TITLE: THE ALMOST TABLE
GENRE: YA Contemporary
The whispers began early today, slight puffs of air that tickled my ears.
The Vails are back...school van accident...four years ago...London…her…the wreckage...
I tried to ignore them, but by noon, they built to a scream.
THE VAILS ARE BACK...SCHOOL VAN ACCIDENT...FOUR YEARS AGO...LONDON…HER…THE WRECKAGE...
The cafeteria buzzed loudly, snatches of conversation escaping. The students at Winspear Academy haven’t heard such interesting news in days. I felt it spread as I walked by their tables. The words weighed on me, but I kept the look off my face and straightened my back until my shoulders started to hurt. Rumors might light everyone’s eyes as if it was holidays instead of mid-September, but tomorrow we’d be back to ignoring each other. I murmured my father’s favorite words continually. High school is only a stepping stone…high school is only a stepping stone…high school is only a stepping stone…
Right, I thought as a boy looked straight at me, a nasty stone with jagged points.
I walked to a round table where two girls sat on opposite sides. It is the Almost Table. A table not close enough to the windows to lie with its popular copies but also not exiled to the far reaches of the back wall.
When I lowered myself into a wooden chair, the girls stared at me with a combination of sympathy and curiosity.
I didn’t appreciate either today. “What?” I asked, setting my bag on the floor with a careful thump.
Ally fidgeted with her red lunch tray, trying not to smile. “They’re back tomorrow.”
“Who?” Indigo said.