Second period was over and just like period one, all anyone could talk about was the gala. Some of the girls were discussing where they want to shop for their dress. The guys fought over who they wanted to ask to be their dates in mock territorial voices.
By fifth period talks of the gala had ceased. Least in my ears. As I changed at the end of gym class the guys went into detail about who they’d like to take, but it mostly veered towards who they wanted to see in their beds by the night’s conclusion.
“Hey Chase, who are you bringing?” David Weinberger asked. He’s on the baseball team, plays shortstop. Not a bad player although his average could be better.
“I have a date.” I said, hoping that would squash the conversation. But this is high school, despite it being full of rich kids who acted like they were ten years their senior.
“Well c’mon who? Is she in this school?”
“Can you even bring outsiders?” A voice I didn’t recognize asked.
“Sure you can. Harvey Phelps brought that college girl last year.” David’s attention was back on me. “So who is she, Davenport?”
“Do you even have a girlfriend? You never talk about having one.” Novak said.
“I do, not that it’s any of your business.”
“You sure we’re not just gonna be saying hi to your mom?” Novak said. That got a few of the guys to slap palms with one another accompanied by laughter.
Nobody here know’s that I’m adopted. I mostly keep to myself, and it’s for occasions like this that I do so. Don’t want to give a high school kid any sort of ammunition in their attempt at what they call “harmless fun.”
I kind of feel bad that Todd is also in the dark. I’ve known him since freshman year. I guess you could say we’re close friends. By teenage standards, at least. Charity is the only other person who knows. I’m sure her dad knows. If not, I’ll tell him.
I’m still not sure how my folks are able to keep that I am adopted a secret. I thought a school like Wentworth would do some kind of privatized background check to make sure their students, as well as the parents, were worth admittance. Guess because I’m on scholarship it doesn’t matter. But that seems like a good reason to dig.
“Do we at least know of her?” Novak asked.
Why is he pressing the issue?
“She doesn’t go to this school and I doubt she falls in any social circle of yours, or anyone else’s, from this school.”
“So we’re not good enough for you, is that it?” Novak said with what sounded like a hint of resentment in his tone.
I hadn’t even noticed him standing next to me until I looked up. Something in his eyes…
“What’s your deal, Novak?” I said. By then every conversation in the locker room had ceased, all eyes were on us.
“No ‘deal’. Just want to know why you choose not to socialize with the rest of your classmates.”
“I’m not obligated to hang out with you outside of these walls, or the field, if I don’t want to.”
“So you do think you’re better than us.”
Silence, then, “whatever.” Novak shook his head and began walking back to his locker. All conversations picked up as though nothing were wrong. Nothing was wrong…right?
Showered and changed, I left the locker room and then school grounds. As I was inserting the left earphone a voice said “Hey star.” Turning in its direction there sat Denise Maxwell hanging her head out of the back seat of a Town Car.
“No practice today?” Not a hint of curiosity seemed to seep from the question.
“Tomorrow. What are you up to?”
“Off to buy a dress for the gala. I’m thinking something black, tight, and revealing. What do you think?”
“It’s your body.”
“A feminist. I like that.”
You could tell she didn’t care, yet put a lot of effort into getting my attention.
“Who are you going with?” She asked.
The car pulled to a stop at the Vanderbilt red light with its blinkers indicating a left turn was imminent.
“I have a date. What about you?” I said.
“Kinda holding out for someone special.”
“Well, you’ll get it. Bye now.”
With that, I began heading in the opposite direction to avoid further prying. Looking over my shoulder Denise’s car made the left turn and began speeding to avoid another red light.
As I watched her I began thinking about Novak’s sudden prying. It isn’t really a secret that Denise is into me but you’d have to beat it out of her to get an answer. Now with Novak, he practically couldn’t wait to tell you who he was interested in. Perhaps the questionnaire was him blowing off steam in preparation of seeing me with Denise at the gala.
Well he, Denise, and the rest of the senior class will be biting their tongues once they see me walk through the door with Charity. Assuming she wants to go, of course. All it’ll take is a phone call. Better to do it in person, though.