why do you look so angry?”
“Because I hate Matthew. He’s a cruel, insensitive jerk who made every day of middle school a living hell.”
“Ah, so he’s a total asshole.”
“Why does he want to help then?”
Lucita shrugged and bit the inside of her lower lip. That was the million-dollar question, wasn’t it?
Lucita sat and waited. Jason, Silvia, and Rebecca sat alongside her by the pool. She hugged herself tightly, her anger subsiding into fear. She had wanted to leave her old life behind, but it still haunted her. Matthew was the king of all jerks. Cold and heartless. At least, that was her opinion of him. He never did anything out of the goodness of his heart. He would need to have a heart to do that.
“So why is he helping,” asked Rebecca disrupting the eerie silence.
Lucita shrugged. “I don’t know, and I really wish I did.”
“How mean was he to you,” asked Silvia.
“Do you really hate him that much?”
“Why not? He hates me.”
“Why?” asked Rebecca.
“I don’t know. He either wants Cyrus for himself, or he’s jealous that I didn’t stalk him instead.” Lucita brought her hair over her shoulder and began to braid it to calm herself.
“It’ll be all right,” said Silvia, patting her shoulder. “I’m sure he’ll treat you nice.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t hate you.”
“He does. Screamed it in my face every chance he got.”
“If he does anything, I’ll beat his ass for you,” comforted Jason. She smiled at him gratefully.
Lucita continued to braid her hair slowly. The memories of the harsh treatment she had been subjected to came flooding back. All the times she had cried in the bathroom, all the times she had been humiliated. She had had a crush, and yet people had blown it all out of proportion.
“Look, just try staying positive,” she heard Rebecca say.
“That’s not really one of my strong suits.”
“Who the hell can say,” came a voice. Lucita’s blood chilled, and her fingers stopped between the fold of her hair. Silvia, Rebecca, and Jason stood up, and Lucita waited until she heard the gate open before she stood up.
“Hello, Matthew.” Lucita watched him make his way to her. He hadn’t changed one bit. His black hair was still unkempt, like he had just gotten out of bed, and obscured his crystal blue eyes.
“What, no hug?”
New Girl (Memoirs of the Third Floor #1)
Lucita is starting at a new school. Silvia is keeping a secret. Rebecca is struggling with herself. Three girls and their friends have entered high school, and for each of them, it’s hard enough without having to deal with friends, betrayal, and their insecurities. High School is tough enough without having to be the new girl.
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