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Head Over Heels
an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

March 8: Working Women’s Day

Nikki hasn’t talked to me in a week. I’ve left like six bizillion messages on her machine. Finally, today, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I furtively sneaked up on her at her locker and kind of pinned her there. “Hey,” I said.

She looked at me, then banged her locker closed and turned to walk away. I followed. We were going to settle this. “Come on, Nik,” I said. “You can’t run away from me forever.”

“Watch me.”

I wracked my brain for something that would assuage her feelings. “I know it looked really bad, I do, but if you’d just let me explain, you’d see it’s not like what you’re thinking at all. See, we were originally supposed to have a tutoring session that night, but I didn’t tell you because I knew you couldn’t take hearing the sound of his name even, so I said I was out with Jeremy. And then Luke canceled the lesson at the last minute, so I went there to study, and his band was playing and—”

Nikki whirled around. “Just stop,” she said. “I don’t want to hear it anymore. Are you really that blind? You like him, Fran. You’ve always liked him.”

“Just because I go to study at a place where he happens to be, doesn’t mean I like him. It’s a small town, that’s all,” I protested.

Nikki shook her head. “You are either in serious denial, or you’re not the person I thought you were,” she seethed. “The whole time, I’m trying to get this guy, sharing how I feel about him with you, and you’re stealing him from under my nose. You and Luke probably got a good laugh out of it.”

My mouth dropped open. “Nikki, how could you say that? You make it sound like—like I’m colluding with him against you. You know me better than that.”

“I thought I knew you. Look, do what you want, Francesca. Just do it somewhere else, away from me.” She picked up her pace. “And quit following me.”

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