With a purse clutched tightly beneath her arm, Mercedes's mother walked through the door with a worn expression, taking a few moments to acknowledge her daughter in the kitchen.

"That boy out there drove you home? How'd you get his attention?,' she started in, seemingly unaware or carefree of the young man having been inside the home only minutes prior.

"He's just a friend,' Mercedes responded quickly, assessing the scenario wasn't as bad as she predicted it would be. Picking up her backpack from the floor, she traveled back to her bedroom and shut the door, her anguish pouring out fast as she locked herself away. Massaging out her bedspread as she walked back in the room, Mercedes wished the smell of Sebastian's cologne didn't sit so heavy in the room. She looked into her room's mirror, pushing some of her hair off of her face, wishing the encounter hadn't turned sour so quickly. Of course, she should have expected him to proposition her the way he did, but, nevertheless, having it happen was much worse than anticipating it. For a second, she had fooled herself into believing that maybe his interest was genuine, but that was, as she knew, foolish.

At her locker the following school day, Mercedes pulled out her binder, taking a quick gaze at the magazine pull-out of Whitney Houston on the locker's door. Saying a silent and quick prayer for peace throughout the day, she frowned at the face waiting behind her locker. She was filled with too much chagrin to question why Sebastian was so willing to be seen with her in the hallway. Seeing him brought up a mutual feeling of disgust and disappointment, which, oddly, brought her close to stomach sickness.

"What?' she started in rudely, closing her locker slow.

"You didn't tell me your mom was so nice,' Sebastian said, a bright smile on his face, choosing to entirely ignore he and Mercedes's last interaction.

Her eyes widening, Mercedes massaged her temple, beginning to walk away from the young man. "I told you specifically not to talk to her."

Sebastian followed at her side, nudging a few students along the way to keep pace with the girl. "I know you didn't think I was going to do anything you asked me to do after you kicked me out of your house so abruptly."

"You... you know why I kicked you out, Sebastian."

Scoffing, Sebastian looked at Mercedes knowingly. "You let me come in your house while you were home alone, Merc. It doesn't take a genius to understand the undertones in that invitation."

"Did you not ask to come over?' Mercedes said, her irritation becoming palpable as they traveled up the stairs, the rush to second period beginning to die down a small bit.

"We don't have to speak of the technicalities that went into our failed rendezvous, I obviously,' Sebastian jostled his shoulders, "Mistook the situation."


"I don't want this to get in the middle of our new found friendship, Mercedes. I think we have something good here. I like your banter,' Sebastian said, his green eyes shining bright from the iridescent lights above. Mercedes looked over at the young man entirely disillusioned.

"I think any chance of us having a friendship was crushed at my house, Sebastian,' she responded, stopping at her classroom's door and beginning to walk in. Sebastian put a gentle hand on the back of her arm, stopping her before she disappeared into the classroom.

"Come to the football game Friday. I'm not inviting you because it means something to me, the attendance has just been low lately, and even one more body means something, you know... school spirit? If more people don't start showing up, they're going to start cutting sport's funding, which could mean no tennis season, and my dad would try to send Figgins back to whatever country he's from before he let that happen,' he rambled, looking at the ceiling. "Just- go. I'll take you home. You don't have an excuse, and it'll give me a better opportunity to apologize."

Staring at Sebastian for a few seconds, Mercedes shook her head. "No."

"Mercedes,' Sebastian took the girl's arm and started to kneel. "I will get on my knees in this hallway right now."

Sighing heavily and shaking her arm from Sebastian's grasp, pulling the young man up and eventually laughing and sighing. She nodded so that she could get into the classroom before she was marked as tardy. Sebastian flashed her a bright smile before telling her to enjoy class, walking away from the door and down the hallway. Mercedes, still ill from the massive annoyance the young man filled her with, walked to her chair in the back of the class and pulled her pencil from its pouch.