|The New Kid
Author: Christopher Willings PM
Adam Denton is learning what its like to be the new kid at school who's a little...different.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Humor - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,709 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 04-13-04 - Published: 01-01-04 - id: 1485967
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The New Kid
By Christopher Willings
The sinister droning of the alarm clock startled Adam awake. While at first feeling groggy, it took only an instant for reality to strike, stirring him with a flush of anxiety. Adam's eyes popped open, the overwhelming bleakness of the off-white ceiling quickly coming to focus.
Feeling tired would have to wait for later. Though Adam wanted to deny it, the time had finally come to prepare for the horrors the day would assuredly bring.
Adam flew from his bed and put an end to the annoying alarm with a single slap. For a second he worried he had broken it; though at the moment he decided it wouldn't be such a bad thing, despite having to spend money to replace it. Sometimes that alarm clock rivaled any nemesis Adam could imagine. But even the terrible, haunting sound brought forth from that infernal device could not equal how terrible he knew this day would be.
The first day of school…
Not the first day of school for everyone; that would have been too easy. This event was today unique only to Adam. For a week now he cringed whenever he was reminded that now, a few months into his junior year of high school, he was…Adam struggled to form the words in his head as he stared absentmindedly out the window of his second-floor bedroom. He let go of a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding.
The new kid.
Everyone hates the new kid. Adam knew this. Everyone knew this. It was a fact of life. If the new kid is rich or good looking or cool…then there's a chance. But Adam was none of those things. He knew, deep down, this school was going to eat him up like a monster from the depths of the darkest sea.
There could be no more putting it off, no more escaping it. He had little more than an hour to ready for his first day at Thomas Harrison High School, and if he was going to make it on time he couldn't float around his room forever lamenting the inevitable. The whole endeavor left a soul taste in his mouth.
Eighteen minutes later Adam, backpack in hand, came shuffling down the stairs like a condemned man. At the rounded kitchen table his mother sat in corporate dress; a mug of coffee in her hand and a weary look on her face. She gazed up at her son with a smile.
"All ready for your big day, honey?" she asked him.
Adam scoffed internally at the question. The hell I am.
"As ready as I can be, I guess," is what he said, a forced grin pulling at his face.
His mom looked at the clock on the wall, then back at him. "You're leaving so soon? It won't take you more than a minute to get there."
The phony facial expression dropped. "That's…uh…kinda the thing, mom." He took the chair nearest her, hesitating momentarily before meeting her eyes. "Do you think you can drive me to school?"
Her amused grin was genuine. "Oh, don't be silly, Adam."
"I'm not!" he protested. "It's just that it's my first day—and I really don't want to make too much of a fuss. Everyone will hate me."
"Adam!" She laughed.
"Hate me, mom!"
"Oh," she countered. "And having your mother drop you off is going to score you points with the kids?"
She was silent for a few moments before looking at the small gold watch on her wrist. "Well, you know I have to be at work soon. So if we're going, we have to go about now."
"Thanks," Adam smiled, standing up. "You're the best mom I've ever had."
"I better be, 'cause I'm the only one you're ever going to get."
Having his mother drive him to school certainly was one of those things that Adam would liked to have avoided on his first day. It was unfortunately, in his opinion, a necessary evil.
There were no school buses, not for the high school students at least. And Adam had never had the occasion to learn how to drive, let alone buy a car. And with what money? His full-time job didn't exactly pay anything. So this, he had decided, was the best course of action. God forbid the first impression anyone at school formed was that he was a show-off.
As they rode to the school, Adam's nerves were shooting through the roof. Every second they got closer to the school was every second he got closer to the unpleasantness of being the new kid; everyone looking at him, sizing him up. A small shivers ran up his spine. Adam never liked being the center of attention and it was bad enough he ended up being just that most days. While he lacked any extraordinary sense of intuition, He could already deduce that no one was going to like him. He would be fortunate if he made just one friend before graduation next year.
Adam quickly wiped the light layer of perspiration on his brow. But not before his mom took notice. She laughed and he knew why. But that didn't make it any less biting. "After all you've been through, this is what scares you? It's just school."
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up…" he crossed his arms and stared out the window.
"Oh…," she brushed his cheek. "I'm sorry, honey. I don't mean to make fun. It's just that I forget sometimes how young you still are."
Adam said nothing.
"I remember when I was young and had to go to a new school. It really wasn't as bad as I made it out to be."
"Somehow I don't think you can really relate…"
"Fine," she conceded. "I'll leave you alone then."
There was silence from then on until they reached the school grounds. Outside, students ranging from freshmen to seniors milled about, some on their way to class, others doing their best to avoid it. It was still early yet. School didn't actually start for another forty minutes, but Adam had to come in early to get his class schedule and meet with the guidance counselor.
Adam's mom pulled up to the curb to let him out. But instead of moving to leave, he sat frozen, evaluating everything that he was about to get thrown into. Adam became so transfixed by everything around him that he became oblivious to the lingering.
"Adam," his mother called for the third time.
He snapped back into reality and looked at her. "Huh?"
"This is it, dear. Time to get out."
Adam looked again at the frightening scene, then back at his mother. "Hey, whaddya say we make tomorrow my first day, huh? You know, it's not too late to turn back. Right?"
His mother shook her head. "I don't think so, buddy. If I have to have my first day at the new office, you have to have yours at school. You don't see me complaining. So you have two choices: You can get out on your own accord, or I can drag you out and make a big scene," She folded her arms and leaned back in the seat. "What's it going to be?"
"Well, I hardly think you could drag me out of the—"
She shot him a fierce look that he was all too familiar with.
"Okay! I'm going! I'm going. Geez…"
Adam took another look, grabbed his book-bag, and sighed. His mom rubbed his head, and then asked "I don't suppose your old mom could get a kiss goodbye before you go?"
"Someone might see…" Adam told her as he opened the door and stuck a foot out.
She rolled her eyes, saying, "Of course," as he disembarked. "I suppose you want a ride home too?"
He closed the car door and learned through the open window, "If it's not too much to ask…"
Adam braced himself and started the seemingly long walk to the front doors of the school building.
"Uh…goodbye, dear. I love you!" His mother said loud enough for a few passersby to stop what they were doing to look at Adam. His face instantly turned red. Adam waved her off, and then quickened his pace to the building.
First period: English: Mrs. Agatha's. From Adam's perspective it was more like "Hagatha" and he knew as soon as the name popped into his head that it had to be the common moniker for the teacher. But who was he to have such cruel thoughts about a teacher he didn't even know? For all he did know, she was a nice, sweet old lady. She certainly appeared harmless, sitting there at her desk in the corner of the room going over some type of papers. Not knowing exactly what to do, he approached the woman and introduced himself.
"Ah," She said fixing her glasses and staring at a paper she pulled off her desk, "Mr. Deeton. The special boy."
"Special?" he replied, confused. He quickly convinced himself that it meant new and nothing more. "And its, uh, Denton, ma'am."
Hagatha studied her paper closer. "Its says 'Deeton' here."
"Well, its Denton, ma'am. They must have—"
"Are you calling me a liar?"
Adam's face paled. "No, ma'am. I'm just saying—"
"Well Mr. Deeton, the other students should start getting in any moment now. Go ahead and have a seat wherever you like."
Adam nodded and moved towards the closest desk.
"Except that one," Mrs. Agatha added.
Adam stopped and moved to a different location.
"And that one."
Adam paused and looked over all the desks, his stomach churning. He was genuinely afraid to pick the wrong desk again. But he had to! He quickly scanned the options again and decided on a desk off to the other side, saying, "Is this one okay?"
Mrs. Agatha was looking down at her papers again and apparently hadn't heard him. He asked again, louder. "Mrs. Agatha, is this one okay?"
"Hm? What?" She looked up in befuddlement.
"Is this desk okay?" Adam asked.
"Yes! I told you anywhere, remember?" She mumbled something to herself after that which Adam chose not to listen to. Instead he sat down, glad to finally be planted somewhere where he could passively observe his peers and assess the damage he was in for this year. Hopefully it wouldn't be too bad.
The first bell rang… though in Adam's opinion it sounded more like the buzzer on their washing machine…and soon after the students began to arrive. There was nothing too remarkable about them, of course. Nothing too different from the millions of other faces Adam had seen in his sixteen years of life. He tried to keep his head down and his gaze lowered as, one by one, they all spied the mysterious newcomer to the class. Adam couldn't wait till this whole experience was just a memory and everything was a comfortable verbatim. But first he had to get through this first day. And even before that, this first class.
From out of nowhere came a voice to his side. He turned to see a lumbering mass of a young man standing there looking at him not too pleasantly.
"Uh, yes?" Adam asked him, instantly feeling like an idiot.
"What? Are you deaf? I said you're sitting in my seat!" The incensed boy told him. Adam could tell just from the first glance that this was one of the school's real trouble makers. Someone he would have to watch out for in the future.
"Oh…but Mrs. Agatha said I could sit anywhere I wanted."
"Yeah. Anywhere except my seat." The boy shot back.
Frustration swelled up inside Adam for a moment, but he instantly quashed it. Instead he gave the boy an awkward smile. "Oh, sorry. My mistake."
He quickly got up, grabbed his bag and moved to another vacant desk he hoped to God didn't belong to anyone else. As he finally came to rest, he innocently caught eyes with a girl who was clearly a preferred customer at Hot Topic. She sneered at him. "What the hell are you looking at, freak?"
Adam just lowered his head and hoped she would leave him alone. As far as he was concerned, this was the single worst day of his life. And he had had more than a few bad days. It was starting to seem no matter how many trials he faced, high school was always going to come out on top of the Worst List. Maybe if he was lucky, Adam thought, a flesh eating monster could start ravaging the city and take all the attention away from him. And maybe he could even save the day and have everyone like him!
With any real luck, once class started he would just sink into obscurity and everything would go smoothly for the rest of the hour. Of course then he had five more classes with which this would have to repeat. A hundred students, just in classes, staring at him, judging him, hating him. And it wasn't like tomorrow, or even the next week, was going to be much easier. It was almost enough to give Adam a panic attack. All he felt like doing was rocketing out of his seat and through the ceiling to get away from everyone. But that was hardly an option.
Finally, Mrs. Agatha started to take attendance and Adam had a chance to fleetingly learn the names of his fellow students. She got past the D's and Adam took that to mean that since he was new his name was just on the bottom now. But when she got through the list and his name wasn't called, something in the pit of his stomach told him something was up. Something not too pleasant.
Stop it, he told himself, She already knows I'm here so that's why she didn't call my name. Duh. Yeah…right?
And then it happened.
"Ok class, as I'm sure you all noticed we have a new student in the school. I want you all to do whatever you can to make him feel comfortable in his new home and show him the Thomas Harrison spirit!"
Oh God…kill me now…
"But first, I think Mr. Deeton should come up in front of the class and tell everyone about himself. He's very special, I understand."
Behind him Adam heard the quiet laugher at the word special. And it was almost enough to make him forget what she had just announced. Here he was, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, and she was making him get up in front of the class and talk about himself! If there was ever a good time for a meteor to hit the Earth, it was now.
"Adam?" She called.
With a sheepish smile and a nervous chuckle, Adam slowly rose from his desk and made his way to the front of the class beside the stone-age old teacher. He looked at everyone, cursing his body as he felt himself turn red again. He looked to the teacher for prompting.
"Go ahead, Mr. Deeton, tell the class about yourself."
Adam tried to maintain a smile while simultaneously trying to tell himself this was all a bad dream. Here he was, in the spotlight; exactly where he didn't want to be.
"Um…well…my last name is actually Denton. And…well, I just moved here a week ago from Pennsylvania and um…this is the first time I've ever been the new kid so I'm not exactly sure what to say…"
"You suck." Someone coughed in the back, scoring laughs from his buddies.
"Mr. Morris, I'll see you after class," Agatha replied. She then turned to Adam again, saying, "Go on Mr. Deeton."
"It's…nevermind," He mumbled. "Um…uh…I moved here with my mom when she got a new job at an insurance agency and…we live in the house over near the Dairy Queen. Over on…" He could see no one really cared and felt all the more stupid for talking. "..Over on…Weston Street," he trailed off. "And, um…that's it, I guess."
Adam made a move for his seat, glad that his little introduction was finally over, but before he could go two paces, the teacher stopped him.
"That's not all Adam. Tell them."
Adam looked at her strangely, "Tell them what?"
Mrs. Agatha gave him a playful wave of dismissal at the question and turned to the class, "Adam is a superhero."
This caught the attention of everyone who hadn't been listening before. Adam's stomach sank and he slinked back towards the blackboard behind him. "Well, I'm certainly no hero, ma'am, you know," He tired to play it off with nervous laughter that he knew no one was buying. "Y'know, I'm just a regular average kid…you know. Normal teenager with," he paused, "…with superpowers," He reluctantly finished as he realized how stupid that sounded.
Well, there goes any chance I had at a social life…
"Superpowers?" A kid at the front with blonde hair said. "What, you mean you can fly and stuff?"
Adam sighed, leaning back against the blackboard in defeat. "…Yeah."
"And super-speed and all that?" Blondie pressed.
Adam pursed his lips then grudgingly replied, "Yes."
Blondie scowled, "What? You think you're better than me?"
"Mr. Johnson, that's quite enough!" Agatha snapped. "Mr. Deeton is not up here to try to show off to anyone."
Adam was somewhat relieved that she finally saw things his way. Maybe she wasn't so bad after all. Despite clearly refusing to believe his last name was Denton.
"Now Adam, tell the class about all the monsters and super-villains you've fought using your super-strength!"
Adam's mouth nearly fell open.
"Yeah, Powerpuff Girl," a boy at the back said, "tell us how you saved Townsville."
The continued laughter at his expense drove nails into his heart, despite the fact that it was a fairly dated reference.
He knew they would all hate him when they found out he was a superhero. In hindsight Adam saw how foolish it was to think it was just going to stay hidden from them until it was convenient for him. Regardless, he should never have gotten out of bed this morning.
"So let me get this straight," a pretty girl a few seats back said. "You fly; have super-speed, strength. So what…you're supposed to be some kind of rip-off of Superman or something?"
"What? No! I didn't chose to be this way, I was born—" He tried to explain, but was cut off by the teacher.
"No no," a kid wearing a grey hoodie and sitting in front of Adam interjected. "You'd have to be, like, all indestructible and stuff to be like Superman."
Adam coughed. "Well, I don't know about 'indestructible' exactly…I mean…"
"That's enough for today, Adam. Take your seat and we'll begin today's lesson."
Quickly…but of course not nearly as quickly as he was capable of moving…he made for the safety of his desk and rejoiced as everyone lost interest in him and Mrs. Agatha began her lecture. His eyes unintentionally met those of the Hot Topic girl's once again.
Adam put his hands over his face and tried to shut out the world. With all the hundred-story monsters he'd single handedly fought, all the villains he'd foiled, the natural disasters he'd stopped, the cities he'd labored to save…so far nothing had come close to the horror of this first day at Thomas Harrison High.
And he still had five more classes today….