As I walked to homeroom the next day, Geoffry ran up to walk next to me.
"Look," He said calmly, "I know that you and I have kind of a bad history..."
I gave him a nasty look, "What do you mean by that?"
"I mean that I dated your brother and you've never liked me." Geoffry said, smiling, "Except for when I first got here. You were so nice to me. I probably never would've fallen in love with Chris if it wasn't for you."
I stared straight ahead, quickening my pace. Geoffry added, "Well, I probably could've, but you contributed. You were an accessory to our love."
"I hope you're not trying to get something from me, Geoffry, because all I feel like giving you now is a kick in the balls." I snapped, looking at him.
Geoffry chuckled and looked down at his feet as he walked, "No, no, nothing like that. I just thought I should point out who you're putting me up against, Angela. It's me against Mouse."
"Yeah, you said that yesterday." I muttered, walking even faster. Geoffry sped up, too. He continued coolly, "You said that I'm worse than she is, but that doesn't mean something couldn't be going on with her. Maybe you should talk to your friend about her issues instead of me. I mean, you don't even like me."
I knit my eyebrows and looked at Geoffry. He kind of had a point.
Geoffry looked back at me and smiled warmly... Were there no loopholes? He was just saying something intelligent and there was no catch?
"Oh," He added, "And I know what it is that's bothering Mouse."
Well, I could've seen that coming a mile away. I asked, "What, Geoffry?"
Geoffry grinned widely, quickening his pace to pass me, "She's in love. With I think you know who."
I slowed to a stop, letting Geoffry walk off to his homeroom. My brain slowed down, too. It was like someone had jammed something in there to keep it from working, like a broomstick or a bag of marshmallows... Or a giant wad of bullshit.
I shook my head and opened the door to my homeroom class. No, come on, Ange. Who are you gonna trust? Mouse or Geoffry? Seriously?
But it all kind of made sense. Mouse has been acting totally weird lately and she's been extra mean to everybody... Especially Geoffry.
My eyes widened. I rushed into my classroom and sat down by Chris, slamming my books onto the table. Chris jumped and I said, "Chris!"
"Hi." He said, looking surprised.
"Chris, I have to tell you something." I said quickly.
Chris recovered and said, "Okay, what?"
I grinned and leaned into the table. Chris did, too.
"Mouse... Is in love." I said intensely.
Chris studied me for a moment and cracked a grin. He laughed, "No way."
I nodded frantically, "Yeah! It totally fits! That's why she's been acting so weird lately!"
"Okay, okay. With who?" Chris asked excitedly.
"Alright, ready for this?" I said, "Mouse... Is in love with Geoffry!"
Chris stared at me and the smile slowly faded from his face. There was an odd, still pause.
"What?" He asked quietly.
Just then, Alice walked into the classroom.
"Hey, guys." She said, setting her books on the table on the other side of Chris.
Chris was still staring at me. Uh-oh. Did I mess up?
I studied his face and said, "Chris?"
"I have to go." Chris said, pushing back his chair. He got up and quickly left the room.
Alice and I looked at each other.
"Should I go get him?" I asked.
"No, no," Alice shook her head, sitting down where Chris had been, "We still have five minutes before first hour. What happened?"
I shook my head, "I dunno, I just told Chris this crazy that Geoffry told me and he got all weird."
"Well... What did Geoffry say?"
Now that I had put it in the context of something that Geoffry had said, it sounded a lot less true. I felt stupid.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and said, "Well... He, uh... He told me that Mouse was in love with him."
Alice raised her eyebrows, "And you told Chris that?"
"Well, yeah. I didn't think he was gonna freak out about it." I said, scooting up to Alice, "Alice, Mouse has a crush on Geoffry. This is as weird as it gets, but it explains everything."
"How does it explain everything?" Alice asked, looking exasperated.
"It all fits together," I explained, "Mouse has been acting all weird lately, has she not? She's been a total dick to everyone."
Alice's shoulders relaxed a bit and she said flatly, "Ange, she's always a total dick to everyone-"
"No, no, I know. I mean she was even worse." I said, getting frustrated, "You seriously haven't noticed her being weird?"
Alice pursed her lips. She shrugged and said, "I guess I have."
I nodded and she cracked a grin, "But... In love with Geoffry? Really?"
"I know... And I think it might be the truth."
Alice chuckled, "Wow, that's weird."
She looked up and said, "Now, I have a question."
"Why the hell would you tell Chris?"
I sat, feeling stupid again. "Well... I don't know! I just did! I had to tell somebody and I thought he would think it was funny for some reason."
I turned in my chair to look at the door out of the classroom, where he had just left, "He seemed really upset."
Alice nodded in agreement.
Chris shoved open the classroom door, storming into the hallway. The door drifted closed behind him and he stopped walking. Where to go?
Chris looked down the hall; it was deserted. He blinked back tears and walked down the hall until he reached a group of lockers. In between the rows, Chris sank down to the floor, his back against a locker. He pulled his legs up to his chest , his hands in his lap. Now, he was safe.
Chris stared at a spot on the floor for a while, thinking. Then, he began to cry. His sniffles echoed quietly through the hall. He covered his face with his hands, tears running down his cheeks.
He looked up and stared at the lockers in front of him. He wanted to get up and kick them. Just kick him and kick him and kick him.
Chris looked up at the clock. He sighed and muttered to himself, "Time to go back to class."
Just before we had to go to first hour, Chris came back. He stormed into the room and I said, "Hey, buddy."
Chris shot me a dirty look, then looked me up and down, like he was trying to decide how to react to my greeting. He picked up his books and looked down at the floor, mumbling, "Hi, Angie."
I frowned and followed him out of the classroom, "Hey, what's going on?"
Chris ignored me and I put my hand on his shoulder, "Hey..."
"Not now, Angie." He snapped, shrugging off my hand.
I reluctantly let him go, watching him disappear into the crowd of students filling the hall. I sighed and walked off to my first class.