Chapter no 51 – ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌November‌


The next day at school I told Savanna I had eaten some really bad Halloween candy and gotten sick, which is why I went home early from her party, and she believed me. There was actually a stomach bug going around, so it was a good lie.

I also told her that I had a crush on someone else that wasn’t Julian so she would leave me alone about that and hopefully spread the word to Julian that I wasn’t interested. She, of course, wanted to know who I had a crush on, and I told her it was a secret.

August was absent the day after Halloween, and when he came back, I could tell something was up with him. He was acting so weird at lunch!

He barely said a word, and kept looking down at his food when I talked to him. Like he wouldn’t look me in the eye.

Finally, I was like, “Auggie, is everything okay? Are you mad at me or something?”

“No,” he said.

“Sorry you weren’t feeling well on Halloween. I kept looking for Boba Fett in the hallways.”

“Yeah, I was sick.”

“Did you have that stomach bug?” “Yeah, I guess.”

He opened a book and started to read, which was kind of rude.

“I’m so excited about the Egyptian Museum project,” I said. “Aren’t you?”

He shook his head, his mouth full of food. I actually looked away because between the way he was chewing, which almost seemed like he was being gross on purpose, and the way his eyes were just kind of closed down, I was getting a really bad vibe from him.

“What project did you get?” I asked.

He shrugged, pulled out a little scrap of paper from his jeans pocket, and flicked it across the table to me.

Everyone in the grade got assigned an Egyptian artifact to work on

for Egyptian Museum Day, which was in December. The teachers wrote all the assignments down on tiny scraps of paper, which they put into a fishbowl, and then all us kids in the grade took turns picking the papers out of the fishbowl in assembly.

So I unfolded Auggie’s little slip of paper.

“Oh, cool!” I said, maybe a little overexcited because I was trying to get him psyched up. “You got the Step Pyramid of Sakkara!”

“I know!” he said.

“I got Anubis, the god of the afterlife.” “The one with the dog head?”

“It’s actually a jackal head,” I corrected him. “Hey, you want to start working on our projects together after school? You could come over to my house.”

He put his sandwich down and leaned back in his chair. I can’t even describe the look he was giving me.

“You know, Summer,” he said. “You don’t have to do this.” “What are you talking about?”

“You don’t have to be friends with me. I know Mr. Tushman talked to you.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You don’t have to pretend, is all I’m saying. I know Mr. Tushman talked to some kids before school started and told them they had to be friends with me.”

“He did not talk to me, August.” “Yeah, he did.”

“No, he did not.” “Yeah, he did.”

“No he didn’t!! I swear on my life!” I put my hands up in the air so he could see I wasn’t crossing my fingers. He immediately looked down at my feet, so I shook off my UGGs so he could see my toes weren’t crossed.

“You’re wearing tights,” he said accusingly. “You can see my toes are flat!” I yelled. “Okay, you don’t have to scream.”

“I don’t like being accused of things, okay?” “Okay. I’m sorry.”

“You should be.”

“He really didn’t talk to you?” “Auggie!”

“Okay, okay, I’m really sorry.”

I would have stayed mad at him longer, but then he told me about something bad that had happened to him on Halloween and I couldn’t stay mad at him anymore. Basically, he heard Jack bad-mouthing him and saying really horrible things behind his back. It kind of explained his attitude, and now I knew why he’d been out “sick.”

“Promise you won’t tell anyone,” he said.

“I won’t.” I nodded. “Promise you won’t ever be mean like that to me again?”

“Promise,” he said, and we pinky swore.

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