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I feel tired and aggravated. That is not a good combination to wake up with.
Tired because I only got three hours of sleep, and aggravated because I know it wasn't even worth it.
Today I have a killer test in AP Algebra, so I spent the night cramming. But as soon as I wake up, I feel all the formulas and equations fly out my head. I have no idea why I decided to take AP math. Any smart person would choose easy courses for junior year. But not me.
I climb out of the bed, immediately yearning for the warmth of my covers. The alarm goes off five seconds later, and I take and toss it across the room.
"Casey?" my mom calls out, already downstairs making breakfast. "What was that?"
I don't answer her, still a bit fuzzy headed and disoriented.
"Cassandra LeAnn Andrews!" she shouts, using my full name, an annoyed tone creeping into her voice too. Someone's cranky.
"Sorry mom, I dropped something," I say, standing up. I stumble into the bathroom across the hall. I'm angered to find that my younger sister, Miranda, is already inside. For an eighth grader, she's meticulous about how she looks. She spends hours styling her long curly blond hair, until it's stick straight. She then spends some more time applying make up to her already pretty face. I don't know why she bothers. She's adorable enough without it. But, she's apart of the 'popular' crowd at her junior high school. It kind of sucks to know that my little sister is 'one of them'.
Me, I just take a shower, run a brush through my curly hair, which happens to be brown, and find decent clothes. Then, I'm out the door. I don't leave sloppy. I just don't put so much time into it.
"Miranda, hurry up!" I yell, knocking on the door. She ignores me, and begins to hum loudly. I sigh, knowing she won't come out until she's done. I trudge downstairs, trying to suppress a yawn.
"Hey mom," I say. My mom is already dressed. She's a professor at the local college, like my dad, who's a professor at the college across town. That's why he's not here. He has to leave pretty early.
I look at my mom, and see that she's staring at me. Her brown hair is piled into a slick bun. Her gray eyes, which I have too, sparkle.
"Honey, do you want to go out for ice cream later?" she asks sweetly, handing me a plate of bacon. I smell a bribe.
"Why?" I ask, looking at her.
"Just because,” she says, looking a bit guilty.
I look at her intently, and place my plate down onto the table. She sighs.
"I accidentally told a coworker you'd baby-sit her daughter," she says in a rush, her cheeks turning pink. I roll my eyes.
"It's okay," I say, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice.
She smiles brightly. "Thank you honey!"
Miranda glides down the stairs. Her eyes look even bluer, thanks to the gray eye shadow she's wearing. She's put together an ensemble of a bright pink top, with one shoulder. She has a jeans skirt that barely meets her knees. Her brown ankle boots complete the outfit.
When I look at the clock on the wall, I see that I have only ten minutes to take a shower, get dressed, get in the car and drive to school. I quickly eat a few strips of bacon, not even chewing, and dash up the steps.
"What's with her?" I hear her ask mom.
I manage to take a shower and throw on some clothes. I run downstairs, making sure to grab my backpack that lies on the steps. Miranda looks at me, and grimaces at my outfit.
"What?" I ask, confused.
"You're going to wear that?" she asks, a hand on her hip. I shrug. I'm wearing a blue shirt with short sleeves and a v-neck, and dark blue jeans.
"What’s wrong with it?" I inquire, curious to learn how I've managed to create such an offensive fashion don't. She just shakes her head, and takes a swig of orange juice. I roll my eyes, and pick up my keys.
"Bye guys," I say to my mom and Miranda, walking out the door.
I stride over to my car. It used to be my mom's, but she recently got a convertible, so now I can keep the old Volkswagen. I like it. It's a beetle, bright blue. I slide into the seat, and start to back out of the driveway. As I drive down the familiar rode, I fiddle with the radio, until I find the perfect station. The sweet croons of Paramore blast through the speakers, and I begin to sing along.
"I think we have an emergency. I think we have an emergency."
I drive up to the corner, and stop at the red light.
"If you thought I'd leave you then you were wrong, I won't stop holding on."
I grab my phone, and send off a text to my best friend, Jessica. I tell her to wait for me at the front steps of the school.
"So are you listening? Are you watching me?"
I look out the passenger's window, just in time to see a truck, streaking down the street. And it’s coming my way. I try to step on the gas, but it's like I can't move. I just stare in horror at the truck, as it speeds closer and closer. A scream escapes my lips, as the truck collides into the side of my car. The car swerves farther into the street, onto the other side. I keep screaming, and silently begin to pray. My seat belt bites into my skin, as the car continues to swerves. My thoughts get jumbled into my screams, until I don't know which is which. Then, t the world goes black, and I stop screaming. My thoughts fade away, into nothing.
I feel horrible.
Also, why am I wearing such an ugly dress?
Wait, is this a hospital gown?
Wait, am I in a hospital?
These thoughts hit me, as I slowly open my eyes. I reach out to rub my eyes, and gasp. A needle is stuck into my arm, connecting to an IV drip. I lean up, propping myself on my elbows.
My mother's in the corner, asleep. She's softly snoring. Her usually put together self has been replaced by baggy sweats. Her curly brown hair cascades down her back.
"Mom?” I call out softly, tentative to wake her up. She stirs, and opens her eyes. She looks at me, and then takes a double take.
"Casey!" she exclaims, shock riveting through her worried face. She stands up, and rushes towards me.
She engulfs me into a hug, and I feel a sharp pain in my side.
"Mom, it hurts," I mumble into her hair, and she quickly pulls away. She rests her warm hand on my cool forehead.
"Where honey?" she asks, concern shining through her gray eyes. I point to my side, and a memory hits me. Whenever I used to be sick, when I was younger, my mother would say, "Where does it hurt?" I'd tell her, and then she'd tell me that she hurt there too. Then I'd say somewhere else hurt, and she'd say the same. She's keep doing this, until I'd erupt into giggles, completely forgetting my pain. Miranda walks in, and looks at me.
"She's awake!" she shrieks, excitement in her voice. I notice her face is devoid of makeup, and she's sporting a less trendy outfit than usual. She still looks nice, I mean, she's Miranda. She doesn't know how not to look nice.
"Why am I here?" I ask my mom. In walks my father. His blue eyes are tired, and he looks like he hasn't shaved for a while. A stubbly beard covers his chin. He smiles weakly at me.
"How are you feeling, champ?" he asks me, using his special pet name for me. I used to play soccer back in grade school, and the nick name stuck, at least for him.
"Like I got hit by a truck," I say, laughing. They all stare at me, and get quiet.
"What, what did I say?" I ask, confused.
Then I remember. Driving to school. The truck running into me at the stoplight. The pain.
A doctor walks in. He has gray hair, and reminds me a bit of my Grandpa. He's short, and his light brown eyes seem to twinkle, as if he knows a joke, or a secret.
"Hello young lady!" he greets me. "It's good to see you awake!"
"How long was I asleep?" I ask him, a sinking feeling falling over me.
"About a month. Specifically, twenty-four days."
My heart sinks. That absolutely sucks. Wait, is my face wrecked? This thought confuses me. It's so shallow. I'm not usually so shallow.
"May I look in a mirror?" I say quietly. I guess my question surprises them. I'm not known for caring about my looks.
They nod, and I slide of the cot. I walk into the small bathroom, and peer into the mirror. I sigh.
My face is fine. But is that a pimple? I lean in closer, and frown. No serious damage, except for a small stitch along my forehead. Hopefully no one will notice. What's with these shallow thoughts? I walk out back to the room.
"Well, after a few tests, you'll be free to go, Ms. Cassandra Adams." the doctor says, smiling. I nod, surveying my nails. They've grown a bit. I’ll need to put some nail polish on them, ASAP.
I'm back at school, for the first time in a few weeks.
When Jessica saw me, she gave me a huge hug. Then, she saw my outfit. I was wearing a short plaid skirt, a spaghetti strap black shirt, and black ankle boots.
"Who are you and what have you done to Casey?" she said seriously.
"I've made her cooler," I had replied, smiling.
At my locker, as I was taking out my Chemistry book, a football player walked by with a group of his pals. But instead of just passing me, he stops and looked. More like leered. His eyes roamed all over my body, which had previously been hidden beneath baggy sweatpants and hoodies.
"And what's your name," he said, eyeing my chest. I folded my arms, and snarled.
"Bite me," I said, annoyed. He ran his hand through his short blond hair, trying to play it cool in front of his group of snickering friends.
"I'd love to," he said, leaning in closer. I glared at him, and pushed him away.
"Whoa, baby, why so serious?" he asks, frowning. I guess this is the first time a girl hasn't immediately draped herself over him at the slightest glance.
"Because, you seem to have got it into your head that you have a chance." I reply, smiling sweetly. I grabbed my book, closed my locker, and flounced off.
"Crazy b****," he mutters. I laugh at that. A month ago, he wouldn't have given me a second glance, and I would have wanted him too. But now, that he's looking, I could care less. I know I'm better than that.
I make my way to Chem class, and slide into my seat. I'm met with stares, and then the whispers.
"Who's that hot girl?"
"Is she new?"
"She's so pretty!"
"Wait, isn't that Cassandra?"
"That can't be her, she's so much prettier than Casey!"
I don't know whether to be flattered or offended. A very cute guy sits down into the seat next to me. Feeling brave, I turn and wave at him. He smiles back, revealing an adorable dimple. He's very cute, with spiky black hair, blue eyes, and strong features. A month ago, I wouldn't think I had a chance. But I'm a totally new person now.
He pulls out an iPhone, and starts to fiddle with it.
"Oh my gosh," I exclaim, looking at him, "do you have Angry Birds on that? I love that game!"
He nods, smiling again.
"Do you mind if I..."
"No problem." he says, handing me the phone.
I take it, and quickly add me as his contact. I hand it back to him, smiling coyly.
"Looks like you have a new number," I say, winking. He laughs.
"I'm Josh," he says.
"I'm Casey," I reply, and cross my legs daintily. I read in a magazine that that brings attention to your legs. Luckily, I shaved them the night before, until they were silky smooth. He notices, and blushes immediately. That is absolutely adorable! I giggle, and touch his arm lightly.
"Are you doing anything tomorrow night?" I ask, tossing my hair over my shoulder.
"No," he says.
"Well, would you like to go to the movies? They have this new one I wanted to see!" I say. He nods, and smiles again. I am falling in love with that smile.
Then, our teacher walks in, and starts droning on about quantum physics. I grab a piece of paper, and quickly scribble a note. I pass it to Josh.
'I hope you didn't notice me a second ago. I was totally sleeping, snores and all.'
He writes back, and hands it to me.
'I saw. It was very cute.' I blush this time, and write back.
'Fill in the blank: My favorite band is: ________'
'My Chemical Romance' is what he writes back.
'Okay, it's official. You are awesome!' I reply. I love MCR! I didn't know that anyone else in this school except Jessica and me knew about them. We keep going like that, all throughout the period. At the end, I pack up my books, and stand up.
"Well, I guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow." Josh says, grinning.
The rest of the day, I'm met with awed stares and long looks. And I don't mind.
Once I get home, I log onto my Facebook. Jessica and I had had one before it became cool, and often considered going to MySpace, just because no one used it anymore. I had a few friends before, but when I log on, I see that I have thirty two new friend requests. I curse under my breath, and go through the list. I accept most of them, and visit their profiles. What I see shocks me.
'Did you see that new girl? She's hot!'
'Yeah, I hear she totally put Jalissa down! Totally cool!'
The comments are all like this, and I can't help but blush. Me, hot? Me, cool? I log off, and sigh.
I decide to get to work on my homework, but then Miranda walks through the door.
"She's not just some girl," she growls, her eyes blazing.
"What are you talking about?" I ask, confused.
"That girl at the mall. You said she was nobody."
"Well, to me she isn't anyone worth considering," I say, shrugging. I plop onto my bed, and cross my legs. I grab my notebook and pen, and start on the homework.
"No, she's Jalissa Mavis is the Queen- friggin'- Bee of your school." she shouts. I shrug again.
"So?" I ask, "I really don't care. So can you leave so I can do my work?" She rolls her eyes, and leaves.
Now, it's no news to me that Jalissa is high school royalty. But an idea comes to me, one so addictively interesting that I can't get it out.
"I'm going to steal that title," I whisper. I smile to myself, and move on to the next question on the worksheet.
The next day, I put together skinny jeans, a black turtle neck, and thigh high boots. I brush on some quick make up, and make my way to school. My car's been fixed, but I'd rather walk today. It's sunny and bright out.
I slowly make my way to school, iPod in hand, Green Day blasting through the speakers.
Soon, I hear someone calling my name.
"Casey, hey, Casey!"
I turn around. It's Gianni.
"Hey, Casey!" she says, finally catching up with me. Her blue eyes match her top. She smiles brightly, and I notice that she's wearing a skirt similar to what I wore yesterday. Weird.
"Hi," I say, raising an eyebrow.
"So, I just wanted to tell you something," she starts, as she begins to walk in step with me.
"Ly it on me," I say, smiling uncertainly. Did Jalissa send her lackey to tell me off?
"I think what you said o Jalissa was brave. I'm her best friend, and I've never told her off like that. I think she deserved it." she says in a rush. She clamps her mouth, and looks at me.
"Wow, really?" I ask, dumbfounded. She nods, and smiles again. Her cheeks redden.
"Well, thanks..." I say, putting my iPod in my purse. This is interesting. One of her friends rebelling? Does she know about this?
"She doesn't know I feel this way, but I'm going to tell her today at lunch." she says, as if she read my mind.
I nod, and smile. Good for her. I think. But what's with the change of hear?
We arrive at school, and jog up the steps. As soon as we enter, people turn and look. The whispers start immediately. I roll my eyes.
"You'll get used to it," she says.
"Used to what?" I ask.
"I'm not popular." She looks at me, and smiles sadly.
"Actually, you are. An over night sensation!" This is news to me. But I guess it'll help my goal of knocking the queen of her throne. And speak of the devil.
"Gianni, hi!" Jalissa says in a sugary sweet voice. But I can tell she's seething.
"I guess I'll have to do it now," Gianni whispers, and flashes me a weak smile. I smile back, and send thoughts of encouragement.
"Hi Jalissa," Gianni gushes, and leans over to give her a hug. Jalissa tenses, but knowing that people are watching, gives her a hug.
"So, I see we're visiting one of the lesser students of this school." Jalissa says. She's talking to Gianni, but looking at me.
"Um, no, I was talking to Casey. And she's not lesser at all." she replies, folding her arms. Jessica saddles up beside me, her dark hair in a ponytail.
"What did I miss?" she asks.
"Oh, Gianni's rebelling against the puppeteer." I tell her quietly, eyes on Jalissa.
"Well, maybe you think she's worth talking to. But as your friend, all I have is your best interests in mind." Jalissa says, clenching her teeth into a fake smile.
"That's not true!" Gianni says, pouting. "Remember when I say that dress at the mall that I really liked, but you said I was too fat for it."
The crowd gasps. I roll my eyes. Is it really a surprise that she's a be-otch to everyone, including her own 'friends'.
Jalissa shrugs, and put her hands on her hips. Her Yellow shirt drapes over her body, making her appear slimmer and lanky than she already is. She finishes the look with short shorts. I roll my eyes again. Desperate much?
"Well, at least I'm not a social outcast." is Jalissa's reply. She looks at me again, and smirks. Okay, time to speak up.
"Oh, but you are." I say, putting on a fake smile of my own. "Do you really think anyone here likes you?"
I gesture towards the massive crowd of spectators that have gathered.
"Sorry to break it to you, but no one likes you. They're afraid of you." She frowns, and tosses her silky red hair over her shoulder.
"Yeah, sure. Jealous much?” Somehow, Ryan has magically showed up by her side. I never knew him to be a jerk. He was captain of the football team, but still. He looks a bit confused, and then she does it.
She grabs him by the shirt, pulls him down to eyelevel, and plants a kiss on his lips. She wraps her arms around hi neck, pulling him closer. I feel the anger coursing through me. I speak before I think.
"Oh no! Does Ryan know about your mono?" I exclaim. She pulls away from a dazed Ryan, and frowns.
"I have no idea what you're talking about." she says. I know she doesn't. I know she doesn't have mono. But when I want to, I can be pretty convincing.
"But, remember at the doctor's office?" I ask, feigning concern. She frowns. "Oh, was that a secret? Then, I won't tell."
"Tell us Casey!" shout someone from the crowd.
"Well, if Jalissa doesn't mind," I say slowly. Before she can protest, I continue, pushing down the guilt. So what if it's mean? She's mean too.
"Remember, I saw you at the doctor's office, sitting with a middle aged man. He was yelling at you, asking why you hadn't 'told him'." I make air quotes, and allow for a dramatic pause. Then I continue.
"He said he knew you were a, um, whore, but thought you would have told him you had mono."
The crowd gasps, and Jalissa frowns some more.
"You said you hadn't known, that you must have gotten it from another client. Then, you went into the room." I finish. Everyone looks towards Jalissa.
"That's a lie," she growls, steam nearly coming out of her ears.
"No it isn't." pipes up Gianni. "I was there, but I must have been in the bathroom. But you definitely have mono."
Ryan looks at her, his face pale, and proceeds to wipe of his mouth with his arm.
"That is not cool." he says, glaring at her.
"But it's a lie!"
Her angry voice gets lost in the whispers that emerge from the crowd and the sounds of buttons on phones being pressed. Soon, this story will be heard all around the school. That should make her retreat to her hole. I smile triumphantly, as Jalissa pushes through the crowd, tail between her legs.
"You are a little evil minx." Jessica says in awe, smiling. I laugh, and give her a high five.
Score one for me.
The day crawls by, and I struggle to stay awake. The image of Jalissa being humiliated flashes through my mind repeatedly, filling me with pride and dread. I can’t believe I took her down. But I know better than to think she’ll stay that way.
I feel someone looking at me, and turn to see that it’s Josh.
“Hi!” I say, sending him a small wave. He nods his head, and smiles at me. He quickly scribbles on a note, and tosses it over.
‘I heard that you took down Jalissa today’. I blush, and then smile.
‘You heard right.’ I send the note back to him.
‘You are one crazy chick.’ I look at him, and he shakes his head, smiling ruefully at me.
Before I can right back, the bell rings. As we begin to mill out Chem class, into the crowded halls, I feel a strong hand grip my arm. I turn around quickly, and suck in my breath.
“Hey Casey,” Ryan says, smiling. He leans up against the wall, ignoring the stream of bodies rushing by.
“Hi,” I say tentively. What did he want?
“I was wondering if you wanted to come to a party I’m having tonight?” he asks, running his hand through his hair. My thoughts go to Josh, and I pull out my phone to send him a text.
“Hold that thought.” I tell Ryan, as I quickly send off the message. ‘Wanna go to Ryan’s party with me?’. He texts back quickly, ‘Sure’.
“Okay, I’ll be there,” I say sweetly. He blushes, right up to his hairline. Ryan is blushing because of something I said! Wow.
I walk away, and bump into Gianni.
“Sit with us at lunch?” she asks, her blue eyes sparkling. I nod slightly.
“Jessica too, right?” she nods.
“Any friend of yours is a friend of mine!”. We find Jessica, and head off to our next class, which we happen to have together. History class. We slide into our seats in the back. Gianni and Jalissa’s other two lackeys, Natasha and Destiny, sit next to us.
Destiny looks at me, her dark eyes shining.
“So, does she really have mono?” she asks. She’s a huge gossip, so, a thought pops up quickly.
Natasha leans in, her short blond hair falling over her baby face. All four of them, Natasha, Destiny, Gianni, and even Jessica, are looking at me intently.
“Yes,” I whisper, trying to keep the serious look on my face.
“That’s what she gets!” Natasha shouts. The whole class looks at us.
“Yes, we did the, er, equation, and the right answer is what I got!” Jessica supplies weakly. They turn back to their work, leaving us to our gossip.
“How’d she get it?” Natasha asks, her eyes glinting with amusement.
“Well, I think that she might have a little side job,” I say simply.
“Oh, no, she’s never work at anywhere. She says she’s too good to work for minimum wage.” She says. Did I mention that Natasha isn’t the sharpest tool in the toolbox?
“No,” Gianni says patiently, “She means that Jalissa is a,” she leans in, and whispers something in her ear. Surprise dawns onto Natasha’s face. I look at Jessica, and see that she’s seconds away fro bursting out in laughter.
“Well, that’s gross,” Natasha says, wringing her hands.
“But it explains a lot,” Destiny says. Her phone is already out, and I know that she’s sending texts to people.
“Ladies, do you have anything to share with the class?” the teacher says to us. We shake our heads, and start to do our work…
At lunch, Gianni pulls me and Jessica towards the popular table. Jalissa’s there, talking to Ryan. In his lap.
“Baby, I don’t. I wouldn’t lie to you.” She says, stroking his face. He looks cornered, but I can tell he’s beginning to believe. Can’t have that happen.
“Hi Ryan,” I call out in a sing-song voice. “Hi Jalissa!”
I sit down next to Gianni, with Jessica on my other side. Destiny and Natasha sit opposite of us, next to some other knuckleheads from the football team, and some of Jalissa’s nameless followers.
“Here to spread more lies?” she asks, her eyes shooting daggers at me. I smile innocently. My goal is to make her look like the jerk.
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say. I put my hand to my mouth, as if coming to a realization.
“Oh gosh!” I exclaim. “I am so sorry! If I’d know it was a secret, I wouldn’t have said anything!”
She frowns, and slides off of Ryan’s lap. He’s looking at her, bewildered.
“But, if it helps any, I’m pretty sure it should go away soon!” I say cheerfully. One, two, three…
“I don’t have frickin’ mono!” she screams. The cafeteria goes quiet.
“Okay Jalissa,” I say softly, reaching out and patting her hand. “I know it’s hard to grasp, but let’s all just pretend. Maybe that’ll help?”
She grits her teeth, and stands up. She grabs Ryan’s hand, and pulls him up.
“We’re leaving,” she says, looking at him. “Come on.”
He shrugs, and follows her out the caf. Everyone at the table looks at me. A silence passes through.
“So, anyways, who’s going to the party tonight?” I ask brightly. Everyone at the table raises there hands. I smile, and raise my hand.
The distraction works. They start talking about the party, leaving me to my thoughts. Until Jessica breaks through them.
“Nicely played,” she comments, smiling. I smile back.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
I walk towards my locker, and pull out my sketch book. I have art class next. My favorite subject, which I picked as an extracurricular. I walk through the crowd, not noticing how it seems to part for me. I go into the art room, greeted by the smell of cookies.
“Hi dear!” says my teacher, Ms. Ploof. Her dark hair is pinned into a bun, with strands falling out. Her small figure is draped with a light blue shirt, and loose jeans, splattered with an array of colors. Her neck is laden with beads and chains, and her makeup-less face has bits of paints smeared on.
“Hi Ms. Ploof!” I say, going towards her. She gives me a hug, and gestures towards the group of kids.
“We’re just doing individual projects, focusing on shadows.” She says, rubbing her hands together, making the bangles on her arms clash together.
I notice a plate of steaming chocolate chip cookies, and raise my eyebrows. She smiles again.
“Help your self!” she says. I walk over, and pick up two cookies. She leads me over to the group, as I eat them. I kind of wish I had a glass of milk right now.
“Hey Casey,” says Kara. She’s quiet, and keeps mostly to herself. Her tawny hair is pulled into a ponytail, and she’s hunched over her work. I peer closer.
“What are you drawing?” I ask.
“The school,” she says, looking at me.
“Without a picture of it?” I ask incredulously. She nods.
“I have photographic memory.” She supplies. She leans away from her drawing so I can see it. I gasp slightly. It looks exactly like the school. She captured the lighting just right, managing to show it as a work of architectural beauty.
“That’s amazing,” I say. She blushes, and whispers her thanks. I settle into the seat next to her, and look over at the kid next to me.
“Hi Travis,” I say. He’s also somewhat a loner. His hair is styled in an emo do, with floppy bangs covering his eyes, spiky in the back. The tips are died blue and purple, but the rest is jet black.
He nods his hello, and returns to his work. I grab a blank paper, and a charcoal pencil, and set to work. I lose myself in my drawing. By the time I finish, the bell has rung. I look at it.
It’s me. Is that too self-absorbed? It’s me, but lonelier, sadder. Tears streak down my face in the drawing, and my arms are outstretched. Travis looks over.
“That’s really good,” he comments. I look up, surprised, but he’s already out the door. I stand up, and place my drawing with the rest on the table. I take up my bag, and start to leave.
“Bye Ms. Ploof.” I say, reaching for one more cookie.
“Bye Casey, see you tomorrow.” She replies, waving. I smile, and walk out into the hallway. I turn towards the direction of my next class. I start walking, but, suddenly, something trips me. I nearly hit the ground, but a strong arm grabs my waist, pulling me up. I look around, and see red hair disappearing into the crowd. I have a feeling I know who tripped me. What a be-otch.
I look up, into impossibly blue eyes.
“Hi Josh!” I say. He pulls me up.
“So, we’re on tonight?” he asks.
“Yep, movie, then the party?” I ask. He nods, and grins.
We start walking towards my locker.
“Where’s your next class? I ask, as I turn my combination.
“Uh, the other side of the school,” he says bashfully, leaning against the locker next to me.
“You’re going to be late!” I say, punching him lightly on the arm.
“It’s gym, so who cars,” he says, shrugging. He smiles again, as I pull my books out of my locker, and put back my sketchbook.
We walk of towards my next class, not saying anything. We stop in front of the Math class.
“Well, see you later,” he says, waving. I nod, and go into the class. I have this class with Jessica, Ryan, and Jalissa. I guess it’ll be interesting.
I walk into the class, and slide into a seat next to Jessica. She points to two figures in the back.
"They've been going at it like this for a while." she says, shaking her head.
I look closer, and see that it's Ryan and Jalissa.
"Ugh, gag me with a spoon." I say, shaking my head.
"We have a sub today too, so..." she continues, picking out a book from her backpack, and opening it.
"Great!" I say. Now I can get an early start on some homework. I start pulling out my papers.
"I have to talk to you too," she says quietly. I look at her, surprised at the tone in her voice.
"Okay," I say, turning towards her.
She has a serious look on her face. She glances over at Jalissa, who's still swaping spit with Ryan.
"I'm glad you've gotten so confident and stuff," she starts. "I think that's pretty cool. But don't turn into another Jalissa."
As if reading my mind, she continues.
"Promise you won't become a brat like her. All sneaky and mean and crap."
I sigh, and nod.
"Of course I won't." I assure her, smiling. She smiles back.
"good," she says, her body relaxing slightly, as if she'd been holding in her breathe.
I get back to my homework, and the period flies bye without anything happening. As I gather my things, someone bumps into me. I look up and see Jalissa, attached to Ryan's side.
"Move it, loser," she snarls.
I roll my eyes, and choose to ignore her.
She sees my reaction, and smirks.
"I hope you don't think you're suddenly cool now. Today was just a fluke, a stroke of dumb luck."
"You sound like you're trying to convince yourself," I say, smiling. I grab my things and walk out the room, leaving a stunned Jalissa. Jessica walks up, and starts walking along with me.
"It doesn't take much to shut her up, does it," I say, smiling.
"She's probably not used to being spoken back to like that," Jessica supplies, shrugging.
I go to my locker, and begin taking out my things. It's the end of the day, and I can't wait to go home. I don't have any homework, so I have a bunch of time to get ready for my date.
The walk home is nice. There's a fresh breeze, and the sun's shining. I can't help but grin the whole time.
As soon as I get home, I hit the showers. I take about a half an hour. After that, I attack my closet, throwing every piece of clothing I own onto the bed.
My sister comes into my room, and stares at me for a second.
"What are you doing?" she asks quizzically, hands on hips.
"Getting ready for a date," I answer as I toss some reject clothes onto the ground.
"Okay..." she says, crossing her arms. She starts to back out of the room, then stops.
"Can I help?" she asks in a quiet voice. I consider this, then wave her over.
"Yeah," I say, holding up a baby blue shirt. How about this?"
"Nah, not for a date," she says, shaking her head. She stats going through my clothes, and eventually pulls out an outfit. A plaid skirt and black v-neck.
"How about these?" she says, holding them up to my body.
"Perfect," I say. And they really are. I start to shoo her out of my room, so I can change.
"Bye," she calls over her shoulder. I can hear the smile in her voice.
"Thanks," I say, as the door closes. But I don't even think she heard me.
I smooth down my skirt, as I peek out the window. I quickly walk into the hallway, and take a quick glance at the mirror. I look nice.
At least, I hope Josh thinks so. I walk back to the door, and look through the window. I watch as a car pulls up.
"Mom, I'm leaving now," I call out. I rush out the door before she can try to ask that Josh comes inside. I won't subject him to that.
"Have fun," she calls out, as I close the door behind me.
Josh steps out of the car, and meets me at the stairs.
"You look gorgeous," he says, smiling. I blush, and look down at my shoes.
"You look pretty good yourself," I say. And he does. He's wearing a white button down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up. Even through his shirt I can see his muscles. But they're not all bulgy and stuff. They're the perfect size. He has dark skinny jeans, and when he turns around, I can't help but notice how well they show off his...assets.
We walk down the steps, and when we reach the car, a slightly old, but very cool looking, he opens up the passenger door.
"Here you go," he says, with a dramatic flourish of his hand. I smile, and slide into the car.
He comes to the other side, and gets in.
"So, off to the movies," he says, as he starts to drive. In a few minutes we're there, the theater isn't too far from my house.
We get out the car, and he comes around.
I feel his hand graze my hand, and let out a gasp when he takes it.
"You don't mind, do you?" he asks, looking at me.
Do I mind that McDreamy is holding my hand?
"Of course not," I say, squeezing his hand.
"Cool," he replies. We walk into the movie theater, and I catch site of a girl, with red hair. Her back is turned towards me. I groan inwardly, and pray it's not her.
We walk up to the line for tickets. I pull out my wallet from my purse, but Josh puts up his hand.
"It's okay, I got this," he says, as he pulls some money out of his pocket. I smile shyly.
"Are you sure?" I ask.
"Yeah," he says.
"Well, than, I'll pay for the snacks." I offer. He nods, and hands me my ticket.
"So, should we get popcorn?" he asks, as we join the concession line.
"You can get popcorn, but I'm sticking with Twizzlers." I joke, as the line moves up. I look up and see that the girl with red hair is going into the same movie we're going to.
Once we're at the register, I order an extra large popcorn, Twizzlers, and two drinks. We take our food and head into the dark theater, where the movie is just starting.
"Where do you want to sit?" I ask, opening up the Twizzlers. He points to some seats right in the middle. The row is empty, so we head over there, and take our seats. The movie starts.
"Ooh, I've been wanting to see this forever!" I squeal. It's staring Robert Downy Jr, the cutest actor ever.
"I know, you told me,"Josh says, smiling.
"Oh yeah," I reply, blushing. Thankfully, it's gotten dark, so he can't see me. I turn my attention to the movie.
Sometime during the movie, we started holding hands. I'd squeeze his hands during the scary parts, and he's always laugh. Then I'd shove him the arm, and he'd smile at me. Soon, the movie was done, and the crowd started filing out. The lights turned on, and I got a good look at the person in front of me. She sneered.
"Well look what the cat dragged in." Jalissa says, smirking. She crosses her arms over her chest.
For the first time I notice that she's all alone. Usually she's surrounded by a gaggle of admirers, but not today. Strange. I roll my eyes. I am not getting into this while he's here. I ignore, and walk away. Josh catches up to me. I didn't even realize I was walking that fast. He has a confused expression on his face.
"What's her problem?" he asks, as we walk out to the car.
"I have no idea," I answer, shaking my head.
We arrive at my house. He walks me to the steps again. The porch light comes on, illuminating his already perfect face. His eyes are soft as he looks at me. Is he going to kiss me?
"I had a great time," he says. I nod in agreement, since I can't speak because I'm holding my breath. He leans in closer, until we're nose to nose. I lean up, and kiss him.
It's absolutely perfect. His lips kind of taste like popcorn. It's soft and perfect, and utterly fantastic. He pulls away after a while, and he's blushing.
"I guess I'll see you tomorrow." he says, walking down the steps.
"I guess so."
As I walk into my house, I feel like I'm floating on air. I close the door behind me, and am met with the site of my sister, her eyes lined in charcoal black. Her hair is done up in twists and curls, gathered up in a ponytail. She's wearing a band tee, ripped at the bottom, and a short jean skirt. She has on combat boots, and fishnet stockings. She looks at me, and sighs.
"Can you talk to mom?!" she exclaims, gesturing at the person in question. I see my mom, standing, arms crossed. Her eyes are dark with anger, and her face is red.
"You are not going out like that, and that's it! Go change!" she shouts at Miranda, frowning deeply.
"I look fine! I look cool," Miranda retorts, "Everyone else will be dressed like this!"
I choose now to butt in. "Why would you want to dress like everyone else?" She gives me a look, and shakes her head.
"Because, that's what makes you popular. And mom's trying to ruin it for me!"
"Miranda, I hate to say it, but she's right. You look like a..." I begin. Mom looks at me. I choose a different word, one that's not so explicit.
"You look like Avril Lavigne on-drugs, if, you know, she ever chose to pick an outfit with her eyes shut." She blanches, and lets out a small shriek of frustration. Then, she runs upstairs.
"You guys both suck!" she shouts on her way up. A minute later, we hear a door slam.
"Way to put it nicely," mom says, smiling slightly.
"Heh, you know you were thinking it," I say, shrugging.
"So, how was your date," she says, uncrossing her arms.
"Fine," I say curtly. I am not about to discuss my love life with my mother.
"So descriptive," she says sarcastically. I laugh, and she follows suit. "I'm going to go pick up some Chinese food, what do you want?"
"The usual," I say, plopping down onto the couch. I reach for the remote, as she reaches for her purse.
"I'll be back soon," she says, as she heads for the door.
"Okay," I say to her retreating figure. I turn on the tv, and start flipping through channels. Then my cell phone rings. I fish through my bag to retrieve it, and see Jessica's number. I answer it.
"Hey Jess," I say.
"Hey! Spill, spill, spill!" she exclaims excitedly.
"Spill what?" I ask, caught off guard.
"Your date, silly." she says.
"Oh, okay, um, where do I start?" I ask, eyeing the tv.
"The beginning, duh," she says. I can practically hear her rolling her eyes.
"Okay," I sigh, smiling. "Well, first, he picked me up,"
"He has his own car?" she shrieked.
"Don't interrupt!" I chastise her. "But yes, he does. Isn't that super cool!"
"Yeah, go on,"
"Well, he picked me up. He was really sweet and gentlemeny like."
"Yes, gentlemeny. Anyways, he was nice. We got popcorn and stuff, and watched the movie, and guess who I saw!" I say.
"Who?" she asks.
"Jalissa!" I exclaim.
"Ewww," Jessica says.
"I know, and she was all by herself. It was weird."
"Yeah, well, Destiny texted me saying that Jalissa's 1056 facebook friend count has gone down to 1032, so..."she says.
"Wow," is my reply.
"Well, anyways, continue!"
"Okay, so, we were there,"I say. "The movie ended, he drove me home, and he kissed me goodbye!" I say, smiling at the memory.
"How was it?" she asks.
"Amazing. it was amazing," I say.
"Oohhh," she says in a teasing voice.
"Shut up," I shout.
"I have to go, but I'll talk to you later, okay," she says.
"Okay, bye." I reply. I click off the phone, and put it down.
Miranda comes downstairs. I survey her outfit. A light blue top, with short sleeves, over a black turtle neck. Her skirt is also black, to her knees this time, with a dark blue belt. She has on the same boots though, but this time they look okay. The racoon eyeliner is gone, replaced with a light blue eyeshadow. Her hair is out and straight.
"You look nice," I say. "And mom's getting Chinese food."
"Thanks, tell her to leave me some," she says.
"Where are you going anyways?" I ask.
"A party," she says, picking up a leather jacket from the rack. She opens the door, and swoops out.
I guess it's just me and the tv....
Mom comes back home, and we eat the Chinese food, saving a plate of food for Dad and Miranda. Mom goes to bed after, saying she has to rest up for tomorrow. I stay up, waiting up for Miranda. I entertain myself with reruns of House. In the middle of one of the episodes, she walks into the house.
"Hey, how was the party?" I ask her.
"Fine," she says, smiling. She's blushing furiously.
"Okay, tell me what happened." I say, raising an eyebrow.
"Nothing." she says, stonewalling me. She turns to walk up the stairs. before she takes the first step, I get up, and walk over to her.
"Okay, Miranda, tell me. You went to a party, and now you're as red as an apple. What happened." I say, blocking the staircase.
"Okay, okay!" she says, exasperated. She flounces over to the couch. I plop down next to her, and wait for her to start talking.
"Stacey picked me up," she says in reference to her best friend. "We went to Hannah's house for the party. After awhile, I started talking to Jeff Barnes, the coolest, nicest guy in the eighth grade. And he kissed me! So now we're going out!"
I struggle to suppress a laugh, simply because she's so earnest.
"You know I just had my first ever kiss today," I say, looking at her.
"Really?" she says, her eyes widening.
"I know, can you believe it? I'm such a bombshell. I expected it would happen in at least sixth grade," I say, laughing. She laughs too.
"The point is, are you sure you're old enough for a boyfriend?" I ask her, resting my hand on her shoulder.
"Yeah!" she says without hesitation.
"Maybe you should ask mom," I murmur, eyeing her.
"Ask mom what?" Dad says as he walks through the front door. Miranda gives me a puppy dog face, silently begging me to keep quiet.
"Hi dad," I say, waving. He waves back. "There's Chinese food for you in the fridge."
He nods and goes into the kitchen, putting his jacket onto the recliner next to the couch. I turn back to Miranda.
"Ask mom," I say firmly.
"Fine," she mutters, rolling her eyes. She stands up, and heads upstairs. Suddenly, I remember something. Josh and I were supposed to go to Ryan's party tonight! I shrug, and turn back to House. I have a feeling that's not the only party invite I'm going to be receiving....
I wake up the next day, Thursday. At first my memory of yesterday, but then everything comes rushing back. My new found popularity. My date with Josh. His lips against mine...the fact the Miranda has a boyfriend! I laugh at the last one.
I get out of bed, and stagger towards my closet. I pull out my stonewashed jeans, and a green tunic with a brown belt. I go into the bathroom, and get ready for school. I get out to see Miranda standing at the door, tapping her foot impatiently.
"Why do you have to take so long?' she asks, narrowing her blue eyes.
"You're one to talk," I say, rolling my eyes, I go back into my room, and get dressed. I run downstairs, where my mom is reading the newspaper.
"Hello hun," she says, taking a sip from her coffee mug.
"Hey mom," I say, grabbing a muffin from the box on the counter. I turn and see the clock on the wall. It's 7:10am. School starts in twenty-five minutes.
"I gotta go," I tell her, heading for the door. She nods, and smiles.
"Have a good day," she says.
"You too," I say, dashing out the door. I run to the driveway, and get in my car. I'm not the least bit uncomfortable about it, considering that the last time I was in it I got in a crash.
I get in, put the key in the ignition, and back out of the drive way and onto the car. I make it to school in seven minutes flat. I walk up the steps of the school, and am immediately joined by Jessica, Gianni, Natasha and Destiny.
"Oh my gawd, were you at Ryan's party last night?" Destiny asks, looking at me.
"No..." I say.
"Tell her what happened!" Natasha urges.
"Well, Jalissa was there," Destiny says, drawing out the pause to add some dramatics to her story.
"She was talking trash about you, and Ryan told her off. He told her she was being a jerk. They got in a huge fight, and she stormed out!"
"And now she's down to just 1000 friends on Facebook!" Natasha adds, smiling gleefully.
"Wow," I say. I'm not surprised that Jalissa was talking crap, but I am surprised that Ryan stood up for me.
"Ooh, here she comes," Destiny says, pointing. I look up and see Jalissa storming towards us, her red hair fluttering behind her like warning flag.
"Hi Jalissa," Gianni says, smiling.
"Don't talk to me, traitor." Jalissa spits out, glaring at Gianni, Natasha, and Destiny. Gianni frowns, and shrugs.
"I can live with that," she says offhandedly, smirking.
"Whatever," Jalissa says, turning away from her and facing me.
"Stay away from Ryan," she says, frowning.
"Newsflash Jalissa, I don't like your boyfriend. I don't need your sloppy seconds." I say. Ryan's nice, but definitely not my type.
"As if he'd ever go for you," she says, rolling her eyes.
"He went for you, didn't he?" I say matter-of-factly. She glares at me, and spins on her heel. She walks away, up the steps of the school. Soon she's lost in the crowd.
"That girl has serious problems," Jessica murmurs.
"I don't know why I was ever friends with her," Gianni says.
"Right, she's a jerk," Destiny says.
"Truer words have never been spoken," Jessica remarks as we walk into the school.
Classes mangage to go by in a blur. Teachers talk, we do work, the usual. On my way to lunch, Ryan walks up to me.
"You weren't at the party yesterday," he says, hands in pockets.
"Yeah, sorry about that. Something came up." I reply. We start walking together down the hall, towards the cafeteria.
"Well, I'm sorryyou missed," he says, shrugging. "Uh, I'm having another party tomorrow, so if you want to come over for a bit..."
"I'll definately will go," I say. "I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
"Great!" he exclaims, smiling. We walk into the cafeteria. I start walking towards my old table, where Jessica and I would always sit. She's there, along with Gianna, Natasha, Destiny, Josh, and a whole bunch of other peopel. Popular people. Apparently, my table is the cool table. I sit down between Jessica and Josh.
"Hey," Josh greets me with a peck on the cheek. A round of cat calls and whistles sound throughout the table. I can't help but blush.
"Um, please no PDA. There are children present," Jessica says jokingly. Ryan sits down next to her, and starts talking to his football buddies.
"Where is,"I start.
"Jalissa? Who knows?" Destiny says, smiling.
"Probably lurking in a corner plotting her revenge." Gianni quips. Everyone laughs. I laugh too, but an uneasy thought crosses my mind. Weren's these people her 'best friends' just last week? I shrug away the thought, and go up to get some lunch. I finish it, and decide to go to the bathroom to touch up my makeup.
"I'll go with you," Jessica says, standing.
We walk out the caf, down the hall, and go into the girls' room. I get in front of a mirror and start reapplying mascara.
"Do you here that?" Jessica asks.
I listen, and then I hear it. Silent sobbing, coming from one of the stalls.
"Hello?" I ask, going from stall to stall. I knock on the third stall.
"Go away!" a shaking voice calls out.
"Is that..."Jessica whispers to me.
"...Jalissa?" I ask. I hear a toilet flush. I jump back as the stall door opens. It's Jalissa. Her eyes are red and puffy, her hair is askewed.
"What happened?" I ask, genuinely concern.
"You happened." she says, seething. "You're ruining my life. Those are my friends, my boyfreidn, my popularity!"
"If they were really your friends..."I start.
"Oh, shut up," she shouts. "You don't know anything. You're still new to this popularity thing. It's going to chew you up and spit you out."
She rushes out of the bathroom, leaving me in her wake.
"Hey, maybe she's on her period." Jessica says, laughing.
I give her a weak smile, and go back to putting on mascara.