"He who praises everybody, praises nobody." – Samuel Johnson
"Mom, I'll be fine," I say for what has to be the umpteenth time within the last fifteen minutes.
Despite my reassurance, my mother is fretting over me. She's running around my room, making sure everything is in its proper place. Everything is perfectly put together; I think she's just stalling our goodbyes. My mother hates saying goodbye. Especially to her baby girl, who just can't live without her. Yeah right.
I glance down at my watch. I really wish she would just leave already. I need to meet my roommate, since I'll be spending the next nine months sharing the same living space with her. I gently usher my mom towards the door. I hug her and say goodbye.
She hugs me, and it feels like she's never going to let me go. I'm starting to suffocate, when she finally steps back. There are tears in her eyes, and I try to act like I'm also sad to be separating from my caretaker of the past fifteen years.
Mom reaches out and puts her hand on my cheek.
"My baby girl, you're all grown up. Are you sure this is what you want? It's not too late to enroll you in public school."
I sigh, and give my mom another hug.
"You know that public education isn't nearly as good as the one here. Besides, I'm just a phone call away, and I'll visit you every other weekend."
Mom nods and says, "Okay. You promise?"
I nod and put a big smile on my face.
"Okay, Mom. I love you. Bye."
Finally, she's gone. I can hear her sniffling from down the hall as I shut the door to my room and go to lie on my bed. I will be attending private school this year, for the first time in my life. It was originally my mother's idea, and I have to say, at first I wasn't thrilled. Then I realized that I would be spending months away from my mom, living at a boarding school that was coed. I have the opportunity to live my life the way I want, free from the constricting binds of my overly affectionate parent. What better way is there to spend sophomore year?
There is one major difference between public schools and private schools, besides the whole sleeping-on-the-same-campus-where-you-learn thing. That would be the school uniforms. The school colors of Albert Cullen Academy (ACA) are navy and white. Girls have to wear a white blouse with a navy tie, along with a navy skirt that reaches just above the knees. Top it off with white knee-high socks and the ugliest black shoes imaginable, and you have our uniform. And when it gets cold out, we have a matching navy cardigan. Boys have to wear khaki pants, a navy blazer and a white button-down shirt, also with a navy tie and black shoes. When I decided to come to ACA, I didn't actually think that we would have uniforms as cliché as they are in movies. Well, I was wrong. Although I have to admit, I think it's going to be kind of nice, not having to pick out my outfit every day.
Suddenly, the door opens. A girl who looks my age walks in. The first thing I notice is that she's gorgeous. She has big blue eyes and curly blond hair, and manages to make the school uniform look flattering. Great. I can only hope that she doesn't fall into that stereotypical type of I'm-beautiful-and-I-know-it/I-may-act-nice-but-really-I'm-a-bitch. When my roommate sees me, she stops in her track and smiles, displaying perfectly even, white teeth. Of course.
"Hi. I'm Haley Green," she says, sticking out her hand.
I smile back and shake the hand she has offered. "Sadie Baker."
Ah, such a stupid, common name. Oh well. I can't help the name I was given at birth. And such an awkward silence as we both stand there, having made our way past the exchanging of pleasantries. Haley's the first one to break the silence.
"Don't you hate the first day of school?" she asks me, going to sit on her bed, which is made perfectly, no wrinkles visible.
She continues. "I mean, it's so awkward, having to meet new people and find out where your classes are and everything. I really just wish we could skip it and go right to the second day, because then at least you're not awkwardly trying to make conversation with your new roommate."
She stops and looks at me, a smile on her pretty face. I have to say, anybody who is able to break an awkward silence with an awkward little speech is a good person in my book.
I sit down on my bed and smile back at her, letting her know that I'm not heartless.
"I have to agree with you," I say. "It's like, when you're talking to somebody and all of the sudden you reach a halt in the conversation, and it seems like there's nothing you could possibly talk about. But there's really tons of stuff you could talk about. Penguins, the color green, coffee tables, True Blood, really anything in the world you can think of."
Haley is looking at me, a look of wonderment on her face. Her eyes are wide and she's looking at me with respect. I'm confused.
"You…watch…True Blood?" she asks.
Over the next two hours we debate over who's hotter, Bill or Eric. I think Eric. I mean, what's not to like about a tall, sexy, hot blond vampire who runs his own bar? Bill's kind of creepy, in my opinion, but he's Haley's favorite.
"It's all about the eyes," she says. "They smolder."
We go on to talk about how stupid Sookie is. I mean seriously, how could she possibly fall for Renee's trick at the end of season one? You know, when he thinks "Oh I'm going into the woods, because Sookie's obviously not here." Hello, earth to Sookie! He knows you can read minds! Not to mention that she totally doesn't deserve as hot a brother as Jason, or a vampire as sweet as Bill (as creepy as I think he is). Needless to say, Haley is now my best friend, us having bonded over a mutual love of everything True Blood and a hatred of everything Twilight.
We are forced to end our talk as my stomach grumbles loudly, and Haley realizes that she, too, is hungry. Together we walk to the cafeteria to get dinner. Haley knows her way around campus, because she was here last year, as a freshman. There are two big dorm buildings, one for the girls and one for the boys. Then there are the separate buildings for food, the library, and the athletics center. The rest of the buildings are reserved for the importance of learning.
As soon as we walk through the doors of the main cafeteria, our ears are met with the loud chatter of hundreds of high school students. I follow Haley to a line, because I'm not really sure of what's happening. I end up with a chicken salad that actually looks pretty appetizing (I'm shocked. Maybe private school will actually be beneficial to my health.). And they have Fiji water! I don't really taste a difference between Fiji water and Deerpark, but I have to say that the Fiji bottles are ten times cooler. Who doesn't want to drink water from a rectangular bottle? I certainly do.
With our food in our hands, Haley leads the way to an empty table. I sit down across from her, and we start to eat. She explains the daily routine for students of ACA. She shows me her schedule, and I discover that we have Spanish, History, Gym, and English together. I guess that I will have to fend for myself for my other three classes. Either that or attempt to use my charms to make other friends. Yeah no. Not going to happen. I tend to be one of those people that wait for others to approach them. I know, it's a bad habit, but I can't help that I'm a tad shy.
Still chatting, Haley and I stand up from our seats and head over to the long row of trash cans. We are leaving the cafeteria when I realize my shoelace is untied. I kneel down and retie it. Haley waits for me. Just as I am standing up, a very heavy something knocks into me, sending me flying into the hard floor.
"Ow!" I shout.
The heavy something that is now pinning my legs down utters an "Umph" and staggers to its feet.
I sit up and find myself staring into a pair of smoldering brown eyes (not unlike Bill's when he sees Sam kissing Sookie) that do not seem to be very happy with me right now.
"Watch where you're going!" the guy snaps.
"Hey, I wasn't the one that tripped over some innocent person kneeling on the sidewalk!" I say.
He looks down at me, his mouth turned down in a frown. His eyebrows raise, disappearing beneath a flop of golden curls. Oh…my…god. This guy is hot! Like seriously, I've never met anybody who looks like him. Ever! Seriously, he looks just like Heath Ledger in that movie A Knight's Tale, but after he gets the haircut, not before. You know, the scene where you see him for the first time with his hair short, when he's riding up the road on his horse right before they meet the naked writer? No? Too bad, it's a good movie. Anyway, this guy looks exactly like William Thatcher.
Whoops. Mr. Hottie just said something, and I didn't hear him. I look at him with what I'm sure is a blank look, and he regards me like I'm an idiot. Then he shakes his head, turns, and walks away. Haley's standing nearby, watching me with a pitied look.
"What?" I ask.
Haley shakes her head, grabs my hand, pulls me off the ground, and steers me towards our dorm.
"Oh nothing, it's just that you just made Jesse Williams fall on his face, and he's probably really pissed that you didn't answer him when he insulted you."
I shrug. So Mr. Hottie's name is Jesse? It fits. He looks like a Jesse. I turn to Haley again as we enter the dorm building.
"Wait. What did he say?" I ask.
Haley rolls her eyes. "It was something about how only a stupid person would stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk, and about how he didn't realize you were kneeling because you were the same height standing up."
Oh great. An insult to my height. Like I haven't heard that before. I may only be 5'4", but I really can't do anything to make myself taller. And it's not my fault that Mr. Hottie has to be super tall. Seriously, he has to be like 6'1".
"So what's so special about Jesse?" I ask.
"He's a junior this year. Teachers worship him because he's a good student. Athletes worship him because he's led the ACA boys' soccer team to a championship win the past two years. And girls worship him because…well, he's a hottie."
At this point, I'm feeling pretty special. I have just been insulted by one of the most important people in the ACA student body. Not a bad way to start off the year. It should be interesting to have an arch enemy.
Haley and I enter our room. She looks at me.
"What are you smirking about?" she asks.
"To be honest? I'm pretty thrilled that I got him mad at me. Think of how much fun it'll be to have an arch enemy! It'll give me a chance to brush up on my comebacks," I reply. After all, I finally have a use for my Book of 1,001 Comebacks.
Haley sighs and shakes her head.
"No, Sadie. That's not the way it works. Jessie Williams is probably insulted everybody in this school at one time or another."
My smile turns upside down.
"But wait, if he's an ass why does everybody like him?"
Haley gives me a expression of exasperation.
"They like him for the same reasons I told you about earlier. Teachers like him for his brains, athletes like him for his ability, and girls like him for his good looks. I never said anybody likes him for his personality. In fact, he's probably the biggest asshole this school has. Ask anybody."
Does this mean I'm not special?
Author's Note: So my idea for this story is to pick a famous quote for each chapter, and mold the events that happen in that chapter around the quote in some way. This is largely due to the fact that I am not an imaginitive person at all, and I hope that doing this will keep the creative juices flowing. I would appreciate some feedback. Do you like it, hate it? Please review with criticism or any comments regarding this story. Thanks!
P.S.: Anybody who hasn't seen True Blood really needs to. :)