When Ashleigh and Marco arrived at the school Ashleigh watched
him go off in a direction towards a group of kids and she sorta stayed behind and looked at the school, “Come on, I
wanna introduce you to my friends,” he said grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the group of kids. “Hey
guys this is Ashleigh,” he said pointing to Ashleigh and she waved with a smile as everyone said hello back. “She’s
from Vancouver,” he said pulling his hair behind his ears. “Vancouver, really?” this guy with black hair said as he stood up. “That’s Craig,” Marco said laughing
in Ashleigh’s ear. Ashleigh laughed along with Marco before she answered Craig’s question. “Yep.”
“I haven’t been there in a while, the last time I went was
with my sister,” he said. “Very cool,” Ashleigh said nodding her head again in agreement. “Uh, Ashleigh,
this is Jimmy, Ellie, Hazel and Paige,”
Marco said as he pointed to each one when their name was called.
Ashleigh waved to them as their name was said and they would wave back and she would give them a quick smiled and then the
bell sounded. “Who do you have for homeroom?” Marco asked in a comforting way. “Mr. Simpson...I think...”
Ashleigh said uncertainly, “We’ll take you,” Craig said quickly. “Thanks,” she said as she followed
Marco, Craig and Ellie inside.
old is your sister?” Craig asked as Mr. Simpson gave the kids their assigned seats. “15,” Ashleigh said
nodding as Mr. Simpson called out her name, Ashleigh turned around and saw Mr. Simpson point to a chair; She smiled to Marco,
Ellie and Craig as she left their little circle. “Mr. Manning.” Mr. Simpson called out as he went to the next
computer and as Ashleigh took her seat. Ashleigh watched Craig walk from the little group to the computer as he took a seat
next to Ashleigh. He made himself comfortable in his chair with a smile as he pulled up the internet; Ashleigh smiled back
at him and logged in.
tonight, do that polynomial ditto. You guys need practice before the SAT’s, the test is Math and English only so you
need to know these things,” Coach Armstrong said as the final bell sounded. Ashleigh got up from her seat collecting
her books and her bag and headed out the door. “Hey,” Craig said as he caught up with Ashleigh. “What’s
up?” she asked as she skimmed the lockers for her locker. “Nothing really,” he hesitated to say. “Listen,
my birthday’s today and I’m celebrating with my friends and the Dot, you should come,” he said as she found
my locker. “Happy Birthday,” Ashleigh said opening her lock and locker door. “So will you come?” he
asked as she placed her books in her locker. “I’ll think about it,” she said with a faint laugh.
“Why think about it? Just come.”
“I don’t know anyone there.”
“Well that’s the whole point, think of it as a
meet and greet party. Besides most of the people there are the people you met this morning anyways,” he said as she
closed her locker and looked at him with a huff. “Alright fine I’ll go, but don’t expect anything from me,”
she said as she started walking, “I wasn’t, I just wanted you there, I thought it would be good for you,”
he said as they made out their way towards the door. “Thanks Craig but I’m a big girl,” she said as she
left the building.
Ashleigh walked into the Dot and looked for anyone that she
would’ve noticed from the morning. “You looking for anyone?” this guy asked with blonde, spikey hair. “Uh,
yeah...There’s supposed to be a birthday bash, thing, for Craig Manning here,” she said walking towards the guy.
“You know him?”
“I’m Spinner,” he said holding his hand
out for her to shake. Ashleigh shook his hand, “So when are the festivities beginning?” She asked putting her
hands in her pockets. “They should be coming in about five minutes.” The bell rang as someone opened the door
and Ashleigh turned around and saw Paige, Hazel and Jimmy. “There’s three of them now,” Spinner said rolling
his eyes and heading towards the back. Ashleigh stood there confused for a minute before she walked over to them. “Still
can't believe they let him back after what he did. It makes me sick,” Jimmy said as he pulled himself up to the table.
“Blah, blah Spinner. That's so last year. I want the latest with the princess Ashley diaries. How's Craig doing with
his dumpage?” Paige said as Ellie walked in, “Craig has a girlfriend?”
Ashleigh asked shocked and confused as Ashleigh helped Paige set up the streamers. “Yeah, Ash, who left him for some
guy in England,”
Ellie said, “Yeah, and he doesn’t know yet,” Marco said, “What?” Ashleigh snapped back at Ellie.
“Hey it's the guy's birthday. It can at least wait until tomorrow, right?” she said and right then Craig came
walking into the Dot. “Ashleigh, you came?” he said as his face lit up. “Only for the streamers,”
Ashleigh said throwing one in his face. Craig laughed as he took it out of his hair and walked over to Spinner at the counter.
“Time to open presents?” Ashleigh asked him as she walked closer to him, after time had passed. “Time to
tell the truth,” he said pushing Ashleigh out of the way and walking towards Ellie. “What is going on with Ashley?”
he asked Ellie and then everyone just sort of looked at everyone else. “If you told Spinner, you can tell me.”
“She wanted to tell you herself. She wanted to wait
'til the time was right.”
“Whatever. Just tell me.”
“She met someone.”
“Wait. You knew and you didn't tell me?”
“Don't shoot the messenger Craig. We-“ Ashleigh
said hoping to break things up. “You knew? Did everybody know? Screw you,” Craig said looking around at everyone
before he headed out the door. Everyone all looked at one another for a little while until Ashleigh rolled her eyes and followed
Craig outside. Ashleigh looked around for him and found him behind the Dot with a case of beers. “Mind if I have one?”
Ashleigh asked as she took a seat next to him on the curb, he had already gone through three and looked like he just needed
somebody, anybody. He looked at Ashleigh stunned and she gave him a smile as she pulled a beer out for herself. “So
I know you don’t know me very well, well you don’t know me at all but I’m still a person and I’m here
if you need to talk,” she said taking a sip from her beer. “It’s like everyone thinks I can’t handle
anything,” he said in a pissed off tone. “Maybe they’re just afraid of your reaction.”
“But, that’s exactly it. It’s like they
think I’m some five year old who can’t handle any type of emotion.”
“Why? I mean you’re human, we all have our flaws.”