"Why is this happening to me?" I looked to the sky – ceiling, actually – and scowled heavily. "Why are you doing this to me?" I groaned. And then for some reason I held my breath and waited, as if God was really going to reply me. Clearly, he was too busy solving other more significant problems of the world, but he was not, apparently, too busy enough to grant me a crappy day.
So I woke up this morning with five minutes to spare before the school bus leaves and practically mimicked a tornado while I tore into the bathroom and out while the family cat, Munch watched. And then of course I fell down the stairs because said (idiotic) cat decided to lie on one of the steps. And then, right before I could slam the front door and leg it to the bus stand, I felt it.
That familiar prickling feeling. That instant wetness that let me know that my period had chosen this exact time and day to present itself. I felt like crying. I mean, seriously! Right bloody now? (No pun intended.) So by the time I rushed back into my room (tripping over the blasted cat again which incidentally decided to lie in front of my room's door) and finished my business, the bus was well gone. I was officially late for school and I didn't have transport.
But the bad news doesn't end there. Oh, no. See, I rushed back downstairs, giving my (already low) stamina a pep talk so I can run all the way to school only to find that it's raining.
Haha, God is probably thinking. What a loser. This is even more entertaining than American Idol.
I groaned again. "I blame you," I pointed to Munch accusingly. Munch did nothing to acknowledge my accusation and instead stalked off, probably to terrorize a rat or something no doubt. That cat had always hated me.
I sighed and went to sit by the window. There was nothing to it but to wait until the rain was over. Calling my mom wasn't an option because she was probably at court, bashing out her opposition with her laser-sharp tongue. I could skip school, but my mom wouldn't take too kindly to that, seeing as last month alone I managed to skip three days of school.
"I'm all alone," I sang, totally off pitch, "there's no one here besides me. My problems have all gone, no one's here to –" I yelped and jumped as there was a sudden honking. Peering out the window, I saw a blue car waiting in the driveway, and a hand waved at me.
God, I love Lisa.
"I love you, Lisa," I proclaimed, scrambling into the backseat of the car as fast as I could. I was partly wet but I didn't mind that much.
My best friend grinned at me before backing up. "I had a hunch you would wake up late."
"That's creepy," a voice in the front seat remarked. "I get that you guys are best friends, but… that's creepy."
"They were showing reruns of Lord of The Rings last night, moron," Lisa said. "I knew she'd watch it even though the movie ended at 3 in the morning."
"Oh." Said moron twisted around in his seat to grin at me and mussed up my hair. "That explains a lot. Good morning, Sophia Dalton."
I grinned and mimicked his formal greeting. "Hello, Bradley Reeves."
"Is anyone going to greet Lisa Anderson?" Lisa piped up and took a sharp turn at the same time, eliciting shocked gasps from Bradley and me.
"You keep your eyes on the road," Bradley told her weakly.
"I second that motion," I said, holding on the seatbelt for dear life. I'd forgotten how maniacal Lisa's driving was.
"Ungrateful cows," Lisa muttered to herself, and I had to stifle another scream as she made another sharp turn, narrowly avoiding running over a bush.
By the time we swerved into school the rain had slowed down to a barely there drizzle, which made me think that today was conspiring against me after all. Nevertheless, we scrambled off, fifteen minutes late, parting to go to our separate classes. I could hear Bradley cursing whoever gave Lisa her license as he dashed down the hallway.
I paused in front of my English class door to smooth down my ruffled hair before going inside, immediately receiving looks from everyone. Honestly, come late to class and everyone looks at you like you've just murdered someone. I ignored the looks and tried to leg it to my seat before the teacher spotted me.
No such luck.
"Good morning, Miss Dalton, thank you so much for gracing us with your presence." Mr. Boyd raised an eyebrow. Wow, sarcasm.
Laughter rang around the room and I felt blood rise to my face as I sank into my seat. "Um, yeah. No problem."
"Care to explain your tardiness?"
"Oh, where do I begin?" I questioned, knowing this would throw Mr. Boyd off track, as he knows very well of my capability to spew crap. "Okay, so I woke up late this morning, right? And then I –"
"Never mind, Sophia. But keep in mind the next time you're late I'm sending you straight to the principal," he said sternly, although no one missed the amusement in his eyes. Mr. Boyd never was one to get angry. He was probably the only chilled out teacher in the entire school.
"Aye aye." I grinned and saluted, and he threw a scowl my way before resuming the lesson.
"I am starving!" Bradley dropped down beside me with his food and immediately started to stuff his face. Two of our other friends joined us at the table.
Zoe Bolton had dropped down on my other side and was pointedly looking at my fries. I rolled my eyes and nodded and he happily dug in. Lisa stopped sipping her milkshake long enough to quickly kiss her boyfriend, Thomas Shaw. They were the school's power couple and the ultimate cliché at that, Lisa being co-captain of the cheerleading squad and Tom captain of the football team. Despite this, they were the nicest people in the entire school. Sort of makes the single population of the school (yours truly included) green with envy sometimes.
"So," Bradley said conversationally, "guess who got detention for being late?" He threw a pointed look my way.
"Same here," Lisa said grimly, "and I received a twenty-minute lecture on the importance of punctuality."
I raised my hands in the air. "Well… guess who didn't get detention?"
"Of course you didn't." Bradley scowled.
"Sophia Dalton doesn't do detention," Zoe smirked. "You're like the teacher whisperer or something."
"Hey, it's not my fault teachers like me."
"Maybe it's because you're so short." Tom shrugged at my glare as Bradley and Zoe sniggered. "Well, you are."
"I'm 5'20," I said with as much dignity as I could muster.
"It's not your fault, dear," Lisa said kindly.
Tom agreed with her. "You can't help being short."
"Yeah, it's not like you chose this height." Bradley said.
"You can only work with what God gave you," Zoe said sagely.
I put my face in my hands and looked back up. "I hate you all."
They laughed. "Just kidding, Soph." Zoe grinned.
"Yeah, well…" I struggled for a comeback. "Your mom."
That sent them into more sniggers. I rolled my eyes and stuck my tongue out at them, and the boys launched themselves into a heated discussion about this year's football season.
"So, cheerleading tryouts are tomorrow," Lisa said casually.
I cottoned on, grimaced and shook my head. "Sorry."
"Oh, come on Soph. It's senior year. Our last year in high school. What better way to show some school spirit than by joining the squad? I've been bugging you to join for the past 2 years." Lisa crossed her arms.
"You know cheerleading would clash with my dancing." I shrugged.
"But that's exactly what makes you so qualified!" Lisa glared at me. She held up her hand and closed each finger as she gave me a point. "You're a contemporary dancer. You also dance ballroom. You've been dancing for more than 5 years. You –"
"I get it," I interrupted her. "But I told you. It'll clash with my dancing, and I can't afford to lose more time. You know that." I looked at her beseechingly.
Lisa sighed. "Oh… fine. You can stop looking at me like someone just kicked your puppy. Fine. I guess I'll just have to do without the best potential cheerleader we have this year. I'll manage." She gave me brave look.
I suppressed a smile. I knew she wasn't serious, as Lisa had asked me to try out almost every year. And my answer had always been the same – no.
"I know you'll manage, Lisa." I gave her a supporting, I-have-faith-in-you smile and clapped her back. She rolled her eyes. "Any new potentials this year?"
"Oh, yeah." Lisa nodded. "There's this junior, she came up to me to ask about try outs. She seemed pretty enthusiastic, but I don't know. Cheerleading competition starts next month and with most of the seniors gone, this is going to be rough."
"Same here," Tom chipped in suddenly. "Our best forward, Gavin picked the wrong year to change schools."
"It's not gonna be that bad," Bradley said good-naturedly. "I hear the new guy used to play for his school."
"There's a new guy?" Lisa asked curiously.
Tom nodded. "Met him in Government earlier."
"He seemed pretty cool," Bradley said. "A little quiet, though."
"Yes, well, not everyone can be as loud as you," I teased, trying to lighten up Tom's worried mood. "So if the new guy's good at football, problem solved, right?"
"He'd have to make it to the team first," Tom said, frowning even deeper. "I talked to him about it in class, but he didn't seem very keen on joining."
"Ah, well, we can always stick Soph in the team and hope for the best," Zoe said bracingly. I pursed my lips and glared, but it seemed to have cheered Tom up a little bit and we all laughed together. "Look, there's the new guy." Zoe waved to someone behind me.
I twisted in my seat to get a look at him.
And it felt like even my blood froze.
"Soph? Soph, where are you going?" I heard Zoe ask, but I got up, every instinct screaming at me to run. I have to go before he –
He suddenly turned his head in our direction. As clichéd as this sounds, our eyes met almost instantly. And it looked like he froze, too. So I bolted.
I gave a start and accidentally punched my locker.
"Ow," I groaned, touching my knuckle and feeling scraped skin. "Ow, ow, ow."
"Shit, I'm sorry." Zoe looked frantic as he looked at my knuckle, which were now a bright red and starting to ooze little droplets of blood. "Sorry!"
"You moron," a passing by Lisa said crossly, narrowing her eyes at him. She paused and whipped out some tissues from her bag and handed them to me before saying goodbye and rushing to her car.
"I'm sorry," Zoe said again. His baby blue eyes were wide and it was kind of impossible to be mad at his boyish face. "Sorry sorry sorry."
"It's fine," I said truthfully, kicking the door shut. "You owe me ice-cream for that."
"Done," he nodded apologetically. "Ready to go?" I nodded. Zoe and I took the same bus, as he lived pretty close to my place. As we walked together, most of the girls passing by looked at Zoe and shot him shy smiles. A few daring ones even waved at him, and Zoe smiled and nodded at them in the 'what's up?' way. I smiled amusedly, noting Zoe's complete obliviousness to the girls' interest in him. He was such a boy in that way.
Considering my situation at the time, moving and changing schools seemed like the best thing in the world two years ago. But on the actual day before I stepped foot into Vermont High, I had considered the chances of burying myself alive. Moving, especially in high school where cliques and groups of friends were established long before the 'new kid' arrived was a nightmare. I knew no one was going to welcome me with open arms and a chocolate muffin basket – they would all be waiting to see if the new kid would be (or going to be) a screw up or a rebel or a loser or someone to challenge the school's sweetheart (Lisa) position. Instead, Vermont High got me. I wasn't an idiot. I had already screwed my life up before coming here and I had absolutely no intention of having a repeat of it. So I had kept my head down low and all was going well, until a teacher – Mr. Boyd, ironically – introduced me to the class, and having read my file, added an 'oh and she's a dancer!' for the entire class to know.
That was how I was included the 'popular gang', so to speak. I had stumbled into the popular group (not much of a group, seeing as it was only Lisa, me, and the other three boys) purely by chance. In fact, if Mr. Boyd hadn't added that extra detail about me, I would probably (blissfully) be in the loner clique all by myself. The current head cheerleader, Farrah had approached me at my locker to ask (or instruct me, actually) to try out for cheerleading.
And I had refused. That's where the shit hit the fan, actually.
The thing is, Farrah was very much of the queen bee stereotype we always read about – the complete opposite of Lisa. She was blonde and a beautiful blonde at that, but she was also a bitch. She considered being a cheerleader and popular to be the norm, and anyone who wasn't in either were losers. So she had gasped at first, and then she gave me a dirty look and proceeded to inform me in well-chosen swear words how she and her posse treated losers who didn't follow instructions. Her rant was rather harsh, actually, and if I wasn't me, and if I hadn't gone through the past five months being treated like shit, I would have succumbed. Instead, I had blinked and waited for her to get it out of her system.
She hadn't liked that very much, and increased her volume and harshness, and people were starting to stare at the loser who getting bitched out by the queen bee. And who was to step in and 'save my ass' as he put it later on (considering I never really needed saving), but Zoe Bolton.
Zoe had been dating Farrah at the time. And yes, she was older than him (it was quite a scandal, actually) and I had no idea what he saw in her, but he had tagged along with her, leaning against the locker and looking away, uninterested in our conversation, until she started yelling at me. And I suppose when he looked at us, he misinterpreted my patient silence to be a scared one, and he told Farrah to shut up. Oh, you should have seen the look on her face. But anyway, she was stunned and he had simply glared at her. And then he told her to treat people like people before grabbing my arm and marching me out of the hallway and into the cafeteria.
…Where he dropped my arm and looked at me like I was supposed to thank him. Instead I told him I left my watch in my locker, and his reaction went something along the lines of spluttering, telling me how ungrateful I was and how I should've stood up to her. That was where I'd lost my patience and told him I never asked for his help and he could shove his huge ego up his ass because what I do or don't do is none of his business. And Zoe, being Zoe, he simply stared at me, stunned, before bursting out in laughter.
And the rest, as they say, is history. He told me he liked my spunk and introduced me to Lisa, Tom and Bradley. And before I could object and maintain my happy loner trouble-free life, they had welcomed me and soon enough we were spending weekends, classes and lunches and movies together.
"Earth to Sophia," someone snapped their fingers. "Wow, you're really zoning out."
I blinked. "Hey, when did we get on the bus?"
Zoe stared and shook his head in amusement. "You were either daydreaming or sleeping with your eyes open."
"I can't sleep with my eyes open." He narrowed his eyes disappointedly. I hit his arm (which hurt my palm more than it hurt him). "Oh, and you can?"
Zoe gave me a well, duh look. "Of course I can. Everyone can sleep with their eyes open."
I shot him a disbelieving look, shaking my head. "Not everyone, Zoe. It's our stop now." We got up from the back of the bus.
"Hey, you can sleep with your eyes open, right?" Zoe inquired to the bus driver. He got a scowl in answer. "Okay, I'm leaving," he muttered, jumping the height of the steps. We started walking. Zoe always walked with me to my house, which was only about five houses away before turning around and walking to his own. "Sophia? can I ask you something?"
"Provided it's not one of your stupid questions, yes." I looked at him.
"What was going on at the cafeteria today? I mean, one second you were smiling and then all of sudden you got up and ran."
Oh, Zoe. Way to trap me into the corner I've been avoiding all day.
"It's…" I bit my lip unconsciously. "It's nothing," I lied. "I was just, um…" I caught his raised eyebrow which let me know he knew I was lying. It scared me sometimes how well Zoe was in sync with me even though we only know each other for a year. Granted, he's the closest friend I have, but it was unnerving sometimes. We had reached my house and we stood in the driveway. I knew better than to leg it now – Zoe would just ask me about this tomorrow. "I had to pee."
"You had to pee." His tone was incredulous.
I raised my hands in the air. "One does not simply ignore the call of nature."
"You're such a nerd." He grinned at my Lord of the Rings quote and mussed up my hair. "But you know, you ran outside instead of to the toilet, so unless you've been doing things in the bushes around school…"
"Ew," I laughed. "Idiot."
He waited. I fidgeted uncomfortably.
"Was it… because of the new guy?" He asked hesitantly. Again, it scared me how in sync Zoe was with me. He could read me like a book. Zoe prodded further. "Do you know him?"
It felt like missing a step when you're walking down stairs, that swooping sensation, only it brought about anger and intimidation this time. Did I know him? Answer: is a pig pork? I didn't want to talk about it. I had spent the rest of the day holding back everything that came rushing back at bay so I can go home and have that breakdown. But at the rate we're going, I think I was going to have it now.
My desperation must have shown on my face, because Zoe took a step away, his natural smile returning to his face.
"Hey, Soph, it's cool if you don't want to talk about it." Zoe patted my head like how one would do to a favorite pet. Not the best example. "It's cool. Where's that famous Dalton smile?" He poked my ribs. I managed a smile for his sake, but I knew he saw through it. "I'll see you tomorrow, okay? Tell Angela I said hi," he referred to my mother.
Zoe turned around and walked. He suddenly paused and turned around and looked at me for a long time, his smile gone, in a way that made me feel he knew a lot more than he was letting on, before flashing me another smile and turning around again.
I walked as fast as I could to my house, tears blurring my sight. Everything was coming back to me, but I was going to fight it and hold it at bay for as long as I can. Until I opened the door and instantly tripped over Munch. Yeah, that was when I broke down.
Okay you guys, I know what you're thinking. Not another story when you already have three other stories to complete. Jeez, dancingllama. You suck. And you have every reason to be having those thoughts, however – This was one of those things where you just have to get it out of your head otherwise its stuck in there and all the scenes keep creating themselves and – haha, ok I'll stop.
Title of the story is um borrowed from the song Static Waves by Andrew Belle featuring Katie Herzig which is a most wonderful song I can't seem to get enough of, I claim no rights to it. Leave me some love you guys.