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Surviving Forest High
Chapter 1: My first day
?BEEP, BEEP, BEEP,? my alarm clock buzzed. The guy on the radio announced, ?Good morning Boulder Colorado, it is a nice 60 degrees and sunny so get up and have a good day. For you Forest Highers welcome back to school!? I groaned and slid my hand from under the covers slamming down on the snooze button. Why did it have to be 7:00 o?clock already? Good-bye summer. The covers around me had a sense of warmth and protection, but my mom would not be happy if I was as tardy as last year so I would have to leave the sense of security from my bed. I sat up in and convinced myself to lay down again considering the following.
I was to be at the bottom of the food chain. Freshmen were easy targets for upperclassmen. Even my older brother couldn?t boost my fourteen year old girl status. I was going to be judged on my appearance. My friends and I would have to find areas we would fit it and a place to sit a lunch. My dad was still out of town. This had been one of his longest trips. It was the first year he wouldn?t be down in the kitchen making pancakes for me on my first day.
I closed my eyes for a second, but heard my mom yell, ?Grace! Time to get up! You don?t want to be late for your first day!? I rolled out of bed reluctantly. I scrapped together every bit of energy I had to get ready. I put on the outfit I had picked out weeks earlier and yanked a brush through my wavy hair. I plastered makeup onto my face to hide the blemishes and imperfection. The makeup would help me blend in a little better than my outcast nature although it would take a ton of makeup to keep me from sticking out.
After I was almost ready, my stomach started to growl. I grabbed a sesame seed bagel and threw it into the toaster. The smell of pancakes lingering in the yellow kitchen was only a memory today, but I was too old for being babied by my parents. I left a scattering of sesame seeds all over the counter, and yelled upstairs to my mom that it was time to go. I swiped the seeds off the granite countertop and onto the white stone floor. Hoping my mom wouldn?t notice, I ran out to the car.
?I am coming. You could go get in the car.? My mom hollered over the banister when she heard my footsteps. Mom fastened a silver earring as she rushed down the stairs and grabbed her briefcase.
In the car, I texted two of my friends and said, ?High school?.excited?!?!? I had a taste of pennies in my mouth. My stomach flipped and my nerves kicked in as we pulled into the huge lot around the school. I fiddled with the strap on my messenger bag hoping to distract myself from my nervousness of my first day. The building, red and brick, looked like a juvenile detention center. Expensive cars were parked throughout the lot. A few Mercedes, a Porsche, and a few other expensive cars had the prime parking. I was guessing the parking was reserved for the popular senior class. I was embarrassed to be riding with my mom, but I didn?t have a choice. I looked around spotting designer clothes and expensive accessories. I did a poor job of blending in.
?Bye Grace! Have a great first day! I love you!?
I turned around to acknowledge my mom?s car that was already pulled away from the door. She was always in a rush.
My friend, Amy Sherwood, was waiting for me at the front door. She had a light shade of brown hair that bounced as she did impatiently waiting for me at the door.
Amy and I wanted to walk through the doors together for the first time. It was a tradition of starting a new life and leaving an old one. My hands shook as I walked in and became clammy. I had several worries including if I would have friends in my classes, if I would get beat up, and if I would be able to find a table to sit at lunch. I also desperately wanted a boyfriend this year. I was tired of feeling left out. Maybe a boyfriend would fill the void I had from my dad or maybe my dad would finally fill it, doubtful. As we walked in, I immediately lost all confidence in my outfit seeing the runway fashions of Forest High that crowded the hallway. Was this really high school?
I talked to Amy as we were walking down the halls.
?You look cute Amy! I love your outfit. You signed up for a class in design right??
?Thanks Grace. I love your outfit too. Please don?t go all ?you?re a trendsetter? speech; I opted not to take the design classes and instead I am in a journalism class. I really hope that I can get a position on the school newspaper.?
?You know you will Amy. You are an amazing writer. I loved that story you wrote. Wasn?t it called Two Steps Ahead??
?Thanks Grace, it was Two Steps Ahead. You are a great poet, and if you would ever let me read your stories, I would be able to tell you that you were a great writer.?
?That?s not going to happen. My stories will stay locked on my computer, thank you very much. So are you ready for this Amy??
?We will be fine. High school is going to be so much fun! We are going to get driver?s permits this year, maybe boyfriends soon, and go to huge parties! We can date upper classmen! I mean sure I am nervous, but I more excited. It?s high school!? I corrected her saying I wouldn?t get my permit until next summer but went along with the rest. I hated having a spring birthday for this reason.
?You okay Grace?? Amy asked.
?Yeah?my mom is annoyed again. My dad has been gone for two weeks now. His ?business? trips are getting annoying. He doesn?t realize how they hurt the rest of us.?
?I?m sorry Grace. I know how much you miss him.?
?Not like my mom. She was practically crying last night after she got off the phone with him. Amy, I don?t know how much longer my mom will put up with him always gone. I think she doubts that he is really on business. And he barely knows me anymore. It is getting harder to miss someone I hardly know. My first day tradition with him has died.?
?The pancakes one? Aw man I was hoping for leftovers. I am sorry Grace. Let?s think positive! New Year, fresh start, and I am going to regret saying this, but Mark.?
Mark Clifton; oh was he ever gorgeous and my crush for almost a year now. I hoped Mark would finally ask me out. He was a star player on our football team old school team, but amazingly cute and kind of smart, too. My heart speed up from seeing him at the end of the hall. Mark was godlike to me. Was it possible for him to get better looking over the summer? He had grown in height and was now tan and gorgeous.
?Still obsessed with Mark?? Amy said.
?Oh yeah! He is so amazingly hot! Just look at him. His deep brown bangs give him this mysterious look that I love that make his green eyes pop. I am sorry, but yes I love him!? I said.
?You could do better.?
?Than Mark? I don?t think so. He is like so popular. It is hard to out due him.?
?I mean as in a better guy for you, a better person, but what ever. I am already sick of the boy drama. I knew I was going to regret bringing it up.? Amy groaned and rolled her olive eyes at me while walking to her locker. I went to find mine.
I had a locker in between two of my friends. Maggie had pictures from our summer fun posted all over her locker door showing her creative side because she had added funny extras to the pictures like random objects and photo shopped celebrities. Photography was a gift of hers. Eric, on the other hand, did not share Maggie?s cheery mood and hastily threw his books into his locker making a loud thud of his biology book.
?So Eric, excited about the new school year??
?Hardly. I already know half the material we are learning in these books. What is the point? I would much rather be home on my computer. I could learn from home.?
Maggie interjected, ? Alright freakin? prodigy, no need to brag of your superior intelligence. You live on that computer way to much!?
Eric retorted, ?Computers are the future! One day I will be a big business owner and have little people like you guys working for me.?
?Dictator much? Besides, Maggie is going to be a famous singer or professional stalker by then and I will hopefully be a bestselling author.?
?Well still, when you two loose your jobs, I will always have an open spot for my little stubborn friends as long as Maggie cools the stalker mode.?
?Aw man.? Maggie said.
?Wait, as what?? Maggie and I said simultaneously.
?Oh, you?ll see.?
All the sudden, I stopped dead in my tracks with my mouth hanging open. It was like a scene in a movie where everyone else disappears and there is a spotlight on one person. Coming down the hall was a god from a faraway place. All I could do was say, ?Wow...?
Eric laughed. ?Tell me you are not falling for the new guy, Jake Haynes. Every girl that has met him so far has fallen over him, even older girls. It?s sad. What does he have that I don?t??
Maggie looked up and dropped her books. ?Wow. He is HOT! Oh my gosh! He has the most amazing eyes! They look like sapphires! And Eric, he is gorgeous come on!?
I starred into his eyes as he walked down the hallway. ? His hair is like caramel, it looks so soft. And look how muscular he is! He is an Abercrombie god or a severe case of prince charming!?
Eric looked at us like we were crazy. ?Listen to yourselves you guys don?t even know the guy and you are falling head over heels for him! You guys are pathetic. Besides, I heard he was extremely picky in his taste of girls. Don?t waste your time.?
I said, ?I don?t care. He is probably not in our grade anyway. He looks too old, like a junior.?
Eric said, ?Well he?s a freshmen.?
Just then, Jake walked right next to Eric and spun the lock on the locker until it opened. Maggie and I looked at each other with sheer joy. Eric rolled his eyes and closed his locker. I quickly looked in my locker mirror. It was useless because I knew there was nothing I could fix now, my checks were already a bright fuchsia, but my hands were becoming extremely clammy. I looked up at the at least six foot tall Jake and noticed he was starring down the hall. I followed his gaze and saw that it went to Ann Marie Weller. My hope in Jake liking me sank. Ann Marie was so easy to stereotype as a typical popular who was drop dead gorgeous and materialistically popular.
Her parents were divorced and she was beyond annoying and massively spoiled. She had friends that followed her every move. With her strawberry blonde, perfectly curled hair, and mesmerizing turquoise eyes, she had almost every guy in the school pining after her. She dressed like a hooker with shirts that were tight and skirts that showed her butt, which made the guys hound after her even more.
Ann Marie started to walk my way. She stumbled in her Jimmy Choo sandals, but made it to my locker. Her Gucci purse swung on her wrist as she walked. ?Thanks Grace! You gave me my daily what not to wear. Ew?.are you wearing gap shorts? And that shirt it looks like a moldy plum. Stick to knock offs, at least then you look like your fashionable. We are not in pre-K anymore Gracey-poo.? I looked at Ann Marie. She was wearing a 7 for all mankind shirt that was way more then I could afford, and True Religion jeans that must be over $200. I bit the inside on my lip so I wouldn?t retaliate and later regret what I had said. In a very harsh way, Ann Marie was actually offering advice.
?I think she looks nice.? Jake said. My eyes widen and I could feel my cheeks boiling red. Ann Marie rolled her eyes and turned to the voice that had back talked her. Suddenly she changed into a sweet voice.
?I guess. Hi Jake. I am Ann Marie, although you probably already knew who I was. Who doesn?t? Well I will see you around Jake. Bye.?
Ann Marie flipped her hair at Jake who never responded to her comment and walked away. I can?t believe I let her get away with treating me like that. She embarrassed me in front of Jake! It was sweet of him to say that.
Ann Marie hated me for a few reasons. Let?s see, in second grade, I accidentally spilled grape juice on Ann Marie?s pink dress. I guess that was the start. In fourth grade, Lucy and I became friends and Lucy stopped following Ann Marie?s every move. Oh yeah and in fifth grade, I ruined her Prada bag by getting the tiniest bit of mud on it. Who in their right mind gives a fifth grader a Prada bag and then tells them how much it is worth so they can brag to everyone? She deserved it and I barley messed it up. I just kicked a muddy soccer ball way too hard. Opps!
I scanned the hallways for Lucy. Once I found her, I walked to class with her. She and I had been friends for almost five years. She had beautiful blonde hair and sapphire eyes. As I sat down, she sat on my right side across the aisle. Lucy smiled and said, ?Have you seen the new hot freshman, Jake? He is so unbelievably gorgeous! Oh my gosh. I totally love him!? Typical Lucy?s first comment of the year was about a hot guy. She was a little obsessed but I didn?t mind. I was kind of too.
?Yeah,? I said, ?But Ann Marie strikes again. He was eyeing her in the hallway. She is such a witch.? Lucy was about to say something, but our teacher, Mr. Hanson, came in.
Mr. Hanson was young. He looked to be about thirty, with coal colored hair and brown eyes. He was probably a new teacher to the school.
?Hi class, I am Mr. Hanson, your Algebra teacher. I hope none of you got lost this morning. I want to get to know each of you. To do that, lets play a game.? I could tell already this was going to be an easy class.
At lunch I sat with some of my friends. We considered ourselves lucky to find a table in the corner by the large windows with a cluster of blue plastic chairs. We talked about our classes and Forest High in general. All of us already had so much homework. All of the teachers thought they would be the first teacher of the day to give us homework, but oh were they ever wrong. So far, I had homework in every class except Art.
Jamie, one of my friends, and I had Gym after lunch.
?I am going to get hit with some type of ball today, I just know it!? I said to her as we headed for the girls locker rooms.
?Grace you are such a worrywart you will be fine. Just aim for Ann Marie and the clique and you will be fine.? Everyone of my friends referred to Ann Marie as something bad.
Jamie had red hair and opal green tinted eyes. She was very hyper and jumped up and down. She was barley five feet tall, and stick thin. Her parents wanted her to model, but she hated worrying about every detail of her appearance. She would have fun laughing at me in Gym during the units that required aim, for I lacked any aim. It was the class I hated the most. I was not horrible at all sports; I just had a bad sense of aim and direction. I put on the uniform of gray and blue, not horrible school colors if you ask me, and went out to find Jamie.
?Grace, ever feel like you have known someone your whole life and all of the sudden they seem different?? Jamie stated.
?I guess,? I responded, ?who are you talking about?? I followed to where she was pointing. ?Eric? Aw that?s cute! I could totally see you guys together. Well ask him out!?
?I just might!? Jamie said.
Gym brought my analogy of school as a jungle to life. Everyone acted like animals in Gym. I guess we still acted like the animals we evolved from. The only issue was what kind of animal you were. There were lions, gorillas, zebras, and many other animals. Most of the guys were gorillas or pigs in my eyes. Girls could be a wide variety of animals like the popular crowd that was filed with mostly vultures who fed on making others miserable.
We played dodge ball. I was good at dodging, but my aim needed some serious work. I was not able to hit anyone. At least I didn?t make a fool of myself. I would when we started football. I was horrific at football. I always missed when throwing the ball or catching it, and I hated having people charge at me for a stupid flag.
After Gym, when I was gross from running, I had Chemistry. I got to my lab table and was assigned to work with Mark for the school year. I hid my shock as best as I could, but it was pretty obvious I was surprised with the seating chart. I used my hands to smooth my hair to the best of my ability and let it block my face a bit. Mark smiled a fairly welcoming smile as I took a seat next to him at the lab bench. I was weak in his presence like I had lost all will power. If he had asked me to drink the beaker of Iodine on the table, I might have done it. I played with my hair and my cheeks stayed a vibrant pink throughout class.
The rest of the day went by fast and then my mom picked me up at 3:15. Luckily she didn?t embarrass me like I thought she would. I went home and started on my mountain of homework. I aimed to be a straight A student this year. My dad had lectured me on how what I did counted from now on and that it was important that I got involved in extra-curricular activities now so I would get accepted to Harvard, where he wanted me to go. I was more determined on going to Brown instead.
After I did my homework, I had dinner, which the only sound that could be heard from my family was the clinking of silverware, and went on my white laptop. It had been a graduation present to me, and I treasured it as one of my most valuable possessions holding the key to all of my writing, poetry, and digital diary that I didn?t use anymore but still.
I talked to a few friends online, procrastinating to do any more homework. My fingers clicked on the keys as I typed making a soothing noise. After talking for a while, I opened a word document and started working on a poem. I loved to read and write poetry. Maybe one day I would have a poem published or even a book, but for now my poems and writing would stay hidden on my laptop.
After I felt that my poem was past amateurish, I went to bed because it was 10:09 and I had a feeling I would have more homework as the school year continued. I was a dedicated student, but not necessarily for me. I wanted my parents to be proud of me. Correction, I wanted my dad to be proud of me. I had never had the best grades, but I was determined to do better. I slid under my thick comforter into a peaceful dream of Mark and Jake.
The next day, I woke up at 7:00 to the sound of my alarm clock. The announcer on my radio that went of with my alarm clock was going to get on my nerves before the end of the school year. As I got up, I looked out my window.
One of my favorite things about living in Colorado was it felt like I was in my own world. Mountains surrounded Boulder, Colorado. It was a great town, although if you had allergies it was not so much fun. It was a little urban, but a college town nonetheless. Everything this time of year was either a light shade of green or a faded shade of yellow. Hay had been cut for families who had ranches outside of the town and trees covered the mountains.
It was a nice sunny day. I rolled out of bed. Still half asleep, I went to my closet. I put together the cutest outfit that I could create and brushed my hair, did my makeup, and went downstairs. One day, I would have to straighten my hair.
I poured a bowl of cereal while thinking about how my day was going to go. Cereal was not one of my favorite breakfasts. It tasted so bland, kind of like cardboard to me. I wasn't sure why I had poured a bowl of it in the first place.
My brother Charlie came down to get breakfast, too.
He was very muscular, had dirty blond hair, and was a junior. He was one of the star players on the school soccer team, had a beautiful girlfriend, was popular, and in my mind, was strikingly similar to the evil stepsisters in Cinderella. Of coarse he was a boy, but he had the same characteristics as them. He had his own ways to drive me insane. How he was related to me was still a mystery. Maybe he was adopted. It was unlikely, but a girl can dream.
He even had his own car, a deep blue land rover. I am not a car person so I couldn?t tell more about the car. Charlie would no doubt get a scholarship to college, but that was my dad?s dream. Charlie didn?t want to spend his whole life on soccer; he wanted to be a lawyer. I have no idea why, but it had always been his dream job to have his day in court, defending something he believed in, in front of the supreme court and winning his case.
My mom came down the stairs and said, ?Charlie, please drive Grace to school today. I have to meet with a client and organize her listing, and I have a showing. I still will pick Grace up after school.? Charlie groaned, but my mom continued. ?Charlie Radcliff, I need you to drive her, this is not an option.? He finally agreed, but I knew at school, he would act like he didn't know me.
My mom, Melody Radcliff, was a real-estate advisor. She was a down to business kind of girl who wouldn?t take no for an answer. She was a very pretty woman who was shorter than average, but had a big heart. She put others before herself. Henry Radcliff, my dad, was a banker. He liked to put his dreams on others making them feel like the only way they would get attention, was to fallow his ?plan.? He traveled often, visiting the different places his boss sent him. He would be gone for up to four weeks at a time and some times internationally. My family missed him a lot, especially on the long trips. These trips led to me not knowing my dad as well as I wanted to, as well as most girls knew their fathers.
I climbed into Charlie?s car after breakfast, and we headed to school. The car ride was silent except for the blaring rap music from the car. He let me out at the front doors of the school and then went to park in the prime parking spaces so he wouldn't be seen with me. For some reason, Charlie reminded me more and more of my dad every day. He had the same facial features and was built the same way. Remembering my dad, made me miss him. When was he going to come home? I walked up to the doors, sighed, and muttered to myself the most cliché £omment I could think of for the moment. ?Here goes another day at my personal, brightly colored prison.?