There was a faint smell of sweat and perfume as I walked down the hallways of Hawthoryne Junior High School. Trying to find my first class seemed harder than the rude secretary in the main office let on. I glanced down at my schedule just to make sure I was where I was supposed to be. Johnson – US History. Well, here goes nothing, I thought as I knocked on the door. A short woman with glasses and short brown hair to match answered the door.
"Oh!" She exclaimed as she looked me over, "You must be Taylor. Come on in, Hun." The whole class went silent as they studied me. Judging me. Instinctively, I pulled my sleeves down even further.
"Class," Ms. Johnson began, as if the class were still talking, "This is Taylor Bretton." She paused and turned to me, and I guess I was supposed to say something. I cast my green eyes down at the floor, not daring to meet anyone's eyes.
"Hi," I mumble, probably looking like an idiot. After a small awkward silence, Ms. Johnson spoke, "You'll sit next to Perrie for now."
I look over to where my teacher gestured and saw a girl with strawberry blonde hair and clear blue eyes. When she noticed that I was staring at her, Perrie looked me over, gave me a disgusted look, and turned away. Jeez, am I really that bad? I straightened out my clothes and walked over to the empty desk. As soon as I sat down, Ms. Johnson launched into her history lecture. To anyone else in my position, that might've been a rude thing for Ms. Johnson to do, but I find myself grateful that she didn't spend too much time talking about me. Getting comfortable in this classroom wasn't that hard; it seemed like the right thing to do to be in this class right now. Most people would probably want to leave and hang out at a place like Starbuck's or chill at home, but I wanted to be in this classroom. It's strange that I feel this way though, since I'm just starting school here. I wonder if all the classrooms are this likable.
"Hey new girl," I hear a harsh nasal voice whisper from my right. To my surprise, the whisper came from the pretty girl sitting next to me. Perrie did seem a little decent before, but after hearing the insensitivity towards me in her voice, I decided she isn't all that anymore.
I looked her in the eyes to let her know that I'm listening. "I basically run this school, so watch your back," she says and then she narrows her eyes and gives me the "I'm watching you" gesture. Real mature Perrie. It's not like I even want to be like her, I mean, who wants to be a stuck up popular girl who thinks she can boss everyone around? I guess I'm on her bad side now, although I haven't said a word to her. Well, unless you count my insignificant "hi" to the class. What I don't understand is, how could she think that I would want to be the Queen Bee at this school?
No thanks, I think to myself, I already have enough scars and bruises from last time.
I flinch at my own thoughts and memories that resurface, and then pause to glance over at Perrie. Could she be going on the same route that I went? No, she isn't like who I was. Before I could think about the possibilities, the bell rings and it's time to move on to my next class, which happens to be science, my favorite subject in the world. It did take me a few minutes after the tardy bell rang to find the science classroom. Knocking on the door of this room felt so weird, as if I could already tell that this class won't be like the last one. The teacher at the door made himself known as Mr. Norson and sat me next to a boy who looked younger than everyone in the class by at least a year or two. Mr. Norson explained that the boy, known as Trip, will be my lab partner until the end of the year. When the teacher introduced Trip, I heard a few snickers around the classroom and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Trip slide down in his chair. As I walked to my chair, I felt everyone's eyes on me.
Unlike Ms. Johnson, Mr. Norson didn't have the sympathy to let me be. "Taylor? Why don't you share something with the class? Like, what school did you go to before this? Or something you like to do in your free time?" Mr. Norson tried to let me express myself to the class.
"I insist," he urged. I looked around and then down at my wrists. Only I knew what lay beneath the clothing. My mind was swimming with things to tell the class. Should I tell them what school I used to go to? I mentally shake my head. What if they want to find out about me and why I moved, and they hold it over me? I look up, not meeting any of the eyes that are still transfixed on me, waiting for me to say something.
"Umm… I like to read," I blurt out. I heard someone try to stifle a giggle and I looked in their direction. The girl trying not to laugh was a redheaded girl with amazing green eyes to match.
"Miss Landon, do you need to have another chat with Mrs. Flatts?" Mr. Norson warns the redhead.
"No, Mr. Norson," the girl replies with a bittersweet tone.
"Very well then," Mr. Norson says as he begins to move on, "Let's go over the Periodic Table of Elements again, since some people just can't get it right."
After a couple of other classes, the bell rang for lunch. Just putting my stuff in my locker proved to be difficult since everyone was pushing and shoving to be first in the lunch line.
"Hungry hormonal teenagers," I mutter under my breath, as I slammed my locker door closed and walked towards the cafeteria with a lunch bag in my hand.
"Tell me about it," says a strange hushed voice. I look beside me to see Trip, from my science class. I nod as we walk silently into the mess of kids crowded around. I take all of it in before I realize I have no place to sit. I glance around to see if I could follow Trip, but he seemed to vanish into thin air. As I scan the tables once again, I find Trip at a table in the far corner, and I move to get to his table, but I got some liquid spilled on my shirt instead.
"Remember, watch your back, New Girl," Perrie says as she walks away without even apologizing. I sigh and walk over to Trip's table. I can still feel some eyes on my back. My hands twitch and one of them goes to grab the blade in my pocket but I stop myself before I accidentally flash the whole school with my secret.
"Can I maybe... Uh... Sit here?" I ask nervously. Being rejected by a boy was the least of my worries, but what was making me nervous and fidgety was the thought of being alone. That's my greatest fear. Not necessarily being alone, but having no one to care for me makes me want to go insane. Back home, it made me seem a bit like an attention seeker. I gulp anxiously and anticipate Trip's answer. Instead of answering though, he gazes over at me and nods slightly. I let out a breath that I didn't know I was holding while I get settled at Trip's table. I notice no one else is sitting here except Trip, but he doesn't seem to mind the absence of people at the table, but then again, he didn't appear as if he cared that another person was sharing his space. He glances over at me while I was in the midst of studying his tan skin and dark hair. His soft brown eyes met mine, and I could tell he was thinking really hard about something.
I quickly look down at the lunch my mom packed for me. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and some cookies. I feel the ticklish feeling of paper on my arm and I look over at Trip, who is holding napkins out for me. I stare back confused until I realize he's helping me clean up the mess that Perrie made on my shirt. I take them gratefully and try to clean up the mess. It's already turned into a sticky mess, and my shirt's starting to stick to the cuts on my wrists, making them itchier than ever. I resist the urge to scratch them and instead I take a bite of my sandwich.
"I'm guessing you've met Perrie already," Trip says, gesturing towards my wet shirt. I focus on his deep scratchy voice. It doesn't seem to match his appearance, but in a way it does.
"What is up with her anyways?" I ask Trip.
"Miss Popular doesn't want to share her spotlight," he simply answers, "I know you're not trying to be the center of the drama, but just watch out, one small thing could get you right where you wouldn't want to be."
I consider what Trip just told me as I take another bite of my sandwich. I know it's true, what he says, but it reminds me so much of my old school. Before I can stop myself, I feel the wetness of tears on my cheeks, and my vision gets blurred.
"Hey, are you okay?" I faintly hear Trip's voice call from my left and the light touch of his hand on my arm. I jerk my arm away and run towards the bathroom I remember passing on my way into the cafeteria. By the time I reach the bathroom, the tears are free falling and my blade feels like it's burning in my pocket. To my luck, no one's in the bathroom, but just in case, I lock myself in one of the stalls and pull my blade out with a sigh of relief. I take the blade and drag it along my skin, next to the other scars of the past. The blood doesn't take long to start dripping and I watch it without helping myself.
This is the only way to go, one part of my mind says. The other side says, no Taylor, you can change. You can find another way. I shake my head and tuck my blade back into my pocket after the bleeding stopped. Nothing else can help me numb the pain as great as cutting.
After the lunch scenario, all I wanted to do was just sleep. I love to go to sleep because I feel like it's my only chance to escape reality. From the past and present. It's time for the last class of the day, and as I'm released from my reading class, I feel like collapsing on the ground.
Just one more class, I think to myself. I use the schedule to find my class, which happens to be physical education. Hopefully, it's an all-girls class. I walk into the gym and to my disappointment, not only was this a class with both girls and boys, but Miss Drama Queen was here too. Perrie was living up to her status at the school by flaunting her stuff for the guys, who didn't even try to hide their dirty stares.
Ugh, these guys are like Anthony. I shiver at the thought of my ex-boyfriend. These guys are probably nothing like him, I try to reassure myself.
Later, after changing into my gym clothes, we did all these warm-ups. I felt the guys checking me out as we stretched. I try to drown them out with other thoughts. Why is Perrie being so mean to me? How come nobody seems to like Trip? Even more, what am I going to say when I get home? Do I need to lie to my own mom and dad again? I mentally sigh and continue exercising.
"Alright everyone, today we're going to take a break. Don't forget, we have our physical tests tomorrow!" Mrs. Kenson, our gym teacher exclaimed.
As soon as she mentioned a "break" from class, the students all burst into chatter. "Have you heard that the new girl has beef with Perrie?" and "The new girl's got Trip as a science partner! Ha!" were some of the loudest of the fresh gossip. I felt very awkward standing there while being in the middle of everyone's conversations. It reminded me of my old school. The kids at my old school used to give me almost the same exact stare that the kids here are giving me now. The only difference is that back then, their eyes were full of jealousy, and now, they're filled with teasing.
Luckily, gym class wasn't that long. The bell rang, and the class was out of the gym in seconds. After reaching my locker, I got this weird feeling that I was being watched. My back stiffened and I hurried to get out of the school as quickly as possible. I finished packing my stuff into my bag and just as I was turning to head out of the school, I collided with someone, making a tangled mess of legs and papers. I felt my cheeks burn from humiliation as people laughed and said some rude words in my direction. I heard a groan come from the floor under me. I looked down and saw Trip trying to pick up his belongings, but was unsuccessful due to the kids who decided to kick him as they passed. After he recollected his things, I offered him a hand. As he took my hand, the standby watchers gasped. Why is it so bad to help someone like Trip?
"Thanks," Trip mumbled as he pushed past me, after sensing my embarrassment from being the sudden center of attention. All eyes turned to me, wondering what I'll do next. I sighed as I walked out of the building and headed home to face my parents.