"Catherine!" A voice yelled.
Kia turned in circles looking for the man who was calling that familiar name. Around her were bright green trees and the ground was littered with pinecones. Kia knew she was lost and all she wanted was to go home but when the man called that name again she felt the urge to run toward it.
"Catherine!" The voice was growing smaller and she knew she would lose it. Kia walked forward at a quicker pace fearing she would lose him. She could hear her breathing hitching as she began to run and a stitch in her side started to hurt.
"Catherine, please, I'm here!" The voice was barely audible.
"Nathaniel!" Kia fell from her bed yelling the name. She lay on the floor with her blonde hair spread out around her wondering who she knew named Nathaniel. There was a boy in English class named Nate, that must be who she was thinking of. Though her mind was telling her that wasn't right Kia ignored it and stood to get ready for the day.
She changed from her sweaty pajamas into a t-shirt and jeans. brushing her hair quickly she picked up her red backpack and rushed downstairs. Her mother was a tall woman with copper colored skin and black hair. Though she wasn't Kia's biological mother she had always been there for her.
"Hey, mom." Her mother smiled as she continued to feed Tucker, Kia's one year old brother. Her father was just a little shorter than her mother. He had light skin like hers and black and grey hair that was brushed to the side. They were both still very young at thirty-two, since her father had been sixteen when she was born.
Kia grabbed a piece of toast from the table before rushing out of the room.
"Hey, don't you want more to eat?" Her dad asked
"No, thanks. Love you guys." Kia said from the living room before slamming the front door.
She stopped for a moment on the front porch letting the rising sun and the cool air hit her face. From the tree near her parents window she could hear a bird singing. Kia loved the early mornings. Taking a deep breath she stepped off the porch and began to walk past the little houses in their neighborhood. At the end of the road was a parked black nineteen sixties thunderbird.
Kia walked to the car and slid into the front seat.
"Hey there, Kiki." Maisie smiled at her. She had darker skin than Kia's mom and she had dyed her long hair bright pink and braided it. She had spider bites on her lips, a silver nose ring and five piercings in each ear.
"Why are we parking so far away again?" Ethan asked from the back. He was pale with brown hair. No one could really tell that he was part Native American. Ethan was the son of her mother's younger brother and Maisie was the daughter of her mother's twin brother.
"Like I want my parents telling me to 'say thank you' and 'say hello for us' or 'invite them in for breakfast!'" Kia said all this through a mouthfull of toast.
"Hey watch the crumbs in my car." Maisie said looking at the floor board on the passenger side while pulling away quickly.
"Your car? This is your dad's car." Ethan corrected
"Not anymore." She smiled glancing between Ethan and the road
Kia choked on her food for a moment before saying
"Your dad GAVE you his car? Are you serious?"
"A gift for making it to senior year." Maisie pushed on the gas pedal in her excitement.
"He had a lot of faith in you." Ethan said sarcastically
Maisie pulled into the school parking lot wildly causing Kia and Ethan to fear for their lives. Outside of the car Kia saw that Maisie was dressed in a black mini skirt and black leather jacket and a white tank top. Her pink braid went all the way down to her hips. Kia thought if her dad ever saw her dress like that he would have a heart attack. She wondered if she would even look as good as Maisie if she did dress like that. Ethan wore black jeans and a grey t-shirt. Both were two years older and in their senior year so for Kia they were like older siblings that she didn't have to live with.
"See ya later, twirp." Maisie winked and spun her keys on her finger. Ethan just waved and followed her.
"Your cousins are so cool." Kia turned around to see her best friend Chelsey behind her. She was a short girl with dark hair and big glasses.
"I'm jealous, their parents don't seem to care what they do but my dad goes crazy if I so much as sneeze."
The two girls walked together to first hour.
"Their parents really don't care?" She asked skeptically. She knew Kia too well.
"Fine, they care but not like my parents."
"Did you finish geometry homework?" She changed the subject as they entered the classroom.
"No I fell asleep-Oh and I had another dream!" the two girls sat down at their desks. Chelsey tucked her arms in and faced Kia as she always did to show her interest.
"I was in a forest and I was lost. This guy kept calling a name, and in the dream, even though I knew I was me I knew he was calling me but he wasn't saying my name. He kept calling Catherine. I tried to run toward him but I woke up before I could find him."
"Being lost is a common dream. It means you're overwhelmed." She adjusted her glasses.
"But it felt real. Like really real."
Before Chelsey could reply with an explaination about dreams and the imagination Mrs. Norman began her lecture on the history of the royal family.
In Social Studies right before lunch Mr. Campbell had everyone stand at the back of the class.
"We have a new student today, everyone. Meet Alexander."
Alexander had dark skin and long dred locks. He wore skinny jeans and a baggy blue button down shirt. He looked around at the class uncomfortably like he wished he could disappear.
"Since we're adding a new student I'm going to change the seating arrangements," He looked at a sheet of paper and said "Alexander-"
"I'm sorry?" Mr. Campbell looked up at the new student
"Everyone calls me Alex."
"I'm sorry, Alex. You can sit over there." He pointed to a group of three desks. Alex sat down and leaned his elbow against the desk to watch the remaining students be seated.
After a few students were seated he called
"Kia Mitchell, Over there." He pointed to the desk with Alex and another boy named Faris Roman.
Quietly and aware of all the eyes on her she walked to the desk. Alex's eyes flicked to hers and then back and back again. He gave her a strange look then continued to watch the seating. Kia brushed it off as nothing and set her bag down.
After everyone was seated Mr. Campbell handed out crosswords for them to do together.
"Hey, man, I'm Faris." The two boys shook hands. Alex smiled and said his name. Kia could tell he was tired. There were circles under his eyes.
"I'm Kia." She said awkwardly
He gave her that same odd look again before looking down at his paper. Kia wondered if there were still crumbs on her face or maybe her hair was out of place. She gently ran a hand over her face and through her hair trying to make it look like she was thinking about her paper.
"So, do you guys do a lot of this?" He waved his crossword and looked at it with doubt.
"If it weren't for the school board Mr. Campbell would treat us like kindergartners." Faris said
As the two talked she realized that she recognized Alex from somewhere. Not his face but his eyes. Like she had seen them before. Like she had memorized them. He looked back at her curiously and she realized she had been staring awkwardly. Kia spent the rest of the class looking down at her paper and staying quiet.