A Broken Woman - Bonus Content

A Girl Named Sappho

This was a young adult mystery I wrote years ago Enjoy!

Sappho Espinoza-Brown sat on the bench outside Principal Segal’s office, twisting and untwisting a strand of ebony hair around her index finger. She was two weeks into her freshman year at Escalante High and already in the middle of a crap storm. Her mothers would have a cow. God, help me play my cards right and get through this with minimal groundage, she prayed.

Her best friend, Danielle Erickson, sat beside her, picking at the remnants of her electric blue nail polish. Her eyes were swollen from crying. Tufts of golden brown hair, having escaped her ponytail band, defied gravity as if the back of her head had been frozen in mid-detonation.

This wasn’t like her, thought Sappho. Danielle never cried. The girl wore Doc Martens in open defiance of the school dress code, for crying out loud. Nothing fazed her. She could match insult for insult and blow for blow with anyone. Which made seeing her tear-streaked face that much more upsetting for Sappho. 

On the other side of the room, Victor Fuentes rubbed his shaved head and leaned back like he owned the place. A folded black and yellow bandana peeked from his shirt pocket—the colors of the Los Jaguares street gang. His malevolent gaze bore imaginary holes through the wall.

Fucking cholo, Sappho thought. This was all his fault. He just wouldn’t quit.

She stared at a potted stand of bamboo next to the principal’s door and wondered if it was real or artificial. So hard to tell these days. Mama Andi had tried to grow bamboo in their backyard, but either the Phoenix summer heat or Andi’s questionable gardening skills had killed it within a month.

The door opened. Principal Segal stood there in a tan dress with a petroglyph-styled bird printed on it. A necklace of brown and avocado green stones encircled her spindly neck. It reminded Sappho of Betty Rubble’s necklace from The Flintstones.

“You three come in,” said Principal Segal.

A few days earlier, Sappho sat in Ms. Wu’s first period World Lit class, dreading roll call. Ms. Wu had started the semester discussing Ancient Greek poetry, including Sappho’s namesake, the bisexual poet from Lesbos. Ever since, Victor had made Sappho’s life unbearable.

“Sappho Espinoza-Brown,” said Ms. Wu as she made her way down the roll.

“Here,” said Sappho.

“Lesbo,” said Victor from two rows back, setting off a ripple of chuckles from others.

She whipped around in her chair and glared at him. Victor’s face was flush with mirth. Asshole, she thought. She turned back to the front of the class, trying to ignore him.

“Quiet.” Ms. Wu continued down the list.

“Homo,” whispered Victor, just loud enough for Sappho to hear.

Sappho mouthed the words, “Fuck you.”

“Any time.” Victor slid his tongue across his upper lip to punctuate his message.

Sappho turned her back to him, her hands shaking with anger. She clenched her fists, but it didn’t help, so she doodled on the inside cover of her textbook.

She wondered for the millionth time what her mothers had been smoking when they named her Sappho. As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough without her moms naming her after a lesbian icon.

After a coma-inducing lecture on the epic poetry of Scandinavia, the bell rang. Sappho rushed out to her locker past whispered epithets. There has to be a way to end this, she thought.

When she reached her locker, she dialed her combination and pulled the locker open. Danielle emerged from the roiling mass of students to open the locker beside Sappho’s. The blurred remnants of a temporary tattoo peeked out from beneath Danielle’s white shirtsleeve. The tat appeared to be a double-headed ax, but was so faded, it could have been a flower.

“Victor is such a pendejo.” Danielle pulled a clarinet case out of her locker.

Sappho laughed in spite of her anger. “You’re so funny when you try to act Latina.”

“I’m defending you, and you’re giving me shit?”

Lo siento, mi’ja,” said Sappho with an apologetic smile. “You’re right. Victor is a major asshole.” She grabbed her own clarinet case and a box of extra reeds.

“So what if you were a lesbian? Why the hell should he care? Ain’t like you’d sleep with his skanky ass either way,” said Danielle. They shut their lockers at the same time.

“Ain’t that the truth.” Sappho held out her pinky. Danielle hooked it with hers.

Amigas siempre,” they said together. Friends forever.

“Hey, Luis, it’s the lesbo twins,” Victor nudged one of his homies as he walked up to the two girls. “Hey, chicas, show us some girl-on-girl action.”

Danielle crossed her arms and gave Victor a stare that would shatter stone. “Dude, seriously! What is your damage?”

He held up two fingers and wiggled his tongue between them.

Pendejo,” said Danielle.

Victor took a step toward her, his humor evaporated. “Pinche machorra.”

Danielle leaned into him, standing on her toes to put her eyes level with his. Sappho pushed herself between them. “Victor, give it a rest already. Come on, Danielle. Forget these losers. Let’s bounce before we’re late for band.”

“Just you wait, gringa. When you least expect it, bam!” Victor slammed his fist into a locker. But Sappho and Danielle were already walking away.

“What’s pinche machorra mean?” Danielle asked as they dove into the river of bodies moving down the hall.

Sappho grimaced. “It means ‘fucking dyke.’”

In the band room, she and Danielle sat at opposite ends of the clarinet section—Danielle in first chair and Sappho last. She assembled her clarinet, inserted a new reed into the mouthpiece, and warmed up.

She never practiced, and it showed. Her weak embouchure made her instrument squawk like a constipated goose. She only joined band to spend more time with Danielle.

“I got something better you can put in your mouth,” said a male voice. Firm hands gripped Sappho’s shoulders.

She looked up. Victor towered over her from behind her chair. Her face hardened. She twisted around, knocking his hands off her. “Victor, what are you doing here? You’re not in band.”

“I am now. See?” He pulled a pair of drumsticks from his back pocket. “I’m the man with the rhythm.” He swiveled his hips. “You like rhythm, don’t ya, lesbo?”

“Why you always such a perv?” asked Sappho.

“You two machorras are the pervs. I’m trying to set you straight.”

“Face it, Victor,” said Danielle. “You’re not man enough for the job. Go be an asshole somewhere else.”

“Good one!” Sappho gave her a high-five.

“Go be a homo somewhere else, puta.” He walked away.

Sappho and Danielle took their usual seats at a lab table in Mr. Torres’ sixth-period chemistry class.

“How you gettin’ home?” asked Danielle.

“The bus, as always. Total lamesville. How ‘bout you?”

“My brother David’s giving me a ride. My dad bought him an old Mustang last weekend.”

“Must be nice,” said Sappho.

“You wanna ride?”

Sappho shook her head. “Too far out of the way.”

“You kidding? David’s always looking for an excuse to drive his new toy. He won’t mind a little detour. Trust me.”

“You sure?”


Mr. Torres, a man in his fifties, maybe older, walked to the front of the room. A black bolo tie with a garish green turquoise slide hung over his white shirt. He reminded Sappho of the dorky tourists strolling through Old Town Scottsdale in their black socks and sandals.

“Don’t get too comfortable in your seats, ladies and gentlemen. Over the past week, there has been too much socializing and not enough science. Therefore, I’m reassigning lab partners. When your name is called, please move to your new seats.”

A collective groan rumbled through the room.

“That’s what I like to hear.” Mr. Torres strolled to a lab table in the corner and glanced down at his planner. “Ms. Williams and Mr. Herrera, right here.” He slapped the table. “Ms. Erickson and Mr. Fuentes, other side of the table.”

“Mr. Torres, can’t Sappho be my lab partner?” asked Danielle.

“No, Ms. Erickson. The two of you have done nothing but chat and giggle during my lectures. It’s time for a change. In science, we should never be afraid to explore new things. That includes new friendships.”

Danielle gathered her books and frowned at Sappho. “See ya after class.”

Mr. Torres continued assigning seats and lab partners. A few tables down, he called, “Ms. Espinoza and Ms. Calderón, right here.”

Sappho moved to the assigned seat and turned to her new lab partner. Lupe Calderón had a sweet, round face and shoulder-length hair. “Hi, I’m Lupe.”

Sappho smiled despite her disappointment. “I’m Sappho. Nice to meet you.”

After class, Sappho followed Danielle to the parking lot where the blacktop amplified the unrelenting desert heat.

“How much did being Victor’s lab partner suck?”

“It wasn’t bad, actually,” said Danielle calmly.

“After all the shit he’s been giving us?”

“I told him if he talks any more trash to either one of us, I’ll put hydrogen peroxide in his jockstrap.”

Sappho’s jaw dropped. “No, you didn’t. For reals?”

“For reals.”

“What’d he say to that?”

“He thought about it for a minute and realized I wasn’t kidding. Problem solved.”

“No way. Victor don’t back down to nobody.”


Danielle’s brother leaned against an 80s model Mustang with fading black paint and a dented rear fender. He was a few years older, but he and Danielle shared the same dark blonde hair, pale skin, and smallish features.

“David, my friend Sappho needs a ride home.”

“Sappho?” David chuckled. “What kind of name is that?”

Danielle punched him. “Can she ride or not?”

David rubbed his arm. “Whatever. Geez.” He unlocked the passenger door, then went around to the driver’s side.

A wall of concentrated heat blasted Sappho’s face when she opened the passenger door. She flipped the front seat forward and plunged wincing into the back. Danielle slid in beside her and pulled the passenger door closed.

David revved the engine. “Buckle up, ladies!” he shouted above the deafening punk-pop beats of the Pink Trinkets. Sappho sat back and let the bass rhythm distract her from the oppressive warmth.

Twenty minutes later, Sappho let herself into her house, tossed her clarinet on the shelf, and started on her homework. She skimmed through an assigned selection from Beowulf, wrestled with a dozen algebra problems, and looked up the atomic weight of sixteen elements from the periodic chart. By the time her mothers arrived a couple of hours later, her homework was done, and she was fifteen minutes into a Sex and the City re-run.

Mama Andi walked in carrying a couple of canvas grocery bags. Tall and thin with a trim afro and wearing a sapphire blue dress, she reminded Sappho of a runway model, instead of the college economics professor she was. “Sappho dear, could you help Celia with the groceries while I change clothes?”

“Yes, Mama.”

“Thank you.”

The afternoon air had cooled since Sappho arrived home, but still hovered at the triple-digit mark. Mama Celia, stocky with sweat trickling from her short black curls, lumbered up the driveway carrying four canvas grocery bags. Her postal uniform fit tight across her chest.

“Mami, why do you insist on carrying too much? You’re gonna hurt your back again.” Sappho grabbed three of the bags from Celia.

“Thanks, mi’ja. How was school?” Celia asked in an accented alto voice.

“It was school. It sucked like always.”

Celia chuckled between heavy breaths.

Inside the house, Sappho put her bags on the kitchen counter with the others and helped Celia put away the groceries. “What’s for dinner?” 

Celia stacked canned goods in one of the bleached wood cabinets. “Judging from what Andi got at the store, I’d say it’s either Hamburger Helper or raviolis in a can.”

“Ugh! Why can’t you cook instead?”

“Because it’s Andi’s night to cook.”

“Crappy end to a crappy day.” Sappho tossed a bag of oranges into the produce bin and slammed the fridge shut.

“Something happen at school, mi’ja?”

She considered telling her about Victor. “No, everything’s fine.”

Celia narrowed her gaze. “You sure? You look like something’s bothering you. Math class giving you trouble again?”

“No. Math’s fine, Mami.” She ran a hand through her hair. “Just wish you coulda given me a normal name. I feel I got social leprosy.”

“What’s social leprosy?” Mama Andi walked in wearing jeans and a T-shirt that read I’m Not Gay But My Girlfriend Is.

“We studied Sappho in World Lit last week. Now everybody knows you named me after her.”

“You act like it’s a bad thing,” said Andi. “Sappho is one of the few female writers of the ancient world not erased from history by the patriarchy. You should be honored to be named after her.”

“Are people bullying you because of us?” asked Celia.

Sappho met her eyes. She didn’t want her moms to think her weak, unable to fight her own battles. “I’m fine.”

The next day, Victor kept his distance. Unfortunately, Danielle seemed to be doing the same. She and Victor slipped into World Lit seconds before the bell rang and disappeared again right as the bell sounded at the end of class.   

Sappho arrived in the band room to find Danielle standing in the percussion section talking to Victor.

When Danielle returned to the clarinet section, Sappho said, “You and Victor seem awful cozy. What’s up with you two?”


“Uh huh.” Sappho’s eyes narrowed.

During Mr. Torres’s class, Sappho found herself more interested in the unexpected chemistry between Danielle and Victor than the experiment she and Lupe were supposed to be conducting. Danielle sure enjoyed Victor’s company. She even giggled twice.

“Sappho, the beaker’s boiling over,” Lupe yelled.

“Oh crap!” Hot purple liquid bubbled over the top of the beaker onto the burner, filling the air with an acrid stench.

“Ms. Espinoza,” said Mr. Torres. “Do not think you can pass my class while forcing Ms. Calderón to do all the work.”

“Yes, sir.” Sappho turned off the burner and wiped up the mess with paper towels from a nearby dispenser. She looked at Lupe. “Sorry.”

When the bell rang, Sappho caught up with Danielle, and together they strolled to the parking lot. “What’s with you and Victor? Every time I turn around, you two are laughing and shit.”

“Now that he’s not pissing me off all the time, he’s a pretty fun guy to hang around.”

“Danielle, just yesterday he was ready to beat the shit out of you. He’s a Jaguar for Chrissake!”

“Maybe he respects me for standing up to him.”

“Or maybe he’s setting you up.”

“Time will tell.”

When Sappho arrived at World Lit the following morning, she discovered Danielle had moved next to Victor’s seat, leaning toward him, as if drawn by a magnetic force.

As class started, Sappho tried to focus on Ms. Wu’s lesson, but couldn’t stop the wriggling worm sensation in her gut. This is so wrong, she thought. How can Danielle act like he hasn’t been bullying us for the past two weeks?

Throughout the day, Sappho kept missing Danielle at their lockers. Danielle walked into every class chatting with Victor, paying no attention to Sappho. During lunch, she was gone altogether. Sappho sat alone picking at the tasteless lasagna on her tray.

Before the bell rang to start chemistry, Sappho took Danielle aside. “What the fuck is up with you?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“Every time I see you, you’re with Victor.”

“He’s nice. D’you know his dad rides a custom Harley soft tail?”

“Yes, I know. I grew up with him, remember? Listen to me, that boy is bad news. You shouldn’t be hanging out with him.”

Danielle’s eyes narrowed. “Step off! You don’t decide who I hang with.”

“Danielle, he promised to hurt you when you least expect it. He’s setting you up. Come on, don’t be stupid.”

“Stupid?” Danielle crossed her arms. “You know what? Forget about riding home with me and David. You can ride home on the bus with the rest of the losers.” She walked to her lab table.

When class started, Sappho found once again she could not focus on her lab work. Twice she dropped a test tube, shattering one on the floor. Lupe had to intervene when Sappho measured twenty milliliters of hydrochloric acid instead of the two called for in their workbook. When class was dismissed, Sappho walked out of the room without a glance at Danielle or Victor.

She zombie-shuffled toward the busses, but when she came to the one that would drop her off at her house, she just couldn’t get on it. The damn thing reeked of sweat and Axe body spray, making her nauseated. She went back inside the school and pulled out her phone.

“Mami?” she said after stepping back inside, away from the heat. “Can you come pick me up? I missed my bus.”

When Sappho arrived at school the next morning, a crowd was gathered near her locker laughing and hollering about something. She pushed her way through and saw Danielle at the center of the commotion. Her face was wet with tears. Snot dripped from her nose onto her shirt.

“You people leave me the fuck alone!” said Danielle.

The cause of the ruckus stretched across Danielle’s locker. In large bubble-style letters, the words pinche machorra stretched across the beige metal in green marker ink. The words didn’t surprise Sappho. But seeing Danielle distraught broke Sappho’s heart.

She embraced Danielle. “I’m so sorry, amiga.”

Danielle sobbed on Sappho’s shoulder. “I should have listened to you. You were right about Victor.”

“It’s gonna be all right.” Sappho heard the words “lesbos,” “homos,” and “fucking dykes” fluttering through the crowd. Sappho ignored it. All she cared about was comforting Danielle.

“What’s all this nonsense?” Principal Segal pushed through the students and stopped in front of Sappho and Danielle. “Who wrote this on this locker?”

Victor’s name murmured through the crowd. Principal Segal searched the faces and spotted Victor. “You! In my office!” She turned to the girls. “You, too. I’m getting to the bottom of this.”

“I didn’t do nothing,” said Victor. He held up his hands in innocence.

Principal Segal pointed at him, her face turning red. “In. My. Office. Now.” She turned to the other students. “Everyone else better get to class before the bell rings, or you’ll all get detention.” The crowd dispersed as the principal lead Sappho, Danielle, and Victor down the hall.

For an hour, the three students sat outside her door, while Principal Segal could be heard making phone calls. Sappho held Danielle in her arms until it became too uncomfortable on the wooden bench. Sappho pulled away and stared at the bamboo plant, letting her mind steep in anguish and anger.

The door opened.

“You three come in.” Principal Segal had placed three tweed-covered chairs in front of her large glass desk. Everyone took a seat.

Principal Segal leaned forward against the desk, hands folded. “Somebody tell me what’s going on here.”

“I ain’t done nothin’.” Victor leaned back with his legs straight out and arms folded. Typical macho Victor, thought Sappho.

“He’s lying. He wrote ‘pinche machorra’ on my locker,” said Danielle, tearing up again. “He said those same words to us a few days ago.”

Victor sneered at her. “Chica, you ain’t got no proof.”

“Ms. Espinoza-Brown?” asked Principal Segal. “Do you have anything to add to this discussion?”

“I’m sorry it happened.”

Principal Segal turned back to Victor. “Mr. Fuentes, turn out your pockets.”

“Why? I ain’t done nothing! This is harassment.”

“Mr. Fuentes, you can either turn out your pockets, or I will have security do it for you. You want those guys sticking their hands in your pants?”

Victor stood up and mumbled something that sounded to Sappho like pinche puta. He reached into his pockets and pulled out some change, a wad of bills and a small, white plastic tube. The insides of his pockets hung outside his jeans like white tongues against a blue denim face.

The principal picked up the plastic tube, opened it, and let four translucent, amber pills roll into her palm. “What is this?”

“Ibuprofen. I get migraines.”

“Mr. Fuentes, you are aware of our zero tolerance policy regarding drugs.”

“They ain’t drugs. They’re medicine.”

“Mr. Fuentes, you are hereby suspended until next Monday.”

“If I have to turn out my pockets, so do they.” Victor pointed to the girls. “Otherwise, it’s sexual discrimination.”

Sappho’s heart raced. This was going from bad to worse, she thought.

Principal Segal raised an eyebrow and turned to the girls. “Mr. Fuentes has a point. Empty your pockets, ladies. You first, Ms. Erickson.”

Danielle gave Victor the stink eye and stood up. From her pockets, she pulled out a pink triangle keychain with a single key, a wrapped tampon, a green canvas wallet, and an iPhone. “Satisfied?” she asked Victor.

“OK, now you, Ms. Espinoza-Brown,” said Principal Segal.

“Sorry, no pockets.”

“Empty your purse.”

“Is this really necessary?” asked Sappho. “You’ve already seen there’s nothing in Danielle’s.”

“Fair is fair.”

Sappho opened her handbag and pulled out a leather change purse, a phone, a packet of tissues and a green marker. Danielle’s eyes went wide. Principal Segal sighed with disappointment.

“There!” Victor pointed at the marker. “She wrote on the locker. Not me. I told you I ain’t done nothing.”

“Ms. Espinoza-Brown, did you write those words on Ms. Erickson’s locker?”

Sappho’s chest tightened. She looked at Danielle. “I . . . I’m sorry.”

“How could you write that on my locker?” Danielle glared at Sappho. “How could you do that to me? To us? I thought you were my friend.”

“I didn’t mean it. Honest.” Sappho lowered her head. “I just hated him calling us ‘lesbo twins’ all the time. Then you started hanging around him. It made me angry.”

“Who cares if he calls us ‘lesbo twins’? We are lesbians.”

“No, Danielle. I’m not.” Sappho shook her head. “Just because I’m your friend and I have gay parents doesn’t make me gay. I’m straight. I like boys.” She looked at Victor. “With some exceptions.”

“OK, I’ve heard enough,” said Principal Segal. “Ms. Erickson, you may return to class.” She pulled a hall pass out of a drawer and handed it to Danielle.

Danielle gathered her belongings and turned to Sappho. “I hate you.” She stormed out and slammed the door behind her.

“Mr. Fuentes, you are suspended until Monday for carrying over-the-counter medications without pre-authorization. If you need to carry ibuprofen in the future, I will require a note from your doctor. Moreover, if I catch you harassing these young women or anyone else for any reason, I will have you expelled. Is that understood?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Please wait outside my door while I call your parents to pick you up.” He left.

“Ms. Espinoza-Brown, while Mr. Fuentes may have teased you and Ms. Erickson, that does not give you license to vandalize school property. I’m giving you a one-week suspension. Your mothers are welcome to challenge my decision, but considering the nature of your offense, I doubt they will, don’t you?”

Sappho stared at the desk and shrugged. “Yeah.”

“Now, wait outside while I call your mothers to pick you up.”

Mama Andi arrived forty minutes later and spoke privately with Principal Segal for a half-hour while Sappho strained to listen from outside the office. She couldn’t make out any words, but the tone of the conversation was clearly tense.

The door opened once again. “Let’s go,” said Andi. Sappho followed.

The ride home was quiet. No radio. No conversation. Just the rattle of the Saab’s air conditioner. Andi’s jaw was set tight. She stared unflinchingly at the road ahead. This was not good, thought Sappho. She wanted to break the silence but knew her mom wouldn’t respond. Not when she was like this.

As they walked into the house, Andi’s only words were, “To your room. Now.”

It wasn’t until she closed the bedroom door behind her that the full force of what she had done hit her. She had willfully hurt her best friend. She had betrayed her parents. She sat at her desk and buried her head in her arms. Shame and guilt washed over her in uncontrollable sobs.

She opened her laptop and sent off a final email before her moms had a chance to take it away. Nothing made sense, but perhaps Danielle would understand anyway. She hit Send as Mama Celia’s jeep rattled up the driveway, followed by the ratchet-crunch of the parking brake being set. 

Moments later, her moms summoned Sappho to the living room. She sat on the couch feeling worthless. Celia stood in front of her like a prison matron, arms crossed and eyes glaring like a raptor. Andi sat beside her, but there was no warmth coming from her either.

Celia shook her head. “Why, for the love of women, would you to write such garbage on your best friend’s locker?”

Sappho didn’t say anything, but in her mind, she assaulted herself with the same question.

“Answer me, dammit,” demanded Celia.

“Every time I turn around,” said Sappho in a halting voice, “Victor’s talking trash, calling Danielle and me dykes, or homos, or machorras. I told him to knock it off, but he wouldn’t listen.”

“I asked you the other day if anyone was harassing you, and you told me, ‘No.’” said Celia. “Why’d you lie and say everything was fine?”

Andi put a hand on Sappho’s shoulder. “Baby, you have to tell us if someone’s bullying you.”

“I didn’t want you all to think I was weak. I thought I could take care of it myself.”

“Yeah? And how’d that work out for you?” asked Celia.

Sappho looked up at Celia. She could feel a tear clinging to her lower eyelid. “Not so good.”

Celia sat down on the other side of Sappho. “Dealing with bullies isn’t easy. Trust me, I’ve dealt with my share of them. One thing I learned is when it happens, you don’t betray who you are, and you don’t betray your friends. And if you lose your cool, the bully wins.”

“Sappho,” said Andi, “we hate that you get bullied because of us. It’s not fair. But that’s why you have to get us involved. We have experience putting pressure on schools to crack down on bullying. But we can’t do that if you’re out there writing graffiti on people’s lockers.”

Sappho nodded letting the tears run down her face. “I know.”

“From now on, honey, any time someone starts with the name calling or any other form of harassment, you tell us. Deal?” asked Andi.

Sappho nodded again. “Does this mean I’m not grounded?”

Celia scoffed. “Mi’ja, I love you very much. I understand why you did what you did. But you are so very grounded.”

Sappho struggled to remember her locker combination. After a week away from school, she wasn’t sure if forty-three was the second number or the third. Danielle appeared beside her. Her hair was shorter and spiked with gel. “I got your email.” Her voice was icy. “I’m still mad at you.”

“I’m mad at me, too.” Sappho’s stomach sank as she met Danielle’s gaze. “I’m sorry for hurting you. I wish I could undo it somehow.”

“Why’d you do it? You were my best friend, Sappho.”

“I was pissed. At my folks for naming me Sappho. At Victor for talking that ‘lesbo twins’ shit all the time. And at you for hanging with him instead of me. Felt like no one gave a shit about me.” 

“Then why didn’t you talk to me?” Danielle pointed at her chest. “I’m supposed to be your BFF, remember?”

“I tried, but you blew me off.”

Danielle’s gaze drifted.  “I guess I did. Sorry.”

“I’m sorry, too.”  Sappho’s locker opened on the fourth try. She tossed in her clarinet and grabbed her World Lit book.

“You grounded?” asked Danielle.

“Totally. The maternal units got me volunteering at the LGBT community center every weekend for the rest of the semester. They also took away my phone and internet privileges.” Sappho checked her reflection in the small mirror at the back of her locker and ran a hand through her hair. “You still hanging with Victor?”

“You didn’t hear?”

“Hear what?” She turned to Danielle.

“He got busted for putting a kid in the hospital. Damn near tore the guy’s ear off, what I heard. Guess you were right about him.”

Qué idiota!” Sappho closed her locker.

“Totally.” A hint of a smile curled the corners of Danielle’s frown. She crooked her pinky and held it to Sappho.

The tightness left Sappho’s chest. “For reals?”

“For reals.”

Sappho hooked her pinky with Danielle’s.

Amigas siempre!”

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