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Don’t you hate it when you are in the middle of an amazing dream, you’re getting to the best part, and then the alarm screams its annoying voice in your face? Not the way I want to start the day. Unfortunately, it was unavoidable.
I groaned and rolled over to press the snooze button on the clock. Once the irritating tone was over, and pressed my face in my pillow. Apparently, I fell back asleep, because minutes later, my sister, Olivia—or Liv—was bouncing up and down on my bed to wake me up.
“It’s the first day of school, Carter! First day of school!” she shouted joyfully, and then ran out of my room. Sure enough, she already had her makeup on and her hair curled to perfection. Fourteen year-olds.
“Tell me when it’s over…” I moaned.
Just then my mom came in the room.
“Wake up!” she shouted, and threw my sheets off of my back, “I know you miss your summer, but it’s time to move. Aren’t you excited?”
I laughed sarcastically. “No.”
“Too bad,” she said, and then walked out.
Grunting, I groggily pulled myself out of my bed and sighed. Today was going to suck. Big time.
“I can’t wait to see Charlotte, Libby, Catherine, Melanie, and Paige! I haven’t seen them, in like, forever!” Liv said.
“Liv, you saw them last week at the movies,” Mom reminded her.
“A week is a long time!” she pouted, and got back to eating her cereal.
I sighed. I am never going to understand the life and lies of a fourteen year-old girl. Ever.
“Carter, aren’t you excited to see your friends?” Liv asked.
“Er…yeah…I guess,” I said. Truth is I hadn’t seen them since school ended three months ago. I mostly just slept, ate, watched TV, ate, and slept some more. Most of my friends were either on vacation in Jamaica, sick, or just too busy. I didn’t mind though.
“I don’t know how you can live. I would die if I didn’t see my friends for a whole summer!” Liv said.
“The bus is here,” I said, drawing the attention away from myself.
“Oh, my gosh, the bus! Ah! Do I have everything?”
“Bye, kids,” Mom said, not looking up from the newspaper.
“Bye,” we chorused, and walked out the door.
I wandered the halls of Mount Eagle High School. My sister was in ninth grade, just barely making the date to go here, and was wandering around the hallways, giggling and getting lost with her ditsy friends. I was already seated in class, looking at the whiteboard, which shouted a cheesy greeting: “WELCOME TO CLASS! CHOOSE A SEAT AND PLEASE WAIT!” I sat in the very back, hoping to draw attention away from my dangling dog tag necklaces, homemade bracelets, bandanna, and plain white v-neck t-shirt. I hadn’t seen anyone wear anything like that, and I was feeling rather self-conscious, even for a guy.
Suddenly, I got the strong smell of lilacs, brown sugar, and lavender waft into the room. In a whirl of blond hair, a short, pretty girl sat right next to me, and started giving me the Look. The I-think-you’re-cute-like-me-or-I’ll-go-into-depression look. Great, just how the day should start.
“Hi…I’m Krista. What’s your name?” she said, leaning over towards me. I secretly scooted away from her in my seat.
“C-Carter,” I stuttered. Ugh, why was I doing this? My man instincts were telling me to run, fast.
“Oh. Hello, Carter,” she said, batting her eyelashes and leaning closer towards me.
“Er…gotta go to the bathroom!” I said, and ran out of there like there was no tomorrow.
When I tried to pass through the doorway, a small girl with black and turquoise hair came out of nowhere. We slammed into each other. She teetered on her heels, pinwheeling her arms before falling to the ground.
“Ow!” she yelled angrily, “Watch where you’re going!”
“Sorry, sorry!” I said, and pulled her up from the ground.
She clicked her tongue. “You should be. You nearly broke my arm,” she said, glaring at me. I stared at her. She hadn't been even close to breaking it.
Krista was staring at us incredulously.
“Listen, I said I was sorry…” I trailed off, waiting for a name.
“Lorellee. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to class.” She scooted past me, flipping her hair and stalking into the classroom. I stared at her some more. She was not like other girls. Normally, if I knocked one down to the ground, they would ‘sprain their ankle’ and flirt—like Krista—and ‘need help getting to the nurses office’ so it would give them an excuse to put my arm around them. Trust me, it’s happened before.
I blinked and went out of my phase. I remembered why I had to leave the classroom in the first place. I turned and walked two steps when the teacher walked past me.
“I believe you are in this class, Mister Lightfoot,” she said and steered me back into the classroom.
“I know, I was just…,” I trailed off lamely, wincing as the Krista’s perfume punched me in the face as I sat down.
I scanned my surroundings, cleverly ignoring the seat next to me, looking at all of the students in the classroom. There, just two seats in front and one over was Lorellee. She was scribbling furiously in her notebook to keep up with the teacher about the letter to parents and what we will be learning in class.
Hmm, must be an A student.
Almost an instant after I thought that she turned around and looked right at me and gave the smallest ghost of a smile I’ve ever seen.
At least she’s not mad at me.
She whipped her head around the looked back at the teacher. She lifted her hand to scratch her head and I could see her long sleeve slide down her arm and reveal something that looked almost burned into her skin. Was it a tattoo? Before I could get a better look she adjusted her sleeve so her wrist wasn’t showing anymore.
Math passed by in a blur. I looked at the teacher and nodded at the right times and tried to make myself look as smart as possible. After class, as I was walking out, Krista stalked past me with her nose in the air, not even giving me a backwards glance.
I noticed Olivia down the hall standing by a group of lockers, chatting animatedly with her thousands of friends. She noticed me and waved me over. Great. To make my life perfect was to walk up to my personal fan club.
“So, did you stab Krista Jorgens in her designer jeans or what?” Liv asked after I walked up to her. Her friends giggled simultaneously.
“No. She started giving me…the Look, so I blew her off…gently. I don’t need some snotty rich girl for my girlfriend, thanks,” I replied.
Liv nodded understandingly. I could swear some of her friends were giving me the Look too. I ignored them.
“Well, she’s going to make your life miserable now. She’s one of the most popular kids in school!” Liv scolded.
“Eh, I brought it on myself.” I shrugged.
“Well, I wish you luck. I gotta go to World History, so I’ll see you later, Carter.” She turned and flounced away, curls bouncing, her friends giggling and whispering behind her.
I turned around and saw that the hall was now empty. I about to walk to the cafeteria to grab a snack before my next period when I noticed Lorellee slip around a corner, look around, shrug, and proceed to walk down an empty hallway. I was about to shout her name when I thought better of it and instead tried—and I mean tried—to follow her stealthily.
I’m normally not one to follow people down empty hallways when they are suspicious looking, but I had to admit, this girl was weird so I had a pretty good excuse. Sort of.
I wanted to do a tuck and roll behind her, but then I realized it would just make me look like an idiot, so I just quietly walked behind her.
She stopped at the end of the hallway by some big glass doors. I ducked behind a jut in the wall and poked my head around to see what she was doing. She whipped out something that looked like a cell phone and started whispering into it. I leaned out farther to hear what she was saying when my shoes slipped out from underneath me and I proceeded to fall on my face.
Lorellee jumped and turned around, jamming the device back into her pocket, and gave me the evil eye again.
“Where you following me?” she practically shouted.
“Uh…” I pulled my self up self-consciously and tried to lean casually against the wall. “No. I was just leaving this classroom when I…um…tripped on my shoelace.” Stupid, I thought to myself.
“Uh-huh,” she said. I could tell she didn’t believe me.
“Well, uh, I should go,” I said hurriedly.
“Yeah, you should,” she snapped. I jumped off the wall and managed to contain myself from running away from the scene.