High school tends to be one of the most difficult part of our lives. It's where we transition from happy-go-lucky teenagers to the responsible adults with all the answers. Unfortunately, I was only half through this dreadful part. It wasn't that I hated school, just that ninety percent of the students attending it. It was a small town and I grew up with almost every single person in the school. For those years that lead up to high school, they constantly teased me about my interests in ghosts. I was so sick and tired of their teasing that by the end of middle school I had enough and talked back. Not a lot, but enough that the teasing went down. Eventually most of them grew tired of me and just completely ignored my existence, which suited me just fine. With that behind me, school became a whole lot more enjoyable. I managed to past my first two years of high school without much attention drawn to me.
But life is never that simple or fair.
I had stayed up late last night watching a T.V. special on ghosts on the discovery channel. I got nothing new out of, just the same old "Are ghosts real?" follow by someone's ghost story and "scientific" evidence to support or not support it. At some point, I fell asleep only for an obnoxious, "Beep, Beep, Beep," of my alarm clock to wake me up. My hands went over to push away my covers but I only felt around my body and realized I was still in my cloths from yesterday. The alarms continued to go, "Beep, Beep, Beep." Annoyed, I pressed the sleep button to stop it. But it still continued on the "Beep, Beep, Beep." I pressed the button again. Nothing. Then I pressed the snooze button. Still Nothing. I repeated the process several times, but it wouldn't stop. I was so irritated by it I carelessly tossed it at the wall and listen to the "Boom," follow by another "Boom" as it hit the hardwood floor.
"I need a new one anyways," I mumbled to myself as I rolled out of bed. I walked towards my dresser then the closet and grab a clean pair of clothes. I grabbed the first thing that looked decent, a shirt and jeans then headed to the bathroom.
After my long, relaxing, hot shower I headed downstairs to the powder room to dry and brush my hair so my brother could take a shower. We only had two showers in the whole house, one I shared with my brothers and the other one mom had to herself. I grew accustom to taking a shower then heading downstairs to finish the rest of the morning grooming, or clean up as I liked to call it sometimes.
I turned the corner towards the stairs when I bumped into someone. I looked up to see a pair of dark brown eyes glaring down at me. Still a little tired, it took a couple of seconds to recognize it was my brother, Jacob. "Watch where your going Alice. Can't you ever keep your head clear?" I rolled my eyes a little. Jacob would never be a morning person. "You need to learn how to think and walk at the same time." He walked past me mumbling to himself while scrubbing his fingers through his hair that match his eyes.
Jacob is three years older then me but he still thought of me as a child at times. He was nineteen, still lived at home. Not uncommon for guys his age, but he couldn't keep a job long enough to buy a bar of soap. This comes as a surprise to anyone who knows him. He had pass through high school with ease and does very well at the local university. His tuition and books are paid for thanks to his basketball scholarship, plus he has extra cash from his academic scholarships. No one in the family can figure out why he can't keep a job longer then a month nor will he tell anyone. Then again, he declined a full ride out of state to Harvard. Now that was even a bigger shocker to most.
I headed straight to the stairs in no mood to deal with Jacob. The only thing we had in common was our looks. Out in public we were sometimes mistaken as twins, but we weren't. Jacob was tall, about six five. He's attractive and was the most popular guy when he was in high school, and still is. There is even a rumor he dated every single girl in his class. When I reached the powder room, I grabbed the brush off the counter and started to brush my hair and blow-dry it. I looked in the mirror, trying to see the similarities we shared. I caught myself doing that from time to time. The only thing I could ever see was that we both took after our dad and had hints of our mom, but I took after mom a little more. I had her deep blue eyes oppose to Dad's brown. I pulled my hair back into the same old ponytail, leaving only bangs around my face that were too short to go back. I liked how it framed my face so well. Then I quickly, but thoroughly brushed my teeth staring at my reflection in the mirror again. I've been told a handful of times by strangers I was beautiful, I could be a model. But I knew better. Everyone made it clear that I was just ordinary.
With one last glance at the mirror, I headed towards the kitchen trying to see what those strangers saw. I couldn't. No matter how many times I tried, I only saw the ugliness in myself. When I was young, I came up with the conclusion that those strangers were all blind or just lived with hideous people. What was a handful of people words compare to the hundred that told me otherwise?
Once I was in the kitchen, I made a quick breakfast that consisted of cinnamon toast and apple juice. I sat down at the kitchen counter and took a big bite of the toast when Mom walked in. Her icy blue eyes meant my gaze. I could see there was something on her mind and she was trying to phrase it just right. She poured herself a cup of coffee then stood across the counter from me taking a sip. She looked at me. After a few seconds, she spoke up, "You stayed up late watching that show, didn't you?" It wasn't a question. She knew the answer. She sighed and continued on, "Why can't you grow up? You are only setting yourself up for disappointment. Please, Alice. Come to your senses. It's been years already." I looked down, unable to meet her eyes. I gave her a nod to let her know I heard her and continued to eat my toast.
Something in the back of my mind kept telling me that communicating with ghosts was impossible, but I ignored it, unable to let it go. I had set my mind to it after Dad had die ten years ago. When I was mourning over his death, I decided I would learn how to communicate with ghosts. It was the only way I figure I could find the answer that I needed to know. I told Mom of my plan, but she only thought of it way I was handling the death of Dad. The physiatrist even told her that it was only a phase in my mourning process and it would pass. It never did. I still hadn't given up on my original plan. Otherwise, everything would have been futile and Dad's death would mean nothing.
I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I hadn't realize Mom had already moved on to a new topic, "Well, I'm sure you broke your alarm clock I'll get you new one after work today. You needed a new one anyways. Now hurry up and finish your breakfast or you're going to be late for school." I looked at the clock on the microwave and sure enough I was already going to be late.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier! I'm going to be late for Pre-Cal." I dropped my toast on the plate and took a quick sip of apple juice before I rushed out of the kitchen.
Thanks to a little speeding, I was able to get to class with five minutes to spare. I headed straight towards my seat in the back of the room. Half way there Cecilia stopped me. Her cold blue eyes stared down at me as if I was dirt, "Looked who showed up for class and I thought today we wouldn't have a freak in our presence." Brittany nodded in agreement starring at me with the same look as Cecilia, but not half as good. I was too tired to deal with them so I gently pushed my way through the human wall to my seat and sat down. I could feel their glare aimed at me. I knew at lunch that I was going to get a few words from them, so I immediately started to mentally search through the school for the best spot to eat lunch and not be disturbed.
I stared out the window next to my desk and started to plan the best route to get lunch, eat, and leave with out running into Cecilia. The safest option was to eat lunch in the women's-restroom, but that was unsanitary plus public restrooms were disgusting to begin with. I quickly crossed that idea out. Before I could get any further Mrs. Jones, our Pre-cal teacher, came in with a huge smile on her face. "Good morning class," her typical upbeat greeting every morning, "Today we have a new student joining us. Please give a warm welcome to William." I glanced up at Mrs. Jones and notice the new student that everyone in class was staring at. He was a little shorter then Jacob, probably about six-two with beautiful short black hair and the most beautiful green eyes I have ever seen. A couple of seconds passed when I realize that I was staring at him like everyone else in the classroom. Blushing a little, I quickly took my eyes off him. I turned my attention back to the parking lot outside the window, trying to feign indifference about the new transfer student.
"Now where should we seat you?" continued Mrs. Jones, "Oh. Look, there is empty desk in the back next to Alice. Why don't you go sit there?" Without thinking, I looked over to my right at the empty desk next to me in horror. I looked up to see Cecilia on the other side of the room giving me the glare of death. She was raging with jealously, which meant there was one more reason why I should avoid her at lunch. I was dreading lunch more and more by the second.
I started to plan my route to lunch again when the new student took his seat. The notes were mindless and I kept myself busy trying to figure out Lunch. I went through every route to the cafeteria in my head. I couldn't figure out how to bypass Cecilia and get a lunch from the lunch lady. After awhile I gave up and decided to start on my homework since I already understood the notes. After awhile, I couldn't stop myself from looking over at the new student. It was a little weird to have someone sitting next to me. I suspected that he was already sleeping on his first day of school, but to my surprise, he was casually taking notes. Then again, he may have been doodling he looked too casual.
I finished my Pre-Cal homework a minute before the bell rang. Grabbing my books, papers, and pencils, I stuff them into my backpack; ready to dash out the door the minute the bell rang. I wouldn't be able to take my time to class today with Cecilia ready to attack at any given moment. The bell rang and I was out of my seat, out the door before anyone else was out his or her seats. Half way to physics I slowed my pace down to a leisure walk with a sigh of relief, confident I was out of Cecilia's reach. Cecilia was probably occupied with flirting with the new student while showing him to his next class, but that didn't make my entire day safe. Eventually, I would crawl back into her mind.
Lunch was going to be my least enjoyable part of the day.
The rest of my classes all went by slowly, but peacefully. I forgot all about my lunch dilemma until the lunch bell rang.
"Ring," it was time for lunch. For once in my life I didn't want to go.
On the way to lunch I meant up with my two bests friends, Kathryn and Sam. Kathryn and I have been friends since preschool and I became friends with Sam in middle school after she moved to our small town. Kathryn befriended Sam first. I didn't even try to thinking she was like everyone else. Once the new people caught wind of the rumors about me they avoid me. However, Sam and me realize we were reading the same book and we hit it off. She didn't mind the rumors about me and we became quick friends.
"Hey Alice! How has your day been so far?" asked Sam with a huge smile on her face.
I shrugged my shoulders, "Expect for first period it's been okay, but that won't last long. What's with that huge smile on your face? Something good happen to you?"
"Sam is still star stuck. That's all," answered Kathryn.
Sam lost her smile while she glared at Kathryn. "It's not like that!" She looked back at me with the same huge smile as before. "Haven't you seen the new student, William? I can actually understand why Cecilia is trying so hard to get his attention. He's gorgeous! Too bad for her, he's way out of her league – why did you stop suddenly Alice?"
We were a few feet from the cafeteria door and I still haven't figure out how to avoid Cecilia and her minions. "Go on ahead. I just realize I need to use the restroom. I'll join you guys in a minute." I gave them a reassuring wave good-bye and turn the corner towards the restroom. I stood in the restroom for a couple of minutes until I was sure there was no one else going into the cafeteria, then headed back. Instead of going straight in, I stopped next to the door and leaned back against the wall. I stuck my head around the corner and scanned the cafeteria. Cecilia was sitting in her usual spot in the middle of the cafeteria eating lunch. There were still people in line for lunch.
I was about to walk in when I realize that I wasn't alone any more. "Are you going to go in? You've been standing there for a while." It was a low charming voice that sounded very unfamiliar to me. I turned around to see a pair of green eyes peering down at me with curiosity. He hadn't said a word during first period and his voice surprised me. "What?" Apparently, my surprise was written on my face.
"Nothing," I replied quickly then headed into the cafeteria. I felt so stupid. How could I possible forget that where was a new student who was the talk of the whole school? Once he walked in, there would be a coward, with Cecilia leading, following him around. My stupidity only went further when I walked right down the middle of the cafeteria passing by Cecilia. I suppressed a moan and kept my pace the same even pace although I wanted to dart to the lunch line. I told myself that I didn't want to draw any more attention then I already have.
I stood in the lunch line for a minute before Cecilia came up behind me. "How are you today, Alice?" I didn't answer. "Oh, Alice. There's no need to be like that. I'm only trying to chat with you. We haven't had one in ages," for obvious reasons. "Anyways, remember the new student, William, from first period? He is hot, is he not? The last person to stir up this much attention was your brother, Jacob. There hasn't been anyone to replace Jacob since he left. Don't get me wrong, Andrew isn't bad looking, he's just a fraction of a level lower then Jacob and William."
My twin brother, Andrew. The only thing we have in common is our eyes. He took after our mother more then anyone with his blond hair, which was why Jacob and I were often confused as the twins.
I didn't care if Cecilia had no interest in Andrew. Actually, I was very happy about that. The fact was that Cecilia wanted something and I was in the way. That's the only reason she ever try to be civil with me.
I grabbed the tray of food that the Lunch Lady handed me and turned to face Cecilia. With a sigh, I asked, "Cecilia, what do you want?"
Cecilia's replied was automatic. "Alice, I don't want anything. I'm only here to ask for a simple favor. That's all." I had a feeling that I wouldn't like the direction she was heading towards. "Will you switch seats with me in first period, or" she paused for split second twisting her hair around her index finger, "would you rather experience a painful school year?"