Today's Reading

"You don't think that's it, do you?" I asked.

Todd shrugged, but it wasn't his answer I was looking for. I wanted to know what Marc thought.

As if reading my mind, Marc squeezed my hand. "Relax, it's probably nothing."

I hoped he was right, but that word 'probably' dug at me as I sat in the guidance counselor's office.

Why did Todd have to get in my head? I hadn't been nervous at all until he opened his mouth. But now I was semi-petrified. I'd never been called to the office before—not guidance's, not the principal's, not even the nurse's.

I couldn't get in trouble: It was my senior year, and my transcript couldn't afford it. It needed to stay perfect if I had any chance of getting into Columbia, and I 'really' needed to get in.

I stared at the clock on the wall. I'd been waiting to see my guidance counselor, Ms. Vail, for twenty minutes. Much longer and last period would be over.

Finally her office door opened.

"Thanks again," a tall, blondish girl said, walking out alongside Ms. Vail.

"No problem, Lissi."

My ears perked up. This was the infamous Lissi Crandall? I craned my neck to get a better look. Everyone was talking about her. Not that I could blame them. It wasn't every day Brooksvale High got a new student, let alone at the start of senior year. Lissi was practically a celebrity in our little Connecticut town. She'd started attending the school's volleyball practices this summer, and from what I'd heard, she'd made quite the impression. Loved by some, hated by others—this latter group included one of my BFFs, Grace Kim.

"I'll keep you posted," Ms. Vail told her, then turned her attention toward me. "Camryn Roth?"

The sound of my name made Lissi's face snap in my direction. Her eyebrows rose and her blue eyes widened. Did she know who I was?

We didn't have any classes together, but I guess it was possible she'd heard about me. We did have people in common. I hung out with the soccer guys, and they were all about Lissi. She's so hot; she's so funny; she's so perfect. I gave them more than my fair share of eye rolls over it, but I could sort of see what they saw in her. Lissi had that whole I can command a room without saying a word vibe.

"You can come with me," Ms. Vail instructed.

I followed her into the office, thoughts of the new girl quickly evaporating. I had much bigger things to think about.

"Have a seat," Ms. Vail said, shuffling through some files on her desk until she found the one that read CAMRYN ROTH. "Sorry for the delay; the last meeting went longer than expected."

"That's okay."

Then I waited as she flipped through my transcript. She frowned as she turned to one of the pages. I was pretty sure she even shook her head slightly, but that could have been my imagination. My right knee started shaking, moving up and down at a rapid pace. It had a mind of its own. I pressed my hands down to stop it, but it wasn't doing any good.

Ms. Vail still hadn't said anything.

"I really, really appreciate you switching me to that art class," I sputtered, trying to get ahead of the situation. "Sorry for all the emails and voice mails about it this summer. But I think it will definitely help my college applications. Can't get enough culture, I always say." I didn't always say that. I'd 'never' said that. Well, except when I was trying to convince my counselor of something.

In the case of this past summer, it was getting Ms. Vail to move me into my boyfriend's class—although I never mentioned the boyfriend part to her. I may or may not have bugged her about four dozen times to get switched into Ms. Winters' last-period art class.

After the first dozen correspondences, she wrote me back with "good" news. She had managed to move me to Mr. Tobin's second-period art class. But good to her was sucktastic to me. I'd been trying to get into Marc's class so I could be near him, not to learn about pointillism and other things that made my head spin. So I doubled down, saying that the only reason I wanted to take art was to work under Ms. Winters' esteemed tutelage. Yes, I laid it on thick, and often, but I had an agenda: taking at least one class with my boyfriend.

I couldn't only see Marc at lunch. That wasn't happening. So I did what I had to do.
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