I stepped into the French classroom just as the bell rang. That was a first for me and I couldn't help but blush. Punctuality had always been important to me- that was one of the many reasons my friends liked to joke about how different I was.
It was beyond me to deny that I wasn't the same as most of the student population, and that was alright with me. I had no interest in being a droid. Still, I couldn't help but wonder what sort of friends I had if they couldn't see how like them I really was.
All they could see were my unshakable morals. Other than little trivial things, my morals were the only part of me that I didn't keep hidden. Anything that was even the smallest bit personal I kept locked up tight, allowing no one to see them. At least, no one I knew was allowed. So my friends, if that's what they were, didn't know me at all. Even my best friend, Coll Deniken, didn't know as much about me as he thought he did.
Of course, I knew it wasn't healthy to keep everything bottled up inside. I simply chose to let things out a less common way. Instead of telling my friends anything too personal, I wrote it down. I'd always enjoyed writing stories. I let my work show who I really was: a hopeless romantic and a normal girl who strives for the extraordinary. My writing was like a diary, because I put so much of myself into it. It wasn't exactly one, though, because it incorporated things I only dreamed of happening. I was a realistic girl, and I knew that I would never have anything story-worthy happen to me. I'd learned to accept that.
The teacher started the lesson while I sat down, ignoring me. I glanced sideways towards Coll. He was grinning at me, obviously enjoying my discomfort at so nearly being late to class. I looked at the teacher to make sure she wasn't looking, then pulled a face for him, sticking out my tongue and letting my eyes spin out of control. He made a face back, tugging on his ears and puffing out his cheeks. He looked remarkably like a monkey. The teacher chose that moment to turn around.
"Coll? Are you mocking me?" she asked. We'd had Madame Fournier for the past three years. We all liked her, and she seemed to enjoy teaching us. Still, she did have a short temper sometimes.
"Non, Madame," Coll replied, flashing her his famous grin. I rolled my eyes. With a smile like that, he got away with a lot. When the lesson was over, Madam told us to partner up, because she wanted us to do practice simply talking. She didn't care what we talked about, so long as it was in French. This was my favorite part of the day.
Coll and I partnered up, as usual. He invited me to come over his house to hang out for a while. I told him I couldn't, and that I was busy. I refused to meet his eye. Really, my only plans were continuing the story I was writing and going online for a while. The nice thing about having this conversation in French was that I didn't have to worry about giving him details. After all, I could always pretend I didn't know the words for what I wanted to say. It worked every time.
After class, Coll walked me to my car. He did every day, though I always laughed at him. "This is a huge waste of calories," I teased him.
"It's not wasting calories, Aurely. After all, I just got to see you for an extra five minutes. That's worth it, in my book. I'll catch you later." He flashed me his dimpled grin and gave me a quick hug before walking away.
As soon as I got home, I ran to my computer. Just that morning, I'd found a site where people could post their stories and chat with other members. I joined, of course, and started posting things I'd already written. Now I wanted to check out the message boards.
There was one for music, and I decided to take a peek. I scanned through the different threads, tapping my fingernails against my desk. It was one of my many little habits.
And that was when I saw it- there was a board for my favorite band, the Epic Failures. They were kind of obsolete- the only person I'd ever found who'd heard of them was Coll, and he only knew about them because I was always playing their CDs. I clicked on the link and smiled when I read the first post. 'I guess they really have failed epically. They're a fairly recent discovery of mine, I'll admit. Still, they don't have much of a fan base. Anyone else know about them?'
It goes without saying that I had something to add to that. I started typing, 'Agreed. By the way, that was the lamest joke I've heard all day.' I didn't know what else to say, so I hit submit. Then I heard my mom's car crunching gravel up the driveway. It was time to do chores.
It was nearly an hour before I had time to get back on the computer. When I did, there was a private message waiting for me from the boy who'd made the Epic Failures thread. I clicked the 'read' button, feeling giddy. 'Howdy, Ava. Glad to know I'm not the only fan out there. Did you know they're going on tour soon? '
He had called me Ava because of my screen name. I'd put my initials with a couple of random numbers- my name was Aurely Victoria Abernathy. His screen name was Cord, so that's what I called him. It turned out that we had a lot in common- favorite bands, movies, you name it. We talked late into the night, until I finally had to log off to get some sleep. Before I signed off, I promised we could talk again tomorrow. I may as well have stayed online and talked to Cord some more, because it was a while before I was able to sleep.