"Did you hear about Kathy Parker?"
"Yeah, I know, Kathy Parker flipped out yesterday."
"But it's not just yesterday, she's been weird all week."
"Did you hear Kathy Parker got kicked off the cheerleading squad?"
"Is that why she attacked Stephanie?"
"What if Stephanie started the fight?"
I swear, that was all to be heard in the hallways as Leo, Mouse, Chris, Alice, and I went to our lockers. Everyone was talking about Kathy Parker.
"Dang," Leo said, "Kathy's gonna come back to some pretty nasty rumors."
"It's actually kind of... Sad." Alice said. Alice isn't known for being a grudge holder, but she has never liked Kathy. Ever since their big fight over Chris, Alice and Kathy had always stayed clear of each other... And listen to Alice now.
"Sad?" Leo said, "How is it sad? She probably did something to deserve it. Oh, wait, she already did! She beat up an innocent girl over nothing!"
"Stop it, Leo." I said, "It wasn't over nothing. Tae-Hyun didn't deserve how Kathy was treating her, but Kathy did have a reason."
Leo scoffed, "Come on, Angela, don't be stupid."
"I'm not being stupid! People are fragile. Keep in mind, Kathy is still a human being just like you and me, she has feelings." I said, "Maybe you should listen to your little girlfriend more often."
Chris and Mouse exchanged a 'wow' look with a little grin.
Leo stared at me and walked closer to me.
"You little trader." He said, "Why are you acting like this?"
"Why are you acting like this?" I shot back at him, "You're being a jerk!"
"How am I being a jerk?" Leo yelled at me.
Mouse snorted and we all looked at her.
"Okay," Mouse said, holding up her hands, "I'm sorry, but I must intrude here. Leo, you're an ass. Angie, you're correct."
"What?" Leo said.
Chris crossed his arms and shook his head.
"I'm with the girls on this one, Leo." Chris said, turning to leave, "You've been pretty inconsiderate lately."
"Oh, you're always with the girls." Leo mumbled.
Chris turned around and looked at Leo.
"What did you say?" Chris said.
"I said...." Leo said quietly, "You always side with the girls."
Chris put his hands on his hips and said sharply, "Now, what's that supposed to mean?"
Leo clenched his teeth and said, "It means you never side with me, you always take the girls' side because you wish you were one."
Chris stared at Leo, a hurt look in his eyes. Chris smacked Leo hard across the face.
Leo looked at him and said, "What the hell, Chris?"
"You know, I really thought you were over being a homophobic, selfish jerk, but I guess I was wrong." Chris snapped, "All you care about is yourself!"
"Cry me a river..." Leo scoffed.
"See?" Chris cried, "You are such an ass. Do you even hear yourself? Imagine if Tae-Hyun heard you talking like this! Why does she even like you?.... You're terrible."
"Listen to you." Leo said, "You really would make a better girl. You're bossy and overly sensitive, just like a girl!"
Chris stared at Leo for a long, long time. So did Mouse, Alice, and I.
Leo's eyes darted between all of us and he said softly, "What?"
Tears welled up in Chris' eyes and he sniffed and stared at Leo angrily.
"Chris?" Leo said quietly, "Are you okay?"
"You're a jerk." Chris said, and he stormed away.
We all watched Chris leave, then Mouse, Alice, and I looked at Leo.
"Dang, Leo." Mouse said, "You've been pretty pissy lately, but I didn't think you'd go that far."
"What did I do wrong?" Leo exclaimed, "Why is everything my fault?"
I crossed my arms and said, "Because you're insensitive. You never used to be like that. What happened to you?"
"I don't know! Just a lot of bad stuff has been happening lately!" Leo said, "Kathy has been a total bitch-"
"Will you shut up?" I said sharply.
Leo raised his eyebrows at me and said, "What?"
"Just shut up!" I said, "Listen to you, blaming everything on Kathy. Maybe Mom was right and maybe something is going on with her. I swear, sometimes it seems like you have no conscience."
Leo stared at me as Mouse, Alice, and I walked away from him.
So this is what school is like when Kathy is gone.