Song 26 ♪ Eye of The Kitten

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I really wanted to follow Addy's advice and chuck all my reservations out the window, but I still found myself hovering outside our classroom door for as many seconds as I could stretch without being tardy. I'd seen Ashton and Link walk in together ahead of me a few minutes ago, and despite a crappy night of sleep thanks to a head full of thoughts and excuses, I still hadn't thought of what to do when I first saw him.

Someone cleared their throat behind me and I found myself faced by Mr. Burlington.

"Good morning, sir."

He returned the greeting to me, and then with a smile motioned me inside. Every eye was on us as we walked in, only a second before the alarm rang. I paused as I realized that quite a few seats were empty, including Quinn's.

Then to my surprise, I found Lincoln sitting behind my desk. He lifted one hand and wiggled his fingers at me, which was kind of funny with the fact that his face remained deadpan. Over the corner of my eye I saw Ashton sitting at the front. I quickly scurried over to sit on my chair.

I leaned toward Addy and whispered, "What's going on?"

She turned, and was about to say something when the teacher cleared his throat.

"Let's all say a prayer for our baseball team, which is preparing to play today." He clasped his hands in front of himself. "Let's hope our boys can leave our school's name in good standing."

As he paused and looked down for a minute, I felt Link shift behind me. I turned to him and he passed me a note. After unfolding it, it read: He said he owed you a favor and that this is probably what you'd ask for. I tossed him a thank you over my shoulder and he returned it with a second note. This one said, He'll see you plenty once we start band practice.

"Dios mío," I said. All eyes turned to me. I sank on my chair and said, "Sorry, just praying in Spanish."

The most annoying thing was catching Ashton's eye and seeing that he was struggling not to laugh. To top it off, as if she knew exactly what was going on, Addy turned around to me and gave me a thumbs up. I remembered how chummy chummy the three of them had seemed on Saturday and realized that yes, all three of them were in on whatever campaign they had to get me to join this imaginary band. Ridiculous.

I needed to focus on what really mattered. Studying my ass off.

This, of course, meant that I couldn't concentrate. Between Addy giving me funny looks all throughout, Leti blowing up my cellphone and asking for deets that didn't exist, and the coursework being so tough, my brain had trouble coping with everything. By lunch time I felt like it was beginning to leak out of my ears.

Madison and her friends passed me by with trays loaded with miniature gardens and identical bottles of kombucha. I rolled my eyes but then I caught their queen bee smiling at me. It gave me a shudder.

"What do you want?" I asked.

She shrugged a delicate shoulder. "Nothing, just looking forward to music club today."

And then there was that.

I grunted and veered away from her to join Addy on our usual table. "Do you think I can tell the teachers that I'm behind schedule on course work and need to skip club today?"

She hummed. "My guess is a solid no."

I bit into my sandwich with more anger than the situation required. "You're supposed to be my friend, but you're working for him."

We turned around and saw Ashton and Link sitting together halfway through the cafeteria away from us. They looked like they were conspiring. I turned back to glare at my roommate.

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