Notes as of 1/05/10. I can't sleep. I think I'm finally, 100 percent content with this chapter.
I could say with great certainty that my guidance counselor was very sick of seeing my face in his office.
"What do you need, Regan?" he sighed, digging around his messy desk for my file. He always kept it on hand because I visited him at least twice a day. It wasn't because of some perverse lust I had for him or anything. Which would be totally acceptable, considering the fact that he was the youngest and arguably the most attractive member of my school's faculty, but that was extremely beside the point. No, I just happened to be very nervous about… everything.
"I don't know what else I need to do to make sure I get into a good school. My ACT score was pretty good and I've maintained a great GPA. But… I told you I got rejected from Berea, right?"
"Yes, you told me about twenty times. You called me in tears when it happened. I understand fully that you were rejected from Berea."
"Mr. Whit, now is not the time for your acidic tone to be adding to my already fragile mental state. I must have gotten rejected from that school for some reason. I just can't think of what that reason could possibly be. This is a problem."
Mr. Whit threw my file aside when he realized he wasn't going to need it. He tapped his fingers against his desk as he offered his first bit of what he considered to be comforting words: "Maybe your interview didn't go over well. You do have the tendency to… not be very good at talking to people."
"My interview went fine!" I said belligerently, crossing my arms. "You aren't taking this seriously!" I was whining at this point. I hated it when I got to that point. I'm sure Mr. Whit did, too.
"Okay… I'm going to tell you something that I told you last year when you were fussing about college. Regan, you probably have a barebones application compared to other kids. Your grades are great, your GPA is wonderful, but the fact that you haven't participated in any extracurricular activities is probably really hurting you at this point. You don't do community service and you just don't… I don't know why I tell you these things because you don't listen to me. But seriously, Regan, you have to do something."
"I campaigned for Obama," I reminded him.
"Everyone campaigned for Obama," he shot back.
"Ugh, you're right. I'm---"
Before I could even think of the right self-loathing insult to hurl at myself, Mr. Whit interjected with, "None of that nonsense, okay? You're not worthless. You're just slightly uptight and you obviously hate the town you live in, as well as the school you attend. You like musicals, don't you? Why don't you audition for the next school play?" he suggested, pointing to the flyer that was hanging on his bulletin board.
"Hmm…" I gave the flyer a glance, but wasn't too enthusiastic about this idea. "I don't know, Mr. Whit. Auditioning for a musical would just add lots of stress to my life."
"You have nothing to worry about, Regan. I would know, you dump all of your woes on me. Besides being a relatively well-adjusted child in a family that has gone through divorce, you have dealt with moving six times in addition to a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Despite that, you still have your life under control. Fantastic grades, a nice vocabulary… You're a good kid. You deserve to do something fun."
"I don't have friends." I wasn't quite sure where this point fit in. I guess I was just desperate for Mr. Whit to feel sorry for me instead of just obviously being annoyed by me.
"I can't argue with that…"
"Mr. Whit, that's very unprofessional!" I scolded, slamming my hands on his desk.
"It's your senior year. There's not much you can do about that. You don't seem to get along with many people and I can't really say that it's your fault… because it's not. If you don't click with people, that's just it. But maybe auditioning for this musical…" He had a very impressive way of segueing back into his ignored advice. "Maybe auditioning for a show would help you make a couple of friends. So, there you go. Killing two birds with one stone."
I let out a groan as I picked up my bag and stood up. "Well, as usual, you were absolutely no help at all," I told him, stepping around my chair and making my way towards the door. "Thank you, Mr. Whit. I'll let you know if I decide to audition for the silly show or not."
He gave me a small wave, but I left before he could say anything.
It was almost time for fourth period. I had skipped lunch to have the meeting with Mr. Whit just because I had more important things to do than eat by myself. I had a few minutes to spare, though, so I decided I would stop by and talk to the teacher who was in charge of the drama club. I was actually entertaining the idea of auditioning for whatever show they were doing, so it wouldn't hurt to ask about the audition process.
I had to admit that I was feeling more inconvenienced than shocked when I saw the same teacher I was preparing to talk being escorted past me in handcuffs by a police officer. A few seconds later, several students followed, all pointing and whispering.
This was more annoying than strange.
I grabbed one of the few kids I was familiar with by the hood of his jacket. "Blaine… would you kindly tell me why Ms. Windsor was just taken out of the school in handcuffs?"
Blaine didn't seem too upset that I had stopped him from witnessing this interesting event. I figured he was probably just following along because everyone else was. "Oh, well… You know, she's always banging her freshman students, right?"
I had most certainly not known this. "Are you serious?" I asked. I realized that I hadn't let go of his hood; I did so immediately, holding onto the strap of my bag instead. "I mean, you're being completely serious?"
"I'm being completely serious," Blaine said. I could tell that he was by how gravely serious his deep blue eyes were. It occurred to me that if there was anyone in this crummy school I would be willing to date, it was Blaine Knox. I then figured that I should be thinking about more important things than Blaine and his pretty blue eyes. And his perfectly tousled brown hair and his strong shoulders…
Back to Ms. Windsor being a pedophile.
"So, that's just… it? That's it for the drama club?" I was talking more to myself than to Blaine. I could feel my cheeks getting hot due to the pure rage I was experiencing. Naturally, when I needed there to be a drama club, it was not going to exist anymore. Exactly my luck.
Blaine shrugged. "I guess so. I'm not exactly thrilled about it, I guess."
Oh. I'd forgotten that he was actually in the drama club. Why didn't he seem to be shattered over the teacher he had worked with so many times being arrested for having affairs with young boys? I decided not to ask. "You're the president, right?" Of course, I already knew this. I just had to pretend like I wasn't creepily obsessed with Blaine and all of his endeavors.
"Yeah, I'm the president. I mean… I guess we could still conduct business as usual, but it really helps to have a teacher backing the program. The board might just use this as an excuse to cut the problem and send the funding over to the sports department. I really don't want that. It's my last year… And I was really excited about doing this show. Spring musicals are always a lot of fun." Blaine nervously shoved his hands in his pockets and leaned back on his heels. I could tell that he was more upset than he was letting on.
Perhaps hope was not lost.
"Well, Blaine, you know… Maybe we could neutralize that threat and talk to the principal before he even gets the idea. We can assure him that you all are capable of putting on this show, with or without someone backing the club," I suggested, tapping my forefingers together and trying not to sound too creepy.
"You mean, you'd come with me? You know that a grand total of four of our senior members graduated early, including our vice president, right? That leaves us with a total of three permanent members besides myself, none of which are really vice president material. And you… well, you seem like great vice president material! Not that you're not great president material or anything, I mean… you obviously are. You wear argyle sweaters and knee-socks, you know? But yeah, maybe you could be my new vice president. Were you planning on auditioning for this show?"
I gave him a quick nod. I suppose my decision had been made for me. "Yes, actually, I was. You know, living it up before I graduate. So… once all of this settles down and all the faculty members get back in the school and off the phone with angry parents, what say you and I go talk to our good principal about the current state of things, yeah?"
I wasn't quite expecting the tight hug Blaine gave me, but I can't say I was complaining. "You're the best, Regan! Really," he gushed. "But hey, I'm gonna go and ah… make sure the other drama club members know about this before they show up for the meeting this afternoon and act all shocked. Thanks again, though!"
"I love you," I said, only I didn't say that. I'm pretty sure I said something like, "Okay, see you!" which was totally dull, but hey. He was running away in a hurry, so there was no time for a severe proclamation of love.
As soon as my brain stopped being pure mush, I marched back to Mr. Whit's office despite the fact that I only had about thirty seconds until my next class. He would just have to deal with writing me a note. "Mr. Whit---"
"Irony, so much irony!" Mr. Whit groaned, slamming his phone down. He ran his hands through his neat blonde hair, making a huge mess of it. "Regan, I'm really sorry that I magically cursed your chances to participate in an extracurricular activity. You have no idea how many phone calls I've been through in the few minutes you've been gone."
"Oh, it's okay…"
Mr. Whit's eyes widened. "… Regan? Did you just deem something as being "okay" instead of… whatever gratuitously negative thing your mind managed to think up first?"
"I did. I just wanted to ask if you think it would be possible for the drama club to continue---"
A shrill ring interrupted my question. Mr. Whit signaled for me to wait one minute (and I was tempted to count) as he answered the phone. "O'Riley High School guidance office, this is Mr. Whit speaking. How may I help you? … Yes. Yes, your son told you correctly. I'm sorry, I'm not any position to discuss the--- No, I cannot tell you the names of the students she--- Ma'am, if you are concerned about your son's behavior with his teachers, then perhaps you should talk to him about that yourself! Thank you. Have a nice day. … Now what were you saying, Regan?"
"I was wondering if the drama club actually needs a teacher to you know, like, exist?" I finally managed to ask. I was waiting for another phone call to interrupt.
"Ah… to the best of my knowledge, all clubs need some type of advisor… Of course, lots of club activities occur with no advisor present, so I think it's pretty much a formality for things like the drama club, where students normally take the lead on directing and all that. But, Regan, you do realize that a lot of parents want the program cut now, right? At least half of the ones that have called my office have asked me if that's going to happen."
"Why?!" I shrieked. Clearing my throat and regaining my composure, I added, "What is cutting the program going to do about this situation?"
"Nothing. But people get scared and they think that a problem has to be eliminated. Anyway, your best bet is to talk to Mr. Collins after school… which may not happen. He's going to have a lot on his plate. So… why don't you go talk to the student council president first? If you have her on your side, Mr. Collins is more likely to care about your case."
I nodded, clutching at the bottom of my cardigan in an attempt to not smack Mr. Whit across the face. Sending someone to the student council president basically meant that their problem was unimportant and not needing immediate attention. "Thank you very much. Uhm… that was the last bell that just rang. Can you please write me a note for my next class?"
Mr. Whit grabbed a post-it note and scribbled "Regan was in my office, please admit her to class" quickly. "Now go straight to class, okay? No sobbing in the bathroom or buying multiple Vitamin Waters."
"Of course! Thanks!" I took the note and left his office. As I walked to my math class, I tried to think of other extracurricular activities I could participate in that wouldn't involve me begging our principal to not cut the program. When my list came up short (virtually empty), I let out a sigh and realized that saving the drama club simply had to be done.
My entire future depended on it!