Life In The Passenger Seat
Summary: Semi-autobiographical, with a lot of things fabricated to make it somewhat interesting. A girl named Lily observes the things and people around her while pondering her own lack of participation.
A/N: Please review. I don't care if I get flamed, just... review.
I walked into the classroom, and looked around. So, this was eigth grade. The last year before graduating the small private school I'd attended since kindergarten. Year of dances, parties, and the best class trips. Year of complete freedom.
Okay, so it probably wouldn't be that great. The disadvantages of tiny schools? The same people in every class, the same teachers I'd had the past eight years. Everyone knew each other, or at least they thought they did. This could be good or bad, depending on the type of reputation you'd gained over the years. Me? I was known as The Quiet One. The Bookworm. She Who Never Speaks.
True to my reputation, I chose an empty seat in the back of the room, near where Eliza, Savanna, Mackenzie, Kylie, and Amy were sitting. They'd been my Group since the second grade. "Group" meaning the people I hung around, never really a part of the circle but close enough to not look like a total loser in front of everyone else. The core of The Group had remained pretty much the same - myself, Eliza, and Mackenzie. That had been additions, as Amy had stopped hanging out with her cousin, the infamously popular Lexie, Savanna had come to the school, and Kylie had decided to grace us with her presence. There had also been deductions, such as Lana's move to public school, and Anne's notorious split from The Group in favour of hanging out with Lexie and her crew of giggly airheads. Other people, such as Theresa, had simply drifted out. The cliques weren't set very tight; it was a small school, and everyone pretty much hung out with each other. Except, of course, me.
But back to what I was saying. I sat down in my desk (Which, by the way, had just been purchased the previous summer. The principal kept raving about how they were so much better than the other ones we'd had, but the only difference I could see was that the chairs made more noise when dragged along the floor, and there was less space to put your books inside.) and said hi to the rest of The Group. I spent a few minutes listening to them discuss their summer, then pulled a paperback out of my backpack. I refused to put it down until the bell rang and the teacher ordered us to stand for prayer.
After prayer, attendance, and lunch count were completed, we were given the schedule the entire class was to follow for the rest of the year. I copied it down dutifully, in the back of the planners we'd each been required to buy. Big, soft-covered, and annoyingly colourful, they were nothing special. Most students lost them within a month, if they held on to them that long. I, being the model student (until I got bored with it, of course, at which time I became quite lazy, but I'm skipping ahead of myself), managed to keep tabs on mine until the end of the year. Now, I placed it inside the desk, next to the pens and notebooks I'd bought last August, and the ever-present paperback.
After we'd all copied our schedules, we listened to our homeroom/religion/history/reading teacher read the usual beginning of the year memo - Welcome back, hope you had a nice summer, you're-back-at-school-now-so-follow-the-rules-or-else, etc., and finish with a reminder of the no-gum-chewing rule, which everyone ignored anyway. Then, there was a period of free time (aka pandemonium) when she handed out the textbooks we'd use for her classes. I got out my paperback again, but found that even I couldn't concentrate in this noise, so instead settled for people-watching.
The six boys were in the corner, tossing around a crumpled-up piece of paper. Lexie had reserved the entire front row for herself and her cohorts. Lexie herself was, of course, in the center; on her right was her second-in-command, Melissa, and on her left was Amy's replacement, Victoria. Both girls were listening intently as Lexie described the awful break-up with her latest boyfriend. The two had been "dating" a whole five days - a record in this school. I rolled my eyes and moved on.
On Melissa's other side were Theresa and her best friend, Lydia. I smiled at them, and they waved back; they at least had always been nice to me. On Victoria's other side, Anne was hanging on to Lexie's every word, though I doubt Lexie noticed. Next to Anne, Samantha was sitting on her desk, playing catch with the boys. Damien threw the paper ball to Mike, who tossed it to Alex, who feigned a shot to Ben and instead handed the "ball" to Justin, who flung it to Peter, who threw it to Samantha, who tossed it to Damien, and the cycle started over again. Eventually, I tired of watching this and turned to Amy.
"What do you think of the new boy?" I asked, pointing to the one kid in the room who actually looked more out of place than I.
Amy shrugged. "Maybe he's just shy?"
"I think we should go talk to him." Eliza announced. "You know, introduce ourselves?"
Amy, Savanna, Eliza and I got up and walked across the room. Kylie, having nothing better to do, decided to join us and ran over as Eliza was making the introductions. "I'm Elizabeth, this is Amy, Savanna, Lily, and Kylie." she said, pointing to each of us in turn. We were introduced according to how we ranked in The Group - Kylie being last because she was, well, Kylie. Maybe not above The Group, but definately beyond.
The new kid raised his eyebrows, as if to ask if Eliza was talking to him.
"So, what's your name?" she asked impatiently.
The new kid considered her for a minute, then stuck out his hand. "I'm Trevor James. You can call me T.J."
Eliza shook his hand, slightly amused by his formal attitude. Does this guy know we're only in middle school, her expression seemed to ask. I found myself wondering that, as well. I could tell we weren't the only ones. Kylie wrinkled her nose, and I bit my lip. If Kylie didn't like someone, it meant trouble, usually caused or at least instigated by Kylie herself. Making a mental note to watch for adversity and stay far away, I flashed T.J. what I hoped was a welcoming smile. That was about as outgoing as I ever got.
Satisfied that we'd done our duty as the unofficial school welcoming wagon, Amy, Savanna, and I started to leave, but stopped when we noticed Kylie and Eliza weren't finished with him yet.
"So, T.J., where are you from?" Kylie asked.
"Pennsylvania." T.J. answered in his quiet, stiff way.
"Why'd you come here?" Eliza asked.
T.J. shrugged. "My father was transferred."
"Do you like it here?" Kylie inquired.
T.J. shrugged again, their interrogation making him uncomfortable. "It's okay."
"Just okay?" Kylie pressed.
"Well, I haven't had time to.. um, I mean, I only got here a few weeks ago, so..." T.J. stammered.
I fidgeted slightly, ignoring Kylie's glare. I felt bad for T.J.; few people could stand up under her pressure, and thanks to Eliza's unwitting help, she had him cornered.
Mercifully, the bell rang. We left T.J. and collected our books, then, after consulting our newly-copied schedules, proceeded to our next class.