Chapter 1: The New Kid
I tapped my foot against the linoleum floor of the World History classroom I was in. Looking out the nearby window at the slightly cloudy sky, I twirled a strand of my copper brown hair and watched as it slipped through my grasp and fell into my line of sight. I glanced around with a quiet sigh escaping my lips, looking at the obnoxiously loud clock that hung on the white concrete wall above my teacher's desk. It read 11:33, which unfortunately meant that I still had about twenty minutes left of this period. We almost always finished early in this class, or at least I did anyway. Around me, I could hear the frantic scratching of pencils against paper as students tried to finish the stack of work we had been assigned to do today. Yesterday, I had gotten bored, as usual, and went ahead of the rest of the class, so I, once again, was left to do nothing but stare out the window and occasionally glance over some Spanish notes even though I already knew most of the vocabulary.
My grades are pretty impressive, to say the least. I've always had A's or B's, and since entering junior high I started taking honors or advanced classes. Now, in the tenth grade, I rarely made lower than a B, much more often it was an A. I was dedicated to my studies, as it was the only escape from this awful existence I called my life. Not that anyone knew how knowledgeable I was, anyway. The only people who knew of my grades were my family, my teachers, any student lucky enough to be paired with me on a class assignment, and Pilar Mendez. Pilar and I had been friends since elementary school, me being one of the few kids who didn't shun her because of her Mexican heritage and poor English. Now, she had immersed herself in the American culture and was the same as any other American girl our age. Currently she sat across the room, due to a particularly ridiculous seating chart made by our teacher to separate a few of the chattier students. She was whispering back and forth with some girl she played sports with. I think her name was Rebecca White or something like that. I didn't really know her, but I recognized her curly red hair and many freckles. Pilar might have mentioned her once or twice, but I kept to myself too much to ever make any true inquiries about her nature.
Besides my brother, Pilar, and the occasional kid I had to partner with on a school project, I didn't really hang out with anyone. I could count on one hand how many times I had gone to "hang out" with someone in the last month, especially since Pilar was busy with basketball season at school. I was a reclusive person, very quiet and shy. It wasn't that I wanted to be by myself, quite the contrary. I would actually kind of like to have more of a social life, but I got nervous whenever I was around people. I was too weird, too abnormal for the "normal" people. Right now, people knew me as the quiet kid who sits in the back of the class with her earphones and notebooks. Never really talks to anyone, but has never been mean to anyone either. Not ugly, so they can't make fun of me, but not so beautiful that the other girls feel threatened by my presence. Safe, is what you could say my social status. I was in some sort of purgatory, a comfort zone that was secure and safe, yet at the same time awfully unpleasant.
The shrill cry of the dismissing bell pierced the silence in the room. The others kids hastily grabbed their backpacks and binders and rushed out of the room. I followed at a more luxurious pace, dropping my completed assignment on the teacher's desk with the others as I passed by on the way to the door. Out in the hallway, I was submersed in the mad throng of students rushing to grab their things from their lockers, say a quick hello to friends, then get to their next class before the late bell rang. About half, me included, were heading to fifth period, while the other half were on their way to the first lunch period. I had the second lunch period, after fifth period, which I detested due to its lateness. But with the honors and advanced courses I was taking only being available at certain times of the day, I had to sacrifice eating lunch earlier for the sake of my studies.
Suddenly, I bumped straight into something. I stopped and looked up, startled. Staring back at me was a boy with obviously dyed black hair and eyebrows that stood in stark contrast to the pale white skin of his face. Black eyeliner was smudged around his large green eyes as he muttered out something that sounded like an apology before brushing past me and walking down the hall. I looked after him for a moment in wonder. He walked away briskly, a tall and black-adorned silhouette moving quickly through the crowd and disappearing into the boys' bathroom. I had never seen him before, which was odd because I had been going to Western Redwood Academy since I was in kindergarten and inevitably knew who everyone was, even if they themselves did not know me. I shrugged and walked on to class. He was probably a new kid. I recalled hearing someone say something of a new student in the hallway this morning on the way to Honors English II. Maybe that was him.
I sat down in science class and looked around. My teacher was sitting at her desk, typing away on her computer as her next class filed into the room. Her classroom was similar to that of every classroom in the building with its white concrete walls, linoleum floor, and large white marker board that dominated the same wall as the exit. She, as all teachers did, had posters hanging on the walls reminding students of important upcoming school events or explaining certain basic elements of science such as the periodic table and the digestive system in a human. Yesterday, we had gone to the science laboratory and done a simple experiment in which we had examined the nuclei of cells under a microscope. I pulled out the notes I had taken on the subject, knowing that they would be somehow incorporated into today's lesson.
The last few stragglers hurried into the classroom as the late bell rang. Ms. Cain quickly finished whatever she was typing and got up from her desk, crossing the room and shutting the door. After telling two chatty girls to the left to hush, she went over to the white board, picked up a marker and wrote an assignment on the board in her large, curly writing.
Do Chapter 6, Lesson 4 Section Review.
Make sure you read the lesson!
Turn in at the end of class.
Lab report written on what you
observed in the lab yesterday.
"And no talking; this isn't group work." She said sternly as she walked back to her desk and continued typing. Then, she added, "But, if you finish before the bell rings, you can quietly work with your lab partner on the lab report."
I was the only person in the class who didn't have a lab partner. The class had an odd number of students, and when we had paired up at the beginning of the year, I was the odd man out. This didn't really bother me that much. I mean, it wasn't unexpected. Ms. Cain normally would have pushed me on as the third wheel of some unwilling group, but I begged her to let me work by myself. If I didn't have the excellent grades to back my claim that I could work on my own, she probably would have refused. But that, coupled with my good reputation among teachers as being a hard-worker, convinced her to let me be my own partner.
As I was retrieving my textbook and some loose-leaf paper to do the assignment on the board, I heard the squeak of the door to the classroom opening. I glanced up and saw the Goth boy from earlier in the hallway standing in the door. He stepped hesitantly into the room, looking around. His eyes lingered on me, recognition flashing in them before he looked away. He walked over to the teacher's desk and handed her a note that had been in his hand. They talked for a minute or so, and I caught bits and pieces of their conversation. His name was Adam something, and he was from Jameson-Wahl Academy, another private school a couple cities away. Ms. Cain introduced him to the class, repeating his name (his last name was Wilde) and his origin. She sat him in the only empty desk in the room, which was two to the left and one up from mine, and gave him a textbook from the large cabinet in the back of the room that housed things like extra textbooks and Kleenex.
While she was catching him up on what we were doing, I got a better look at him. He was tall, compared to my short 5'4" at least, and skinny. His dyed black hair was cut in an interesting way, with it layered and flipped over to one side and the right side of his head was cropped short almost to the skin. He had multiple earrings on his ears, black eyeliner around his eyes, and an equally dark shade of black nail polish painted onto his nails. Two rings adorned his fingers, one having an "F" on it and the other a "U." His clothes, a simple t-shirt and pants, were all black, save for a red belt with square-shaped studs that hung on his hips. His shoes were just Converse. All in all, the look didn't bother me, but I knew that other kids at school would definitely be talking about the new kid's fashion sense. Already, I could see those two chatty girls that Ms. Cain had chastised earlier were looking in his direction and whispering.
"…and as for that lab report, you weren't here so you don't have to do it. But we go to the laboratory and perform experiments every other week, and each student has a lab partner that they work together with to write a report on what they learned from the experiment. You can tag onto one of the other groups, if you want." She was saying to him and he nodded his assent.
"But Ms. Cain, Darlene doesn't have a partner," called out Bobby Wade, that one child in every class that always calls the teacher's attention to something that the rest of the class desperately hopes she will forget, such as calling up a homework assignment or turning in a demerit slip. "She could be his partner."
'No, she couldn't,' I thought in my head and furrowed my brows. Adam, who followed Bobby's gaze to me, saw me frown and I felt his gaze harden as he turned away, offended. I blushed; embarrassed that he caught my displeasure at being paired with him. So instead of trying to talk Ms. Cain out of this idea, I simply agreed to be his partner.
I wanted to apologize to him, but he kept his back to me the entire rest of the class, and I wouldn't have had the courage to talk to him anyway. I felt bad that I had made him think I didn't want to partner with him, even though I really didn't want to, but not for the reason he thought. He probably assumed it was because of his odd dress style that I didn't want to associate with him, and partially it was, because I detested being stared at. It wasn't really personal; I just was too socially awkward to work with anyone else. Still, my guilt was eating at me a little bit as I finished my work, so I resolved to muster up what small shred of confidence I had buried deep inside of me and at least give him a warm smile as we left the room.
But, when the bell rang, things did not go as I pictured in my head. I had planned to walk by him and give him a warm smile; he would see it, realize that I hadn't meant to offend him, and smile back. All's forgiven. No, as soon as the bell rang, he jumped up with speed I hadn't suspected he possessed and, gathering his books and backpack in one fluid motion, left the room like a bat out of hell, beating everyone to the door even though he was on the other side of the room. He didn't glance back once as he walked through the door and down the hallway, out of sight.
Okay...so this is a book that I want published one day. I've already finished it, and I'll upload the chapters one at a time. There are nineteen in all. I'm uploading them on here because I want some feedback on it before I attempt to get it published. So, please review...I'm begging you guys! I need your feedback, good or otherwise. :)