The Lonely Hearts Club
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My mouth dropped open. Yeah, when we were ten ... and on speaking terms.
"Um, sorry," I said. "Its been a long time."
Diane's shoulders slouched. I wasn't giving her the response she'd been hoping for.
What did she expect? The last time I'd kept our first day of school ritual was in eighth grade. That was the day I'd been late for school because Diane hadn't come by my house to get me like she always did. That was the day my best friend forgot to wear her Beatles shirt. And it turned out to be the day I'd finally realized our friendship was over. We had been best friends for almost ten years. Our mothers had met at a book club when we were in diapers and had decided to make regular play dates for us. Her mother would pick us up from school and take us to the park, or we'd go back to my house and play in the backyard.
But none of that had mattered. Nothing else had mattered to Diane once Ryan came into the picture.
Diane had decided she only had room in her life for one person.
It had been between her best friend and her boyfriend.
Guess which one she'd picked.
I GOT AWAY FROM DIANE AND Ryan as quickly as possible, before they could become Diane and Ryan in the middle of the halls. But Diane's name popped back up at lunch,
"So guess who tried to make small talk with me in Biology and French like were friends?" Tracy asked while we walked to the cafeteria after morning classes. "Diane Monroe -- can you believe that? I think she is probably jockeying to get as many votes for Homecoming Queen as possible."
"Yeah, she's acting weird!' I agreed.
"Ugh, I can't stand her."
Tracy had never really been a big fan of Diane's -- not many girls in school were. Maybe it was her perfect appearance or the fact that she excelled in everything.
But that was just petty jealousy.
There was really only one person at McKinley who had a valid reason to hate Diane Monroe.
If it wasn't bad enough that she was a prime example of A Girl Who Gives Up Her Identity for a Guy, she'd also given me up. I'd always thought those girls who'd dump their friends whenever a guy showed interest in them were pathetic. But when I became one of those friends, I'd found out how much it hurt.
Just another example of what guys had done to ruin my life. As if treating me like crap wasn't enough, they stole my friends.
Even though I hated Tracy's list for how much it upset her, I was usually secretly glad when it ended up being a big failure. I never wanted to lose Tracy like I'd lost Diane.
Once we made our way through the long line of confused freshmen who were not yet aware of the cafeteria poison, Tracy and I established ourselves at our lunch table -- the same one as last year. Our friends Morgan and Kara soon followed.
"Hey, guys," Morgan greeted us as she and Kara sat down. "My parents are so riding me about having more extracurricular activities on my college applications. Can you believe that? I have to start worrying about college already. Didn't we. just start junior year?"
We all nodded in agreement. Kara shifted uncomfortably and fiddled with her apple as the rest of us dove into our lunches. It was hard not to notice the fact that she had lost even more weight over the summer -- if that was even possible. She was practically drowning in her gray McKinley High hoodie.
Suddenly, Kara's body was pinned against the table by a short, curly-haired girl "who must've slipped on the floor. Her tray hit Kara's head and her soda spilled on Kara's shoulder.
"Oh, no!" the girl screamed. "My soda.'" We all looked in shock as she picked up her plastic cup and surveyed her outfit, ignoring Kara completely. I'd never seen tins girl before, so I figured she had to be a freshman. There was no way I would've missed her, even though she couldn't have been more than five feet tall. Everything on her was done to the extreme-acrylic nails meant to look like a French manicure, dark brown hair that had been over-highlighted with blond streaks, eyebrows narrowly plucked, and lips overly penciled in. She was wearing a very mm, denim skirt and a lace tank top in other words, looking like she was going to strut down a catwalk instead of eat lunch at the school cafeteria.
'Are you okay?" Morgan handed Kara some napkins to clean
"Ash-ley!" the girl screamed at her friend. "Did I get anything on my shirt?"
Tracy whipped her head around. "Excuse me -- what about apologizing to my friend who you just soaked?"
The girl looked at Tracy like she was speaking a foreign language.
"What? I spilled my soda."
Tracy shot her the patented Tracy Glare --- eyes squinted into tiny slits, lips pursed, a look of complete disgust. "Yes, you spilled your soda -- on my friend. Do you understand what an apology means?"
The girl opened her mouth in annoyance. She mumbled something that I guess was supposed to be an apology (it sounded more like a question: "saw-reh?") and walked away.
Tracy sat back down, "Unbelievable. It's the first day of school and already these freshmen think they own the place. Oh, and, what a shock, look what table they're going to "
There was a long group of tables against the windows that would always hold the jocks and cheerleaders, including the infamous Elite Eight; Ryan Bauer and Diane Monroe, Brian Reed and Pam Schneider, Don Levitz and Audrey Werner, Todd Chesney and one of his many revolving girlfriends.