"Well, I sent him a text. I hope he responds soon."

"He better. I can't believe he'd just bail on us."

I twirled a mechanical pencil in my hand as I looked at my friends, Ken and Shane. Our other friend, Thomas, was supposed to be studying with us at my house today. For some reason, he had run out as soon as the last bell rang. I wanted to call out to him, but he was gone before I could even so much as utter a syllable.

I sighed, glancing back at my phone. It wasn't normal for Thomas to fail to meet our arrangements, nor was it common for him to go more than five minutes without responding to a text. Well, normally at least. I was somewhat amazed at how quickly he learned to text. When I first befriended him, he said he barely texted, nor did he really know how. I gave him a quick rundown, and he was texting faster than a Beverly Hills teen.

Ken and Shane didn't seem that interested in studying without Thomas. They seemed to really rely on Thomas when it came to studying. I did too, but soon learned to get better at that. Thomas helped make studying much easier, and my grades started to improve.

"Maybe he's got some family issue," I said to the guys. "I mean, this isn't normal."

"Heh. Like he'd care," Shane said. "Didn't you say his parents barely pay attention to him?"

"Yeah, but maybe it's serious this time."

"Oh please," Ken said. "Even he would rather hang out with us than them. We made sure of that with our plan."

I raised an eyebrow. "The plan." Ugh. Part of me is embarrassed I needed a plan to get close to Thomas. Ken and Shane thought it would be a good idea to befriend him to improve our grades, with the added plan that I be the one who really made Thomas feel accepted. I did my part, making sure to be flirty and laugh a lot around Thomas. Much like my old study habits, I sort of outgrew that after a while.

Thomas is a really cool guy now that I've really gotten to know him. I didn't care much for literature or jazz music before, but he's recommended some really good books and musicians to listen to. It's something that makes me feel more eclectic, and I'm sort of proud that I can talk freely about these sorts of things now. 

At the same time, Thomas makes me feel really cool. He's always happy to see me, always compliments me, and always asks me how I'm doing. More than Ken and Shane, I find him the easiest to talk to, and I feel he's really trustworthy.

It's nice. I don't think I've ever really known a guy like that.

"Ugh, maybe I'll text him again," I told the guys. "Maybe he's got poor reception or forgot his phone."

"Tell him to hurry his ass over," Ken said.

"Yeah, and see if he can bring snacks," Shane added.

I rolled my eyes as I began to text a new message to Thomas. Ken and Shane could be real jerks sometimes. I'm glad I'll probably never have that issue with Thomas.

Alex Carrigan is the staff film critic for Quail Bell Magazine and an editorial intern for the Cambridge Writers' Workshop. He resides in Virginia and is looking for a career in editing and publishing. His website is "Maya" is a continuation of this story published here on June 18th, 2015.