Chapter 3

"Take that you snake!"

Kayla heard her brother shouting when she walked into the house; probably playing video games. When she entered the family room that's what she saw. Roger sitting on the floor in front of the television, killing every enemy that jumped up on the screen. He and Kayla were the only kids in the house that ever played video games. Sarah would never even go near it.

"Hey Kayla, come over here and battle me," Roger said.

The girl immediately sat down her bag and headed for the room when she heard her mom calling her over. So she turned around walked toward her mother.

"How was your first day of highschool?" Mother asked.

Kayla wasn't sure what to say. It had its downs, but it also had its ups. Was it going to be like that for the next four years? "It was okay," she replied.

"Just okay? Did you make any friends?"

Kayla thought back to Allison. And then to Lizzie and Lola. They all ate lunch together and had conversations. It seemed to her that they were her friends. Back in middle school she ate lunch with a variety of people and talked to them in class, but she never considered them her friends. Maybe that was because they never included her in their after school activities.

Allison, even though she talked a lot, seemed friendly enough to be a friend. And Lizzie and Lola were nice as well. Kayla smiled. "I met some nice people. The girl, Allison calls me her friend."

Mother smiled as she sat her glass of tea down. "That's great to hear, dear. Any homework?"

Kayla shook her head. "No, but Aldabra is hard. We might get homework tomorrow."

Mother took a sip from her tea and sat the glass back down. "Well, you will work with it, just like you did last year."

Kayla nodded, although to her it seemed last year she was hanging on the edge of a cliff in Math. She was so close to getting a D but she survived with a C.

After talking with Mother, Kayla headed back into the family room and joined Roger in a multiplayer game of combat together. "How is the 4th grade?" she asked.

Roger kept his eyes on the screen as he continued to press buttons on his game remote. "Fine. Matt and I are in every class together."

Kayla nodded. He's lucky to have a very close friend he's known since kindergarten.

The next morning in Algebra Mrs. Allice was already giving the news on their class. "This Friday you will be having a test over the first half of Lesson One," she said to the class. "So until then I will be going over the lesson and giving you assignments to help you study."

Kayla nearly groaned. It didn't seem fair to her that they were already going to have a test the first week of school. She glanced at Cassie, who was staring at Mrs. Allice as if it was no problem for her. She's probably so smart she doesn't need to worry, Kayla thought.

"So," Mrs. Allice continued as she picked up a piece of chalk and turned to the black board. "Starting the lesson-"

A knock by the door interrupted the teacher, and all eyes were on an unfamiliar boy standing there with his hands in his pockets.

"Ah, Ryan," Mrs. Allice said to the boy, "glad for you to join us today." The boy dragged himself toward the teacher as if he didn't want to be here. Kayla didn't want to be her either, but she sure wasn't going to act like like a baby about it.

"Class, this is Ryan Fisher. He wasn't here yesterday because he was sick for a few days." Most of the students said hi and gave a wave, but Ryan only responded with a grunt. "Ryan, you can take that empty desk next to Cody." She pointed toward a boy in a red hoodie who gave a wave to show who he was.

Ryan silently made his way over and sank into the desk. Kayla then stared at him as Mrs. Allice started with the lesson. The boy was wearing a black T-shirt that had the words 'Born Wild' printed on it in white. He had blonde hair and it looked like his shoe laces were untied. To Kayla, it looked like Ryan didn't care about anything going on. She shook it off though, realizing that it wasn't important.

As Mrs. Allice continued to ramble on about the Algebra lesson and write stuff down on the board, Kayla gently pulled her hair. She couldn't keep up with anything that she was saying, and even if she did listen, she didn't understand it.

Cassie seemed to get it. Her eyes were glued to the board as she continuously write stuff down in her notebook. Kayla envied her confidence. When there were only ten minutes left til class was over, Kayla already had her face falling down on her own desktop.

This is impossible! Kayla thought, how am I suppose to get any of this! That's when she felt a tap on her shoulder, and slowly lifted her head. Cassie was staring at her, which made Kayla embarrassed.

"This isn't your best subject, right?" Cassie whispered to her.

Kayla nodded, feeling like she were to fall to the floor any second. "It isn't," she whispered back.

"I could help you if you want. Help you study and understand it."

"You could do that?"

Cassie nodded. "Iv helped people like you with slower paces before in Middle school." Her whisper was started to turn into regular speaking, although Mrs. Allice didn't seem to notice.

Kayla stared at her desktop, feeling a bit embarrassed that she was slow at this.

"So, do you want me to help you?"

Kayla looked back at girl who brushed her hair back behind her left ear. "Well, when could you?"

"We could think of a time together. Can I have your number so I could call you about it?"

Kayla nodded and scribbled her home phone number down on a piece of paper and handed it to Cassie. "I'll call and let you know."

"Thank you," Kayla whispered. Although she couldn't help but feel pretty weird about it. Agreeing to a girl to help her that she just met. She was hoping that she wouldn't be ruining Cassie's time. But she did say that she did it all the time in Middle school.

Still, it would seem a little less weird if Kayla would just ask for help from Mrs. Allice. But she may have a lot of things to do. Maybe Cassie could help me.

Kayla had it on her mind all through History and Biology. It all went away, though, when she had to go to P.E. next. Not that she would be excited about it, but she would be nervous. P.E. use to be Kayla's favorite subject until the 7th grade. Then the class started doing hard stuff.

It would probably be even worse in the 9th grade. Kayla held her breath, though, as she entered the gym. She was surprised to see that nobody was there accept a man wearing gym clothes and a whistle around his neck. When he noticed her he smiled. "Hey there."

"Hi," Kayla said as she searched the gym.

"I'm Mr. Leigh, are you here for P.E.?"

She nodded, still wondering where the rest of the class was.

"Well, everyone is in the locker rooms getting changed."

Kayla finally looked at him in fear. "Locker rooms?"

"Yes. Did you bring extra clothes?"

Kayla shook her head no, and was wondering why she didn't know any of this. In Middle School nobody had to change into anything because the teachers felt it was the students choice to wear what felt right to them. She figured it would be the same in highschool so she didn't even go to the store to buy any clothes for P.E.

"Well that's alright," Mr. Leigh said kindly, "just remember to bring some next time on Thursday. You can then go to the girl's locker room before you come to the gym. You can sit on the bleachers while we wait for the rest of the class to come."

Kayla nodded and headed toward the bleachers. She was hating P.E. already, especially since she had to change in the locker room in front of the rest of the girls. She hated to show herself to anybody, including her mom and sister.

As Kayla sat down she swallowed her own saliva nervously and stared at the gym. She wondered what Mr. Leigh would make them do. Kayla honestly thought that P.E. should be an optional class, because it really wasn't the school's business on how the students stayed fit.

It's up to me, Kayla thought as she held up her legs and hugged them. In minutes, kids were entering the gym in their P.E. clothes talking among themselves. Boys and girls. One thing that made Kayla curious was that boys had to be in the same class with them during gym. She was prepared for that, though, but she felt they should be separated. Wether anybody liked it or not, boys were usually physically stronger than girls, and it wasn't fair for them to show it off toward the girls.

Mr. Leigh soon blew his whistle. "Alright everyone, gather up so I can tell you whats going on here."

Everyone, including Kayla, hurried over to the teacher and remained quiet as Mr. Leigh spoke. "First, we will be doing some warm ups, including laps and stretching. And then-"

Kayla tried to listen on everything Mr. Leigh said, but she could only think of how nervous she was, especially when she heard they would be running laps at times.

"Kayla!" Allison whispered as she stepped next to her friend. "I can't believe we are in the same gym class!"

Kayla nodded, feeling a little excited that somebody she knew was in one of the most scariest classes with her. "That's great," she said.

"Where's your gym clothes?"

"I forgot them. I didn't know we had to wear them."

Allison giggled. "You silly girl."

Kayla smiled again, feeling warm inside. She couldn't help but feel a little relaxed more. Allison was really friendly, and Kayla had no doubt of turning her down. She didn't have a doubt of turning anyone down that was nice to her.

"Alright," said Mr. Leigh, "since its the first time, I'll have you guys run only five laps around the gym today. On Thursday we're gonna move it outside on the soccer field. Okay, go ahead and start running." He blew his whistle and the class immediately started running.

"Only five?" said Kayla. "That's a lot!"

"Come on, Kayla," Allison said, "the gym isn't that big. Let's go get it over with it." She began to run. Kayla nodded and started to run as well. Allison was right, the gym didn't seem to be that big, and running the laps wasn't that bad.

Although Kayla did start to get tired once she was on lap four. The girl wasn't perfectly fit despite being small and skinny, and she wasn't use to running or doing any physical work. She was relieved when it was all over then.

Mr. Leigh then had the kids stand in line and stretch out in many ways. After that, they played a little game of kick ball. It wasn't Kayla's favorite game, but she survived.

Kayla felt a lot calmer when she had English. "I am handing out a book to each of you that we are going to read," Mrs. Shake said. "And you only have one homework assignment. And that's to read the first chapter by tomorrow."

Mrs. Shake handed a stack of books toward the end of the desk line, and they started to get passed down. When Kayla got hers she read the title. It was called 'The Giver'. She curiously looked on the front cover to see a picture of an old man in a beard.

"Tomorrow we are going to read the second chapter together as a class. Now, first thing I want to talk about is the plot of the story." The teacher walked over to the black board and grabbed a piece of chalk.

Kayla opened the book to the first page. She never really read anything, except maybe for movie reviews and he Dr. Seuss books she collected when she was a kid. The girl stared at the page and went blank.

All the letters seemed to be dancing all over the place; Letters of long paragraphs and sentences. Kayla immediately shut the book and sighed. She remembered now that she was a terrible reader. And to top it all off, she was dyslexic, which made reading even worse for her, especially big books.

Kayla, though, listened to Mrs. Shake anyways, telling them that the book it was a story about a boy who received wonderful abilities from an old man, that most people didn't get to have. It seemed to be a bit odd to Kayla, but nobody said books were always realistic.

"Man, this is a waste of time."

Everyone, including, Kayla looked at Ryan Fisher, who threw his book on his desk.

"A waste of time?" Mrs. Shake asked.

"Yes," he answered, "its pointless."

"Pointless?"

Why are you asking everything he's saying? Kayla thought, don't you think he's being a bit rude? Sure, Kayla wasn't thrilled about this assignment either, but at least she was smart enough to keep her mouth shut.

"Don't you like to read?" Mrs. Shake kindly asked.

"No," Ryan said, "I hate reading."

"It's not that bad," a girl said, who happened to be from the Pink group. "You'll get over it."

"Reading isn't for everyone, Tricia," Mrs. Shake said.

It's certainly not for me, Kayla thought, but she didn't say it out loud.

"Don't worry, Mr. Fisher, I'm sure you will get the hang out of it."

"Excuse me, Mrs. Shake," another girl who was also part of the Pink group said as she raised her hand, "I don't think Tricia was finished. She was about to tell you that she likes to read some books. But this book isn't cool."

"Krista, shush," Tricia whispered as she gently slapped her hand.

"It's alright," Mrs. Shake said, "not everyone is going to agree on this, but I'm sure you will find this book interesting."

Kayla didn't care how interesting it would be, she knew that it would be tough to read it anyways. She listened to the teacher continue on to talk about the book, when she heard someone whispering. She ignored it.

"Spttts!"

Kayla finally turned to her left, where Tricia who was sitting two desks down, was staring at her. "Me?" she whispered.

"Yes you!"

Kayla gulped. Yikes!

"You eat lunch with those blonde twins, right?"

Kayla stared at her silently for a few seconds and then nodded, wondering why she was asking, though she did start to remember that Tricia and the rest of her group were giving the Twins weird looks earlier.

"That's brave of you."

"Why?"

"Because, those freaks don't have any friends."

Kayla's mouth nearly dropped when she heard Tricia call Lola and Lizzie 'freaks'. "Excuse me?"

"They haven't had friends since the 6th grade. I know because I went to school with them ever since."

Kayla glanced at the teacher to make sure she hadn't caught them talking during class. She hadn't, so Kayla turned back to Tricia curiously.

"They only do everything together," Tricia continued. "They are partners in every project, and they even go to the bathroom together. They are just so weird, which is why they don't have friends."

Kayla wanted to glare, but she stopped herself so she wouldn't get into trouble. "They do have friends," she finally said.

"Oh really? And who is that?"

"Me. I'm their friend."

Tricia shook her head. "If I were you, I would be careful and choose wisely who you hang out with. Otherwise your going to end up being one of the losers."

Kayla turned back to the teacher and didn't say anything else to Tricia. She didn't want to argue with her. She hated arguing, and besides, she knew that Lola and Lizzie were not weird. She thought they were cool and nice, and that's all that mattered to her.