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Rise and Shine
Jason’s gray-green eyes unbolted themselves at the sound emanating around his room. At the same instant, the early morning radio buzzed into existence. He groaned loudly and wrapped his covers around him like a cocoon, wishing and praying that the alarm would cease its incessant warbling. But, to his dismay his prayers were not answered and after five minutes of suffering the newest hit single from the Black Eyed Peas, he forced himself up and out of his bed, where his warm shadow still lingered on the mattress.
Jason, stifling a yawn and cracking his back, began to trundle his way through his room, rubbing sleep from his eyes. He skillfully dodged the mound of clean clothes that had been yet to put away as he walked towards his dresser. Reaching into the unbelievably dark corner of his dresser drawer he retrieved socks and a graphic tee, emblazoned with some punk rock band that he really didn’t care about, even though Aunt Carol assured him that they “were the best around”. Half-dressed and not really finished dreaming yet, he found some jeans, probably hadn’t been washed in a few days, but no one would notice or care for that matter, because he was invisible. He finished dressing himself along with adding a chocolate brown sweater to his look, he went into the kitchen, grabbed a Strawberry Poptart, snatched his ripped backpack and launched out the door before the rest of his family woke up.
He checked his cell-phone, and raked a hand through his sandy blonde hair as he watched the digital clock turn from 6:29am to 6:30am. Jason blew out an exasperated puff of cold March air and looked at the sky. The sun was just beginning to push back the fringes of the gray twilight hours and he sulked. He liked the gray, neutral time of early morning. It equalized everything to him, trees were just trees and every other person was just some other person. He kicked at clod of dirty snow, not really sure if he should care or not. It wasn’t like he was able to stop the sun from rising anyway. Jason readjusted the weight of his backpack, spreading the burden across his shoulders that had only just begun to broaden.
Unable to do much else than walk blindly towards the “illustrious” Oak Height’s High School he whipped out his phone that had been a birthday present from his extended family, another “lovely” gift from Aunt Carol. Absent-mindedly, he began to flip through the applications, tapping the ones that caught his interest here or there. A car’s engine began to rumble in the background, and it approached him. Tearing his eyes from the brightly colored bytes on his small screen, Jason scanned the road in front of him. Nothing, just a few leafless dead trees and a strip of gravel on the road, making a makeshift side walk. He had walked this route for the last three years and no one drove this way, this early. Finally, resigning himself to his own curiosity and all the cats it might kill, he turned around.
Jason laid eyes on a white car, not a new make but certainly one that he couldn’t afford, and he eyed it with a pang of jealousy. He licked his chapped lips nervously, and with a joking, half-smile, he nonchalantly stuck his thumb out, confident that this stranger wouldn’t stop for him. He chuckled lightly to himself as the white car drove past him, that was until it slowed to a stop on the gravel. A sharp peal of horns came from the car and it revved it’s engine, almost playfully. Jason, raising a quizzical brow slowly jogged towards the car, interested in meeting this new guy.
Jason quickly approached the car, his feet crunching over frosty rocks and dirt. As Jason reached the car, the stranger rolled down his window and peered at him. Only, it wasn’t a new guy, it was a new girl. A cute girl. His breath caught as he struggled to form words in his mouth, but a nervous, swelling tongue got in the way.
He stammered, “M-my name’s, um… Jason.” He ducked his head nervously, rubbing the back of his head. “You’ve, got a nice car here.” He mentally scolded himself, of course she knew that!
The girl smiled back sweetly, “My name’s Kerri, and it’s great to meet you, ‘um Jason’.” Kerri tucked a stray lock of brown hair behind her ear and put her engine into neutral. “Do you want a ride to school? You go to Oak Height’s, right?”
Jason, still recovering from his nervous spell, nodded his head. He muttered out, “Yeah, I’m a junior there.”
Kerri patted the seat next to her and with a flick of a clear glossed nail, she unlocked the side door to her car. She turned down her music, a mixture of what sounded like classical strings meshed with a rapper that Jason had never heard of.
Jason plopped down onto the fake pleather seating and placed his shredded backpack in his lap. He peered around the car, remembering to inhale. The interior of the car smelled like spear-mint and berry-scented perfume, not a bad combination in his mind.
With that, Kerri pressed the clutch into second gear and the two of them sped off towards the uncertainty known as Oak Height’s.