Chapter 3: Detention
I hurried ahead of them so that I would be in the classroom before Ms. Moore came in with Todd and Erik. They must have stopped along the way because I had a few minutes to unpack my notebook and a book to read. As I did so I found the note that Erik had dropped in my bag that morning. I'd forgotten about it. Glancing at the door, I pulled it out and unfolded it.
I saw my scribbled questions once more: "Why, How, When?" In hindsight, perhaps I didn't show as much excitement as I should have given his return. And if Todd hadn't just thrown me for such a loop that morning maybe I would have been more excited. I looked at the door again: still no sign of them coming. Then turned back to the note, this time looking to Erik's scrawled answers. "Why? You. And my mom is so busy with work and some new guy that she was agreeable to letting me come live with dad for awhile." I smiled, already starting to forgive him for his behavior at lunch. "How? I got on a plane." I laughed then, typical answer. "When? As I said, a couple days ago I knew, I arrived last night." Then he added his own comment "I told you I'd be right back. Love Erik" I giggled as the door opened and they walked in with Ms. Moore at their heels.
Erik, as I expected, walked to the desk next to mine, Todd looked disgruntled still and stayed on the other side of the room.
Ms. Moore waited for them to sit and I tucked the note back into my backpack. She stood at the front of the class and seemed preparing for a lecture. "Since you all managed to get in here on the first day, I suspect you don't have any real homework to keep you busy for the next hour and a half. So I'm giving you an assignment."
"I want you each to write an essay on what you did over summer vacation. No it is not for a grade, yes I still expect you to turn it in to me. Your detention will not be considered "complete" until it is. If, for some reason, you do no turn it in before the end of school tomorrow, I'll see you again here tomorrow afternoon. I will be checking in on you, I expect to find you quiet and working when I do." she said and she turned on her heel and walked out, leaving the door propped open.
I rolled my eyes, Erik pulled out a notebook then propped his feet up on his desk and leaned back with the notebook in his lap. Todd kept shooting glances my way and glares Erik's way. Finally he pulled out his own notebook and tapped his pencil on the desk several time. "What I did over summer vacation....hmm, got betrayed by girlfriend." he said aloud, looking my way.
"I am not your girlfriend!" I exclaimed and then covered my mouth and looked at the door hoping I didn't attract Ms. Moore back. I hazarded a look at Erik and saw him looking smug about my outburst and I rolled my eyes at him too. "Don't be so smug, I'm not sure I want to be yours either!" I narrowed my eyes at him. He looked annoyed and put his feet down leaning over his assignment. Everything was quiet for a moment and I looked at my own notebook. I glanced between Todd and Erik occasionally, expecting a new outburst.
Todd's pencil tapping got louder and I looked over at him, finding him looking at me. "What?" I asked softly.
"How soon after I was gone did you kiss him" he asked motioning to Erik, his face and voice filled with disgust.
I rolled my eyes just as Erik jumped from his seat, provoked by Todd. "Todd! Erik!" I said trying to keep them from beating each other again.
Erik ignored me and closed in on Todd. Todd glared at him but turned toward. "Well?" he asked, obviously expecting an answer.
"I met him a couple weeks after you left, after a month of complete silence from you, I assumed you and I were just friends Todd." I said, standing as well.
"She talked about you, told me all about you almost from the moment we met. She didn't betray you." Erik said with a glower on his face. "You betrayed her. She was upset you hadn't called or emailed; even as her Best. Friend." he added, again appearing just a little smug.
I stepped between them hoping that I could stop them from throwing each other around the room. Didn't do any good, they continued to glare and throw insults like I wasn't in the room. Erik had told the truth, Todd didn't like the truth.
"I didn't betray her!" Todd yelled through me, in Erik's direction.
"Enough!! Both of you! Erik! Please! Just let me talk to him." I said looking at Erik harshly. I softened my face and voice. "Please?" He seemed annoyed by agreed and walked over toward the window. I turned back to Todd. "What did you expect Todd?"
"That I'd be waiting for you like always? That you could ignore me, both as a friend and supposedly your girlfriend, for THREE months and I wouldn't find a new friend?" I asked feeling the hurt again.
"Friend, he just a friend?" Todd asked picking the only point he can make an argument out of.
"You're ignoring the issue Todd." I said sadly. "You think if you ignore it, I will simply forget. Five months ago, you were my best friend, and I admit I would have give anything for you to say I was your girlfriend then. Four months ago, we went to a dance and we kissed and for weeks I was walking on air because surely it meant something. And then nothing. Just nothing, it was horrible to lose that feeling; but it was worse to think I'd lost your friendship. You were my best friend Todd." I said looking away from him angry and hurt.
When I felt a little more composed, I looked back at him. "And then I found a new friend, and he talked to me and he made me feel better. He was there fore me when you weren't."
"Ginny...Gin..." Todd saw the tears welling in my eyes and all his hot air dissipated in an instant. "I'm sorry." he said, not saying more. He sat back down in his desk.
"So am I Todd." I said looking away from him and blinking back tears.
Erik came up beside me and tried to put a comforting arm around me. I should have just accepted it and leaned into him. But I shrugged his arm off.
"What did I do?" Erik asked annoyed and confused.
"What did you do?!" I asked, annoyance from lunch and the fight surged into me.
"How about that 'Me Tarzan! You Jane!' display at lunch? You intentionally tried to get a rise out of Todd! And it worked because you two got into a fight - in front of MY locker! That's what you wanted right? To put him in his place? Mark your territory?" I realized my voice was raising and I was surprised Ms. Moore hadn't busted in yet. I also noticed that Erik wasn't saying anything and was letting me get it all out. He was surprisingly calm.
"Feel better?" he asked when I stopped.
I looked down at me feet, suddenly feeling a little embarrassed. As much as the cafeteria display had annoyed me at the time, I could almost understand it and had been on the verge of forgiving him before they'd come into detention. "Little bit." I said to the ground. I looked up at him. "I didn't like the way you acted at lunch. I still don't. I'm not territory to be marked Erik."
"Okay." he said simply.
"Okay?" I asked.
"Okay." he said again. "I'm sorry. For lunch, for the fight." he looked over at Todd who looked sullen and then turned back to me and lowered his voice. He lift his hand to stroke my cheek but hesitated. I leaned into it.
"So, are we good?" he asked quietly. I looked at him and at Todd and back at Erik.
"Will you play nice?" I asked with a smile.
Erik looked briefly pained and then looked over at Todd. "I'll try."
"Okay, then we're good." I said stepping closer to him. He put his arm around my shoulders and for the first time all day, I didn't shrug it off.