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Lucy had gotten worse since Eugene left. As Junior Year started, she had finally started to show her true colours to the other students of Charms Springs High. She was loud, angry, and out of control.

Somehow, she had gotten even crazier. If that was even possible. But, I guess, in a way her descent into madness was justified. What she had thought would happen, happened. Eugene had stopped contacting her, almost entirely.

I hadn’t received anything since his last message either. He had made up a bunch of excuses for not wanting to talk to me before stating a simple, “Thanks for everything, but I think this is where we go our separate ways. Sorry.” Yeah, I’m sure he was sorry.

All I had done was not decide who to take to prom with me. And, for the record, I didn’t take anyone. That’s right. I took no one. I went to prom, alone, while everyone else got to slow dance on the dance floor. It was super embarrassing. None of the boys forgave me for not choosing them. Afterwards, they all made excuses for why they had to stop talking to me; but I knew the real reason.

Now the only people who talked to me were Emily, Olivia and Abigail. Izzy was still friendly with me but didn’t talk to me much out of loyalty to her best friend, Petey. Speaking of Petey, it hadn’t worked out between him and Lucy. Because…

He was a boy
She was a girl.
Can I make it any more obvious?
He was quiet, shy and sensitive
While she was loud, obsessive and rude.
What more can I say?

Their relationship was doomed from the start, and their breakup was what had finally broken her. She had returned to Charms Springs High without her bright pink pigtails, instead, her hair grew an inch and a half from the scalp of her head. She had shaved her head. The only thing that indicated it was Lucy was her... unique clothing choices and obnoxious voice that I had become eerily familiar with.

‘Why?’ You may ask. Well… Lucy, Madison and Chelsea had formed a new clique. Madison brought the money, Chelsea brought the hired help, and Lucy simply brought herself. Together, they were powerful, influential and, most importantly, popular. And, as a result, they could get away with anything as long as a teacher wasn’t looking in the right direction. And they had, and continued to, get away with a lot which, admittedly, was quite impressive considering Miss Trimbull’s ever-watchful gaze.

I was a lamb to slaughter, with Chelsea and Madison as my captures, and Lucy as the hungry wolf threatening to devour me. Ugh, Seth had really rubbed off on me. Next thing you know I’ll be applying dubious amounts of eyeliner on again. I can’t believe I dressed up like him, or any of them, just to get their attention. Though, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Anyway, what was I trying to say? Oh right. I had become Lucy’s primary target to vent her frustrations and alleviate her obvious underlying psychiatric issues. Why couldn’t she just fix her issues by obsessively shopping like the rest of us? Maybe shopping was one of her many issues! Or maybe she stole all the clothes she owned? Perhaps she got away with it because even the retail workers knew they were severely overcharging her for their awful clothes.

Either way, it wasn’t my fault that she was in a permanently aggressive and manic state of being, nor that the foundations of any potential friendship with her were cast aside to wilt in Sophomore Year.

So, Miss Trimbull’s decision to pair us together for the next class project was obscenely cruel, even by her standards. And no amount of begging or bargaining from either side had convinced her to change her mind.

“So let me get this straight. Trimbull forced you and Lucy to pair up because she thought you were the most trustworthy student to pair her with?” Emily asked as she took a sip of her cherry soda.

“Yep.” I nodded while I nervously stirred my milkshake.

“Well! Look on the bright side. It must mean that Miss Trimbull thinks you’re a capable student!” Olivia piped in.

“Or that she wants to get rid of you. You know that she doesn’t like students passing her classes,” Abigail suggested as she finished off Olivia’s Iced Tea.

“Does she realise that she’s the only good teacher in this school?” I asked.

“Probably. She’s been here ever since it was built in 1954,” Emily answered.

“She probably hasn’t changed her teaching strategy since then either,” I quipped. I sighed as I pushed my milkshake towards Abigail to finish off, then laid my head to rest on the wooden cafeteria table.

I deeply regretted helping Miss Trimbull find those missing textbooks and that student who attempted to evade detention. If I hadn’t helped her, maybe I wouldn’t be stuck with Lucy. I wonder how Lucy even got a hold of an electric razor to shave her head anyway. There was no way the only hair stylist in town would shave her head, especially when, as rumour had it, Lucy’s hair was naturally bright pink. Shaving a head of hair that was naturally pink should be considered a crime… like Lucy’s bulky pink sunglasses.

“Anyway, I need to go. Seth and I are going to see this new documentary about Edgar Allan Poe at the movies in The Mall!” Olivia said as she hugged Abigail goodbye and got up from her seat.

“I’ll tell Miss Trimbull you needed to pick up and take care of your little brother,” Abigail said as she kissed Olivia goodbye. “Oh, and give Seth this, he forgot it at my place last night.”

Olivia took the book from Abigail’s hands. “Thank you so much. I love you! And I’ll tell Seth that you send him your love,” she said and ran off.

Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to mention that Olivia, Abigail and Seth were all dating. It’s called a polygon or tri-couple or something.

As I watched Olivia run off, a figure with pink glasses made her way towards us and sat herself in Olivia’s vacant seat.

“Are you going to the party tonight at Chelsea’s place?” Lucy asked. “I am not letting you anywhere near my house until you can prove you won’t break anything.”

“I’m not going to break anything apart from your cheap pink glasses,” I replied.

She rolled her eyes. “Go ahead. At least I don’t have nasty zits like Abigail.”

Abigail grabbed my shoulders before I could say anything else, and Emily whispered in my ear, “You should just agree, even though she’ll be there at the party, you might be able to find a cute boy from out of town to flirt with. You could find your Romeo, minus all the death and stuff.”

I took a deep breath to calm my seething rage. “Fine. I’ll go. But you better not shave off all my hair if I pass out.”

“Only if you agree to not set mine on fire if you get mad,” Lucy said. It was funny that she thought the growth sprouting from her head could even be considered hair.

“Deal.” I nodded in agreement.

“Deal.” She nodded back and left without another word.

She bumped into another kid on her way and glared at them before disappearing into the crowd as people started to file out of the cafeteria. I hadn’t even noticed the lunch bell had rang until I saw the crowd start to make their way into the school once more.

“I have P.E. so I need to go. Thanks for paying for lunch, Emily.” Abigail smiled.

“You’re welcome. I’ll see you fourth period!” Emily said as she got up. “Come on, we can’t be late. Otherwise, Miss Trimbull will yell at us for being late again this week.”

“It’s not my fault you got caught up in explaining how Captain Charmes finding a mysterious chest full of seashells lead to the town’s tradition of collecting any fridge magnet they can get their hands on!”

“Well, it is, because you asked about it,” she said as we threw our trash into the bin.

“Whatever. I’m not in the mood to argue anyway,” I huffed.

We headed for our next class together, however, I paused as I felt myself step on something. I looked down to see it was a picture, which I grabbed to inspect closer. It was of Lucy and Eugene as kids, sitting together on the bench that overlooked the town at the park. Their clothing choices hadn’t changed at all since they were kids; Lucy wore a rainbow pinafore, purple hair clips and purple platform shoes and Eugene wore a light blue sweater over a white button up, black trousers and black shoes.

They looked so happy and hopeful that you almost couldn’t help but smile back at them. I flipped the picture to its back which displayed the title ‘Our first day at the park!’ in children’s handwriting.

“Hey! Are you coming? We’re going to be late.” Emily broke me out of my trance then raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?”

I put it in my pocket. “Nothing. Just a pamphlet someone dropped,” I replied.

I don’t know why I pocketed it or why I lied to Emily. But I know, if I had dropped something this important to me, I would want it returned to me; and not left on the floor to be ruined by the overworked shoes of pretentious cheerleaders. Plus, I had purchased and returned stranger things to people like camera cases, necklaces, and diaries. I hoped this return would be just as easy but, knowing Lucy, it definitely wouldn’t be.