Jennifer looked once more in the mirror before exiting her house. She was happy with what looked back at her. A blonde haired, deep blue eyed beautiful person. Her. What a pleasant face to wake up to in the morning, she pondered.
Outside the sun blazed, nearly making her blind. Rubbing her eyes she continued on her way.
The surroundings were all new to her. Five big homes on the right side and on the left only four, but much bigger, and then the intersection where once she turned right faced her school. Well, still had to walk 100 meters down the street.
Never had her family and her lived so close to the attending school before. Since she had been living there for only 3 days she hadn't attended school yet. But today was the day. She would be attending this school for the first time.
A month ago her father got a job offer not to refuse. Twice the salary, a free house and a company car. It hadn't been a tough decision for him, he never even thought it through. So Jennifer and her brother and sister had to leave their old life behind and start a new one. But Jennifer knew there was a second catch: three months ago Jennifer's mother got taken from them. The poor lady died at age 44 from cancer.
Since Jennifer was six years older than her brother was and nine years old than her sister was, she had to help a lot around the house unhappily since it didn't leave her much time.
But with the new salary Jennifer's father was able to afford a hand. Well she hoped so anyway.
In front of school crowds of people stood at the finishing their cigarettes. Jennifer got some curious looks as she pushed past the crowds and entered the school. She knew where she had to go, to the principle's office. Straight down the hallway, turn right, head up the stairs and the first door on the left side.
Sure enough the instructions were exact, she found herself in front of the office. Not even hesitating she knocked on the door.
"Come in," a grumpy, old voice called.
Jumping to conclusions, Jennifer thought the principle sounded tough and mean. Somehow she had regrets about opening the door and showing herself. But she had to. It was the only way to find out what class she was in.
Reaching for the doorknob, she twisted it open.
An elderly man starred at her as she set foot into the room.
"You must be Jennifer Simpson." Not waiting for a reply, he continued, "I'm principal Sanders."
They shook hands.
Before any one of them said something else someone knocked on the door. As the person opened it, Jennifer realized it was a teacher. The teacher, a lady, was about 35 years old, had a long brown mane and green eyes, which Jennifer could wager on that they were contacts. She was a bit overweight, but not much.
"You must be Jennifer," she said, being the second person to ask her that. "I'm Mrs. Flounders, your homeroom teacher. Mr. Sanders asked me to pick you up here."
Struggling Jennifer said good bye to the principle and followed the teacher out of the principle's officer. All the way through the corridors and to the classroom neither of them spoke to each other.
Jennifer was surprised at how small the school was. There were only about 20 classrooms, one forth the size of her old school.
It was only before a door numbered 402 when they stopped and the next word was spoken.
"This is your homeroom."
Entering the classroom, all the people stopped doing what they were doing to see the new student. Jennifer gathered they all knew about her arrival.
"This is Jennifer," the teacher said. "Take a seat."
There were 4 places to choose from, in her old school the rooms were packed. Each class had consisted of 40 students.
A place next to a boy caught her eye. The boy wasn't all together good looking, but she didn't want to sit alone. He starred at her as she sat down.
"Before we get started, we'll take five minutes to get to know our new student, shall we?"
"It depends on what you want to know," Jennifer answered.
"Start with where you come from," a girl's voice asked.
"Well I'm from Toronto."
"Your purpose for being here," the girl helped her on.
"My father got a better job."
"A bit about your family," she queried on.
"I have a father, a sister and brother."
"And about your personal life," a different voice asked her.
"I'm not a vir..." Jennifer broke off in the middle of her sentence to hear the rest of class laugh. Her face turned tomato red and her eyes looked down.
"That's enough! You're supposed to make her feel welcomed," Mrs. Flounders said. "Now take out your homework."
Mrs. Flounders turned out to be a math teacher. They were far ahead of Jennifer's old class, but it didn't bother her because she practically never listened anyway. Probably light years ahead. That was the problem about having a 40 person class, everything had to be taught slower so that everyone could understand it. It made Jennifer wonder in what grade her friends would be covering what they were doing. Most likely never.
So Jennifer's mind wandered off to something else. Actually to someone. Three seats to the right sat a beautiful brown haired boy who struck her fancy the moment she entered the room.
The boy next to her didn't give her enough time to daydream, since he whispered, "Daydreaming can cause a lack of concentration and can get you into a lot of trouble."
"Huh?" she whispered back.
He never answered her. She figured he had turned his concentration back to math, since he had already raised her hand. Given to the fact that he was able to answer all the questions asked and that his answers were right, he must have been a good student.
Trying hard not to fall back into a dream, Jennifer started noting down what the teacher was writing down on the blackboard.
The class seemed to last forever, but finally it was over. Everything had to come to an end. Giving them their homework, Mrs. Flounders left the classroom.
The boy who caught her eye approached her and the boy sitting next to her. Smiling at her, he said, "I'm Matthew."
"I'm Jennifer," she said stupidly, gleaming into his eyes.
He's so gorgeous, Jennifer thought to herself, I need him. With her blonde hair and good looks Jennifer was used to getting what she wanted. Whether it was a chocolate bar to boy, you name it, she got it. There were a lot of girls jealous of her.
"Hey Craig," he said addressing the boy next to her. "Do you think you'll get scouted out tonight?"
"For what?" Jennifer asked, trying to be in the center of attention. She hated it when there was a conversation going on and people ignored her.
"Hockey," Matthew answered.
"Oh," she said, disappointed because she hated sports. "Is there anything else to do in this town?" she asked still in the spotlight.
"Sure, it's nothing like a big city's but we have a mall. I'm headed there this afternoon, I could take you with," Matthew said.
"Great," she said, trying hard not to show her enthusiasm. That's all she needed for him to know is that she wanted him.
"But you'll still make the game, right?" a girl's voice asked.
Jennifer noticed it was the same voice that helped her out before.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Jennifer eyed the girl from head to toe and almost sighed. The girl wasn't pretty at all. She had short brown hair and brown eyes. Her clothes were much better. Dressed in baggy jeans and a dark blue tee shirt, the girl looked scraggy. Jennifer's old friends and her would make fun of such people. But if she was Matthew's friend she would try to be nice.
"Are you sure you want to come?" Craig asked.
"It'll be embarrassing once Shane makes the team and I don't."
Shane, whose name was actually Shannon, turned red. She didn't really like it once other people complemented on her like that.
Jennifer couldn't believe what she was hearing. Ms. Scraggy was a hockey player and from the sounds of it a good one.
"Which reminds me Craig. Shane says if she makes it, she'll wear a dress at the next party!"
"What?" Craig asked, grinning. He like all the others in the class always wanted to see Shane wear a dress.
Jennifer almost bursted out into laughter. Ms. hockey player in a dress! That'll be the day.
Shane and Matthew left them since it entered the room.
It detailed the person perfectly. Whatever sex it was, didn't matter. It had long black hair, which flew well over its face. To top it off it was dressed up like a hippie. With multi-colored bellbottoms and a fluorescent green and pink marbled top.
Jennifer couldn't hold in her laughter. First the thought of Shane in a dress, then whatever the thing was.
"Don't worry you'll get used to it," Craig said.
"What is it?"
"Mr. Pearce our french teacher."
The teacher interrupted their conversation and started babbling on about some french city, which Jennifer really had no interest for. She was thinking about strategies on how she was going to win over Matthew's heart.
Now the time seemed to past by like a flash. Before she knew the day was over. After sixth class she exited the school with Shane, Craig and Matthew.
"Well, see you at the game!" Shane said.
Jennifer had spent the whole day with Shane and detested her already. Shane was too sweet.
The walk to the mall seemed like nothing to Jennifer. Matthew filled her in about what was going on, what movies he saw lately and bla, bla, bla. It wasn't that she was falling in love, yet she was fascinated with him.
The mall wasn't that impressive. Only two big department stores, a Sears and a Zellers, a little under 26 boutiques and a food court with a Mc Donalds and a Taco Bell. That's what Matthew told her.
"Are you hungry?" he asked as they approached the Sears entrance.
"Sure," she said.
They continued on walking.
"Is Shane your girlfriend?" Jennifer asked, the suspense killing her.
"No, my best friend," he answered.
Matthew led her to the short two-person line in front of the Mc Donald's counters. "What do you want?" he asked her.
"A menu number 2," Jennifer answered after looking over the list for a moment.
Number to was in the case 6 chicken nuggets, a medium fry and a medium drink. Matthew ordered two meals and a Big Mac on the side.
Once they found a table, they both gobbled down their food. Sitting there both stuffed they were both out of things to say. It didn't matter to Jennifer though, she didn't need to talk. A moment later her lips were pressed against his, an hour later they were making out on her bed, Matthew forgot all about Shane and the hockey game.
That's impossible, Shane thought miserably to herself. It was 5:50 and still no sign of Matthew. Usually Matthew was there a good half an hour before the game started to wish them, her, luck.
But he wasn't there. His normal place was unoccupied and wouldn't be occupied unless he showed up.
Shane had to get him out of her mind. The truth was that she had a crush on him for god knows how long, but never brought it up. Every time Matthew talked to her about his new crush or girlfriend, she felt really jealous inside. She knew that she never had a chance to get him. If they hadn't been friends for years, he would have never even talked to her. It was a known fact to her that she was ugly a lot uglier than all the girls Matthew went out with were. But still they were really close friends and sometimes close friends were better than lovers.
She sighed and looked over at Craig.
"Maybe he got caught up," Craig suggested seeing her disappointed face.
"Just don't let it ruin your one chance," Andrew, one of her teammates, said.
Andrew, like all the other players were, was jealous of Shane. They knew she had what it takes to become a professional and knew that one day she would be one of the first, if not the first, woman in the NHL. As a joke she said, she wanted to play for Colorado Avalanche or Toronto Maple Leafs.
It was time for hockey. Shane tried her hardest to push her disappointment to the back of her mind.
Shane skated out on the ice. She looked once more back to see if Matthew came, but his seat was empty and would stay empty for the rest of the game.
5 minutes left in the game. The Sacrificial Lambs dressed in black-red, Shane's team, were leading the game against the Toddlers dressed in purple 12 - 0, Shane scored 7 goals.
Shane got the puck. Skating as fast as she could down the rink she saw a purple player block her path. She had to give them credit. After the team was losing by a mere 12 points that they didn't give up. But she easily bypassed him by checking him out of the way. Getting ready to shoot, Shane sighed once more and easily whacked the puck into the net. 13 nothing.
Shane's coach decided for the last 3 minutes and 34 seconds to take her out. There was no use for her. Not even out of breath, she traded places with the team's second center, a guy named Andre, who was not very happy that a girl was better than him.
Craig was also taken off and once he sat down next to her, said, "Wow, the way you played, you're sure the hell a winner!"
"So?" Shane answered.
She turned to face him. Craig was able to see tears in her eyes.
"Are you crying?" he asked, concerned.
"Soon, I will be," she answered.
The final whistle blew and the score stayed at 13 - null. All the players on the benches stood up to shake hands. Before leaving Shane took her helmet off. A couple of years back the other teams were astound that the star of the Sacrificial Lambs was a girl, but now none of them even noticed a difference.
Quickly getting dressed Shane left the changing room, wanting to get home as soon as possible, but only to get stopped by three men, the scouts. She knew then she was chosen and Matt wasn't there to rejoice with her.
"That was some awesome technique out there, I've never seen anything like it. I'm Frank Shadows, coach of the junior team and these are my assistants Kurt Barts and Herman Truth."
"Hi," Shane said thinking it was the best thing to say.
"You're the exact player we've been searching for. I know that the world championships are in four weeks, the training starts next Tuesday, but we would be honored to have you play with us, even if, you are... well...."
"A girl," Shane finished the sentence off.
The man's face turned bright red. Shane had to wonder if the teammates would be happy to know that they have a girl on their team.
"Where do I sign up?"
The man handed her a bunch of forms.
"Those forms have to only be given in once you arrive in Montreal. From there on we head for Denver for the championships. Afterwards we have camp and then after the games you fly home."
"A question. Do I have to pay for this?"
Frank laughed. "Hell, no! You even get a free ticket for a family member or friend to join you for the ships."
"Oh and if my parents want to come?"
"They all ready have reserved a room."
"Well, I want to go home now."
"Just don't forget to fill out the forms."
Shane bid her goodbyes just to realize that Craig and the rest of the team had waited for her.
"Well, congratulations!" they all said and hugged her. Soon they all departed leaving Craig and Shane alone.
Shane exploded into tears. Half were from her happiness and the other half from her sadness. She couldn't get over the fact that for the last three years Matthew hadn't missed one of her games, but now he missed the most important one. Craig pulled her in close and led her outside to where her mother was waiting.
Helping her into the car, Craig gave her a kiss on the check and left to join his mother. Once Shane's mother started the ignition her congratulations began.
"I'm so proud of you," she said.
"So am I," Shane said through her tears.
Shane's mother and Matthew's mother were best friends that was how Matthew and Shane met each other. Both mothers reckoned about Shane's crush, but neither of them said anything to him or her about it.
"Matt never showed up mom," Shane cried out.
"There must be a good reason for it dear."
Those were the only words they exchanged on their way home. The rest of the way they sat in silence. Shane tried to read the forms, but her eyes were blotchy. In other words she couldn't read.
Finally arriving at home, Shane didn't give her father enough time to congratulate her, she just ran to her room and buried her head into her pillow.
At the same time Shane lay in her bed crying, Jennifer lay in her bed happy. Matthew had left just a couple of minutes ago. She's only been there for four days and already met someone. She wasn't actually sure she liked him, but he was a good kisser and good looking. That was all that mattered to her. As long as she had a nice appearance next to her. The best thing was he forgot all about Shane and the stupid hockey game. Who cares if she makes the juniors or not?
Laying down her head, Jennifer fell into a deep sleep, whereas Shane couldn't sleep a wink. She spent the whole night filling out the forms. Once Shane saw Matthew in Jennifer's arms it was clear to Shane why he had missed the game. Everyone who passed her congratulated her, the only one who didn't was Matthew.
I knew I wasn't pretty enough, Shane thought to herself. Why would anyone choose me over a pretty blonde?
Interrupting her thoughts, Craig patted her on the back. "You look terrible."
"I feel terrible," she answered.
"Let's go to class, you can sit with me."
Not really wanting to Shane followed Craig to their classroom and they both sat down at his desk. Matthew and Jennifer entered the room a moment later arm in arm. Matthew saw Shane and Craig, just waved "good morning" to them, didn't even bother going over to say anything.
Instead a girl named Ashley came. Ashley and Shane were also pretty good friends, although not the best.
"What a bitch!" Ashley commented once she was standing in front of them.
"You mean Jennifer?"
"Sure I heard from Fred that yesterday in Mc Donalds she was all over him. She actually forced him at first to kiss her, but then he started kissing back." Just taking a break to get her breath back, she continued, "I never knew Matthew was such a slut."
"Ashley, men can't be sluts," Craig said.
"Sure they can."
"No they can't," he challenged.
The hippie Mr. Pearce entered the classroom.
"Mr. Pearce?" Ashley asked.
"Yes?" he answered.
Mr. Pearce was one of those teachers with whom you could talk freely, he would always give you advice.
"Can a man be considered a slut?" Craig asked.
Not only did Mr. Pearce laugh, but the whole class with him. Even Matthew who didn't know that he was the man.
"No," Mr. Pearce answered.
"I still say he can."
"No, women are sluts, men are pigs."
"But men could still be sluts too, like women could be pigs, right?"
The rest of the class was spent discussing what men were and what women were. They never came to a conclusion, yet it was a funny and different kind of discussion that you don't have normally with a teacher. After class Ashley who had spent the whole class standing in front of Craig and Shane's desk said, "Okay he's a pig."
Shane just sat there silently. She knew the whole conversation was based on her best friend. She figured the other two were just trying to get her to laugh.
History, the next class went by fast as did German and Biology. Soon they were all sitting around the cafeteria devouring down their food. Shane parked herself at a lone table to notice Matthew walking in her direction. He sat down next to her.
"Hi," he said shyly.
"Hello," Shane said, hoping that he would stay with her.
"Matt," Jennifer called.
Matthew just got up and left. He didn't bother asking Shane how she was feeling or how the hockey game went. Instead he let himself be controlled by the blonde monster.
That was the last time Matthew tried to talk to her. The next couple of days he never even waved hello or smiled at her.
Shane became more and more like a zombie, her eyes had dark rings underneath them, she hadn't slept a wink. Her mother as well as Matthew's mother told her to sleep but Shane couldn't. On Thursday she was spent home by a worried teacher, but just returned the next day looking even worse.
On the Wednesday she even went up to talk to Matthew, but he acted as if he didn't know her. Before she was able to talk to him, the wonderful dazzling blonde Jennifer already had him swept into her arms.
Craig was trying helplessly to help Shane. Craig was so sweet and queer. That's probably why he never hurt her feelings. Shane believed in the saying, "the best men are either taken or gay". He had become homosexual through his brother's death. His brother had died a little over a year ago and Craig couldn't handle it. Shane and Matthew both tried to help him, but they didn't know his brother too well. So the only person there was to turn to was Tyle, Craig's brother's best friend. And the relationship started.
It was already Friday sixth class sport. Putting on her gym clothes, Jennifer felt really mean. She felt like telling a certain somebody something.
So she went up to Shane.
"Matt talks about you all the time."
"Really?" Shane asked.
"I know it's a not the things you want to hear, but he told me he only hangs out with you because of your mothers friendship. But the truth is, he hates you. He doesn't care about your stupid hockey either."
Jennifer stopped talking, since she knew about Shane's weak side.
Shane bursted out into tears.
"Get out of here you bitch!" Ashley screamed at Jennifer who was already on her way out.
"You can't believe her."
Shane was sobbing too hard to talk.
"Go out and get Craig," Ashley commanded to the others and a moment later Craig appeared worried about his friend.
"He never really liked me," Shane complained as Craig put his arms around her.
"Sure he did."
"Here since it's last class, I'll take you home. You get into a warm bath and then sleep until tonight. It'll make you feel better."
Shane didn't complain with that. She quickly got dressed, not caring that a boy was present she had gotten used to changing with boys in the same room. Craig ran to get his stuff and the two of them were on their way.
At home Shane did what she was told to do. She got into the bathtub and then went to bed. She closed her eyes and for the first time in almost a week started drifting off into a deep sleep.
Craig didn't go home after making sure Shane was okay, he ran straight for Matthew's house, which wasn't that far away from Shane's. Matthew and him were very close friends but you wouldn't have noticed that in the last week. Like with Shane, Matthew wasn't talking to Craig. The only person he seemed to be talking to was the bitch Jennifer.
Matthew's mother was surprised to see Craig at the door.
"Hi, is Matthew there and is that creature with him?"
Matthew's mother knew right away that Craig was referring to Jennifer. "No she had to babysit. But Matt's upstairs."
Craig went up to Matthew's room and didn't bother knocking before entering. Matt was sitting on his bed playing Zelda for the Nintendo 64.
"You're a bastard," Craig said making his presence clear.
"Really?" Matthew said turning around.
"You don't realize how much you've hurt everybody in the last week, do you? Just to make that blonde bitch happy!?!"
"Blonde bitch?" Matthew retorted.
"Does it satisfy you?"
"You're a stupid shithead! You're gay so you really don't know how it is."
"Oh, really? And what is Tyle?"
"So go talk to your gay partner about love and leave me alone."
"I used to think that you were at least a person and not some kind of awful being. You helped me through that tough phase I had last year when my brother died and all I wanted to do was help you out of your phase."
"This is not a phase, Craig."
"Then you need no help," Craig said and stormed out leaving Matthew with a lot to think over.
At six o'clock Shane's mother woke up her daughter. It was the first time that week that Shane was sleeping and Shane's mother hated disturbing her.
"Come on, the party starts in an hour."
"I'm not going."
"It's for you. Listen I know that you don't want to go but you have to. It'll make the others feel bad."
Shane grunted but got out of bed.
"Here, I got you this."
Shane's mother handed her a box. Eagerly opening it, Shane realized it was the black dress she had always wanted, but thought it would never suit her. And to go with it the perfect shoes.
Shane thanked her mother and quickly got dressed. The dress suited her perfectly. That's what everyone said, her mother, her father and all the people at the party. They were of course astound at first to see her wearing a dress but then all commented on how she looked.
Before the party was really started, Shane was called up on stage for a speech. Reluctantly she climbed the stairs to get onto the stage. She saw Matthew standing in the corner of the room with Craig. Jennifer was no where in sight.
Slowly Shane started with her speech.
"I really don't want to say that much except for that let the party begin!"
The audience roared and soon the music started. Shane slowly headed for outside. She felt stuffy in the room and wanted to leave. Sitting down outside, she started plucking out grass.
"Hey Shane," a voice said gently. "Is that place next to you reserved?"
It was Matthew.
"No, but if you occupy it I'll leave."
Matthew sat down. Before getting up Shane heard a sobbing sound. From next to her Matthew was crying. No matter how much she knew that she was supposed to leave because of what he did to her, she couldn't. She was just too nice.
"Hey, don't cry," Shane said.
"I'm such a screw up," Matthew whined.
"Why did Jennifer dump you?"
"No, I was supposed to pick her up at 6:45 but never showed up. I came direct here. Craig made me open my eyes and I could kill myself for what I have become."
"I hurt you."
Shane looked down at her hands and knew she too was on the urge to cry.
"But you only hang out with me because our mothers are friends."
Matthew looked at her. "I don't recall saying that."
"To that pretty blonde thing?"
"Did she tell you that?"
Matthew grabbed her hands and held them tight. "The most perfect girl was there all the time. She wasn't no model or slut, just a hockey player."
Shane looked him in the eyes. She knew he wasn't lying to her. His right hand began running through her hair. His face moved in closer and closer, until his lips could easily press against hers. He kissed her.