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Ask Angela

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Today is the first day of my freshman year at Macmillian High, and already it’s off to a disgusting start. My insane, fanatic, over-enthusiastic mother proceeded to shock me awake at five am with her high-pitched and shrill morning voice. She threw open my bedroom door with such force that the handle made a small indent in the wall (well, another one), and one of my pictures on my dresser next to the door fell over, (again).

“Abigail!” she cried, striding over to my bed, where I was comfortably sleeping – nice and warm under my covers – until a second before she shocked me awake with her shrill voice. “Wakey, wakey! Rise and shine – first day of high school!”

I groaned loudly, pulling my covers over my head, and crying, “Go away! It’s still dark outside!”

“Not for long! Come on – you’ll be late for school!”

“How the hell is that possible? It’s…” I glanced at my clock from a hole at the top of my covers; “Five o’ six!” then dove back under all the blankets.

I didn’t hear her respond, but I heard her shut my door, and then clomp down the stairs and into the kitchen.

I groaned, wanting nothing more than to curl up and go back to sleep, but I knew she’d be back momentarily – probably with some other device than her voice to try and wake me up and most likely something less fun – and I’d just have to get up anyways. When there was a big event during the day, she’d wake the whole house at five o’ clock am, no matter when the event took place. She is seriously insane.

I slowly crawled out of my bed and onto the carpet. I was hunched over, hugging my arms around my torso, shaking with cold.

“Doesn’t anyone have the courtesy to turn on the heat?” I screamed to no one, gritting my chattering teeth. I debated (again) between climbing back in my nice warm bed, or venturing into the tile bathroom where it was probably even colder. Both options stank, because if I crawled back in bed, mother would probably drag me out before I could get warm again anyways. So, I decided to brave the bathroom, no matter how much I didn’t want to. I hate being cold.

I clamped my jaw shut until it hurt to try and stop the incessant chattering which was giving me a headache and I let my sweatshirt sleeve fall past my hand to grab the door handle, then stepped out into the hall, which was even colder than my room. I sprinted to the bathroom trying to touch the floor as little as possible, and cursing myself for not grabbing slippers, or at least socks.

I jumped from the doorway onto the mat, which wasn’t as freezing as the tile, and shut the door, turned on the water for my shower, and in two minutes, the bathroom was filled with warm steam. I sighed, happy to be warm, and hopped in.

Just as I was getting out and a towel wrapped around me, someone banged on the door, and yelled,

“Abby! Get out!”

“Shut up Liam! I’m almost done!” I yelled back, and wrapped up my wet hair into a towel, grabbed my pajamas from the floor and opened the door.

“About time!” he cried, cross at me taking so long, when in fact, I had only taken fifteen minutes. Whatever; at least now I was warm, and it looked like mom decided to finally turn on the heat.

I scampered to my room and shut the door behind me. I dropped my clothes into my hamper, and went over to my closet.

First day of high school… what should I wear? I thought, scanning the racks and hangers. It took me a few minutes, but I decided on my new pair of skinny jeans from PacSun, and a nice slim-fitted cream sweater from American Eagle. I found my furry Uggs, and put a new light blue scarf from Icing loosely around my neck. After drying my hair, I pulled on my clothes, and put on some – but not a lot of – makeup. I stepped back, looking at myself in the mirror with a sharp eye. I wanted to look perfect. I wanted everyone to look at me when I walked in the door of the high school and say, ‘Wow! Who is that?’ Now, I’m not self-centered and stuck up. I just want to be beautiful and stick out and be popular, though I’m far from it. I’m basically a nerd; very book-smart but not socially-inept. I’m a social butterfly within my friends, just not the school’s student body as a whole. I’m working on that.

As I studied myself in the mirror, I was soon satisfied; I looked as good as it was going to get. I was tall with dark red hair – almost a copper color – and golden hazel-ish eyes. I was of a very slim build, but had the right curves in the right places. I liked how I looked, unlike many girls. So, I should count myself lucky.

“Abigail!” called my mother from the bottom of the stairs. “Breakfast!”

“Alright!” I yelled back, slipped on my Uggs, and hurried down the stairs to the kitchen where the sweet aromas of strawberry pancakes filled the room. I breathed deep and sighed contently. Mom makes up – partially – with her cooking for her insane personality.

“Good morning, Abby.” She said, plating up a stack of pancakes with whip-cream on top and sliding it to me on the breakfast-bar.

“Thanks, mom.”

“Your welcome sweetie.” She replied, and then screamed up to my brother,

“Liam! Get down here! Breakfast!”

“I’m coming woman!” was his reply.

Her eyes narrowed, but before she could respond, we heard dad upstairs scolding him.

“Don’t talk to your mother that way!” he said. “Treat her with respect. We never had this sort of disrespect from Adam.”

“Adam, Adam, Adam!” We heard Liam cry. “Why must you always compare me to that Nancy-boy?” and he stomped down the stairs. When he appeared, he grabbed a single, lone pancake and picked up his backpack from the floor by the door. He muttered something, and left, slamming the door behind him.

“Where is he going?” asked my dad as he came down the stairs.
“He muttered something about ‘meeting Collin’,” said mom, and piled on the pancakes for him. “Here. Sit. Enjoy.”

We ate in silence. Dad read his newspaper and mom cleaned up from breakfast. Once I was done, I gave my stuff to mom, and went upstairs to grab my stuff. It was two minutes after six, and the bus came at 6:15. I grabbed a jacket and my backpack, slipped my iPhone in my pocket, and left for the bus.

“Bye mom, dad!” I called, walking out the door.

“Bye Abby!” they cried in unison, and I shut the door, drawing my coat closer. It was colder than usual for a September morning in Maine. Huh. At the end of my driveway, I met Eileen Casperion, my best friend. We’ve lived next door to each other practically our whole lives. She’s the ‘macaroni’ to my ‘cheese’, the ‘peanut butter’ to my ‘jelly’, the ‘best’ to my ‘friend’, and every other possible things that come in pairs. We’re thick as thieves.

“Hey.” She said, arms wrapped around her torso, shivering slightly. It was a bit windy, and it was at least forty degrees outside, which sucked.

“Hey,” I replied, my teeth chattering again. I rubbed my hands together and blew my breath in them, to try and warm them up. “I wish I thought to bring gloves. Ack.” I complained, bickering at myself. “Stupid me.”

“I wish I had a scarf like you. My neck is freezing and I’m pretty sure my ears are going to fall off.”

“You’re both exaggerating,” said Ryan walking across the street with just a sweatshirt on, “It’s not that cold.”

“Speak for yourself.” I said, hugging myself around the middle like Eileen.

He grinned. “But I do agree its cold for the third of freaking September.”

“For serious,” said Eileen, making a joke of my word-vomit yesterday when I seriously couldn’t talk. I was making up words left and right, one which happened to be: uncoordinatedness. Which is truly not a word at all; I just kind of made it up. I was such a klutz - tripping and falling over everything in sight. You would think I was drunk, or something. And, I say seriously a lot. Seriously. Hah hah, just kidding.

I glared as Ryan and Eileen laughed.

“What?” Eileen said, but still laughing.

Then, Ryan said, “Shouldn’t we get to the stop at the end of the street? Wouldn’t want to miss the bus, now, would we?” He said it sarcastically, but was serious all the same. He does that a lot.

“Yes. We should.” Eileen said, and moved to get down to the end of Fifth Street, where we all lived. Within a minute of reaching the end of the street, the bus appeared, and we all hopped on, sitting in the middle. We didn’t want to seem afraid, being freshmen, and be picked on by the upperclassmen by sitting in the front, but so few of them rode the bus, anyway. They all had cars. Juniors and seniors were the only ones eligible for parking passes, and most of them applied for one the day they got their license. Who wouldn’t? Everyone hates the bus.

We were one of the first on the bus route, and the bus was only half-full when we reached Norette Valley High, just off West Street, which aptly named: ‘West Street Extension’. We pulled into one of the bus slots, and waited until six fifty-five, when all the busses let out. This is another thing that annoys me: having to wait for everyone else in the district to get here before heading into the building. It’s stupid. Why should us kids that lived in town – as in, not in the three other towns that were included in our school district: Weststock, Cornerstone, and Holbrook – have to suffer waiting sometimes a half an hour for them to get here? Can you tell I’m impatient? Sure you can.

Once we were on the sidewalk in front of the hill leading up to the school – the Senior Hallway slash Library Wing entrance – Eileen and Ryan waited for me, as I took care not to trip on the belt-buckles hanging out of the seats and into the aisles (for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain). Then we made our way up the crowded and ‘slow-moving-people’ stairs, until we reached the hallway.

Eileen and I – as well as Lacey and Jacqueline – went on the orientation tour a week ago, to give us a run-down and map of the building. We had them memorized now – not wanting to seriously stick out as freshmen and be preyed on by seniors. It wasn’t as bad for girls as it was for guys, but you never know who the seniors would be ruled by: girl? Or guy? So, definitely, we didn’t want to have a freaking sign over our heads that screamed ‘FRESHMAN’ in neon lights. It was better to blend for awhile, until you became accustomed to the route of your classes.

Ryan, unfortunately, couldn’t make the orientation, and therefore, had a map stuck in front of his nose; his eyes darting everywhere – reading the hall signs that labeled where he was. He had failed to ask one of us where to go; a seriously stupid move, on his part.

A few guys – clearly upperclassmen – pointed at him, and grinned. And, no doubt targeting him for future verbal assault – or physical, depending on the clique the guys belonged to – and I nudged him.

“For goodness sakes, Ryan; put that away before you’re mauled.” I said, frowning, and his eyes betrayed his panic and he hurriedly folded it into his pocket, and followed us.

“What’s your locker number?” Eileen asked him.

“FS127,” was his reply.

“Okay, you’re in the freshman wing on the south-side. You’re a wing away from us. "Abby and I are in F.N. – freshman north. In case you’re lethargic this morning.” She joked.
“Harr-harr,” he muttered, and but said, “Okay. Where are Lacey and Jackie’s lockers?”

“Jackie and Lacey are in South with you,” I replied. The upper floor of the school was structured as such: it was two “X’s” with the “I” shaped courtyard in the middle, outside on the first floor; North, South, East and West. The right side of the building – looking from the front of the school on West Street Extension – was the freshman, and the left was the sophomore’s, connected by the North Bridge, and South Bridge. Below were the scattered junior and senior locker hallways, and the classrooms, the gym – Old and New – cafeteria – North and South - and the auditorium. It may seem complex, but once you have mastered the floor-plan, it’s a cinch. The upper floors weren’t just lockers though, in case you were wondering.

“Oh, okay. At least I won’t be alone.” He said, and soon we reached the stairwell that would lead up to the West side of the freshman hallway.
“Meet you at the entrance of North Café, in ten.” I said to Ryan, and we parted with him so he could find his locker and headed to North. Our lockers were next to each other – our last names were side by side in the alphabet; we were as such in every grade, yearbook, etc. - Carter (me) and Casperion (Eileen). We pulled out our Master-Lock locks, and clipped them on the handle, after opening them. We piled our notebooks and binders inside, chatting, and put in our coats and backpacks as well. We each kept two five-subject notebooks and one binder, and we were off to meet Lacey, Jackie, and Ryan.

We navigated the crowded hallways and stairwells, until we reached the wide hallway in front of North Café, we looked around for Ryan just as he appeared out of the throng after us. He walked up with a ‘hey’ and I asked,

“Have you seen Lacey, or Jackie?”

“Nope,” Ryan replied, shaking his head.

“Abby! Eileen!” then called a voice, and I turned to see Lacey pushing her way out of the crowd, practically dragging Jackie along with her, which – frankly – doesn’t surprise me. Lacey and Jackie are identical twin sisters, and after knowing them as long as we all have, we can know who each of them are, even if they were wearing everything exactly the same, or if we were blindfolded, and had to distinguish by their voices, which are practically the same.

Jackie moves very slow and is quiet when people she doesn’t know are around, and Lacey… well, to sum her up in one word: a motor-mouth. She cannot stop talking, and does so a mile a minute. Jackie has the best death-glare anywhere, and it’s mostly directed at Lacey when she’s verbally hyper-active… which is often. But, we love her, still.

The two of them are basically inseparable. They go everywhere together, and seem to never tire of each other’s company. They’re tight as mouse-trap springs.

Whereas Jackie is a bookworm, Lacey is a total fashionista; literally. She’s so obsessed with fashion that sometimes it scares me. But, I digress – she loves it, and that’s all that matters.

They rushed over to us, and each gave me and Eileen tight hugs.

“Hey!” Ryan proclaimed, shrugging his shoulders and spreading out his arms. “What am I? Chop liver?”

We all laughed, and Eileen patted him on the shoulder, a sad expression on her face. “Sorry Ryan-darling. You’re just not as cool as us.”

Lacey laughed, but said, “Cut the boy some slack, Eileen.” And then she grabbed him in a tight hug. “Better Mr. Hug-deprived?” she joked and he grinned.

“Sure, okay.”

We chatted a few more moments before the two-minute warning bell rang, and the crowd instantly thinned as people struggled through to get to their classrooms.

“Alright, peoples. I’ll see ya’ll at lunch!” I said, waving. “Lacey and I are off to Chemistry, ack.” I grabbed Lacey’s arm and pulled her after me, and we both waved, before heading back up to the freshman hallway.

“So, Abby… nice outfit; PacSun skinny’s and American Eagle sweater? Am I correct?”

“Yes, Miss Hawk-eye; you’re correct. You picked them out for me, remember? Last week?”

“Oh. My memory sucks. But, you know this.” She laughed.

“I sure do. I’m surprised you can remember to eat! Though, your stomach grumbling would remind you… ahh, never mind. You get my point.” I said.

We had then reached the classroom: room 224; Chemistry with Mr. Skewert. Lacey and I were in the advanced science class. We got to skip Biology in High School because we took it in 8th grade, back in Junior High.
One look at the classroom – and him – already told me that I was going to have to use this class as my nap time class. And, what would be my reasoning behind this statement? I was an ace at Science’s. I got a perfect score on the Bio Final last year, and landed in the high top ten when we took the test to stay slash get into the Chemistry class for freshman. Also, because I was sure that I wouldn’t get enough sleep during the weeknights (i.e. my mother slash homework slash my mother slash soccer practice slash any clubs or school-related activities… let alone boys slash MY MOTHER).
And to further add to the snore-fest: the classroom and Mr. Skewert were just plain… plain, dull, drab and b-o-r-i-n-g. No posters or anything adorning the walls, one measly bookshelf that would soon be empty. Just three red binders (wow! Color!) would remain I was sure, because the rest were all textbooks. Let me squander a guess that a lot would be gone in the first ten minutes (i.e. he had to give us our reading ‘material’ slash back torture). There were four rows of lab tables with three in each row, and along the back of the room was a long counter with sinks and stuff and above was glass cabinets filled with beakers and other things.

Now, on to Mr. Skewert himself: he was dressed in a poorly ironed white dress shirt, a red tie, (oooh! More color?) with black slacks and black shoes. Boring. I chuckled to myself as I looked at Lacey’s expression: one of pain and the expression she wore when she was visually fashion-deprived (i.e. no color, or not a lot, and poorly dressed people in her sight. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had a twitch by the end of the class because of said fashion deprivation).

As we walked further into the room, Mr. Skewert looked up from some papers he was holding and said in a monotone voice,

“Find a table, and sit there, please.”

I nodded, and picked out a lab table in the back for me and Lacey. She grinned as she took her seat, and set her one binder on her side, folding her hands over it like a good little student.
“I hope we’re lab partners!” she whispered excitedly. I smiled and nodded.
“Me too,” I said and glanced up at the clock above the door just as the last bell rang.

Mr. Skewert got up from his desk in the front right corner by the heating vents and escape window, and walked past his lab table in the front of the room, and over to the open door. He stepped out into the hall, and yelled out to the remaining students meandering to their classes,

“Hurry up, or I’ll write you up for tartyness!”

We heard a few sets of footsteps speed up, and two students hurried into the classroom past him. He shook his head, glaring.

He took one last glance into the hallway, and then shut the door and locked it.

“Alright,” Mr. Skewert said; his voice now barely monotone – it was loud and menacing. I then decided I’d have to find another nap-time class; it looked like Mr. Skewert wouldn’t show mercy if he caught me asleep. I guess you can’t rely solely on first impressions all the time. Ack.

“Say ‘present’ or ‘here’ and only those if you are in attendance. No shenanigans.” He picked up his grade-book, and began to roll out the names.

“Marcus Aycer?”

“Present!” was his reply, but a squeaky one. Marcus was in mine and Lacey’s Bio class last year, and he was afraid of most things in the world, but was very smart (well, book smart).

Mr. Skewert moved down to the next on the list, nodding, and putting a check-mark I presumed next to Marcus’s name.

“Lindsey Bowler?”

“Present.”

“Dana Brown?”

“Here.”

“Abigail Carter?”

“Here!” I called, and Mr. Skewert nodded, putting another mark.

He called more names until he reached Lacey.

“Lacey Morrison?”

“Present!” she cried, raising her hand.

He looked up and stared at her for a moment, and she slowly lowered her hand, embarrassed. He went back down the list, until he reached,

“Gina Zimmerman?”

“Here!”

He silently closed his grade-book, and set it down in front of him on the lab table, and clasped his hands behind his back.
“This class isn’t going to be a walk in the park. The majority of you are freshman who were able to enter this class because you passed a test with the highest of marks. If you didn’t know, you had to have scored a 95% or higher to get in my class. The rest of the ninny’s who passed got Mrs. Winter, who is a ninny herself.
“You’re going to have to learn a lot of material, and in a fairly short amount of time. A lot of the material for this class is going to be up to you to read on your own. I don’t have time to go over every little thing in each of the sections. I will hold one after-school, extra-help session the day before each unit test. Because you are the brighter bunch, you’ll be treated up there with my regular sophomores and juniors. If you didn’t know, you can elect to take either Earth Science or Chemistry in your sophomore year, then the other in your junior year. But you do have to take both. Only your science class in your senior year is optional.

“Now –”

He was suddenly cut short by a phone ringing. Every freshman looked around for the poor kid who forgot to turn his or her cell phone off, but then realized that it was the phone on the wall next to the door that was ringing. Mr. Skewert got up, and went over to it, and picked it up.

“Matt Skewert.” He said.

There was some talking on the other end, then,

“Okay,” and hung up.

“Abigail Carter?” he asked, looking around the room.

I slowly raised my hand. “Yes, sir?”

“Principal Wentworth would like see you in her office.”

I gulped and looked at Lacey, asking with my eyes what I could have done wrong. She shook her head, and shrugged. There were a few titters from the other kids in the class, and a ‘oooo what did you do?’, but Mr. Skewert violently threw a piece of chalk at him.

“Now, Miss Carter.” Barked Mr. Skewert and I jumped, grabbing my books and got up. He held a slip of blue paper out to me. “Here’s your hall pass.” And I nodded, taking it from him. I walked out the door, shutting it behind me.

My heart hammering I navigated my way downstairs and down the Guidance Hall to the end where the Main Office was. I opened the door upon reaching it a few minutes later, and walked up to the receptionist.

“Yes, dear?” asked an older woman. The name-plate on the counter said, ‘Mrs. Porter’.

“Uh, Abigail Carter?”

“Oh.” She said, squinting at me. “Oh!” she then exclaimed. “You’re here to see Mrs. Wentworth! Hurry back, hurry back!” she smiled, and opened the gate next to her, and guided me to the very back of the offices, to a door marked,

Principal Suzanne Wentworth


I knocked and a crisp, clear female voice answered,

“Enter.”

I slowly opened the door, and said,

“Um, I’m Abigail Carter. You would like to see me?”

“Yes, Abigail. Please, sit, sit.” She said, and motioned me to enter and shut the door behind me.

I walked in and saw that there was another person in the room: a man who was standing next to Mrs. Wentworth’s desk. I sat in one of the two chairs in front of her desk, hugging my books to my chest.

“Relax, Abby. May I call you Abby?” she said.

I nodded, but didn’t relax.

“Abby, do you know who this is?” she asked, motioning to the man.

I shook my head. “No.”

“This is Mr. Hutch. He’s the advisor to the school paper: The Voice.”

“Hi.” I said, shaking his hand as he held it out to me.

“Abby,” he said, “How would you like to be our most treasured columnist?”

“What?” I gasped, and it hit me instantly. “You don’t mean… Ask Angela?”

He smiled. “I most certainly do.”

“But – why me?” I asked, incredulous. “I have never written for a paper! Why – why me?”

“Abby, the Junior High Eighth Grade English Department – every four years – looks over each female student’s transcript in the English category: tests, essays, Regents Exams, everything, looking for someone which the right sort of talent for writing and a knack for arguing their point of view on a subject for someone. You stood out by far as the best choice for the job. You show excellent promise.”

Mrs. Wentworth smiled. “Will you accept, Abby? This is a great honor, and it’s also a great responsibility.”

I was silent for a moment.

“You don’t have to answer right now –” she began, but I said,

“No. I would love to! You’re right, it is such an honor! I would absolutely love to!” I was grinning ear to ear.

She grinned, looking at Mr. Hutch. “Perfect. Mr. Hutch, explain the details.”

He cleared his throat.

“Starting on Monday of next week, the students will be able to submit their letters to Ask Angela through the drop-box in the office. You can go any time during the week to collect the letters; you can do it every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or whenever you choose. You can even get them multiple times during the week. I would advise you to do it irregularly, so no one will figure out who you are; because, Ask Angela’s identity is secret. And there are some people in this school who want nothing more than to find out who she is – for whatever reason.

“Now, to answer the letters, you’ll be given a password to access the school’s website, and post the letters up on the page on the website, dedicated solely to Ask Angela. Some will be chosen by myself or the Editor-In-Chief of the Voice to be published in the paper.”

He then handed me a small slip of paper and said,

“This is the password. Share this with no one, and it only works to access the Ask Angela page.” He smiled again, and held out his hand,

“Welcome aboard, Abby – Ask Angela.”

I grinned, and shook his hand. I couldn’t be happier, or more surprised how my first day of high school had turned out. It looks like I would have an interesting four years of high school with a secret identity! Who would’ve thought?





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romanticized57 said...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 1:36 am
this is reslly long, but I loved every second of it! this has a great potential for actually being published into a book! can't wait for more! post the rest if there's more!
 
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