Kate is rainbows and sprinkles. Straight A student, honor roll, perfect smile, perfect attendance, easily makes friends.
I’m the exact opposite. Barely passing, always late to class, and I have this bad habit of “talking back.” Really I’m just defending myself.
As she fidgets with the hem of her sleeve. I wonder why she sticks with me, even as we sit in the principal’s office. Andrew and Mason are here too. But it’s not really surprising seeing them get in trouble.
Andrew is your stereotypical white boy. He plays football, is blond with blue eyes, and is “Minnesota Nice.” He likes being the center of attention and uses his charm to disguise it. I don’t mind him, he always goes with the flow, not against it. His dad is a lawyer and his mom is a housewife who always likes speaking with the manager.
Mason is the class clown. He can lift anyone’s spirits up just as easily as he can ruin their day. He truly is a jokester, but it can come off in an insulting manner. He doesn’t mean it, but it is what it is.
Oh. And Ashley is here too. Her and her annoying voice. She never shuts up! “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Liz-“
Just hearing my name out of her mouth makes me roll my eyes. “Yeah, blame your actions on me. Not like people are capable of making their own decisions.”
She huffs and crosses her arms. “It was your idea to saran wrap the bathrooms.”
Mason sits up on his chair and removes his feet which he kicked up on the principal’s desk, who isn’t here yet. “Hey! We both came up with that idea. Gotta give credit when my genius is showing.”
His sarcasm washes us with a wave of calmness. Kate stops fidgeting to chuckle and Andrew smiles at it. I can always count on Mason to have my back.
I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Seeing as we’re in the principal’s office, I’m leaning towards bad.
I was in detention and it was originally my idea to wrap the principal’s car in plastic wrap, since he was the one who gave me detention. And Mason wanted to take it up a notch.
Here’s the thing about our school. We have two buildings. The main building and the butlers. The butler’s are used for small classes and have the nicest bathrooms partly because they’re more recent. And they have fully closed doors, unlike the ones on the main building with cracks on them.
As I said before, the butler’s are small. And with Andrew’s dad being a lawyer getting enough money for saran wrap wasn’t too hard. In fact, his mom drove us to the store.
We almost got away with it until Nick from seventh grade saw Mason(he was to slow to hide) and ratted him out when a gift card was offered for any information. Naturally, his group of friends — being us — were called in. We even managed to get to school early and delete some security footage. We planned it to a T.
The door swings open and Mr. Johnson comes in. He sighs when he sees us and takes a seat behind the desk. He turns to look at Kate, who begins tapping her foot from her nervousness. “Anyone want to explain themselves?” His gaze stays on Mason and me. He knows us all too well.
Ashley wastes no time to be the snotty brat that she is. “It was Mason and Elizabeth and Andrew, they did it.”
Mr. Johnson raises his eyebrows in surprise. “So you weren’t involved with the mess in the butlers?”
Ashley shakes her head and Mason mouths ‘snitch’ at the principal. Out loud he says, “it’s because you weren’t invited.”
Andrew lightly smacks him. “It’s because she was getting her nails done.”
“And because Drew’s mom don’t like you,” Mason tells her and she gasps in shock. A teasing smile at his at his lips.
Kate claps her hands. “Okay! Let’s calm down and answer Mr. Johnson’s questions, shall we?”
“No,” Andrew says, looking directly at Mr. Johnson with sincere eyes. “Ashley was not with Mason, Liz and I when we saran wrapped the butlers. She was Kate getting some manipedis.”
Kate was with us. But she didn’t want to do it. And her reputation shouldn’t be tarnished over something we did. We all seem to agree on that since we go with that lie.
“Ashley,” I make sure she’s looking at me. I doubt she would turn on Kate but I can’t be too sure. “Did you pay with a credit card? If so maybe you can show your transaction history?”
She pulls out her wallet from her purse. A purse for God’s sake! She thinks she’s all that. “No but I have the receipt.” She unfolds a strip of paper and slides it across the desk. “This is from yesterday. The time stamp is 9:12 and missing security footage is from 8:45 to 9:00. I paid for two manipedis, shown here,” she points somewhere in the receipt, “for Kate and I. So we couldn’t have done it.”
Mr. Johnson nods then leans back on his chair. “Did you know that your friends were going to vandalize school property?”
Kate opens her mouth to speak before anyone else can. “Yes, but I tried to convince them not to. I knew it was bad and I told them they would get in trouble and they should back out but I also didn’t want to tell on them because their my friends and I can’t turn back on them. But at the same time we’re in thus situation because of something that could have been prevented.”
I yawn. “She couldn’t bring herself to do it. Mason and I did most of the wrapping. Drew’s money got us the wrap. He was indifferent and just went along with it. What else do you want to know?”
“This is ridiculous,” Mr Johnson states, looking at us all sternly. “You guys will be high schoolers in a few months. This is no way to be acting. Elizabeth, Mason, being in detention every week us not the way to go out. Andrew, you can’t always do everything your friends are doing just because. It won’t get you places. Ashley, Katilin, it’s a shame you guys have bad influences-“
I take slight offense. “I’m not a bad influence. Things I influence just happen to be frowned upon.”
“Yeah,” Andrew agrees. “I guess ‘bad’ is something that is subjective.”
Mr. Johnson sighs. “This is what I’m talking about. Andrew you are following a bad influence,” he gestures to me with his hand, “by interrupting me when without this influence you wouldn’t have done so. All for nothing but more detention.”
Now it’s Kate’s turn to take slight offense. “I respectfully disagree. It’s not appropriate to interrupt someone but it’s not a bad thing to be there for a friend.”
Mr. Johnson rubs his temples in frustration. “That’s not what I meant. I’m saying that in high school things will be different.”
“That’s what I heard.” Mason chirps in. “You come first. Friends later.”
“No.” Kate says stubbornly. “Friends should always be a priority, no matter what. You always need to be there for them.”
“Not no more,” Mason leans back on his chair and kicks his feet up on the desk. “Screw everyone else. I’m the only one I care about now.”
“Yes,” Mr. Johnson begins, he eyes Mason for putting his feet on the desk. “But not like that. When you go into high school everything will change. People change. And the best thing you can do for yourself is not to fight against the change. Even if it means parting with old friends for new ones.”
Kate laughs nervously. “But that won’t happen to us, right? We’ll make it work. We’ll still be friends.”
“Possibly.” Mr Johnson shrugs.
“It’s always been that way. Us being friends. Nothing will change that.”