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Us and Them

By @ZoeAmber


Friday / September 20th / 1:36 PM

“Miss Mason, I am not changing lab partners because of a silly fight.” Says Mrs. Kennedy as she twirls a pen in her hand.

“Mmm, not so much a silly fight and more so in the earth-shattering-human-onslaught-with-a-full-roster-on-each-side kind of area,” I say, nonchalantly. Mrs. Kennedy looks up at me from her desk with exasperation.

“Miss Mason, if you can’t learn to get along with people you don’t like, you’ll never be able to succeed in the real world. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do for you.”

I’ve never actually had to speak to Hayden Cassidy before. You know, with real human words that don’t involve eye-rolls, scoffs or just plain glaring at him. Melanie can not know about this. If she tells my parents… I don’t even want to think about it.

I let out a quiet exhale in defeat and smile weakly as I gather my things and leave the classroom. My mouth hangs open when I turn the corner and come face-to-face with him, Hayden, in the flesh, face red, standing just outside the door.

• • • • •

M : Are you positive he heard?

L : Devastatingly positive…

I text Mila as we get ready for Adelaide Stevens’ house party. She throws one every few weeks when her retired parents go to spend time at their Maine cottage. Her family is exceedingly rich so each house party is usually crazier and more exorbitant than the last.

Since Mila’s break up, she started trying to get back out there by attending these things, usually with no success because the only mutual topic she seems to talk about with any guy she meets, is Leo. Partly because anyone who has ever shared classes with Leo Farris knows his constant, annoying pranks make him hard to ignore. And mostly because he’s the quarterback, and for some reason, considers it his civic duty to be remembered by everyone.

M : Oh, well, don’t worry, you’re both supposed to hate each other anyway, right?

L : Aren’t pep talks supposed to make you feel better?

M : Oh shut up. Now what are you wearing? I’m in the middle of a seriously wardrobe crisis!

I rummage through my closet and hold hung clothes up to my body when Melanie enters with Rae in tow. The two plop onto my full-size bed, their brown eyes shining up at me.

“Ah, just who I was looking for,” I say, sending one last text to Mila, and pulling out two outfits and holding them up to me. “Which one?”

Rae is already bored and on her back rolling around on my bed.

You’re going to Adelaide Stevens’ party tonight?” Asks Mel, tucking a perfect caramel strand of hair behind her ear. “Don’t they get busted, like, all the time?”

“Mila and I are just going for a little while.” She points at an outfit and I put the reject away before clasping my hands and fluttering my lashes. “You’ll cover for me, won’t you? In case Dad wonders where I am?”

She cracks a smile and rolls her eyes. “You should know that I plan on redeeming these favours in full once I’m legal.”

“I insist upon it.” I smile and boop her on the nose before taking the chosen outfit into my bathroom to change.

I pop the outfit on and look in the mirror. I’ve always been the black sheep in my family with these subtle curves and a bust size that’s barely above an A cup. Against my brothers and Melanie, my presence is masked by their bright personalities and dark, sculpted traits. If someone had told me I was adopted into this family, it wouldn’t be much of surprise. I get my looks from my mother, Celeste Mason, except it seems they are better suited to her thin, fairy-like disposition with her small frame and how she almost seems to float around the room.

I walk out of the bathroom with the short pencil skirt and long sleeve relaxed crop top Melanie chose for me. My sisters’ faces light up in agreement as my phone buzzes, letting me know that it’s now time to plan my escape.

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  1. Kathleen Fazio

    Feb 2, 2022

    omg I love it so much! you are an amazing writer.

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    0 Replies Feb 2, 2022
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