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Heartless (Chapter 1)
I sat in the back row of my English III Honors classroom, with Cali seated to my right. The bell was about to ring and kids were shuffling into the class and hurriedly sitting down in their seats as the seconds on the clock ticked away.
“Alright, that was the bell,” Ms. Daily announced. “You know what that means. Class has started, so everyone please go to your seats.” She waited until everyone was seated before continuing to speak. “Ok, please take out last night’s homework,”
I reached into my folder and pulled out the homework that was assigned to us last night. It was an analysis on chapters six and seven of The Scarlet Letter, which was the novel we were currently reading in class.
“D***it,” Cali uttered to herself. “I forgot to do it,”
“Fail,” I replied with a joking grin. She pursed her lips and rolled her clear green eyes at me in return. “That’s like, the fifth homework assignment you’ve missed in this class.” I told her. “And school only started like, a month ago.”
“Yeah, I know,” she said, making it seem as if it was no big deal. It kind of was though. This was an honors class, so we were expected to do our work and do it well. Not doing simple homework assignments was a sure fire way to get a sucky grade.
“Don’t you think that you should maybe start doing the homework?” I asked her.
“I should,” she remarked with an impish smile. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to though,”
“Homework?” Ms. Daily said to us when she reached our desks. I handed mine to her, which she took with a small smile. Then she looked at Cali, disappointment in her eyes. “You don’t have it, do you?”
“It’s like you read my mind,” Cali replied, playing it off like it was just a joke. She obviously wasn’t taking this situation as seriously as she should have been.
Ms. Daily let out a heavy sigh, obviously frustrated in Cali’s lack of effort in this class. “Cali, do you realize that this is the seventh homework assignment you’ve missed in my class?” she demanded.
“Yeah,” Cali said flatly.
“And do you know that every other student in this class has turned in every single one of their homework assignments?” Ms. Daily remarked.
“Well this is an honors class,” Cali retorted, a sort of sarcastic edge to her voice. “It’s supposed to be filled with overachievers,”
I watched as Ms. Daily’s eyes narrowed in at her, observing just how aggravated she was growing. “Please see me after class, Ms. Johnson,” And with that, she turned on her heel and walked back up to the front of the room to start class. She began discussing what had happened in chapters six and seven, but I didn’t pay much attention to what she was saying. I’d comprehended the book just fine when I read it last night. So instead, I turned in my seat to look at Cali.
“Way to p*ss the teacher off,” I said to her, keeping my voice at a low volume.
“Well she needs to calm her prissy a** down and realize that I actually have a social life outside of school. I don’t have time to be sitting around, analyzing books from like, a million years ago.” It was quite clear that Cali was pretty irritated with Ms. Daily too. Not that there was anything new with that. Ever since the very beginning of the school year, she’d been telling me how much she hated our English teacher. I on the other hand, thought she was actually pretty nice.
“If you don’t want to do all this work, you could always transfer to regular English,” I reminded her. There was a playful tone to my voice, because I knew she would never do such a thing.
“Yeah, right,” she retorted, shaking her head and smiling at me. We had both been in all honors classes since freshman year. It was all part of our plan to both get accepted into Princeton at the end of next year.
“Cali, Sam, stop talking while I’m talking.” Ms. Daily scolded us from the front of the classroom. I gave her a small nod and turned back around in my seat so that I was completely facing the front. Cali, however, made a huge deal out of it by sighing loudly and crossing her thin arms over her chest.
I could tell that Ms. Daily was in no mood to deal with Cali’s rude behavior, so instead, she just continued on with class. First period went by pretty quickly and before I knew it, it was over. Cali and I both stood up and were about to walk out of the classroom, when Ms. Daily stopped us.
“Cali,” she said, “I still need to speak with you.”
“Great,” Cali uttered back.
“I’ll wait for you outside,” I told her before leaving the class. I walked out into the hallway and leaned up against the wall right outside the classroom door to wait for Cali. I had a feeling she would come out even more p*ssed off than before.
“Yo Epperly,” Darian Hayes called out to me as he came striding down the hall.
“Hey,” I replied, slapping hands with him when he approached me.
“Why you standing outside Daily’s class? You stalking her or something?” he asked me jokingly.
“Nah, I gotta wait for Cali,” I informed him.
“Wait for her to do what?” he wondered aloud.
“Daily wanted to talk to her. I have to wait for her to finish saying whatever she has to say,” I said.
“Well I don’t know about you, but I would love to stay after class with Daily. I’d so tap that,” He elbowed me in the ribs lightly, flashing a mischievous grin.
I shook my head, but laughed along with him nonetheless. “Yeah, you and all the rest of the guys that go to this school,” I replied. I couldn’t argue with him on that one though. Daily was the hottest teacher at our school. She was young, blonde and had a great body. Pretty much the entire male population of our high school was into her.
“What can I say? There’s nothing that turns me on more than a hot teacher with a fine a**,” Cali walked out of the classroom just as he finished saying this, and I could tell by the look on her face that she was not happy.
“I can’t freakin believe her!” she cried in rage. I glanced over at Darian, but he was already halfway down the hallway. He probably didn’t want to stick around to listen to all of Cali’s yelling and complaining. Smart move on his part.
“What did she say to you?” I asked her.
“She’s transferring me to regular English!” she shouted, her hands clenched into small, tight fists at her sides. She turned on her heel and began walking down the hallway towards her locker. I followed close behind. “She said that if I can’t handle the responsibility of being an honors student, then I needed to be moved into a lower level English class.”
“Are you for real?” I said to her in disbelief. I knew Cali’s constant snappy remarks and lack of effort in class weren’t exactly great qualities of an honors student, but I didn’t think Ms. Daily would actually kick her out of the class. That was a pretty brave thing to do, messing with Cali like that.
“Yeah,” she remarked. “That woman sure has a h*** of a lot of nerve to do this to me. She’s not gonna get away with this. That b**** is gonna pay.”
I really didn’t like the sound of that. Or the look of pure hatred in Cali’s eyes. I’d seen other girls screw with her before, and it never went over well. Cali was the type of person who always had to get her revenge. And she always made sure that it was much worse than whatever the person did to her.
“What are you planning on doing exactly?” I asked her, not so sure I really even wanted to hear the answer.
I looked at her, waiting for a response. Then slowly, a malicious smile began to spread across her lips. “I’m not going to do anything,” she told me. “You are.”
“What?” I demanded. She’d done a lot of pretty cruel things in the past, but I’d always made sure to steer clear of them. I didn’t like getting involved in all the drama Cali seemed to love so much. It all just seemed so pointless to me.
“You’re going to become a complete teacher’s pet. And once Ms. Daily likes you enough, you’re going to turn things up a notch. You’re going to make her really like you. In fact, you’re going to make her like you so much that she wants to start seeing you outside of class.” she said, her tone spiteful. “Then, you’re going to sleep with her. And I’ll just happen to see it and call the police. Then Ms. Daily will be arrested for pursuing a minor. The police can’t get you in any trouble because you’ll say she took advantage of you. So you’ll get to go back to school a legend for sleeping with the hottest teacher in school and I’ll get my revenge by having Daily completely destroyed. It’s a win-win situation.”
“No way,” I retorted hastily. I knew that Cali could be cruel sometimes, but I never thought she’d do anything that heartless. It was just so wrong. I didn’t understand how anyone could possibly want to do such a horrible thing to another person.
“Why not?” Cali asked, crossing her arms over her chest just as she reached her locker. She quickly dialed in the combination and opened it up.
“Because I’m not a terrible person,” I replied evenly.
She slammed her locker door shut and whipped her head around to look at me. “So you’re saying that you’re just gonna let her ruin our dreams of going to Princeton together without even doing anything to get back at her for it?” I followed behind her again as she began heading down the hallway in the direction of her next class.
“We can still go to Princeton together,” I told her. “It’s just one class. I’m sure you’ll still get accepted.”
“No I won’t!” she remarked. “Princeton only accepts the best of the best. That doesn’t include people who get kicked out of honors classes!”
“Well you have to admit, you kind of deserved it.” I said. I had a feeling she wouldn’t take it very well, but I said it anyways.
“You think this is my fault?” she demanded. “I can’t believe you. You’re actually siding with Daily,” She looked over at me with fury clouding her light eyes.
“I’m not siding with Daily,” I replied. “I’m just saying that—”
“Whatever,” she said before I had a chance to finish my sentence. “I don’t want to hear it.” She stormed off into her honors chemistry classroom without a goodbye. I’d obviously succeeded in making her even more angry.
Letting out a deep sigh, I walked over to my own third period classroom, which was only a couple doors down from Cali’s. The bell rang just as I arrived at my seat, and Mr. Chandler, my honors algebra II teacher, shut the door behind me.
“Everyone please take out a clean sheet of paper. We’re having a pop quiz on chapter three,” he announced. He was the only teacher I knew who actually gave out pop quizzes on a regular basis. He was also the toughest grader out of all my teachers. I had a feeling he graded my work stricter than everyone else’s too considering how much he hated me. Not that I’d done anything to him.
Darian, on the other hand, had. Last year, Mr. Chandler made this huge scene of yelling at Darian in the hallway because he was wearing his hood up during school hours, which was a violation of our school’s dress code. So Darian smarted off to him, which got him sent to the principal’s office. Ever since then, he’d hated Mr. Chandler. So one day, he decided it would be funny to spray paint all the windows of his car black so he couldn’t see where he was going while he was driving. Chandler knew that it was him, but since he had no proof, he couldn’t get him in trouble for it. He’s despised Darian ever since though. So since I was Darian’s best friend, he hated me too.
As Mr. Chandler walked by me, he slammed my quiz down on my desk, tuning me back into reality. I glanced up at him only to find him glaring down at me. Rolling my eyes, I turned back to look at the quiz lying on my desk. I scanned over the problems quickly in my head. All of them were easy enough, and I ended up finishing the quiz in a mere ten minutes.
I was the first one done and when I went to turn it into Mr. Chandler, I made sure to give him a smug smirk before returning to my seat. He knew I was the smartest one in the class. He just didn’t want to admit it to himself. He would always try to mark me off on tests and quizzes for the stupidest reasons too. Like by saying that my seven looked too much like a four so he had to count it as incorrect. It was clearly his own pathetic way of not being able to accept the fact that the student he hated most in the class was actually not worth hating at all. At least I didn’t think I was worth hating.
I liked to think of myself as a pretty nice person. Which was exactly why I wasn’t going to go along with Cali’s little plan to destroy Ms. Daily. I really did like Cali. I might have even loved her, but she had a way of being overdramatic about things. When she got angry, she got really angry. And whoever was the cause of her anger was her new victim. That was her main flaw. Once you got past that, she was a pretty nice person.
However, her plot for Ms. Daily was probably the worst thing she’d ever planned to do to anyone. It was cruel even for her. I knew I was the only one who had any chance at talking her out of it. I also knew that talking Cali out of something once she had her mind set on it was an extremely difficult task. I might have been smart, but I wasn’t sure if I was smart enough to figure out how to convince her to discard this plan. I was willing to try though.
“Alright, it looks like everyone is done with their quizzes,” Mr. Chandler announced. “Now please take out last night’s homework. We’re going to go over it,”
I did as I was told and pulled out the piece of notebook paper that was now filled with my messy handwriting. He’d assigned us problems one through thirty on page two-twenty-four of our textbooks. Thirty problems was the average amount of homework we received in this class. I was good at math, but it still took me a good forty-five minutes to complete my algebra homework each night. Combine that with the homework from all of my other classes and it took me about two hours.
When springtime came around, things were just going to get even worse too because I’d have baseball practice almost everyday after school. I’d made it on the varsity baseball team last year, which was uncommon for most sophomores. But they needed a good pitcher and I threw a pretty impressive fastball.
Cali would also be involved in a sport during the spring. She’d been doing soccer since freshman year and this year she was going to try out for the varsity team. We knew that being involved in an after school sport looked good on a college application. In fact, that was the only reason Cali had joined soccer in the first place. We also did volunteer work together in order to improve our chances of getting into Princeton. Both of us were in student council too. Next year, when we were seniors, we’d be able to run for president and vice president of the club. We’d planned all of this out freshman year, when we’d first started going out.
I didn’t see how being dropped from one honors class would really have much of an effect on Cali’s chances of getting accepted into Princeton. Aside from that one thing, she was a great student. I just wished she was able to see that too. Maybe if she did, she wouldn’t be so determined to get back at Ms. Daily for kicking her out of the class.
I spent the rest of algebra zoning out while Mr. Chandler went on and on about the Pythagorean theorem, and the sound of the bell ringing at the end of class was like music to my ears. Instantly, I rose from my seat, gathered my stuff and headed out of the classroom. When I reached Cali’s chemistry class, she was waiting outside the door for me just like she always did. At least she wasn’t still mad at me.
“Hey,” I greeted her, pecking her lightly on the lips.
“Hey,” she replied when I pulled away from her. I reached for her hand, enclosing it in mine before we began walking down the hallway.
“So how was chemistry?” I asked.
“Boring as h***,” she informed me flatly. “How was algebra?”
“Boring as h***,” I repeated with a smile. But that smile faded right away when Cody Zimmerman rounded the corner of the hall.
“Cali,” he said, grinning impishly at her. He stepped up beside her and casually draped an arm around her shoulder.
“Hey Cody,” she said, grinning back at him.
He leaned his head forward to look past her, right at me. “Sam, good to see you man,” he said to me, his tone patronizing. I gritted my teeth together, willing myself not to reply to him. “Jeez, Cali, you’re boyfriend’s being a major hater,” he remarked.
She glanced over at me, noticing how irritated I was getting. “Hey, I’ll talk to you later, ok?” she told him.
“Fine,” he agreed grudgingly. “Hit me up after school,” With that, he strode off down the hallway towards his group of friends from the football team.
“I really hate that guy,” I stated, glaring at him as he laughed at something one of his friends said.
“I know,” Cali replied. “But he’s my friend so try not to hate him that much.”
“Too late,” I retorted. I couldn’t help it though. I got really angry when it came to Cody. He was your typical, cliché quarterback of the varsity football team. He was rich, cocky, arrogant. Plus, he had absolutely no respect for women. He went through girls at such a rapid speed, it was impossible to keep up with him. It seemed like he was with a new girl every week. He’d had his eye on Cali for a while, but luckily, she’d never gone past the point of being just friends with him.
I didn’t understand why she was friends with him at all though. What was so appealing about a guy who had a bigger ego than Spencer Pratt? Personally, I found that to be an extremely obnoxious characteristic. Nobody else seemed to mind though. Including Darian, who was also good friends with him.
“Just try to be nice,” she said.
“Fine,” I replied passively. “But I can’t guarantee anything.”
She let out a soft sigh and laughed lightly. “Whatever,” she murmured. “I’ll see you after class, ok?” she said to me as she reached her locker. This was where he head our separate ways.
“Ok,” I agreed. I kissed her once again and then began walking off in the other direction.