Her Name Was Madi
Author's note: I always loved the 1950's. Grease, Cry-Baby, so many things made me want to write something for... Show full author's note »
Chapter Five"Excuse me dear, are you alright?"
Madi's eyes fluttered open in the face of a pleasant-looking elderly woman wearing large glasses that magnified her eyes to almost five times their normal size.
"Who, me? Oh...yeah. Heh. I'm fine, just fine," Madi answered, giving the woman her best smile.
"Well why are you here so early, dear? It's only seven!" the woman answered. Madi's eyes widened as she thought up a good answer.
"Um...I love the library! What can I say? I got here as soon as I could!" Seeing her disheveled reflection in the woman's glasses, she added, "Which way is it to the restrooms?" When the woman pointed out the way, she waited till she'd walked off, and, grabbing her bag of clothes, ran through the hall so as not to be seen.
"Class, we have a new student. I want you all to make her feel welcome, alright?"
The murmuring Madi heard from outside the classroom door heightened in volume as she entered the room. She smiled uneasily at the class, her eyes darting from one student to another as Ms. Roberts introduced her to them as Madeleine Rourke. Girls chattered excitedly behind their palms, either thinking that she wouldn't see, or not caring if she did, and boys raised their eyebrows at her, some puckering their lips and giving her catcalls. It had been such a long time since she'd been the new kid in town that she felt nearly alienated as the group stare followed her to her desk. Feeling the weight of at least twenty gazes, she buried herself in a book she'd checked out after dressing.
"Now, class, I'd like you all to get out a sheet of paper to do our first problem of the day," the teacher began. Luckily, Madi had come across some paper the previous day, so she pulled it out. However, she was without anything to write with. She sighed, looking around the room at everyone else, and figured it couldn't hurt to ask for one, so she did.
The teacher smiled at her pleasantly and approached her desk with a ruler in one hand. Her silence caused Madi to squirm in her seat a bit.
"Madeleine, I must say you're making a lousy first impression," she told Madi, with a smile that definitely didn't reach her eyes. "I will lend you a pencil just this once, and after this, I will expect you to be prepared at all times, is that clear?" As she spoke, she brought the ruler down in her hand repeatedly, causing Madi to avert her eyes nervously. The whole class giggled as she fearfully replied, "Y-yes ma'am." Seemingly pleased with Madi's response, Ms. Roberts returned to the front of the classroom and began to write on the board.
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
She can't be serious, Madi thought, gaping at the ridiculously simple problem on the board. Noticing her expression, the teacher called on her. Madi then shrugged and went to the chalkboard.
In a way, Madi missed chalkboards. After all, in the 21st century, they'd all been replaced with dry-erase boards, which weren't nearly as fun. She wondered why in the world they'd been taken out of the schools, but as she did the problem, she remembered why. After about three lines drawn with the chalk, chalk dust began to irritate her nose. She grimaced as she wrote a proportion as quickly as she could to escape the cloud of chalk dust that much faster. When she finally finished her equation (complete with x's and y's), she turned to face the class. Her face fell as she saw the matching expressions of total and utter confusion on all of her classmates' faces.
"What, did I do it wrong?" she asked the teacher quietly. The woman looked at her with the same expression as the others, and replied, "Well...I'm not sure, exactly...Letters in the-...where did you say you were from, again?" Madi blushed a deep scarlet.
"Ireland..." she replied almost inaudibly. Ms. Roberts stared at her blankly and nodded slowly, sending her back to her seat and choosing another student to do the problem. Madi's heart sank. She realized that, in order to fit in, she'd have to put every bit of her knowledge into the simplest layman's terms possible, which would not be easy.
And so her classes went for the morning. A bit unnerved from the math problem earlier, Ms. Roberts refrained from calling on her for the remainder of the time, and so Madi remained in her seat, quietly secluded from the rest of the class, now totally unnoticed. Her eyes would flutter closed for a moment every once in awhile, and she'd have to almost literally hold her eyes open in order to stay awake. Never before had she had to force herself to keep her eyes open in a class; she'd always loved her classes and the teachers knew how to make their subjects interesting. Here, such was not the case. No wonder the freshmen are having such a hard time concentrating, Madi thought, ignoring the incessant growling of her stomach. Lunch was at noon precisely, but she had no reason to watch the clock, due to her lack of money. She just had to make it till nightfall, that was all. Holding her midsection and blushing at the roar coming from her stomach that she was sure everyone could hear, she figured the task was easier said than done.
When lunchtime finally came, Madi remained in her seat for a minute or two after the bell rang. Ms. Roberts looked at her curiously.
"Well, Madeleine? Are you going to join your classmates in the cafeteria?" she asked her. Madi looked up from her book dreamily, and, glancing at the clock, quickly snapped out of it and replied, "Oh, yeah. Right," and left the room quickly.
In the cafeteria, Madi was as good as alone. She grimaced at the tables full of little kids with crew cuts, poodle skirts of every color, and leather jackets galore. She didn't see any kids that seemed rich, and so assumed that they attended private school. It was fine with her, though. She preferred to stay with people that weren't totally stuck up. At the moment, however, it didn't matter whether the other kids were stuck up or not. What mattered was that she had no friends here, and therefore, no place to sit. Before it was five minutes into lunch, Madi had stepped out into the overwhelming sunshine.
"God, I'm hungry..." Madi whined, blowing a strand of hair out of her face. She'd pulled the great, curly mass into a high ponytail, and her bangs had felt it nice to stay right where they were, so they bounced with her step, tickling her nose as she walked.
"Hey, look! It's Madi!"
"Hey, Madi! How are ya?"
The two voices stopped her dead in her tracks.
It was perfectly clear that today was definitely not shaping up to be a good one. Preparing herself to face the inevitable, she exhaled loudly and whipped around to face Ralph and Mark, plastering on her best smile, and glanced at them without moving an inch closer.
"Hey guys! How are you? Good? That's great...Listen, I can't really stop to talk, so I'll just get going," she said quickly, wanting to laugh at their bewildered expressions as she turned on her heel and began to leave. To her disappointment, her path was blocked by none other than Tony Bourdain.
"Well hey there, sweetheart. How 'bout talkin' to me for a minute?" Tony said in a soft, husky voice. Her plastered smile faded instantly into a scowl as he led her back to where his friends were. The boys snickered amongst themselves as she stood between them, arms crossed, nearly glaring at Tony.
"Alright, what d'you want?" she huffed, rolling her eyes up to meet his. He snorted and shrugged, crossing his arms across his chest.
"Nothin' really, Mads-"
"It's Madi, Tony," she corrected him. His eyes narrowed for a split second, and she nearly grinned, enjoying the reaction she got out of him.
"Okay, Madi. I was just gonna ask if you wanted to see a movie later, that's all." He grinned, excited to see what she'd do next. Madi recognized his expression. It was that of a man that had never been refused. She was perfectly happy to burst his bubble.
"Look, Tony. I don't know if I made it clear enough back at the lake, but I'm not interested, okay? Nothing personal," she lied, "I'm just not...uh...ready for a relationship right now." Unfortunately, the words seemed to literally float through one ear and out the other as he stared at her blankly. She glanced at his friends, as if to beg them to reason with him, but they just laughed. She groaned, knowing that their laughter would spur Tony all the more to chasing after her. Pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger, she sighed and said quietly, "Tony, I'm gonna go. Please don't follow me. Maybe, I'll see you around. Goodbye, now." She then sped away, her hand on her forehead and her ears turning a wild shade of red.