Author's Note: Well, there isn't much I can say for not updating this sooner, since all of my chapters have been taking so long. I did start college about three weeks ago, so I really haven't had time to write at all. It's been crazy and fun, exciting and nerve racking. It's been college lol. I hope you guys really like this chapter, it's the farthest I've ever gotten in a story. Not chapter wise, but length wise, it is the longest. Please let me know what you think of my writing. Getting reviews is the most exciting part lol. I'll look forward to your comments!
Voices rang throughout the gymnasium. They echoed off of the high ceilings and far walls, almost as if an army had decided to camp in the large space instead of the thirty to forty students waiting for class to begin. Others came out of the dressing rooms, deep in discussion with each other, escalating the noise even further.
The Gym teachers sat in their offices, drinking coffee and complaining that there were still two more periods of the day left. One of them, a man with a beer belly and a bald head, was finishing off a donut. He decided to wait another ten minutes before bringing his students together. He was looking forward to it probably as much, or in this case, as least as they did.
Katie and Anna sat in the bleachers, watching the kids migrate across the gym floor towards wherever their teachers had told them to wait. Most were changed into sweatpants and baggy shirts. There were varieties in the apparel, of course, but this was always the more common. The two friends wore clothes similar to this, one with crisp running pants and the other with pajama bottoms.
Anna leaned back to rest against the bleacher step behind her and tried her best to smooth the wrinkles out of her bright pink pants. "I can't wait until next semester when this will just be a bad memory."
Rolling her eyes, Katie just laughed. Her friend loved to be in the center of attention, always roaming from one club to another, meeting as many people as she could. When it came to gym class though, their 6th and second to last period of the day, she couldn't despise anything more. She had let everyone know it, too.
"Gym isn't that bad."
"Sure it is. You're just to dignified to admit it." She gave Katie a friendly bump with her shoulder. "Me, on the other hand, is a different story. I can take pleasure in complaining all I want."
"You certainly do enough of it," Katie joked back. "At least it's better than taking health. I swear, I'm never going to get better than a C in that class."
In their school, it was madatory for the students to take a gym and health class every year. For some, they took the classes in the same semester, but usually, they were spread out. Health was always a class she'd despised.
"At least you won't have to worry about it next year. Seniors don't usually take it, right?"
"Well, not unless they are planning on being a doctor or something."
"So, there you go. Just one more semester and no more health, or gym, for that matter. God, I can't wait. It's such a pain in the ass to have to change every day. I'm always late for next period, too. Mrs. Cinders actually told me she'd give me detention if I was late again." Anna frowned.
"You might actually make it in time if you didn't insist on putting all your makeup back on."
"I know, but I can't help it. Gregory Rollins is in my class. You know how gorgeous he is. I don't want him to think I look sweaty and disgusting. They never let us out early enough anyway."
"Still drooling over Rollins, Anna?" Bryan came up to them. "I'd have thought you'd find someone else to obsess over by now."
Scooting over a bit so that Bryan could sit next to them, she gave Katie a look that clearly said, "Guys never understand."
Katie watched silently as her two best friends bickered. They had the strangest friendship. Some days they could agree on everything, and other days, they could spend hours fighting. She knew that they had just as much fun screeching at each other as they did when they were laughing, but she'd never understand it. Besides Creative Writing, Gym was the only other class they had together.
They were actually in separate classes, but they got to hang out before the period started. It was one of her friends' favorite times to go at it for some reason.
Sometimes, she wondered if they would have made a good couple after all. Because they were so different, but also had enough in common to relate to one another, they never ran out of things to talk about. They also tended to go after people like the other.
Anna often dated jocks who were intelligent and always up for something new. Bryan liked girls who he could talk with, someone who would have fun with him in any situation. In theory, they were perfect for each other, but they'd chosen to go down the friend path instead. Katie never really knew why, just that they'd preferred it that way.
She liked the way things had worked out, nevertheless, and was more than happy that things were going back to normal. Bryan had brooded for two days after what happened with his mom. She knew he'd been embarrassed that she had seen it. They didn't talk about it after he'd put his mother back to bed, but she hoped that just being there for him, had made him feel a little better. Even though it had been annoying to be pushed out of bed on a snow day, she'd been relieved he was alright.
Anna, annoyed and enjoying it, added fire to their fight. "Just because you seem to be going through a dry spell right now doesn't mean you have to take it out on me. I can go out, or in this case obsess over, with anyone I want."
He frowned at that. "I don't want a girlfriend right now. What's wrong with that?"
Pleased with herself, she answered, "Nothing. Stay out of my business and I'll stay out of yours."
"Fine!" He gritted out, knowing how well he was being manipulated. "Just so you know, I am not going through a dry spell."
"Are you sure about that?"
"Anna!" Katie finally joined in with a laugh. "Get over it. He was just kidding about Greg. Besides, you do obsess."
"I know," she said smugly. "I just wanted to give him a hard time about it."
"Congratulations, I think you succeeded."
"Katie! Aren't you supposed to be on my side?" Bryan pouted.
She grinned. "Oh, I'm neutral. I only take sides when it's to my benefit, and in this case, I think i'll stay out of it."
"Great friend you're turning out to be." He flung a rubber band at her.
"Hey!" she dodged the flying object. "Not fair! I can't retaliate."
He grinned. "Oh well, I guess I won that argument."
Katie shot him a playfully evil glare. "For now."
"So, what are you guys planning on doing tonight?" Anna asked, changing the subject. She didn't find their teasing nearly as amusing as they did.
"I'm not really sure yet."
"I have a game tonight. You guys should come. We could go out afterwards to the diner and get something to eat."
Katie nodded. "That sounds like a great idea. Will you give me a ride?"
"Sure," Anna answered. "Is six okay?"
"Yea, that's good." They watched as the teachers began to come out of their lounge to round up the kids in their group. "I think i'm going to make a run to the girl's locker room for a second. I'll talk to you guys later."
The friends said their goodbyes and went in their separate directions. Katie let her teacher know she would be right back and entered the locker room. It was crowded and stuffy with old blue stalls of storage spaces that smelled just a little dusty. Even though class had started, girls were still getting changed and talking with their friends. It was pretty common for them to stay as long as they could to avoid gym, so she didn't think anything of it.
She went straight to her locker and opened the spinning lock. Taking out her extra elastic, she gathered her chestnut hair into a tight ponytail. That was when she overheard the high pitch voice of someone she'd like to avoid on most days.
"Kyle is taking me to dinner before the dance," she heard Mandy say.
"Where do you think he's going to take you?"
"I hinted at Vinichie's. You know, that romantic little Italian restaurant on main street. It's going to be perfect!" she exclaimed.
Katie hid her face in the locker before either Mandy or her friend could see her. She reallydidn't want to deal with them right now. If she overheard something, it wasn't her fault. They shouldn't be talking about such personal matters in the locker room anyway.
"That sounds amazing," the friend gushed. "I wish Eric would do something like that for me. He's a major hottie, but he never seems to get any of the suggestions I throw at him. I don't know what to do with him."
"Some guys just never get it. Kyle always understands, thank god, and he has the check book to pull it off," Mandy bragged. "He certainly knows how to treat a girl to a good evening. I just might have to surprise him afterwards with a reward."
Katie thought she was going to be sick listening to those two go on about their boyfriends, especially Kyle. She wasn't so naive that she didn't know that other kids in her grade weren't so innocent. A guy like him must have had sex before. Girls threw themselves at him regularly. It was just that he'd always seemed like such a good guy, that she hadn't been all that sure. Mandy's statement just erased any doubt she might have had as to how active their relationship must be.
Katie sighed quietly as she heard the two girls finally leave. In some ways, she'd been hoping that the rumor was true, that the number one couple in her grade might be splitting up. It wasn't like she ever thought she had a chance with Kyle. She wasn't delusional enough to believe what was so unlikely. It didn't stop her from daydreaming though, that she could be the girl to help him love again.
Mandy didn't sound as if she had any intention of ending things with Kyle. He deserved someone so much better, she thought. Someone who was kind and intelligent. Someone who would treat him good and be faithful. He deserved someone that would see him the way she did.
Katie shut her locker door and approached a mirror. She took a good long look at her self. Sure, she wasn't beautiful, but she wasn't bad either. Her mother had always said that she had a good bone structure that made her pretty and her eyes were a nice soft green. She might not have been as skinny as she would have liked, but she didn't hate her body. Her subtle curves and flare at the hips were just right for her. She was attractive in her own way.
So what was the problem?
When did she deserve someone like Kyle? she wondered. She couldn't fool herself. Katie wanted to be swept off her feet, to have someone actually there to take her dancing or out to dinner. Was it too much to ask for?
It was finally the end the day, and Katie was anxiously awaiting the bell. All she wanted to do was to go home, change into her pajamas, and take a nap. She was in the mood to be indulgent, no matter how much she had to get done before she went out that night. School had felt so long, dragging on period after period. She couldn't stand to look at the clock once more and find out that only five minutes had passed. The worst part was that the more she wished time would pass, the less it did.
It was moments like these, when she couldn't help but wish that time would fast forward a year and half towards graduation. There were some kids that thrived in school. They didn't mind the work and recieved effortless grades, made friends everywhere they went, and would probably look back fondly at school as the best days of their lives.
Katie would never feel that way about Highschool. Sure, it wasn't that bad. She had her friends, few though they might have been, that she could never have lasted without. It just happened to be one of those days where they even couldn't help her get through it. She just wanted to go home.
There was still twenty more minutes to go before she was free. Trying her best to avoid glancing up at the clock above the door, she looked down at her notebook instead. Random pictures and doodles covered the page, intertwining through and around her pathetic notes. She hadn't really taken in anything she had heard in the past ten minutes.
Feeling guilty, Katie tried to pay attention. Her philosophy teacher was being as bubbly as usual. She wrote on the blackboard Plato's major beliefs and explained to class his philosophies. Her curly blonde hair fell past her shoulders, and the light purple sweater she wore was elegant and youthful. She was a women who could look effortlessly beautiful.
Katie had always thought that it was strange that a woman like this was teaching philosophy. When she had first signed up for this class, she had imagined an old man with balding hair and weird ties that didn't match his shirt. She imagined he would be someone like her, a just a little out of it.
Maybe, that was why she had chosen to take this class, even though she had no real interest in Philosophy. She wanted to take a class that would be different, that she could enjoy. A lot of the work was boring, especially when it came to studying the philosophers of the past, but sometimes, it was great. They really talked about things.
She debated subjects with people, some she probably would never have had the chance to talk to, people completely different from her. They talked about stupid ideas that didn't make any sense to really important concepts about life. She loved that about this class. When she talked, people actually listened. They would grow quiet and take in the words she was saying. Afterwards, the talking would start, all at once until someone else stated their opinion. She got to discover what other people thought about certain issues, and they got to find out her opinions. Days when she felt invisible, it meant everything to her, for she didn't feel so alone.
She could say anything in that class and not feel self conscious about it. That was what she loved the most, the ability to open herself up to people so easily. She'd never experienced a class quite like it, but today, she just wanted to get out of school and go home.
No matter how much she loved the class, some days it could drag on forever. As the last period of the day, it usually did. How anyone was expected to pay attention fifteen minutes before the bell rang was beyond her. Katie couldn't wait to just crawl into her bed and take a gloriously long nap. She might have to stay up all night, but those couple of hours after school would be worth it.
She glanced up at the clock and then down again. Three minutes had passed since the last time she had checked. To her, it had felt longer. Much longer. She had tried to keep up with what her teacher was saying and writing on the blackboard, but her mind was drifting. She would have normally welcomed the respite from her grueling day, but she forced herself back to reality. She owed her teacher that much.
Katie respected her. The woman was young enough to be her sister, but that didn't change how she felt. Miss Knight had a sharp and open mind. She listened and considered when another might have disregarded. She truly cared about teaching, about her students and what they thought about the world. She was the only teacher that Katie had ever felt comfortable enough to confide in.
She found herself approaching Miss Knight for advice. They talked about school, her life and friends. Sometimes, the older woman would tell her about her fiancé and how her life was going. As an only child, it was rare for Katie to have this type of relationship. Sure, she had other friends like Anna who she could talk with about boys and other silly girl stuff. She talked with her mother when she needed advice about school, but sometimes she needed someone like Miss Knight.
They got along well, she guessed, because her teacher was also a dreamer. Not in the optimistic way that came with dreams and such things, but in the way that she thought about the world. Together they wondered about life, both the silly and serious. Miss Knight deserved her attention, even if Plato wasn't the most interesting guy to study.
Their teacher paused in mid sentence to stare around the room at the faces in front of her. Only a few kids noticed but most continued to do whatever they had done to pass the time. She gave a heavy sigh and wiped off what she had written on the blackboard. Some of the teenagers looked around smiling with their good luck of ending class early. That was, until she turned and gave them all another sharp look.
"I guess there isn't much point in going any further." All of the students looked up at this, giving her their full attention. Their grins grew wider when it appeared as if she was not only ending class early, but also not planning on giving them any homework. "But, I do have an assignment for you guys."
Groans filled the room. All students hated homework on the weekends. Katie couldn't pretend she was any different.
She was a firm believer that weekends were the time to be as lazy as possible. During the week, you were busy and followed a repetitive routine of going to classes, eating, and sleeping. You got your work done then, so that when the weekends came around, there would be no routines to follow or work to be done. It was the best part of the week, because for once, she could be where she wanted to be or do what she wanted to do. She could make plans and go out with her friends, or just stay inside and watch tv all day.
She'd always needed her weekends in order to get through the tiring week ahead. She was the type of person who hated a schedule of any kind. She wasn't a spontaneous or impulsive person, but she still hated having to go to something every week or go somewhere she hadn't planned herself. That was probably why her soccer career and piano lessons didn't last long. She hated to feel like she didn't have control of her life. She found it completely exhausting to always have to be somewhere or do what she was supposed to. Homework was just another obligation added on to her weekend.
"All right, you guys can stop freaking out. It won't be do until next friday, but I do hope you use this weekend to think long and hard about it. I want you all to write me a paper about what you really think of Valentine's day. Is it a special day to profess your love, or is it a hallmark holiday?" she paused and looked around the room. "You may have an answer for this already, but I want you all to go deeper into it than just that. I want to know what you think it means to love somebody. Like I said, take some time to think about it. These are your philosophies. Work hard on them."
After answering the automatic questions of "how long does it have to be" and "do you want it typed" she dismissed the class to their own doings until the bell rang and they were free from school for an entire two and a half days.
Miss Knight moved back towards her desk, letting everyone else spend their next five minutes of class how they chose. Most sat and talked to their friends about their weekends and how much it sucked to have a paper due. Katie flicked her pen from side to side and thought about their new topic.
If you were going to be a procrastinator, she had decided long ago, then you should at least have some idea of what to do, so that when the time comes, it will go together fast. As a notorious procrastinator, it had helped to take her own advice.
When the bell rang, kids streamed out of the class, excited for the weekend ahead of them. Everyone from the oldest upperclassmen and lowly freshman delighted in the prospects of two days without school.
"Hey, Katie!" Miss Winters called to her just before she left the room. The teenager walked over towards the woman seating behind the desk. "Everything going good?"
It was one of those questions that seemed so generic and nonchalant, a usual greeting to a friend. This was none of those things, and they both knew it.
Katie shrugged. "I'm fine. It's been a long week."
"Well, you've got the weekend to turn it around," her teacher said optimistically. "Interesting things always happen on the weekend that turn your tedious week into something special."
She smiled with agreement. "I hope it turns out that way."
"Don't let this project stop you from having fun this weekend. I think you could use a little fun." Packing up her own stuff, Miss Winters walked with her pupil towards the door. They said their good byes, and on the way to the bus, Katie reflected on how right her teacher was. She definitely needed more fun.
A/N: I just wanted to say thank you to Nut and Angela for staying with me and reviewing to this story even though it takes me forever! I'll try harder to update more soon. By the way, I think someone once said this story is slow paced. Is it picking up?