All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
A Star is Born
Author's note: My friends inspired this piece. A few sentences of dialogue and another few scenes are based off of personal experiences.
In a high school cafeteria in Birchall, Connecticut, a young girl was sketching with a lump of charcoal. She was sitting alone at an oblong-shaped Cherrywood table. Dressed nice-casually in tall grey Uggs, black leggings and a belted navy sweater dress, her long dark hair was pulled up in a messy ponytail, with strands hanging about in her indigo eyes. A grey wool pea coat was hanging off the back of her chair. Her intense gaze never left the sketchbook page, not even when the amount of shouting teenagers surrounding her doubled. Her sketchbook cover was of royal blue felt inscribed in slanted writing with a name: Noella R. Singer.
That girl? She’s me.
I tucked a lock of long dark hair behind one ear and continued scrawling. The noise behind me escalated until the chatter became overwhelming, and I slammed my sketchbook shut, irritated. Sighing, I reluctantly opened it again to scrutinize the grand piano I’d just drawn. The girl sitting at the bench was similar to me, from the back. I turned to the page before it, quickly studying the drummer and the singer. They were my best friends, Roxana Blackwell and Camille Sinclair.
The three of us were sophomores that had all transferred from the public school in our town to the private academy just outside it for the second semester. We had wanted to transfer at the beginning of the year, but Roxana hadn’t gotten in until too late. So we had waited, because it was better in our opinions to all be here with each other.
I picked up my composition book, slid it into the middle of my sketchbook, and stood up fully prepared to go somewhere quieter when two girls plopped down on either side of me.
“Going somewhere?” Roxana asked playfully, one eyebrow cocked. She popped a cherry in her mouth, chewed, and spat out the pit into her hand. Her obsession with them had grown since Christmas, and it was only mid-January.
“Not anymore,” I said, shrugging with a sloppy grin. I placed my notebooks carefully back on the table and plunked down again. Glancing at Camille, I offered in a distinct, bad accent, “Bonjour, Cherie.” She grinned at my inept attempt at French.
“What time is it?” Roxana asked nonchalantly, chewing another cherry.
Camille glanced behind her at the clock and replied in a murmur of her sweet, sensitive voice, “It is...seven thirty-five.”
I turned to stare out the nearest window at the immaculate brick buildings and verdant grounds of Lancaster Academy. There were students, such as my friends, who boarded at the school. I couldn’t see any middle school buildings, even with the vast view in front of me. The dorms are shared by middle and high schoolers, and those buildings are in-between the two parts of campus, shielding them from each other for the most part.
I didn’t board because my house was on the edge of town closest to the school, and also I wasn’t ready to be completely separated from my three younger sisters and our Westie-poo puppies.
“Hello? Starlet?” Roxana waved her cherry-stained fingers in front of my face as I slowly zoned back into reality.
“Get your head out of the clouds and back into this conversation!” Camille giggled, placing her dainty hands on her narrow hips.
“Good one,” I grumbled, rolling my eyes. I tugged on a lock of hair that I had streaked silver over the winter break. It shone like moonlight, starkly contrasting with the rest of my dark mane.
“Xana, what do you have first period?” Camille asked.
Roxana blinked. “Wow, haven’t heard that nickname in a while!” she teased, tossing a cherry pit back into the Ziploc on the table. “I thought I was Jinx?”
Camille paused for a moment, deep in thought. “Yeah, well, nobody likes Jinx but you. Sorry,” she said unapologetically. Normally gentle and soft-spoken, Roxana always brought out Camille’s bantering side. If only a guy could do the same.
“Aren’t either of you at all nervous about our first day here?” I asked to interrupt them, feeling jittery. I placed my chin in my hands and drummed my fingers on my cheekbones, a tendency of mine whenever I felt uncomfortable.
The two of them exchanged a look.
“Nope,” Roxana said simply and cheerfully, crossing her tights-clad legs with much effort because of her short red pencil skirt. She seriously loved everything that was red, be it food, clothing, nature, etc. “I’m good!”
“Yeah, but you’re you,” I reminded her. I bit my lip, my eyebrows pulled together in a worried frown.
“I am, but not too bad,” Camille told me, straightening her frilly powder blue blouse self-consciously, her butter-cream skin paling. “I recognize some of these kids from orientation in September. We’ll be fine, at least we have each other…?”
“Just relax,” Roxana said, pretending to toss her boy-short, tousled jet-black locks. “You got this.”
“We got this,” Camille added. “C’mon Starlet. We’ve got Music and Lyrics, right?”
I nodded, as Roxana groaned, making up a quiet beat on the table with the tips of her fingers. “I have…?”
Camille laughed. “Try your schedule, maybe?”
“I would if I could find it….”
Camille and I both sighed, shaking our heads. Camille’s golden blonde waves shimmered from the natural light coming in through the floor-to-ceiling window.
“What are we going to do with you?” Camille reprimanded Roxana.
“Love me anyway?” Roxana quipped.
Camille blinked her hazel eyes, considering that for a moment. “I suppose,” she sighed. “Sometimes.”
“Shut up,” Roxana insisted, narrowing her cool grey eyes and scrunching up her face, her lips a violent crimson from the bag of cherries, now empty except for pits.
I just grinned, purposely staying out of the conversation until there was silence, to which I typically announced, “Ooh, awkward!”
“It’s not awkward until you make it awkward!” Roxana trilled, her expression playful.
I rolled my eyes, and they darkened to a near violet. “Funny.”
Camille giggled and I stood, jostling her. They followed my example, minus the bumping, and my expression grew serious.
After briefly consulting my mapped-out schedule, I told Roxana, “We’re going that way.” Camille helpfully pointed in the right way for me. “You’re going, like, the complete opposite direction.”
“Well. That’s just great.” Roxana pouted, knowing perfectly well that a group of guys were staring at her. Story of her life, even more so when her hair is long.
“Better hurry,” Camille warned. “You’re gonna be late.”
“What?” Roxana crinkled her eyebrows in confusion. “I have ten minutes. At least.”
“That’s still not enough time for you,” I put in playfully, running a hand through my sleek ponytail.
“Yeah, we all know you’ll get lost on the way,” Camille added, giggling widely enough for her dimples to be apparent.
“Fine.” Roxana meandered over to the group of four guys. Their eyes widened, and they punched each other on the arm in warning.
She chatted with them for a few moments, then linked arms with two as they began skipping to the other side of the cafeteria.
“Later, Starlet. Cherie,” Roxana called over her shoulder.
My friends dubbed me Starlet for a couple of reasons. One is that my ex-boyfriend, whom I dated for a long, long time, is called Jordan Starr. The other is that they claim I am going to be the next big starlet because of my compositions. Camille is Cherie because she used to call everybody cherie, which is French for darling, so we all began to call her that instead.
We were silent, until Camille broke it by exclaiming, “God, she’s good.”
A boy from a nearby table got up and walked over to us. He glanced from Cherie to me, and then said rather uncomfortably, “Look, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but who is that girl? Everyone thinks she’s kinda hot.” He blushed, looking down so that a few tresses of shaggy chestnut brown hair fell into his eyes before adding nearly inaudibly, “Not that we don’t, uh, think you girls are, too?”
I stared at him, then after Roxana and her tall, slender, perfectly sculpted dancer’s body as well as her slow saunter.
“That,” Camille said quietly, flushing, “is Roxana Blackwell. Our best friend. And, you are?”
“Sorry, um, I’m Lee. Er, Hayes. Lee Hayes,” he said, raising his head to look her straight in the eye. His crackling hazel eyes flickered like lightning, and Camille and I both faltered at their intensity.
“I’m Noella, and this is Camille,” I told him. “Uh, we’re sophomores.”
He smiled. “Me, too.”
“Do you think you could tell us who those guys are with Roxana?” I asked, my deep blue eyes bright with curiosity.
“Of course,” Lee answered. “The tall guy on her right, with the black hair? That’s Skylar Ridenger. Tatum Love is the shorter one on her left with the lighter hair. They’re sophomores, too. The other guys are their junior friends from the soccer team, I don’t remember their names though.”
I craned my neck to see over the heads of the crowd of teenagers. Even from here, I could tell Skylar was cocky and Tatum more laidback just by their body language (I’m into psychology.) “Great, thanks,” I said, genuinely surprised at Lee’s thoroughness.
“No problem,” Lee replied. “Tell your friend to be careful with Skylar though; he has a girlfriend. And she’s, uh, to be nice… a bit temperamental.”
Camille and I exchanged a look.
“Is it in any way unusual that they swarmed her right away?” Camille asked, crossing her arms across her chest.
“Eh, not really.” Lee shrugged, before going on to say sarcastically, “I’m just surprised Charlie isn’t with them.”
“Charlie?” I asked quizzically. “Who’s he?”
Lee’s eyes flashed dangerously. “Oh, he’s just their, I dunno, leader, I guess you could say. If I were you, I’d stay far, far away from Charlie Snow.”
“Um, thanks for the advice,” I replied, troubled, and beginning another nervous habit: tugging on my earlobes. Luckily, I’d chosen not to wear earrings that morning.
“So, maybe I’ll see you both around?” Lee asked awkwardly, flattening down his bangs.
“Sure,” Camille said, flashing him a smile and twirling one blond curl.
As he left, she gripped my arm so tightly I gasped. “Camille! Stop!”
She released me reluctantly. “He. Is. So. Freakin’. Cute!”
“Yeah, understood, if you like that apprehensive, yet sophisticated kind of guy.” I shrugged, laughing. Lee’s jeans and long-sleeved white henley combo suited his lanky physique and personality. The required grey blazer and red tie for the boys did the same.
“Anyway,” Camille said as she looked around, still frazzled by Lee. “It’s time for class?”
“That would be correct,” I said, contemplating before I added, “um, allez-y?”
She giggled. “If you’re trying to say ‘let’s go’…”
“I’m quite aware of what I said.” I sniffed, knotting my ponytail around my fingers.
“Clearly not. You said, allez-y, which means: go ahead. I think you meant, allons-y,” Camille corrected me, half-smiling.
“Oh, it’s whatever, let’s just go,” I grumbled good-naturedly, leading the way with my notebooks tucked up under my arm. Camille rushed after me, a Vera Bradley pink-and-purple patterned tote bag slung over her narrow shoulders, and we arrived at what seemed to be the chorus room just in time.
During the journey to our class, Camille kept babbling on about Lee Hayes, who was clearly the new object of her infatuation, while I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop thinking about Charlie Snow.