Mason grinned, tipping my head up to meet his eyes. “What’s wrong? You spaced there for a second.”
“Oh.” I shrugged, dipping my head back down. “Nothing.”
I could feel his gaze on me and knew his wheels were spinning. “I talked to my mom. She won’t come up here. She knows you’re staying here and agreed it would be for the best if she stayed away. Is that what’s bothering you?”
“Oh.” Had that been my dad in that car? Why was I even thinking about him? “That’s fine. I’m tired. That’s all.”
Mason knew I lied to him, but he didn’t push. I was thankful.
I was thankful for my social outcast status the next day at school as well. It was peaceful, but when I went to gym class, I should’ve been prepared. I wasn’t. Kate had warned me on the first day, but she spent the rest of the week focusing all her threats on Heather. It was only a matter of time before she turned her attention back to me.
It happened when I was done showering. All of my clothes were gone. It didn’t take a genius to figure out where they were.
The locker room emptied as soon as I stepped from the shower. It made sense now, but there was a girl behind me. She wore a baggy sweatshirt and a baggy pair of jeans. Her sneakers might’ve been white at one point, but they were frayed on the soles and almost black now. She brushed a strand of red hair behind her ear, but it popped back out instantly. It was frizzy, and I knew it would’ve been beautiful if she would put some hair gel into it. Her eyes held my interest. There was no sympathy or warmth. She jerked her hand over her shoulder and said in a flat tone, “If you need clothes, I might have some for you.”
“You wouldn’t get in trouble for helping me out?”
She lifted one shoulder, but the blank face remained. “I don’t really care. It’s not like they’d know who helped you. They aren’t my clothes.”
“You keep the lost and found in your locker?”
“No.” I caught a glimmer of a grin as she went to her locker. When she handed me a boy’s jersey, the name on the back made me pause—Kade. “Uh …?”
“Told you.” She pulled out a pair of jeans that looked like they’d been on the bottom of her locker for years. They were wrinkly and smelled musky. Then she handed me a swimsuit, which looked new. That was comforting. “The shirt and jeans belonged to a friend of mine. No one’s seen them in years since she transferred two years ago, but the suit’s mine. It’s clean; I was going to go swimming after school, but I can borrow one of my friend’s.”
They’d do in a pinch. “Did they at least leave my shoes?”
“Yeah.” She pointed to my locker. My shoes had been stored underneath a bench. “I don’t think they knew which ones were yours.” Twenty other pairs of shoes were beside them, lined up and down the row of lockers.
“Small favors, huh?” I gave her a grin, but her facial expression still didn’t change. It was still blank and flat. Then she started to go around me. “Wait. Who was your friend?”
“No one you’d know.” She didn’t stop and continued to the door.
I lifted Mason’s jersey. “I’m betting that I might. This was Mason’s, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, but like I said, you wouldn’t know her. She wasn’t his girlfriend or anything.” She paused. “And she wasn’t a stalker either. They were friends.”
Then it clicked. “Marissa.”
That finally got a reaction from her. Her eyelid twitched and she frowned. “He’s talked about her?”
“A little. I know they were friends.”
“And you were friends with her, too?”
“She left those clothes in my locker all the time. Kate and friends did the same thing to her. She liked wearing his jersey because it shut ‘em up.” She took a small breath. “Anyways, there you go. You don’t have to give them back or anything. It’s not like Marissa still wants them.”
She started to push open the door, but I asked, “Would you tell me about her?”
She let the door close again. “Why?”
I shrugged, clutching the clothes to my chest. I was standing there, dripping wet from my shower and the towel was starting to slip, but I was insistent. “I’d like to know more about her. He doesn’t say too much.”
She snorted. “I’m not surprised by that.” The small opening that had appeared was gone. The wall was back in place. “Good luck with the Princess Bitches. See you.”
I didn’t move for a while after she left. Mason never talked about his friend except that she’d been bullied by Tate and Kate’s group. I never pushed him for information. He’d tell me if I did, but I wanted to hear it from someone else. This girl was Marissa’s friend, and in the two minutes that I had talked to her, I could tell she still missed her.
She had been kind to me and I didn’t even get her name.
With that depressing thought, I heard voices outside the door and knew the next gym class would be heading inside, so I darted into the bathroom stall and changed. The jersey hung on me and the jeans were a little baggy, but they would do. The swimsuit helped underneath since my bra and underwear had gone missing as well.
When I went into the hallway, the reaction wasn’t what they wanted. Mouths dropped and girls bent close to whisper to each other. At the end of the hallway, Kate was at Natalie’s locker. She was furious and looked ready to march over, but Mason came up from behind me. He wrapped an arm around my waist and nudged me against my locker. His hand lifted to hold the back of my head so I didn’t hit the locker, but he pressed into me.