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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2256139
About a meeting when a character's reputation precedes her.
“Don’t bother asking Marley for any help. Even if she knows the answer - which you know she does - she’s not going to give it to you.” Ashley shook her head and looked down at the equipment and ingredients in front of her. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to talk to her, but she doesn't even acknowledge me.”

Crystal watched as Ashley brushed back her bangs and tightened her ponytail (for like the fifth time since they had been standing at their workstation) and wished she had paid more attention when Ms. Williams explained how to start the project.

Marley stood at the station next to them. Because there were an odd number of students, Ms. Williams gave Marley the option of working alone or making a group of three. No one was surprised by Marley’s decision. Crystal wasn’t sure Marley was the stuck-up Ashley made her out to be, but she didn’t have anything other than her intuition to go by. It just didn’t make sense that any seventh grade girl would want to be by herself all the time. Well, unless you took into account when she was with her younger sister in sixth grade. She saw the two of them together before and after school, getting off and on the number twenty bus. Crystal wasn’t sure where that bus took them, but it certainly wasn’t into Ashley and her neighborhood. And if you paid any attention to how the sisters dressed, you might wonder about what home life was like for them. Although she didn’t talk about it a lot, Crystal knew her mom overcame a lot to get where they were and she constantly warned Crystal about judging people. But when Ashley was your best friend, sometimes that advice was a little hard to follow.

Crystal jumped when Ms. Williams came up behind her and said, “Girls, if you’re not sure where to begin, why don’t you watch what Marley is doing.”

Ashley snorted, but not loud enough for Ms. Williams to hear. She whispered to Crystal, “See. I told you she was the teacher’s pet.”

Crystal ignored the comment, but said, “We need to get this batter made or we are going to fail the assignment.”

The two of them edged over to Marley’s workstation, but she was already into what seemed to be the third or fourth step. Marley briefly looked up from her work to notice the pair. Before she continued with her process she passed her notebook to Crystal. The two made eye contact, but no words were spoken except for Crystal’s “Thanks.”

Ashley took the notebook from Crystal as they moved back over to their space. "Who writes like this? She even has pictures to go with the directions."

While Ashley got started on the dry ingredients Crystal took a minute to study the drawings. Not all of them related to the recipe. And one in particular caught Crystal's attention. She wished she could take out her phone to capture it, but she knew that would be wrong. She also didn't want to stare at it for too long - in an attempt to burn the image into her brain - because she didn't want Marley to realize what she was doing. But if Crystal saw correctly, then maybe her intuition was correct as well.

555 words
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