Outcasts #1: The Luna Project
Another town, another school. Silver Sands doesn't seem to be so bad, so far, but I haven't really met anyone. Aunt Tara is nice, though – not like the rest of her family. She was very close to my mother, and ever since I got here she's been giving me little memorabilia of Mama from when she was a child.
I start school at the local high school today, so I'd better get going. I'll let you know what happens after today when I get home, Diary. Until then, Lisa.
"Lisa! Are you going to have breakfast before you leave for school?"
Lisa Hansen laid her pencil down next to the purple-covered notebook on her desk and stood up. "I'm coming, Aunt Tara!" She reached behind her and grabbed her satchel, making sure that her new school supplies were secure. "Notebooks, pencils, pens, ruler, calculator…"
"Coming!" Lisa pulled her purple suede jacket on and shouldered her satchel. She ran down the stairs, newly cut black hair bouncing from the sudden motions. "Morning, Aunt Tara," she said, entering the kitchen and planting a quick kiss on her aunt's cheek. "What time does the bus come?"
"Came and went," Tara Harcourt replied, piling a couple of pancakes onto a plate and placing it on the table in front of her niece. "I thought I'd give you a ride into school this morning, seeing as how I have to go into town anyway."
"Why?" Lisa asked, pouring herself a glass of orange juice.
"My publisher wants to meet with me," replied Tara. "He doesn't like the way I ended my last book." She rolled her eyes and sighed, offering her opinion about her publisher. "I'm seriously thinking about taking Richard Blake up on his offer and signing with his company once my contract with Western World is up."
"But I thought the reason you signed with Western World was because it was the only local publishing company that would take your stories," Lisa said, confused. "If you sign with this Blake guy, will you have to move?" Her unspoken question was obvious to her aunt. The last time one of Lisa's relatives had needed to move before she could get settled, Lisa had been forced to move to Louisiana to live with her great-uncle. Uncle August had been placed in a retirement home a month ago, and that was when they'd told her that she would have to live with Tara. Now Lisa was afraid that she'd have to leave again.
All she wanted was a little stability in her life . . . something she hadn't had since her parents had died in a car accident when she was four.
Tara came over to her and wrapped her arms around her. "Don't worry about anything, Lisa," Tara said. "Blake said his company's thinking of opening a Silver Sands branch – that's the only reason I'm considering this. I won't sign if that doesn't happen. Boson's my home, and I grew up in this house. There's no way I'd sell it and move."
Lisa smiled in relief. Tara released her, and the fourteen-year-old girl reached for a knife to cut her pancake.
There was no knife. "Aunt Tara? Did you forget to put out silverware again?"
Tara covered her mouth with her hand. "Did I?" She glanced at the table and laughed. "I suppose I did. A month living with me already, and you know my habits. I'll get it."
"Don't bother," Lisa said, shaking her head. "I'll do it." She looked at the silverware drawer and closed her eyes. The familiar sensation of energy building surrounded her, reminding her of static electricity. She narrowed her eyes, concentrated, and watched with satisfaction as two knives and two forks shot out of the drawer and placed themselves in their proper spots on the table. Lisa picked up her own knife and began to cut the pancake.
Tara shook her head and smiled, then sat down across from her niece. "You're not going to…do that…in public, are you?"
"Levitate," Lisa said, swallowing a bite. "You can say it, Aunt Tara. Levitate. And no, I'm not going to do that at school. I learned my lesson in Chicago."
Her aunt looked relieved. "It's not that I'm afraid of your power or anything, Lisa – I just remember what it was like for your mother when she was younger." She reached over the table and placed her hand over Lisa's. "I don't want you to face the same rejection that she did."
"I won't if I'm careful," Lisa replied, pulling her hand out from Tara's before she could make a connection to her mind. The power levels were still higher than normal, and she didn't like to suddenly find herself walking around a person's head.
Tara glanced at the clock. "Finish up your food, and I'll drive you to school."
At least this time I won't be the only new kid, thought Lisa as she gulped down the rest of the pancakes and juice. It was the first day of school, so she wouldn't be starting in the middle of the year, and being a freshman she'd be dealing with dozens of other freshmen who were new to the building. So she wouldn't be totally out of place.
Stop that, Lisa told herself sternly. Everything will be fine, so long as you don't freak out. Don't let the stress get to you, don't let the other kids get to you, just move through the day, pay attention to the teachers, and get your work done. Do. Not. Freak. Out.
It took a total of twenty minutes to drive to the high school, and soon Lisa was walking up the stone steps towards the entrance. She paused for a minute to wave good-bye to her aunt as she drove off. "Here we go," she whispered, looking at the sign that read Silver Sands High School. Lisa took a deep breath, yanked open the door, and stepped inside.
Her first impression of the school was that maybe this wasn't going to be as easy as she thought. The high school looked big, but it also looked like this was the sort of school where everyone knew each other. She knew that students came from the suburban towns that surrounded the main city, but she hadn't thought that they'd all know each other. This is going to be rough. She looked around for something to point her to the guidance office, where her aunt had told her to go to pick up her schedule. "Office, office, office…where the hell is the office?" Someone brushed by her.
To the left, down the hall. Lisa stiffened…the voice was unrecognizable, and in her mind. "Thanks," she muttered to the kid who had just bumped into her. Her tension had begun the power buildup, and she'd accidentally formed a connection with whoever it was. Forcing herself to relax, she headed for the office.
"Hello?" she called, opening the door and looking into the small room. Sitting behind a desk in the office was a tall blonde woman talking to a young man wearing a letter jacket and a striped shirt. For some reason, he immediately drew her attention to him. There was something about him…
"Can I help you?" The woman was looking at her now, and so was the boy. He looked like he was a couple of years older than her. "Young lady?"
Lisa blinked and forced herself to stop staring at the boy. She looked at the woman and noticed an immediate resemblance between the boy and the woman – she was his mother. "Um, hi," she said shakily. "My name is Lisa Hansen, and I was told to pick up my schedule here since I registered late in the year."
The woman instantly smiled and nodded. "I've been expecting you, Lisa." She reached into a folder lying on the desk and removed a sheet of paper from within it. "Here's your schedule."
Lisa took the paper and scanned over it. "Advanced classes?" she asked uncertainly. "But I'm…I'm only a freshman. These are all sophomore and junior classes."
"Yes," the woman agreed, "but after reading over your transcripts, we decided that this was probably the best schedule we could come up with. You're a very bright young girl, Lisa." The woman stood up and shook Lisa's hand. "I'm Laura Marfeo, the guidance counselor for Silver Sands High School. This is my son, Erek." She motioned to the boy sitting next to her. "He'll help you find your way around the school."
Erek stood up and grabbed his own schoolbag. "You're in my first period," he said, stepping towards the door. "I'll show you the way."
Lisa bit her lip, but fell into step beside the older boy. "So, are you a junior or a sophomore?" she asked, looking at him.
"Junior," he replied. "So how'd you manage to land in the higher classes? We almost never get people into them."
Lisa shrugged. "I do a lot of moving around," she said. "I guess different schools have taught me different things over the years. Now I'm living with my aunt, and I really hope I can stay here."
"Oh yeah?" He opened a door to another hallway and held it for her. "Why's that?"
"Aunt Tara lives in the house that she grew up in – it was given to her after my grandparents died. My mother and father were killed in a car accident when I was four, and I've spent most of my life being passed around. But Aunt Tara tells me about my mother. They were really close." Lisa tucked a strand of black hair behind her ear. "I guess you have a typical all-American family, right?"
Erek chuckled softly. "I guess you could say that. I live in your average two-story house with a younger sister, two parents, and a dog."
"German Shepherd?" Lisa asked without thinking.
"Yeah," Erek said, looking at her in surprise. "How'd you know?"
She looked startled, then realized that she was, once again, using her powers without thinking. She smiled weakly. "It's a gift," she said offhandedly.
He glanced at her uncertainly, but didn't say anything. He stopped outside a classroom in the science wing. "I hope you don't mind science for first period. Mr. Roth is one of the best teachers in the school, though. I worked with him last year."
Lisa reached out and opened the door. "Thanks," she said as she stepped inside. Erek pointed the teacher out to her before he sat down with a group of kids his age that were probably his friends. One of them was a petite girl with long brown hair that was pulled back into a braid and then wrapped around her head into a bun. The remaining part that wasn't wrapped dangled down her back. Serious hair, she thought. Then she stepped up to the teacher. "Mr. Roth?" she asked, looking at the young man in front of her.
He stood up and looked at her. "Yes?" he asked. He looked to be in his twenties, and had a kind smile.
"I'm Lisa Hansen," she said, smiling back at him. "I was told that I was in your first period class."
"Oh!" Mr. Roth's smile now filled his whole face. "I've been looking forward to meeting you. You're science teacher from your last school at a lot of good things to say about you." He checked a seating chart that he had in his hand. "Why don't you sit next to Christie? She's the girl with the braids." He pointed to the girl that Lisa had noticed when she'd first walked in, the one sitting next to Erek. There was an empty desk next to her. "We'll begin shortly."
"You're not going to make me stand up and introduce myself, are you?" Lisa asked uncertainly.
Mr. Roth shook his head. "I don't like doing that. I trust new students to make friends on their own, and it's not my job to introduce them to each other. Just take a seat next to Christie – she'll be your lab partner, too."
Lisa nodded and walked over to empty desk. She slid into the seat and glanced in Erek's direction. He was looking in the other direction, talking to another boy. The girl, Christie, was replacing her lipstick and looking in a mirror, not at any of the people around her. "Hi," Lisa said uncertainly, trying to get her attention. Christie glanced up. "I'm Lisa Hansen – Mr. Roth said we're going to be lab partners."
Christie glanced over her, obviously sizing her up for something. What, Lisa wasn't sure. But apparently Christie didn't mind what she saw, because she put down her lipstick and offered Lisa her hand. "Christina St. Clair," she introduced herself. "But everyone calls me Christie. Did you just move to Silver Sands, or were you at one of the middle schools?"
"Is it that obvious that I'm a freshman?" Lisa asked uncertainly.
Christie laughed. "No. But there could only be two reasons for that look of uncertainty on your face. One is if you're new, and the other is if you're a freshman in an advanced class. Although that's rare."
"So I told her," Erek said, turning his attention to them. ""I take it you two have met."
"You know each other?" Christie looked at Erek, and Lisa thought she saw the older girl's expression change slightly. Thought…but wasn't sure, and didn't know what it meant.
"I've been appointed her 'buddy' by my mother," Erek explained. "Lisa just moved here from…uh…"
"Baton Rouge, Louisiana," Lisa supplied. "And, actually, I've been here for a month. But school just started today, and I've been too busy moving in to really know where anything is around here."
"There isn't that much," Christie said, rolling her eyes. "Although it's worse out in the suburbs – if you can really call them that. My family moved here a few years ago, and I swear, if it weren't for Erek and the rest of his group, I never would've fit in." She smiled at Erek, and he smiled back at her.
They're together, Lisa realized, feeling disappointed. Why, she didn't know – she barely knew Erek. All she really knew about him was that he was nice and cute. There was always an easier way to figure out more…Don't even go there, Elisabeth. "I see," she said, managing a smile to hide her disappointment.
"Hey, am I just going to stand here all day, or are we going to learn anything?" Mr. Roth was sitting on the edge of his desk, tapping a pencil against the palm of his hand. "I'm sure you've all been really excited about taking this course. Or maybe you're just hoping for a bunch of laughs and an easy A. After all, you're the 'scientists' of the school – otherwise you wouldn't be here, right?" A few of the kids laughed, while others just glanced at each other uneasy. Erek rolled his eyes, Christie twisted her braid around her wrist, and Lisa tried not to look too uneasy about being in an advanced class with a bunch of people she didn't know.
"That's where you'd be wrong half wrong," Mr. Roth said. "This is will not be an easy A. It will, however, be fun – if you let it be that way. Do we understand each other?"
"Yes, Mr. Roth," the class chorused.
After class, Lisa followed Erek and Christie out of the room, since they'd discovered that the girls were in the same gym class. The trio split up at Erek's art class and, Christie led Lisa to the locker room. "You're lucky you're new," Christie said to Lisa. "The gym teacher, Mrs. Ortecho, doesn't let anyone participate without a gym uniform, and they'll have to order one for you. Even the up-and-coming freshmen don't usually get out of it, since the O orders fresh uniforms at the beginning of summer vacation. She wouldn't have had time to get you yours yet."
"Good, because I don't like gym very much," Lisa admitted. She followed Christie into the locker room and over to her locker, where another girl was already getting changed.
"Hi, Magda," Christie said, reaching into her locker and pulling her uniform out of it. "I stashed this here earlier after tennis practice," she explained to Lisa.
"Who's the kid?" Magda asked, running a brush through her hair.
"This is Lisa," Christie said. "Erek's her 'buddy' for the day, thanks to his mother, and since he can't be in the girls' locker room, I'm showing her the ropes. So be nice."
Magda glanced at Lisa and snorted, obviously unimpressed. "How old are you, Lizzie?" She gave Lisa an appraising look. "Twelve?"
"It's Lisa," Lisa said stiffly, "and I'm fourteen." She blushed at Magda's statement, and knew that the girl was referring to her development, or lack thereof. So what it she wasn't as busty as some of the other girls? She had abilities that they couldn't even dream of.
"You can stash your stuff in here until the O gets you your own locker," Christie offered, frowning at Magda before she could object. "Just shove Mags' make-up over to the side." Winking at Lisa, Christie reached out and shoved the make-up case into the corner of the locker and tossed Magda's clothes on top of it.
"Hey!" Magda hissed, grabbing Christie's arm. "What are you doing?"
Christie rolled her eyes. "Calm down, Mags, it's just clothes. And Lisa can't take anything out into the gym, you know that."
"Thanks," Lisa said gratefully, ignoring Magda's comments. She slid her satchel off her shoulder and slid it into the small space that Christie had cleared for her. Magda muttered something under her breath and tugged her shirt on over her head. Lisa watched as she stormed out of the locker room.
"Don't mind her," Christie said, glancing in Magda's direction. "She's got a real attitude problem. The only reason I put up with her anymore is because she's one of Erek's friends. Although I know he hasn't been too thrilled with her lately."
Lisa nodded, and Christie began to get changed. But the young psychic couldn't shake the feeling that Magda was not someone to be trusted.