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Changing is hard. But it might be worth it. So what if my old friends don’t like me very much. I mean… who needs them? It’s like just because I am now in a better social group than them they just hate me? No. That’s not even fair, because change is good. Right?
The New House
I walked though the halls feeling one thing I had never felt before, like everyone wanted to be me. Adoring faces looked up at me as I wandered through Pacific High School’s halls. I had started here only 3 weeks ago, but so quickly my status had changed. I had expected to be the dweeb. The pretty one but, the one who was not at any costs what I was now, popular. I half expected someone to come up and ask for my autograph.
As we walked into our new house I had been happy. It was a nice sized house. 5,000 square feet for my small 4 person family to share. My Mom, the lawyer, my little sister, the adorable one, my older brother, the college football player, and me. What was I? A nerd. I was a pretty nerd at that. Long waist length perfectly straight honey golden blonde hair, and piercing blue eyes, so my Mom said. She said I was an unclaimed beauty. Whatever that meant. I had just started fitting in. I had always been tall and was now almost 5’10”. Luckily, the boys had started hitting growth spurts about 2 years ago. I was going into 10th grade. That might have meant more dating for me but… nobody saw me. The California town showed possible potential for me but… I probably wouldn’t fit in with my snow white skin. As we had driven up, I saw all the palm trees, and tan people. You can’t forget them. Tan teens, tan babies with their tan parents, tan little boys with their delighted faces showing out from underneath LA Dodgers caps. Great even as I saw some old ladies ‘fast walking’ they were tan! That made me feel just great. I will look like an albino here, I thought unhappily. I had started to state my protest to my Mom but then abruptly stopped when I saw my Mom’s upset face. The divorce had been hard on Mom especially. No one had expected our trophy Dad who seemingly adored my successful Mother, to start being so rude all of a sudden. It had started when Mom had come home from a tough day in court.
“Honey, could you get me some Advil?” My Mom had asked quietly.
“Get it yourself.” My Dad had rudely stated. He was different from then on. He no longer called my Mom beautiful when she got home or any of my special nicknames. We could all tell that things were different. He was different. Eventually he stopped replying to our questions or sentences or when he did give us the ‘pleasure’ of speaking to us in was in a dull monotone voice. Eventually he stopped coming home. My Mom cut off his credit and debit card accounts and officially kicked him out of the house. A year and a half later, they were divorced. We had moved to Pacific Grove California to ‘get away from it all’ as my Mom said. I think it was to get away from Dad and his new artist girlfriend.
Shopping and a New Friend
As I walked into the house, I had been happy. I really had been. As my mom called,
“Go pick out your rooms.” My little sister and I had raced upstairs and I had claimed a pretty room with a big window and window seat and it got even better when I walked into my HUGE closet! I think it could’ve been a room all by itself. As I finished walking through my room I saw another door which led to a bathroom with a top of the line shower in it and a Jacuzzi tub with speakers and amazing glass tiles. Before I could get too attached I went to find my Mom to see if it was the master. She looked at a mini map of the whole house and said,
“Which room on the third floor?”
“The second one on the right.” I excitedly stated awaiting the answer.
“Nope. It’s all yours if you want.”
“Yes!” I practically screamed running back up the stairs already picturing where my things could go. My day only got better. My Mom, my sister, and I went shopping. I got a bunch of new California approved clothes and then we went to some bedding stores and I got pink and purplish silk bed sheets. The surprises just continued. We then went to Best Buy and bought all new electronics. Mom let me get a new IPod touch with a camera in it and then surprised me by telling me to pick out a new laptop and flat screen for my room. You could say that my Mom’s 100,000 dollars that she had gotten from her last case was burning a hole in her pocket, but I think she just felt bad. After all in a two year time period she and my Dad had gotten a divorce and taken us away from Long Island, New York. It was actually perfect timing for my brother who had gotten a scholarship to USC. My sister Phoebe was 10 and didn’t really mind moving. She had never really liked Long Island. Before we had even unpacked all of our stuff, other little 10 year olds were dancing around our house with the delighted Phoebe. But that’s just how she is. I knew that whoever was the most popular 4th going into 5th grade girl was, that Phoebe would soon take her place. Phoebe’s green-blue eyes always twinkled with delight and her hair that went halfway down her back gently curling forming perfect spirals was the perfect shade of honey golden blonde. She had a sense of humor and was kind but persistent. She was the typical Little Miss America type. I thought sisters who were almost 6 years younger than you were supposed to live in your shadow. Phoebe was already light-years ahead of my shadow and she was 10. I was surprised when the doorbell rang and Phoebe shouted out
“Sis, it’s for you!” As I walked to the door, a girl with glasses and brown shoulder length straight hair introduced herself as Annie.
“Hi,” I said, “I’m Gracie Nell but everyone just calls me Nell.”
“Hey Nell,“ Annie said smiling good humouredly at me.
“Hi Annie,” I said returning the look. Maybe California wouldn’t be so bad now that I had found a friend.
First Day at a New School
The first day of school was here. As I woke up, I looked at the clock. It was 7. An hour and a half until the bus came. School started at 9. I had glanced over the school handbook the night before on my new Dell laptop looking at dress codes and all that. In Long Island there would’ve been uniforms. Here there wasn’t. Dress code? Didn’t look very specific. Nothing about skirts/shorts being past your fingertips and no belly shirts or spaghetti straps or any of that. Nope. Nada. I decided to play it relatively safe and grabbed a soft, white designer tank top that reached the top of my hips. My jean skirt fell just below my fingertips and started an inch after my top ended. Maybe I would use my long legs to an advantage at this ‘no dress code’ school. I walked down the two flights of stairs deciding to ignore the elevator instead looking at the beautiful paintings and crown molding on my way down. When I got down my Mom smiled and glanced me up and down. I could tell she approved and hoped for the best on my first day. I grabbed a bare piece of toast and spread a light coat of butter on it. As I glanced at my Mom I knew that she couldn’t wait until I turned 16 either. For me it was more reasons like; I won’t have to ride the bus. For her I think it was more of a chance to apologize some more for the divorce or as I was calling it lately the big D or the D word. I knew my Mom was hoping for a big sweet sixteen for me but, I didn’t know if I could make that many friends in two weeks.
“Don’t worry about B. She’s getting a ride home with one of her cute little friends! Well actually they might go to the mall first so I gave her some cash and everything. You know the drill.” She said smiling at me.
“Would you like any money for anything Honey?” She added on.
“Well some money for a salad at lunch would be cool,” I said.
“And I guess shopping wouldn’t be too bad either,” I added on.
“Good,” Mom said as she once again flashed her amazing smile at me and neatly pressed rolled up bills in to my hand with her perfect red tipped French manicured nails. There was 325 dollars in total.
“If you want you can call a taxi or limo or whatever.”
“Thanks! Anyways… So what are you doing today Mom?” I questioned.
“ Oh, I’m just meeting with a new client in LA and then heading home I think. But Mrs. Beatrix said she might like to take me out to dinner so I might not be home until around 9 or 10 so I was wondering if you could make something or order Sushi or something. I found a place I think is good and left the delivery menu and phone number and some money on the table for you girls. I think your brother will be at campus all day so don’t expect him.”
“Okay. Thanks a bunch Mom! You really are the best.” I replied smiling at her.
“No honey, you guys are the best. Thanks for being so great all the time!” She replied looking proud.
“No prob Mom. We love you so much! I’m going to go catch the bus.” I said swinging my new XOXO backpack onto my shoulder.
“Bye honey. Have a great first day!” Mom said as I headed out the door pocketing my garage door opener and paper with the combo for the automatic opener.
“Bye!” I yelled before gently closing the door.
On the bus nobody really noticed my existence. There were a few greetings and hellos and hugs but mostly it was the typical IPod bus ride. The bus driver just grunted and didn’t say anything, but that was okay with me. I’d rather that than a super nice driver who when she gets upset freaks out.
We got to school pretty quickly. When we got there I was expecting a dull brown brick building that was sort of small and looked more like a prison then a school. This was not it. When we pulled up my jaw dropped. The whole four story building was almost all glass walls and on the inside, pastel painted walls. It was amazing. I quickly shut my mouth and decided to play it cool and just go inside. I was NOT going to be some geeky student who went to the office and stammered ‘It’s my first day here.’ I would not walk around with a map in front of my face. Not once. I knew 9th was the first floor, 10th the second, 11th the third, and 12th the fourth. I started up the stairs towards the second floor. The rush of students almost knocked me down before I got a grip on the handrail. There were so many! My locker was 2134 so I went and found it and dumped all my stuff into it and locked it. I took out my touch screen blackberry and started texting Annie. Before I could press ‘SEND’ Annie came poking her head into my locker bay. I stopped texting and got out of the message. Before I could reply Annie introduced me to a group of about 6 people randomly listing off names. I hated to say it but in my designer clothes and even no makeup I looked super glamorous compared to these people.
“So, here’s the group. That’s Eric and John,” She said first pointing to a guy with short hair and glasses and not being judgmental… but seriously? He was like the poster boy for schoolboy nerd. I think he even had a pocket protector. Good Lord. The second one she pointed to, John was okay. He had shaggy hair and wore baggy pants and looked like the average rebellious 16 year old, “and this here is Erica and Jason,” the girl was like a chameleon. I barely noticed her. Pale hair, nondescript clothes and hair cut. Jason was almost a hottie except for he was like 5’2” AND his hair was passing his shoulders. His clothes were… yikes but underneath you could see his abs poking through and I guessed he was a surfer. His brown eyes looked in mine and then looked away,
“This is Ellie this is Taylore.” Annie said. Ellie was interesting. She looked like she could have been popular but chose not to be. Her knockoff designer brand shirt was obvious but she was pretty with her green eyes and pencil straight waist length brown hair. Taylore was also pretty good looking but, again with the baggy clothes, “and you know me. Guys and girls, this is Gracie Nell,” Annie concluded.
“But you can call me Nell.” I tagged on. I heard variations of “okay” and “hey” and “Hi Nell.”
“Hey.” I replied to all 6 of them (well Annie too so 7). We started off towards classes. Before I knew it my school day was over. It was almost 4 and it was 4:30 when I got home. I called a cab and went to the mall. Like the school it took my breath away. It was beautiful. I had spent $3.50 on lunch and got 1.50 back. I spent $6 on the cab to the mall and so I had 315.50 left to spend on clothes and shoes or whatever else I was going to get. When I was done I had gotten a short black dress, some new skirts (that were shorter because I had worn one of the longest skirts on in that school including the young girl teachers) tank tops, 3 new bikinis and 6 new pairs of shoes. I had $13.25 to get home with. When I was home I put the remaining $7 in the change drawer in the oak dresser drawer that was by the garage door. When B got home sporting a cute new bikini and tankini and also some new skirts and tops, dropping $10 something in the same drawer. We both gave each other fashion shows and I listened while she told me about the 3 boys that had asked her out. She had said no but possibly could like one. I believed every word she said because, why would it not be true? Once we were done with our sushi I tucked her into bed and since it was 9:57 just decided to go to bed after writing in my journal.
Hey! Today was interesting. The first day of school at a new school. The place was beautiful. I hung out with Annie, the girl with glasses who I met when we first moved in. She has 6 friends who are… interesting to say the least. The popular girls, Chrissie and Jana were staring at me almost the whole day. It was sort of awkward but I guess I got over it… All my teachers looked like they came right out of America’s next top model or something. Well all the girls. All the guys looked like Channing Tatums equal. I got no homework. Josh is still at college campus. I wonder how his day was. I’ll have to shoot him an email. Well I’m pretty tired… Luckily tomorrow is Friday. I hope it is as nondescript as Erica (haha she is a super boring girl who never talks except to Eric whom I think she likes but…) Well I went to the mall today and got new stuff. It’s huge and people take such good care of the public places. It’s amazing. But then again, why wouldn’t they? The counter tops are like marble. In the bathroom. I know. You might think that I should be used to this living in Long Island for 15 years but nothing seems this nice. Tomorrows goal? Work on my tan. Well… goodnight. Love- Nell
Well goodnight Pacific Grove.
Chrissie and Jana
The door slammed as me Chrissie and Jana ran into my house laughing. We’ll just say it had been an odd day. It had started out like the day before but was soon very, very different. The popular girls had stared her down as usual and then started coming towards her. It felt like slow motion as they flicked their long hair and pursed their perfectly lip-slicked lips. They had walked up right in front of her and paused for a second before Chrissie said in her high and graceful soprano voice,
“Welcome to Pacific High!” She stated in an oddly friendly voice.
“Um, Thanks?” I stammered.
“ Of course.” She said flashing a brief smile.
“So we were wondering,” she continued, “well Jana and I were wondering, if we could come to your house tonight and give you a makeover. I live right by your new house and Jana was coming to my house after school today anyways…”
“Sounds good!” I replied looking around. I felt the world shift under me but apparently no one else had. An hour later when lunch started I called my Mom and told her. To say Mom was bouncing off the walls crazed with happiness was an understatement. She had almost screamed into the phone when I shushed her and covered my mouth as not to be overheard, that Chrissie and Jana were the two most popular girls in school. My Mom’s dreams came alive. She heard that in the way she said,
“Oh honey! You could be the prom and homecoming queen and everyone will want to date you and my goodness, we have the tools and everything to get you there.” We soon finished our conversation and I ended the call. I knew my Mom sounded shallow but that was the last thing she was. She was caring and giving and peaceful and understanding. Some people might say; she’s just trying to live her dreams through her daughter but that was not true. My mother had been prom and homecoming queen all of her 4 years. She had been the most popular girl and school and if she started Pacific High right now she probably would be again. She fit in my jeans no problem and actually from both of our healthy eating and working out, neither of us had gained over 4 pounds in the past 6 years. We both weighed in around 120. No she was most definitely not trying to live through me. She just wanted me to be as happy as she was.
So as Chrissie, Jana and I burst into my house giggling at the cute boy that had been behind the Starbucks counter we all gasped as we walked into my long bathroom with so many counters covered in makeup and hair products and straighteners and curlers and jewelry. I didn’t want to even know how much this all cost. There was a note left on the counter
I went to go visit with a friend of mine and won’t be home till later. I hope you and your friends enjoy this stuff I got for you.
I gazed around the room looking at the names staring up at me. Cover girl. L’Oreal. Maybelline. Neutrogena.
I think you girls will find these products top of the line. I also got you girls’ new swimsuits and figured that your friends were close to your size. There in the Macy’s bag on your bed. I also got us some new clothes. I already hung up all the stuff in your closet.
Nell turned towards the froufrou sticking out and instantly loved the what she was sure was designer clothes.
Well I have to go but… be responsible (which I know you will) but even better, have fun. Take some risks. If these girls know what they’re doing it will only take a little to make you as pretty (and maybe prettier) than them. Tell them not to hold back and do what they think is right. I love you honey!
-Maman (This is Italian. I want to learn it.)
That was just like her to leave that and as I opened up the letter 100 dollars fell out. I smiled and tucked it in my tight Hollister jeans.