• The next day, I sat through all my classes trying to ignore the pained stares of Ethan. I knew if I looked him straight in the eyes, I would give in and beg for him back. I would come to my senses.
    Brandon was in none of my classes. He was the smart one, the kid with the silky hair and inexpensive taste that all the girls secretly adored, but couldn’t talk to him for fear of being dropped out of the A-list.
    I finished all my tests and turned in my papers. I participated in group discussion and didn’t talk out of turn. The teachers gaped at me all day long. They had never seen me behave that well. Ashley, who sat behind me in every class, started whispering to Jessica about how much I’d changed since him. She spit the word every time she said it.
    I felt a tap on my shoulder just as Mrs. Wells turned to the chalkboard to write down our assignments for the day. Out of habit, I reached up to flick my hair back. I flexed my fingers wide enough for a folded paper to stay, and a paper found its way between them.
    Casually, my hand dropped to my lap. Romeo and Juliet softly fell to my knees, pushed by an innocently twitching finger, and I laid the note on it. My lithe fingers quickly opened the paper. It read:

    Emma, this is wrong. You are not meant for Brandon. Let him find someone else who won’t run back to Ethan at any given second. I know you will. Don’t let Brandon down. Don’t let Ethan down, either. He really likes you, and I know you know that. Do you see what you’re doing? You are tearing Ethan’s heart apart. Go back to him. WRITE BACK.

    I read this over and over again. It burned into my mind. Was I wrong? Deep down inside, I felt like Brandon was the one. I wasn’t going to run back to Ethan as long as I resisted looking in his eyes. Also, Ethan didn’t like me. All he liked was his position on the soccer field: midfield. Well, that and the fans screaming his name as he stormed down the field with a huge blue sixteen on his back, kicking a soccer ball.
    Ashley tugged my ponytail. I held up one finger where she could clearly see it, One minute. I scribbled my thoughts down.

    Am I wrong? I’m not going back to Ethan ever. He doesn’t care about me, just his adoring fans. You sound as if you like Brandon. DO YOU?

    I tucked my hand underneath Ashley’s desk and touched her leg. She pulled lightly on it to assure me that she had it under control and took it.
    A minute later, something flew into my lap. It was a paper airplane; Ashley hadn’t written it. She noticed it and shrugged, looking around the room for any sign of guilt to give away the culprit.
    Tensing up for a guilt trip from Ethan, I unfolded the plane.

    If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go back out with Ethan. Don’t disappoint us.
    (Ethan’s Fans)

    Something told me this wasn’t right. The fact that they abbreviated and then changed their minds basically screamed “wrong” to me. I slid down in my seat. The static electricity frizzed my hair, but I resisted the urge to pat it down; that shows a lack of confidence. I slowly twisted my head around to examine the room. Most of its occupants were studying the floor or their own notes hidden behind their own Romeo and Juliet. Except for two, that is.
    I recognized them from the many pep rallies I had attended after school. I didn’t know their names, but I could get that information easily. After all, everyone except me knew the creepy psychopath’s and insane schizophrenic’s names. Everyone except me, the one who needed it the most. My heart pounded. Yeah, most people here wouldn’t hurt anyone. These guys however, couldn’t control themselves.
    Ashley set our correspondence on the band holding my hair up. I tipped my head downwards and snatched it up before Mrs. Wells could see it. Unfortunately, she did.
    “I have had enough of you students giving each other notes instead of taking notes in my class. Give me those notes now.” About fourteen kids held out their each separate notes. Mrs. Wells stomped around the room, taking each one and ripping them up. She threw them on my desk and said, “Get out.”
    “Are you serious?”
    “Yes, young lady. I’m completely serious. Out. In. The. Hall.”
    I rolled my eyes and got up. I strolled nonchalantly past my wide-eyed classmates. I opened the door and walked out. She meant for me to stay just outside her room, but my newly rebellious spirit kept me going all the way down to the double doors that led outside.
    It took most of my strength to open those doors. They weren’t that heavy, or even locked, but my mind fought my body to make me stay inside. I pushed them open.

    I was oblivious to my surroundings as I drove to the barn. Our barn, I thought. Brandon's, and mine. Our haven. Those memories of the beautiful paintings were what forced me out of the school's parking lot and onto the highway.
    My mind slowly ran through everything that had happened. I just couldn't believe it. I, Emma Towles, had just walked out of English class. True, I was ordered to, but this bravery would have been beyond me before Brandon. Those ponderous thoughts consumed me until I pulled into the gravelly drive of the barn.
    My arm opened the car door unconsciously. It was as if I was being drawn to it. The pictures of the romantic couple swarmed my vision. Nothing else was visible until I felt a jarring thud on my head. Then, I saw stars.