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Amelia still isn’t sure what it was she saw that day exactly, but she knew it confused her. She was normally a smart girl, at least in science classes and history, not so well in geography and math. But this, this was something foreign to her.

As a budding teenager, Amelia liked to get into her mother’s makeup counter without her knowing. Mom was already at the factory before the school bus arrived, so it gave Amelia ample time. And on days when she felt more daring, she even applied her mother’s ruby red lipstick. Not too much, just a little.

Today, she was feeling more daring. Robin, her best friend, told her last night on the phone that Jax was interested. Well, that was the rumor.

Jax was the exotic new specimen at Jespah Middle School. Some said he was from Australia, others said Argentina and still, others said he was from Iran. Amelia didn’t know what an Iran was, but she knew Jax was gorgeous. Broad shoulders, dark skin, black eyes and the hair…oh the hair made Amelia and Robin giggle by their lockers before class when he’d walk by.

And Amelia hated that. She wasn’t the type of girl like the others she saw that crushed on the boys in their class or tried to vie for their attention. Or sent them those cringe-worthy notes in the middle of class.

But Jax was different from the others boys. He seemed more mature to her because he was always talking to the teachers and the principal and the gym teacher, Mr. Darion.  Mr. Darion was probably trying to get Jax into signing up for the basketball team or the football team or even the hockey team. Just any team to win because winning was a foreign concept at Jespah.

She was waiting after school for him. Ready with her mother’s Dollar Store makeup, Goodwill skirt and her dad’s smile, the only evidence he had existed.

There he was. Hair flowing and all Iran-like. Amelia was the kinda nervous she got before a presentation in class, but more crippling.

Jax opened his locker, put his books in, and Dylan came up from behind. Dylan was the small guy that Mr. Darion was always picking on, telling him he needed to “man up” and stop reading by the bleachers.

After a flurry of quick sentences that Amelia couldn’t hear, Jax’s dark eyes looked around and they kissed.

Amelia’s jaw was agape. She had heard of gay before because her mom watched Will and Grace, but she didn’t know what it meant. She knew every boy at Jespah’s favorite phrase was “that’s so gay.”

“Well, that’s so gay,” Amelia muttered, disappointed that the apparent rumor that Jax was interested in her wasn’t true.

She wiped her mother’s ruby red lipstick off with her sleeve and turned the other way down the hall.

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