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Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat

Page 8

My phone buzzes on the table, and my heart just swoops.

But it’s Garrett.

Hey I’m glad you’re coming to the play tomorrow, should be really fun.

I curl back onto the couch, staring at it. Garrett does this sometimes. He sends me these texts out of nowhere with no real opening for a conversation. Just a statement. And I never know how to respond. To be honest, I get this vibe sometimes that Garrett likes me. I mean, I’m probably imagining it, and Garrett’s probably just really awkward. But sometimes I wonder.

Me too! I start to type. But it reads a little too much like OMG GARRETT I LOVE YOU PLS KISS ME. So I delete it, and then stare at my phone, and then retype it without the exclamation point, and then delete it again, until I finally give up and turn on Fruits Basket. This is what a mess I am. I can’t write a two-word text without losing my shit. And I’m not even particularly attracted to this boy. If I were, I’d be dead. RIP Leah Burke. She died of acute awkwardosis.

I need a distraction. God knows TV isn’t enough. I pull up some random fanfic on my phone, and then I take it down the hall. I can’t read Drarry in the living room, even when my mom’s not home. Drarry belongs in my bedroom. I don’t care if that sounds dirty.

But I can’t focus. It isn’t the fic’s fault. It’s well written, and Draco has some bite to him, which is refreshing. I hate when writers make Draco sweet. Sorry, but Draco’s a bitch. Own it. I mean, yeah, he’s a ball of mush underneath, but you have to earn it with him.

I guess that speaks to me, somehow.

But the distraction’s not working, so I shut it down. I stick my phone into its charger and then wiggle it around for a minute to trick it into actually charging. My phone’s a piece of shit. I crank up Spotify and log onto my art Tumblr, scrolling through my archives. I should upload something new. Or even one of my more decent older pieces. I have a whole bunch I’ve photographed and saved on my phone. All my ships, straight-up kissing: Inej and Nina, Percabeth, a few original characters. Plus a few random portraits of my friends, not that I ever plan on showing those to anyone. I did that once. Huge fucking mistake.

I scroll quickly past them, landing instead on a pencil sketch of Bellatrix Lestrange. It’s not the most polished thing I’ve drawn, but I sort of love her facial expression. And I don’t mind it being a little sloppy, since my Tumblr page is anonymous. If people think I’m a shitty artist, so be it. As least they don’t know I’m me.

5

MORGAN’S NOT AT SCHOOL ON Friday, and she’s not replying to my texts.

“That’s sort of weird, right?” I say to Anna at lunch. We’re the first two at the table. “Is something up with her?”

“With Morgan?” She bites her lip. I have the distinct impression that she’s avoiding my eyes.

“What, is she mad at me or something?”

“No, it’s not that.” Anna pauses. “I think she’s processing things.”

“What are you talking about?”

She looks up at me, finally. “She didn’t tell you?”

“Uh, she’s not returning my texts, so.”

“Yeah.” Anna leans back in her chair. “Well. She heard from Georgia last night.”

“The school?”

Anna nods, and something in her expression makes my heart sink.

“She didn’t get in,” I say quietly.

“Nope.”

“Was she wait-listed?”

“No.”

“You’re kidding me.”

Anna shakes her head.

“But she’s a legacy.”

“I know.”

“She must be devastated.” I blink. “How could she not get in?”

“I don’t know. It’s messed up.” Anna sighs and tugs the ends of her hair. “Maybe her SAT scores? I know she retook it a few times. I feel so awful. I think she’s in shock. And her parents just lost it. Like, they’re calling the school, withdrawing their donations. I don’t even know.”

“Jesus.”

“I’m going over there after school,” Anna says.

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