"I swear to God, Taylor, if you aren't down here in like, two minutes, your ass is getting left!"
"Coming, Bryn!" I yelled, grabbing my stupid mesh book bag and slinging it over one shoulder. I paused in front of the full body mirror hanging on my wall, tossing my long blonde ponytail around, trying to find the most attractive position for it to settle in, until my ears were greeted by the blast of my sister's car horn; a second later, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket with a text message, undoubtedly her telling me to hurry up. With an exasperated sigh and a roll of my eyes, I shot myself one last glance in the mirror before flicking the lights in my room off and bounding downstairs and out the front door without so much as a good-bye from my mother.
This was so not how I wanted my morning to go.
Almost in a spring, I hurried across the front yard and the driveway to the street, where Bryn had just pulled out. I yanked open the door of her white Ford Explorer, and she started to speed away before I had even shut it.
"You got lucky that time, Taylor but-"
"If I'm ever that late again, you'll be long gone, I know," I finished, in a slightly mocking tone. It was all out of love; my older sister Bryn was my favourite person in the world and my built in best friend. Sure, we were always picking on each other, but it was in an endearing sort of way, and we both knew it.
"Won't be that bad…" I heard her saying, as I zoned back in. "I promise, Tay." At that, I assumed she was talking about school. She and my mother had been trying all week to tell me that going to high school wouldn't be the worst experience of my life, but for some reason, I seriously doubted that. It was bad enough that we had just moved here over the summer, from five hours away, after a messy break-up between my mom and her most recent ex, but the fact that I was going into my freshman year of high school definitely didn't make it any better.
"That's easy for you to say, Bryn," I argued. "You're a sophomore. You have a car. You already met people here."
"And they won't bite, I promise," she concluded. I opened my mouth, tempted to bark back with some wiseass retort, but I figured there was no point in taking my anger out on her. After all, she was just trying to help. Instead, I crossed my arms over my chest and propped my feet up on the dash.
When Bryn didn't yell at me to take them off, I glanced out of the corner of my eye in her direction; she sat intently driving, her tiny hands clutching the steering wheel tightly. Side by side, we were a study in opposites. Her hair hung down, just an inch or so past her shoulders, in loose natural curls, while my hair was long, blonde, and perpetually pulled back into a ponytail. She was wearing a bright fuchsia cardigan, a delicate white blouse underneath it, a clunky black beaded necklace with matching ball earrings, and tall white wedges, while I had thrown on my standard: a polo, today's colour of choice being black, some jeans, and a pair of Converse, also black; the only jewelry I wore were tiny, almost invisible, diamond studs in my ears and the necklace she had given me for Christmas, a small M engraved onto a round, circular charm. There were, of course, physical similarities between us, since we shared genetics. Both of us were graced with bright blue eyes, round noses, and fairly unblemished, though slightly lighter than average, skin.
The car stopped, and I realized Bryn had just pulled into the parking lot. My gaze fell upon the clock. 7:57. The bell that signaled the beginning of the day was to ring at eight, which left us three minutes until we entered the building. I sighed, staring at those three digits, wishing I could freeze them like that.
"Stop brooding," Bryn told me, leaning over in her seat a bit. "I mean, really? You're acting like Robert Smith. You're wearing black…you should just smear eyeliner all over your face and dye your hair at this rate."
"At least then people would know not to mess with me." I was surprised to hear her laugh.
"Oh, Taylor, you're something else," she sighed, after a moment of straight laughter. Her eyes had watered, so she ran a finger underneath them, searching for loose teardrops.
"What do you mean?" I asked, furrowing my eyebrows, but she just shook her head.
"Don't worry about it." She glanced down at the clock, then slipped her key out of the ignition and opened her door. "Come on." It was 7:59, and we still had to cut across the parking lot, so I followed her lead and hopped out of the car. Watching the other students flocking toward the school building made me feel suddenly self-conscious. I glanced over at Bryn for encouragement, but she wasn't even paying attention. Just as we reached the front door of the school, the bell rang, shrill, stunning. I paused, my hand still coiled around the cool metal handle of the door, until I felt Bryn's elbow digging into my rib. "Are you coming, Tay?" I nodded, and with that, I pulled the door open toward me.
The moment I stepped into the building, I felt my heart sink to my knees, and I swallowed, hard. It was a few seconds before I realized that I had no idea where I was going. While yesterday I had made my way up to the school to get my schedule, as I dug it out of the back pocket of my jeans, I felt utterly lost. I glanced over my shoulder to see Bryn, but when I scanned the crowd behind me, I couldn't find her.
Now I was completely alone.
Staring down at my schedule, the pale pink of paper, creased down the middle from being folded, I deduced that my first period was human geography, and that it was on B hall. The names of the hall were printed on the brick banners above them, in huge white letters. I looked up at the one closest to me.
I hadn't the slightest clue where B Hall was, so I simply continued with the flow of traffic, stumbling along down the hallway. Besides getting shoved into the wall once, presumably by accident, by some guy who was about seven feet tall and built like a train, I managed to make my way to the next hallway unscathed.
My principal flaw was pausing outside the hallway in an attempt to read its title. Swallowed in the massive sea of people, I couldn't see the name of it, and I kept getting jostled around, closer and closer toward the opened double doors at the end of the hallway and further and further away from its sign. Finally, after a minute or two of futile attempts to emerge from the crowd and glance up, I caved in and decided to ask someone what hall I was outside of.
"Um, excuse me," I started, to the first person who walked by. It was a girl, tan, blonde, in a frilly pink blouse and too-tall black heels, her Gucci handbag flung over one shoulder, her bright glossed lips pursed. "Do you know what hall this is?" She laughed, savage, vicious, baring her shining white teeth like a wolf's.
"Freshman," she muttered, rolling her eyes, and with the flick of her wrist, she disappeared back into the endless stream of nameless, faceless people flooding the hallway.
"It's B Hall," a voice called out from behind me, and I jumped, just a bit, startled. I felt someone push me in the direction of the hallway, but this time, I didn't resist it, since that was my destination. Once there, I figured I owed whoever had directed me a thank you, and though I doubted they were behind me, I decided to say it anyways.
"Thanks," I said, thinking nothing of it.
That was, of course, until I heard the same voice from before reply, "You're welcome." I spun around, wondering who I was talking to.
There he stood. He had brown hair that wasn't crew cut short, nor too long, but rather, average length; it was tousled, slightly standing up, and skewed in a few different directions. His eyes were wide, like someone who hadn't seen the sunlight in years, a dark, mossy green in hue, and they glinted in the fluorescent haze of the school's lights, friendliness reflected in them. His nose leaned on the large side, and his lips were thin and parted; he wore an easy smile, along with a short sleeved white button up dress shirt, khaki pants, and boat shoes. I felt myself return his smile as I noticed his telltale pocket protector.
"You must be new here," he observed, as he took his first step down the hallway. Instantaneously, I felt my cheeks begin to flush.
Was it really that obvious?
"What makes you say that?" I couldn't help but ask, and I watched as his smile turned into a bright grin.
"I can just tell." He shrugged, before deciding to elaborate. "Plus, the two middle schools that send students here always bring up the eighth graders for an orientation thing at the end of the school year, so you would have known where the halls were."
"How did you know I was a freshman?"
"Takes one to know one," he replied. He stopped outside a wide opened classroom door. "Well, this is my classroom." Just before he stepped inside the room, I glanced down at my schedule to see what room my class was in.
I diverted my gaze to the plaque hanging outside the classroom and realized that it, too, read B-5.
"Mine too," I pointed out, following him into it. The teacher's desk was abandoned, but there were other students sitting in sporadic spots across the classroom. He settled into an empty desk in the middle of the second row of them, and I plopped myself down in the desk in front of his. I spun around in my seat, watching him as he unzipped the large book bag he had been wearing to dig through; a moment or two later, he wielded a notebook, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a shiny silver pen that looked about as expensive as my entire outfit. When he looked up and saw me watching him, I felt rather embarrassed, so I dipped my head, that way my ponytail fell sort of in my face, covering up my guilty blue eyes. He only seemed amused by this, chuckling to himself.
"I can still see you, you know."
"What are you talking about?" I tried to play it cool, as though I had no idea what he was talking about, and he seemed to fall for the bait.
"Never mind," he murmured, running a hand through his hair. When he finished, it stuck up in a few more places than it had previously. I was just about to turn back around in my seat when he cleared his throat. "I'm Riley, by the way."
"That's a cute name!" I couldn't help but squeal.
"For Irish girls and dogs," he added.
"Your words not mine," I pointed out. "I'm Taylor."
"Did you-" Before he could finish articulating his thought, and with that, our teacher entered the classroom, a flurry of dark curls and door slams. It seemed as though the bell flipped her talking switch on, as the moment she got in the classroom, her mouth began to run, ninety to nothing.
I don't remember much of what she said, but it's funny, because two years later, I'm still wondering what Riley wanted to ask.
hi guys, this is just the prologue. i know the whole nerd/jock thing is a pretty popular cliche on here, but i think the nerd/cheerleader one is more realistic, since, i mean, what girl doesn't love a smart guy to "talk nerdy" to her? sure, biceps are great, but if you can't hold a conversation... ;P
anyway, i hope you're at least slightly intrigued. if you enjoyed this, or hated it, or anything, feel free to drop me a line and tell me why! i love reviews like a nerd loves calculus!
thanks for reading :)