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Chapter 1: We’re…Partners?
Let me tell it to you like it is. The first week of school pretty much sucks. Everyone is reuniting, especially all them preps, in their letterman jackets with “Elliot High School: Home of the Eskimos” written all over them and their super short cheerleading skirts and perfect ponytails. Girls are hugging everywhere and talking really loudly, standing provocatively to get guys’ attention early. Football dudes are giving ‘manly’ hugs and knuckle bumps.
Yeah, I got no one to reunite with other than my dark inner self. If you guessed that I’m the new kid, you won the grand prize of a knuckle sandwich in your front teeth.
I’m kinda juvie, so they keep switching me around schools. They’re (by they, I mean the officials and my whacked out ‘rents) hoping that this secluded school will be the winner. I rather doubt it.
I’m kinda an outcast, and you’re probably thinkin’ it’s only the first week of school man how you an outcast already? Well, people decided from my looks that I ain’t anybody and I sure ain’t anybody cool or smart or anyone good to hang out with. So I already ain’t been accepted here.
I guess I don’t have a good image to give off. My red-tipped black Mohawk, saggy skinny jeans with studded belt and Nirvana t-shirt, and cuts crisscrossing my arms, I’m not the ideal guy to hang out with. I understand. I get it everywhere.
I’ve attempted to fit in. I have, really. I don’t like switching schools anymore than my parents do. Things just never work out anywhere.
I’ve discovered already that my science teacher is the devil in disguise or something. He’s got, like, 70’s vintage glasses and wears argyle sweater vests with cords and Dockers leather shoes. Oh, plus he’s ancient. Like, 500 years old. Okay, maybe 85, but he ain’t young, man. Like I said, I’m tellin’ ya like it is. This is how it is.
“Mr. Sertori? Is something about my science lesson, God forbid, boring?” My science teacher drawls in his Alaskan accent.
I want to shout, “Hell yes, old man! If I can doze off like this and tell an invisible audience everything about my life, then, yes your lesson is boring!”
Instead, I mumble, “No sir.” I fiddle with the zipper on my Fall Out Boy hoodie. Like, no one up here has heard of them. So, it’s some sorta taboo to wear this shit to school.
“As I was saying, class,” he continues, shoving his wire frames up on his nose, “I am giving you an assignment. This will be a partner assignment—”
A ripple of excitement travels throughout the room. I roll my eyes. Whatevs. Move on, old man.
He clears his throat. “But I will assign your partners.”
The excitement dies as quickly as it started. It was rather shocking, the sudden silence.
“Fist set, Daniel Sertori and Ekaterina Chadwick.” He moves on down the list, but I don’t hear anything.
Ekaterina? What kinda name is that? I look over at this girl who is suddenly looking at me.
She has chocolate brown hair, shoulder length. Her face is smooth and unblemished with pale pink lips and dark brown lashes framing her gray eyes. Her skin is vampire pale and she is skinny, but attired in a knee length gray wool skirt with knee length stockings and leather penny loafers. She has on a red and black ribbed sweater and is wearing a charm bracelet.
Great. She’s one of them damn preps. How the hell did I get partnered with…her?
She smiles shyly at me, then ducks her head back down into the thick book she is reading. So she hasn’t been paying attention to the lesson either. Interesting. My brain tunes back into my science teacher’s voice.
“The final project will be due as part of your final at the end of the semester. You will give a quarterly progress report presentation of how things are going and what you have had to change and things you have observed. Now, move to where you are seated next to your partner. This is where you will sit this semester.”
I sigh, and drag my chair and my tattered backpack that smells like cigarettes over to her desk. She scoots over to make room for me. For the first time, I notice that she was sitting alone too.
Hmm. First thing in common. Well, maybe this will work.