The sun peeking through my curtains wakes me from my fitful rest before my alarm can and I quickly turn it off. Last night I kept waking up from any and every sound Mother made.
I grab my clothes for today, makeup, keys and my bath wash and pull on my most comfortable shoes before I hightail it out of my house. I don't look back and I run all the way to school. The school is already unlocked, but it's so early that no one is here, so I run to the girls locker room and shower quickly. Other than a small sore spot on my ribs I'm relatively okay, so I pull on my clothes. I apply makeup over my bruised eye and pack up my dirty clothes in my backpack and head to my first period class.
Mr. Owens is in class and everyone else is sidling into class. I honestly have no desire to hang tough today and listen to him flap jaw for an hour. I get up to leave, but the bell rings and he closes the door and stands in front of it. "Is there something you needed Ms. von Tussel?"
"Mr. Owens I honestly don't want to be in your class right now. I need to cut out early today." I try to step around him, but he sidesteps.
"Well how does detention sound Ms. von Tussel. Maybe you can cut up in there with the rest of the lackeys." He tears off a slip and I happily take it and walk down to the detention room.
Again Tracey and the gang are here, but I try to sneak past them and find a desk in a corner to crash away from everyone. Of course as my luck would have it Tracey yells my name as if I'm far away or something. "Amber!" I begrudgingly walk over to where they are groovin'.
"Did you get home okay?" Why does she always have to be so perfect, worrying about everyone? A saint I tell you.
"Yes. My mom picked me up and we went out to eat." Now that I think about it I haven't eaten since lunch yesterday. I don't have any money for lunch and I didn't bring anything. I'll starve until I get home.
"That's cool. I was just curious is all. Why do you have detention again?"
"I tried to leave class and he wouldn't let me, so he sent me to detention." I explain and I try to creep away to the perfect desk to nap.
"Why did you want to leave class?" Penny asks and I ignore her question. I use my backpack as a pillow and though I can still feel my books, my clothes give it cushion and I pass out in seconds.
Sleep in detention is better than any sleep I've ever had. I wake up a little later and check the clock on the wall. I've missed most of my morning classes, but I can still make it to my afternoon classes. I grab my backpack and stand to join Tracy and the gang, but a colored girl I've never met before steps into my personal space.
"So what do you think you're doing with Peetee? We already know all about you von Tussels and I just want to let you know that I don't need a chicken head bugging me or my friends. Because I promise," she steps so close into my personal space that her nose touches mine, "I will deck you if I find out that you are just as lame as I heard you were."
Seaweed jumps in between us and pulls the girl away from me. I can't help the guilt that washes over me. I was a real dork when it came to people that I was taught to consider less than me. Someone grabs me and pulls into them and I flinch. "Hey Amber it's just me." Peetee says and I try to relax.
"Hey." I sit at a desk and he sits on top of it.
"I didn't know you'd be here today. You never struck me as the type of chick to get detention." He leans in close and heat creeps over my face, starting at my ears and working its way to the tip of my nose.
"Yeah. Mr. Owens is a real drag. I didn't really want to be in his class, so I told him that and he wrote me a detention slip." He laughs a deep, throaty baritone laugh and I smile inside at the warm it brings to my heart.
"You're wild Amber." Again he leans in closer to my face and I'm sure he's going to kiss me, but again with my luck a whole group of someones just has to step into our conversation.
"So what's going on here?" Tracey asks, all of her group sitting around us. I feel cornered and inside I panic.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"You two look pretty cozy over here. Some would think this were the lover's corner or something." She has a sly grin on her face and I can't even begin to understand what is going through her head.
Peetee grabs my hand and pulls me out onto the dance area. Another slow song plays and he wraps his arms around me again. The only problem is he presses on my sore ribs. I wince and pull back from him. He looks worried. "Am I going too fast for you?" I shake my head and think of a lie.
"No. I fell this morning when I was leaving the house and hurt my ribs."
"That sounds serious. I could take you to the nurse and she could bandage them."
"No!" I yell, but seeing his hurt expression I lower my voice so I don't sound like a crazy person. "I mean no. I'm fine and it's not that serious. I can still dance." I sway back and forth to prove it and he nods slowly. I wrap my arms around his neck to pull him flush against me and we lose ourselves in the music.
He hums the song under his breath and traces circles on my sides which forces me to hide my red face in his chest. His firm, hot chest. I breathe in his musky scent and smile. He smells like a man. Like he works and sweats. There is nothing better than his scent to me.
"Can I take you to dinner tonight Amber? There's still so much soul food you've never tasted and Mama always said that a good meal can heal any wound." I wrap my arms tighter around him and whisper, "Yes."
"Groovy. Wait for me after rehearsal today."
"Okay." The song ends and another plays, but we don't break apart or stop dancing. Song after song plays and we sway in our own little world until the bell for lunch rings. Peetee offers to carry my bag for me, but I politely decline and go to the library to ignore my growling stomach. In a few hours I'll get to eat a hot meal that I don't have to pay for with a nice guy who I really like. But after that I'll have to go home and face my mother if she isn't passed out drunk from her massive alcohol intake.