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Just the way you are
I had no idea that school could have gotten worse from last year. I took the five hour trip from home to my boarding school, Callidus Academy, for the first time last year. The first few days had been exciting. Everyone seemed just as interested and excited as I was. Nothing seemed bad in those first few weeks going to this school. That’s when we were asked to show off our acting talents.
Callidus Academy is an arts school. You can do anything from sculpting to dance, fashion design to drama, almost anything related to art in any way. It’s mostly a rich kid’s school though. The tuition is very high for being in a small town in Ohio. Still, kids from all over the country come to this school saying how awesome it will be. I mean, even I did that. I’m from San Jose and I came here to Stratton.
The school is basically split between those who can afford the school, and the ones who are on a scholarship. There are many different feelings on this situation. Most of the rich kids only want other rich kids in this school. The scholarship students clearly don’t feel the same way. They wish that the rich kids would just go away. There is one group though that is neither of these, the rich kids who like the scholarship students and the scholarship students who like the rich kids. I’m a part of that group, the last one. Well, I’m the rich kid who likes scholarship students, so not fully the last group.
Anyways, so each of us freshman had to prepare a little monologue for class. I myself picked a monologue from A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Of course it was pretty boring because most people would go for a Shakespeare play, but I had worked on this one before and knew I’d be able to do it. It was Helena’s monologue in the first act. She was seething with jealousy at the fact the man she was in love with loved some other woman. I was pretty good at acting like a jealous person.
This was where some of the trouble was, just the plain fact that I had picked this monologue. I never knew that people could get that jealous in real life. The look on the girl’s face actually scared me a little bit. She was so angry for my choice of speech.
“Terri Martian. It’s your turn.” Ms. Koppel called out.
I nodded my head and stood up. Peopled watched me as I walked to the front of the room as they usually do when waiting to see how someone can change their self to become someone else. I took a closed my eyes and took a deep breath as I turned to face my waiting classmates. Inside my mind I changed who I was. When I reopened my eyes I had become Helena.
“How happy some o'er other some can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.” I started as I moved around through my actions. I had only performed for a few minutes of course, but it felt amazing once again. At the end and closed my eyes once again and took a deep breath. I was Terri once again.
When I reopened my eyes to look at my classmates I was stunned. Every single one was staring at me with a look plastered on their faces. I was unsure if I had done badly of not. I turned to look at my teacher to ask if I had done something wrong when I heard it quietly. One person in the back had started clapping. Everyone began to as well; except for one girl whose face had began to turn red. I had no idea what was wrong with her.
“Carman Michel, Time to show what you’ve got.” Ms. Koppel said.
The red faced girl stood up quickly and walked up to the front of the room as I sat down. She gave me an almost evil glare that made she shutter. What was so wrong with my acting that made her so angry? She couched into her hand a little bit as she was trying to get into character. The brunette looked up at the class and began to speak. “How happy some o'er other some can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.”
My eyes widened as I saw her go through the same performance I had just done. Only difference was the attention of the class. They had just seen me do this, and clearly thought I had done a better job of it. No one really thought much of this Carmon girl. I hoped that she wouldn’t be mad at me for what I had done by accident. It seemed like it was too much to hope for.
Ever since that day the Carmon girl became my personal devil with curly brown hair. She went out of her way to try and make my life miserable. She even went so far as to make some of the others turn against me. It was hard to make friends when the class was so split like that. Nothing I did seemed to make up for one little thing I did in the first week of school.
The school year had passed quickly with how busy I was. We had only been freshmen, so even with Carman trying to ruin my life; I still had friends in much better places. It was a little hard to sit in class, but as soon as that last bell rang I’d be in free in the world to do whatever I wanted with the people that I had actually liked. Thing is, it seemed like Carman saw that she was getting to me anymore.
The last day of the school year came and went quickly. Everyone parted ways for the summer. I thought that sophomore year would be different somehow. I thought that the summer would clear everyone’s mind. I sure didn’t think of school. Being back at my home once again made me too busy to think of things like school. Was it too much to ask for Carman to stop her stupid teasing? It seemed like that wouldn’t be happening anytime soon.
The first day back at school was the worst day I’d had in two months. As I walked around the grounds of my home away from home, I noticed that more of the sophomore girls avoided me then they had last year. I didn’t quite understand why they did. That night while back in my dorm, I got a link to a blog that all the girls have been reading recently. I went to the most recent post and sighed wondering what whoever sent this to me wanted me to see.
Dear beloved readers,
I’d like you to know that I have plans for this year. These plans are huge, and I won’t tolerate anyone getting in my way. In fact I have some news for you! Terri Martian got in my way last year and needs to be punished. Anyone who decides to get close to her will have to be punished too. We wouldn’t want that to happen now would we? You all know exactly what I mean when I say punished. You remember Dennis Morgan? Yeah, I doubt we’ll be seeing a lot of him this year. Anyways that’s all for now, I’ll have to ttyl girls.
-You Know Who
I stared at this post for a long time. It was pretty obvious who this was. Everyone knew about the trouble between Carman and I. That would explain why everyone had avoided me today. I bit down on my lip hard. I wasn’t going to cry at something like this. This wasn’t bad at all. I’ve handled much worse than a jealous girl. Taking a deep breath I closed the link to the blog and turned off my laptop. I refused to let this bother me. I climbed into bed and tried to fall asleep. It was hard with all these thoughts in my head, but I managed in the end.
The alarm clock blared at me as I refused to escape my comfy bed. The blog I had read though last night ran thought my mind again. I groaned softly as I reached up for the clock. It stopped screaming with a little clicking sound. I got out of bed and noticed that the other half of the room was empty. How did I end up not having a dorm mate? I didn’t remember having one yesterday either so how could the girl have not showed up yet? I wonder what happened. Seeing as I didn’t have much time to think about it, I got dressed quickly and headed out to breakfast.
I held the tray in my hands tightly as I looked around the cafeteria. I didn’t see any of my friends from last year anywhere. What could have happened to them? Did they just decide to skip breakfast or something? I had no idea. With a sigh I began to walk to an empty table on the other side of the cafeteria. That’s when I first saw Carman. She had changed over the two months of summer. She looked completely different with her curly hair now straightened into a perm, her brown hair now dyed red; her eyes that use to be brown like her hair were covered with green coloured contacts. I probably wouldn’t have recognized her if not for that smirk that she wore on her face. I turned my eyes away from her not walking to meet her gaze. This was a bad idea.
Time felt as if it was slowing down as I felt myself trip. It definitely hadn’t been my own foot that I tripped over. Time only sped up once again as I felt myself hit the ground. The tray I had been carrying had slid from my hands and onto the floor in front of me. The cafeteria was quiet for a moment then I heard the laughter of girls filling the air. They couldn’t have been the older kids of course because none were probably up yet. I turned to see Carman smirking up at me once again and winced. This girl was pure evil. Quickly I stood up and ran out of the room biting down on my lip not to cry.
This was how the first month had past. Stupid things continued to happen that the girls did to try and bother me. It couldn’t have been much worse than it had been last year, but it certainly was more constant then it was before. These types of things really did bother me. I knew that the girls only did this type of thing because of that stupid blog that they all loved so much. I didn’t understand why they liked it. I was never one of those girls who liked listening to gossip, but the others probably did like to. Sad to say, but they really were starting to get to me.
It hadn’t even been that bad, but that had been before the texts started to appear on my phone. It started a week before the annual welcome back costume ball. I got a text on my phone. “Why don’t you leave the acting to the ones who can act?” This bothered me. I had no idea whose number it was. How could these people go so far? I didn’t like this at all. I bit at my lip and tried not to cry. The words stung. They were saying I couldn’t act. That was my dream; to be an amazing actor. It was hard to feel good about myself when they sent me things like this.
A second message appeared a few minutes later. “Ugly girls should mind their own business.” I liked this one as much as I had liked the other one. What did they mean by ugly girls should mind their own business? I was minding my own business, and last time I checked I wasn’t ugly! I bit at my lip as I crossed my room to look at the mirrored closet door.
Maybe those girls had been right. As I looked into the mirror that day all I could see were flaws. My eyes seemed too blue, like I was blind. My arms were too long for my short body. I was too skinny that I could see my bones, but I was still too fat to be a model. My hair was too blond. My clothes were too flashy. Everything was just wrong. I wanted to punch the mirror until it shattered so I wouldn’t have to look anymore.
More messages began to fill my phone inbox. I started hyperventilating as I felt crazy in my head. I ran back to my bed again shaking. I refused to accept this. I wasn’t going to let the girls get to me. I wouldn’t cry. I buried my head into my pillow and wished for morning to come as if this was just a bad dream I was going to wake up from.
Morning came and the nightmare was still around. I got a wake up text like the ones I had last night. Now that I truly thought about it, the fact that my roommate had never showed up was the best thing ever. She probably would have been like the others, and she would have seen my freak out from the night before. Today I would prove to the other girls that my acting was perfect, by pretending that their words didn’t bother me. I pulled on one of my usual outfits that i loved to wear but as i closed the closet door I saw myself in the mirror once again. Quickly I pulled off what I was wearing and opened the closet once again. I went deep into the closet to find something that would be good enough. Finally I found myself wearing a shirt and a pair of capris that my mom had bought for me. They were both lightly coloured and weren’t something Id usually wear. For a moment I thought about changing back, it would be obvious that I changed my style. In the end I didn’t change back and wore the outfit to class.
Some of the older students interrupted my last class of the day to tell us about how the ball would be this year. It sounded a little exciting to me. We’d get to wear costumes and everything. I knew exactly what I was going to do about this. The wheels in my mind were moving. I’d get to play someone else for a night. This would be perfect.
I ran all the way back to my room as soon as classes finished for the day. I was able to forget about the others for a few hours as I wrote down everything I’d need for my costume. The dress, the makeup, the mask, they would all be easy enough to get with my mother and father’s help, or more really, their money. That was the only thing I liked about being a rich kid at the moment. Having enough funds to pay for what I wanted to do. For that one day I didn’t look at my phone once. It was later when I was going to sleep I noticed all the messages piling up in my inbox once again. Closing my phone I decided I wasn’t going to even open them right now. I wouldn’t let them ruin my night. In a few days I’d get to be a different person. Even if it was just for one night, it could end up changing my life, which it did.
The next few days were the worst. Everyone was talking about what I had been just as excited for. That ball was a big highlight for them. Each person would gloat about how perfect their costume would be. They would even go as far as mock me, saying it didn’t matter if I showed up or not because I wouldn’t get to dance with anyone anyways. I felt like Cinderella being abused by her stepsister. Except, i had about 25 stepsisters, and there was no fairy godmother. I tried to not let their words bother me but it was hard. I was able to make it to the day I hoped would go perfectly.
That night I looked into the mirror, but didn’t see myself. I was looking at the blond Christine from Phantom of the Opera. She was just finishing getting ready for the masquerade she was to attend later that night. She put on her mask and away she went. It was clear that not one person recognized Christine to be the one called Terri Martian, but thought of her as a lovely soul. She was asked to dance by many people, but turned out each one as if she was waiting for someone in particular.
"Fear can turn to love. You'll learn to see, to find the man behind the monster, this... repulsive carcass who seems a beast but secretly dreams of beauty secretly... secretly.” An unfamiliar voice called to Christine. With a gasp she turned to look at who quoted what she loved so dearly. A smile curled on her face seeing the phantom standing there. She replied with this “Come, we must return, those two fools who run your theatre will be missing me." Although this was not her line, it was clear to see that the phantom was happy to see another who loved the play as much as he did. Christine noticed a dog dressed in the same costume as his owner and knew this night was well worth it.
Introductions were do and they happened. The boy was called Liam, but not for the night of course. I introduced myself as well, but I was Christine tonight and that would not change. That night we danced around everyone in a ballroom style. We listened to the sweet classical music, while they listened to some Katy Perry song. I didn’t pay attention to it though because I didn’t want to hear it. We talked and danced until we got bored. Liam led me out and we went to get ice cream in our costumes at a shop in town. As we ate we talked some more about anything; how he came to the school, how I came to the school, what we did, and finally he asked about my love life. It was embarrassing because I had never really talked about it. Still, that conversation passed and we finished eating. We headed back up to the school before the gates would close for the night and were going to continue talking somewhere else. It ended up not happening though, during our talk before I found out that Liam had epilepsy. That was what his dog was for. As we were getting inside the school his dog began to bark. Liam told me he had to go as he was going into ‘seizure time’ and had to leave. He kissed me on the forehead and left just like that. I had no idea if I would even ever see the boy again.
The world had seemed like a dream when I woke up the next morning. I went thought the events in my head once again. It just didn’t seem like that had really happened. I wanted to stay and think about that longer but I couldn’t. There were some things that I needed to do that day. It was good there were no classes because the world would have turned out differently. As I went through the errands I needed to run a new message would appear every few minutes. It made what had happened the night before feel even more like a dream.
By the time I was finished my errands I couldn’t handle any more messages. Life was better for one little moment, but then it got worse than it had been originally. I found a place to sit down and tried to become calm. One last message made me break. I don’t even know why I had opened it. “Terri Martian. No one here likes you. Just disappear.” I began to shake. I dropped the phone to the ground and let the tears fall down my face. How long had i held them in for? I didn’t know and defiantly didn’t care. I couldn’t help but feel some truth in it. It’s hard to say how long I sat there for.
A familiar barking sound made me look up from my lap though. I saw the dog from last night, and a boy getting closer. It didn’t take a genius to figure out who he was. Quickly I rubbed my eyes hoping it wouldn’t look like I was crying. It seems like I didn’t do a good job. Liam sat down beside me. "What's wrong, Terri?" Liam asked. "Was someone nasty to you? Are you hurt?" It was hard to answer Liam. I had no idea what to say exactly. I just stared at the ground. He sighed and saw my phone sitting on the ground. It was still open to the last message I received. A frown creased his face. “These people are wrong. You’re beautiful and incredible. They must have the wrong Terri. Why would you listen to them?" He stared at my phone for a long moment before taking the top and bottom halves in each hand and snapping my phone in half. “There. Problem solved.”
I couldn’t help but stare at Liam. He just broke my phone, but for some reason I felt a little better. More tears began to roll down my face. I felt free all of the sudden, but it still stung. “Here, why don’t I show you what I see when I look at you.” Liam said to me with a smile. He opened the sketchbook that he had in his arms and began to draw. He didn’t let me see what he was drawing so it was hard to tell how it would turn out. When he finished he turned his sketch book towards me to look at. My eyes widened with surprise and a hand went up to cover my mouth. The picture was amazing. I can’t even describe it with words. I took the book in my hands and actually wondered if that was how I truly looked.
Liam grew closer to me and smiled. “I really do think you’re beautiful.” He stated quietly. He gently tilted my head upwards. This was the first time I had fully looked at Liam in the face. I could feel my cheeks warming as I looked at him. It was hard not to. I hadn’t seen his face the night before as he was wearing a mask. Liam was absolutely adorable. I was going to say something, but I had no time to. Liam leaned in the rest of the distance between up and he kissed me. That was my first kiss. I closed my eyes and let him. This was a perfect moment and nothing could disturb me now. After a few more moments he pulled away and began to speak again. "That'll show those cows huh? Your more beautiful than any other girl." Liam started. A opened my eyes and smiled at him. Okay, I was feeling a lot better now. "If they say anything else, ignore them - their opinion doesn't matter. As long as i can make you feel pretty, everything'll be fine." Liam stood up and smiled down at me. “ have to get going, but i’ll see you later. Don’t let anyone else bother you okay?” All I had time for was a quick nod before Liam headed off with his dog right behind him.
I let out a happy sigh and looked down at my phone. Okay, so life wasn’t really perfect yet, and I knew there would be more teasing tomorrow, but right at this moment i didn’t care.