"So, who here would like to be Taylor's buddy for the day?"
Madison met eyes with the bespectacled new girl and seeing how slight she looked, began to wonder what it would be like to be a leader rather than a follower for once.
Thoughts of her older brother and sister were abandoned when she spied classmate Adriana hesitantly beginning to raise one hand.
"Miss Greene, pick me!" She blurted out impulsively, lifting her arm and beating out everybody else before doubt could resettle in her mind.
The silence that followed lasted all of five seconds before Miss Greene cleared her throat and kindly directed Taylor to sit down beside her new guide.
"My name's Madison, by the way. Do you have a locker yet?"
Taylor smiled goofily in response as she pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose, before resuming eye contact and answering the question.
"No, I don't. Is that a bad thing?"
"It's fine..." Madison tried to reply calmly while reminding herself that she was completely new to this whole buddy business. "You can just put your stuff in here for now."
Taylor slung her rustic bag on to the top shelf then stepped aside to allow Madison room to make sure that the door could be locked securely.
The two girls made their way to the cafeteria afterwards with Taylor skipping along rather excitedly for a child whom had just moved hundreds of miles to an unfamiliar town.
"Is it alright if I call you Maddie? I think it sounds cuter..."
"Sure..." Madison relented with a grimace, suddenly finding her patience being tested for reasons she couldn't fathom. "So, where are you from?"
"Tennessee. As in 'Ten-I-see'?"
"Oh. What's it like there?"
"Really pretty, but not as beachy as here, I guess..."
"Cool. There's a lot you'll need to get used to then."
"Oh, I'm sure I can handle it."
"Great. Now, let's find somewhere to sit. I'm hungry..."
"Oh my God, this is amazing!"
Madison blinked in shock as she watched Taylor scarf down a hotdog and large serving of fries with next to no effort. If that weren't surprising enough however, the small blonde then patted her stomach and asked if it were possible to have seconds.
"Sure, I have five extra dollars..." Madison said quietly while reaching down into her jean pocket. "How can you eat so much and still stay so tiny?"
"I don't know, but you should see my brother Riley. He's always stealing food off my plate when Mom isn't looking..."
"Well, I guess that explains a lot. Just wait here and I'll get your seconds for you."
Madison left the table with cash in hand and was able to weave her way around the larger children with ease. She reached the counter and stared nervously up at the lunch lady, clearing her throat for the demand that she was about to make.
"It's fine, you've got this. Just think of her as the little sister you never got to have..."