|Copyright @ 2013 by Anne Osterlund. Used by permission of Speak, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved.|
Beth could have killed him. All the time he spent oblivious to her and he chose this moment to intersect her path. She was already late, and she’d been trying desperately to unwrap her remaining school supplies so that the second-period teacher wouldn’t glare at her the way the homeroom instructor had. Papers flew out of Beth’s arms, across the floor, and under the slice of space beneath the lockers. Her open backpack fell, emptying its contents into the pile. Devastation.
She dropped to her knees.
He had the audacity to sigh. As if ramming his way around the corner was her fault. Frantically, she started to scramble, cramming pencils, folders, notebooks, erasers, and books into her backpack.
The bell rang.
She reached for a binder, and his hand stopped her.
He pulled the object toward him and snapped open the rings. “You know,” he said, “if you put the paper in here, it won’t make such a mess.”
She glared at his slicked hair and spotless T-shirt. Why did organized people act so patronizing? But it was hard to argue with him when she realized he’d picked up every stray piece of lined paper.
“We’re late,” she muttered as her only form of revenge.
In the nine years she’d known him, she couldn’t remember El Perfecto ever being tardy.
He just nodded, handing back the filled binder, then stood, straightened his shoulders, and walked into AP English.