First Time Lucky(3)

By: Chance Carter


“Aw, come on, it’s just locker room banter,” he said snidely. “Shane knows I’m just joshing around, don’t you Shane?”

I relaxed my jaw and forced a light smile. “Of course.”

Wes then pretended I wasn’t in the hall with them, looking down at each of the girls in turn as he spoke. “We’re going to catch a movie tonight. I can count you ladies in, right?’

Sasha nodded her head enthusiastically. Dallas offered up a weak smile.

Wes looked back at me. “Hey, we’d invite you man, but we know that you can’t afford it. No sweat. See you later.”

Wes turned then and started off down the hall, both of the girls still tucked securely against his sides. I couldn’t believe the nerve of him.

Jake must’ve stayed around to watch just out of sight because he was at my side a second later. He patted my shoulder.

“That sucks, bro.”

I rolled my eyes and straightened my back. “Whatever. Let’s just get to our next class.”

We took long strides in the direction of the shop. Jake easily kept pace beside me, beanpole that he was, even though we were zooming down the hall.

“Did he actually call you both poor and illiterate in the span of a minute or did I hear that wrong?” Jake asked as we entered the haven of the shop. The scent of burnt ozone surrounded me, and I dropped my bag onto our stainless steel workstation.

“Yeah, well. Wes is a dick.”

Jake whistled between his teeth. “That’s rough. In front of the girl you like and everything.”

“I don’t want to talk about it, Jake.”

I tried not to sound too harsh, but I didn’t need a reminder of the humiliation I’d just suffered at Wes’s hands. I couldn’t help that I grew up in a trailer park outside of town, just the same way I couldn’t help that my brain couldn’t process letters and sentences the same way as everyone else’s. I was overcoming these problems more and more each day, and just from looking at me it was impossible to tell that I was poor and a little dyslexic. Good thing there were assholes like Wes to point it out.

I threw myself into the project I was working on, a stupid lamp that was going to get me a good grade and then be immediately forgotten. I tried to focus my thoughts away from Dallas, away from Wes and his irritatingly smug face.

Away from the fact that if today proved anything, it was that I was right all along. I would never be good enough for her.





Chapter 2

Dallas

The rain let up just after two. I wouldn’t have minded if it kept showering on the walk home, but Sasha always complained the whole way if so much as a drop of rain landed on her pin-straight hair.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I got to hear her complain a lot. Today, however, the air felt dry, and the clouds were a light, fluffy grey that didn’t herald another shower. The pavement was still damp in spots but beginning to dry, and the sun looked like it might still make an appearance.

Sasha and Patrice and I headed out the school’s double doors. I tucked my sweater tighter around me and thought about how someday very soon I would never walk out those doors again. High school was coming to a close, and thank god. I couldn’t wait to get a job. Not that working at the coffee shop or grocery store held much appeal for me. Whatever job I got would only be a stopover, a necessary step between me and my real dreams. Broadway was calling, and I intended to answer.

Sasha and Patrice were debating the subject of prom, which Patrice was gung-ho for while Sasha was less excited.

“It’s just a pageant for all the preppy bitches,” Sasha moaned. “There’s a goddamn crown and everything. I’d rather be getting shit faced behind the bleachers with the AV Club.”

I snorted. “You won’t even give the AV club the time of day.”

“I might if they had enough whiskey to make me forget how lame they are,” she pitched back. “My point is that prom is just a juvenile waste of our time.”

“You’re just saying that because Wes isn’t going,” Patrice commented.

Sasha glared daggers at the shorter brunette. “It has nothing to do with Wes. I couldn’t give a shit what Wes is up to.”

Patrice and I exchanged a look. Yeah, sure Sasha didn’t care. Like she didn’t follow him around like a lost puppy waiting for a scrap of attention. I didn’t fault Sasha for it since Wes was objectively handsome and popular to boot. It made me nervous though, especially since she wouldn’t admit her obsession and I sensed it was because I received more attention from the object of her affection. Sasha and I had been friends since junior high but she’d changed over the past couple of years. She turned bitter, even bitchy at times, and had a catty streak that made it downright unpleasant to be around her sometimes. Part of me worried that she’d continue pretending not to give a shit about Wes, but one day she’d trip me down a flight of stairs or something. I felt horrible for even thinking it.