"Nina! What the hell happened?"

" I don't want to talk about it, Nessa." Nina answered, glancing around the back room of the Salon, in case Daniela was hiding behind one of the boxes. Or something. She nudged the door shut with her foot.

"What the hell happened, chica? Since when do you fail at anything?" Vanessa exclaimed. Nina's face blanched, and she turned away slightly, her face tight. "Mierda, Nina! I didn't mean it like that."

"Yes you did. That's what everybody thinks now, don't they?"

"Of course not." The older girl said, rolling her eyes at her friend. Nina sighed, and slid down against the wall so that she was sitting on the floor.

"Yes they do. I can see them thinking it."

" No seas un idiota, Nina! Of course - "

" They're all thinking it, Vanessa. 'There goes Nina; the girl who was never really smart enough, the girl who thought she was good enough... the girl who failed everything." Nina shrugged, hard, as if it didn't matter.

"Nina, nobody thinks that. I promise. It wasn't your fault that you had to leave."

"How the hell do you know that?"

"Because I know you, chica. You never leave anything unless it's beyond your control. You're the girl who – oh god Nina, don't cry." Vanessa exclaimed, as she saw tears gathering in Nina's eyes. She sat down on a pile of books next to her friend. "What happened, Nina?" She asked again, more gently this time.

"I screwed up."

"Are you pregnant?"

"What? Por supuesto que no!"

"On drugs?"



"Vanessa, seriously. Come on."

"Killed somebody?"

"Vanessa, please."


"Vanessa, cállate, por favor! I don't cheat."

"Of course you don't." Vanessa sighed. She herself had been known to cheat on a few occasions. Not, of course, that it had made any difference whatsoever. "Alright. No baby, no drugs, no jail, no murder, no cheating. Entonces qué diablos pasó entonces, Nina?"

"I lost my scholarship." She half whispered.

"Why? What happened?"

"My grades - "

"Your grades? But you're the smartest person here, chica!"

"Yeah well, Stanford isn't like here. I didn't- didn't have the time to study as much as i needed too"

"But all you do is study, Nina!"

"Not if I'm working two jobs it isn't." She said, wiping her face furiously on her arm.

"Two jobs? Why? You had a scholarship!" Vanessa exclaimed, confused.

"Yeah well, it didn't cover all the books I needed. I didn't have a choice."

"You could have written home, your parents would've found the money."

"You know they couldn't."

"Bu god, Nina, what are you going to do now?"

"I don't know.