It's my first day at a new school, 3 schools, 2 years. I'm sick and tired of moving from house to house, school to school as my mum gets sick of the scenery, the men and the job. I can't take it anymore! We move at least once a year and I have to keep moving schools because she isn't satisfied of what she has. Anyway enough of the raving, more of that later. New school once again, I guess I'm getting used to moving schools.
As I enter my school I study the grounds, the gates are black and are 2 meters tall with those spikey points at the top, I can see teachers at the gates walking around checking our uniforms as we enter and they wear fluoro tops, you know, the ones like construction or road workers wear. I can see all the buildings; they are white with gold plate edged windows and each one is 2 or 3 stories high. There are groups of girls and boys walking around and then there is one group standing on the stairs of the building of which I need to enter. The way people move around this group gives me the picture that these are the real deal, the popular guys, the hierarchy, the rulers; doing anything to keep out of their way and to not get involved with them, that's my plan.
As I try to move around the group on the stairs I accidentally bump one of the boys; he spins around so fast that I haven't even moved an inch. I don't dare move a muscle or look into his face as he scrutinises me. The others around him, noticing that he is no longer facing and speaking to them, also begin looking over his shoulder at me. One of the girls puts her arms around his waist, he looks at her and then back at me, and finally he speaks,
"You bumped me. Why?" he sounds surprised and a little bit agitated but he'd said it as a demand not as a question.
"It was an accident I'm sorry" I reply without the respect that they wanted.
"I beg your pardon?" says the girl, she sounds disgusted. Then she looks me over and grimaces as if I were an animal of some kind that is a repulsive creature. I look at her with a critical eye and then turn and walk away; as I do so I hear somebody come up behind me. I stop and turn; it was the guy that I had bumped! I can't believe it.
"Why are you following me?" I ask curious of why he was tailing me.
"I want to talk to you"
"Why, I'm just the new girl" I reply with a sarcastic tone to my voice.
"You're the new girl?" he asks with surprise taking over his voice. "I mean...I didn't... I didn't know that you were the new girl at school." He puts his hand to the back of his neck in a gesture that says to me that he's embarrassed.
"Yeah, I'm the new girl in school. My name's Sam by the way" I reply with more confidence than I felt surging through my body. I didn't want anything to do with him or the group that he was in, but here I am talking to him as if we were friends that hadn't seen each other in a few months. I keep walking as if nothing happened but his long legs easily keep pace with me. "Won't your girlfriend mind that you ditched her to talk with me?" I ask out of pure curiosity.
"Stella? She's not my girlfriend; she just likes to think she is and that she owns me. Why?"
"I just thought that she was your girlfriend 'cause she put her arms around your waist before, you know when I bumped into you while trying to move past."
"No, no, no, she, as I said before, likes to make people think that so no one dares to flirt or ask me out, oh and my names William," he replies like it's a daily occurrence that he should just add his name to a sentence such as that.
"Well," I reply "I had better be going to class, see ya."
At that I turn, look at my watch and take off at a run so that I won't be late for class. I'm about half way across the yard when I dare to look back, he's watching me, our eyes would have met did I not quickly turn and keep running to my class.
I enter my class and wait for the teacher to come so that she can seat and partner me with someone. I'm standing waiting when someone comes up behind me and whispers in my ear, "I guess we're in the same class then."
I spin to look accusingly at the person, it's William! I freeze.
At this moment, before I have a chance to reply, my teacher walks in and says to the whole class, "Students, sit down in your seats," then, turning, she addresses me, "you must be Samantha Flemming . Please go and have a seat next to William, he'll be your partner."
With that she goes back to addressing the whole class and giving them instructions on what we are going to be doing today. Unfortunately, I'm too busy in a world of my own, so when I sit down I have no clue as to what we need to be doing.
It's after school I go out to the shops and buy some movies. They are horror, so I know that if I watch them tonight I will be able to get out of school the tomorrow because I will keep having nightmares, which will lead me to being sick. Maybe after this my mum might pay some attention. So this is exactly what I'm going to do.
I wake up in the middle of the night, somebody is been shaking me; I look around and see my mum standing watching me.
"You were screaming just now, so I thought I should wake you so that I could get some sleep," she states as if it were a normal occurrence for a mother to just brush away their screaming child. I get up and move towards my bedroom door.
"I'm going to get a drink," I say my voice croaky. My throat, sore from all the screaming, and besides, I don't want to talk or think about my dream, especially not to my mum, not that she would listen anyway. I rush off and grab a cup from our kitchen cupboard. I move to the fridge and pour out some cold water from our filtering jug. I gulp it down in just four mouth full's and move slowly up to my room. I can't fall asleep... questions of why my mum paid no attention to me her screaming child were racing through my mind. Finally I do fall asleep knowing full well that I have to get up in a few hours to go to school. Once again I dream of horrible things, zombies chasing after me and my feet not moving fast enough to get away from them, vampires surrounding me and killing me for my blood.
I wake up with a jolt, I'm covered in my own sweat and the blankets have me all tangled up from my moving in my sleep. I untangle myself with great difficulty and move to the kitchen. I reach for the cereal that mum put on the table last night and pour myself some 'just right'. I love 'just right' it tastes nice. I finish my breakfast quickly so I have time to get dressed into my jeans and t-shirt. I decide to wag school today, not that mum will care one cent about my doing so.
Once I'm dressed I move to the front door and put on my favourite flats. I take some of the money out of the draw, about a hundred, and start walking down to the mall. On the way down I'm trying to decide what sort of things I want to buy. I walk the past the dress shop and look in the window. There is this really nice dress for only $20! It's royal blue and has thin straps, but best of all I have the perfect shoes to wear with it. I walk in and the bells ring, I slowly move over to the dress and pick it up. I go over to the change room and try it on. It fits! I pull the curtain back, poke my head out, and call to the attendant, he walks over and then I realize who it is, William! I know I can't get out of the awkward situation so I just act as if he were a normal attendant who I don't know. I walk out of the change rooms and ask "I can't decide whether or not to get this dress what do you think?" I look up into his face and see it frozen in surprise. He opens his mouth and tries to speak but nothing comes out.
"I... I... think you look...really...nice?" he stutters with great difficulty. He pauses and then speaks again "why don't I go see if I can find you a shawl or something miss..."
"Flemming" I supply for him. This time I don't have to look at his face to see the reaction the name. He looks up at me so suddenly that I know he knows who I am. He stares at me for a few moments before daring to ask
"Do you go to Heathdale secondary school?"
"Yeah I do, I um just started there this week, why?" I ask knowing full well what his answer is going to be.
"I go there, um you must be Samantha Flemming right?" he asks a bit hesitant on the last words.
"Yeah that's right, your..., we're partners in math remember?" I looked up at him, turn and head back into the change room.
I go to the counter hoping that I will get somebody other than William, but I don't always get what I ask for. He's standing there waiting for somebody to come and ask him for something or to ask for his assistance. I notice as I stand there that he really is quite handsome with his blond straight hair that's just past the top of his ears and his dark brown eyes that sparkle when he smiles enthusiastically at a customer. I slowly move to the counter and place the dress on it. He picks it up, swipes the price tag and puts it in a plastic bag.
"That's $20 thankyou" he says without a moment's hesitation.
I pull out a 50 and hand it to him. He looks up at me a puzzled look on his face. He stares only for a moment before placing it in the till and bringing out the change. At last he says "so you're wagging today. Won't your parents care that you skipped school?"
"Yeah, I'm skipping school but no my mum won't care and my dad isn't here. She doesn't even know when I do anything so it's not like she'll care if I skip school," I reply with disgust and hurt screaming out in my voice. I look up and see that I have startled him with my long speech. Though he quickly recovers and says "oh, well I get days off school to help my mum in the shop, umm, I have a break in 10 minutes do you want to go get something to eat?"
"Uh sure, that sounds... cool" and as I wait, I see him working well with the customers.
"Hey Mum!" he yells "I'm takin' a break now and goin' to get something to eat with Samantha!" I watch as he comes running to the door, opens it and steps outside.
We sit down at table number 21 and look at our menus. I quickly glance up and see him watching me. I pretend to stare at my menu and mentally interrogate myself as to why he could be watching me. Nothing comes to mind. A waitress suddenly speaks and jerks me back to reality. "What can I get you?" she looks at me, turns and smiles at William.
"What can I get you and your girlfriend here?" she asks while I quickly come to my senses and reply "umm first he's not... my boyfriend and second can I get a bowl of chips and a diet coke please"
"I'll have a coca cola and a medium margarita pizza" he adds to the order.
"Is that all?" she asks. No of course we want more than what we've ordered you stupid girl is what I'm thinking at that second, but, William replies for both him and I.
"Yes, thank you," he looks up at me and smiles, showing me his white teeth, so white that I can't believe my eyes. I glance down at the table. I can feel his eyes boring into me trying to make me look at him and I can't stand him just staring so I give in and look into his face. I let our eyes meet but only for a second.
"The other day at school you seemed so confident and fierce, why?"
"I guess because I've moved so much I just get used to people being fierce and I just don't pay attention to it anymore."
"So how many times have you moved schools in your life?"
"Well does that include kindergarten and primary school?"
"Well then I have moved 9 times in my school life"
"Wow that's a lot of schools. How did you cope with it when you were younger?"
"Well I guess I just went along with it, I never really got close to anyone so there was nothing to lose. No friends or family so I didn't mind as much as I do now. Anyway I'm probably boring you to death so new topic."
"What do you want to talk about?"
"Let's talk about you. How long have you lived and gone to school here for? How did you manage to get school days off to work in the shop and how did you get to be in the popular group?"
"Wow that's a lot of information. Here goes. Well I've lived here my whole life and I went to Heathdale primary and now I go to Heathdale secondary. Well I was a full on kid in year 7 and I was always wagging or so the teachers thought and so one day the principle called me in and asked me what was going on so I told her that my dad had left and had destroyed the my mothers and my own life and that I was helping my mum to run her business because she was having trouble doing it all on her own so that's what I was doing when I wasn't at school and then we came to an agreement that I could take one day off to help mum or if there was an emergency I could take off two or three. How I got to be in the popular group as you call us I've no idea. One day Stacy just beckoned me over and asked me to sit with them and that happened for 2 weeks and then I just stayed with them." He shrugs and looks at me. Then looks at the clock on the wall and says "umm I have to go my break is over it was nice talking with you Samantha"
"Ahh you too William"
"Please call me Will everyone does"
"And you call me Sam umm I guess you'd better go and so had I. Bye Will."
"Bye Sam, see you round?"
"Yeah, see ya" I reply as I turn and walk out into the summer air. I decide that even though I had been going to shop that it was time to go home. I'm walking home when I suddenly see my grade 6 teacher miss Launcen. I walk over and tap her shoulder.
"Hello Miss Launcen, my name is Samantha Forster you taught me in Grade 6"
"Sam dear how are you?"
"I'm good, how are you?"
"I'm well, so what are you doing out here Sam?"
"I umm live here now, have for about a week."
"Oh well I have a meeting to get to nice catching up with you Sam."
"Oh ok bye Miss Launcen" I turn and continue on my way home.
As I walk past the cafe I see a notice
Floor service or
I can't believe it! I've needed a job for so long it's so incredible that one should just appear when I need it most! I'm walking into the store when the manager comes out and bumps into me.
"Oh I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to bump into you I was just about to come in and ask for an interview"
"Really? Umm, why don't you come inside and I'll interview you now and let you know if you get the job next week" the manager looks at me turns and starts to walk inside. I follow him in. He's tall with brown curly hair, dark brown eyes and smooth white skin with not a freckle in sight. He walks into a room at the back and waves his hand to a chair in front of the desk. I notice as I sit down that this is not just a room it was an office probably the managers. As I look around the room I notice several pieces of art work done by a famous artist, unfortunately I can't make out the name at the bottom from where I am seated.
"Excuse me Miss..." he begins but I hadn't told him my name so I had to supply it for him.
"Well Miss Flemming why do you want this job?"
"Well I need this job because I need to start to earn a living and to stop relying on my mother for the things that I would like or that I need."
"Why do you think you should work?"
"As I already said I need to earn a living but I'm also really good at working with people and I feel confident talking to people that I don't know so I would be well suited for this job because of my lack of fear towards strangers."
"Thank you Miss Flemming it is a pleasure meeting you and I'll be sure to let you know if you get the job"
"Thank you sir goodbye"
"Goodbye Miss Flemming"
Finally at home I go and try on my new dress. Once I have it on I walk over to my shoe closet and get out my silver high heels. I look into my mirror and see that they work perfectly. I peer into my jewellery box and look at all of my silver necklace, earrings and bracelets and decide on my spiral dangly earrings, my silver handmade bracelet that looks like it has V's on it and my butterfly necklace with diamonds down its middle. I look in the mirror again and see that with all of the jewellery it looks even better. It would work perfectly for a school dance, formal or a date to a restaurant. I do a pirouette and see that my dress flares out. I like it, no, I love it. I know now what I am going to wear to the next school dance. I hear the front door open and then close. My mum's just arrived home probably with more complaints.
"Hey mum can you come and look at my new dress?" I ask hearing that she is heading up the stairs towards her and mine's bedrooms.
"Sorry Samantha I have too much work I need to get done, but I'm sure you look nice."
Nice? She just said that I probably look nice! I can't believe her all she ever does is complain about her job and work all the time! I have to cook the meals, I have to clean, I have to do the washing! What kind of parent is she anyway?! Ugh I can't believe my life!
"Mum I'm going out for a while to the mall"
"Well don't be too late I'll need dinner around 6:30 else I won't be able to get any work done because I will be to hungry"
"I know mum I'll be back in a few hours it's only 4:30" come on! I can't believe she just told me I have to be here to cook her meal; she is supposed to cook for me not the other way round!
I storm out of the house slamming the door behind me so I can let my mum know how frustrated I am at here not that she will notice.
"Oh!" I gasp as I realise I still have my new dress on. What if I ruin it? What if I bump into someone I know? I can't go back to the house mum's there and I can't go into town because I'm in my new dress! Town or home? Home is bad 'cause mum is there town is bad cause class mates might be there. I guess town is not as bad as home so I'm going there. I'm walking past the cafe I notice that there is nobody waiting in line to be interviewed. Maybe I'll get that job after all. I keep walking when I hear someone yelling out my name.
"SAM!" I stop and turn in a slow circle trying to find out who is calling me. When I'm facing the direction of town I see who it is, WILL! This is not good. He can't see me in this dress.
"Hi Will how are you?" I ask. He looks at me, just looks that's it.
"Umm do you wanna go get something to drink from the cafe?"
"Sure that would be cool." So we walk in together and sit down. I start the conversation by asking about what the best school subjects are and what teachers are good. I get the responses that I want and after about half an hour of talking we catch a movie, just as friends. We walk in, buy our tickets and sit down.
"So what have you been up to today Sam?" he asks. I know that he helped me in the store but why does he need to know what I've been up to?
"Well after we had morning tea I went for a walk and then on my way home I applied for a job and then I got home."
"And then you put the dress on and all of the jewellery?"
"Well, yes but I didn't mean to come out in it."
"What do you mean?"
"Well my mum and I had an argument and I stormed out of the house I know that that sounds childish but it's the truth and then when I realised I still had it all on I either had to go home to my mother or into town... and town sounded better than home. So yeah"
"What did you fight about?"
"I would umm rather not go into it if that's alright"
"Sure that's fine sorry; it really has nothing to do with me."
"Umm do you happen to have the time?"
"Yeah it is..." he stopped as he looked down at his watch, "6:00"
"Oh my gosh! I have to get home, mum is going to kill me if I don't have dinner ready on time" I'm panicking I have to get home. "I am so sorry I have to get home I really am sorry" I start running as fast as I can. I'm still running when it starts bucketing rain. I stop and pull off my heels; they will get ruined if I run in them. I start running again not pacing myself but just full out sprinting when I hear a car engine roaring behind me. I stop and move towards the front yard of someone's garden when the car stops and someone leans out. It's Will
"Hey Sam stop getting wet and ruining that dress and jump in, I'll give you lift home!" I run over to his car and jump in the passenger seat.
"Thank you so much," I quickly do up my seat belt and tell him to go.
"Sam! SAM! Where are you child and where is my dinner?"
"Just a minute mum, it'll be on the table in a sec" I walk into the dining room with my mums dinner, Macaroni Cheese I hope she likes it.
"Mmm Sam this is delicious. Aren't you going to have some?" she says after having one mouthful.
"No I had dinner with a friend while I was out"
"When you were out!? WHY WERE YOU OUT WITH OUT MY PERMISSION?"
"Mum, you gave me permission when you walked in the door, remember?"
"No I don't which means that you are lying"
"But mum I'm not lying"
"You are not allowed use of your phone or your computer"
"No buts or else I can make no shopping privileges or outings as well is that what you want?"
"Alright, alright mum no use of my phone or computer," I comply because I know there is no way to get out of this not that I'm not going to use my phone what kind of ban is that if she has no way of knowing whether I'm using it or not, I think as I walk towards the stairs.
"Hand over your phone please"
"Give. Me. The. Phone" this time she said each word as its own sentence. I know I have to, but I mean I bought the phone and it's not like she pays for it! I turn and continue walking towards my room. I'm half way up the stairs when I feel nails digging into my arm. I turn slowly and look my mother in the eyes. Their look was deadly. I can't help but feel small and helpless.