"Molly are you okay?" Picc tapped me with her pencil.
Of course I was okay. I shook my head. I don't know why picc is always so worried about me.
"You just looked really spaced out. Like you haven't been on this planet for the past 20 minutes"
"Yeah I'm cool. I can just only take so much of Dr. Pratt's speil on derivatives and what not." I complained
"Well it's nice to have you back. Will we be having you at Rebecca's tonight or…?"
"Yeah. Of course I will be. I was just thinking about some stuff"
"Oooh stuff? What kind of stuff? Trouble in paradise? You have to tell me about it right now!"
"Picc it's nothing I promise" I chuckle "Don't make a big deal out of this okay?"
"How do you expect me not to make a big deal out of this! Fine, you don't have to tell me now but you never paid me back for that coffee from Rebecca's remember? You owe me"
The bell rings signifying the end of class. I go to pack my things into my bag but I can still feel her staring at the side of my head. It's a thing she does when she REALLY wants to know. Most people would fold under the pressure and give her what she wants but i've developed a technique to defend myself against the Picc stare. I tilt my head and shoot her a look that says "You're better than this kiddo". The patented Molly face. She understands and continues packing her stuff up so we could both leave. We dodge and weave our way down the hall to the juniors lockers. Panda is standing at the very last locker on his row leaning up against it talking to Dude. Really it was just amazing to see Panda at school this early. He usually didn't show up until after lunch. And now he was standing here talking to his long time crush? What a day it must be for him.
"Panda is that really you? I thought you didn't exist until 4th block" Picc called out
"I don't, actually. This is all a dream. Me and Dude are actually ghosts. We died in a horrible car accident last night on our way to do some errands for his mom"
"Oh so you two were hanging out last night?" I raise my eyebrows at Panda
Panda blushes and his jaw hangs slightly gaping.
"Uh, I will see you later Panda" Dude says blushing even harder than Panda. "I'll uh bring the DVD to Rebecca's. See you guys!"
"Bye, Dude!" Picc yells as Dude quickly shuffles down the aisle of lockers. "So Panda what's this DVD? Is he already making you a sex tape?"
"Picc don't be fucking disgusting. He's lending me his copy of High School Musical okay?"
Picc and I exchange a glance and we both bust out laughing. "What do you need a dvd of High School Musical for? They legit play it every week! Do you even like the movie? Panda please, this is ridiculous!"
"I don't need this okay. I am going to lunch you assholes can follow me or you can stand there and laugh" Panda slammed his locker and stormed off.
"Wait Panda save us a seat!" Picc yelled running after him
I hooked a right around the end of the aisle of lockers, passed a couple rows, and arrived at my own locker. It became easy to distinguish which one was mine from the stickers and love notes that were regularly hanging off of it. I hadn't even bothered to remember which number it was. The rest of the school had marked it for me. I grabbed my Harry Potter lunch box that I have used since 3rd grade and todays love letter and headed down to the cafeteria.
The cafeteria was a lot like every other cafeteria. Well probably not like every other cafeteria seeing as how this school is horribly underfunded and there's maybe 200 kids in the entire school and we all eat lunch at the exact same time. How does that honestly compare to any other school? I couldn't tell you I've never been out of Iowa or this god forsaken town. Sometimes it feels like a pit i'll never get out of. Other times it feels like the only place I'll ever want to be. I think maybe i'm too young to be making these kinds of decisions. I'll decide when I'm in college next year.
Panda and Picc were sitting at our normal spots on the very end of the row of tables with Rokin and the rest of our gang. Truthfully we probably had too many people we closely associated with. I'd like to think it made the school a better place. If a fourth of the school's population was all pretty chill with each other than there couldn't be that much drama. I sat down across from Picc and handed the note over to Panda to be read aloud.
"So what does today's shakespeare have to say, Molly?" Rokin asked
"I don't think I can actually say any of this out loud. This is actual filth. There's no way Hammer or Franklin didn't write this one"
The four of them turned to look at the two boys further down the table. They seemed to be locked in some kind of debate with Naps and Dude. Knowing them it was probably about which lunch lady was hotter. Not the smartest group of boys to be around but they were always entertaining.
"Hey guys, check out what's going on behind us." Picc whispered
Molly looked over her shoulder to find a couple freshmen sitting together. Res was showing off some new comics to Kate who was looking on like a kid in a candy store. Kappy and Extra sat together beside them and mixed together all the food on their trays. Who could blame them really, this stuff is disgusting.
"Picc, what do you mean there's nothing weird going on behind me?" I asked
"No, not behind you dummy! Behind me. It's the new kid."
"C'mon Picc he has a name. It's Isol." Rokin explained "He's in my engineering class and he's ridiculously good at it. I think he moved from somewhere out east?"
"Well are we just gonna leave him to sit all alone or are we gonna do something?" I asked. Panda and Rokin shuffled around awkwardly in their chairs and Picc completely avoided eye contact.
"Maybe we can invite them over here?" Picc asked
"Are they gonna sit in the floor? What exactly is your plan here?" Panda shot back
"Well to be fair this is the first time all year you've actually been here for lunch. I just thought he could take your seat?"
"Picc has brought forth some very good points. Panda, you can't deny that" Rokin added
Panda glared at them both
"Well, if no one is gonna do anything then I could go sit with him?" I added
"You go ahead Molly I uh, think i'm gonna stay here" said Picc
Rokin and Panda shook their heads in agreement.
"Fine, I'll go by myself" I stood up and immediately felt everyone's eyes on me. Being popular at a very small school can have its upsides and its downsides. I make my way over to Isol's table and they might be the only person in the school not watching me right now. He's absorbed in a book whose name I can't quite make out. He looks up at me at the last second before I sit down. He rips the earphones out of his ears and looks up at me.
"Um hi? Can I help you? He asks
"Oh no I just wanted to come over and say hi. We noticed you were kinda alone and new so I wanted to do something to change that. It's Isol right?"
"Yeah, and you are Molly right?"
"I've actually heard a lot about you"
"Oh really like what?"
"Is it true you ran away from home your sophomore year and joined Daughtry on tour for a whole year?"
And there it was. Another one of the ridiculous rumors that followed me around. It's probably my fault for never shutting any of these down the second they start. Truthfully I kind of like the mystery it creates for my own reputation. Would I ever admit that out loud? No. Am I going to answer Isol's question honestly? Hell no. Isol's headphones were still blaring music. He was listening to Taylor Swift. Maybe I could change the subject
"Where did you hear that from?"
"Oh I'm not sure I think I overheard it from someone in one of my classes"
"Did you perhaps hear it in the same place you heard this awesome new T Swift song?"
"Oh, uh, not exactly" Isol blushed
"I just love her new song You Belong With Me. It's so cute! Are you going to her concert tomorrow?"
"Yeah, I thought about it but I just don't have the time or the friends really"
"Well you can come with us if you'd like"
"Oh uh, no thanks I don't wanna intrude"
"That's fine. Hey if you ever wanna come sit with us that fatty Panda is hardly ever here so you're always welcome to join us"
"Oh thanks Molly. It's so nice to meet you. You're even better than I've heard about!"
The bell rang to tell us to go to class. I smiled at Isol and got up to go back to my friends. They were all watching something closely in the middle of the table. I took a couple steps towards the table before I could make out exactly what it was. It was my motorola razr buzzing around in a circle in the middle of the table. I picked it up just in time to see the display go from incoming call to call missed. 5 missed calls from dad. Great.
"So was no one gonna tell me about all 5 calls from my dad?"
"If it makes you feel better there's another 4 from you mom too" Picc added
Great. This was all just great.