30 mins earlier.
“Well, I guess I’ll leave you guys to catch up! See ya later, Tara!” Brianna waved and flitted into the throng.
I chewed my lip. Then realized and schooled my face into a blank mask.
“Isn’t she a darling!” Oaklee cooed and sashayed over to my table.
“What do you want with me?” I noticed that she sat down without my permission.
“Oh, don’t be like that. Can’t I just say hello to an old friend?”
“We both know that’s not true.” I stared at her.
“What’s new since I last saw you? Your fashion sense definitely hasn’t improved, but I don’t blame you. You don’t have a mother to teach you.” Oaklee pasted a sympathetic look on her face. She smoothed her pink mini skirt and adjusted her jeans jacket.
“You know, I’d love to deck you.” I growled, shifting my baseball cap.
She pursed her lips. “You wouldn’t dare. You’d just get into trouble and get kicked out of yet another foster home.”
My blood zinged around my body. If she kept this up, I just might punch her, no thought to consequences.
She leaned closer and lowered her voice. “By the way, how many foster homes have you been through now? 10? Don’t worry. I won’t tell.”
Her syrupy sweet voice grated on me.
“None of your business, little doll.” My eyes slid into slits.
Oaklee pressed a hand to her heart. “You’ve never complimented me before. Wow, you have changed for the better.”
“That wasn’t a compliment.”
Oaklee shrugged. “Well, what are you doing here? Last time I saw you, you were wasting away in that slum.”
I leaned back and put my black hightops on the table. Oaklee scooted back and wrinkled her nose.
“Don’t call it that. You live there.”
“Lived.” Oaklee grated out. “I’m living with my mom now. Right in this community. Where are you living? In an overcrowded house in the middle of the city?”
I chuckled. “Nope. I’m living in this community too.”
“Oh. You won’t last long. Not with those manners.” Oaklee sadly shook her head.
“Ya think?” I snorted. I’d prove her wrong.
“Anyway, I’ve got to go. You know, sit with some people who actually appreciate my company.” Oaklee gave a sugary smile. She slowly stood.
“Good riddance.” I called after her.
“Oh, you’ll be seeing me around a lot, so don’t get your hopes up . . . Atarah.” Oaklee tossed over her shoulder.
I gritted my teeth. “That girl!”
Note:I don’t endorse how Tara and Oaklee acted in this chapter. The right thing for Tara to do in this situation would have been to ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘pray for those who treated [her] badly’.
Matthew 5:38 and Matthew 5:44.