It's only second period, and the whole school knows Emma broke up with him. So far, he's collected eight phone numbers, one kiss on the cheek, and one pinch to the back of his jeans. His attempts to talk to Emma between classes are thwarted by a hurricane of teenage females whose main goal seems to be keeping him and his ex-girlfriend separated.
When the third period bell rings, Emma has already chosen a seat where she'll be barricaded from him by other students. Throughout class, she pays attention as if the teacher were giving instructions on how to survive a life-threatening catastrophe in the next twenty-four hours. About midway through class, he receives a text from a number he doesn't recognize.
If you let me, I can do things to u to make u forget her.
As soon as he clears it, another one pops up from a different number.
Hit me back if u want to chat. I'll treat u better than E.
How did they get my number? Tucking his phone back into his pocket, he hovers over his notebook protectively, as if it's the only thing left that hasn't been invaded. Then he notices the foreign handwriting scribbled on it by a girl named Shena who encircled her name and phone number with a heart. Not throwing it across the room takes almost as much effort as not kissing Emma.
At lunch, Emma once again blocks his access to her by sitting between people at a full picnic table outside. He chooses the table directly across from her, but she seems oblivious, absently soaking up the grease from the pizza on her plate until she's got at least fifteen orange napkins in front of her. She won't acknowledge that he's staring at her, waiting to wave her over as soon as she looks up.
Ignoring the text message explosion in his vibrating pocket, he opens the contain of tuna fish Rachel packed for him. Forking it violently, he heaves a mound into his mouth, chewing without savoring it. Mark with the Teeth is telling Emma something she thinks is funny, because she covers her mouth with a napkin and giggles. Galen almost launches from his bench when Mark brushes a strand of hair from her face. Now he knows what Rachel meant when she told him to mark his territory early on. But what can he do if his territory is unmarking herself? News of their breakup has spread like an oil spill, and it seems as though Emma is making a huge effort to help it along.
With his thumb and index finger, Galen snaps his plastic fork in half as Emma gently wipes Mark's mouth with her napkin. He rolls his eyes as Mark "accidentally" gets another splotch of JELL-O on the corner of his lips. Emma wipes that clean too, smiling like she's tending to a child.
It doesn't help that Galen's table is filling up with more of his admirers-touching him, giggling at him, smiling at him for no reason, and distracting him from his fantasy of breaking Mark's pretty jaw. But that would only give Emma a genuine reason to assist the idiot in managing his JELL-O.