I'm Not Her

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Book: I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janet Gurtler
    I bite my lip and shift from foot to foot. “Um, no. I don’t actually have a dog.”
    He focuses back on me. Then his eyes flash. Guilt rattles me.
    “Sorry,” I mutter. I seem to say that to him a lot. From the corner of my eye I see the group of kids moving away toward the front doors of the school.
    He blinks, but then his expression relaxes and he holds a hand up to his ear. “What’s that? Did Surly Girl just say sorry? Apologize to me?” He grins.
    “A miracle,” I say dryly.
    “I’m glad your dog didn’t die. I’m partial to four-legged creatures.” He smoothes back his hair. “So you’re skipping classes again?”
    I automatically look around to see if anyone heard him but no one is around. Everyone’s scattered off. I turn back to him and he’s grinning even wider.
    “I see you’re becoming quite the delinquent. Must be bad for your academic record.” He actually tsks me.
    “I have no strikes. My mom has covered all my ditching.” I glance around again in case anyone from the Honor Society is lurking around corners taking notes. For a moment a flash of fear rattles me, that they sent him to test my character.
    “Must be nice to be so perfect,” Nick says. “You and your sister.”
    His choice of words takes away my breath. I’ve never been called perfect in my life. Kristina’s always been the perfect one.
    “I am so far from perfect it’s not even funny.” I think of Kristina and my heart pounds. She’s not so perfect anymore either.
    “No? Well, what about your perfect grades? I heard you’re going to rule the world one day. Or at least try to change it.”
    I breathe out slowly. “You heard wrong,” I say, and my voice is shaky. My perfect grades are slipping. I’ve handed in substandard work in three classes, including Mr. Pepson’s. I’ve not done homework. I’ve missed classes.
    “Your sister okay?” he asks in a softer voice, as if somehow I’ve blown her cover. “She must be pretty sick to be missing all this school,” Nick adds.
    God, can’t she miss school like other normal people, without search warrants being issued? This conversation is officially not any fun at all. I don’t care what Nick wants. I want him to leave me alone.
    “Kristina’s fine.” I eye the parking lot and my horrible pink bike, the lone bike at the bike stand at the end. “Fine. Fine. Fine. As fine as the print on the bottom of a contract. Fine.”
    “A contract?” he asks. He studies me as if I’m behind glass at a zoo, picking bugs from my fur or something. “You know you’re kind of weird, right, Freshie?”
    I glare at him, daring him to say more, but he just grins. “In a good way. Listen, while I’ve got you here, being so friendly to me and all, I wanted to ask you a question.”
    It’s just the two of us now. No cars pass on the street, no kids on the schoolyard. Nothing. People I associate with, the brainiacs and the art freaks, are all in class. Sitting at the front. Mouths closed, ears open, waiting to learn something new or show off what they already know.
    I’m all alone. I want to run, but something about Nick keeps my feet planted on the spot, listening to him instead of taking off like I always seem to do lately. In the back of my mind I wonder how it’s possible I’m talking to a cute boy when the bell’s going to ring for the next class any minute and I’m outside the school instead of in it. My ears warm. When did Nick become cute in my mind?
    “You’re a tough one to figure out, Freshie. What makes a girl like you start skipping school?” he asks as if he cares. I hear other unasked questions hanging in the air.
    I try to think of something to say, a story that will throw him off the truth, keep him from finding out about Kristina’s sickness, but I got nothing.
    He smiles again. But it’s a different smile. It’s warmer and I hate to admit it, but it makes my stomach swoop a little. I am crushing. I’m a stupid girl. Stupid, stupid,

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